Aries Wound Wash
Combine equal parts (fresh or dried):
Yarrow Achillea millefolium
Calendula Calendula officinalis
Plantain Plantago major
Use 1-2 Tablespoons of herb per cup of water.
Pour boiling water over herbs in a glass jar,
cover and steep for 5-10 minutes.
Strain and use as a wash, soak, or compress for wounds.
Credit for this formula: Sajah Popham, Materia Medica Monthly, www.evolutionaryherbalism.com
FDA Disclaimer: This formula has not been evaluated by the FDA, is not intended to
substitute advise from a physician, and is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.
Aries The Ram
And so the cycle begins again. The Spring Equinox and the Aries archetype initiates and begins a new cycle. Pisces season brought us dissolutions, surrenders, and deaths, and now Aries brings us new life. Do you feel this in your life? Are you ready to initiate and begin anew? Well, this is the theme of the beginning of Spring!
Aries is Cardinal Fire. Imagine a spark, a seedling bursting from the dark earth, a budding tree. To learn about Aries, look to nature as Spring bursts forth following Winter, or imagine the animal that represents Aries: a Ram!
Aries is the archetype of courage, of our will to survive and thrive, and quite simply, our life force. When we are faced with challenges or crisis, will we loose ourselves in overthinking and indecision, or will we call upon our inner strength and just do what needs to be done? We all have Aries somewhere in our natal chart: it's a universal archetype, and we all need to call on it from time to time! Where other archetypes involve thought processes, feelings, relating, or skills, Aries in simple and pure: Action.
Like every zodiac sign, Aries has its light and its shadow. Its higher and lower expressions. Its evolved and unevolved traits. While courage and adventure are necessary to keep life exciting, Aries can look for stress and crisis where there need not be any. Aries can look for conflict instead of accepting peace. Aries can leap without looking, which can be dangerous, albeit exciting.
During Aries Season this year, from March 20-April 19th, we can look to where we need a little courage, spark, and initiation. We can remember our inner warrior, and use it to slay our inner demons while being careful not to slay other's feelings in the process!
Happy Aries Season! May you march bravely towards your dreams and the life you want to live!
Pisces Dream Pillow
Combine equal parts of the following dried herbs:
Hops Humulus lupulus
Mugwort Artemisia vulgaris
Chamomile Matricaria recutita or Anthemis nobilis
Mix herbs together and add a few drops of lavender essential oil, if desired. Sew a pouch, fill with herb mix and secure.
Place near or under your pillow to enhance and aid in dreaming. Sweet Dreams!
Pisces the Fishes
Today, February 18th @2:44 am (PST) the Sun enters the final sign of the zodiac, Pisces.
One way to understand the signs is to imagine the zodiac wheel as the natural cycle of life and the development of consciousness; each sign building upon the one before. It's such an intuitive way to understand the signs, and I'd love to briefly share it with you here before we look at the sign of Pisces.
Aries (Cardinal Fire-Begins Spring) represents birth; the spark of life that begins a new cycle, like a sprout erupting through the earth. Taurus (Fixed Earth-Mid Spring) Having become aware of its new form/body, draws strength and substance from the resources available to build a stable, peaceful existence. Gemini (Mutable Air-Late Spring), now stable and rooted, enters the element of air/mind and begins to commune with the world, using all senses to perceive and gather new information to propel its evolution onward. Cancer (Cardinal Water-Begins Summer) Having gained insights from communing with the world, now turns within to explore and ultimately protect its own watery depth of emotions. Leo (Fixed Fire-Mid Summer) Equipped with self knowledge, is now ready to crack out of its protected shell to express its authentic, vulnerable self. Virgo (Mutable Air-Late Summer) Having fully expressed itself, is now ready to perfect its talents, skills, and crafts to serve the community. Libra (Begins Autumn) Through serving and helping the community, is acutely aware of the duality between self and other and works to perfect the art of harmonizing and relating with others. Scorpio (Fixed Water-Mid Autumn) Having developed the skill of relating with others, now can glimpse beyond the veil and into the deep mysterious waters of 'other.' Sagittarius (Mutable Fire-Ends Autumn) Having peered into the otherworld, desires to know and thus thrusts itself on the endless quest for knowledge and understanding by exploring unfamiliar thoughts and worlds. Capricorn (Cardinal Earth-Begins Winter) After much exploration and expansion, has realized its ultimate purpose and goal, and steadily moves toward that goal. Aquarius (Fixed Air-Mid Winter) Having reached the mountaintop and attained its goals, stands out from the crowd and gifts the world with its hard won wisdom.
Last but not least is Pisces (Mutable Water-Late Winter) The cycle is near complete, so what is there left to do but dissolve back into Spirit in order to be reborn? The Pisces archetype reminds us that our reality is simply a product of our consciousness, and 'life is but a dream.' This realization is easier said than 'done,' especially when our lives feel difficult or we are experiencing great suffering. Nevertheless, this universal truth is the basis of many spiritual teachings and has the potential to liberate us from the anguish caused by our looping thoughts.
Pisces can be understood elementally as water vapor, or clouds. What can be more elusive than evaporated water? Watching clouds change and move across the sky is a wonderful way to study Pisces.
