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  • Tuesday, May 05, 2020 4:08 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    The Maternal Gift Economy and its Paradigm
    by Genevieve Vaughan


    The gift economy as seen through the eyes of Western anthropologists is well known in academia. It involves rules for reciprocal giving and giving back within communities. However. there is an earlier gift economy that takes place among mothers and children that has to be unilateral because young children cannot give back anything in return for the gifts they receive. My contention is that this unilateral gift economy is the economy of life, and all other economies are derived from it. Even exchange is only a gift made contingent and doubled back upon itself and requiring a presumeably equal return. The maternal economy of life sets down the patterns of who we are as humans, we learn everything about the world and develop communication, language and our sense of self in these earliest interactions. The interactions and the logic of quid pro quo exchange are usually only imposed and begin to be understood at 3 or 4 years of age. Then they gradually take over as what we judge to be ‘rational’.

    Like all of patriarchal academia anthropologists have left out the maternal gift economy which is at the root of all economy.

    My contention is that the economy based on exchange and particularly monetized exchange has transformed a maternal nurturing species into a species with an embedded gift exploiting psycho-social mechanism that is now causing planetary death.

    The challenge is now to understand this new story about who we are and disentangle ourselves from the mechanism while maintaining ourselves and the other species alive. This requires shifting away from patriarchy and exchange and returning to the maternal model, which we all already have within us.

    Many people are already behaving in this way, for example in generously responding to the pandemic, but  they do not connect it to a wider model for social change and when the emergency subsides they will return to what they consider normal and  real, the quid pro quo monetized market. It is as if the horses that had been led out of their stalls to safety returned into the burning barn.

    The story of the gift economy can be seen in practice in so called ‘pre’ market indigenous cultures and in matriarchal societies that still exist. (‘matriarchy ‘ not as a mirror image of patriarchy but a society where maternal values rule for all). I have also developed a theory of language and communication based on gifting, which would let us see how much giving and receiving actually permeate our lives in practice.

    If we can begin to reframe the many hidden gift elements of our lives as deriving from the maternal gift economy and the exchange elements as exploitative of the gift, even parasitic upon it, we can understand how to turn our society around.

    Many projects use gift thinking and values without connecting them to the unilateral model that is present the relation between mothers and children. This impedes the generalization of that model, which is necessary for societies to consciously move towards it.

    Many aspects of daily life and the market already contain gift giving, such as free housework and the gift content of profit. These make up part of a more complex analysis which I will talk about on the show.

    Without understanding the maternal gift model as pan human and constitutive of all aspects of life, humans have looked at gift giving and exchange in many different ways - as part of the battle between good and evil, as love vs money, morality vs hard reality etc. These actually hide the paradigmatic and economic character of gift and of exchange and make it easier for exchange to validate itself at the meta level as it has most recently with neoliberal economics where profit and self interest are the highest human values and gifting seems a strange albeit heroic exception – not the normal human everyday way of being.

    Just to list a few kinds of projects where gift giving is evident but usually not framed as maternal or unilateral.

    • Eco villages
    • Permaculture
    • Alternative schools
    • Volunteer work of all kinds
    • Internet sharing
    • Commons projects
    • Karma kitchens
    • Food Banks
    • Charities
    • Movements for social change

    ----------------------------------------------------------


    Genevieve Vaughan was born in Texas in 1939. She is an independent researcher. After finishing college in Pennsylvania in 1963 she married philosopher and semiotician Ferruccio Rossi-Landi and moved with him to Italy where they had three daughters. The couple participated in the beginnings of the Semiotics movement in Italy as well as in the Italian Left, where Genevieve got her political consciousness raised.


    Genevieve's first book For-Giving, a Feminist Criticism of Exchange was published in 1997 by Plain View Press and has since been translated into many languages. She has edited two books: an issue of the Italian journal Athanor. IlDono/The Gift: A Feminist Perspective, Meltemi (2004) and Women and the Gift Economy: A Radically Different Worldview is Possible (Inanna Press 2007). An ebook Homo Donans appeared in 2006. Her most recent book is The Gift in the Heart of Language, the Maternal Source of Meaning (Mimesis International 2015). Another edited book of essays from an international conference held in Rome, Italy in 2015: The Maternal Roots of the Gift Economy is now in press.
    Her websites are: www.Gift-Economy.com and www.GenevieveVaughan.org

  • Tuesday, May 05, 2020 3:24 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Hawthorn and the Celebration of the May: A Series A Hawthorn Love Potion
    by EagleSong Gardener


    I enjoy tending several hawthorns in the hoop of life I travel each year. The hawthorns are among my favored allies because of their persistence, sense of humor and down right tenacity.

    I travel the highways and byways of the Snoqualmie, Skykomish and Snohomish rivers for most of my herbal interplay now days. Settling into this triad of rivers and the medicine found here is an ongoing exploration in a layered, well-lived life.

    Last spring I had, I thought, finished the hawthorn flower and leaf gathering when, low and behold, a sassy spring charmer flagged me down from the side of the road. Yes, her pink delicate blooms reached right out and grabbed my heart. Has that ever happened to you? It is one of the dangers of practicing herbalism that few speak of, I refer to this phenomenon as 55 mile an hour botany.

    You know what I mean? Have you been at this long enough to know? Or, maybe you’re just beginning your herb wanderings, so I am going to tell you what others keep to themselves! You finally reach a point in your passionate affair with plants that the oddities and vagaries along the highway leap into consciousness as you speed by. As if possessed, you find yourself screeching to a halt, turning your vehicle around and going back to investigate! It’s an outright danger this way of life imposes on those struck with plant medicine syndrome! Be Aware!

    Well, it was just such a time, when she, that young, hybrid wildly lifted her skirt and yahooed me while I was descending upon the village of Monroe. With all the flirtatious energy of the May, she grabbed this crone’s heart and would not let go. “I’ll be back”, I called as I slowed the car and looked deeply into her limbs. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

    Sure enough, the morning brought me into the limbs and sweet scent of the softest, apple-blossomed hawthorn I had yet to see in my valley meanders. Her delicate blooms as soft as a maiden on those tough, sinewy mother limbs anchored to the crone of her short, twisted trunk. “Take me home”, she whispered in a sweet, sensuous voice entwined with her voluptuous scent. “Take me home with you and let’s have some May Day fun!”

    Back in the kitchen, I settled into a deep, listening trance as the pink blooms fell from hand to basket. She giggled, “See that pitcher over there?” she asked? “I want to go in there with some of that cool water in the jug from the spring. Then, I want to go out on the porch and bask in the sun for the rest of the day!”

