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  • Wednesday, July 03, 2013 12:14 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    May’s Flowering Fairy Bells Solomon’s Seal

    Polygonatum biflorum

    “Set me as a seal upon thy heart” – Song of Solomon
    by Thea Summer Deer ©2013 all rights reserved




    One bright Southern day I was blessed with a field trip to Super H Mart, an Asian market near Atlanta, Georgia, courtesy of my friend and herbal mentor, Patricia Kyritsi Howell. Wow. Never in my life have I experienced anything like this. The farmer’s market section alone would have been enough, let alone getting lost in extensive rows of medicinal herbs, exotic foods and abundant varieties of seaweeds and fungus. And on top of that: a fish market and food court.  I would have needed a whole day, no a week, to take in this place: the epitome of culture shock for this mountain girl. The “H” in H Mart by the way is short for Han Ah Reum, meaning “One Arm Full of Groceries.”


    Luckily, I was on a budget. So the one-arm-full-of-grocery finds that I brought home, while exotic, was not anywhere near as expensive as it could have been had it been purchased from my local health food store or online. One of those finds was dried polygonatum from China. Polygonatum is a genus that contains approximately 50 species of flowering plants known as Solomon’s Seal, a common plant in these here Appalachian hills. Patricia writes about it in her book, Medicinal Plants of the Southern Appalachians. It is a perennial in the Asparagaceae family and in older classification systems, like many of the lilioids, was placed in the broadly defined lily family. Solomon’s Seal can be found blooming May through June – so this being May, I headed off into the woods.


    Some species are considered to be medicinal. The young shoots are edible and cooked like asparagus while the roots, which are the medicinal part of the plant are also edible. Berries, leaves and mature stems should not be eaten. Native Americans used it as both food and medicine, and early settlers valued the rhizome as a food for its starch content. Young shoots can be collected in the spring, not unlike asparagus, and added to soups and stews. Roasted roots can be ground into flour. Solomon’s Seal can be ethically harvested in late summer or early fall by leaving a portion of the root intact. New shoots will grow from where the root was cut.


    Solomon’s Seal is found in North America, Eastern Asia, Western Asia and Europe. The species common to Eastern North America is Polygonatum biflorum, referring to the pairs of flowers growing along the leaf axils and commonly known as, Great Solomon’s Seal. A subspecies, commutatum, is known as Smooth Solomon’s Seal. Other species include: hirsutum, Broadleaf Solomon’s Seal (latifolium in Europe) and pubescens, Hairy Solomon’s Seal. A number of species are derived from Asia, but the Super H Mart packaging didn’t give that information and was simply labeled, “Dried Polygonatum, Made in China.”


    An elegant Native American woodland plant, Solomon’s Seal likes to grow at the edge of moist woods. It will draw you in with its foliage poised along a gracefully arched stem, dangling pairs of creamy white, tubular fairy bellflowers, which are followed by attractive black seedpods. It is as if this plant were the entryway to a lesser-traveled path, lighted by breaking waves of fairy lanterns beckoning us to enter deeper into the forest’s hidden secrets. Odoratum (Europe) known as, Scented Solomon’s Seal and commutatum (a colonizing giant) are the two shade loving species most widely used in landscaping because of their beauty and attraction. The foliage is food for White Tail deer that will chomp it to just above ground level – and you should know by now that anything deer like to eat, is calling my name.


    There are many plants that are included in both the Eastern and Western herbal materia medica, though different species are used. The integration of Western and Chinese herbal therapeutics is an area greatly in need of expanded research and spearheading that movement are herbalists such as Micheal Tierra, author of Planetary Herbology, and Peter Holmes, author of The Energetics of Western Herbs.


