Monday, September 29, 2008

Issue of the Week - Sept 29 - Oct 5


So many ways in which this is the perfect time to consider our relationships - all of them, including, and most especially, our relationship to ourselves and the Divine. For the Astrology of Now go to my astrology blog.

Love is the glue that holds the Universe together. Today with the New Moon in Libra ruled by Venus; Mercury retrograde in Libra; and Libra in Scorpio, the transformational power of relationships available to us all.

No matter how much inner work we do, the only way to see how we are doing is with other people. Right? We can be really good at fooling ourselves, thinking we are 'on the path', making progress etc., then we visit our parents for the weekend and Oh! No! Same old stuff, different day. Or we may isolate ourselves because we are 'so sensitive' and going out in the world find out that what we really are is intolerant, narrow-minded and opinionated. Boo!

Other people don't just show us our blind spots. They can give us the one word that makes all the difference. We may be in a creative process, putting pieces together on a project. Another person may have that one puzzle piece we lost under the table. Ah yes! Perfect now!

Relationships might be our 'undoing'. The area of our lives where we 'fail' more than succeed. Because of this we feel we must avoid them in order to heal. That is fine. There is nothing that says we all have to be partnered. But relationships go way beyond the personal, intimate ones.

For me the primary relationship is between myself and the Divine. As this relationship becomes stronger, all the others fall into place. I learn to know and love God more by loving God's Creation, including human beings (and myself). When I am having trouble with people, I spend more time praying or meditating. When my connection with God is weak, I spend more time with my friends. Each feeds the other.

So I would like to offer this essence from Desert Alchemy:

Unconditional Love and Support Formula

There are many essences that work on Love - in fact, you could say they all do. I chose this one, because of its simplicity. Cynthia Kemp Scherer, in her book, The Alchemy of the Desert (available on this page), writes about the simplicity of this formula. In fact, Love is simple, really.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Taos Lavender Potato Soup

The Lavender Cookbook by Sharon Shipley (available on this page) has lavender recipes for each season. For Fall there are two soups that sound wonderful. Here's the recipe for one of them. The other is Lavender Cream of Mushroom Soup.

Taos Lavender Potato Soup*

Makes 8 to 10 servings

1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 ½ Tbs. dried culinary lavender
¼ pound unsalted butter
6 leeks, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced (white and pale green parts only)
2 medium carrots diced
1 celery rib with leaves, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves chopped
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
16 cups chicken broth
10 medium russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
3 fresh medium poblano chile peppers, roasted, peeled, seed, and chopped
2 tsp. minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 Tbs. black peppercorns
4 bay leaves
2 cups heavy cream
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
6 green onions, chopped

Toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and add the lavender. Pulse until finely ground.
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the leeks are soft. Stir in the flour. Add the broth, potatoes, poblano peppers, chipotle pepper and lavender mixture.
Tie up the peppercorns and bay leaves in a small square of cheesecloth. Add to the pot. Simmer for 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Remove and discard the cheesecloth bundle. Using a handheld blend or a food process (work in batches), blend the soup until smooth. Stir in the cream. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into individual bowls and spring with the green onions.

* Taken from The Lavender Cookbook by Sharon Shipley

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Issue of the Week - Sept 22 - Sept 28


This is the time of the Autumnal Equinox where the day and the night are of equal duration. It is a time to seek more balance in our lives. In general, the weather is milder than it has been or will be, so our energy level may be affected. It is harvest time both on the inner and outer planes. Nature is preparing to go dormant. We are pausing before the holiday season with it's round of social activities. I feel the holiday season starts with Halloween, but for others, it starts with Thanksgiving.

Physically, this is a good time to do detoxifying cleanses which should be done when the weather is not extreme, so that there is less stress on the body. I plan to do one starting next week for five days, and we'll see how that goes.

Astrologically, with the equinox, we moved into Libra which is characterized by the scales. This relates to ourselves as social beings. It is important to strive for a balance between our inner and outer lives - a balance between time spent alone and with others - a balance between giving and receiving.

These flower essences from the Flower Essence Society can help with achieving balance. When I recommend these essence each week, I do not mean to imply that all you have to do is take the essences and magically your life will change. Rather they serve as energetic boosters to intentions you may already be working on in other ways. I also do not wish to suggest that any of the issues relate to you at this time or ever. If something is relevant and you feel inclined to explore how essences might support your process, I invite you to try them and see what happens. In most cases, there are other essences that deal with the same issue. The ones I feature are the ones that have been selected. If you are interested in learning more I invite you to read the suggested books or take some classes yourself.

