Thursday, February 26, 2009

Friends on the Radio

Listening to the radio show The Herbal Highway with Karyn Sanders on KPFA today, two of my teachers/friends/colleagues were on the radio! Peggy Schafer and Leslie Gardener.

I have studied under them at California School of Herbal Studies, worked with them when I was a board member for the Sonoma County Herb Association and an intern at the Sonoma County Herb Exchange, and partied with them at herb events.

Leslie spoke about her new book:
Life in the Medicine: A guide to growing and harvesting herbs for medicine making.

You can view it and purchase it at

Peg spoke about her Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm
and her Chinese herbal extracts: Fu Tian Herbs

I am fortunate to live in an area where there is a lot happening herbally. Schools, classes, organic farms, medicine makers, herb festivals.....

I have learned a lot from my teachers and friends and it has enriched my life. Thank you Peg and Leslie. Good to hear your voices again!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Issue of the Week - Feb 23 - March 1, 2009

Animal Care Pt.2


Our pets become part of our family. For those who are single, with no children, they may be the only family. Animals form attachments to places and people. How did homing pigeons acquire their name if that were not true? Migrating animals have a circuit they make, always returning to the same place at the same time of year.

Just as we become attached to our lifestyle and where we live, so do our pets. Dogs and cats are especially affected by changes of domicile, because they establish their own habits related to their environment. Moving is hard on pets. Sometimes pets leave the new home trying to return to the old home and we wonder if they love us, or the neighborhood.

On the other hand, over-attachment to human owners can be a problem too. Sometimes, we just have to leave them for a few hours or days. Dogs can cry and whine all day while the master is off at work. This can drive the neighbors crazy. Our pets need to feel happy and safe when we are not there.

So the essences for this week are related to emotional attachment in our pets.

Bleeding Heart - Breaking undue emotional attachment to the caretaker, such as whining cats or moping dogs waiting for the owner to return.

Chicory - Especially indicated for younger animals such as whining puppies or kittens, also indicated when illness may be psychosomatic or to get attention.

Dill - Overwhelm or confusion such as during travel or upset of schedule.

Mariposa Lily - Assisting mother-infant bonding, especially if the animal is being introduced to a surrogate mother; also good for young animals in a new home.

Walnut - Before and after a major move; to help break links to old places of residence; also good for animals giving birth.

This information all comes from the Flower Essence Repertory by Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz. All the essences are available through the Flower Essence Society.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Issue of the Week - Feb 16 - Feb 22

Animal Care

Many of us have animals in our lives. Beloved pets who are often part of the family. There are many essences listed in The Flower Essence Repertory by Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz. Many issues are addressed. I will make this part of a series. This week I will focus on calming animals that have either undergone trauma or are innately high-strung.

Arnica Shock, trauma, illness, injury, surgery

Aspen Unknown fear or terror in an animal; especially indicated when treating wild or nervous animals

Cherry Plum Extreme tension or stress, such as a terrified animal that is trapped

Five Flower Formula For any form of stress or emergency, or when uncertain of which remedy to use (functions like Crisis Formula or Rescue Remedy)

Mimulus Nervous conditions in animals; good for jittery horses or shy animals who hide from people

Penstemon Illness or trauma; gives inner strength during adverse circumstances

Red Clover Calming to hysterical animals, particularly cats; can be used effectively when taking an animal to a veterinarian for treatment

Vervain For hyperactive, overly tense animals

In general, cats do not like alcohol. One way to administer the essences is to put them first in boiling water, so the alcohol evaporates, then cool the water and add to drinking water. I sometimes put the drops on the front paw. The cat will then lick them off instinctively.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Herb of the Month - Oats

According to Judith Berger in Herbal Rituals, the Herb of the Month for February is Oat Avena sativa. Originating in the near east and Mediterranean, they quickly adapted to the cold and wet sea climates of Northern Europe. They were brought to America by the Puritans.

According to Berger, Oats provide most of the required vitamins and minerals. Although they have seven times the fat as rice, they contain chemical substances that protect the heart, balance cholesterol, and assist circulation. Oats have a direct effect on the nervous and endocrine systems and have a transformative effect on the immune system. Oats build strong bones and teeth, stabilize sugar levels in the blood and improve blood flow by elasticizing veins and arteries. They also act as a powerful nerve tonic. They give us inner fortitude and thus can provide support for those trying to withdraw from caffeine, alcohol or tobacco. Oats are good for the skin and hair and can help with chronic itching.

When I was a teenager, I used to make a paste of oatmeal and use it as a facial mask. I never had acne. I don't know if it was due to my masks or other factors in my genetics or diet. But, it is certainly worth trying. There are many commercial soaps and lotions available based on oats for people with sensitive skin, so... trying an oatmeal mask will not hurt.

I just mixed old-fashioned oats and water. You can get fancy. The following recipe is an elaborate facial mask recipe.

