Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Issue of the Week - July 28 - August 3


First I must apologize to my readers for the delay. I am a day late and hopefully, not a dollar short. Both my social and work schedules have been fuller than usual. I know many Leos and they are all having birthday celebrations. Ah! Too much fun. Then, the Sonoma County Fair is on and I have been volunteering at the Master Gardener information booth. And last but not least, I have been processing herbs and berries and making my herbal products and cordials. So - I think the topic is appropo.

On to the Issue of the Week - Relaxation

Often we get wound up by events and activities in our lives so that we cannot sleep, eat or think. Even when we are having a good time, we can feel stressed if our nervous energy keeps us from relaxing and unwinding. A hot bath can be a great way to relax, but during the hot days of summer, that may not be something we want to do. Over-excitement may affect our appetite and digestion as well. Children often suffer from stomach-aches when they get too excited. Another symptom related to this overly stimulated condition is headache.

Two old favorites can help us on many levels: Lavender and Chamomile. They have multiple uses and come in many forms - flower essences, essential oils, teas and fresh or dried plant. Both plants are gentle in their effects and all modalities can be employed simultaneously.

Flower Essences (taken from the Flower Essence Repertory)

Lavender - Lavandula officinalis

Positive qualities: Spiritual sensitivity, highly refined awareness

Patterns of imbalance: Nervousness, over-stimulation of spiritual forces which depletes the physical body

The Lavender flower helps those souls who are highly absorbent of spiritual influences. They tend to be very awake and quite mentally active, with a strong attraction to sprititual practices and various forms of meditation. However, they often absorb far more energy than can actually be processed through the body. "High-strung" and "wound-up" are words typically used to describe such personalities. They especially suffer from afflictions to the head, such as headaches or vision problems, and neck and shoulder tension. They are quite often plagued by insomnia or other nervous maladies. Lavender first works to sedate and soothe such persons; at a deeper level, it teaches one how to moderate and regulate one's spiritual-psychic energy. In this way the soul learns to use its highly sensitive capacities in balance with the physical needs of the body.

Chamomile - Matricaria recutita

Positive qualities: Serene, sun-like disposition, emotional balance

Patterns of imbalance: Easily upset, moody and irritable, inability to release emotional tension

When we say that someone has a sunny disposition, we inherently recognize that such a soul has a harmonious emotional life. Like the sun which shines with constancy for all to see, so the soul must learn to regulate and harmonize its emotional life. Those needing Chamomile flower essense are subject to very changeable moods and ever-fluctuating emotions. Their "inner weather" is stormy and easily "clouded" until they shift their consciousness to remember that the sun is always shining serenely behind all the outer phenomena. People needing Chamomile tend to accumulate psychic tension throughout the day, particularly in the stomach region. They will often have difficulty letting go of their emotional stress at night, and suffer from insomnia. This is particularly true of children, whose myriad stomach complaints are often emotionally based. Chamomile helps such souls to relase tension from the stomach and solar plexus areas, and to harmonize their inner solar forces for greateer emotional peace and stability. It subdues the many emotions which vex the soul life, helping to consolidate these into a more fundamental soul essence of serenity and equanimity.

Another gentle but effective way to use Lavender and Chamomile is as tea. Traditional Medicinals makes a blend that is marvelous - or you can do it yourself. Use just a touch of Lavender. Too much can make your tea taste like soap.

Essential oils of Lavender and Chamomile used separately or in a blend can assist in relaxing. I like to rub Lavender oil mixed with a bit of carrier oil on the the bottom of my feet when I have trouble sleeping, especially on hot nights. Put just a touch of Lavender oil on your upper lip or on your pillow so you can breathe it in at night. You can also put a drop or two in the bath at night. For a relaxing massage oil, use a few drops of essential oil in a carrier oil such as jojoba or sweet almond oil.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Making Your Own

Wanted you to see the tincture and infused oil I made from the St. John's wort I harvested a month ago.

