Medicine For The Body, Medicine For The Soul

Happy Full Moon in Aquarius, folks.

As you know, this August Moon stretches on for one more enchanted night, as moons come in sets of three nights. Make the most of it when you can, and if you want to hold onto it a little longer, someone may have but some into a bottle for ya, too...

It's a Moon of entering into a wider way of thinking about self and community, and I've added a few things to this latest Fireweed & Nettle shop update which reflect that. 

Last year, I created a Blood Moon Aries essence, centered around the visionary flower, Queen Anne's Lace. That particular Moon, was all about opening up to the New: visions, dreams, ideas, hopes, expanding what we think we can believe, create, and make.

This one, on the other hand is all about expanding that vision, into connecting with other dreamers, to see them and hear them in order to build community, and a global village, something I think we can all agree, is desperately needed in this divisive time. Damn! Whether it's your dream to become a part of a gaggle of witches, like-minded makers, others in your same life-phase, or to meet more people, part of that work is being of service of others, being malleable, open, and listening deeply. 

To support that we also need to be able to know where we stand, and be able to hold onto our best, strongest self, even as we open up to others. We can't do that from a place of guilt, victimhood, anger, or self-doubt. That's why the essences of Sunflower, and Calendula, as well as my floral smudges became part of this collection. Both sunflower and calendula are about working out and strengthening parts of ourselves that feel un-shielded. 

And, they are the medicines of the S U N. Reminders of the energy and light we all have access to. The point, always to herbal, and particularly vibrational medicine, is to take it, but also take a moment to pay attention, or in hippie-speak reflect on why this is the medicine we've chosen. Just chugging some in the car on the way to pick up the kids, may do something, but actually taking time to figure out why this part of us is hurt and broken, is how we'll start mending it. The medicine is a conduit, a way to make time and space to work out what we need.

As always, it's my goal for these medicines, to make sure they nourish the mind, spirit, and soul, but also the body, they are deeply connected, and the duress on our bodies in this modern world cannot be under estimated. This collection of potions is pretty spiritual indeed, but I made sure to add my grounding calendula salve into the mix to help heal and nourish our summer-weary bodies. External scrapes and scratches merit our attention too. (And don't worry, any day now I'll get back into my practical head space and write about some seriously earthy stuff! )

In that spirit, today's "recipe", is a little different as well. It's about taking that time to tend to those unseen, unloved, or unheard parts of us, in a way that hopefully can fit into even the busiest schedule. 

Moon time is the perfect time for these ritual care practices, and it's important in my opinion to remember that they can be quite small, in these busy days of summer, and still be effective. All these small practices can be combined in various constellations, depending on what your life allows. Obviously, you'll want to create your own recipe for taking a moment to yourself, but here are some helpful suggestions from your hedgewitch friend, Milla.

R I T U A L  F U L L  M O O N  S E L F  C A R E :

1. Prayer. You do not need to be deeply spiritual to practice praying, nor do you need to set up some super special, intensely ritual space to do this. Prayer is a great way to check in with ourselves, and express our gratitude for the people and things we often take granted daily. 

2. Grounding out. Standing bare feet in the ground, looking up at the moon, and doing some breathing exercises is sometimes all we need to do to shake off worries and fears, and to remember the things that actually matter. 

3. Journaling. Writing down things we'd like to let go off, or work on during this monthly cycle, can help all of us clarify what we want, need, and don't need to carry anymore.

4. Fire or Water. Last night, I had the privilege of having two very powerful sister-witches with me, including one Fire Maven who helped the four of us make a fire together from scratch, and while that may not be in the realm of possibility for everyone, simply lighting a candle can be good stand-in for a bonfire in your city apartment. Whether its a fire in the woods, or a candle, flames merit our attention and bring us into the moment. 

Similarly, bathing in creeks, rivers, or tubs, can be a powerful way to shed off some of those everyday burdens, and spend some time considering bigger things. 

5. Tarot readings. Full Moon is a great time to do a little gratitude reading, to take space with your cards, and be curious about what comes next.

6. Medicine. Taking an essence as a part of your meditation, your Tarot reading, your prayer, can help you set the mood and the tone, of how you perform those practices. As my friend Amber likes to reiterate often, ritual self care can be a really important tool to use. Whether it's baths, body oiling, or medicine taking, giving yourself love, and taking care of your body and spirit together is a powerful practice. 

That's all for now folks, but if you're yarning for more witch-y connections, I heartily recommend you sign up for Miss Sophia Rose's mailing list to receive her Full Moon Missive. There have been some mighty powerful connections and conversations forged around here for a few days, and I'd love for you to get to partake. 

Hearth of My Heart

There is a beam in my house that talks. In the bedroom, above the window by the garden side. It talks in small, incomprehensible chirps, like morse code from another dimension, or someone small and toothless, speaking in another language. It is, of course bats (could be birds too, but it ain't). A small nest of bats somewhere between the roof and the nonexistent insulation.