    The name Solomon’s Seal comes from the healed over scars of the rhizome left by old leaf stems and which resemble a wax seal, presumably the official wax seal of King Solomon. Stem scars also tell how old the plant is with one scar for each year of growth. When the rhizome is cut the cross section reveals a 6-pointed Star of David. Solomon became king during the reign of his father, King David, and was credited with possessing the precious quality of wisdom. I write about the power of this 6-pointed star in my book Wisdom of the Plant Devas: Herbal Medicine for a New Earth. When Solomon prayed to God for wisdom he did not pray for wealth, nor did he wish death to his enemies, but rather he longed for discernment in the administering of justice. The metaphor is one of wise government and possessing the ability to distinguish between good and evil through an understanding of the universe. For this reason, “The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart.” (1 Kings 10:24) This is the same wisdom that is expressed by the Fire Element in Chinese Five Element Theory.  The Fire Element corresponds with the heart is seen as being inseparable from the mind. Heart-Mind is where the spirit resides.


    By coming into relationship with the healing power of plants we become empowered to be our own healers.  The key actions of Solomon’s Seal are: demulcent, expectorant, sedative and tonic. In Traditional Chinese medicine it is known as Yu Zhu. Tea from the decocted root soothes inflammation of the lungs and intestinal tract.  Fresh roots can be applied to bruises and sprains as a poultice. According to herbalist, Jim McDonald, Solomon’s Seal is a useful remedy for treating injuries to the musculoskeletal system. He has used it very successfully in tincture form taken internally to strengthen connective tissues and to treat broken bones, sprains, injured tendons, ligaments, tendonitis, arthritis and herniated discs.  He states that, “Solomon’s Seal has the remarkable ability to restore the proper tension to ligaments, regardless of whether they need to be tightened or loosened.”  One of the ways it does this is by its ability to nourish yin, moisten dryness, clear wind, and to nourish and moisten sinews. It has an affinity for the lung and stomach.  Historically Solomon’s Seal was used for respiratory and lung disorders, and as an astringent and anti-inflammatory.


    Yu Zhu is used in Chinese herbal soups to relieve dry throat or dry coughs due to lung yin deficiency. It is mildly cooling and nourishes the yin of the lung and stomach. It moistens dryness in the lungs and strengthens the stomach.  It requires a long cook time of 2 or more hours and should be avoided by those with stomach deficiency or damp phlegm.


    We would not want to conclude this discussion of Solomon’s Seal without mentioning False Solomon’s Seal. False Soloman’s seal is a completely different genus and species, Maianthemum racemosum and should be avoided, as it resembles other deadly plants when young.  It produces terminal flowers in a feathery plume while Solomon’s Seal produce non terminal flowers from the axils of the leaves. Patricia told me a story that illustrates the way to know the difference between the two is like knowing the difference between a true and a false friend. A real friend you can depend on to be true through and through (the way the flowers are dispersed on Solomon’s Seal) and a false friend puts on a good front (feathery flowers at the end of the stem.)


    Learn more about the Fire Element in Thea’s online work-at-your-own pace class, Heal Your Heart: The Fire Element at Wise Woman University


    References:

    Medicinal Plants of the Southern Appalachians, Patricia Kyritsi Howell


     



    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 02, 2013 11:55 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    BEAVER MEDICINE
    ~ 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


    BEAVER MEDICINE

    KERSPLASH!  That's how we first met, the beavers and me.  Before this encounter, during the winter months, I'd only seen signs of the beavers' presence.  They left precisely scissored stumps of willow trees along the river bank.  They built an immense beaver lodge, an intricate crisscrossing stockpile of branches partly on land and gently sloping into the rippling waters.  Only when spring began awakening along the Rio Grande did the animals themselves appear.

    Initially, I only saw their tails.  Rising up out of the water and splashing down hard.  KERSPLASH!  A resounding vibration. Un-ignorable.  What were they saying with the splash of their tails? Were the beavers talking to me?  Were they talking to each other about the woman and dog walking along the river path?

    Throughout the springtime, I cherished our close encounters with the beavers.  I loved seeing their furry faces just above the water's surface as they swam gracefully upriver against the currents or joyfully glided downstream.  While living with ease in the waters and on the land, beavers naturally share their ways of attentive discernment. They have something to teach us about making purposeful choices. 

    Instinctually, beavers select specific trees and nibble with such precision to quickly cut them down. The beavers transport the fallen branches and logs by land or water to a location they have chosen. They pile up the branches just so, making a lodge with intricate living spaces inside for all their family members. They weave branches together to form tunnels to move safely into and out of the lodge, discrete passages which they take directly into the river. Beavers have a distinctive means of communication, splashing their tails to awaken attention to a particular circumstance.