Infused oil - small jar on the right

I put the dried plant material in a jar then fill with olive oil. I put it outside under the sun, moon and stars for one month - from full moon to full moon. Look at the bright red color. I will press then filter out the plant material. I use this in healing salves such as Sea Witch Salve for sale in my Etsy Store and the Solar Salve available from my website. I also use it in a Liniment where it assists with minor pain relief.

Tincture - large jar on the left

I fill the jar with fresh plant material then fill with 95% alcohol from Marian Farms in the San Joaquin Valley of California. This alcohol is made from organic, biodynamcially grown grapes. I place the jar in a dark place for one month. I press it with the tincture press I got from Horizon Herbs in Oregon. This tincture is used as an anti-depressant, for lower back pain, as an anti-inflammatory and for sciatica.

Making Plant Medicine, by Richo Cech is a very useful, reader-friendly book telling you different ways to make tinctures, infused oils, salves and many other herbal products.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Issue of the Week - July 21 - 27

Embodied Peace

I was called to one of essences from the new collection by Jane Bell. The collection is called Bali Essences and they were made on a trip she made there recently.

The one that spoke to me is called Embodied Peace.

Here's what Jane writes about it:

"This was made at a very peaceful area in the North of Bali. We were there a week and each day my body and senses relaxed more and I slid deep into a restorative response. There was such immense pleasure and enjoyment in letting go into peace. Feeling peace in our bodies....a wonderful antidote to the frenzied rushing around and overwhelming pace we usually go at and the anxiety, restlessness and sleeplessness that can ensue. There was an amazing sense of timelessness - of being outside the traditional time/space boundaries - a sense of being in and embodying a new dimension of total safety, peace and well-being. I spray this before bed to unwind and drop beneath the radar of all there is still "left to do". Choosing to be peaceful instead of worrying about doing more."

Contact Jane Bell through her website

To make a spray from a flower essence:


Get a 4 oz. spray bottle of your choice (glass preferred)
2 - 4 drops from your stock bottle of flower essence
fill with pure water


Same as above
Add 6 - 10 drops of your favorite essential oil(s)
1 tsp. of Vodka
Shake each time before you spray
Avoid your eyes

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Boo Hoo No Bees for Me

Didn't make it to the Melissa Garden. While they were quick to ask for money for the ticket, they didn't bother to send a map. I had no idea where they were. I decided to go to the address they wanted the check sent to. Unfortunately, in this area there are many country roads with the same name. I know, I used to deliver mail around here and it's a nightmare trying to find things. But I do have GPS in my car. The GPS said there was no such address. I drove around for 2 hours on narrow winding country roads. I had called from home before I left - only an answering machine. I called 4 times on my cell phone - only an answering machine. I was growing more and more upset, more and more angry, more and more disappointed. I had been hoping to see this place for months. It is generally not open to the public. It was a class that was advertised through the Master Gardeners of Sonoma County. I had managed to get worked up into such a state I couldn't believe it. I found the day that I had looked forward to for so long, and the day that had started out marvelously, was ruined. I had turned down an opportunity to sell my products at a Wellness Fair and a chance to go to a very special class that only meets occasionally in Albany, in order to see this "famous" bee garden.

I returned home and tried to regain the positive state I had been in before I left, to get back to the projects I had put aside. It was a real struggle. I am better now, but I'm sure the bitterness and disappointment can still be detected in this post.

So I decided to let this be the basis for choosing the "Issue of the Week" which is due to be posted tomorrow. I invite you, my readers, to come up with a positive quality to help alleviate the disappointment I felt. I think this is a matter of learning to let go - something that I believe we will all be faced with in the days to come. I realize that I had become so attached to going to this place, that I literally had a childish tantrum when I was thwarted.

I could have kept this to myself, but I felt it might be useful to share it with you because I believe there is a lesson for all of us.

Again, I invite you, my readers to suggest the "word".

