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  • Tuesday, January 29, 2019 10:33 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Circles and Cycles of Rest and Renewal

    Written & Illustrated by Roslyne Sophia Breillat





       Rest, restoration, regeneration are not words frequently spoken, revered or accepted within our linear fast-paced patriarchal society, and yet these words describe so sweetly and tenderly and necessarily and beautifully and powerfully, some of the many natural cyclic phases of the sacred feminine of woman and the sacred feminine of our dear Earth Mother.

       How often is a woman lovingly encouraged to rest when she is too strung-out, too busy, too exhausted and too overtired or overwhelmed? When she is menstruating, has just given birth, or is entering the wise portal of her menopausal journey? When she has endless lists to write, and complicated schedules and timetables to adhere to, and important commitments and appointments to keep? How often is she encouraged to stop,  to let go, to surrender, to rest, after strenuous exercise, or after shopping, or after a busy day, or after making love? How often is she lovingly encouraged to pause for a while, to simply pause and breathe and be, to feel the gentle breeze and warm sunshine on her skin, the rich earth between her fingers, to simply sit quietly in wonderment with the natural beauty of Mother Earth’s splendour? To surrender to her innately natural lunar rhythms? To simply stop overachieving for a while, to simply stop being Superwoman for awhile? To simply be woman? To simply be the stillness and depth of her wise wombheart, and the ancient mystery of her feminine essence, to simply rest within her sacredness for a while? To simply do nothing and to simply be nothing?

       This is so very difficult for so many women, who have long been dictated to worship the contemporary male God of busy-ness, this God who will not stop, rest and be, this God who forces her to keep going, at all costs, this God who forces her to unknowingly worship him, yet who does not know how to worship her. And so she keeps on going and going and going, running and running and running, chasing and pursuing, doing and doing, not knowing when or where or how to stop, to pause, to rest, to be, not knowing how to be the sweet beauty and pleasure and delicious sensuality of her divine mystery. For our contemporary patriarchal civilisation has taken her, and taken her beneficent Earth, from these peace-filled, stillness-filled, wonder-filled female cyclic phases of rest and regeneration, these phases that bring rich depth and deep richness into her beingness, into her being, into her female soul, these phases that so beautifully reconnect her with her wholeness and her holiness.

       And so she jogs and she runs and she power walks, in her slinky shiny flouro designer label activewear, one hand clutching her mobile phone, the other clutching the handle of her child’s designer label pram, strenuously forcing her belly to tighten and flatten at all costs. For what? For whom? Whatever happened to simply strolling, to roaming, to wandering, to being? For pausing, for looking, for seeing? What will it be like upon this Earth for our dear children when there is no more land left, no more ground left, no more space left for their natural need for roaming and strolling and wandering? For exploring wild verdant bush lands and for chasing dancing butterflies? For splashing in tadpole ponds and climbing trees? What does being bounced and jerked and bobbed around in an enormous pram while its mother talks to someone else on her mobile phone do for this tiny newborn being, so recently emerged from the ancient mystery of the womb? So simply and joyously being? What kind of children are we breeding? What new generations are we bringing to this beautiful Earth? Who will lovingly teach these children how to rest and restore and be, how to follow their natural cycles and the natural cycles of the Earth?

       Beautiful woman, become vibrantly active when it is the cycle, the weather, the season, the reason, to be active. Dance and play and move with the bountiful joy of life, and with the sensual flow of the feminine essence.

       And beautiful woman, become still and slow and quiet when it is the cycle, the weather, the season, the reason to sink deeply into the restful, regenerative and restorative power of your womb wisdom, and her mysterious cyclic feminine knowing of when to move, work and actively engage in the outer world, and when to softly, sweetly close your eyes and gently rest from the outer world for a while.

    Blessed be... 
     Copyright Roslyne Sophia Breillat©... Not to be reproduced without written permission from the author...



    Sophia (Roslyne Sophia Breillat) 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 and 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 books can be ordered directly from sophia@wildheartwisdom.com

    Email: sophia@wildheartwisdom.com
    Website: www.wildheartwisdom.com
     

    Sophia 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."

  • Monday, January 21, 2019 4:27 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    The Beauty of Women's Grief
    by Marie Summerwood
     



    As a teenaged girl I learned how not to cry, a legacy handed down through the women in my family for generations. Stiff upper-lipped working class British women did not cry. It was in my fortieth year that I began the path back to the beauty and sacredness of my tears. I was apprenticing for five months to a powerful teacher. Nearly every time we would sit in a workshop circle to speak, I would begin to weep. By the time the talking stick got to me I'd be starting already and would choke back sobs as I struggled to get out what I had to say, which was rarely about my weeping. I thought of my tears as a huge annoyance and just wished they would stop. They were chokingly difficult, embarrassing, and I just spoke through them, apologetically and with my head hanging, at least in my mind.