    Every action has a purpose.  Everything is a choice.

    Though I no longer live riverside among the beavers, I still hear their un-ignorable watery splashes – an energetic communication calling to my spirit and resonating in my heart and mind.  

    Kersplash!  "What are you choosing, right here and now, in this particular moment? And why?"

    Kersplash! "How are you building your life, your family, your home?   Are you selecting each and every element with discernment and care?"  

    Kersplash!  "Be aware of what you construct with the choices you make, with the thoughts you think, the actions you take. Are you heading in the direction you really want to go?"

    Kersplash!  "Remember!" say the Beavers with the splash of their tails and the rippling waves in the waters.  "You always have a choice." 




    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 ...


  • Monday, June 03, 2013 5:28 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    What's in a Belly, part 2
    by Lisa Sarasohn
    (c) 2013 Self-Health Education, Inc.

     
    What's in a belly? As revealed in my previous column, your belly hosts a microbiome, a world teeming with single-celled organisms, a.k.a. bacteria.

    These 100 trillion bacteria in your gut, 1 to 3 percent of your body’s mass, figure intimately in your physical and mental health. When balanced, in terms of their number and diversity, they support vital functions such as digestion, immunity, hormone production, and nerve communication.

    But when they're out of balance, the gut bacteria likely play a key role in several body-mind disorders. Such disorders include autism, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune diseases, allergies, and metabolic syndrome -- the collection of risk factors, including insulin resistance, that increase the likelihood of coronary artery disease, stroke, and diabetes.

    The belly’s microbiome is receiving all the more notice these days as intestinal infection with Clostridium difficile becomes widespread. As the incidence of infection reaches epidemic proportions, the death toll due to Clostridium difficile numbers more than 110,000 per year.

    Because this pathogen forms drug-resistant spores, treatment with antibiotics is frequently ineffective. In fact, previous use of antibiotics has typically destroyed the beneficial bacteria that, if present in the microbiome, could eliminate the infection.

    One method of treatment has demonstrated more than a 90% cure rate, though. Administering fecal microbial transplantation, some physicians introduce a sample of bacteria from the gut of a healthy donor into their patients’ intestines. The newly resident bacteria restore the patients’ microbiota and their ability to eliminate the Clostridium infection.

    Fecal microbial transplantation figures in research regarding behavior as well as immunity. Dr. Mark Lyte’s experiments with mice, for example, show that patterns of anxiety and specific responses to stress can be initiated or eliminated depending on which microbes set up shop in the rodent’s gut.

    The ways in which the microbiome figures in gut-brain communication remain to be detailed. The pathways may involve the production of enzymes, hormones, and/or other biochemicals that interact with your enteric nervous system and with your vagus nerve.

    Your vagus nerve is a pair of cranial nerves extending from your brain into your abdomen and innervating your visceral organs. This nerve activates peristalsis, the wave-like motion of smooth muscle that ushers the proceeds of digestion through your intestines. Mess with peristalsis and you’re vulnerable to constipation, diarrhea, an irritable bowel, and other imbalances.

    But your vagus nerve does much more than send signals from your brain to your belly: 80-90% of the messages it carries travel from your gut back up to your brain. Your vagus nerve enables your brain to keep tabs on what’s happening with you belly-wise.

    However your belly bacteria may commune with your brain, they’re essential for your body-mind well-being. Whatever the details of gut-brain communication may be, fecal microbial transplantation has a long history as a protocol for healing.

    Western literature documents the treatment as taking place as early as the 17th century: Italian anatomist Fabricius Aquapendente applied fecal microbial transplantation in his practice of veterinary medicine.

    According to Dr. Faming Zhang and his colleagues, China’s record of fecal microbial transplantation dates to the 4th century. Described in handbooks of emergency medicine in relation to food poisoning and severe diarrhea, the treatment “was considered a medical miracle that brought patients back from brink of death.”


