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  • Monday, August 12, 2013 3:22 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Spirit of Cacao
    ~ Joanne Dodgson ~

    I'm delighted and honored to share with you the gifts and teachings from the Plant, Animal and Spirit Nations in my medicine bundle for Throwing the Bones Ceremony. Bone Throwing is an ancient Peruvian healing art, a Calling of the Spirits Ceremony, which offers extraordinary guidance from the vast perspectives and doctoring shared by the Spirits in the bone bundle. My apprenticeship as a Bone Thrower in the ways of Ka Ta See began in 2006. For several years, I have been engaged in extensive studies and intentional cultivation of personal relationships with the Spirit Nations who have come to be part of the bone bundle. In 2012, I received permission to give Throwing of the Bones Ceremony with individuals and groups. My teacher, Kay Cordell Whitaker, apprenticed with Chea Hetaka, a Peruvian elder in the Ka Ta See lineage.  The art of Bone Throwing is a traditional medicine way passed on among the women in Chea's tribal culture in the Eastern Andes. www.pathwaysforhealing.net


    SPIRIT of CACAO


    The story of chocolate begins in the rainforest with a tree who thrives in the shade beneath the dense jungle canopy. Cacao (ka-KOW) is quite extraordinary, simply like no other. She's a magical, mystical tree.

    Tree of Life
    Mayan cultures consider the Cacao Tree to be the World Tree. The Tree at the Center of the Universe. The Tree of Life. Symbolically in ancient art and stories, Cacao represents abundant nourishment, vast life potentials, natural cycles, connectedness, fertility. Associated with the Great Mystery, the Underworld and realms of Spirit, Cacao is revered for her unconditionally loving presence. Hers is a boundless embrace, such exquisite sharing. She's Life which feeds Life which feeds Life.

    In her physical form, the nourishment given naturally by Cacao is food for diverse beings. Frogs, bats, snakes, monkeys, birds and insects feast on various elements of the tree. Cacao provides food for people too. In ancient cultures, the roasted seeds of Cacao were ground into a thick paste to create what we call 'chocolate.' Not only enjoyed as a delicious nourishing food, Cacao was consumed for ceremonial purposes. Cacao is sacred nourishment for body, mind, spirit and heart.

    Her Roots
    Cacao's homeland is the jungle. In the wild, she flourishes in the rainy, hot and humid lands twenty-degrees north and south of the equator. The Cacao Tree depends on taller 'mother trees' to provide shade in the rainforest. These protective trees include the banana, coconut palm and lemon. It's in the shady space beneath the jungle canopy, rooted in rich fertile soils, that the tender vine-like Cacao Tree thrives. Her Flowers
    Cacao's flowers are quite unique. They don't blossom only on the very tips of branches nor bloom just seasonally. Countless pink and white tiny flowers spiral all around the trunk of the Cacao Tree and burst out all along the branches and bloom all through the year. Cacao's flowers have no scent, at least to our human noses. And it's not the buzzing bees who are the vital pollinators. Rather, it's midges, itty-bitty flying insects, who pollinate the flowers so they become fruits.

    Her Pods
    Cacao's unusual fruit pods also hint at the magic of this tree. The fruit pods are thick-skinned deeply-ribbed oval bulbs, some weighing over one pound. Cacao pods are vibrant colors - red, green, yellow, violet, brown, orange - depending on the particular tree species and ripeness of the pods. The cacao pods sprout all around the trunk and hang from all parts of the branches.

    Unlike other trees, Cacao's fruits don't drop to the ground when ripe. Rather, each pod is filled with a rich creamy white pulp containing almond-shaped seeds which draw monkeys, frogs, snakes, bats, and parrots for a delectable feast. The animals, reptiles and birds eat the pulp and disperse the seeds through the rainforest. Cacao Tree counts on her companions in the rainforest to plant seeds for the generations to come.

    Her Sacred Seeds
    It's here with the seeds that chocolate is found. Cacao seeds are highly nutritious and have unique chemical compounds that provide energy for the human body, generate feelings of well-being, and evoke altered states of consciousness. Ancient peoples knew this and contemporary science bears this out. In Mayan and Aztec cultures, cacao was revered as a ceremonial food. The seeds were gathered from the pods, fermented with the pulp, and roasted in the sun. The sun-roasted seeds were ground into a thick paste. When dried into a wafer, this provided a delicious nutrient-dense food for warriors and travelers. Chocolate elixirs were made by mixing the paste with water and spices such as chili and vanilla bean. In ancient artifacts, chemical residues from cacao have been found in drinking vessels. In ancient art, chocolate elixirs are depicted as key elements in ceremonial gatherings.

    Her Magic
    When eating and drinking Cacao, the very seed of the Tree of Life is being tasted, touched, taken in, and shared. Cacao awakens passion and our remembering of the deliciousness of Life, opening vast realms of the spirit and heart. Cacao is sacred medicine.




    JoAnne Dodgson is a healer, author and teacher of Ka Ta See, a unique Peruvian tradition from the Eastern Andes.

    JoAnne has adoctorate in counseling psychology and has pursued an extensive twelve-year shamanic apprenticeship to live and learn the Ka Ta See tradition and share the ancient teachings and ceremonial ways.

    For more information, please visit: www.pathwaysforhealing.net

      
    Listen to a 30 minute radio interview with Joanne Dodgson
    ~~ Listen Here ~~



    Study with Joanne Dodgson Online

    'Manifesting with the Moon' invites you to explore the unique energies and opportunities in each moon phase during one complete lunar cycle, one mo(o)nth.  With the moon as a guide, you will engage in an organic manifestation process which begins with claiming your intent, giving voice to your visions and dreams.
     