Demeter's Beautifying Oat Grain Scrub

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 ounce to 1 ounce lavender buds or rose petals
2 tsp. of ground almonds
2 tsp. of white or red clay (optional)
a dash of seaweed (optional)
blender or mortal and pestle

The almonds supply natural oils, the oats gently rub away dead skin. If your skin is oily use more clay and fewer almonds. The lavender is astringent and pungent and balances the oil-giving almonds.

Place all ingredients in blender or mortar and blend until ground up. When ready to use, place some in the palm of your hand and add water. Make a paste and put on face. Allow it to dry before gently washing it off.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Issue of the Week - Feb 9 - Feb 15


Right now in the woods where I live, Bay is blooming. I was called to select Bay flower for this week, with no idea of what the "issue" would be, but when I checked through all my repertories, I did not find an essence of Bay flower. Perhaps the message is for me to make one and do a proving to see what it's for.

I then received the inspiration to write about Forgiveness

This week we celebrate Valentine's Day. Hearts and flowers. Yes, that is part of love, at least romantic love. Another part of love, the harder part, is forgiveness. Forgiveness of others and of ourselves for not being perfect.

It is true that sometimes the behavior of another is "unforgivable". Abuse, criminal neglect, violence of any kind - can cause extreme and long term harm. Usually those who can forgive this kind of behavior are "saints". It may not be possible for most of us to forgive like this - at least not to the perpetrator. We can, however, and I suggest we try, to forgive them in our own hearts and minds. To not hold on to the hurt, the rage, the pain. For our own good. I believe that holding on to trauma can cause us more damage than the original hurt caused. The abuse may have lasted a few minutes, hours or even days. The memory of it may last years. In fact, we may allow it to become our identity. Caroline Myss speaks of those who introduce themselves as incest survivors and how by doing so they perpetuate their victimization. They let the violence of another become who they are.

The process of forgiveness may not be easy, but it is crucial that we try to go through it.

Beech Fagus sylvatica (red)

Positive qualities: Tolerance, acceptance of others' differences and imperfections, seeing the good within each person and situation.

Patterns of imbalance: Criticalness, judgemental attitudes, intolerance, perfectionist expectations of others, oversensitivity to ones' social and physical environment.

The Beech remedy helps transform the tendency to be critical due to an inner sense of inferiority and hypersensitivity which is projected onto others. Very often such persons grew up in an environment of criticism and harsh expectations, and so they inwardly feel very vulnerable and insecure. They learn to cope by condemning others instead of healing themselves. Beech softens the soul pain such persons feel as they re-establish connection with their Higher Self, they sense the love and unconditional acceptance that radiates from the spiritual world. Through this warmth of soul, they are able to let go of their harsh and blaming ways, to accept others in the same way that they are accepted by the spiritual world.

Pine Pinus sylvestris (red f./yellow m.)

Positive Qualities: Self-acceptance, self-forgiveness; freedom from inappropriate guilt and blame.

Pattern of Imbalance: Guilt, self-blame, self-criticism, inability to accept oneself.

Objective knowledge of one's faults is an important soul virtue; when taken to an extreme, however, one can be wracked with undue guilt and misery Those who need Pine get stuck in self-blame. At times a real circumstance from the past may result in deep feelings or regret and remorse; however, the Pine type often feels guilt which is entirely disproportionate to the actual events . These feelings may arise from childhood, when the person learned to internalize blame for dysfunction in the family system, or they may stem from a religious background which emphasizes sin and error more than salvation and grace. Pine helps the Self to learn true forgiveness by quite literally being for giving: learning to give oneself nourishment rather than withholding love from oneself; learning to release rather than retain energy The individual is encouraged to move forward rather than stay entangled in self-deprecation and emotional paralysis. At it highest level, Pine teaches self-acceptance and inner esteem as a pathway to the soul's realization of its own sacredness and divinity.

Willowv Salix vitellina (green)

Positive qualities: Acceptance, forgiveness, taking responsibility for ones' life situation, flowing with life.

Patterns of imbalance: Feeling resentful, inflexible or bitter, feeling that life is unfair or that one is a victim.

If the physical body does not keep flexible, it becomes stiff and contracted. The good health of the soul also depends on its ability to be yielding, flowing and "forgiving." The Willow flower heals bitterness and resentment, it is for those who tend to "hold on" and become attached to negative emotions. Such persons often feel victimized by the circumstances of life -- they feel that others are to blame for their misfortune; that life has been unfair to them; or they resent those who appear to have more status, prosperity, or felicity than themselves. The aging process is especially difficult for Willow types; At an energetic level, such persons are unable to flow with the streaming of their lives, Negative feelings are dammed up and then become magnified and internalized, congesting the inner being. the physical body also suffers from this stress, tending to manifest such problems as stiff joints, rheumatism, arthritis, and other aches and pains. (Willow bark is the herbal precursor for aspirin, often used for such physical conditions.) Willow restores a more "spring-like" disposition, helping the soul to respond with greater resilience and inward mobility to challenges and problems. In this way the Self takes more responsibility for its condition, and learns to flow more gently and gracious with, rather than against, the flow of life.

