Joseph Campbell was born 111 years ago on this day. Can you believe it? I lift a toast to his amazing spirit.
Hey all! I just got back from a retreat center where I kicked off my herbal apprenticeship. I and a small group of fellow apprentices hiked, identified plants, foraged, meditated, made medicinal tinctures, herbal smoking blends, and more!
On the Spring Equinox we had a cleansing fire ceremony where we meditated while my amazingly talented teacher, Becky Lerner (of Plant Spirit Reiki), played her shamanic drum, which was followed with an oracle reading and socializing around a fire. I had never meditated to shamanic drumming and it really does put you in a trance! It blocks out all distractions and makes you turn inward and you feel the sound deep in your bones. Very cool and intense!
My favorite part was getting up before dawn and going on a solo hike in the woods. It was dark and misty with this dreamlike dawn light. I came across a bed of cleavers. This plant is small, upright and a bright yellowish green with circular whorls of leaves covered in sticky hairs which “cleave” to you, hence its name. It makes me think of faeries.
In plant spirit work, you come to see plants as beings. You find that each plant has a unique essence, a spiritual gift or symbolic message for you that can be very personal. I’ve now sat with several plants on my own and in groups and had really remarkable experiences. After meditating and connecting with them in that way, you come to think of them as allies. You pass them and feel their energy. When I feel drawn to certain plants, I take that as a sign that it has medicine to share with me. It adds a spiritual dimension to herbalism and deepens your feeling and connection to nature.
Cleavers was calling to me that morning. It made me think of many youthful beings, with both male and female energy. I got a sense of a guardian spirit which in my minds eye I experienced as a kind upright, noble woman with reddish dark hair and a yellow dress trimmed in green. The energy I felt was one of gentle support. I sat there for a minute and mentally asked permission to harvest them and receive their medicine. I then felt the energies of love and gratitude and sent reiki to the plants for a few minutes before harvesting some to make a tincture later. I made sure to harvest from different spots to I didn’t take too much from any one spot.
Later during our class on Plant Spirit Work, we were given a choice of a few different herbs we could meditate with and interestingly, the class felt drawn to Cleavers as well. We all took Cleavers tincture and meditated with the plant as a group, and afterwards shared our experiences. As I listened to my classmates, my jaw dropped. I hadn’t shared my experience yet, but they were all saying similar things. Most said they experienced it as having a youthful, androgynous energy, primarily the color yellow and green. Some experienced it as an animal or water, but the overall experience was one of support. Wild huh?
If you are curious, Cleavers (Galium aparine) is lymphatic medicine with anti-inflammatory, astringent and diuretic properties. I was just remarking that isn’t it curious, how we can be generally sluggish from our bodies accumulating toxins in winter and nature responds by providing us with an abundance of revitalizing and detoxifying herbs in the spring? You just have to know where to look! 🙂
We harvested stinging nettles too and made pesto. Together we pulverized it (which takes away the sting) and added olive oil, pine nuts and garlic. I tried some with pasta later and my family said it tasted wild and blessed. ❤
Our retreat concluded with a special initiation ceremony in a circle of alder trees in the rain where we were gifted with medicine bags. Such a lovely experience! It was extra special too since we are her first apprentices. My fellow students are all lovely people and I am looking forward to getting to know them all better. As part of my studies, I am to document at least 30 herbs with their medicinal properties and my experience with them. I have the option of blogging them, which I am considering. Let me know if you might be interested in me doing that!
I think Valentine’s Day should be about expressing love and appreciation to those you care about, esp. those you might be taking for granted. Not just romantic love.
If you aren’t in a romantic relationship (or even if you are!) You should take a moment to reflect love and appreciation for the mysterious spark that you are. You deserve it! Treat yo’self!
Hello everyone. As you know, my blog went on hiatus a couple years ago. I’m resurrecting it because a lot has happened since then. I’m hoping to update you all on what I have been up to these past couple years. I recently got Reiki Level II Certified, which is a type of energy medicine if you aren’t familiar, and am currently in the process of creating a reiki page hopefully to be unveiled soon. Also in the works: a good friend and myself will be co-authoring a blog where we will post book reviews.
In my last post, I was helping campaign for a good friend’s fundraiser to buy a unique Citroen van to house his new coffee/Thai food cart at the new PNCA (Pacific NW College of Art) location. Thank you for all who donated! He did indeed meet his goal and the new Yoburi coffee van has recently opened. Yay! Check him out on Instagram! He takes very good pics.
Other happenings of note: I lived in beautiful Saint Johns here in Portland for a year. I adopted two cats, a polydactyl tortie named, Pearl and a once tiny feral calico, now big, Minnie. ❤
My new hobbies include: studying and making herbal medicine, starting a garden in my new place, honing my reiki skills, A LOT of reading, and creating new art- which I hope to share with you! Here’s to new adventures!
Please check out this campaign! If you live in Portland and want to be a part of something awesome, or even if you don’t but wish me goodwill and/or take my word when I tell you trust me about awesome things– go here and donate to these incredibly lovely people.
I know this couple in real life! Yo has had an espresso cart at PNCA for the past 12 years. He has an incredible relationship with the community. Since PNCA is moving to a new location in the North Park Blocks, he is trying to raise money to purchase and transform a unique Citroen van into a mobile espresso operation.
Yo (Yothin Amnuayphol) is also a PNCA alumni and ceramic artist. My friends are also funny and kind (I’m not just saying that- I can say without reservation they are the NICEST couple I’ve ever met! Seriously!) You have to check out the perks for donation, which range from “a big Asian hug” (their words), to one of Yo’s beautiful ceramic artworks from the next show (normally valued at $1500-2000)!
Please help my friends continue to be a feature in the amazing artistic community that they have been so long a part of.
Follow this link to read the full description, see the perks, and some examples of Yo’s art!
I am playing around with redesigning my blog. So it will be changing while I fiddle around with it. I did get a few ideas but now am too tired to mess with it more tonight. Just fyi.
Spontaneous art therapy.
Today was poem in your pocket day. Do any of you participate in this? You leave and take poems and carry one around in your pocket. I did not find any, but I left a few copies of an old favorite around town today. I wonder who found them? If any.
I know I am deathless,
I know this orbit of mine cannot be swept by a carpenter’s compass,
I know I shall not pass like a child’s carlacue cut with a burnt
stick at night.
I know I am august,
I do not trouble my spirit to vindicate itself or be understood,
I see that the elementary laws never apologize,
(I reckon I behave no prouder than the level I plant my house by,
I exist as I am, that is enough,
If no other in the world be aware I sit content,
And if each and all be aware I sit content.
One world is aware and by far the largest to me, and that is myself,
And whether I come to my own to-day or in ten thousand or ten
I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness I can wait.
My foothold is tenon’d and mortis’d in granite, I laugh at what you call dissolution, And I know the amplitude of time.”
-Walt Whitman (from “Song of Myself”)
An old favorite. I know much of it by heart. It comforts me and helps bring me back to the present moment. It reminds me to slow down, have patience. The last lines are good for feeling grounded.
Another phrase keeps coming to mind lately, simply, “It is what it is.” For some reason, it comforts me. About situations which are beyond my control, that I am unhappy with, it helps me let go. Helps me be present.
It is what it is.
Sometimes I’d just like to crawl inside one.