    ~ Shaman's Circle ~ Earth Spirits and Guides
    ( description of online course with mentor JoAnne Dodgson )

    'Shaman's Circle' offers opportunities to deepen your understandings of the path of the shaman and to integrate these ancient ways into your everyday life.  Each lesson offers discussion of unique aspects of the shaman's path such as bridging the varied dimensions of reality, living in balance with natural cycles and creating sacred ceremony.  Each lesson guides you in opportunities to discover and enrich your innate connection with the web of life on the mother earth and in the world of the spirits.

     

     
    by JoAnne Dodgson

    In the ancient art of storytelling, UnLeashing Love is filled with personal reflections and myth-like teachings to invite awakenings, passionate searchings, and rich discoveries. The medicine stories in UnLeashing Love carry many layers of meaning which open new awareness, nourish healing, and awaken deeply felt connections with the extraordinary web of life.

    UnLeashing Love is a beautiful book you'll want share with friends, read aloud to loved ones, and revisit over and over again.

    "absolutely exquisite" * "insightful & thought-provoking"
    "incredibly uplifting" * "touched my heart in so many many ways"

    Order Here ...
  • Tuesday, August 06, 2013 1:27 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Harvest Time
    by Melissa Potter


    I love to look at my life as a garden. I truly love the concept of looking at life as if I were a gardener who has been given - as each of us has been given - a blessed piece of earth to tend; of being responsible for planting and harvesting and composting what I sow, through each season of my life. The seeds I plant and nurture will be the fruits I bear in this world. The seeds - whether they be healthy or not; indigenous to my region or not; heirloom or not - will transform into the plants I ultimately must harvest in my life.

    My gardens are blessed by sun and earth and often they are blessed by unexpected rains just when I feel too tired to pull the garden hose out; but I am responsible for watering them when the rains don't come.

    I am responsible for weeding my garden - for thinning out the places where too much growth in one area is choking out the opportunity for other parts of my garden of life to express itself. And I am responsible for singing songs of hope to the parts of my garden that struggle. The rebellious teenager in me grew up to be a self-assertive entrepreneur; the know-it-all, a passionate, inspiring teacher.

    I am responsible for separating the wheat from the chaff; what wisdom shall I harvest? What fruit will nourish me the most? Which plants are poisoning me?

    What shall I keep and what shall I refuse? This act of discernment lies upon my shoulders. The sickle that threshes the grain lies before me like the golden gift of an August sunset.

    After the harvest, I am responsible for using the abundance of gifts my garden of life produces for me; I can store my goods in the root cellar of my self, for future use. I can share my bounty with those around me in a great, harvest feast of joy. I can offer prayers of gratitude for the blessings I've received.

    If I choose to let the basket of abundant fruit sit too long on the kitchen counter, it will turn back to seed and I will have to start over another day if I want to receive those gifts again. I like that I can save the seeds for wiser days.

    I am responsible for disposing of the parts of my garden whose time has come. I can push my garden refuse into over-stuffed, garbage bags where the rich wisdom of its biology will waste away to noxious fumes – or I can convert the seemingly useless parts of my garden into something fertile, through composting them.

    I can offer this season's chaff to my Mother, the Earth.

    There, she will bathe them in autumn rainstorms and illuminate their hidden gifts with the bright light of the sun. There, they can dance among fallen leaves and greens and wind and lie blanketed under winter's quiet, reflective snow.

    By spring, when time and alchemy have had their way, she will have transformed it all into a fertile blessing that will make my garden of life that much richer and beautiful.

    Rumi said, "This world is a mountain, in which your works are echoed back to you."

    Today I heard love and joy echo off the mountain; called back to me from those to whom I have offered the flowers of my heart. Today I heard fear and worry echo back at me from seeds of doubt I planted long ago through bad choices I made. Soon after, though, I heard the cry of a small, white crocus echo back to me from March 1985. From the top of the mountain she echoed, "Thank you for not giving up on me during that spring blizzard."

    Today I heard the works of my Mother echo back from the mountain and knew, in that call, the sound of my Grandmother's voice, too.

    Light and dark and joy and sorrow dance around me. There is a stone path of beautiful twisting and turning that I walk, through my garden of life. I see that some plants grow best in the sunlight and some in the shade. They are all part of the glorious, fertile tapestry of my field.



    Melissa Potter lives in New Hampshire with her 16-year old son, her greatest joy and their cat, Jack. She loves the earth and all its elements; loves to camp, kayak, swim, visit the mountains and to gather with friends and family for good food and conversation. She also loves exploring-adventures, music, libraries, bookstores and the theater.

    Connecting to nature has been a joyful and deepening source of strength, beauty and sustenance for Melissa. This honoring of Mother Earth and her devotion to holistic healing led her to the joyous and rewarding journey of studying and using herbal medicine and aromatherapy as well. Life is a magical, beautiful and aromatic adventure when surrounded by pure essential oils and colorful, healing plants!

    Her passions are writing for the joy of writing, inspiring others and doing service work. Creating venues to share her experience, strength and hope is extremely rewarding to her. She loves exploring the Divine Feminine through myths, archetypes and ritual and is deeply in love with creating altars and sacred space for healing and celebration.

    Her latest passions are astrology, working toward her degree in Counseling Psychology and the opportunity to serve as a mentor at Wise Woman University!

    Melissa graduated from the NH Institute of Therapeutic Arts in 1993 where she studied various forms of alternative healing. She offers craniosacral therapy, somato-emotional release work, ceremony, Astrological and Spiritual Counseling in her private practice at MotherRoots Healing Arts.

    Although Melissa has studied with many wonderful and wise teachers throughout the last twenty six years, many of her most profound teachings have come from the everyday women and men who have inspired her with their own life stories. For this she is eternally grateful. And to all of the women who's tables she has sat around sharing cups of tea, potluck meals, stories and laughter ~ she is also grateful ~ for these are the intuitive, soulful Wise Woman ways that infuse us with the very deepest teachings about ourselves, each other and the world around us on our journey through life.