Corn Zea Mays (yellow-white)

Positive qualities: Alignment with Earth, especially through the body and feet; grounded presence.

Patterns of Imbalance: Inability to stay centered in the body; disorientation and stress, particularly in urban environments.

The Corn essence addresses the soul's need for spaciousness -- its desire to live freely within the vast matrix of Nature and Cosmos. It is especially helpful for those ancient souls who find it extremely painful to "contract" into the modern conditions of living. They naturally prefer rural or uncrowded areas where they can feel in harmonious communion with the Earth. But these persons must also grow and evolve, learning how to make the body itself a microcosm of the Earth. The whole body, but especially the hands and feet, must learn to radiate this grounded spirituality. Without this shift in consciousness, the natural healing and teaching capacities which many of these souls harbor within them are never fully realized. Such individuals feel a great deal of pain and discomfort in the congestion and chaos of urban and technological environments or in any restricted living situations; and yet it is often necessary for them to experience just these conditions in order to promote the transition from a macrocosmic to microcosmic soul consciousness. Corn helps to balance and guide the soul in expressing its vast spiritual nature through the limitations of the physical world and physical body.

Morning Glory Ipomoea purpurea (blue)

Positive qualities: Sparkling vital force, feeling awake and refreshed, in touch with Life.

Patterns of Imbalance: Dull, toxic, or "hung over," inability to fully enter the body, especially in the morning; addictive habits.

The soul must be constantly be on guard to align its astral body with its physical/etheric components. The astral (or star) body is naturally akin to the forces of night, and, if left unregulated, will not hesitate to devour the etheric (or life) body. Individuals with this imbalance typically crave late-night activity and have erratic eating and sleeping rhythms. The etheric body is more akin to the forces of day-time, especially early morning, and is greatly abused by such astrality. If such abuse continues over a long period of time, the individual will experience increasing difficulty incarnating in the body, not only in the morning, but throughout the day. Unable to use the natural energy of the etheric body, the person will crave stimulants such as caffeine, and in extreme cases, cocaine or amphetamines. As this astrality continues to predominate, the individual will display increasing erratic patterns, possibly deteriorating into destructive and violent tendencies. Many levels of physical illness may occur, especially compromised immune response, nerve depletion, and disturbances in vital organs such as the liver. Morning Glory helps the soul come to greater awareness and respect for life and the life processes of the body. The individual learns to adjust its rhythm so that it is more in tune with cycles of Nature. Through Morning Glory, the soul learns to experience more natural states of energy, and thus the gift of life itself.

Mugwort Artemisia douglasiana (yellow)

Positive qualities: Integrating psychic and dream experiences with daily life; multi-dimensional consciousness.

Patterns of imbalance: Inability to harmonize psychic forces, tendency to hysteria or emotionality, overactive psychic life out of touch with the physical world.

The soul is only half alive if it does not experience itself when asleep. The body may vegetate during sleep, but the soul has the capacity to awaken to another dimension of life. Mugwort enhances the receptive quality of the psyche, allowing greater awareness of dreams, so that the Self can gain insight about the affairs of daily life and can access guidance and direction from the spiritual world. This essence particularly helps the soul to navigate within the flow of psychic life, so that it is neither lost nor overwhelmed. It helps to balance transitions between day and night consciousness, assisting the individual to remain connected in a healthy way with the practical physical world. This balance is very important, for when the moon forces become too predominant or inappropriately expressed, the soul becomes irrational, hysterical or overly emotional. Mugwort helps to direct the psychic life into its proper sphere, gradually opening the soul to expanded consciousness.

Nicotiana Nicotiana alata (white)
(Flowering Tobacco)

Positive qualities: Peace which is deeply centered in the heart; integration of physical and emotional well-being through harmonious connection with the Earth.

Patterns of Imbalance
: Numbing of the emotions accompanied by mechanization or hardening of the body; inability to cope with deep feeling and finer sensibilities.

In the struggle to achieve balance, the soul needs to receive strength and stability from the Earth. However, if the heart is not sufficiently engaged in this process the finer etheric sensibilities and feeling may be stymied.

While the flower essence of Nicotiana is strongly indicated for those who are healing their addiction to tobacco, it also has a much wider application, representing a soul condition which pervades the whole of modern culture. Nicotiana is a very important remedy for the heart, helping it to find true energy and sustenance which is not divorced from the life of feelings. It is very helpful for those who cope by numbing their feelings, hiding behind a tough or "cool" persona, or for those who seek stimulants of any kind that harden or falsify the body's experience of the Earth. The flower essence of Nicotiana re-instills the true spiritual teaching of the Tobacco plant, which is used reverently and judiciously in peace pipe ceremonies by Native Americans. This teaching is that real peace arises from being able to feel deeply with the heart, and that these deep feelings give us our true connection to the Earth and all living beings.