    Venus of Lespugue

    Some 26,000 to 24,000 years ago, an artisan in what we now call Western Europe carved a six-inch tall statuette from tusk ivory. Discovered in 1922 in the foothills of the Pyrenees, this figurine goes by the name of the Venus of Lespugue. At least one investigator suggests that the opening between the buttocks functioned as a vessel for fecal microbial transplantation.

    Perhaps we can only imagine how this and other icons of the Feminine, sacred as we sense them to be, have figured in the scope of humans’ belly-centered well-being.

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

    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 ~~

         

  • Tuesday, April 16, 2013 4:23 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Feminine Rhythm ~~ Rhythm of the Earth
    by Roslyne Sophia Breillat

     

    The cyclic feminine rhythm is the cyclic rhythm of the Earth. This is the rhythm of the dawning Sun, the rising Moon, the changing seasons, the gentle rain, the fathomless oceans, the budding flowers, all lovingly held within an infinite cycle of birth, death, renewal and regeneration, all embraced by an infinite realm of timelessness, for this rhythm of the feminine knows no time.

    This is the rhythm of conception, of lovemaking, of intimacy, of openheartedness, of power, of wisdom, of depth. And yet every woman in contemporary society lives within a linear world of time, a world of greed, of weapons, of conflict, of pollution, of destruction, of wars.

    Whenever she tries to align with this world of time, she forsakes the innate timelessness of her her gentle feminine rhythm, she separates from the sacredness of her feminine essence, she denies the wisdom of her ancient feminine mystery.

    Dear woman, hold this timeless rhythm of the Earth within your heart right now, feel her beauty, her wildness, her power, know her as your very essence, embrace her with your heart, receive her into the depths of your womb, surrender, yield, embody her divine grace, invite this sacred rhythm of her timelessness into your body, your being, your life, be true to this timeless rhythm, to this timeless mystery, for this is what you so deeply long for, so tenderly yearn for, when you feel such isolation and separation from that which you cannot name, from that which is so very dear to your heart of hearts, from that which is separated from you only by your conditioning, your illusions, your fears, your doubts, by all these things you call yours, that are not really yours at all, but a cleverly cast veil, a shimmering mirage that so desperately wants you to believe it is real, that so enticingly wants you to believe it is you.

    When you listen to your natural rhythms, what do they say? Can you feel your womb deeply opening when you invite their soft, fluid, flowing, softening essence into your heart? Or do you feel contraction, fear, closedness, protection against the flowing intimacy of your timeless rhythm, the wild, wise dance of life that calls you, gain, and yet again, into this timelessness that you so dearly love as your very feminine beingness?

    When you shake the dust, the force, the momentum from this worldly mirage of time, what do you find, what do you see, how do you respond, how do you feel? Who are you, who are you, when you live without time, when you live beyond time?


    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 two books, WOMB OF WISDOM, THE SACRED JOURNEY OF MENOPAUSE and HEART OF THE EARTH, NURTURING THE SACRED FEMININE. Both of these are now available through PayPal... Please email Sophia for 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."

  • Friday, April 12, 2013 6:47 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Womb Wonders and Baby Blessings

    Doting Doula- Supporting Mom and Baby
    by Dr Jill Diana Chasse


    Mothers are having children with less and less support in today’s society. The lack of support during pregnancy and birth often leads to more stress and greater complications.  In recent years, the addition of a doula to a family’s support team has become popular for pregnant, birthing, and postpartum women.  

    You may have heard the term, but what exactly is a doula? A doula is a trained support person who understands the psychology and physiology of birth and is skilled in multiple ways to assist the mother through childbearing and/or the postpartum period. A doula is not a medical or healthcare professional, but is educated in pain reduction techniques, coaching and parenting skills.

    But I’m birthing in a hospital; isn’t a doula only if I have a midwife? Not at all! As a matter of fact, moms that birth in the hospital find doulas even more helpful because communication with the medical staff is sometimes intimidating or difficult.

    It’s also nice to have someone around to explain things the mom may not understand such as medical tests or terminology. Mothers birthing in a birth center or at home can also hire a doula to support them, and help ease communication, instill relaxation, and prepare a welcoming environment. A doula can help support a mother and her partner, can help with siblings, and can even assist mom preparing food or setting up the perfect atmosphere with music or candles.