    A few weeks into my apprenticeship I finally "got" one of the truths about sacredness, that everything can be regarded as sacred. So I began to start to think about how to begin to start to think about understanding how to begin to start to think of my tears as sacred . A labyrinth of a sentence to describe a labyrinth of a process. Of course I passionately wanted the tears to just go away, but I was unable to make that happen. So instead I passionately chose a completely different path, one of honoring my crying, taking in crying as nourishment, looking for the gifts of my tears. Around that time I found a quotation, perhaps by Hildegarde of Bingen, that said something about tears being the aroma of holy work. That really made me cry, which I noticed as well. I began to craft a theory for myself that said when new parts of me opened, they would be ritually bathed in my tears. I spoke about this in circle and about my growing power to offer my tears in beauty. I wrote this poem upon witnessing, in a ritual once, a remarkable woman who had done some work in this regard.
     
    Priestess
    The woman in the jaguar mask
    knew why she was there;
    Felt every step of her journey from scared to sacred
    As she stood holding the heart of our circle
    From her own place on the circumference.
    We all sang generously as the small fire in the center
    Licked at our boats of curled white bark,
    At the leaves inside, cargoes of cast-off baggage
    Set free to the passion of immolation!
    As we sang deeply to open ourselves, her unscheduled solo began.
    It was a soft moan wrapped in a slow wail,
    Her voice weaving the sounds in
    With the music of our chant.
    Staccato sobs suddenly tripped my heart on
    The keening roller coaster ride.
    Her lips spread in a narrow grimace gate,
    We heard the pain rushing through.
    The sounds tumbled us
    Into old sorrowful corners,
    Sang us the tune of
    Our own lamentations.
    And the tears that spilled from her eyes
    Scalded all our hearts with grace.


    I come to wisdom about grief from another path as well. In my work with the four directions I have discovered emotional attributes there; perhaps some essential qualities about each direction that touch me in a particular emotional spectrum. It makes perfect sense, if I am a being of Earth. I have taken on the task of honoring these essential qualities in circle and they have grown in power for me. West is the direction of Grief and Joy, all the stories in between, of sadness and loss and openings and letting go and the mystery of love . In the West, Kwan Yin slowly practices Ta'i Ch'i as her soft brown eyes speak compassion to our hearts, offer arms to hold us as we grieve. Kwan Yin tells us that when grieving is held as sacred, women will be safe once again.


    Divine Mother Kwan Yin (1)
    May I walk in peace and gladness, May I walk in mercy,
    May I walk in peace and gladness, May I walk in mercy.
    Divine Mother Kwan Yin, may this heart be home to you,
    Divine Mother Kwan Yin, may this heart be home to you.


    Grief is a normal complex response to loss. Loss of life of course, but also loss of innocence or trust, loss of hope or safety, loss of our way, so many losses. The small losses of life are rehearsals for the larger and largest ones.


    In our bodies, grief can be a physical presence if we hold it in - in our muscles, in our throats, our bellies, our breasts, our hearts, etc. Emotions exist and travel in waves, or spirals. The word emotion comes from the Latin emovere , meaning to shake or stir up, to move out. I believe emotions arise in our heart and, as their name states, ideally move through us and out. Transforming us as they move, often moving us to action.


    It is essential to process grief over time, to literally move it through our bodies. When we hold onto unfinished waves of grief, or any emotion, those unfinished waves have a charge, which grows over time. They can take up residence in many parts of us, affecting our flexibility-spiritually, physically and emotionally. These accumulations are not toxins, needing to be cleansed. Instead they are memories and reminders of unfinished business. If we do not experience the transformative powers of feeling our own emotions, we are unfinished, we are not yet mature. Emotions ripen us.
    In her book Music and Women, (2) Sophie Drinker speaks eloquently of ancient and traditional religions who knew the importance of honoring grief.


    "It is easy for us to misunderstand these primitive wail songs because, with our overintellectualized and overdepartmentalized approach to music and to life, we have lost the simple yet profound consciousness of the oneness of joy and pain, of birth and death, that is in them.


    The wail alone..... sounds mournful in our ears. To observers of women who sing with tears streaming down their faces, it may seem an expression of inconsolable grief. But its intent is actually to ensure rebirth." (3)


    The traditional women she spoke of in her book often used sound to move the energy. Keening is a sound of wailing practiced by Irish women at wakes and funerals. Arab women have used wailing for centuries; there are strong traditions in Islamic countries where such practices still live. Women of many other countries - Greece, Italy, Sicily, Eastern Europe, China, the Pacific Island nations, etc. - also use wailing, wild crying, moaning and other sounds to express the pain, and to speak out loud for the community's grief. Some teachings of the Mayan culture say that grief and praise come from the same place. Grief is thought of as praise for what we have lost, and praise is not sincere unless the realization of mortality and loss is brought to it.


    For a few years I searched in vain for someone to teach me how to wail. I also searched for those sounds within myself and in circle with other women. In workshops and rituals we invited and evoked the sounds in different ways. Spontaneous crying is not the same as formalized grieving, so we have sought specific sounds of grief together. As students of women's mysteries, we consciously asked to remember the sounds of grieving. Within chants we found musical phrases that sounded like moaning or wailing. We sang them over and over so we knew the sounds, knew the pathways in our throats. Then we would do a ritual for this work, taking on the roles of the wailing women. It has felt like a learning and a remembering.


