Wise Woman Herbal Ezine

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  • Tuesday, March 21, 2017 8:38 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    A shaman is a community healer. A shaman is in service to those whose lives she shares. A shaman accesses altered states of consciousness, perhaps with the aid of psycho-active plants, or a repetitive drum beat, or with chant, with prayer, with physical extremes.

    She is at once a vital part of her community, and a person who is outside the norms of her community. She is often chosen and trained from birth, or she makes herself known by certain experiences that befall her around puberty. (For instance, at the onset of my puberty,

    I was stricken with viral pneumonia, and was nursed, at home, by my mother, for the two months I lay in a feverish hallucination. The last thing I remember is reaching behind myself to tie the bow on my dress; the next thing I remember is two months later, my mother spooning baby food into my mouth.) A Shaman is the representative of the Life Force..

    ~ Priestess ~

  • Tuesday, March 21, 2017 8:28 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Joyous Spring Equinox to you all.

    May Eoster’s sacred rabbit hop into your life with joy as the Egg of Creation balances on its end.

    Eoster being an ancient goddess of spring and fertility, who is accompanied by her symbol of fecundity – the Eoster rabbit.

    And, at the exact moment of the equinox, an egg will balance on its end. Mama Donna Henes continues to offer Eggs on End: Standing  On Ceremony for the joy of the public in New York City at every equinox, so you can see the balance for yourself.

    Which brings me to some thoughts I have been having about the words shaman, priestess, and witch.

    Shaman, a word from Siberia, means “woman with drum.” I am a shamanic herbalist and I train shamanic apprentices.

    A priestess is “a woman who presides over religious rites; a woman who is responsible for sacred duties.”  Though she may also be “the wife or concubine of a priest.” I am a High Priestess of the Goddess.

    “Witch” is, to my mind, the European equivalent of shaman, though without the drum. I am a Green Witch, initiated by Z Budapest both as a witch and, a decade later, as a High Priestess.

    Words are powerful. Words create the stories of our lives. Claiming ourselves as women who are shamans, priestesses, and witches is an important way of creating herstory in addition to history, now and in the future.

    What are your thoughts on these words? What do you call yourself?
    May you spring into the growing light with vibrant colors and green blessings.


    ~ Shaman ~

  • Tuesday, February 21, 2017 8:23 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Beautiful bountiful berries. Buy them frozen for optimum nutrition, or buy them fresh and freeze them before use. Some berries are available dried, too, but watch out, as many are coated in unwholesome oils when dried.

    Sumac berry tea is tart and tangy. All red berries and black berries and blue berries are adaptogens, so we vote for sumac as an American adaptogen.

    Hard at work making tinctures, teas, and infusions for the video adaptogens course. What a lot of fun I had exploring so many new herbs.

    Join us as we cook up a rainbow of mushroom remedies for optimum health. Eating both wild and cultivated mushrooms weekly is one way I stay energetic and free of disease.

    Most adaptogens are available as powders. These can be added to foods or just stirred into a cup of hot water for an instant tea. Mushroom powders work exceptionally well as an addition to beans.
  • Monday, February 20, 2017 9:59 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    February is Spring, and a New Year.

    From the dark days of winter, we swing into Spring light. Whether the groundhog sees her shadow or not, the coldest six weeks of the years lie ahead. Cold, with more light. Snow, with more light. Cold, and the trees are stirring. Snow, and the snowdrops dare to bloom. Cold and snow, and still, it is spring. It is spring.

    She loves you. Take a moment today to feel the love of the Earth. She isn’t angry at you. You haven’t injured her. She loves you. She sends you a valentine with lots of love. Plant a few seeds and she will give you a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Listen. She’s sent a bird to sing her love to you. She loves you. Her love is magic. It heals you.

    I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I create a yearly challenge for myself. I like challenges. When I do a jigsaw puzzle, I don’t look at the picture on the box. I like challenges. I heat with wood and milk goats in all sorts of weathers. I like challenges. This year my challenge is to learn about adaptogens, also known as Herbs of the First Class (in ancient China) and rasayanas (in India).

    To keep myself on schedule with my challenge, I committed to doing twelve radio shows on adaptogens for my regular show at HealthyLife.net. And, since I had made that commitment, when my daughter Justine asked me what new video course I wanted to do, the answer was obvious: Adaptogens.

    So Justine and Monica Jean left their sunny winter home in Costa Rica and joined me in the snowy Catskills. We worked hard for a week to create a course on Adaptogens. What fun we had! It was a challenge indeed. Learning how to pronounce the names of the Chinese and Indian adaptogens challenged me. Finding our way around the herb stores of China Town was challenging. Finding a parking spot was truly a challenge! We bought and collected herbs, made tinctures and teas and infusions, and filmed it all. When we were done, we found we had more than sixty videos on adaptogens, including some great “tastings” with Monica Jean.

    I discovered I knew a lot more about adaptogens than I knew that I knew. Adaptogens are non-toxic, non-specific, normalizing herbs. Exactly the qualities I seek in the herbs for our daily infusions. By studying adaptogens from China and India, I came to realize that nourishing herbal infusions are adaptogens too. Nettle and linden, red clover and oatstraw, comfrey leaf and hibiscus are just as adaptogenic as those herbs from far away.