     
    New interview with Melissa!

    Melissa describes the archetypal qualities of the goddess Artemis. She explains why Artemis is a symbol of empowerment for her personally and what it means to be an empowered woman.


     

    ~ Reclaiming Artemis: Calling Passion, Power and Wildness
    Back Into Your Life!~

    ( link to detailed description of Reclaiming Artemis )


    (Testimonials from Students - Click Here)

    By connecting with our Inner Warrior and the Goddess Artemis, in this four week online course, we will learn to empower ourselves, set strong boundaries and live an intuitive, authentic life filled with passion, power and wildness.  We do this through spending time in nature, listening to the call of the wild within, and following the passions of our heart.

  • Thursday, August 01, 2013 9:00 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    The Microbes In The Belly, Part 3
    by Lisa Sarasohn
    (c) 2013 Self-Health Education, Inc


    What's in a belly? To recap, your belly plays host to 100 trillion bacteria. These single-celled creatures—your gut microbiota—shape your physical and mental health. When your belly bacteria, in terms of their numbers and their species diversity, achieve a balance, they vitalize your digestion, immunity, hormone production, nerve communication, and more.

    Imbalance among and depletion of the gut bacteria likely plays a key role in body-mind disorders such as anxiety, autism, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, autoimmune diseases, and allergies.

    The belly's microbiome —together with the microbial worlds dwelling on our skin, in breast milk, and in every orifice and organ open to the environment—is receiving increasing notice these days, especially since June 2012. That's when the Human Microbiome Project released its first reports identifying and sequencing the genetic material of bacteria sampled from nearly 250 healthy men and women.

    The spotlight is shining on the gut microbiome now as researchers attempt to define its protective role with regard to specific infectious and chronic diseases. As I mentioned in the What's in a belly? previous article, the incidence of deadly intestinal infection with the Clostridium difficile bacterium has increased dramatically, at least in part due to the use of antibiotics that have destroyed the beneficial bacteria which, if present in the gut, could prevent and eliminate the infection.

    Celiac disease—intolerance to gluten, the protein in wheat—has likewise become a common chronic complaint, its incidence increasing by as much as a factor of four over the last thirty years. Research suggests that certain members of the gut microbiome alter the way intestinal cells respond to gluten. In the presence of these bacteria, the response is tolerance. If the gut microbiome has been depleted and they're absent, the intestinal cells' response to gluten is inflammation.

    What determines the character of the microbiome we tote around in our bellies?

    As research regarding celiac disease is demonstrating, our mothers introduce us to many of our microbes playmates in the process of pushing us through their vaginal microbiome and out into the world. Our mothers take us to play-dates with bacterial friends as they feed us with their breast milk. In contrast, birth by Caesarean section and bottle feeding diminish the chances a child has to develop a robust microbiome.

    Given the microbial realm we enter when and after we're born, we enrich or deplete our microbiome with the remedies we use to address illness. Do we choose herbs, minerals, antibiotics, or something else entirely?

    The environment in which we live can also add to or take away from the microbiome's protective capacity. An overly-sanitized environment may in fact put our health in jeopardy. When I recently asked a group of women "How many children express the instinct to eat dirt?" one woman replied immediately: "Everyone!" Heads nodded around the room. Sifting through stories I hear, I suspect many indigenous cultures have sustained a custom among adults of eating dirt from time to time.

    Our gut microbiome is constantly changing. When we move our bowels, only half of what we eliminate is the undigested fiber remaining from the food we've eaten. The other half of what we eliminate is a mass of microbes. How do we keep replenishing our belly microbiota so they'll help keep us healthy in body and mind?

    In the previous article, I mentioned fecal microbial transplantation as a method physicians are currently using to restore the gut microbiome and treat intestinal infection with Clostridium difficile. Fecal microbial transplantation has a long history as a healing practice in China and, I suspect, among traditional cultures around the globe.

    Cuisines that enrich the gut microbiome are also indigenous worldwide. Such culinary traditions fortify meals with fermented foods such as pickled vegetables, sour milk beverages, soups, and breads. These foods—natto, miso, tempeh, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, borscht, buttermilk, sourdough—resupply the gut's population of health-enhancing bacteria.

    I have to wonder: How does the use of pesticides in food production diminish the soil's microbiome. How does depletion of the soil—together with the protocols of industrial food processing—affect the microbial resources we need from what we eat?

    Choosing vaginal birth, breast-feeding, avoiding antibiotics, maintaining environmental diversity, eating fermented and organic foods—these are all ways to establish and replenish a healthy gut microbiome.

    What about physical activity?

    In the next installment, I'll discuss the power-centering gestures comprising the Gutsy Women's Workout as featured in The Woman's Belly Book and on the Honoring Your Belly dvd. Energizing the body's center, these moves may well activate your gut microbiome and make its healing powers all the more available to you.



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

    My workshops flow from my quest for the Sacred Feminine blended with my experience practicing and teaching yoga.

    I've been a Kripalu Yoga instructor since 1979. I've also trained as a yoga and bodywork therapist.

    From 1981 to 1988, I served on staff at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Lenox, MA. During this time, I led yoga classes for thousands of guests, conducted a practice in bodywork therapy, designed workshops on many aspects of holistic health, and trained yoga teachers and bodyworkers.

    In the course of my continuing yoga studies, I learned how cultures around the world have valued the body's center as sacred. Delving deeper into this subject revealed connections between the body's center and qualities of the soul, the extent of women's power in family and society, and the degree of a culture's reverence for Sacred Feminine.

    Listen to an interview with Lisa Sarasohn


    Study with Lisa Online!

    ~ From Belly Distress to Belly Health~
    ( Learn More Here )

        Drawing on ancient wisdom and contemporary practice, we'll attend to our bellies' well-being. We'll engage in experiential learning, energizing the body-mind transformation that supports healing.