    What do we wail for? We often call upon a grief we all share, a grief for the hurts and violence around children, around women and the earth, around animals, the loss of species because of greed. Or we mourn all the witches who have died from hate and intolerance, Or we mourn those who have died unmourned, forgotten and alone. There is never a lack of reasons to grieve.


    In a women's circle, the grieving feels like old territory, ancient knowing. Everyone holds the space; some women weep or cry or moan, some sob quietly or loudly, some stare in silence, some drum or chant, some move and some stand still, each holding a place in honor for the tears and the grief. Loss is part of life. When the fabric of our family, community, world is rent by loss, grieving helps reweave the torn places. Whether we make the sound or hear it, something shifts in our nervous system. One of the reasons an infant cries is to reorganize its new nervous system, particularly if he or she has been taking in a great deal of information. It makes sense for adults as well; loss is a lot to take in. 


    When we love, we open our hearts to take someone in. When we lose them, we must open our hearts to let them out, more difficult since our stories and lives are woven with theirs. The sounds help to shift the grief so it is reorganized, not all of it, but enough to make room for life to continue and eventually, for joy again. It is an enormous gift of our tears, the capacity for more joy.


    When we hold something as sacred, we don't try to ignore it, or medicate it or run from it. What is sacred is respected and held in wholeness and holiness. What is sacred is safe. When we have the support of friends and family in our grieving, we are not alone. Grieving together truly makes community and helps heal pain as we gather to tell praises and stories of beauty about the one we have lost.


    Wanting to do magic to heal the spiral of life that is my family, I have wailed for my grandmother and her sisters. For my grandmother's mother, whose name I share. I offer my wailing to the women long dead in my family, and their many many unshed tears. Blessed be the tears of the women. Let us all make such offerings to our ancestors who could not weep. Let it be in beauty. Let it be in sacredness. Let it be for the healing of all.


    Footnotes:
    (1) lyrics to "Divine Mother Kwan Yin", a chant by Marie Summerwood copyright 1999
    (2) Music and Women, by Sophie Drinker, The Feminist Press at The City University of New York, 1948
    (3) Music and Women, page 26


  • Tuesday, January 15, 2019 5:24 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Honor the Tree
    by L.Cota Nupa Maka



     

    The fun your family had picking out the Christmas tree? Has this been tarnished by our total lack of respect for it once we are done with Christmas. What do you do with you Christmas tree once you're through with the holidays?

    How do we honor the Christmas tree after it has shared its beauty and life with us? It saddens me to see the Christmas trees thrown out along the curb for the trash truck to gather. Indigene Art Forms I feel like we are a throw away society and the lack of honor for a once living thing has been disrespected.

    In the days when we use to have a fresh tree, how can I say a live one if it was cut down, we never just threw it on the garbage heap. The kids and I would undecorate it and then drag it out into the back yard. In the deep snow we put a five gallon pail and filled it with sand then set the tree in that to stand upright.

    Then the fun part began with decorations made of cranberries and dry fruit. We took pine cones and mixed up a bowl of ground suet and bird seeds. Add some honey and peanut butter and you have a spread that can be put on the pine cones. With sticky hands we packed the mixture in pine cones and hung them from the tree with wire. Old withered apples and carrots went on the tree during the winter months. Even a bagel or donuts found its way to the inner tree branches for the small birds to enjoy. Nothing was wasted and the animals and birds certainly did appreciate the treats.

    We even strung grapes and cut oranges for the cardinals who came looking for a juicy bite. Hung among the suet blocks the tree looked just as festive as when it sported lights and shiny ornaments.

    The squirrels and other small animals, I am sure in the wee hours of the morning, stopped by to have a nibble of our gourmet selections. Perhaps a deer or two found a treat hanging on that tree during the long cold winter months.

    After the winter came to a close and the spring threatened to burst through the frozen ground we held a bond fire. I can recall when the kids were little we would pile up all the branches that had blown down during the winter months for a bond fire. Right on the top of the pile would go the Christmas Tree still dangling some of its tinsel. It was the crown jewel of the fire and in a kind of ritual way it was the saying goodbye to the winter and hello to the spring. There was always a great breath of awe when the fire reached the tree and it burst into flame.

    The word BOND FIRE is used so often but the meaning of these fires has long been forgotten. In the olden days the bond fires could be seen for miles up and down the valley as families celebrated the first signs of spring. It was a time for families to gather around the bond fires and talk and share the stories of winters past. In the times we held them in our back yard in Maine we had mostly neighbors and friends over for a weenie roast and some hot chocolate. It was fun sitting on a log and just soaking in the heat of the fire and watching the kids throw sticks into the flames.

    For days I would smell the sweet smoke on my clothes it was a great way to honor the little tree that gave us so much joy.