    Adaptogens improve the functioning of the immune, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, reproductive, nervous, and hormonal systems. That’s why so many write to tell me that drinking a quart of infusion a day has enabled them to stop taking blood pressure medications, anti-anxiety drugs, anti-depressants, acid-blockers, allergy medicines, and diabetes pills. Adaptogens provide high-quality minerals and vitamins, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances. That’s why my students find they don’t need any supplements and few pain relievers. Adaptogens energize by damping down reactivity to stress, strengthening muscles, and improving concentration. Within ten days of starting to drink at least two cups a day of nourishing herbal infusion, most folks tell me they feel ten years younger.Hooray for adaptogens!

    Work progresses well, if rather slowly, on my new book: Abundantly Well. I am enjoying that challenge too!

    Sending you all green blessings of Spring, love for Valentine’s Day, and adaptogens to help you through this challenging New Year.


  • Tuesday, January 10, 2017 3:37 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    A Weed Adventure in Phoenix Arizona

    Weeds are everywhere. Here is a respectable planter, at a lovely hotel, in the parking lot.

    Now get a little closer. Nice flowers, yes? Very pretty.

    Get even closer. Here’s our friend chickweed. Pretty and tasty and ever so useful.

    Ah, green blessings are everywhere, even in the parking lot.

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  • Tuesday, January 10, 2017 2:40 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Altars, Part 2

    6.    Silk Skirt Altar. Because it doesn’t have to have candles or incense or even a statue of the goddess to be an altar. An altar is a scared space, and my silk skirt drawer is as sacred as I can make it.

    7.    Bedside Altar. The energy here is old and stable, filled with dreams and magic, charms and cobwebs, goddesses and candles. On this altar every night I burn a beeswax candle for all the people I have met that day that need healing. I often add a candle for personal magic. Right now, my gold candle for a prosperous year is lit.

    8.    Jewelry Altar. Ever so much better than hiding the jewels in a box, I began putting necklaces on Tara decades ago, when I was spending time with Pauline Oliveros, and have continued ever since. Can you tell that I love amber? And isn’t that a great photo of me and my guardian angel Keyawis? I miss you my love.

    9.    Green Tara Altar. Om Tare. Tu Tare. Ture so ha. (Ohm tah-ray, two tah-ray, two ray so ha.) Tara is the keeper of the green chi force. Tara is the Mother of all Buddas. Tara appears in a rainbow of colors, but her green manifestation is my favorite. (Of course!)

    A Weed Adventure in Phoenix, Arizona

  • Tuesday, January 10, 2017 12:21 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Altars, Part 1

    In the dark of winter, I light candles. I light candles at my altars.
    I seem to have altars all over my house. Everywhere I look there are altars, large and small. Not all of the have candles. Not all of them have a theme. But many do. Here are a few of my altars.

    1.    Artemis Altar. Here is some of my collection of Artemis posters and pieces. The climbing green witch seems to fit in with Artemis’s athleticism. Artemis is the goddess of the herbalist. Artemis is the goddess of the moon. Artemis is the wild woman who runs with the wolves, the coyotes, the hounds. Artemis shoots arrows of truth. Artemis is Diana. Artemis is Selene. Artemis is Moon Mother. Artemis is with us when we are giving birth.

    2.    Statue of Liberty Altar. After menopause, I was drawn to a new goddess archetype. I still love my first love Artemis, but she seemed less likely to help me with my crone issues. The Statue of Liberty wears a headband (with points!) and welcomes all. She’s my new squeeze (for the past fifteen years) and here’s her lair.

    3.    Love Altar. Perhaps the most changeable of all my altars, this little altar sits right beside me, where I write. It reminds me of people and places that I love and that love me too. Here is a box of Goddess matches, a gift from Z Budapest. And a purple gemstone heart that my daughter and granddaughter got for me at Niagara Falls. The little elephant belonged to my mother. There is a worked piece of bone (or antler) from Grandmother Twylah’s land. And a bright green glass turtle my sweetheart gave me last year. A wax goddess figurine from moonlodge. Several guardian fairies. And, of course, various images of Lady Lib: on a knife, a lighter, and a card. Life is such joy.

    4.    The Green Witches on the Couch Altar. Can you tell? They are taking over the couch. I remember when three people could sit there. No only two, tightly. Year by year, new green witches come for tea with their cronies and never go home. They are such a cheerful bunch; I love living with them.

    5.    The Green Witches on the Counter Altar. After taking over the couch, the green witches made a move on my counter and wrested it from my control. They now wink and giggle and shimmy as I pass by, a constant reminder to enjoy life.

    Altars, Part 2

  • Tuesday, January 10, 2017 12:01 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Green Greetings of gathering light to you all.

    It’s so obvious that the days are getting longer. The slant of the sun slides through the clouds carrying more warmth. Yes, yes, the coldest days are still to come, but the light has returned and spring is just around the corner.