        
        ~ Initiation 2012: Awakening Your Sacred Center, Part One ~
        ( Learn More Here )

        This online course is the first part of an ongoing process through which you embody the Sacred Feminine by energizing your body's center with breath, image, story, and movement.

         



        (New World Library, 2006) presents what I've learned about the body's center through teaching and research over a period of nearly twenty years.
     
        My articles on honoring the body's center have appeared in publications including Yoga Journal, SageWoman, Radiance, and Personal Transformation. My workshops have been sponsored by colleges and universities, health education agencies, and holistic learning centers.

        My intention is to provide you an opportunity to delight in the vitality and pleasure, the creativity and confidence, the intuition and sense of purpose that already dwell within and emerge from your body's center. My greatest joy is to offer you ways to discover the Sacred Feminine as she already abides within you.
      ~~ Order Here ~~

  • Monday, July 29, 2013 4:19 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Choosing Local Plants

    With Linda Conroy of Moonwise Herbs

    www.moonwiseherbs.com
    www.midwestwomensherbal.com


    Relocation, as a bioregional herbalist (one who chooses to incorporate the plants that grow nearby) has proven to be an opportunity to connect with new plants on an intimate level.

     One of those plants is Monarda fistulosa, commonly known as Bee Balm or wild bergomot. While I grew Monarda didyma in my garden while living in Seattle, I did not harvest very much, as there were only a few plants. I occasionally harvested petals for salad and that was the extent of it. I had of course read about the healing qualities but was utilizing other more abundant plants for the purposes that I have since applied to bee balm. Since relocating and getting to know the ever abundant midwest native Monarda fistulosa, I have begun harvesting this plant in abundance. I incorporate her spicy leaves and flowers into salads, vinegars and honey. I dry the plant for infusions (steeped 2 hours for flowers) and enjoy her ever fragrant flowers in sachets. 

    Monarda is a plant in the Lamanicea or mint family. The plant is aromatic and grows in what botanists call a subshrub pattern, in other words large clusters.

    Wild bergamot was also considered a medicinal plant by many Native Americans including, (but not limited to) the Menominee, the Objibwe, and the Winnebago. It was used most commonly to cure colds, and was frequently made into a tea. Today, many families still use wild bergamot during the cold and flu season. It is often sweetened with honey to subdue it's strong flavor.

    Bee Balm has strong antiseptic qualities which stem from the fact that this plants contains thymol, or thyme oil. It can be applied for cleaning minor wounds and/or skin infections, as a mouth rinse for throat and mouth infections and it has been used as a carminative (an herb that reduces or expels gas). This plant also contains anitfungal qualities. While living in the Pacific Northwest, Red Cedar was one of my favorite plants for clearing fungal infections including athlete's foot. Today Mondarda is my choice.

    In many of the talks I offer, I speak to the need for choosing plants that grow around us. Many of us are familiar with the concept of local food, yet few of us stop to think where our remedies come from. Historically people had everything they needed right around them and we can too. Many of the plants that we use, which come from afar can be replaced with plants that grow right in our own bioregion. Take the challenge. Here is a link to a wonderful article on this topic written by Rose Barlow Local Herbs

    Recipe for Monarda Vinegar
    -Harvest the flowers of this plant when they are in full bloom. Follow the bees they will lead you there. Ask permission, if granted thank the plant. I like to thank the plant by breathing and singing with it. Sharing breath is the greatest gift we can offer our green allies, acknowledging and keeping in our consciousness our dependence on them for every breath we take.

    -Place the flowers in a jar. Filling and packing the jar lightly.
    -Once the jar is full, pour apple cider vinegar over the plant. I prefer organic raw vinegar.
    -Place a lid on the jar. I have been using plastic canning jar lids, as they will not rust.
    -Label the jar, with the common name, botanical name, date and any other pertinent information.
    -Place the jar in a dark place.
    -Strain in 4-6 weeks. Store in a dark place.
    -Enjoy this on salads, in water to create a refreshing beverage and/or soak your feet in a diluted foot bath to clear up athlete's feet. Many wonderful uses!




     

    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."

    Listen to a thirty minute interview with mentor Linda Conroy

     

    Study with Linda Conroy from Home

    ~Empower Yourself with Herbal Medicine Making~
    ( Link to detailed description of Empower Yourself with Herbal Medicine Making )

    The goal of the course is to have participants become familiar with herbal medicine, to become comfortable incorporating herbs into daily life and to gain hands on experience making simple remedies at home.

  • Monday, July 22, 2013 2:21 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Warrior Poses

    By Sheryl Wolover

    Sheryl Wolover of Yoga Legends shares the story sequence of the warrior poses for Wise Woman forum.






    Greetings I'm Sheryl Wolover, native to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.  Mother of two children raised with Susun Weed's herbal infusions  somewhere in the 1980's~
     
    I am the creator of YOGA LEGENDS. Yoga DVD's that link poses together through story telling~  
    Owner of Pacific Elements studio for Massage Therapy (1984) and Yoga classes (2003)~
    My family (including the animal family) live around a beautiful lake side where we garden and gather herbs for food and medicine~
    *=Oceans+Mountains^^^^ of Peace,Sheryl

    http://www.pacific-elements.com/
  • Wednesday, July 17, 2013 2:03 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Meet Creeping Charlie
    By Thea Summer Deer


    When Charlie comes a creepin'
    You'll be meetin' a new friend,
    And he'll be true to you, ya know,
    Not kept away by winter snow:
    He'll be comin' back to sow,
    The seeds of friendship that will grow,
     Within our hearts and keep us lively,
     'Cause Creepin' Charlie, aint just any ivy!


    This time last year I was walking the trail with energetic healer, priestess and aspiring herbalist, Carolyn Bye. This year Carolyn is no longer with us having recently made her transition. She fought the cancer as long as she could and then passed surrounded by the priestesses who loved her. I met Carolyn only three times when she was visiting our healing community in the beautiful blue mountains of Western North Carolina. She was closely associated with Registered Herbalist, Matthew Wood and her knowledge, and her spirit intrigued me.