Excerpted from The Flower Essence Repertory by Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz

Photos from the Flower Essence Society website.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Plant Spirit Healing

You can see many titles by Stephen Buhner in my Carousel of books on sale at Amazon. If you have never read him, I highly suggest you do. Since I have been focused on herbal medicine in the past 15 years or so, my ideas and attitudes have been radically affected by Buhner. Now, when people ask me if I am a healer, I have to say "No". My role is more like a witness, a conduit, the mediator between the 'patient' and the plant kingdom.

It was at a Bioneers conference several years ago that someone said that plants have an intelligence far greater than we can imagine. This idea blew my mind. Then at a basic plant science class in Santa Rosa Junior College a few years ago, the teacher explained photosynthesis and I got it on a whole different level. I realized I had 'learned' this in the second grade, but somehow the magic of it had evaded me. Imagine, these 'little green men' chloroplasts, in the plant cell, can take sunlight and turn it into food! Talk about advanced spiritual adepts. This food, made from sunlight, makes all other forms of life on this planet possible.

Now I am learning that plants can manipulate their chemistry as needed to create their own anti-biotics and pain killers. Traditional healers have been saying this for years. You ask the plant to heal a particular illness and it modifies itself for the patient. Huh? Now science is proving this to be possible. I got an email from a friend today related to this. Check it out at Plants Make Own Painkillers

My role in this process became clearer to me when I started the flower essence training with Jane Bell last January. More and more I realized that 'I' did not choose flower essences for my clients. The plants chose. I merely went through the motions - the ritual, if you will, of asking for the connection to be made. I had already had this experience when working with essential oils. I would sometimes smell the essential oil that was appropriate for a condition. Then, not trusting my intuition, I would look in the book. Perfect choice!

I find it awkward to say this when I am at a fair selling my products. Most of my formulas come to me by inspiration. I feel something, smell something, get words. I have to hurry and write it down. Sometimes I actually hear a voice telling me to make such and such an item. I ask what it is for and may or may not get an answer. Two of the items for sale in my Etsy store were 'downloaded' in this way. The Solar Salve and the 7 Rose Heart Chakra Rub. Sometimes I get part of the formula and when I ask if it is finished, they say "not yet. Wait for further instructions." When a customer asks what the products are for, I sometimes find it hard to communicate an answer. I know that the 'heart chakra rubs' are to increase 'rose resonance' which is the expression given to me - that means increasing our coherence with the heartbeat of creation. Changing our frequency so that it is more in sync with Nature. Read Buhner to get a handle on what this means. The Solar Salve, first in a trilogy which will include a Lunar Salve and a Stellar Salve, have not been fully communicated yet. They have to do with the three mystery schools of ancient Egypt.

Some people refer to this type of herbalism as plant spirit healing. It is a form of communication I guess. I have a master's degree in Linguistics. I have studied many languages. I had no idea that I would be learning the language of plants, or that there was a language. Interestingly, as I learn more about communication with plants, I find simultaneously that my ability to communicate with animals is increasing too.

So does that mean you can use any herb, flower essence or essential oil? Well...... sort of, but not exactly. A very important part of the process is intention. The intention must be clear. What are you trying to accomplish. Also, there must be an attitude of humility - surrender - acceptance, all words that most of us in the west do not like. What I mean is that to some extent, we must accept both the wisdom of the 'illness' and that we may not know what healing looks like. That there is a power greater than us at work in all this. Amen

Monday, September 15, 2008

Issue of the Week - Sept 15 - Sept 21


The creative urge is a natural part of life. Life is inherently creative. When our lives become overly complicated and busy and we feel we have 'no time' for creativity, we can feel our lives have no purpose. When we do not express our creativity, even in simple ways, we will ultimately become depressed and listless. We will feel isolated, cut off and estranged from others. Expressing our creativity increases our life force and can give us a reason for living. To solve the problems that currently face us individually and as a collective, our creativity needs to be available and healthy. We will all need to find new solutions to everyday challenges. The following essences come from Desert Alchemy.