    I always look forward to February 2, six weeks before spring equinox, when spring is sprung and spring is begun. How well I remember being in Ireland many years ago during my birthday week (Feb 8) and seeing daffodils in bloom. Breathtaking! Daffodils are not likely to be blooming in the Catskills, with the winter weather we usually have, but sometimes there are snowdrops by February. And if I cut a branch of forsythia this week, it may be forced into bloom by then, too.

    There is chickweed on my compost pile, but it’s too frozen to be used. However, I found a lovely chickweed plant just begging to be put in a salad when I visited Phoenix recently. Discover her with me right here. [link]

    Back home, I am settling in to work on my next book: Abundantly Well, the Seven Medicines. I will have lots to more to say about it as the weeks go on. For now, I want to share that it is the culmination of thirty years work and I am thrilled and terrified at the prospect of finally finishing it. Lighting a candle on one of my altars helps me focus and find the joy at the heart of the terror. I have lots and lots of altars. Peek at a few with me here. [link]

    I have also made some changes to the correspondence courses to modernize them; most notably, I have added a long list of MP3 files – some recent and some dating back thirty years – to the course, cut the prices for MP3s in half, and doubled the amount of files each student gets free. It’s like getting four times as much for the same price. If you’ve been thinking about starting a correspondence course, now is the time.  [link]

    Of course, everyone has access to those MP3s, not just correspondence students. Please visit my bookshop and help yourself to a handful of interesting MP3 to enjoy on your commute or at your leisure. (These recording were made at conferences and many end and start mid-sentence and sometimes the audience comments and questions are inaudible.) [link]
    Okay. It’s back to the new book now; back to writing. Next month I will share the table of contents with you.

    Green blessings of abundance and joy.

    Altars, Part 1

  • Wednesday, December 07, 2016 5:19 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Report from Down Under, Part 2

    Look close and you will see a wild turkey. We are way out in the bush in Tellabudgera, at a small dwelling, at the edge of a man-made field.

    Planted by that small dwelling is a magnificent elder bush, intertwined with wild morning glories. Scarlett wondered if there were a spring nearby, and I replied “Elder like to keep her feet wet.”

    Around a bend and down a bit from the small dwelling is a path along a ridge that my feet said had been walked for thousands of years, perhaps tens of thousands of years. The path takes us to a small natural meadow, guarded by this light-hearted tree.

    Perhaps she is tickled by the staghorn ferns on her knee. This tropical fern is widely grown as an ornamental. What a delight to see her at home, in the wild, in her native Australia.

    The bush. The forest. The wild (er) places. The places where my heart lives.

    There, in the middle of town, this brilliant red tree. Autumn upside down. Not red leaves but red flowers; not fall but spring.

    And everywhere I go there are old friends. Inland, in the valleys of the Gold Coast, yellow dock was plentiful. Scarlett and I stopped and discussed their many uses. Then we harvested a basket of wild oats. “Already dried!” I exclaimed with glee. Lucky for us that she had scissors with her. Thank you Scarlett for giving me my only day devoted to seeing Australia. I much prefer to travel by car, taking in the scenery and the greenery that I pass, rather than being flown hither and yon. Imagine! Scarlett is imaging collecting an Australian apprentice group for 2018 or 2019.

  • Wednesday, December 07, 2016 5:04 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Report from Down Under

    This small red flower greeted me when I first set foot at the Baden-Powell Scout Center in Sydney. I hope you can hear the cockatoos carrying on in the background. And the kookaburra laughing in the gum tree.

    The Goddess Conference offered workshops on women’s “business,” including bush medicine, digging sticks, fiber and bags. The woman standing on the left, Auntie Miliwanga, honored me by coming to my plenary session on Saturday, and then doubly honored me by saying in her workshop on Sunday that her elders (her mother and grandmother are sitting behind her) need my help in dealing with the whitefella diseases. After her talk, I waited my turn to speak with Miliwanga and reassured her that my help was indeed available to her, as she wished. “Then you must call me sister. And this is your mother and grandmother,” she said, motioning to the two seated women. Just like that! I’m adopted. I’m thrilled.

    One evening I noticed the beautiful pattern made by the setting sun as it threw shadows of the long leafy branches of a tall shrub onto the sidewalk. The next morning, this miracle hung there, on the shrub, heavy and sultry in the heat.

    One of my most sensuous delights was in the scent of the gardenias planted in so many places I visited on the east coast of Australia. Imagine the scent of this shrub at dusk, as the last birds are calling out.

    Leonurus leodontus   This is Australian “motherwort,” best known as wild dagga, or lion’s tail. This plant towered over us. I could barely enclose the flower-head in my hand. If I wanted to, which I didn’t. Ouch.

    Like most mints, it is used against a wide variety of digestive, respiratory, and nervous system disturbances including: fever, headache, cough, dysentery, colds, influenza, chest infections, diabetes, hypertension, eczema, epilepsy, delayed menstruation, constipation, spider bites and scorpion stings, and as an antidote for snakebite.

    Wild dagga, when dried and smoked, is psychoactive. Sucking and chewing the leaves sedates, like a mild opiate.

    ~ Page Two ~

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