    Well, this was easy enough to do. All those years of study and medicine-making and curing and fixing while expanding an understanding of life and herbs and medicine and spirit; I was enjoying this otherly directed fling with my new found friend. Evening rolled around and I went out to bring the sprite in. “Get your hands off me!” she curtly directed…"Do you not realize tonight is a full moon in Scorpio? I am now ready to infuse into the arms of the grandmother. Leave me be!” “Okay”, I said. She knew what she wanted and I was perfectly content to see where this was heading…

    Early the next morning as a warm sun rose over the eastern hedge, I went out to fetch the vessel now sparked with the sun and infused by the light of the moon. Whew! This was shaping up to be some strong medicine indeed! All from a roadside imp with a magnetic personality! “Ready to go in?” I queried. “Yes! I am ready to be strained and bottled,” came her brisk response.

    After straining the golden liquid, a small splash of brandy was added to stabilize the brew. Then, we were off to the shop for bottles. There, some very tiny, very cute 2 ounce bottles offered themselves up for the endeavor. “Yes, perfect”, she squealed. “Those are just right!” I began pouring the very soft infusion into the very tiny bottles complete with very happy giggles and snorts. “I’m going to Wisconsin, I’m going to Wisconsin!” Her lilting song flooded the room. All of a sudden I heard a loud rattling from the shelf where the dried herbs are stored.

    I went over to see what was causing the ruckus. “Right!” they retorted. "We've been loyal and steadfast all these years and now some sweet young thing throws herself at you from the side of the road and you fall head over heels for her”, harumphed the dried old hawthorn berries gathered last fall. And every fall for the last 20 years from the same trees in the same hedge up valley. “You’re running off to Wisconsin with that side of the road hybrid?” they howled, "with nary a thought about us?"

    “Oh, do I hear jealousy in your tone, dear ones?” I inquired. “You bet your booties you hear jealousy in our tone” exclaimed the old fruitful ones. “Well, what would you like?” I asked. “What would we like?” they grumped. “Yes, what would you like?” I asked again. “Hummm, well”, they mused, “We want acknowledgment, recognition, consideration, you know, respect, for our years of loyal service! And…we want to go to Wisconsin.”

    “Okay, what might that look like?” I perused drawing them out of their cave. “We want 3 dried haw berries in each bottle" came the quick retort. “Then, we’ll be in every bottle! Complete hawthorn, the entire valley, the best of time and place in each bottle!” “Perfect!" I smiled, as I placed 3 dried haws in each bottle. I capped and placed the Hawthorn Elixir on the shelf with care. They rested, infusing together, the sweet young blooms and the old crone haws bathed in each other’s presence.

    A few weeks later, off I went to give a presentation at the annual Bastyr Herb Fair. Off to the Fair went the very tiny bottles of hawthorn elixir, laid in a basket of dried haw flowers. I was giving an herb walk and talk on wild edges, hedges and my long ally hawthorn. At the end of the discourse, one of the very tiny bottles of Haw Elixir leapt into my hand. As the lid was turned “Fisssst!” they squealed as they came fizzing out the top, cascading down the edge of the bottle! “We’re so much more than an elixir now", they chimed together. "We are the Blessed May! We are alive and the Blessed May is alive and Love Potion is born!” With peals of laughter everyone sipped the Love Potion and, you know, in that moment, life sparked with love and everyone smiled!

    Yes, we did go to Wisconsin later that summer. No labels found their way onto the very tiny bottles. As they were placed on the marketplace table at the Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference, the life emanating from those tiny, well-filled bottles began to cause a stir. With the flirtatious tenacity of a young sprite and a certain staid presence of a crone some immeasurable essence leapt from those very tiny bottles into the hearts of women passing by. “What’s in those very tiny bottles with no labels? they inquired. “Oh those”, I answered. “Hawthorn Love Potion! Would you like a taste?”

    Bright Blessings of the May to you and yours as sun climbs again toward zenith and the dance of life continues ‘round the spiral…


    ******************************************************************


    EagleSong Gardener


    Herbalist/Gardener, Grandmother/EarthKeeper, Pilgrim/Adventurer, Story Catcher/Yarn Spinner ... Is excited by the dynamic nature of life in a garden. Gardening since childhood, EagleSong has tended/managed high visibility kitchen gardens and farms, commercial gardens, herb gardens & nurseries and has trained in Healing & Therapeutic garden design. Today, she enjoys teaching health from the ground up at the generative pace of her home place, RavenCroft Garden. A cottage garden connecting people, plants and the earth for close to 30 years. As a creatrix of the Pacific Women’s Herbal Conference, EagleSong delights in crafting a place where women gather to connect, learn and transform themselves and the world in a forest at the edge of the Salish Sea.


  • Monday, May 04, 2020 2:11 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Foraging for Sustainability: Spotlight Garlic Mustard

    by Linda Conroy



    Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is a plant that is often identified as a nuisance. Gardeners and farmers work to eradicate it and fail to see the potential food source that this plant offers. While I understand that it is quite vigorous and it does exude sinigrin a  chemical  that inhibits other plants, I also know that the abundance of this plant invites a culinary adventure and an opportunity to harvest rather than weed. The shift in intention can make all the difference in our relationship and connection to the earth.


    For over two decades I have taught a program titled choosing herbal remedies for sustainability. This approach to working with the earth and plants, also called regenerative agriculture, can be applied to herbalism and foraging.  Practicing Regenerative Herbalism is an approach that promotes conservation and rehabilitation. By harvesting plants like Garlic Mustard including the  roots, seeds, we can harvest an abundant food source and restore areas so that other plants can thrive.

    In addition to actively working with the plants, we can also trust that nothing is stagnant. Plant communities inevitably fall into line with the environment and garlic mustard is no exception.  Researchers have found that once established the concentrations of sinigrin in garlic mustard decreases, demonstrating evolutionary change. They predict that garlic mustard will fall into harmony with native species, which will be able to re-colonize invaded areas.

    In the meantime, as a forager and participant in the process, I can harvest and ingest this nutrient dense plant. Garlic mustard is a good source of fiber as well as vitamin A precursors, vitamin C and E as well as some B vitamins. In addition, it contains potassium, calcium, magnesium, selenium, copper, iron and mangenses and omega-3 fatty acids. Combining plants with oil or vinegar is a good way to potentiate nutrients and render them bioavailable. While I enjoy the leaves in salads and cooked with other wild greens in season, I also like to preserve the entire plant. Below are a few recipes that I enjoy.