Cliff Rose

Indian Root


Purple Aster

Scarlet Morning Glory

Monday, September 8, 2008

Issue of the Week - Sept 8 - Sept 14

Coping with Change

For many people these are times of great change. The changes may be created by outer circumstances that are out of our control. Even then, we do not have to take on the role of passive victim. While it may be extremely difficult to see how we have any control, we always have the possibility of controlling ourselves, our reactions and responses, our way of thinking about the situation. Often referred to as 'attitude adjustment.'

I've read books written by survivors of prison-camps who said that the only thing they had was their inner life. Inside themselves they controlled their thoughts and feelings and so were able to survive the most horrendous things, living on to be caring human beings and having a normal life.

This has always served as a model for me. Nothing I have ever experienced compares to what prison-camp survivors have been through, yet, I can walk around miserable and hopeless. Even while I'm doing it I think "what's up with this? Why am I so depressed, hopeless, unhappy ....." fill in the blanks.

It can be just a habit, like any other and it may be as hard to break as any other habit. We may hang on to our habit of being 'miserable'. Or, we may have some genuine problems.

The changes that are occurring in our lives may be ones we have initiated. They can still be stressful. In fact, it is said that change causes a great deal of stress, even if it a positive change. Getting married, getting a promotion, moving to your dream home - even these things can cause stress. The animal part of us likes its routine, whatever it is.

Before I go to describe the essences, I must take a detour. When I initiated this part of the blog, I assumed that my readers had a familiarity with flower essences and gem elixirs. It has become apparent that there are some misconceptions.

Flower essences, gem elixirs, planetary formulas, or environmental essences are energetic imprints in water, usually preserved with brandy. They do not have a scent. They are not essential oils and so this is not a form of aromatherapy, which is another effective, yet quite different modality.

They represent conditions or states that we are seeking. The underlying belief is that all beings, as part of the cosmos are seeking coherence and resonance. When we feel we are 'out of balance' we can use these substances to help us realign energetically.

An important part of the process is intention, therefore, if someone unknowingingly or unwittingly takes an essence, it will have no effect. It is not a magic potion that you just take and it does all the work. There has to be intention on the part of the one taking the essences and a desire to participate in the transformation process. Essences provide us energetic support for something we already want to accomplish. So we have to have spent some time observing ourselves and how we are behaving. They have no effect otherwise. Now, there are those who say they are merely creating a placebo effect. So? if it works, what is wrong with that? If you are depressed and take a flower essence and stop being depressed, great!

The books by Stephen Buhner featured in the Carousel are among the most amazing books I have read about the reality of energy healing and the relationship between the plant and animal kingdoms.

Here are two formulas from the Desert Alchemy Composite Formulas that can assist with going through change.

Bless the Old-Embrace the New Formula

Transitions Formula

See the Desert Alchemy website.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Nigella sativa

I am collecting recipes using Nigella sativa. It has many common names such as: black cumin seed, black seed, kalonji. It is often confused with black onion seeds and black sesame seeds. It is used primarily in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes. It has a strong, pungent and distinct flavor.

It also has a long history in healing and the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said it would cure everything except death. Some of the healing properties are written about in the book for sale on this page Natural Remedies of Arabia. The oil is used a lot in products for healing the skin. I make a salve and a soap using black cumin seed oil. See my website: Wise Women of the West for these and other products.

If you have any recipes using nigella, and would like to be included in my upcoming recipe book, please send them to me.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Issue of the Week - Sept 1 - 7

Prayer and Support

My prayers go out to all the beings in the path of Gustav, human, animal and plant. The only thing I know to do right now is pray for your safety and protection. I call on God and the angelic realm to be with you every moment. Whatever your belief system, may you find comfort in it right now. May you have all the help you need. May you be at peace, whatever the outcome.

Calling All Angels is a combination formula from the Alaskan Flower Essence Project that contains Angelica, Chalice Well, Chiming Bells, and Kunzite.

It helps you contact the love, guidance and protection of the angelic realm. It brings a very soft, loving and serene energy into your heart, physical body and environment. Use it to:

* Strengthen the knowledge that you are guided, supported and protected by the angels.
* Come into a stronger awareness of your own angelic nature.
* Experience the love of the angelic kingdom in your physical body.
* Bring the essence of joy and peace back into your life.
* Make a stronger connection to the Divine Feminine.
* Create a sacred and protected space for sleeping and dreaming.

Application: Take internally or add to the bath when you want to invoke the energy of the angels. Add to your body lotions and creams when you need some additional pampering, and to your magssage oil for a heavenly bodywork session.

Text related to ingredients, qualities and appications of Calling All Angels from the Alaskan Flower Essence Project catalog.