Thursday, May 14, 2015

Interested in plants? Study!

I recently returned from seminar at the East West School of Planetary Herbology and I'm now officially ready to start coaching herbal clients.

If you have a passion for plants and herbs (or for any subject, I suppose) you will learn a lot by joining with other people who share that interest and from teachers with experience in that subject. I've learned so much more in the last two years since I started taking courses than I had strictly studying on my own.

 Learning from an experienced teacher in your local area is invaluable for plant id and getting to know your local plant allies. Besides the course above, I've also done a year- long apprenticeship with Cedar Mountain Herb School ......

These courses are reasonably priced, although they require a commitment of study and time. Learning in group like this is lots of fun and everyone brings some of their knowledge into the fray.

 If you're just dipping your feet into the water, so to speak, or more of a weekend warrior, there are likely lots of one or two day workshops and classes in your area. Some great resources for those in the Seattle area are Dandelion Botanicals and Rainbow Natural Remedies . Individuals who give classes are also worth seeking out. I just took a wonderful workshop with Ravens and Rosehips in Port Townsend. There seems to be guided plant walks offered by various people regularly, sometimes free, sometimes for a fee. Bastyr University is having their annual public event in a couple of weeks, and Jenny McGruther of Nourished Kitchens will be one of the keynote speakers, Graeme Tobyn will be the other .

Another option for learning is in joining a like-minded interest group in your area. Here in Seattle, I belong to the Seattle Herb Society, which meets weekly for an activity. 

If you're more of an internet studies, when you have free time, kind of person, there's Herb Mentor , Plant Healer Magazine, which has a free sample from each issue, if you sign up for the newsletter, and of course the American Herbalist Guild, which also has informative magazines it puts out.

I'd love to create a page with resources for studying and workshops on the blog here. If you have local schools, stores with classes, or local groups or teachers; post them in the comments below to share with others, and I'll compile a page for them on the blog. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Ode to the Dandelion

Rooting the Chakras with Dandelion

Root chakra is located at the base of the spine, anchoring us to the Earth and the present moment.
Breathe in…. feel the double helix rainbow of the energy coming up from the Earth… into the base of your spine… bringing grounding energy and vital nourishment.
Breathe out…. Sending down anxiety and anything toxic we have accumulated. When we poop we send toxins and debris back to the Earth where it is transformed back into nourishing energy. Dandelion will help you poop.
Dandelion stores the Sun energy in her roots all summer and fall, saving it up all winter in order to spring that energy on the world in the Spring. We sip on this liquid sunshine to release the toxins we've taken on that slow us down. Dandelion will put a spring back in your step.

We need a strong root to sustain the growth of our plans; all that we will into being in the yellow third chakra is built on the foundation of a strong first chakra, like the vibrant yellow flower that pushes forth from the Dandelion’s root. With time the flowers turn into seeds that float on the breeze …what thought seeds are you sowing? Pay attention, for they soon create roots of their own and take hold and thrive. Use this root tea to release any toxic or negative thoughts, memories or imprints or anger, so that only your best thoughts and plans take root.
Dandelion is not just a survivor, she thrives wherever her seed lands, laughing at those who try to get rid of her. Have you ever noticed that the biggest happiest Dandelions bounce back on land that’s been cleared or sprayed? Left even the slightest little root She will grow back, large and in charge. In fact She is a guardian of disturbed land, a first responder to damaged Earth, preparing the way by repairing the soil, digging Her roots deep and pulling minerals up and shedding them with Her spent leaves, on the surface of the ground for daintier plants to find later; all the while shining Her yellow face to reflect the Sun. While the Dandelion is firmly rooted, She is also a free spirit, moving freely with the wind as it disperses Her seeds like little helicopters in every direction. Be rooted and strong, but also float where the winds of Life take you,.... make your wishes, then anchor yourself in each new situation.
Drinking Dandelion tea is said to draw spirits to you, which spirits would you like to invite? They will stay with you until you pee, which with dandelion won’t take long, so invite them quickly!

If you re-post my writing in part or whole, please provide a link back to my blog, thanks.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Happy Spring Equinox

May the warming of Spring
light a fire under your arse
so that you rush off to bring
your dreams to reality....

Welcome to the Spring Equinox... and a dramatic one at that! With a full solar eclipse, lining up almost exactly with the changing of the astrological year.Time for new beginnings and time to get going on new projects!

This is a great time to set new intentions that you follow with actions. 
It's also a great time to begin a Spring cleaning/detox/ re-nourishing regimen. 
I don't believe in harsh detoxes; given proper excercise, diet and rest, the body is pretty efficient at de-toxing itself. However, after the winter we may feel a bit sluggish and we live in a world that's full of toxins humans haven't had thousands of years to adapt to, so a mild cleaning of the system may be in order. If you have access to a Panchakarma program, this is a great time to do it. Or clean your system with alterative herbs.