    ~~~~~~~~~~~


        We do not use a fresh tree now but have over the years chosen to use an artificial one. It is better to spare the trees that are so precious to our well being. At first it was hard to get use to the change, the conflict over the fresh versus the artificial still goes on in our family.

        If you do not use a real tree then honor a small bush or tree outside and make it your nature tree. It can become a tree for the small animals and birds in honor of the season of the give a way. 


        We do not use a fresh tree now but have over the years chosen to use an artificial one. It is better to spare the trees that are so precious to our well being. At first it was hard to get use to the change, the conflict over the fresh versus the artificial still goes on in our family.

        If you do not use a real tree then honor a small bush or tree outside and make it your nature tree. It can become a tree for the small animals and birds in honor of the season of the give a way. 


        We do not use a fresh tree now but have over the years chosen to use an artificial one. It is better to spare the trees that are so precious to our well being. At first it was hard to get use to the change, the conflict over the fresh versus the artificial still goes on in our family.

        If you do not use a real tree then honor a small bush or tree outside and make it your nature tree. It can become a tree for the small animals and birds in honor of the season of the give a way. 

  • Sunday, January 13, 2019 11:57 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Inner Strength Required
    Pick a Card for the Aries Moon Jan. 12-14
    by Kathy Crabbe



    Mama Moon enters the Cardinal, Fire sign of Aries on Jan. 12 at 12:18 am Pacific time until Jan. 14.

    This is a Growth Moon-Time (waxing half moon) so get those intentions unwrapped and bring em to the table!

    This is not a particularly friendly Moon-Time with underlying currents of fuzzy un-quiet with a rather messy, emo re-adjustment period after the hullabaloo of the holidays has finally been shaken off. it’s down to business; inner strength REQUIRED.

    Why not pull an Elfin Ally Oracle card (above) to symbolize a new beginning or to ask a prying question about your moonth ahead. Murky Times call for Magical Intervention…right?! Look for the card REVEAL below. Make sure you’re subscribed to Daily Moon Vibes to get more card spreads & reveals emailed to you! 

    The Elfin Ally Oracle Deck
    by Kathy Crabbe
    Available in Spring 2019


    Aries Moon REVEAL



    Oracle Card 1: Pink Puss

    Keyword: Love
    Oracle Card Meaning: This is YOUR time, so make it special, make it count, for you are precious.
    Reversed: Why are you wasting your time?

    Oracle Card 2: Shiner Fish

    Keyword: Miracle
    Oracle: Your luck is changing and a stuck project starts to flow (again).
    Reversed: Your dreaminess is causing you to fall behind.

    Oracle Card 3: Dragon Luv

    Keyword: Beloved
    Oracle: A new beginning (or ending) awaits you.
    Reversed: False hope leads you nowhere.



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

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


    Kathy’s 4 week eClass “Awaken Your Divine Feminine Soul” is once again being offered at Wise Woman University so get ready to Moon Collage your heart out starting one week prior to the New Moon each month…more details here: eClass.
  • Monday, January 07, 2019 8:01 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Winter Medicine:
    An Overview of the Pantry and Medicine Chest

    By Linda Conroy
    www.moonwiseherbs.com
    www.midwestwomensherbal.com




    I live in a cold climate, where the winter months can be quite long.  Because fresh, local, wild food and herbs are not as readily in the winter months, I spend a lot of time during the fall months preparing food and medicine to have on hand for winter.  As I harvest and put up winter stores, I ask what might  I need for the upcoming months to keep myself, my family and my community healthy.  Of course this is a multi-layered question, requiring a range of responses. Preparing requires planning as well as action. In order to prepare I start by brainstorming  ways to stay healthy and strong as well as some of the winter ailments and issues that we have dealt with in the past. Below you will find a list of things you will find in our pantry as well as items found in our medicine chest. I hope these inspire you as you fill your pantry and medicine chest with nourishing food and herbal remedies.


    The Pantry
    Here a list of food items I like to have on hand so that we are stay healthy and strong. I am sure this list is not entirely complete, but it is the foundation for my winter food stores.


    ~Bones, lots of bones. We make bone broth quite often and either drink it or add it to the eternal winter stew pot. We also have venison and rabbit in the freezer, and the salmon our neighbor so generously shares with us, from their fishing trips.  


    ~Green vegetables, I like to freeze vegetables and wild greens so that I can continue to eat local and wild greens throughout the winter. We also water bath can tomato sauce, adding wild greens and mushrooms as well as seaweed and herbal vinegar to increase the nutrient density of the sauce. I also lacto ferment many a vegetable including cabbage, carrots, beets, kalhrabi, green beans, brussel sprouts and many more. Over the years I have fermented almost every vegetable that has crossed my path.


    ~Root vegetables, I like to store these in cold storage for as long as possible so that they can be eaten fresh. Beets I like to put in a vinegar brine and water bath can so we can eat them throughout the winter. I also lactoferment them. 