    The physical and emotional support that a doula can provide has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of complications including cesarean section, anesthesia and vacuum extraction. Additionally, reducing the risk of postpartum depression is of significant importance to the entire family.

    The mental and emotional health of a mother and her child has a direct impact on their physical health as well as the child’s cognitive and psychosocial development.  There is a direct link between mom’s emotional state and her baby’s emotional well-being, development and behavior. This suggests that supportive, loving and helpful interventions by doulas during pregnancy can have a strong and positive impact on the baby’s development.

     As more mothers begin to use doulas, there is a significant impact to infant and maternal complications and mortality including an increase in healthy birth outcomes, reduction in mental health problems, increase in the vaginal birth rate, and an overall improvement in the health and wellbeing of mothers and children.

    Jill Diana Chasse


    Dr. Jill Diana Chasse is maternal/child public health practitioner, an author and a counselor. Jill has been working with the mother-baby dyad in birth and psychology for over 20 years.

    She has studied midwifery at both Ancient Arts Midwifery Institute and Institute of Holistic Midwifery, holds Master's degrees in Psychology and Public Administration, and a Doctorate in Health Administration.  

    Personally, she loves the ocean, skiing, horseback riding, and cuddling up with her kids, hot coffee and a good book in front of a fireplace on a snowy evening.

    Currently, she works in public health for the federal government and teaches classes for the Childbearing Year at Wise Woman University, online, including the childbirth education method she founded, BEBE- Baby-Empowered Birthing Education.


    Listen to a 30 minute radio interview with Jill Diana Chasse


     
    Study with Jill Diana Chasse Online


    ~ Pregnancy and Postpartum Mental Health Support ~
      ( link to detailed description of Pregnancy and Postpartum Mental Health Support )

    Manage pregnancy and postpartum emotional challenges including baby blues and PPD symptoms to help reduce the risk of depression and keep yourself and your baby mentally and emotionally strong.  REGISTER HERE


    ~ BEBE - Baby Empowered Birth Education ~
    ( link to detailed description of BEBE )

    Baby-Empowered Birth Education is a Complimentary Natural Childbirth method for use with or without medications, at home, birth center, or in a hospital with key concepts of “Experiencing, Understanding and Enjoying” your labor and delivery through emotional support, empowering yourself, and empowering your baby. REGISTER HERE


    ~ BEBE Childbirth Educator Certification Program ~
      ( link to detailed description of BEBE for Educators )

    Become a “Baby-Empowered Birthing Education” Certified Childbirth Educator offering women and babies an empowering, magical, enlightening, and passionate natural choice for childbirth education, encouraging them to “experience, understand and enjoy” the Magic of Motherhood! REGISTER HERE
     


    This is an online workshop intended for parents who have lost a baby during pregnancy or after birth. It is a self paced, guided tour through the healing process to work through grief and bereavement issues. Working through these issues in this format is especially helpful in the early stages of grief when the shock and pain is still raw.
    REGISTER HERE


    Baby Magic for your Magic Baby
    By Jill Diana Chasse




    Baby Magic is a Spiritual Guide to Motherhood. Beginning before conception, Baby Magic guides a woman on her magical journey of becoming a mother.

    ~ORDER HERE~

  • Friday, April 12, 2013 4:21 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    On Gratitude
    by Melissa Potter


    Have I mentioned how much I love the entire concept and feeling of being grateful? It is truly the secret key to joy. I even love the word.  Just saying the word, Gratitude, brings me into my heart where it's energy of thankfulness fills my entire body. Gratitude is the most remarkable feeling to me.  The Grateful Heart is the heart that shines and glows; it is the heart that beats in peace.  

    When I'm grateful for everything I have been given, grateful for the simple gifts of life, it does not mean that I can't also want something else; it just means that what I want is what is more authentic to who I am.  Gratitude is like a washing away of the hunger. It leaves me full of light and love and satisfaction.  From this place of love and fullness, I feel Holy.  I really do.