    We initially met on one of my plant walks and our second meeting occurred during one of my workshops. That was when she learned about my mercury poisoning and recommended a plant that helps to remove heavy metals from the body. That plant is Creeping Charlie. I had heard of this plant, but wasn't familiar with its medicinal properties. So, I wrote down the name and intended to research it at some future date.

    The third and last time that I saw Carolyn was an unexpected surprise. We had been trying to connect before she headed back north, but couldn't find an opening in our busy schedules. On Carolyn's last day in North Carolina I stopped by a friend's house in a small mountain town near to where she was staying to drop off some herbal salve. Upon my arrival I was surprised to find Carolyn there. A small impromptu gathering was underway to say farewell. No one knew this would be the last time that we would see her. While Carolyn and I may have seemed surprised to see each other, we also knew that we were meant to connect.

    "Did you find yourself some Creepin' Charlie?" she asked.

    I laughed and said, "No, not yet, but I will."

    "Well look no further," she replied and pointed down at our feet. I looked down and saw that we were standing on a carpet of Creeping Charlie. She pulled some up showing me its rhizomes and square stems. I was in awe of how our medicine always seems to be no further than where we are right now. She was providing me with a personal introduction to this plant and it is always better to have a personal introduction when meeting a new friend. I felt incredibly grateful for having been led to Carolyn in that moment. And as one of my herbal mentors, Willie Whitefeather, always says, "Look down! You are standing on your medicine." And this is how my relationship began with Creeping Charlie. I offer it up as a tribute to Carolyn Bye.

    Glechoma hederacea, is an aromatic creeper of the mint family Lamiaceae, more affectionately known as Creeping Charlie. It is an evergreen perennial, which means it is available all year long, even here in the Appalachian Mountains beneath the snows of winter. It has numerous medicinal uses and is commonly used as a salad green. Introduced by European settlers it has become naturalized in North America.

    It is not to be confused with Creeping Jenny, Lysimachia nummularia, whose leaves are rounder and flowers are yellow. The size of Creeping Charlie's fan-shaped, round-toothed edged leaves depends on environmental conditions. The opposite leaves are attached to a square stem typical of the mint family. The flowers tend toward a bluish-violet and flower in clusters of 2 to 3 in the spring. They like moist shaded areas and grow in abundance beneath the trees and along the banks of the creek near my house. Once introduced to Creeping Charlie it wasn't hard to spot on my daily walks. I used to think it was just some kind of ground ivy, which of course it is. Its botanical species name, hederaceae finds its roots in the Latin word for ivy, hedera. Creeping Charlie also appears in sunnier areas especially where the soil has been disturbed and in grass lawns as it is undisturbed by mowing. This is where I initially discovered it with Carolyn.

    Creeping Charlie spreads easily through root division and seed dispersal and is potentially invasive: one of those pesky weeds. Ha! I have to laugh at the amount of time, energy and money some people are willing to spend trying to eradicate a pretty little edible and medicinal plant. It is an attractive plant and occasionally grown as a ground cover. But make no mistake; Glechoma was brought to America because of its culinary and medicinal uses. It can be made into tea, cooked in soups, or eaten in salads. It has a long list of herbal actions including: diuretic, astringent, expectorant, anti-catarrhal, anodyne, digestive, vulnerary, mild stimulant, diaphoretic, antioxidant, anti-cancer, tonic and vermifuge. Creeping Charlie is known to relieve congestion and inflammation of the mucous membranes associated with colds, flu, and sinusitis. Studies have concluded that it has anti-inflammatory action, but no clinical human trials on the actions of G. hederacea have been concluded to date. Information on this plant has been purely based on traditional and empirical knowledge. For a plant with such a wide spectrum of pharmacological activity there are very few references of the phytochemical details and chemical composition of its essential oil.

    Unfortunately, it has long been discarded from the Materia Medica in favor of other plants with a greater certainty of action. Clearly more research is needed. Plants that were once considered cure alls, like Creeping Charlie, in my opinion fall into the category of herbal actions known as alterative. Alteratives gradually restore proper function to the body, increasing overall health and vitality. Their primary action is to favorably alter disordered metabolic processes, especially those associated with the breakdown and elimination of metabolic waste. Their secondary action is to enhance better overall absorption and assimilation of nutrients.

    Because Creeping Charlie is used as a kidney tonic and a "cure for consumption," this tells me that it works on the level of the Wood (Liver) and Water (Kidney) Elements by relieving liver congestion and tonifying the Kidneys. In the past it was thought of as a blood purifier, as were most alteratives, further pointing to the liver, which filters 2.5 liters of blood every hour. Its mildly bitter flavor is stimulating to the liver and gallbladder and it relieves headaches, also indicating its effect upon the liver (see "Headache Free in Every Season".)

    Finding any reference as to how Creeping Charlie pulls heavy metals, specifically aluminum, lead and mercury out of the body was practically nonexistent. Yet both herbalists, Matthew Wood and David Winston have used it for this purpose and that was how its knowledge came down to me through Carolyn Bye. The most telling reference I could find was its use in a tincture form by painters who experienced a kind of lead poisoning called "lead colic."

    Creeping Charlie, abundant and neglected in the Materia Medica though it may be, brings us an important lesson. That lesson is on the importance of having herbalists whose feet are literally on the ground. Researches and scientists in laboratories may be looking down through their microscopes, but knowledge of plant medicine begins in the field by looking down at what is right beneath our feet. It begins with a need for a particular medicine and the receptivity to receive information about a plant from sources other than scientific data. Both perspectives are necessary, but unfortunately the availability of good research is receding from our grasp. This is partially due to government regulation and control of herbal supplements, which relies on the opinions of those who have never given herbs to patients: researchers, manufacturers, bureaucrats, and academics. Other factors include funding sources. With the amount of money that it takes to accurately evaluate the safety and effectiveness of herbal products, government and pharmaceutical company's involvement is necessary. This further controls and limits, not expands, our choices in health care.

