Its been just over a week since I came home from the Sacred Earth Medicine Retreat in Aravaipa Canyon. I’ve been in a phase of re-entry, re-evaluation and re-setting. I think I perhaps underestimated how deeply I would be changed and affected by faciliating this experience. I knew I would be tired, and needing some quiet solitary time after the year long process of making this happen, but I overlooked how deeply the shared sacred time and space with powerful sisters, and the ceremonies and the lodge and the work I did myself would count. Because for me, it was far more than just holding of space for others, or creation of a cauldron of magic, but truly, was investing myself fully, completely and head first in the call of spirit, and following the Song that inspires me every day. Maybe it seems small, but for a single person, herbalist, who’s spent years trying to make my little business grow wings and fly in the world, to see a dream manifest before my very eyes, to feel the ways it impacted the beautiful sisters who joined me, and to feel the clarity and affirmation- that my crazy little dream, when held by spirit, became something so much more.
It fed me deeply, to feel that land hold us so sweetly, to feel the gathering of so many ancestors offering us our gifts, to feel the sweet sacred womb space of the lodge, to birth, what felt like, an entire universe. I know now that my work in the world is expanding, changing, growing and becoming ever more directed by a spirit bigger than myself. And I am humbled. And so grateful. Letting go of what I thought I was supposed to be and do, to make room for what I’m being really guided to be and do has been one of the single most important things I’ve done for myself. And its not always easy. What is an herbalist anyway? What is a healer? What is a space holder? Medicine maker? Teacher? Sister?
I am just human. A woman. Coming back to myself. Coming to back to the Earth. Coming back to sit with my fellows at the fire to dream a new world, a new way of being, to sit at the fire with that Spirit that fills all life- the land, our hearts, the plants, the animals.
And it was so beautiful, so full of magic, and blessing. Mornings breathing and grounding in circle together. Sharing the incredibly delicious and abundantly nourishing meals our Chef, Laura Chamberlin, prepared for us three times each day.
Feeling and breathing the plants, gathering the medicines, concocting potions, inviting and co-creating essences of plant and place.
Meditating and journeying with the song of the river and cottonwoods. Holding space for our grief and heartbreak, and welcoming our beloved ancestors to the fire, sharing our stories and retrieving gifts of our bloodlines- as healers, wise women, medicine tenders. Fire Ceremony night after night, releasing the things that hold us back from becoming fully empowered, honoring and inviting new plant allies and gifts from our ancestors- drum and rattle, song and chant- the wind stoking each fire in just the right moment. There is so much power and magic in the gathering of souls around the ancient and primal medicine of the transformation of FIRE.
Skilled herbalists and beginners alike sharing their favorite remedies, formulas, tips and special magic and connections with the plants for healing of the darkness, sadness, grief, and challenges of life. And the beautiful exchanges, each woman bringing her particular brand of medicine offerings- perfumes, incences, teas, elixirs, body butters, stone amulets, oracle readings, wise and wild woman aprons. The delight on everyones faces as the goodies came out of the boxes, the oohs and ahhs as they were passed around to be loved and honored and treasured by whomever received that particular gift.
And the sweet lodge. I’ve been in many lodges of many sorts, and I’ve had physical challenges that made lodges difficult to get the medicine and power out of. But my dear sister, Chrysta, I awaited for months and months for the right lodge keeper to arrive for our ceremony, and just as summer ended, Chrysta came back into my life, and the perfect divine timing to hold the lodge for us, with her gentle wisdom, and strong mother energy. Ceremony, toning, healing, shifting within the space of that womb, together as sisters. Long and deep seated fears released in the safety and cauldron of the elements.
Personal medicine and intentions created, with the power and assistance of plant allies, stones, and individual magic. Each woman’s medicine bundle as unique and beautiful as she, filled with her intentions, hopes, challenges, gifts and transformations.