I will, in any case, have an Issue of the Week.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Going to the Melissa Garden

This coming Sunday, July 20, I am going to the Melissa Garden in Healdsburg, CA with my Master Gardener group for a tour and lecture about bees. I'm very excited since I have been wanting to go and it is only open by appointment. It's only an hour or so from where I live.

They do give classes and their website is quite good. Please go to their website for a comprehensive list of plants that make bees happy. I didn't want to put the whole thing up here.

I am happy to say some of the plants are already growing in my yard. I have been adding more every week. Although some of them are annuals, I plan to save seed then cultivate them in my greenhouse.

Helping the bees is very important because they polinate so many of the foods we depend on to survive. You can only put so much fertilizer etc. Without the pollinators, we're finished.

I have decided to stop eating almonds. I love them and they sell these 3lb bags at Costco. But when I heard that they truck bees on 18-wheelers all over the country to pollinate the almond orchards, that was it. They are using them like a stud service. This might work for horses or cows, but millions of bees are dying.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Issue of the Week - July 14 - 20

I found myself writing quite a bit about this, so this time, I'm going to put my comments on mysteryranch.blogspot.com and just the flower essences here.


Two composite formulas by Desert Alchemy seemed just right.

Celebration of Abundance

Giving & Receiving Support Formula

In my opinion, what we can give back to the Universe, which gives to us unconditionally, is Gratitiude.

The way that I see that this relates to Gratitude is that it is like 'play it forward.' By feeling and expressing gratitude, we assume that we will continue to receive everything we need . We trust in the harmony of giving and receiving and therefore we will be provided with all that we need for any situation.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Issue of the Week - July 7 - 13


In accordance with the Law of Attraction, I prefer to look at the positive side of issues. What we are seeking more of - is where my focus lies.

Enthusiasm as I see it, is a zest for life. Energy, joy and excitement about the future and what we are creating.

The word enthusiasm is from the Greek enthousiasmos, from enthousiazein 'to be inspired,' irregular from entheos 'inspired,' from en- + theos god

1 a: belief in special revelations of the Holy Spirit b: religious fanaticism

2 a: strong excitement of feeling : ardor b: something inspiring zeal or fervor

Originally used to be inspired by God, to have God come into your being. The meaning has expanded and now includes having a passionate feeling about something - as in the second definition.

Either meaning is acceptable to me.

So what is it that makes you feel enthusiastic? And if you don't ever feel that way - why not?

I believe that it is our natural state to be filled with God (in whatever form you experience her/him/it). It could be the power of Nature - the Creation itself. In this regard, I have my own beliefs, which includes your freedom to have your own beliefs, which may be different from mine.

The way the "issue" is chosen is through inspiration. A word 'swims' into my consciousness while I am meditating. Then I look through my books on flower essences to see if there are any essences that address it.


Blackberry flower Rubus ursinus (white-pink)

Positive qualities: Exuberant manifestation in the world; clearly directed forces of will, decisive action.

Patterns of imbalance: Inability to translate goals and ideals into concrete action or viable activities.

The Blackberry remedy helps the person who cannot make a viable connection with the will. The soul has many lofty visions and desires but is unable to translate these into concrete manifestation. Such people are often quite perplexed about the gap between their aims and what they actually accomplish. They give much consideration to their intentions, but lack the ability to organize these thoughts into specific priorities, or to manifest and execute such goals. Such persons often have a great deal of light around the head, which does not radiate and circulate properly throughout the body. The blood is often sluggish, as is the entire lower metabolism. As the light comes more into the limbs, the soul feels greater inner power to take real action in the world and to translate what is spiritual into actual change in the world.

California Wild Rose Rosa californica (pink)

Positive qualities: Love for the Earth and for human life, enthusiasm for doing and serving.

Patterns of imbalance: Apathy or resignation, inability to catalyze the will through the heart.