    I am looking forward to my personal journey with Creeping Charlie and resurrecting this herb from the slumber of disuse. Perhaps this will lighten the toxic load of heavy metals in my system. I know these plants show up in our lives in divine right timing and at the exact moment when their medicine is needed. This is what the Wisdom of the Plant Devas teaches us – an Herbal Medicine for a New Earth.

      Goodbye Carolyn Bye and thanks for introducing me to Creeping Charlie in that last brief moment we shared together. May your journey into the light continue to be guided by those plant spirits and devas that you loved and who love you. The plant devas are already in light body and they are holding open the door.

    To treat digestive disorders, colds, flu, sinusitis or to improve liver and kidney function or as an antidote for heavy metal poisoning, prepare and use as follows:
    • 1 teaspoon of dried leaves, or 2 teaspoons fresh leaves per cup. Cover with hot, almost boiling water and infuse for 15 minutes. Drink 1 cup, 3x a day. Add peppermint or honey to taste.
    • Express fresh juice with press and take 1 teaspoon 3x a day.
    • Tincture dosage: 1 – 4 ml 3 x a day, folk method (see The Herbal Medicine Maker's Handbook by James Green.)
    • Note: To use fresh harvest aerial parts April – June.


    Learn more in Thea Summer Deer's classes at Wise Woman University.


     



    Learn more in Thea Summer Deer's class, Love Your Liver: Spring and the Wood Element, a work at your pace, online class at Wise Woman University.

    For an edible spring weed recipe visit: Thea's Kitchen. Visit Thea Summer Deer: www.theasummerdeer.com

     
    Thea Summer Deer, Ph.D. is a clinical herbalist, educator, author and singer-songwriter. She began practicing midwifery in 1978 and was a founding mother of the South Florida School of Midwifery.

    Her involvement in Alternative Medicine spans 35 years as owner of Mindbody Press and Evolutionary Press, and as the executive director of Resources for World Health. She is a graduate of the Botanologos School for Herbal Studies and received her doctorate from Venus Rising University.

    Mother, Grandmother, avid cook and gardener, Thea is also an award winning songwriter performing in the acoustic duo, Thea & The GreenMan.

    Her new book, "Wisdom of the Plant Devas: Herbal Medicine for a New Earth," published by Inner Traditions International/Bear & Company, bridges botanical medicine with Earth-Spirit wisdom. ~~ Order Here ~~

    Learn more at www.theasummerdeer.com or "Like" her on Facebook.


    Listen to radio interviews with Thea Summer Deer



    Study with Thea Summer Deer Online

    ~ Indian Summer: Nourishing the Earth Element ~
    ( link to detailed description of Indian Summer: Nourishing the Earth Element )


    This class will benefit herbal and alternative medicine practitioners at any level, and individuals who want to heal and understand their digestive system for optimum health and longevity.


    ~ Hidden Treasure: Kidney Essence & The Water Element ~
    ( link to detailed description of Hidden Treasure )


    This class will benefit herbal practitioners at any level, and individuals who want to understand the vital role of Kidney Essence and how to achieve optimum health and longevity.


    ~ Heal Your Heart: The Fire Element~
    ( link to detailed description of Heal Your Heart )


    Heal Your Heart: The Fire Element, contains information I hope will someday be taught to our children as a matter of course so they grow in the knowledge that healing takes place in the context of relationships – our relationship with each other, the earth and her seasons and with the heavens.


    ~ Love Your Liver: The Wood Element~
    ( link to detailed description of Love Your Liver )


    This online course will benefit herbal practitioners at any level, and individuals who want to heal and support their liver for optimum health.


    Testimonials:

    "My goal in taking your class was to learn how the liver might affect hot flashes, but your gift of knowledge has far surpassed that and thank you." -- Helen Rollins Lord

    "I just wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying the classes and how much healing I am experiencing in my own life/body right now because of the information you have shared. I truly appreciate the gift of this class." -- Kristina White

    "I am so excited to have been guided to you and am so happy to be in this phase of my life with you. Thanks for being so very approachable and responsive." -- Sandi Manoogian

    "These classes have been so inspiring, gracefully presented and dense with insightful information." -- Emily Sabino

    "Thank you so much Thea Summer Deer. you have been placed on my path in perfect timing." -- Pat Alexander

  • Tuesday, July 16, 2013 11:26 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Tree Frogs: Bringers of Balance
    ~ Joanne Dodgson ~

    I'm delighted and honored to share with you the gifts and teachings from the Plant, Animal and Spirit Nations in my medicine bundle for Throwing the Bones Ceremony. Bone Throwing is an ancient Peruvian healing art, a Calling of the Spirits Ceremony, which offers extraordinary guidance from the vast perspectives and doctoring shared by the Spirits in the bone bundle. My apprenticeship as a Bone Thrower in the ways of Ka Ta See began in 2006. For several years, I have been engaged in extensive studies and intentional cultivation of personal relationships with the Spirit Nations who have come to be part of the bone bundle. In 2012, I received permission to give Throwing of the Bones Ceremony with individuals and groups. My teacher, Kay Cordell Whitaker, apprenticed with Chea Hetaka, a Peruvian elder in the Ka Ta See lineage.  The art of Bone Throwing is a traditional medicine way passed on among the women in Chea's tribal culture in the Eastern Andes. www.pathwaysforhealing.net


    Tree Frogs: Bringers of Balance

    In the deep dark night in the rainforest, tiny rainbow-colored frogs climb up into the branches of the trees. And the Tree Frogs begin to sing. Waves of intricate rhythmic sounds vibrantly come alive. Peeps and creeks and melodies dance on the air, wafting through the trees, lighting up the night.