    Garlic Mustard Root and Leaf Infused Vinegar

    Harvest the entire plant. I take two baskets into the field, so that I can put leaves in the one and roots in the other. By doing this, I keep soil off of the leaves and only need to wash the roots when I prepare the vinegar.

    Once the roots are washed, chop the leaves and roots into small pieces. Fill a jar to the top with plant material.  I just eye up the amount of plant material and choose the right size jar. Pour vinegar over the plant material. I like to use raw apple cider vinegar. For infused vinegars I like to use plastic lids as vinegar will rust the lids. Label your preparation with the plant name (include the botanical name, as looking it up and writing it down is the only way you will learn this) and the date. Let this sit for 4-6 weeks. The resulting vinegar will be spicy and can be added to dressings, sauces, broths and wherever you would enjoy a spicy vinegar.


    ****


    Dill Pickles with Garlic Mustard Seeds

     (you can use this brine for other vegetables as well i.e. green beans, zucchini,

    squash, radishes are some examples)

    Ingredients and supplies

    -non-iodized salt ( I like to use sea salt) ¼ cup for every gallon of water

    -grape leaves (other options include oak or horseradish leaves as well as alum) these ingredients

    help to keep vegetables firm.

    -garlic

    -garlic mustard seeds (mustard seeds are often added to pickles and you can add any mustard seed that you have available)

    -onions

    -fresh dill heads or dried seeds

    -pickling cucumbers

    -cheesecloth

    -ceramic crock or gallon jar

    Make salt brine by boiling the water and pouring it over the sea salt. Set aside to cool. Put garlic, onions and dill on the bottom of the crock or jar. Place cucumbers on top of these and then place a layer of leaves on top to cover. Repeat these layers until your crock or jar is full, leaving a ¼ of an inch space.

    When it is cool pour salt brine over the layers to cover.

    Put a plate or other container inside the crock or jar to keep the vegetables below the brine. Put a cheesecloth with a rubber band around it on the top. Keep in a cool place for 2-4 weeks. Skim any mold that forms on a daily basis. After 2-4 weeks store in a cool place or in the refrigerator up to 6 months.

     *******

    Garlic Mustard Paste (Pesto)

    2 cups chopped garlic mustard leaves

    2/3 cup olive oil

    2 TBS lemon juice

    Pinch of salt to taste

    Combine these two ingredients and blend them in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add the lemon juice and salt, blend again and adjust to taste.

    I put this paste in 4 ounce jars and freeze it for later use.

    The paste can be used in soups, sauces, dressings, dips, spreads, eggs and stir fry vegetables. I like to think of it as a spice. If I want to add cheese or nuts, and use this as a pesto, I will add these right before I am going to prepare it.

    -------------------------------------------------

     Teleseminar Replay: Personal and Community Resilience in the Context of COVID-19 with Linda Conroy & Susun Weed.

    Let's explore approaches to supporting ourselves, our families and communities in the face of COVID-19. How do we remain flexible, adaptable and resilient on all levels of our being: physically, emotionally and spiritually in the realm of a pandemic. Herbalists Susun Weed and Linda Conroy will discuss simple ways to keep ourselves, our families and communities nourished. While COVID-19 is the impetus for this webinar and the myriad of concerns that come with it, the conversation will focus on resilience in the face of any change or transition.
    Click for more info and Registration:
    https://www.wisewomanbookshop.com/product-page/teleseminar-with-linda-conroy

    *******************
    Linda's course is now on WiseWomanSchool.com and is Free for a limited time!
    Plants and People: Herbal Medicine Making: Make Simple Remedies at Home with Linda Conory.
    Register now for Free.
    https://www.wisewomanschool.com/p/plants-and-people-herbal-medicine-making


    ***



     

    Linda Conroy is a bioregional, wise woman herbalist, educator,wildcrafter, permaculturist and an advocate for women's health.

    She is the proprietress of Moonwise Herbs and the founder of Wild Eats: a movement to encourage people and communities to incorporate whole and wild food into their daily lives. She is passionate about women's health and has been working with women for over 20 years in a wide variety of settings.

    Linda is a student of nonviolent communication and she has a masters degree in Social Work as well as Law and Social Policy. Linda has been offering hands on herbal programs and food education classes for well over a decade.

    She has completed two herbal apprenticeship programs, one of which was with Susun Weed at the Wise Woman Center and she has a certificate in Permaculture Design.

    Linda is a curious woman whose primary teachers are the plants; they never cease to instill a sense of awe and amazement.

    Her poetic friend Julene Tripp Weaver, eloquently describes Linda when she writes, "She listens to the bees, takes tips from the moon, and follows her heart."

    www.moonwiseherbs.com



  • Tuesday, April 28, 2020 2:09 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Spring Tonics: a One-Day Workshop

    with Susun Weed at the Wise Woman Center
    by Wise Woman Karen Joy




    Learn more about Wise Woman classes with Susun Weed




    This one-day workshop was held at the Wise Woman Center on this gorgeous spring day. Have any of you ever been to the WWC? It's a treat to see it in its many seasons. It's loaded with plants, wild and cultivated, dotting the forested and open land with rocks jutting up in between (the land used to be used as a stone quarry, I believe, many years ago). Goats roam free here -- mommas and many kids (papas? I don't know). There are also geese. And two cats (that I saw) -- I think I remember them as mother and son. Of course, there are also many other creatures happily living here.


    After parking with assistance and greeting from Susun and the two apprentices living there at the time (cars' tires kill the surface microorganisms living in the soil, we learned this weekend, as well as, of course, any plants. This is a place that values ALL the life there and doesn't accept its usual secondary status to vehicles -- so great importance is placed on driving and parking in designated areas.) . . . . after parking, we (I believe about 13 women, though men are welcomed at these) gathered at "the circle", where infusion awaited us. This day was oatstraw, yum!

    We spoke in turn with a talking stick, introducing ourselves, where we reside, and sometimes our reasons for coming and questions for the day. The talking stick allows us to share in our moment, uninterrupted, whatever we desire. Susun reminds us this need not be words, but can be a dance, music, song, or poem. This day, the first of the season, most of us seemed a bit shy, sharing "the facts". Two women brought their babies. One mother brought her mother. Having come long distances, some of these women stayed the weekend nearby and got to meet the night before at the moonlodge held every Friday before Susun's weekend one-day workshops.

    Susun seems to me to love to share her knowledge. All questions seem welcome and often come with detailed answers -- I believe I've heard "there are no stupid questions".