Alterative herbs are a great addition to your routine. Astragalus is an easy herb to incorporate into your day in the form of tea or added to soups. I've been sipping on Cleaver's tea to get the lymphatic system moving. Chickweed is another great herb, as are stinging nettles for this time of year. So many plants that are good for us can be found right out in the back  yard! Dandelions help the liver process built up debris. Dandelions are one of my favorite plants. There's so many plants to like, but Dandelion is amazing, all parts of it are edible and tasty; add raw leaves to salads, cook them with other greens, batter the flowers and fry them, roast the roots for a coffee like tea. Just make sure that you forage in a clean area, ie, not sprayed or close to busy roadways. 

My next post will be something I wrote in honor of Dandelion, so check back, or enter your email on the right side to get posts sent to you.

Along with herbs, moving the body more helps clear stagnant gunk and funk we've accumulated. As the weather gets nicer, go out for walks. Just the fresh air and spending a bit in time in Nature can clear the head and body of toxins. When it's cold or rainy out, have a party in your living room! Put on some favorite music and dance! Even a few songs will get the blood moving. Exercise is free Qi medicine. When trying to get things done and feel positive and happy, it helps to pick happy bouncy music, just sayin'

Here's one I like:

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

I love chocolates, but besides being more health-conscious these days, I have food intolerances that keep me from buying the cute little boxes at the stores. 

So, this year I decided to make my own. 

The first batch I did were pretty simple; I made a mix of cocao butter, coconut oil, anise extract and honey, and spooned them into a heart shaped silicon mold. I let that harden for about an hour and placed a toasted almond on top and then spooned some melted dark chocolate over them to finish. I let them cool in the fridge overnight before popping them out of the molds. I had a little trouble with the honey separating out of this one, not sure if it's an issue with the cocao butter, .... anyone work with cocao butter?

Cute, huh?!?

The second batch I made was a variation from a recipe from the Chestnut School that I may have posted before; Naughty Lavender Truffles, the recipe is towards the bottom of the page.

I love, love, love these!

I substituted coconut milk for the cream and coconut oil for the butter. 

Here's the batch going into the fridge to chill:

and here are the finished truffles!

These came out great!

Really, it wasn't very hard to make my own chocolates, and I can put what I want in, or more importantly skip the ingredients in commercial chocolates that are unhealthy.

Hope your evening is filled with fun and love or at least chocolate!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Ceramic Garlic/ Ginger Graters

Before the holidays, I started making ginger/ garlic graters. A friend picked one up at a sale; I used it and fell in love.... so I made my own! 

I use mine almost daily....

It's great for ginger, garlic, turmeric, anything small of somewhat soft texture that's gratable...Is that a word?
I can hold it in my hand over a pot and grate right in, and then if it's going into liquid, swish every last bit into the pot, since it's ceramic, it's very durable.

I had several designs, but either sold or gifted most of them around the holidays. 
Will have more in stock in a few weeks, but for now just have these two left.

I love being able to make my own garlic and ginger paste fresh. It's a bit coarser than the store bought paste, but added to food, I don't really notice.

Have you ever used one of these type graters? What was your favorite thing about them?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year and Welcome to 2014

Happy New Year and welcome to 2014!

I hope you all had a wonderful Holy-days season.... and now it's on to the start of a new year.

If you follow astrology at all, you're already aware that this January 1 is also a new moon; so, aside from the classic intention setting activities for the date, the stars are saying "do it now!", too.

We have layers in timing and purpose...

With Venus still retrograde, we're still mulling over past relationships and events, romantic or otherwise, and possibly dealing with surprise visits from the past, even though the dark of the year is supposedly moving forward. Chiron in Pisces helps us heal that old karma once and for all, and for deeper stump removal.... look past the memory that first knocks on your door, to way, way back, when you first felt this kind of feeling...

For me, it's been manifesting as mentally reviewing everything I've ever disliked about people I've known... ugh... and not very flattering to my ego to catch myself doing it.... what does it matter to me how people live their lives? In fact, they seem to be doing just fine without my input... ahhh, so that's it; I'm feeling just a little unimportant to some people who used to be a bigger part of my life... note to self: make more new friends in 2014, odd hint well taken..... and also, I've stopped the internal rants now that I understand what was going on, facing down shadows hurts a bit, but feels oh, so much better afterwards.
I've also seen a resurgence of ailments I haven't had for a decade... are the two things related? Maybe... being critical certainly creates tension in the body.

Winter is the time of year to nourish the kidneys, adrenals and spleen according to Chinese Traditional Medicine and also to check in on your Life's Purpose. This new moon in Capricorn is a good time to get on track in a practical sense, and set a grounded course of action. With Mars in Libra until next July, it's time to speak your truth and move forward, but take a moment to check your delivery, because how we fit that with others is key to doing it successfully. Anywhere we're out of balance will reflect right back to us and with  Lilith activated we may come across harsher than we intend as we release that old karma... Again, Chiron in Pisces brings us some closure and final healing of the wounds of the past, individually; but also hopefully for the world at large. With so much pushing us forward to success, it would be a shame to stay stuck... If you do manage to get your foot stuck in your mouth at times, just pull it out, acknowledge (ie apologize) and move on. There's too much to accomplish to get impaled on your ego....

Take the Middle Road when things are going to extremes and you'll surf this energy wave for the next 6 months or so.... and maybe get a nice payout from Jupiter sometime around August.
Maybe I can create a lovely birthday season for myself a few months hence....