I am so deeply honored and touched by each woman who chose to hear the call and follow the song that my heart, the land, and the plants were singing out…to join in this medicine. this sweet, sweet medicine.
We ARE the MEDICINE we NEED.
Head between your knees, breathing, crying, finding exactly what matters and what is extraneous baggage in the soul of your life. The pumpkin is blooming. Asking me to believe in the promise. All the while tossing out the baggage and letting go.
“Why abstain from love when like the beautiful snow goose someday your soul will leave this summer camp? why abstain from happiness when like a skilled lion your heart is nearing and will someday see the divine prey is always near?” – hafiz
Reentry challenges, questions, observations are keen and full on this full moon. I keep asking for the answers, the promise of what is yet to come knocking on the doors of my soul, yet making space proves challenging. #promise #reentry #shamanaflora #soulwarrior #wildandwiseheart #earthmedicine
“You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. ” -Mary Oliver
A part of me lives. And dies. Every time I return to this place. It is a home for my heart, it is medicine to my soul, and it a haunted house of memories that won’t let me go.
I am giving in, living, breathing, crying, laying it all down, giving it to Her to hold. The Earth, Mother of Transmutation and Alchemy. I am full with completion of dreams fulfilled, and whole in her embrace. Yet I feel a part of me die as well- In the dying season, as the leaves yellow, float, and drop around me onto stones below. Letting go….
Today is the turning of a season, the ending of a chapter. Those shining daisy clumps whispered to me, look at all the stars around you, never mind this old primrose stalk towering above us. It has passed, its season and shine has gone. We are here now.
I want to tell you this. I wanted you to know that time is a medicine of bitter healing, and the flowers dancing in the trees, are the sweetest grace that a heart can hold…and they give in to the seasons as well. With grace. With love. With surrender.
This is why everything is teaching me to live, and to die. To breathe in and breathe out. To give, and to receive. To love even in the dying. This is why I still cry. And why I laugh still.
Because it is all love. It is all healing. It is all medicine. Because I love you, this land, this haunted house, this sanctuary, this stone, this canyon, this place of becoming and undoing.
the things that inspire, nourish, feed, ground, uplift and make my world a whole lot more magical…. I hope they will inspire and uplift yours too.
Amrita Aromatics – This is….god, she always leaves me speechless. Ananda’s aromatic creations whisper to the soul, they beckon to the inner goddess to sally forth from the shadows, they make me feel whole, and beautiful, and exquisite. It would be hard to pick a favorite, as they are all so distinctive, and magical. And thats the thing, no two are alike. In any way. Ananda has a knack and a nose to divine the most perfect combinations of plant oils, #plantalchemy at its finest.
The Druid Plant Oracle- Once and for all, every time I post a picture of these cards, I get at least 100 questions about which they are. I’m frankly rather shocked that so many plant people don’t already know them. (and honestly a bit tired of repeating myself. *oh there’s my inner curmudgeon peeking out* ) Truly stunning cards, with medicinal, shamanic and magical plants of the Druidic/European tradition. The book is nice, but the cards speak for themselves and rich with imagery and symbolism you can interpret for yourself. I guess they are now out of print and a bit expensive to buy, so you should download the Druid Oracle App for your phone, which also includes the Druid Animal Oracle. These cards always give me a message that is poignant and eloquent. I mostly interpret the cards intuitively, since I already know and have a relationship with the plants, but I do use the book sometimes for further insight, or a reminder for a plant I don’t know well… like Woad for example. Understanding also that these plants and medicines come from a shamanic/celtic path is helpful in interpretation. Seriously rich. Whenever see that salmon in among the clovers I know I’m in for some big work. And its usually good stuff.