    We went out right away for a gentle walk in the woods (there are something like 45 acres to the Center) stopping often to visit a plant or tree, learning her beauties. One thing I remember from taking these classes two years ago is SOO much learning is offered. Though I think I absorb it all, I don't always remember it consciously. I could take the same class every year for ten years (and more) and get new and deeper understandings of what is presented to me. With that said, I will share with you some of what I remember.


    I remember visiting partridgeberry, or twin flower, getting close to the ground where she lives and seeing her leaves and red berries that have been there since last year. I saw how her berry had two flower ends explaining her second name.

    Anyone who has learned from Susun knows how she abounds with stories. This is probably one of the best ways I have encountered for remembering what I have learned, though sometimes they are just pure enjoyment. I heard of a girl who, after seeing all these red berries in a partridge belly, concluded these partridges "laid" them there all over the forest floor. Makes sense to me!


    Wintergreen, we were told, who also lies close to the ground and has similar looking red berries (at first glance anyway), tastes dramatically different. Its berries taste like wintergreen, while mitchella repens (partridge berry) has extremely tasteless berries.

    Though the specifics I can't remember, my largest impression of this plant is it is a wonderful ally for women! I also remember reading this in an article on Susun's website about fertility.


    Please don't take my lack of detailed knowledge as an indication of what's offered at the class. Some women chose to take notes and could probably recite many "facts" about this plant alone. I chose to learn differently. I listen and watch and feel and don't put much priority on memorization except when there is something specific I really want to know NOW.


    I prefer a feeling in my body that allows me to spot this plant when walking the woods and feel it as a woman's friend, rather than words without feeling. I know in time, as my learning works into deeper layers, this knowledge will come along with the feeling. So when a time comes that I am looking for a "woman's friend" I will research more of the details, and they will be familiar because I know that all I heard in this class and others lives in me. Can anyone else relate to the type of learning I am talking about?


    Okay, so back to our walk. We visited eastern hemlock (thuja?) and white pine, both predominant in our area. We tasted them. We experienced them as we chewed, encouraged by Susun to notice the sensations in our mouth. The hemlock, I noticed, made my mouth get wetter. It encourages mucus production, she shared, and mucous is good! Yes, it protects us, cushions us, it lines our sensitive skin. We want it. Perhaps, then, I thought, the mucous that accompanies a cold, isn't the "evil cold" itself, but our protection kicking in. And, perhaps, why steaming our face over a pot of hemlock needle brew, clears the stuck mucous isn't because it is "drying" (as my experience chewing it proved), but because it encourages the production of mucous, allowing it all to move!


    As we moved from plant to tree to plant, we heard of properties in plants and the best mediums to extract them in. All of this, of course, can be read in articles written by Susun and her books, and though this is wonderful knowledge, it cannot, for me, compare to the memory sensation that goes with the moment of hearing it from her.

    For example, I have read more than once before about extracting the oils in a plant with oil (olive oil). So though this is not new to hear, now I can know this with the taste of the oil from the hemlock needles I am chewing in my mouth, the sight of this tree's branches in front of me, the women I have just met all around me, and all the sights, sounds, and smells, that go along with a beautiful spring day in the woods. We were told how white pine carries five needles in a bunch, less common in a pine than three. Looking at the base of these needles we see white, hence its name, and I hear Susun say while counting on her 5 fingers W-H-I-T-E, five needles in a bundle!


    We look down the hill and around the corner from this pine and and see big (for this time of year) green plants along the hillside. We curiously surround them, these leaves reminiscent in shape, color and size of lily bulbs I have been seeing lately emerge from the ground. What family does this remind you of? we are asked. Liliaceae, someone knows. What plants are in this family? we are also asked. People say what, if any, they know. Among the many pretty flowers common to spring, some mention onions, garlic, etc. We are encouraged by Susun to smell and taste a leaf that offers itself to us. Yum, onion! They are ramps.


    Before we head back for lunch (yes, we're not even half done with class!) we visit two more plants growing near each other at the bottom of the hill near wet land. They are wild chives and trout lily. We sit among them, taste them, and listen to Susun share much knowledge about them.


    We walk back to the deck we will be eating lunch on. Susun goes inside to heat the nettle soup she explains was prepared the night before so the nettles could infuse in the water overnight. The two apprentices took two groups of women who wanted to help collect wild greens to add to the salad. They were the tender tips of madder (gallium - related to the sweet woodruff that is often made into "may wine") and garlic mustard leaves pinched off where they meet the stem. Garlic mustard has a bit of bite like mustard, and a taste of garlic.


    The bell was rung, we sang a song and we ate a feast of salad with wild greens and nettle soup. Water and infusion were provided to drink. So were condiments -- olive oil, salt, tamari, miso, gomasio, and a sampling of vinegars. Other than umeboshi vinegar the others were herbal ones made from plants we were introduced to this day. And I certainly can't forget the bread from freshly ground organic grains baked by one of the apprentices (I am so sorry I am not remembering their names right now).


    Organic butter was provided as was delicious!!!! cheeses made there from the goats' milk -- three kinds, garlic, aged and wild chives. I have to say such a simple sounding meal is heavenly (more accurately, earthly) and left me bored that night with my more complicated or empty feeling comfort foods like pasta. In fact, I went home that night and drank the nettle infusion I (thankfully) prepared that morning before class.


    After lunch we stayed nearer to the house and the gardens there fenced off from munching goats and such. There was sweet birch (which actually I think we visited before lunch). The description for this class mentions we will "bite buds" which indeed we did -- sweet birch buds, yum! Wild root beer or sarsaparilla? We learned how her sap is flowing now and won't stop if tapped. We watched the drip drip of her yummy water from the thin branches where her buds were taken.


    We learned how to collect these thin branches (with scissors please for a clean cut), the length of a quart canning jar and a bundle that would fit in the circle made by connecting my thumb and longest finger. We could the put them in the jar and pour boiling water over them, cover and let infuse overnight. We could drink the mild brew in the morning, we could then pour more boiling water over the same branches and drink that night. The taste would be a little stronger!


    We could repeat this process with the same branches, day after day, with the taste getting stronger each time. At some point around the fourth day I think is when I would stop drinking and start cleaning with the water! Susun says it is a wonderful degreaser. I think I remember her saying this could go on for about a month. How's that for a spring tonic?!


    A wonderful taste of a tree's spring sap in my water, then something to help my spring fever desire to clean out winter! My understanding from Susun was this is a wonderful spring tonic, though not something to use as one of our regular nourishing infusions. In fact, if we wanted, we could dump the first few days of brew to get to the cleaning water. I personally savor my spring cups of sweet birch water.