California Wild Rose is among the most beautiful and fundamental of flower remedies,for it helps the soul to incarnate and really take hold of its responsibilities and tasks on Earth. It is often said that hate is not the opposite of love, only a distortion of it. Rather, it is apathy which is the true polarity of love. The ability to really care and to give oneself to life, to others, and to the Earth characterizes a truly loving soul. Many souls hold back or hesitate, not wanting to experience the pain or challenge of life on Earth. They find it hard to take emotional risks in relationships with others, preferring instead to anesthetize themselves from pain or suffering. Such souls can also suffer from deep-seated social alienation, being unable to rouse the inner fire of the heart toward compassionate caring and activity in the world.

California Wild Rose remedy is useful at all stages of life, but is particularly helpful for adolescent and young adult souls that are longing to find positive ideals and seeking to serve the world through a calling or vocation.

California Wild Rose stimulates the love forces in the heart, so that the soul finds enthusiasm for earthly life, worldly tasks and human relationships.

Cayenne flower Capsicum annuum (white)

Positive qualities: Fiery and energetic, inwardly mobile, capable of change and transformation.

Patterns of imbalance: Stagnation, inability to move forward toward change.

Cayenne flower essence provides a catalytic spark to the soul who may be stagnating in its growth cycle. Such individuals become overly phlegmatic and complacent, not really challenging themselves with new experiences or stimuli. At other times, there may be a quality of simply feeling stuck or immobilized, unable to make real progress or change, or being caught in a patern of procrastination and resistance.

Cayenne is an important general remedy for many life circumstances. It stimulates an energetic response in the body and soul, helting to overcome apparent blocks to progress and transformation. Cayenne ignites and sparks the soul with its fiery essence. The individual becomes more awake and more capable of initiation and sustaining spiritual and emotional development.

Zinnia Zinnia elegans (red)

Positive qualities: Childlike humor and playfulness; experiencing the joyful inner child, lightheartedness, detached perspective on Self.

Patterns of Imbalance: Over-seriousness, dullness, heaviness, lack of humor; overly somber sense of Self; repressed inner child.

Humor is uniquely human. Other forms of life certainly experience joy and delight, but humor requires the ability to step outside oneself, and not take oneself so serioulsy. It is the human being, with its pronounced sense of Self, who has developed and very much needs the soul quality of humor.

Zinnia is a most wonderful remedy for this state of soul, helping the Self to contact its inner child. Every child is born with the innate capacity to laugh and play, to enter into life with the full exuberance of the winged soul. The adult ego all too often stifles and suppresses this part of the Self. This remedy is clearly indicated for those who are overly grave and earnest, who take themselves and life too serioulsy, or who tend toward workaholism or other forms of unbalanced intensity. The message of Zinnia is not that one's life should be frivolous or irresponsible, but rather that qualities of playfulness and laughter can be brought to one's work and daily responsibilities. Zinnia flower essence brings the soul quality of humor to one's humanness, teaching that the soul who is in "good spirits" is truly on a balanced spiritual path.

The Essences and the Photos are from The Flower Essence Society.

The descriptions are from the Flower Essence Repertory, by Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Self-Heal Flower Essence

Yesterday I saw that Self-Heal, Prunella vulgaris was blooming enthusiastically, so I made a flower essence. It was a perfect day for it. In my garden, Self-Heal grows intimately with herbs, flowers and vegetables. I like to think it sends out an extra healing element to everything.

As a flower essence, Self-Heal imparts a healthy, vital sense from within oneself where the healing forces originate. It also gives a deep sense of wellness and wholeness.

It is to be used when there is an inability to take responsibility for one's healing, when one is lacking in spiritual motivation for wellness and when one is overly dependent on external help.

It is considered to be one of the most fundamental and broadly applicable remedies for true soul healing and balance. Its name evokes these qualities, indicating that the Self is capable of becoming involved with and being responsible for its own healing journey. Without motivation from within, no form of external techniques can bring about healing.