Photos from Flower Essence Services

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

Monday, February 2, 2009

Issue of the Week Feb 2 - Feb 8, 2009

Healing Past Trauma

In order to live fully in the present and have all of our abilities functioning, we need to be free of fear. All our circuits need to be up and running, so that we can tap into the energy that is available to us.

According to Jeff Wolf Green, the creator of Evolutionary Astrology, most of us are born with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) due to traumas from past lives.

I am currently reading a book by Barbara Hand Clow in which she claims we all have memory of past earth cataclysms that keep us fearful of the future and projecting destruction in to the future.

My observations of myself and others leads me to believe that it is true that somehow we come into this life with some embedded memory of trauma. In addition, many of us experience at least one incidence of trauma in our current life. Sensitive people can feel the trauma of others, so that when they see it on T.V. or even hear about it, they feel it themselves. Some feel trauma on behalf of the earth, plants or animals. I cannot bear to the witness pain in animals. I can hear the cries of trees when they are being cut.

Now that we have a new president, many of us feel that we have witnessed a miracle. We now know miracles are possible (if we didn't already know it). We want to move forward in joy and hope.

After many years of feeling depressed and hopeless, it may be difficult to come out into the light and yet that is what we are being called to do. Just when we had all but given up, we are rescued.

I often wonder how the people that were rescued from Auschwitz and the other camps felt when they were rescued. I've seen those films dozens of times, wondering what they were thinking. (Don't misunderstand, I am not comparing the last 8 years under Shrub to what people went through in concentration camps or POW camps. There is no comparison). What I am saying is that I am amazed that human beings can endure extreme suffering and still go forward into life.

While what we are going through is minor by comparison, I still sense a desperation - people are driving like madmen, shopping like there is no tomorrow.

While Obama's election is indeed marvelous and I am giddy with joy about it, we still have many serious situations to deal with. We cannot expect him to do it all. We have to do our part. Now positive change is possible. We have a national leader who is intelligent, sensitive and competent.

It wasn't until the other one was gone, that I fully realized that being fearful had become second nature to me. I feared my phone was tapped, that any day they could make a law that would send me to jail for something I didn't even know I had done.

Now we can feel the audacity of hope. What will we do with the rest of our lives?

In the Alaskan Repertory there are several essences to deal with healing past trauma.

Flower Essences

Fireweed - Epilobium angustifolium

Indications: shock or trauma; energy stagnation on any level; feeling burned out; weak connection to the earth.

Healing Qualities: strengthens the grounding connection to the earth; helps break up and move out old energy patterns that are being held in the etheric body so that new cycles of revitalization and renewal can be initiated.

White Fireweed - Epilobium angustifolium

Indications: deep emotional shock and trauma; profound alienation from the body after an experience of sexual or emotional abuse.

Healing Qualities: calms the emotional body after a traumatic or shocking experience; helps us release the imprint of painful emotional experiences from the cellular memory so that rejuvenation can begin.

Gem Elixirs


Brings strength, clarity and definition to the auric field; acts as a protective filter that encourages us to relax energetically, thereby enhancing our natural ability to receive love and support from the environment.

Fluorite Combo

Synchronizes movement between the etheric and physical bodies; fine tunes our focus so that we can move through an issue or healing process with precision and balance.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Back in the Saddle

I'm back, sort of. My computer is still not fixed, but I have so much work to do I just will live with it for another few weeks. See the story on my other blog

Friday night Matthew Wood was at Rosemary's Garden in Sebastopol. He spoke mainly about adrenal and thyroid support. He said one of the over all best herbs to use is Melissa, which I have growing wild all over my place. When I first moved in I thought it was a weed and started trying to eradicate it. Well, I have to say it does take over, so if you are planning to plant it, be careful. Then I found out it was good for depression, stomach ache, stress, and many other things. In fact Matthew recommended it for thyroid issues in cats. I plan to make a strong tea and try to get it into Grace. Cats will not take alcohol tinctures.

Meanwhile I have started another blog! This one is on 2012. I am currently devouring every book I can find on the topic.

And I will be back tomorrow with the Issue of the Week.

When I first started blogging, I was putting all my stuff on one blog. When I joined Entrecard, I looked at loads of blogs. I realized it is better to focus on one topic, so I started this one. Then I needed one for astrology and now I need one for Mayan stuff. I did start one on my cats, but they don't do anything but sleep, eat and .... and taking pictures of that is boring, so it does not get many posts. I guess I could show them sleeping on the bed, the chair, in the box... Wow.