    We visited more plants and at this point I am confused which were on this day and which on the next. And since this is long enough, I will continue in my next post about the Sunday class "herbal medicine chest" which will probably come tomorrow!


    Thanks for listening! I hope you enjoyed my memory of this "spring tonics" class.

  • Tuesday, April 28, 2020 1:08 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    A Tool for Compassionate Listening

    by Linda Conroy




    When I was introduced to the wise woman tradition, I was curious about the tenant of compassionate listening. I heard this as compassionately listening to the self, the plants, nature and others, yet was not sure how to apply this. As I have deepened my understanding of compassionate listening, I have found several tools that have assisted me in bringing this tangibly into my life.


    One of these tools is a model of compassionate communication developed by Marshal Rosenberg. I was introduced to this model while participating in a residential herbal/wise woman apprenticeship at Ravencroft Gardens in Monroe, WA. I immediately felt like I had found home. This model seems simple yet as I dance in the spiral that is my life and incorporate self-empathy, I continually discover new aspects that contribute to my life. As part of the apprenticeship program that I now offer we learn and practice this model as we explore herbal wisdom and wise woman ways. Compassionate communication offers an intention that facilitates connecting deeply with the self, the green world as well as other people.


    The aspect of this model that I encourage apprentices to focus on is that of self-empathy or compassionate listening to themselves, which ultimately leads to compassionate listening to the natural world as well as other people. In these difficult times I trust there would be a radical shift if we each simply focused on self-empathy. Much of what happens in our daily interactions starts with how we have learned to relate to ourselves.


    The main goal of compassionate communication is connection: whether we are talking about ourselves, nature or other people. This is contrary to the goal of the communication many of us have learned. Many of us have learned to blame ourselves, blame others or disconnect from nature as a way to distract from our feelings and needs. The basis of compassionate communication is to focus on feelings and needs. Identifying our true feelings and needs is a large part of this journey and one that requires patience and diligence since many of us are not even sure what our feelings and needs are.


    In the case of self-empathy, we can notice an internal dialogue and any self-effacing messages. Life for example the weeks when I forget to take my trash out and the can is full, I tell myself stupid I am to have forgotten once again. I can easily go down this road and continue giving myself a hard time. Of course this only leads to me feeling depressed every time I think about the trash.


    Now I can turn this around using compassionate communication. I do this by changing my internal dialogue to one that focuses on my feelings and needs. I use the self-effecting message as a red flag that I have feelings and needs that not being attended to. I might say to myself instead: “I’m feeling disappointed that I forgot to take the trash out and my need for ease in the upcoming week is not met.” Here I can realize what my needs are, need for ease, and I can get my need met some other way. On one occasion when I forgot to take the trash out, I asked my neighbor if I could put a bag of trash in their can that week and they agreed.


    Through this interaction I discovered that I could be creative and reduce my waste as well. Reducing my waste helps me to meet my need to contribute to the health of the planet. If I had kept beating myself up, I probably would have had an overflowing trash can and would not have embraced the opportunity to connect with my neighbor and to unfold a deeper need to contribute in other ways. This is one simple example of many that have led me to deepen my relationship with myself, the plants, other people and the earth.


    Compassionate communication offers opportunities to cultivate relationships with others, as well as ourselves, that are life enhancing. The model developed by Marshall Rosenberg first invites us to make an observation that is judgment free: so, in the case of my trash, I would say to myself, I notice that I forgot to take out the trash. Then I would notice what feelings came up: I felt disappointed and frustrated. Next, I would identify the need: I want ease in my upcoming week, particularly in dealing with the waste that will accumulate. After I have offered myself empathy and/or understanding. I can choose whether an action is needed or if receiving understanding was the action. In the case of the trash I chose to make a request, which is the 4th part of compassionate communication (*the request is critical when dialoguing with others). I requested of myself that I ask for space in my neighbor’s trash can and that I conserve and try to create less waste. These things both brought life to the situation and turned it into something fun.


    Compassionate communication has offered me opportunities like these to enjoy my own life more fully as well as to enjoy connecting with others. At times when things do not seem resolvable and I feel hopeless, sticking to my feelings and needs has led to miracles and connections that I could not have imagined. This resonates with the goal of the Wise Woman Tradition, which holds health in the form of unimaginable transformations. Taking the four steps identified above and applying them to interactions that occur in my daily life have revealed pearls in situations that seemed impossible.


    This model can also be used to promote health. Compassionately listening to our bodies and asking the wise woman questions of how we can get our needs met. Many times, our wise bodies can offer keen insights.


    Below is the four-part model that was described in this article. Have fun and play with these questions in your life, see if you can find a few hidden treasures.


    Make an observation (without judgment)

    Identify your feelings connected to the observation

    Identify your needs connected to the feeling

    Make a request of yourself or others (check to be sure you are making a request and not a demand)


    For more information about nonviolent communication visit http://www.cnvc.org


    Linda M. Conroy is an herbalist, community organizer and avid forager. She is the founder of The Midwest Women's Herbal Conference, Mycelium Mysteries: A Women's Mushroom Conference and Moonwise Herbs. In addition to her work as a community organizer and herbalist, she holds a Masters Degree in Social Work as well as Law and Social Policy. Her social work career included a position as a case manager for people living with AIDS in the eye of that epidemic. Her response to this current pandemic is influenced by the work she did at that time. In the interest of resilience she created a community virtual herbal hangout where people gather to share clear and current information in a supportive environment. These gatherings are in their 8th week and have provided a reliable space in uncertain times. In addition to her community organizing work, Linda continues to offer traditional skill workshops, herbal apprenticeship programs and is a mentor for an online medicine program offered through the WIse Woman University. She is most grateful to the plants who never fail to instil a sense of awe and wonder in her daily life.

  • Monday, April 27, 2020 1:19 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Taurus New Moon: I Am Safe and Protected.
    by Kathy Crabbe



    Dear Moon Muser,
    The hardest thing for me right now is just to keep going, knowing I am but one voice, one squeak, one noise, but also one great symphony when joined with your voice. Not in fear, but in LOVE.

    To be not afraid, to be heard, and to sing our song of hope, for a future that feels very unknown and scary right now. May all that I do help to guide, heal and delight you.

    For my New Moon Reading this month I'm doing it differently. I'm spreading out all three of my hand painted oracle decks, closing my eyes and asking the gods to help me choose.
    New Moon Reading

    Be a child with me.
    Drop away pretenses, false ego.

    Protect yourself
    (as a child would)
    (as a young person would)
    (as an adult would).

    Observe those defenses.

    Ask your body what it needs right now.
    Be in that dream for a bit.
    Safe and protected.