At certain times of the day, going up there to grab another layer, or to look for a lost book, or pencil, I hear this noise, a rustle, whisper, a cheery whimper, and suddenly remember, that we don't live here alone. 

When I go outside to pee at night, I hear a loud rustle in the tall grass, where the deer sleep. There is something breathing in the dark. Two shooting stars cross the sky. 

In the morning, there's a cat on my pillow, and a rat in the rattrap. 

It's been a weird, wild summer. A weird, wild year actually. And now, it's weird and wild to be here again; to sleep under this familiar roof, to feel burnt grass underfoot in the backyard. My garden a little sadder, but still the same, my clothes hanging in the closet, my things waiting patiently in the drawers. 

In the last six months, I've thoroughly given up my right to claim that I'm a homebody, because my body has been in transit, in motion across continents for almost three months of them. 

My normal routines, the comforts of home: endless cups of tea, my books, my plants, my medicines, our walks, watching birds, seeing friends, have flown out the window in place of untold newness. 

I've given up on dramatic declarations of staying home for the rest of the year. It's probably not going to happen, is it?

Being on the road has it's own comforts, so long as you're willing to let go of things that don't matter. This, of course, is easier at some times than others. There's not better guide to living in the moment then traveling. Putting one foot in front of the other until you get there. Sitting patiently at endless waiting rooms, because you have not say in when you'll get where you're going. It could get addictive if you're not careful. Leaving your problems behind, even if you acquire a different set on the road. 

You don't forget about home, but it becomes a slightly abstract place. Until you come back to it, that is. And then, you never want to leave again. 

Because, you realize, that same motion exists everywhere, as long as you go out, onto the water, down the path. Or watch shooting stars from your backyard...

It's good to be home. 

Oh, For What It's Worth/ I draw My Breath, From An Ancient Earth

Sometimes people ask me, why I make plant medicine the way I do: small batches, once-in-a-bluemoon-remedies (literally 🔵), handcrafted, small, local, seasonal? "Do you have this particular remedy?" People ask."I love this particular essence, will you make more of it?"  "Will you have this salve in the spring?" And the answer is sometimes a plain old "No." 

It's a delicate balance, considering whether I should be making more of the popular items, making sure I spend at least some of my time in a way that financially supports my family, and doing what feels right to my heart. 

All my life, I've pursued things out of interest, because they were meaningful, or fascinating, or outrageous to me. It's certainly not been about "what I'm going to be when I grow up", and frankly, the one time I did pursue something from that place, I ended up disliking what I'd once loved. Because of this, I've also always thought of the things I've learned and know as something anyone could know, if they wanted. I've never placed a lot of value, beyond the personal, on my knowledge.

Last year, a friend and mentor of mine, gave a me kind of a talking-to, about hiding my own gifts and talents, and acquiescing to the critical voices, while always encouraging other people  to pursue their knacks. She pointed out that a lifetime of study of something, however informal, does actually stand for something not anyone can acquire. She's literally the person who set me on this leg of my meandering journey as a plant-person, and I'm forever grateful for that. 

That same friend, in that same conversation, told me "If you feel called to do something, you have to do it. You have no choice.", something I've held as a small mantra to myself ever since then. 

I make herbal, vibrational, botanical, wild medicine, because it's part of my own heritage, my personal practice, my knack.

Of course it's an absolute privilege to get to make a portion of my dollars from it, but at the same time, that's not all there is to it, not to any herbalist. This is a fine line. In a dollar economy, it's easy to start thinking that we need to get compensated for all of our time in currency, and certainly, that is important to our continued existence and survival. At the same time, the point, the real point is standing in your power, trying to line up your work with your values. And this is an on-going process. 

One of the ways I try to achieve this, is creating these medicines from my own intuition, of what people around me need, what I personally need, and most importantly, what plants pursue me. It's the most esoteric part of my very-down-to-earth-practice, but it also happens to be one that has served me the best and that I'm trying to listen to the most these days, when everything is crazy, and unpredictable, and somehow completely clear at the same time. 

When I walk around in the woods, or even in my garden, certain things, sometimes utterly surprisingly, will speak to me. Like you know, for instance trees and stones. No but seriously, trees and tree medicine have been huge for me this year. I might go in for a particular herb, and come out with a tree remedy. 

That's part of why very few of my medicines will ever be anything but seasonal. There will be one-offs, things I'll make every three years, essences of events that will never happen again.  

I ground my practice in following the seasons, the plants, in creating medicines that make sense to me, regardless of whether or not they might be crowd-pleasers. Some will be straight-forward remedies, while others might be mystical magic potions. All will have my trademark goofy, longwinded names. All will be made with the highest quality ingredients, from plants I love, have a relationship with, and nurture. They are part of how I communicate with the world, make sense of it. They are how I try to nurture people. 