    This is what I have discovered: Standing beside peacefulness and happiness, there are other important things that happen when I focus on my blessings. When I am feeling grateful for what I have, all the rest of the busy-ness and craziness of life and the media and the world falls away.  

    When Gratitude Happiness dances in my heart, all of a sudden I can tune into what I truly want and need. All the "shoulds" go away.  (You should be doing this.  You should be working on that...Why don't you have this yet? Why haven't you accomplished that yet? You should have done such and such by this age) All these wicked, internal pressures go away.  

    I begin to see and feel my purpose for being alive! I see how one road led to the next. I see the synchronicities.  I see the golden thread of a vocation, a calling, woven through my entire life and how each and every step, turn, twist, fall and rise of my path has brought me here to this exact spot. I can see it and follow it to fulfillment when I am at peace with my life, my past and all that the past has taught me. And when I am grateful, I can feel who I am inside.  

    When I feel who I am, I am in touch with my Calling.  And I remember, Yes! Oh yes, I now remember the things that make me so happy I could scream, jump on the table, fall down and die right now because I am so happy and I have lived fully doing this thing I love more than anything in the world!

    I remember those things and then I can get back on track doing what I most love to do.  Your calling does not feel like work. It feels like, This is exactly why I was born, inside you. It feels like, God, inside you.  It feels like, I AM HOME.  



    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.

  • Tuesday, April 09, 2013 1:29 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    CREATIVE AWAKENINGS!
    The Five-Minute Muse Monthly Column

    ***

    YOUR CREATIVE SANCTUARY
    by Sara Deutsch, M.S., Wise Woman Mentor
    Facilitator of CREATIVE AUTOBIOGRAPHY-Telling Your Story
    © 2013


    saramuse7@yahoo.com

    Art Portfolio: http://www.artwanted.com/Saraphael
    Art Videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/VisionsofSaramuse   
    Memory Art: http://www.tellingyourstory.weebly.com/
    Art of Collaboration: http://collaboralchemy.weebly.com/

     



    To help you visualize or imagine the environment most nurturing for your creative awakening, take a  few moments to read the directions below.  Then, set a timer for 5 minutes  and  describe your fantasy.  Include as many details as possible in writing, and perhaps  a quick drawing.


      Your Fantasy Studio

    Imagine creating  your own play studio or  creative sanctuary.  You have  abundant resources and can have anything you wish.  Where do you want it to  be?  Mountains,  beach,  desert,  the bottom of the ocean? Another planet?   Design your studio or retreat space.

    Decorate and furnish your retreat with the  materials, colors, and  textures  you find most pleasing.  Listen to the sounds  or  silence of your environment.   Notice the smells. What are your feelings  as you  enter your space? Peace? Anticipation?  Expectation?  Fear?  Now, supply your  studio with the materials and tools  you want to use.

    You can have inks, paints, musical instruments,  clay,  computers, food, fabrics, or anything else you choose. See yourself entering your creative space in a spirit of adventure,  play, openness, and self-acceptance.

    Imagine yourself  experimenting,  expressing yourself,  following  your creative  impulses with  complete freedom from judgment; or, if fears or blocks come up--accepting and  expressing them.  See yourself at home in the sanctuary  you created where  there are no mistakes and it’s  safe to play  and explore the unknown.

     
    Bring the Fantasy Down to Earth

    Define the  essential,  important and frivolous elements of your fantasy. For  example, peace and quiet may be  essential;  a pink velvet couch in the form of  a cupped hand is probably not.

    How does your fantasy space  compare with the   creative space you have available to you in your current environment?  How can  you make your real life conditions more like your  fantasy space?   How many essential elements of your fantasy situation can you bring into your real-life  situation? Act on the  intuitions and insights revealed by your fantasy.

    You might, for  example, discover that you can make a corner of your bedroom into a play space. Or, you  may find that turning off phones and playing a  tape of ocean  waves  helps recreate the mood of  your fantasy studio.  

    Preparing a nurturing  inner space begins with  a firm commitment to devote five minutes  each day to  some form of creative meditation,  whether you are happy or miserable, sick or well,  motivated or not.   It also involves a commitment to let  go of distractions and  expectations, and to  acknowledge and accept  all aspects of who you are.