    Now look at the card I pulled above.
    What is it saying? What are you feeling, thinking?

    Next, thank the cards, the Divines, yourself for BEING you and for allowing your safety to feel good - without fear.

    Blessed Be.
    So mote it be.

    Check out this wee healing video   I made for the New Moon. (You may want to turn on the sound.)

        For me feeling safe and protected is to dream of being in nature, safe, without my glasses, playing, with my brother too, in the water, the forest, the floating dock, in the air, on water skis, swimming, floating, diving.

        When I look at the card “Mummy” I am alone, at peace, dreaming.







    Kathy Crabbe has been an artist forever and a soul reader since awakening her intuitive gifts at age forty after five years painting with her non dominant left hand. This awoke her intuition in a big way. In 2008 she created a Lefty Oracle deck and started giving intuitive soul readings that have touched many lives in profound and playful ways. Kathy lives in sunny Southern California with her pet muses and architect husband in an adobe home they built themselves.

    Kathy’s art and writing has been published and shown throughout the world at museum shows, galleries, art fairs, magazines and books including the San Diego Women’s History Museum, We’Moon Datebook, and Sawdust Art Festival in Laguna Beach to name a few. She has self-published several books, zines, oracle decks and ecourses and maintains a regularly updated blog, etsy store and portfolio site. Kathy received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Queen’s University and a Graphic Design Diploma from St. Lawrence College, Kingston, Canada. She has been working as a professional artist since 1992. Kathy has been an educator and mentor at Laguna Outreach Community Artists, Mt. San Jacinto College, Wise Woman University, Inspire San Diego Studio, HGTV, Michelle Shocked’s International Women’s Day Show as well as teaching her own classes: “Awaken Your Divine Feminine Soul”, and New Moon Circles. She is a founding member of the Temecula Artist’s Circle, the Temecula Writer’s Café and the Riverside Art Museum’s Printmaker’s Network. Metaphysically speaking, Kathy has studied with Francesca De Grandis (Third Road Celtic Faerie Shamanism), Adam Higgs (psychic mediumship), Om, devotee of Sri Chinmoy (meditation), Atma Khalsa (yoga), Susun Weed (Green Witch Intensive), Joyce Fournier, RN (Therapeutic Touch), Steven Forrest & Jeffrey Wolf Green (astrology) and she received certification in crystal healing from Katrina Raphaell’s Crystal Academy.
    Learn more here.


    Kathy’s 4 week eClass “Awaken Your Divine Feminine Soul” is once again being offered at Wise Woman University so get ready to Moon Collage your heart out starting one week prior to the New Moon each month…more details here: eClass.

  • Wednesday, April 15, 2020 9:33 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Emotional Freedom Techniques
    by Karen Lewis

    How to Get That Extra Mile From Your Herbal Medicines
    With a Simple ‘Tapping’ Procedure


    Photo by Dr Wendy Longo


    Having qualifications in the use of Herbal Medicine I know that herbs, these beautiful, gentle remedies provided by Mother Nature, do a wonderful job of restoring our bodies to a state of balance and wholeness, working as well as many modern drugs, but with few, if any, of the toxic side effects. Utilize the right selection of herbs and you can get fantastic results.


    However, occasionally the herbs we have so carefully chosen, even intuited, don’t seem to work as well as we know they should. It’s certainly happened to me when I was in practice, and also when trying to benefit my own personal health.


    A couple of years ago, I came across one of the ‘newer’ energy meridian therapies, based on the ancient Chinese and Japanese forms of acupuncture/acupressure.
    Emotional Freedom Techniques, also known as EFT, is one of the more recent incarnations in the use of the meridian system. It is very simple and easy to learn and to apply. Its founder, Gary Craig, likens it to “psychological acupuncture without the needles” as you tap with your fingertips on certain parts of the face, torso and hands, where the meridians endpoints surface.

    Gary’s premise is that “the cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system” and that “unresolved negative emotions are major contributors to most physical pains and diseases.”


    This is something that I noticed with my herbal patients, that many physical manifestations of illness appear to have their beginning, in unresolved emotional problems. Many times, in consultation, asked what they could remember about events going on at the time of, or just before, their problem started, patients mentioned bereavements or crises, etc., which were still affecting them now.


    EFT incorporates an emotional element to the healing process, addressing those unresolved underlying emotional issues, and thus allowing physical healing to take place. By tapping on the meridian acupoints, the body's energy system is gently realigned, and re-balanced, disconnecting the physical discomfort we associate with certain memories, and quite often removing the resulting symptoms.


    Usually, the herbs we use work well; they are able to help solve the physical and even many emotional problems in a gentle, natural way. The body responds positively to the herbal stimulus and comes back into balance. But for those more obstinate cases, where the herbs don’t pack their usual punch, I have found that combining the use of EFT with the herbal medicine can have the effect of potentiating the herbal actions.


    My belief now is that when we hit a stumbling block with getting well, to consider if there may be an unsuspected underlying emotional issue, which is effectively sabotaging any attempts to improve our health. This is often known as Psychological Reversal (PR), the principal cause of negative thinking at a subconscious level, which results in self-sabotage and doubt.


    If PR is present it blocks progress and healing, whatever healing route one takes. However, never consider it as a default of character or willpower. It just is. The EFT Setup Phrase (see below) acknowledges this underlying doubt and negativity, even when we don’t know the exact details at a conscious level. When it concerns improving our health status, the underlying, subconscious emotional factor may be that we don’t actually deserve to get better, odd though that may sound.

    A simple example of PR in action can often be seen in the making of New Year’s Resolutions. How many people actually keep them? Yes, we’ll quit smoking, stop over-eating, get more exercise, etc. It is logical, makes sense. But a day or two down the line you are back in your old habits. PR has struck – negative thoughts, doubts, self-sabotage. If I quit smoking, I’ll get fat, because that’s what happens to people who stop. If I stop eating the stuff I like, I’ll feel deprived and/or stressed. Exercise – I just don’t have the time.


    Another thing to consider is covered by the psychological term “secondary gains”. Even though we may logically and outwardly want to get better, subconsciously we recognize that there are benefits to staying as we are. Perhaps it is more attention from the family and friends; perhaps it’s time off work; perhaps it’s a way of avoiding certain responsibilities that come along with being healthy.


    As a result, whatever we do to help ourselves, is likely to be less effective. Let’s take as an example, regularly forgetting to take your medicine (guilty, m’lud!). It is surely an easy thing to leave it where you cannot miss it, to make an extra attempt to remember to take it. You may have no idea of why you are resisting doing that which can do you good, or even be aware that you are doing this.