Self-Heal flower essence addresses a very special relationsiip between the etheric, or life body, and the Spiritual Self. On the physical level,the etheric body restores wholeness to wounds and other afflictions by quite literally "re-covering" the body with its life sheath. Self-Heal flower essence is indicated for those who have lost belief in their own capacity to be well, or who have abdicated this responsibility to healers or others. It is a beneficial remedy for those who face great healing challenges, whether physical, mental, or spiritual.

The Flower Essence Society makes a Self-Heal flower essence, as well as a lovely cream.

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

Called the "flower of confidence," Self-Heal is a member of the mint family and is loved by bees. Originally from Europe, it has become nativized on this continent.

Its original name was Brunella or Brunellen, from German because it was used to treat die Breueun, an inflammatory mouth and throat problem common to soldiers in garrisons. Self-Heal was commonly used for throat complaints because, according to the doctrine of signatures, its corolla resembles a throat with swollen glands. There is much lore regarding this plant and its many healing properties, and it was seen as one of the best herbs to grow for home use.

It can be used in many types of healing remedies, including teas, syrups, salves, tinctures, homeopathic remedies and flower essences. I make an infused oil with it which I include in my healing salve "Sea Witch Salve." For more information about the salve see my website.

As a flower essence, it can increase our confidence in our own ability to heal ourselves on all levels. Self-Heal helps to reduce dependence on others and to inspire motivation and belief in our own inherent healing powers.

Excerpted from The Complete Floral Healer, by Anne McIntyre.

It is safe for general use - no known contraindications.

From my own experience, I would say that if you want to grow it, make sure you contain it because it spreads everywhere. At this time of the year it makes a lovely low-growing plant with intense purple spikes of flowers. Later, it dries out and is not very attractive.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Ras el Hanout

For those of you who don't know that I started elsewhere - let me tell you that there are several posts on Lavender, Calendula, Flower Essences and Plant Spirit Healing on my original blog. There you find more recipes using Lavender and Calendula as well.


And that I have a website where some of my products are available:


Today I am giving you a recipe for a blend of herbs and spices called Ras el Hanout.

I start with an explanation of what it is taken from the spice bible, by Jane Lawson. I have started collecting recipes for it and when I travel, bringing home small packs of it, because there is so much variation.

"Roughly translated from Arabic, the Moroccan spice mixture ras el hanout means “top of the shop,” referring to the best spices a merchant has to offer. Perhaps no other spice blend brings out the competitiveness of the souks more than ras el hanout, where it is a badge of honor to make the most sought after combinations.

While there is no strict formula and some recipes can contain up to 50 ingredients including cumin, coriander, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, closes, peppercorns, paprika, saffron, cayenne, cloves, dill seed, fennel, and allspice—exotic variations can include hashish, ash berries, monks pepper, lavender, rose petals and the now illegal aphrodisiac, Spanish fly beetle. While the myriad spices in ras el hanout reflect centuries of trade, war, and culinary osmosis throughout the Arab world, the complex flavors combine in perfect alchemy to give an aromatic, sweet, spicy, warm, and fragrant blend unlike any other.

Traditionally the blend is used in Moroccan, Tunisian and Algerian cooking to flavor and color soups and tagines, stirred into couscous or rice, combined with oil and rubbed over meat or poultry as a marinade. On a sweet note, sprinkling of ras el hanout over a salad or oranges, mint and dates makes a sublime and refreshing end to a meal."

Taken from the spice bible by Jane Lawson, p. 422.

I found the following recipe interesting because it includes lavender and rose petals.

Ras el Hanout

1 tsp. black peppercorns
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. nigella seeds
1 tsp. allspice berries
1 small piece of mace
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. coriander seeds
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. dried lavender
Petals of 2 scented rosebuds

Grind all the spices together in a mortar with a pestle, or an electric grinder to form a coarse powder. Toss in the lavender and rose petals. Store in a sealed container in a cool, dark place.

Taken from Moroccan: a culinary journey of discovery, by Ghillie Basan part of Food Lovers Collection