    Commit to Play!

    Think of your creativity as water in a  rusty pump.  At first, there is resistance--the handle sticks and the water that comes out may be sparse and orange with rust.   But as frequent use loosens the rust, pumping becomes smoother and easier, and soon the water flows clear and abundantly.

    You can release  your fountain of creativity by accepting everything that comes from you in the spirit of  interested detachment. No matter what happens, don’t stop!  Draw, paint, sing, sound through your feelings.

     



    Five-Minute Magic

    During a “freeflow writing” session, in a class called “Your Mind is Better than you Think!”, we  wrote as fast as we could for five  minutes,  no matter what, without stopping.  As the bell  rang, signaling the end of the five minute session,  a 55-year-old  retired  engineer stood up, “Where did this come from?” he demanded.

    He read his three-page poem  about the universe,  the evolution of life and the awakening of the creative spirit.   He had never written a  poem before or thought much about such things. He had never written so fast and unfalteringly. How had he not known he was capable of such miracles?? Why had  he spent his whole life locked away  in only  one room of the  infinite mansion of  his mind?

    You can do things in five minutes of concentrated and relaxed attention that you couldn’t do in hours!  You will surprise yourself by your  spontaneous  poems, paintings, drawings, plans or songs, completed just as the timer rings!   The speed generated when you “keep going, as fast as you can  without stopping, no matter what,”  breaks down  the habitual  inhibition of your inner “critic”, releasing your infinite creativity. Be surprised!

    Have fun!
    Sara Deutsch
     

    Sara Deutsch, M.S.,(PhD abd) is a college teacher, Creative Arts Therapist and multimedia artist who explores creativity as a healing force.

    Sara’s journey led her into many worlds. She trekked alone in the Himalayas, and lived in virgin jungles of Hawaiian Islands, eating only fruit and wild vegetables.

    She draws from doctoral study in Psychobiology and East/West Psychology, years in a contemplative order, 26 years of private practice and teaching, and multimedia explorations. She started telling writing her autobiography to connect and integrate her many life experiences.

    Sara is a visionary artist with thousands of original paintings. Her art portfolio includes Life Portraits, Memory Art, and interactive mandalas done for herself and her clients.

    She also creates Life Movies incorporating the subject’s photographic stills, voice overs, and favorite artwork and symbols.Her Ebook, CREATIVE AUTOBIOGRAPHY -- Telling Your Story summarizes 26 years of teaching with visual and written examples of whole brain writing processes, inspirations and an extensive book list.

         
    Study with Sara Online
        
        ~Creative Autobiography: Telling Your Story~
        ( link to detailed description of Sara Deutsch's online course )


    Autobiography is a gift of memory we give ourselves, and a priceless heirloom that can be passed down to family members.

    Come on a guided journey into your past to recover the buried treasures of your memories and the tastes, sounds, feelings, images, and wisdom of your life.

        See Some Examples Here

  • Monday, April 08, 2013 12:33 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Touching the Sacred

    Spider Medicine:  Weaving the Web of Your Life
    by 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


    ******************
     

    She arrived about a month ago, making herself at home before I even knew she was here.  This rusty brown spider and her grand spiral web settled in just beyond my bedroom window.  

    I love watching the spider weave.  Long grounding cords are stretched high above to the roof and all the way far below to the tips of purple wildflowers.  Then she circles and circles and circles around weaving an elaborate spiral design with sticky translucent threads.  The sacred geometry of the web and the delicate sturdy fibers are naturally birthed from inside the spider.  The web is woven with the very fabric of her being according to the blueprint she carries within.

    Whenever the web needs mending or changing, the spider simply reweaves with steady focus.  This is not a rigid cookie-cutter fear-filled approach that demands things stay exactly the same, day after day, web after web.  Rather the spider builds with flexibility and flow.  She knows the purpose of her weaving and what she’s aiming to create while aware of and responsive to others around her and the changing world in which she lives.  She embraces all of this all at once with natural ease.