    But even if you are meticulously downing your herbs, there are still times when you just don’t get the results you expect. The subconscious can exert a powerful pressure on our body’s physiology.


    So how can we use EFT to help in this kind of situation? First, you need to learn about the tapping points and the procedure to follow (see below – EFT Self-Help).
    Usually the most difficult part is to come up with a Setup Phrase to cover the issue you wish to work with. This phrase comes in two halves.


    The first half of the Setup Phrase acknowledges the negative issue or problem; lets your psyche know that you are tuning into the issue to work on it.


    For example, “Even though I keep forgetting to take my herbal medicine, …”
    The second part states that you accept yourself regardless, or that you are at least open to the possibility that you can accept yourself. It acts as a positive affirmation to neutralize any negative thinking, the result of Psychological Reversal. The default phrase that is used is “I deeply and completely (love and) accept myself”.


    “Even though I keep forgetting to take my herbal medicine, I deeply and completely (love and) accept myself.”


    So, in the first part, we acknowledge that we keep forgetting to take our medicine. In the second part, we are telling ourselves that despite that fact, we accept ourselves, we are not going to beat ourselves up about it.


    You can do the same thing with any problems that may come to mind. For example:
    “Even though I feel a bit queasy when I drink my herbal remedy, I deeply and completely (love and) accept myself.”


    “Even though my herbal remedy doesn’t seem to be working for me, I deeply and completely (love and) accept myself.”


    In this case, you could actually alter the default affirmation phrase to read something like, “Even though my herbal remedy doesn’t seem to be working for me, I choose to let my body allow the herbs to do their job, to bring about healing and wholeness.”


    Once you have come up with your Setup Phrase, you come up with a short Reminder Phrase (less cumbersome to speak as you tap).
    “Forget my medicine”, “Feeling queasy”, “Herbs not working”, etc.


    You then need to put a number (SUDS - Subjective Unit of Distress Scale) on the way you feel. For example, “Feeling queasy” might rate a 7/10, where 0 = ‘I feel fine’, and 10 = ‘I feel absolutely terrible’.


    Now follow the tapping routine, starting with 3 repetitions of your Setup Phrase and either rubbing the Sore Spot, or tapping the Karate Chop point. Then you tap on each of the meridian endpoints, saying your Reminder Phrase as you go along and include the 9 Gamut process before starting at the eyebrow tapping point for the second time. At the end of this, take a deep breath. Then reconsider that rating you started with. Has it changed? Come down?


    In many cases, that one round will bring about quite a change, but if you have only got down to say 4/10, then you do a repeat of the above, changing the Setup Phrase to include “remaining” or “still”. For example, “Even though I still feel a bit queasy when taking my herbs, …” with a Reminder Phrase of “remaining queasiness”.


    You can either carry on till you reach zero, or feel that you have done as well as you can for now. If you find yourself yawning, sighing, tummy grumbling or with watery eyes, they can all be a sign that energy has moved, shifting emotional blocks that might underlie your current state of being. You don’t have to know what they are, but many people will receive insights, often from their early years, which may be pertinent to their issue. Sometimes it seems that just bringing it out into the open allows healing to proceed.


    It’s surprising just how effective combining EFT with herbal remedies can be. So if you do find your remedy is not as effective as you expected, or you are responding a bit negatively, why not give it a try and see if it works for you too? I’d be interested to hear how you get on.


    Karen Lewis

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    Karen Lewis is an EFT Practitioner and Reiki Master/Teacher/Practitioner, who also has a background in herbal medicine. She is based in the United Kingdom. She uses these disciplines in her own day-to-day life as well as helping others to enable and empower themselves. To access EFT Self-Help and free resources, and to learn more generally about Emotional Freedom Techniques and Reiki, please visit her website http://www.EFT-Reiki.com.

  • Thursday, April 09, 2020 11:34 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Libra Full Moon: Find Strength and Beauty Within

    by Kathy Crabbe





    Libra Full Moon: Find Strength and Beauty Within ***April 7 at 7:35 pm PDT***
    (Zodiac Goddess Power deck*). Benzaitan is a Japanese Goddess and here's her poem.

    Libra Goddess: Benzaitan
    Dragon Lover
    Mating cry
    White snakes hover
    Beauty flies
    Divine balance
    In the sky
    Guiding talent

    Libra Affirmations

    - I focus on beauty, harmony and cooperation within my personal relationships
    - I am serene and at peace
    - Harmony fills my soul
    - I come alive to the rhythm of tribal beats through dance and movement
    - I see and understand every woman’s point of view
    - I see beauty all around me
    - My inner scales are in perfect balance.

    Sparkly Blessings!
    Kathy Crabbe






    Kathy Crabbe has been an artist forever and a soul reader since awakening her intuitive gifts at age forty after five years painting with her non dominant left hand. This awoke her intuition in a big way. In 2008 she created a Lefty Oracle deck and started giving intuitive soul readings that have touched many lives in profound and playful ways. Kathy lives in sunny Southern California with her pet muses and architect husband in an adobe home they built themselves.

    Kathy’s art and writing has been published and shown throughout the world at museum shows, galleries, art fairs, magazines and books including the San Diego Women’s History Museum, We’Moon Datebook, and Sawdust Art Festival in Laguna Beach to name a few. She has self-published several books, zines, oracle decks and ecourses and maintains a regularly updated blog, etsy store and portfolio site. Kathy received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Queen’s University and a Graphic Design Diploma from St. Lawrence College, Kingston, Canada. She has been working as a professional artist since 1992. Kathy has been an educator and mentor at Laguna Outreach Community Artists, Mt. San Jacinto College, Wise Woman University, Inspire San Diego Studio, HGTV, Michelle Shocked’s International Women’s Day Show as well as teaching her own classes: “Awaken Your Divine Feminine Soul”, and New Moon Circles. She is a founding member of the Temecula Artist’s Circle, the Temecula Writer’s Café and the Riverside Art Museum’s Printmaker’s Network. Metaphysically speaking, Kathy has studied with Francesca De Grandis (Third Road Celtic Faerie Shamanism), Adam Higgs (psychic mediumship), Om, devotee of Sri Chinmoy (meditation), Atma Khalsa (yoga), Susun Weed (Green Witch Intensive), Joyce Fournier, RN (Therapeutic Touch), Steven Forrest & Jeffrey Wolf Green (astrology) and she received certification in crystal healing from Katrina Raphaell’s Crystal Academy.
    Learn more here.