A part of this practice, as you can see by clicking on the "Herb Magic"-tag below, is me creating a recipe each time I release a batch of remedies, because to me that's what herbalism is all about: sharing the magic and joy of plants. 

Often, these recipes will be simple kitchen preparations, the oldest form of folk-medine, and secretly my favorite. Eating your medicine is every day magic, whereas taking it in other, stronger, more extractive mediums, is more of a emergency use, or an attempt to shift things, for me. This time, quite unknowingly of how much heart-ache there would be in the world when I post this, I chose a tea that will help us chase away the blues as little. It reflects one of the kits I have in the shop, and captures a lot of the high summer's energy in it. 

Happiness Moves In A Circular Motion -an infusion to reduce anxiety, to invoke happiness, to take space to feel joy, and to calm down and reflect-

Please note about this herbal preparation:

1) If you don't have all the ingredients you can make this preparation with any of the stuff. I will list alternative/bonus ingredients at the end of this post. 

2) If you take any sort of pharmaceutical anti-anxiety medication, or anti-depressants, please make sure those medications are compatible with any herbal preparation you plan to take. Plants are powerful, let's respect their powers*

3) All ingredients can be dried, but since it's summertime in many places right now, they can also be fresh! 

For a quart-jar of infusion use loosely packed herbs, less plant matter if they're dried 🌿

- Good handful of Borage leaves and flowers

-1/4-1/2 cup of Saint John's/ Joan's Wort flowers and leaves

-1/2 cup of Milky Oats

-1/4  cup of Chamomile blossoms

-1/2 cup of Lemon Balm

Chop ingredients up. Bring water to a boil, then let it cool a little bit, for 10-15 minutes. 

Steep up to 8 hours (overnight), but 4-6 is plenty too. You can re-heat without bringing to a boil, and store in a refrigerator for couple of days. You can also strain out the herbs while storing, but I never do, because I'm lazy. 

Additional happiness-inducing, heart-opening, anxiety-soothing herbs could be: Lavender, Rose petals & hips, Hops (thought they're less delicious), California Poppy. 

Enjoy with local, organic honey (maybe rose or lavender- infused?!!). 

I hope you find some sweet relief in this heart-warming drink. That said, it's pretty good iced as well. Oh and if you want to visit the shop, it's right up there on the top bar. 

All photos by the generous Demetria Provatas 

Ps. As you know, I typically donate some of my profits to a cause that matters to me, but this time, I'm gonna ask you to trust me with it for a while before I announce it. Thanks guys. 

*pharmaceuticals are often also absolutely necessary for people having very human reactions to a very inhumane world. Please do make sure to consult a medical professional about your emotional health. There are great ones out there. 

The World Is Your Rollercoaster

I'm not a fan of oysters, frankly. And moreover, swallowing a small, helpless, slimy creature alive, does not exactly sound to me like the perfect metaphor for the beauty, magic, and wonder of your one wild and precious life. 

A photo by my friend Kristiina. Visiting the lands my grandmother's people came from. But that's another story about co-incidence, conservationist friends, and small island life in Finland <3 

A photo by my friend Kristiina. Visiting the lands my grandmother's people came from. But that's another story about co-incidence, conservationist friends, and small island life in Finland <3 

That said, I have been feeling like the world is my something, or other, lately. Almost everything I ever dreamed of having happen to me, of getting to be a part of, I'm suddenly a part of. Sounds dramatic, but it's true. All the doors are flying wide open. And as it often is with dreams coming true, there's a lot of hard work, logistics, money worries, late nights, and pushing shoulders against wheels involved. 

As you can tell, I've not had a lot of time on my hands for itinerant-writing activities. My journals languish in their pouches, my folders are full to the brim with topics. At the same time, lately I've also felt like I have to have something to say whenever I come here. That I have to be deep, or offer information, or entertain. That can be pretty stifling for a writer. 

I've been writing this blog for over eight years now. It's always been a love pursuit, something I've done for fun, for me. Not for money, or the fickle food of internet-fame, or for any other reason besides that it seemed like a natural, easy way to express myself. It's made me a better writer, a better photographer, a more educated person, and it certainly has made me a bucket-load of friends for life!

But as it turns out, this blogs is also a big part of the work I've been unknowingly doing for a long time now, the stuff that's all suddenly coalescing into this wild new dream landscape I find myself in. All these years I've been trying to make space for dreams, and learning, and creating, aimlessly, without goals. And somehow, without even knowing it, that and not pursuit, or demands, has laid the foundation for my lifework.

 So, dear reader, old friend,  that's what I want to continue to do here. It would be easy for me to turn this space into something that served to promote my "brand", my writing, my teaching, my herbal practice alone. Somewhere, where every piece I wrote would be easily shareable and quotable, and every picture interest-worthy. I'm not going to say it's not been tempting, to follow what the popular trends seem to be, but frankly, being a hodgepodge mishmash as served me fell so far. 

I don't know if you're still out there, friend, but I'm here. And I plan to have a heck of a time!