    One morning I rested on the hammock while watching her, admiring her creativity, sensing her attentiveness as she grounded herself in the very center of the spiral.  And similar to the ways the spider first showed up, something new in my surroundings quietly crept into my awareness. 

    Sunshine flickered on a glowing thread I hadn’t seen before.  This thread reached horizontally through the air from the spider’s web to the braided cotton ropes of my hammock.  Spider had intentionally woven a connection between us.  We were purposefully joined, web to web.

    So there we were – me in my hammocky web, she in her fibery web – swaying back and forth with the breeze.  Distinct and unique yet our lives interwoven and undeniably connected.  Eight-legged to Two-legged.  Aliveness to Aliveness.  Friend to Friend.

    The sunlight suddenly brightened as the clouds passed by.  Touched by the sun, the web lit up like a shimmering rainbow.  The spider was sitting in the middle of a dynamic light show, riding the waves of the winds dancing through the glowing fibers, the glistening oranges and purples and greens and blues beyond imagination and words.  This radiant I-can’t-believe-what-I’m-seeing world existed there right before my eyes.

    This is the truth of the web of life, Spider said.  

    Colorful.  Creative.  Openly loving.   

    Intricately connected.  Magical.  So alive.  

    I watched her watching me from the center of her creation, the vibrant fibers of connection reaching out in all directions, beautiful beyond words.

    How are you weaving the web of your life?  Spider asked.

    Her question resonated along the fibers woven between us.

    How are you weaving the web of your life?




    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"

  • Friday, April 05, 2013 5:02 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
  • Tuesday, April 02, 2013 6:15 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    A microbiome, a world teeming with single-celled organisms, a.k.a. bacteria.

    Consider yourself endowed with a newly-named organ. You’ve got heart, lungs, kidneys. Now add “microbiome” to the inventory.

    The population of microbes in your gut is big. The 100 trillion bacteria in your gut represent ten times the number of cells in your body that pack your personal brand of DNA. Of all the cells you tote around, only 10% are genetically you. The rest are bacteria, as many as 1,000 different species flaunting 3.3 million unique genes. That’s 150 times the number of genes coded into your 46 chromosomes. That’s a lot of adjunct bio-programming power.

    Although the number of microbes is huge, as individuals they're tiny. Consequently, your gut microbiome comes in at 1 to 3 percent of your body's mass. A 125-pound adult, for example, is toting between 1.25 and 3.75 pounds of bacteria.

    Do not consider eliminating these bacteria for an easy four-pound weight loss. You need them. They're essential to your physical health and mental sanity.

    The roster of bacteria in your gut undefined which kinds are present in what proportions undefined depends on factors such as what you eat, which drugs you’ve taken, and how well your immune system is functioning. Depending on the diversity of and balance among your gut-based bacteria, the microbes are busy promoting digestion, making nutrients, secreting enzymes, eliminating infections, influencing mood and behavior.

    Mood and behavior? In the summer 2007 issue of the Belly Bulletin, I featured an excerpt from Gut & Psychology Syndrome, the book in which British neurologist and nutritionist Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride reveals the gut microbiome’s influence on the body-mind, especially in relation to childhood autism. She suggests ways to reestablish a healthy population of gut bacteria, largely through a set of food choices that regulate carbohydrates.

    A few months after posting the excerpt, I received this news from a reader:
    I bought Gut & Psychology Syndrome for a friend whose four-year-old had been diagnosed with autism. He wasn't speaking.

    Then, after being on the diet the book recommends for less than a month, he started speaking in complete sentences and making marked improvements in other areas.

    Autism is only one of several body-mind disorders that scientists are considering in relation to what’s going on in the gut. The status of your belly-based bacteria may, for example, play a key role in obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune diseases, allergies, and metabolic syndrome undefined the collection of risk factors, including insulin resistance, that increase the likelihood of coronary artery disease, stroke, and diabetes.

    Future columns will elaborate on your belly's microbiome in relation to your physical and emotional health as well as the possibility of its link to -- guess what? -- an ancient image of the Sacred Feminine.


    © 2013 Self-Health Education, Inc.



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

    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 ~~

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