    ~Fruit, putting fruit and particularly berries in the freezer as well as canning them whole and in the form of sauces and jams and jellies. We also dry fruit either whole or in the form of fruit leather. Fruit leather is nice added in small pieces to homemade sourdough bread, but also just eating it is satisfying and most of all nourishing. One nice thing about canned fruit, is you can open it, put a tsp of whey in it and/or add a kefir culture, let it sit for a couple of days and you have fermented fruit, which is delicious and nutritious. 


    ~Drying greens and herbs for later use. For making nourishing herbal infusions as well as for adding to the soup pot. We will dry throughout the year the wild salad greens that we do not finish fresh. We dry them on a screen or flat basket and then store them in the pantry. We dry a vast array of greens in the salad, and we dry nettle, oats, rosehips, comfrey, linden and mullein for our daily infusions.


    ~Drying nuts and storing them for winter is another important staple in our pantry. We dry black walnuts, hazelnuts and hickory nuts. We have a friend who sends us pecans and we enjoy them as well. These are added to many of our meals and I make a snack of soaked and toasted nuts, tossed with seaweed.


    ~While I do not always collect my own seaweed, since I no longer live on the west coast, I do like to have large quantities on hand. Seaweed can be added to whatever else you are cooking ie egg dishes, roasted vegetables, soup, stews, oatmeal, wild rice etc. Really in small pieces it adds salt to your food and you don’t even know it is there….although the seaweed I like Nereocystis leutkeana is quite tasty and I have converted many a skeptical person into a seaweed enthusiast. If you would like to add seaweed to your stores you can order it from: http://www.ryandrum.com/IslandHerbsOrderForm2013.pdf


    ~Wild Rice, this is one of the biggest delights that has become a staple in my house since I moved to Wisconsin. Wild Rice is delicious nourishing and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It blends well with anything we eat and I like to have pounds of this on hand. This is true wild rice, not the patty grown wild rice, there is a big difference. If you would like to add wild rice to your stores you can find sources at this link: http://www.nativewildricecoalition.com/


    The Medicine Cabinet
    ~Herbs for topical application. Dry skin, sore muscles as well as strains and sprains are things I like to be prepared for for the winter months. Infused oils are an important component of my medicine chest and I like to have Calendula (Calendula officinalis), Chickweed (Stellaria media), St Johnswort (Hypericum perforatum) , Comfrey (Symphytum officinale), Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Cottonwood (Poplar sp) and Lavender (Lavendula officinalis) on hand. These herbs will help me in responding to many concerns including dry skin, inflammation, cold sores, sprains and strains and sore muscles (after shoveling snow). 


    ~Herbs for internal applications. The medicine chest contains dry herbs for making infusions, which are in the pantry section, as we drink these daily. It also contains dry herbs that we many only enlist if we have symptoms ie fever, sore throat, cough etc. In addition, to dry herbs we like to have tinctures (alcohol extracts) on hand.  Many of the herbs we put up in oil form, we also store as a tincture ie St Johnswort (Hypericum perforatum)   , Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Calendula (Calendula officinalis), Cottonwood  (Poplar sp) and Chickweed (Stellaria media). Tinctures are nice as they can be accessed quickly and applied right away. We also put up in tincture form herbs that have an affinity for the immune system: two of these are Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) and Bee Propopolis. We make many tinctures for many purposes, but these are staples that we often use during the winter months. We also make cough syrups, the simplest of which are oxymels.


    ~Locenges or Pastilles. We make these in a very simple form by  using powdered herbs and our own honey. Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra) and/or Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) Root Works well. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) , Rose Petals (Rose sp) and orange peel (Citrus × sinensis) are wonderful herbs to add as well.


    ~An oxymel is just a sweet and sour herbal syrup. It contains: vinegar, honey & herbs. They’re very beneficial for respiratory conditions, so the herbs contained therein will usually reflect that.

    How to make an oxymel

    ~Fill a jar about half to three-fourths full of herbs.
    ~Pour the jar 1/3 with honey. Ideally this would be raw local honey.
    ~Fill the jar 2/3 or the rest of the way with vinegar OR for a sweeter syrup, try 1/2 jar honey and 1/2 jar vinegar. (I am using raw apple cider vinegar).
    *the amounts that you use can be flexible. Both honey and vinegar act as preservatives, so you’re not going to ruin the mixture by altering the ratios.
    ~Stir it all together; it might not blend well at first, but it will settle and blend over time. Just stir and or shake until it is blended. Then strain the herbs out, bottle it up and store in a cool place or the refrigerator.

    Take oxymels by the spoonful for sore throats, thick congested coughs or as a general treatment to combat colds and flu.