    Kathy’s 4 week eClass “Awaken Your Divine Feminine Soul” is once again being offered at Wise Woman University so get ready to Moon Collage your heart out starting one week prior to the New Moon each month…more details here: eClass.

  • Tuesday, April 07, 2020 1:49 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Make your own Bottled Sunshine..

    by Corinna Wood and Lee Warren





    There is no other medicinal herb that bespeaks more of sunshine than St. Johnswort, or St. J’s, as we fondly call it. It loves sunny open places, blooms at the height of summer solstice, soothes the skin after sunburn, and even brings sunshine into our lives through its mood elevating properties. Establish some of this sunny plant in your garden this spring!


    The most well known, most widely used species of St. Johnswort is Hypericum perforatum, studied for its uses against depression—especially helpful for the kind of dark moods that come from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). In fact, it is often said that plants grow where they are needed—and St J’s is a prolific “weed” in the Pacific Northwest, where dark and rainy winters contribute to a high number of SAD cases.

    Additionally, St. J’s has constituents known to support the nerves and help the body against viruses—both when taken internally, and when extracted into an oil for use externally. In diseases where viruses affect the nervous system—such as cold sores, herpes, shingles, or chicken pox—St. J’s has brought relief for hundreds of years.

    We have our own wild varieties in Western NC, including Hypericum punctatum, but it is not found in great abundance as it is in some other parts of the country. It’s best to plant this herb in your home garden—it’s easy to grow, strong in establishment, and will bloom year after year. You’ll appreciate the beauty it adds to your garden, as it’s truly lovely, with 5-petaled yellow flowers, small seed pods, and delicate yellow-green leaves.

    At Red Moon Herbs, we have about 50 St. J’s plants that we started over the last two years. We saved the seed from our original garden plant, started them in a tray, watered them for several weeks until they germinated, and planted them out in the spring. We established them along a fence line, which helped stabilize a sloped bank—and they also provide food for our bees, beauty, and medicine.

    This year we plan to put in another 120 St. J’s plants in order to meet our demand for 15 gallons of St. J’s extract per year. For the home garden, 10 plants will create a big, healthy patch, which provides plenty of medicine for a family year after year.

    Once established and thriving, harvest the top third of the plant, including the flowering tops, at peak potency. Peak time for St. J’s is when the flowers are 1/3 in blossom and 2/3 in bud. If you take a yellow flower bud and squeeze it, you’ll notice it exudes a red juice. This is the hypericin, a constituent in St. J’s which contains medicinal properties.

    Once harvested, you can pack your flowers, stalks, and leaves in a dry jar and cover in olive oil to make medicinal oil; or fill with 100 proof vodka for some tincture. Let them steep for 6 weeks, and then strain out the plant material. One word of caution: sometimes folks who are taking St. J’s regularly become more sensitive to the sun (there’s that sun association again), so pay attention if you’re noticing your eyes or skin being more sensitive, and back off of internal use of St J’s if needed.

    If you don’t want to start your own seed, it’s easy to plant St. J’s from a “start.”  Coming up on May 1st, visit Herb Days, an annual event at the WNC Farmer’s Market where you’ll be able to get St. J’s plant starts for your garden. Expand your spring herb purchases from basil and parsley to include St. J’s and other medicinal herbs, and you’ll be taking another step toward bringing more of your health care into your own hands!

    St. J’s genus name (Hypericum) is derived from the word hyper, meaning above and eikon, meaning picture. This referred to the traditional style of hanging the plants around the house to ward off “bad spirits” (maybe an old fashioned word for depression).

    Even if you don’t make extracts from your St. J’s, the plant will bring a sunshine into your life. And after the winter we’ve had in WNC, who can’t use a little sunshine around here?

  • Tuesday, April 07, 2020 8:56 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    An Invitation to Arrive
    by Astrid Grove






    One of my greatest passions is to arrive fully present in each moment and support others to do the same. I trust my inner knowing that this is each of our birthright. The lessons that show up in my life continue to reveal this truth to me. And so it is.

    When I woke up this morning, I knew in the deepest part of my being that today is a day that is potent, ripe, and full of potential. I am sitting here at my kitchen table as I write this, and I know that I am living this moment fully. With this knowing I feel complete. Arising within me are sensations and feelings, moving through me like ocean waves, waves of energy, and I breathe. I feel scared about feeling so present without any distraction…ah!!! What can I do to distract myself.??? Breathing, I sink deeper into myself and from underneath the fear arises a deep joy and laughter. As I surrender to the fear, I uncover the delicious nugget of beauty within. With this breath I arrive into my body, into this moment, into my center.

    As I write this it seems esoteric, yet within myself it is incredibly embodied. I am alive! I breathe! I feel. I am on this blessed earth to fully live this life. Now, let’s go on a journey together. What position is your body in? How does it feel to be in this position? Are you comfortable, easeful, does your body feel good? If not, do you want to change your position? If you decide to change your position, how does it feel to be in this new position? If you decide not to change your position, what is arising in you as you stay in your current position?

    What do we do with all this moment-to-moment information? I notice that it can begin to feel overwhelming to constantly be checking in with myself in this deep way. So I remember to breathe. I return to the breath that is always there, the sacred inhalation and exhalation. Inhaling deeply this life giving oxygen rich breath, giving thanks to the plant beings that offer us this oxygen, and exhaling… letting go, releasing. As Susun Weed says, breathing is a give-away dance with the plants. Then we begin again, this moment anew.

    Let’s fully feel what it feels like to feel!!! HA! Now that sounds like a good time, or perhaps intense with the potential of a good time. Now, let’s fully feel in a group of women where we can feel safe to be vulnerable and held in love and trust. Mmmmm….aaaahhhhh… deep exhalation is leaving my body, and a big smile that begins deep down in my belly because of what I know women. What I know is that this circle has arisen.

    Women around the globe are hearing this call. We are hearing the call to gather together as we support ourselves and each other in healing our ancestral line . It is by healing our ancestral line that we can really truly arrive in our own bodies in this present moment. It is time to fully give ourselves this gift, and our ancestors this gift, and our children this gift …of arriving fully. We are being called women. We are being called to complete what our ancestors did not. What will it take for each of us to fully arrive? What is preventing us from fully arriving? What stories, bodily sensations, fears, cellular memories etc. are pulling our energy out of the here and now?

    I am ready to do this work. I am doing this work. I am ready to feel fully these feelings---my own and my mother’s ,and her mother’s and her mother’s…and to release them and to pray. Are you? Let’s do it, each of us doing our work together. Let’s gather together to heal ourselves and each other. The circle is calling. It is time.

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