    With playful aliveness. Connection. Creativity. Joy.

    Pure Joy.

    Tree Frogs sing from their hearts naturally. It's who they are. It's essential. It's what they've come here to do.

    When Tree Frogs sing, they fill the rainforest with their colorful voices. With the very breath of life. And the Trees breath this in. Receiving. Soaking up the sharing.

    And when the Trees breath out, oceanic waves ripple beyond the rainforest. An ever-flowing Giving. Of the very breath of life. Which nourishes countless beings, so wildly diverse, all around our planet.

    So when Tree Frogs sing, they feed the rainforest. And the breath of the rainforest feeds the mother earth. And when the earth and her beings are abundantly nourished, there's flourishing and thriving. Boundless giving and receiving. The birthing of balance. Exuberant, radiant, interwoven Balance. This is the dance which feeds the continuance of Life.

    All because of the little frogs.

    But that's not why Tree Frogs climb into the branches of the rainforest trees and make magical music. They're not burdened by the idea that it's all up to them to heal the world. They're not trying to make others get it together and change and grow. Tree Frogs aren't forcing anyone to follow along in their footsteps. They're not waiting for applause.

    They sing.

    Just because. It's a natural thing. It's an unstoppable, passionate, creative expression of the beauty of their being. Night after night. Day after day. Through the earth's changing seasons. Rain or shine.

    Sharing the song of the heart, Tree Frogs weave Balance.
    For their lives.
    For all life.
    For our planet.
    So can we.



    JoAnne Dodgson is a healer, author and teacher of Ka Ta See, a unique Peruvian tradition from the Eastern Andes.

    JoAnne has adoctorate in counseling psychology and has pursued an extensive twelve-year shamanic apprenticeship to live and learn the Ka Ta See tradition and share the ancient teachings and ceremonial ways.

    For more information, please visit: www.pathwaysforhealing.net

      
    Listen to a 30 minute radio interview with Joanne Dodgson
    ~~ Listen Here ~~



    Study with Joanne Dodgson Online

    'Manifesting with the Moon' invites you to explore the unique energies and opportunities in each moon phase during one complete lunar cycle, one mo(o)nth.  With the moon as a guide, you will engage in an organic manifestation process which begins with claiming your intent, giving voice to your visions and dreams.
     

    ~ Shaman's Circle ~ Earth Spirits and Guides
    ( description of online course with mentor JoAnne Dodgson )

    'Shaman's Circle' offers opportunities to deepen your understandings of the path of the shaman and to integrate these ancient ways into your everyday life.  Each lesson offers discussion of unique aspects of the shaman's path such as bridging the varied dimensions of reality, living in balance with natural cycles and creating sacred ceremony.  Each lesson guides you in opportunities to discover and enrich your innate connection with the web of life on the mother earth and in the world of the spirits.

     

     
    by JoAnne Dodgson

    In the ancient art of storytelling, UnLeashing Love is filled with personal reflections and myth-like teachings to invite awakenings, passionate searchings, and rich discoveries. The medicine stories in UnLeashing Love carry many layers of meaning which open new awareness, nourish healing, and awaken deeply felt connections with the extraordinary web of life.

    UnLeashing Love is a beautiful book you'll want share with friends, read aloud to loved ones, and revisit over and over again.

    "absolutely exquisite" * "insightful & thought-provoking"
    "incredibly uplifting" * "touched my heart in so many many ways"

    Order Here ...
  • Thursday, July 11, 2013 11:11 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    DEAR WOMAN

    WRITTEN & ILLUSTRATED BY ROSLYNE SOPHIA BREILLAT



    Dear woman, the time has come, the time is here, the time is now, within this blessed flow of the timeless feminine essence, for this time is your time to arise, reawaken, resurge, create, love and be as the wildness, wisdom, love and joy of your true essence, this exquisite and powerful and mysterious essence that has awaited so very long and so very patiently to return to her rightful and sacred place upon this Earth...


    Are you listening, are you listening intimately and deeply, wherever you are right now, whoever you are with or not with right now, are you listening?... Are you listening to the silent yet powerful voice of your womb, of this one womb of the Earth, of this one ancient and mysterious womb of the Universe, this one womb of every woman?... Are you opening, or are you fearing?... Are you yielding or are you resisting?... And if you are fearing, what is it that you fear?... Whatever seasonal transformation is surrounding you right now, is calling you right now to awaken, to change, are you listening? Are you listening to her, the power of the sacred feminine within you?... Whether you are opening to the new life of spring, to the warmth of the sunshine after the hibernation of winter, or whether you are drawing inwards within the transformational and fiery glow of autumn, are you opening?... Or are you ignoring her as you cling to the robotic life of a world that has ignored the sacred power of the feminine essence for far too long?...


    Here she is, right now.... Can you feel her?... Can you welcome her?... Can you give everything to her?... Can you receive everything from her?... Can you hear her?... What is she communicating to you?... What is she saying, within your womb, within your heart, within your yoni, within your loins?... Can you embrace her, fully, profoundly, sincerely, joyfully, in heartfelt, wombfelt gratitude, from within?... She is ready for you... Are you ready for her?... Are you ready to entirely live from your inner radiance and beauty, from the inspiration of your creative flow, from the gently nurturing heart of your mothering, from the wild, wild wisdom of your menopausal muse, from the exquisitely sensual passion of your lovemaking, for it is you, dear woman, who is so very much needed upon this ravaged, polluted Earth right now, upon this beautiful glorious sacred Earth who has lost her daughters to the misguided, misaligned world of the distorted masculine, this world that has dismissed the natural ways of the feminine... For this is your time, for this is your moment... Right now...


    Copyright ~ Roslyne Sophia Breillat ©

    Not to be reproduced without written permission of the author...