    Some herbs recommended for use in oxymels

    *Elderberries (Sambucus sp):  relieves flu symptoms, alleviates allergies, and boosting to overall respiratory and immune health
    *Bee Balm (Monarda sp): eases a sore throat, antibacterial, relieves thick congested coughs as well as fever
    *Elder flowers (Sambucus sp): specific for sore throats, immune stimulating and antiviral
    *, Garlic & Onion: fights colds and flu, boosts immune health (it is suggested that these herbs are minced & that the mixture be refrigerated)
    *Horseradish: opens the respiratory system and fights off infection.
    *Mint, Ginger and/or fennel: stomach soothing, digestive aid
    *Oregano: antibacterial, antiviral, useful for upper respiratory infections
    *Rosemary: Useful for low energy and poor circulation, good for digestion and nerves.
    *Sage: antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral.
    *Thyme: for upper respiratory infections, coughs, bronchitis, antiviral and antibacterial. 
    *Lemon or orange peel can be added for their bioflavonoids, vitamin C and flavor



     

    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, December 24, 2018 7:08 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    No Spring without Winter!
    by Anne-Marie Fryer



    We just finished harvesting the fall vegetables from the garden beds. It is not long ago everything was growing vigorously. What has happened to the life of the garden? Where did all the life forces (or may I say fairies) go? The drawing in of life forces, begins in fall, continues through the beginning of winter and is completed as solstice approaches. These forces condense and stay active below the soil while on top of ground everything seems lifeless and asleep. In winter the sun is above the horizon for the shortest time, but the moon rises higher, staying in the night sky for many more hours than in the summer. In our garden seeds will soon cuddle cozily, under a blanket of snow, waiting for spring to arrive. We snuggle closer to the hearth as winter guides us into a quiet, inward mood of solitude and contemplation.

    Springtime is the season of new begins. As the sun climbs higher in the sky we sense the earth exhaling anew ascending currents of life forces. We experience deeply the outward upward growth and opening feeling of renewal as a contrast to the withdrawing of life forces in winter. Through the interplay of the sun and the earth, nature’s power of growth intensifies and millions of tons of leaves and grasses are brought forth within weeks. The new life and vitality of spring fill us with jubilation and hope.

    In summer the earth is breathing out its life forces completely. The sun is at its highest, bathing our world in warmth and light. The air feels full and expanded. The growth processes, begun in the spring, are now at their peak, ripening and maturing. The gardens and fields yield a cornucopia of fresh fruits and vegetables. This magical moods of summer penetrate us with enthusiasm and warmth while we dream the ‘Midsummer’s Dreams.’

    With autumn approaching the days mellow. We experience the sun’s weakening influence on earth and the softening of the light. As the sun withdraws from the hemisphere the earth mother inhales with certainty the life forces back into her womb. Temperatures fall and growth processes slow down. Leaves fall from their branches and seeds drop to the ground. We bring the harvest to the root cellar and put the garden to rest. As winter draws nearer our thinking crystallizes, courage builds up and our sense of inner light strengthens.

    During these coming winter month try to express the moods of each season through writing, drawing, painting, music, sculpturing or poetry. These delicious baked cinnamon apples will surely set the mood for the winter mood.

    Baked Cinnamon Apples

    Cinnamon and apples go well together in this warming and relaxing dessert, suited for fall. Use a variety of apples and discover how they differ in sweetness and crunch.

    3 tablespoons walnuts
    4 apples
    1 tablespoon light miso
    2 tablespoons freshly ground peanut butter (optional)
    2 tablespoons water
    1 tablespoon cinnamon

    Soak the walnuts in lightly salted water 4-6 hours. Drain and chop them fine.

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

    Core the apples with an apple corer or spoon. Make sure not to cut all the way through the apple.

    In a small bowl mix the miso and peanut butter. Add water, cinnamon and chopped walnuts.

    Spoon 1 tablespoon of the filling into each apple.

    Place the apples in a baking dish. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until soft.



    Anne-Marie Fryer Wiboltt is a Waldorf class and kindergarten teacher, biodynamic farmer, author and nutritional counselor. She has taught nutritional cooking and counseled for 25 years in her homeland Denmark, Europe and the United States.

    She trained as a macrobiotic cooking teacher and counselor and studied the principles of oriental medicine and the research of Dr. Weston A. Price before embracing the anthroposophical approach to nutrition, food and cooking.





    This Four week course will explore some of the many benefits of fermented and cultured foods, and why it is important to include them regularly with every meal. You will be guided through the steps of making sauerkraut, kimchi, pickled vegetables, kefir, soft cheese, and yogurt, as well as get a chance to discover new fermented drinks such as kvass, wines, and beers. I will aim at answering personal questions around your culturing and fermenting experiences.


    Intuitively we know that cultured and fermented foods are real health foods. Naturally fermented and cultured foods are an exceptional way to prepare different ingredients and some of the most important side dishes and condiments in our diet. They are often overlooked or not mentioned when we describe what we had for dinner, and yet they are pivotal in creating a well-balanced, nutritious meal.

    They add a bounty of nourishing, life-promoting substances and life forces, almost miraculous curative properties, and a wealth of colors, flavors, and shapes. They increase the appetite, stimulate the digestion, and make any simple meal festive and satisfying. The course will be highly practical with many hands-on activities.


     

    In this Four week course you will learn about the nutritional needs of your growing child and receive delicious, seasonal, wholesome nutritious menus and recipes on affordable budget so as to encourage children to eat and live healthy.

    During this course we will explore the nutritious needs for your growing child.

