Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Medicine Woman Plant Encounters: Roses, Lady's Slipper, Sweet Gale, and Sacred Waters

Before we get to the photo-story of my last week, FIRST things first .... I'm DELIGHTED to highlight for you one of my very special Lady's Slipper Ring Members

Sue is an extraordinary woman.

Through our work together I've seen the incredible strength of heart and passion for mother earth that Sue holds and expresses. It's truly an honor for me to know and serve her, and I'm excited to share with you the most wonderful gifts she offers and the ways in which she serves others.

In her own words, she writes:

"After two years of several major life changes and then a tragic loss, self-care of any kind seemed a lifetime away.  The simple act of reflecting on why I am worthy of self-care is slowly becoming a daily reminder.  I have one of the those personalities that strives for constant production; self-care was often on the to-do list but I just never got around to it.  My place in the mystic is still raw and uncertain and sometimes I am my worst enemy. But my effort to keep my worthiness front and center helps to break free of that kind of self-critical thinking.  

One of the changes I made was to leave a 20 year career in higher education to pursue my own business. The learning curve has/is constant! Inserting some of my values into my business design is a wonderful feeling though incredibly time-consuming. I started a gift basket business that is inspired by the scents and aromas of herbs & spices. Ninety percent of my products are created by small American businesses including two herbalists. I offer several of the traditional ready-to-eat food baskets but also design multiple thematic collections.  You can check out my unique designs at" 

Thank you, Sue, for being YOU and for sharing your beautiful, yummy, gift creations!


The land is painting itself with color and inventing its signature scent of May 2012. 

The Orchids are blooming in their exquisite perfection and provocative shapes

The Cottonwood fluff is *everywhere*

Plant walks abound in the Happy Valley, and I'm happy to finally make it to one

  .... wild lettuce detail ...

Aralia neudicaulis, wild sarsaparilla, is widespread along the forest floor..

Tangles of mystery, deep in the forest

More Aralia..

 Little peeks from the rattlesnake plantain

Mountain Laurel is blooming elegantly

 I'm a sucker for gorgeous tree bark, especially on the black birches

and for the spicy-sweet delicacy of fresh sassafras root bark. I'm happy to have started a fresh jar of elixir. 

The wild roses cascade along the landscape, scenting the bike path and the highway wind

I patiently anticipate the linden blossoms.....

Creatures have been paying me auspicious visits. This Northern Flicker was at our Red Tent....

I blended a sensuous and uplifting aromatherapy oil with Clary Sage, Ylang Ylang, Roman Chamomile, and Vanatu Sandalwood, to help calm and ground my nerves (and those of my Lady's Slipper Members) during stressful times. 

And I saw a black bear for the first time in my life: 

I took a hiatus on the holiday weekend ... spending a day with the waterfalls in the woods, and then a day at the beach gathering roses with my mama......

Sacred waters

Renew the spirit

and make me very, very, happy

The Rose Harvest:

Rosa Rugosa

Best to start early, when the mist is still hanging over the water

The scent is at its richest early in the day

I brought my menstruums with me so I wouldn't lose a drop of perfume, or magic

Thanks to my crazy fabulous facebook herbal community, I made friends with a new fragrant plant: Sweet Gale, or perhaps a closely related spp of Myrica which I haven't keyed out yet.
It's herbaceous, lemony, astringent, and very uplifting, with a long tradition of use in fermented beers, meat seasoning, and topical balms.
My first experiment with it is a batch of elderberry - myrica kombucha. I'll also make an oil.

Herons are always enchanting to see...

I loved the abundance of the white roses as well, who exuded an equally delicious perfume with a little spicy twist. 

 To die for beautiful. I took so many photos! 

Happiest in the outdoors, collecting plants, by the water. 
And always wearing that dorky camera bag :)




Sweet peas are just beginning their showcase as well. These make excellent trail grazing, yum.

 Thank you roses. Thank you water. Thank you trees. Thank you Earth. 

I am grateful.

I am grateful for your healing waters, and abundant medicine

I am grateful for your fragrance, your colors, your moods, 

 and for sharing your blessed body with me.

Love, Ananda

If you're also out adventuring - be sure you're prepared! Bites, stings, and many manner of wild unpleasantries can be easily remedied with my versatile and powerful Medicine Woman Set - Don't leave home without it! 

Woodswoman Medicine Set

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Golden Birch

I happened to cross paths with this majestic beauty the other day by the river. There were prolific branches, so I felt comfortable enough to gather a few.

Though, when I got home to prepare them, they turned far less fragrant than anticipated. Sad. I will figure out something purposeful for them, none the less.

Indeed, I usually gather fragrant birch medicine before April, so it could be simply too late to get the most of it.
At any rate, it's a tree worth knowing well, and adoring often.

Golden/Yellow Birch: Betula alleganiensis:

Stunning prominent lenticels (breathing pores in the bark)

Stunning, peeling layers of bark

Lush green leaves

Often growing new branches from trunk areas that have been injured. 

Easy to make a good amount of medicine from just a few branches.

Take care to learn ecological methods for wildcrafting and pruning tree branches before doing so. 

Happy Gathering <3


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May Flowers, Creativity, and Moments of Beauty

May is for Mandala

Mandala of days that design themselves

with Lilacs & Honey

coconut butters

evening alchemy

and resinous balms.

May is for Medicine Woman

walking through the whispering woods

and along the rocky edges

to gather the flowers, roots, barks, and fragrant leaves that heal.

Sharing life with the honey bees

and butterflies

and the mystery that is life.

May is for Magic, in as many mirrors the imagination can invent.

May is for the Muse