Heartblood Cacao- Because you know you need chocolate. But not just any chocolate. This stuff blows your mind. Which is a good thing, because as a virgo rising/virgo moon, I spend way too much time in my head. Cacao is a medicine of the heart, of connecting to heart, to creative inspiration, to connection with the spirit of things all around us. It gets you embodied. Sometimes as an aphrodisiac, sometimes as euphoric, sometimes you just want to dance for 12 hrs straight. Once I started working with Heartblood Cacao, I couldn’t go back to regular chocolate bars. Even pretty good ones pale in comparison to this magic stuff. And its fairly traded and hand made in a traditional way by a family in Nicaragua and brought back to us by the good people at Heartblood Cacao- not a corporation. These are ceremonialists and plant lovers. So when you are jonesin for something to sweeten up your life- look no further than cacao. This is what I need when I’m stuck in the funk of heartache, have to much too do in too little time, or want to free my mind and reconnect with heart creations. (Or dance all night at Burning Man). The beans are great, but I like the block of paste- which melts readily for ceremonial cacao drinks (have you used cacao in ceremony yet? A must do if you have not!), or can be blended with butters and oils and yummy things for a chocolate truffle/bar. I also put it in kefir smoothies with cherries or raspberries, or in home made mole for your chicken.
Merkaba Music - some of you may cringe, some of you will get up and dance. I can barely sit in my chair when I plug this in to my ears. When I went to Burning Man just over a year ago, it reawakened this crazed wild child that had been kept under wraps for so many years, trying to be serious and responsible. In my thirties, now, I’m getting wilder and having more fun than ever. The music changed my world. This electronic beat, it moves my body, it moves my kapha stagnation, it frees me from the chains of mental anguish. I use this music for shamanic journey dancing healing on myself, when I’m unwinding some emotional block, or when I just need to feel the motivation and movement that is creative juice. You know the theta brainwave state is the state we go to for journey work, and for deep creativity. This music, with its repetitious rhythms take me there instantly. A lot of your medicine is blended and created while I’m spinning around the kitchen jamming out to these tunes, infusing love and pure movement happy into them. Can you tell??
Danmala Teas - I usually make my own tea blends- because I love tea that is beautiful, fresh, intimate and swelling with delicious and decadent things like coconut, cacao bits and huge rose buds. And I’m kind of picky about tea. Tea bags are…well…sacrilege if you ask me. Lindsay’s teas though, are sanctuary. I don’t buy much tea (unless its black or green bulk to make my own blends with) and I bought Lindsay’s goodness in her Agony of Leaves tea membership. And was swooned every month. Seriously. Sometimes I have tea for sale, but you should get Lindsay Luna’s teas.
PlantFolk Apothecary - Kate…my plant sister. Kindred wild woman of the plants. And her magic is well, magic!!! Exquisite body care- scrubs, creams, lip tints, oils, salves and pure magic. And she lives in the Southwest. And she’s going to grow a tulsi farm. She loves the earth as much as I do. She loves the plants as deeply as I do. Now go.
Spinning Love Pottery- nothing makes drinking tea better than the right mug. Or eating soup better than the right bowl. Shazieh, is from Pakistan, and moved to Tucson. I met her while she was in culinary school catering a retreat I was attending. Then I discovered she is not just an artist of food, which I deeply appreciate, as a fellow food artist, but she’s a potter, and really you must put your food art on pottery art. My favorite is the rough hewn and glazed salt pot and spoon I just got from her, but her goddess face mug and moon bowls are stunning.
Danielle LaPorte’s Truthbombs. In my email. I don’t open all the things that come. But I always open the daily truth bomb. Its a daily jolt of inspiration, a daily tarot card, a daily mantra, a daily meditation.
How do you start your day?
Favorite breakfast choices? Hot tea? Morning grounding and connection? Appreciation and gratitude? Gardening? Feeding the kids? How do you tend and nourish sacred space at the beginning of the day amidst the bustle and hustle? Share your morning moments in the comments. How do you take space? How do you create sacredness? Where do you bring nourishment?
This is where I carved it out today. In appreciation and gratitude for myself and healing choices, nourishing my body and listening to my soul guides.