    We will discover how rhythm, simplicity and nourishing activities support a healthy child development. You will find new ways to encourage your child to develop a taste for natural, wholesome foods as well as receive and create delicious, seasonal nutritious menus and recipes that stay within the limits of your budget.





    Cooking for the Love of the World:
    Awakening our Spirituality through Cooking

    by Anne-Marie Fryer Wiboltt



    A heart-centered, warmth-filled guide to the nurturing art of cooking. 200 pages, softbound


     
  • Thursday, December 20, 2018 1:40 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

     

     

    I like to call our Urban Permaculture Farm, the Herbal Homestead. I call it this, because for me it all started with herbs. My first herb teachers were wise woman herbalists. They encouraged me to focus on the herbs growing right outside of my doorstep and this has remained as a pivotal place for me to return over and over again.

    A lot happens at our homestead. We grow food and medicine, we wild forage from green spaces in our community as well as neighbors yards. We tend the critters in our space, we feed ourselves, as well as our family and friends. We strive to expand our understanding of life and to weave ourselves into our surroundings.

    This column will highlight some of the things that happen here at The Herbal Homestead. It is an invitation to spend time with me through stories of daily life. 



    Winter Nourishment: Soup Stocks and Broths

    This morning I awoke and it was cold. We heat our home with a wood furnace, so sleeping 8 hours means that you wake up to a chilly house. My wool comforter made by the local woolen mill, keeps me very warm at night, yet when I emerge from under the covers I have two goals.

    1. To reignite the wood stove

         2. To make something warm to drink.


    I often make a cup of tea, but some mornings only a cup of broth will do.  I was inspired a couple of years ago when I attended a Weston A. Price Foundation Conference to begin incorporating broth into my breakfast routine. At the conference they served broth for breakfast. It was winter and I will never forget how satisfying that morning cup of broth was. I realized that by stereotyping broth as an afternoon or evening food, I was missing out on a very special morning opportunity. Of course I still incorporate broth into my winter stews and soups, but I now have expanded my horizons and added it to our homestead breakfast list!


    Below are a few of my favorite recipes for broth. Broth can be made and frozen for future use.

     

    How to Make Soup Stock: 3 Easy Broth Recipes

    Soup stocks are incredibly healthy, nutrient dense and serve as a quintessential comfort food on a cold day. Soup stock has a long history as a nourishing and healing food. While the village herbalist has always known the healing power of soup stock and chicken soup in particular, it took until the year 2000 for CNN headlines to read, “Chicken soup is medicine, U.S. scientists confirm.” Glad they caught up.


    There is no doubt that homemade soup and soup stock is healthy, tastes good and is easy to make.  The following are recipes that serve as guidelines. I say guidelines, as I am a scratch cook, which means that I add what I have. I love to add new herbs, spices, vegetables and animals parts. A couple of years ago I began adding egg shells. It means the stock that I make is always new and interesting. I often add herbs and spices not only for flavor, but to increase the nutrient density of the stock.

     

    Vegetable Stock


    Place the chopped vegetables, herbs, and spices into a crock pot or stockpot. I like a crockpot, as it can be left unattended for long periods of time. Add enough cold water to cover the vegetables. Simmer for approximately 24 hours. Many people make vegetable stock from scraps such as peels and stems. If you use vegetable scraps to make your stock, you will need to strain them from the stock and discard them when finished. And to note, when you boil vegetables for a meal, a lot of their flavor and nutrients leach out into the water.


    The next time you boil vegetables, save the water and add it to your vegetable stock or next batch of soup. Of course being the seaweed lover that I am, I sometimes thicken and enhance the consistency of a vegetable broth by adding a red seaweed ie dulse, turkish towel and/or irish moss. Red seaweed contains carrageenan, which adds viscosity or thickness to the broth and is nutritious. Carrageenan is particularly supportive to the digestive system.    

     

    Chicken or Turkey Stock

    Place chicken or turkey bones, spare meat, vegetable scraps, herbs and spices into a stockpot or slow cooker. If you have access to the feet of the animal you will want to add them, as this will add gelatin to the broth for a thick, rich, highly nutritious broth. Add enough cold water to cover the vegetables and bones. Simmer for 24 hours. Foam will form on the surface of the stock as it simmers. Use a spoon, or ladle, to skim it off. Strain the bones and vegetable scraps from the stock and discard them.

     

    Beef Stock


    Begin by baking the beef soup bones in the oven at 450 degrees for half an hour. If you have access to oxtail bones you will want to add them, as this will add gelatin. As with chicken or turkey broth, the gelatin will create a thick nutritious broth.  Put the beef bones, spare meat, vegetable scraps, herbs and spices into a stockpot. Add enough cold water to cover the vegetables and bones. Simmer for approximately 24 hours. Foam will form on the surface of the beef stock as it simmers. Use a spoon, or ladle, to skim it off. Strain the bones and vegetable scraps from the stock and discard them.

     

    *For bone broths you will want to place your stock in the refrigerator for 8 hours in order to separate the fat and for the broth to gel. The best broth will be quite gelatinous.