    Sophia is a wise woman who lives, writes, and paints from the heart. Her prolific articles and paintings

    embrace the wisdom and grace of the female essence and the beauty of the Earth. She is acknowledged as a powerful and courageous writer whose creative work features in many international websites and magazines. Her website is an abundant offering of female wisdom that nurtures and inspires. Sophia is the author of WOMB OF WISDOM, THE SACRED JOURNEY OF MENOPAUSE, now available through her website and HEART OF THE EARTH, NURTURING THE SACRED FEMININE, now available directly from Sophia through PayPal. Please email her for ordering and shipping details.

    Website ~ www.wildheartwisdom.com

    Email ~ sophia@wildheartwisdom.com




    Sophia (Roslyne Sophia Breillat) is a woman who lives, writes and paints from the heart. The inner richness and profound healing of her life experiences are inspiration for her flowing creativity.

    Her articles and art embrace the beauty, power and sensuality of the feminine essence and celebrate the natural flow of woman's transformational cycles. Her website offers a sacred space for woman to dive into the deep, to open to her true nature, to be who she really is.

    Sophia's training and experience includes primal therapy, intuitive massage, reconnective healing, writing, art and design, astrological counselling, instructional skills, training program design and teaching within the Aboriginal community. She has also facilitated many creative and inspiring workshops and courses.
     

    Sophie offers two courses at the Wise Woman University:


    ~ Being Woman ~ (detailed description of Being Woman online course)


    This six week online course provides a sacred and nurturing space where woman can learn to surrender more deeply to the natural receptivity of the female psyche. "...so blessed to have had gentle words of encouragement and support from you through the "Being Woman" course at W.W.U.... You have inspired me to continue my quest... Thanks so much!"

    ~ Dawning of Wisdom ~ (detailed description of Dawning of Wisdom online course)

    Throughout this series of lessons she will learn to trust the innate flow of her intuitive nature and to listen more intimately to the wellspring of her inner source. And we will explore together how to live more fully as the embodiment of the feminine essence within the structures of a masculine civilisation. "I LOVE your class, it is beautiful and thought provoking and well done... Thank you Sophia for your role as wisdom keeper, confidante and mentor."

  • Tuesday, July 09, 2013 4:23 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Spring Harvest: Watercress

    With Linda Conroy of Moonwise Herbs

    www.moonwiseherbs.com
    www.midwestwomensherbal.com





    I am very excited about spring and all the possibilities. We have seeds planted in the greenhouse and we installed bees onto their hives earlier this week. We have mushrooms fruiting and have inoculated an area under the elder bush with more. This was a very good year for syrup, the maples were very generous this year, yielding 375 gallons of sap. Alot is happening, it is difficult to know where to start.

    So, I thought I would start with the picture above of my favorite spot to harvest
    watercress. Last week an apprentice and I ventured to the springs and harvested watercress. I made a salad that contained this as well as spinach from a local greenhouse, along with chickweed and lambsquarters. What a salad it was.. I could feel my cells jump with glee. Eating fresh young greens alerts my body that yes indeed spring is here! The wild greens offer this experience in a magnified way! I so look forward to the coming of violets, wild leeks, nettle and all the other spring plants that grace the landscape and my plate.

    Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) is an amazing plant. Greening in ice cold water, when there is still snow on the ground is a feet that many green plants do not attempt and so it is worth paying respect to this green ally. Watercress is considered a semi-aquatic plant and is a perennial, native to Europe and naturalized in the United States. Watercress is a member of the Brassicaceae or mustard family. Members of this plant family, including watercress have a very predictable flower pattern. The flowers have four sepals and four petals arranged in a cross like pattern. The stems are hollow, allowing the plant to float and the leaves are pinnate (having multidivided features).

    Eating watercress is a nutritional paradise. The plant contains significant amounts of iron, calcium, folic acid and vitamin C as well as vitamin A precursers. Watercress is a digestive aid, an expectorant and appears to have cancer fighting properties. It contains iodine, and thus is supportive of the thyroid.

    When harvesting watercress it is wise to have bare feet or wear waterproof shoes, as you will inevitably get your feet wet. That said, watercress is a damp herb and so in some traditions it is used to treat dry, irritating coughs.


    Below is a recipe for a watercress salmon spread that is delightful and deeply nourishing. Enjoy!

    Happy Spring, Linda


    Salmon/Watercress Spread


    Begin by poaching (cooking technique) or baking the salmon.

    Salmon 16 ounces (of course you can use any fish that you have available for this recipe)

    8 ounces of Thick Yogurt (homemade is ideal) or cream cheese (homemade is ideal)

    chopped fresh watercress (as much as you would like to taste)

    1 tsp. lemon juice


    powdered kelp or salt to taste


    Mix together, place in a bowl or jar and garnish with fresh watercress-flowering if possible.




     

    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."

    Listen to a thirty minute interview with mentor Linda Conroy

     

    Study with Linda Conroy from Home

    ~Empower Yourself with Herbal Medicine Making~
    ( Link to detailed description of Empower Yourself with Herbal Medicine Making )

    The goal of the course is to have participants become familiar with herbal medicine, to become comfortable incorporating herbs into daily life and to gain hands on experience making simple remedies at home.

  • Thursday, July 04, 2013 9:00 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Life's Journey with Mountain Pose
     By Sheryl Wolover




    Greetings I'm Sheryl Wolover, native to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.  Mother of two children raised with Susun Weed's herbal infusions  somewhere in the 1980's~
     
    I am the creator of YOGA LEGENDS. Yoga DVD's that link poses together through story telling~  
    Owner of Pacific Elements studio for Massage Therapy (1984) and Yoga classes (2003)~
    My family (including the animal family) live around a beautiful lake side where we garden and gather herbs for food and medicine~
    *=Oceans+Mountains^^^^of Peace,Sheryl
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