Heart Medicine

My day started early, before the sun was over the horizon. Riding my bike near the river’s edge to harvest Rose in bloom. You want to capture the volatile oils before the sun touches the petals evaporating them. Nootka Rose is the reason for an early Friday morning.

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Nootka Rose is our native wild rose. Different from the cultivated, manicured florist roses. This shrub produces many delicate light pink blossoms, fragrant, yet still coated with thorns. Thorns symbolize protection and illuminate boundaries; as you know exactly where your skin and a thorn meet. This is the plants way of communicating to respect it’s space.

 

Rose is arguably the most common and universal symbol for love. Love is a very deep emotion which is felt, generated, created, expressed, transferred and endless. I believe there are many forms or expressions of love but ultimately it is still simply love. One-love.

 

When talking love-talking we look into the heart. Life can be an amazing joyous adventure but can also come with plenty of challenges, traumas and hard times. These traumas can slowly build up and store themselves in the heart almost without us noticing. Working with this plant will help to unfold layers of the heart gently and gracefully; as it is not always easy to face our buried emotions. It will show you great compassion and beauty within oneself. She has the power to release tensions making you feel a light and free.  

 

This is a key plant in my medicine cabinet for it’s strong emotional virtues as well as physical complaints. I feel it is an important remedy for our current “mind dominate” culture. Our minds are a useful, necessary tool but our hearts are a powerful perception and communication tool. Let us not forget this by allowing our minds to be a servant to the heart.

 

May you breath deep into your being to have an open, full, clear and strong heart today. 

 

Lightening Charge

May 7th 2018

 

It happens gradually, creeping in forming more and more shadows. Clouds darkening and building quickly gives some clue as what is to come. The change of light makes fantastic contrast upon the green earth which is ever so ready for the rain. Suddenly it is right over head, cracking thunder sending a charge through you. Being surrounded by so much action in the sky speeds up my pulse and allows me to tap into this great energy. My perception sharpens, my emotions are stirred and a shift in perspective. The daily tasks and errands fall from my thoughts as I am forced to turn inward. I feel a sudden and welcomed burst of vitality. Regardless of the un-set sun you cannot miss the white-gold flashes of lightening. This first spring storm has set the tone for the more active summer season to come. I am ready to come out of the quieter winter months and face the new projects, goals, ideas, and activities of spring with creativity and drive.

 

What happens when you experience a lightening storm? Has it stirred up your inner creativity and drive? What makes you feel charged? 

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Winter Solstice & Sagittarius

This is the shortest day of the year and the final day of Sagittarius. Astrologically Sagittarius is the last sign of fall and we stoke the fire to we move into winter. In our Northerly climate it seems as if we have been in winter for weeks now. Astrology does not have hard lines and there is gradual cross over periods. The concepts remain the same and can be applied just the same. 

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Sagittarius is ruled by the planet Jupiter, the element Fire and the mutable principle. This represents the fire of the heart with a clear mind. Sagittarians can have a curious, exploring mind seeking knowledge. They are optimistic, love freedom and have a vitality for living life.

This is a good time of year to explore a clear, creative mind initiating anything we would like to see come into actuality for the future. Through observation of nature, our experiences, and all kinds relationships we can find knowledge. From an open heart and clear mind, we can move this knowledge into wisdom. By moving our knowledge out of the mind and into the world in a practical way it becomes wisdom.

Enjoy a cozy place with a warm beverage to listen to your heart and stimulate a creative, inquisitive mind.

Happy solstice and blessing over the holiday season.

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Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a Sagittarian herb as it is ruled by Jupiter, has warming and drying energetics, and a bright orange fiery colour.  

Devil's Club Harvest

It is the end of November, the rain has let up and even though low in the sky the sun shows itself today. Fall is the main season for root harvesting as at this time of year the plant turns downward to the roots to store energy for the winter. The macrocosm for this is how entire forests turn colour and drop leaves for winter, naturally mulching and using those same leaves for nutrients in the spring. We may notice this in ourselves as we enter fall and winter; turning inward perhaps are less social and less outwardly active. It is a natural rhythm of life.

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Devil’s Club (Oplopanax horridum) is an intense plant which claims it’s space. Oplopanax usually grows in large stands of wet, well drained older growth forests. The whole plant is covered in thorns which are unpleasant, painful and sometimes long-lasting in the skin. This is a protection of the plant, showing clear boundaries. The thorns make walking through and harvesting the roots a careful, delicate dance.

For me respect, interacting, and acknowledgment of the plant is synonymous with harvesting medicine. Once I find a stand large enough to ethically harvest from I take the time to sit with the plant. I give an offering of tobacco and spend time connecting with the plant. I try to hold this clear, meditative state while I harvest. Crawling through the spiky stands I dig up horizontal roots, not collecting more than I need. Time dose not register; I am focused, engaged, and know that this is a process which cannot be rushed. 

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Upon arriving home, the real work of processing the plant begins. I start by cleaning the dirt, moss and spikes off of each stick. Next I strip the bark from the heartwood, as the medicinal part is the inner root bark. The inner bark is chopped finally, weighed and ready to be tinctured. 

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The strong bewitching, spicy scent of Devil’s club lingers in my kitchen and on my clothes. Inevitably I have thorns in my hands despite the fact I kept them in gloves. It is a small price to pay for spending the day with an important plant of the Pacific North West and access to its powerful medicine. 

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Another day of medicine making is complete.