    *Adding herbs to any of these broths will also increase their nutrient density. I often add seaweed, burdock, astragalus, mushrooms, lovage, alfalfa, nettle and whatever else happens to be near by. There is no limit to what you can add to your stocks! Have fun! Seaweed added to stock contributes much needed trace minerals.


    Gelatin extracted from bones is a nutritious source of protein as well as collagen, calcium, minerals and the amino acids proline and glycine.


    Stock made from poultry or other bones increases endurance and strengthens the immune system and veins, arteries, muscles, tendons, skin and bones. It also soothes and heals the gastro-intestinal tract and is thus a potent medicine for people suffering from food sensitivities and digestive or bowel problems. All stock provides an easily assimilable form of vitamins and minerals.

     

    Using Your Stock


    You can use the stock immediately as a base for soup, or you can freeze it and begin making your soup on another day. If you freeze the soup stock, leave a bit of space in the top of the container for expansion. It is a good idea to freeze the stock into the portion size that works best for you. A single cup of stock can be warmed on a cold day for an instant meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner.


    Tossing in leftover meat and vegetables from the refrigerator creates a wonderful meal. Adding cream, pureed vegetables, starch, or flour can thicken soup stock. I also cook rice and other grains in soup stock for added nutrition and flavor. This is a very creative process and a great way to enjoy leftovers in a new and refreshing form.


    May the stock be with you during these cold winter days.



     

    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.
  • Wednesday, December 12, 2018 9:33 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Move with Ganesha Elephant
    Sheryl Wolover


    Learn the playful moves of an Elephant's trunk in your Yoga practice. This practice opens the shoulder, wrist and forearms.The powerful Ganesha Mudra helps us in are most challenging situations. Be sure to watch the video all the way to the end and see a surprise :) This video is about Move with Ganesha Elephant




    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 ~ yogalegends.com

  • Thursday, December 06, 2018 11:45 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    New Moon in Sagittarius: Full Steam Ahead

    by Kathy Crabbe



    Bear Power by Kathy Crabbe from the Elfin Ally Oracle Deck

    Mama Moon enters the fiery, freedom loving sign of the traveler on Dec. 5 at 6:49 am until Dec. 8 becoming a NEW MOON on Dec. 6 at 11:20 pm pst.

    This Moon-Time adds some pep to your step and a cheery ego boost which can be put to positive use if you’re fighting for a good cause. BUT, don’t over-react because it may be too easy to do just that right now. Take the higher, deeper road instead. With planet Mercury going Direct on the day of the New Moon you’re gonna get some much needed help to finally move forward.

    On a spiritual note, gather up all the bits of wisdom you’ve accumulated so far and write down ONE lesson you feel you’ve truly learned because this may be the reason you’re here.

    Sagittarius New Moon Elfin Ally: White Bear*
    Oracle Card Meaning: Your family or tribe takes precedence right now.
    Reversed: You may be feeling left out in the cold, longing for warmth.

    *Excerpted from the Elfin Ally Oracle Deck.


    Sagittarius New Moon Lefty Oracle: The comet has landed and her name is Genevieve*

    Mantra: I have a breakthrough.
    Affirmation: I am guided, clear and connected to Source.
    Element: Fire

    If this card appears in a reading it’s time to acknowledge your gifts and talents. You have been given an opportunity to shine, so take it even if it’s only a very small opportunity. Little things are JUST as important as big things because they often lead the way to bigger breakthroughs. But you do need to take that first step and acknowledge yourself first. Don’t expect someone else to do that for you. You need to take responsibility for you.

    In my own life I am sometimes ask how I maintain my passion for creating, writing, spiritual guidance etc. For me, it’s a slow, steady and daily practice that comes in waves. Sometimes my art is in the forefront, sometimes my soul readings, but my writing and journaling are a daily practice. I ride the waves knowing that my passions ebb and flow. Along the way opportunities pop up and I am ready for them because I do the work.

    *Excerpted from the Lefty Oracle Deck.


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

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


    Kathy’s 4 week eClass “Awaken Your Divine Feminine Soul” is once again being offered at Wise Woman University so get ready to Moon Collage your heart out starting one week prior to the New Moon each month…more details here: eClass.
  • Tuesday, December 04, 2018 5:09 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Moon Stew
    by Avia Kelly

    • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 3 Tablespoons butter
    • 4-6 cups veggie or meat stock
    • 1/2 cup dry lentils, sorted and rinsed
    • 1 large fresh burdock root, sliced
    • 1/4 cup molasses
    • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
    • 1 small can crushed tomatoes
    • 1 rib celery, chopped
    • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
    • 1 large carrot, chopped
    • a bunch beet greens, chopped
    • splash of honey
    • splash of apple cider vinegar
    • salt or tamari to taste


    In a soup pot, saute garlic and onion in butter until brown.
    Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
    Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 1-2 hrs or until the lentils are soft.
    Add more stock or spring water if the stew gets too thick.
    Share and enjoy!

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