"It is the nature of the world of form that nothing stays fixed for very long-and so it starts to fall apart again. Forms dissolve; new forms arise. Watch the clouds. They will teach you about the world of form." Eckhart Tolle.
This understanding is easier to find and accept during Pisces season and so meditating, dreaming, listening to our creative impulses and simply spacing out may come more easily this time of year. Though 'doing nothing' is not often modeled or encouraged by a culture that prioritizes productivity at all costs, the benefits of mediation are becoming widely known and accepted.
So in honor of Pisces season, I plan to write "Meditate" on my to do list and postpone some of the others . . .and of course take responsibility for how the thoughts in my head create the reality I see. Peace out.
Classic Fever Tea
Combine equal parts fresh or dried:
Peppermint Mentha x piperita
Elder Flower Sambucus spp.
Yarrow Achillea millefolium
This classic remedy opens the pores and promotes sweating, aiding in the breaking of a fever. Drink hot for best results.
Prepare as an infusion: Place herb mix in a glass jar, boil water, pour over herbs, cover and steep for 20 minutes.
For every cup of water use approximately 1-2 TB of herb mix.
FDA Disclaimer: This formula has not been evaluated by the FDA, is not intended to substitute advise from a physician, and is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, or taking medications, please consult with your physician before starting new supplements or herbs.
I am passionate about fevers and educating folks on the importance of supporting the fever process vs. suppressing it. I'm not talking about dangerously high fevers that require medical attention! I AM speaking of fevers that are uncomfortable and miserable, but that have a very important role to play in raising your body temperature to kill the pathogens that are making you sick in the first place. Over the counter fever reducers work by suppressing the inflammation response of the body, thereby cooling you down. This helps us feel better in the short term but meanwhile, the virus or bacteria are replicating inside our body! No bueno!
Enter the brilliance and reliability of herbal medicine. This classic fever tea actually supports the vital force of your body, which is trying to stop the spread of disease inside your body and bring you back to equilibrium. When the body's immune system registers an invading pathogen, the hypothalamus closes the pores of the skin and cranks up the heat inside the body to kill the invader. This classic European fever remedy basically helps speed up this process so that your fever can do its job and then "break", so you can then rest and sleep. This formula works so well for fevers because it contains both relaxant and stimulant diaphoretics. Diaphoretics help release internal heat from the body by opening up the pores, thereby promoting sweating. Relaxant diaphoretics do this by releasing tension, and stimulant diaphoretics do this by increasing blood flow from the core to the periphery. There is much more depth to this amazing process, but that is it in a nutshell! This formula helps you feel better during a fever, but without suppressing your body's natural intelligence. Hooray for herbs!
The Aquarius Archetype
Think of the last time you sat or laid beneath a blanket of stars. How did you feel? What thoughts passed through your mind? These feelings and thoughts point us in the direction of beginning to understand the archetype of Aquarius.
Before I begin to delve into the sign of the water-bearer, let me emphasize a few things that are important to keep in mind when exploring astrology. The 12 signs of the zodiac are archetypes and each and every person's natal chart contains ALL 12. (Just in case you need clarification, a natal chart shows the location of the 10 planets at the moment of our birth, plus the chart is oriented to the specific place on earth you were born). Most of us know our Sun sign, which is a great start since our Sun sign represents a central and vital part of our psyche. However, just like there is much more to us than our names or jobs, there is also much more to our personal astrology than our sun sign. The 9 other planets occupy places within our charts, and also form aspects (or angles) with each other. For a simple example, I could have a Capricorn Sun, but if I have 6 planets in Aquarius, then Aquarian themes will be prominent in my life. To say the least, reading a natal chart well requires both a scientific understanding and an artistic integration of this ancient practice. Understanding each sign is a great first step!
Aquarius is the Fixed Air sign of the zodiac (Fixed signs occupy the middle of each season). Fixed Air: Space, the great expanse of the sky, a starry night. Each sign evolves and responds to the sign before, and the circle goes round. After Earthy Capricorn's long hard climb to the top of the mountain, Aquarius now stands alone under the expansive sky and stars and realizes how much wisdom and insight s(he) has gained. Knowing that this knowledge can be shared to help others, Aquarius walks back down the mountain and back into society to spread that wisdom to their community and/or the world. Hence the symbol of the water-bearer: one who pours water (wisdom) into the world. The wavy lines that make up the glyph for Aquarius are often mistaken for water, but actually represent the serpents of knowledge.
Perhaps when you have heard or read about Aquarius, words such as eccentric, genius, innovator, or rebel stick out. For some these words may raise an eyebrow, or arise suspicion. In the evolutionary model of astrology that I study, there are no judgements or good vs. bad. Each sign is seen to hold a unique signature that contributes to the evolutionary journey of being human, and each of us carry signatures of that sign uniquely. The evolutionary goal of Aquarius is, quite simply, the freedom of individuality and the loyalty to truth. No small matter in a world of cultures that encourage conformity! Not to mention the traditions and structures of family, religion, or any belief system for that matter. No wonder Aquarius is associated with the innovator and the genius. For what is a genius but one who thinks in ways they have not been taught? Where would we be without folks who stood up against the outdated beliefs of their culture? Who demanded freedom? Who envisioned a better world? Whose intelligence brought life changing breakthroughs? Who dared to not only think outside the box, but live and act outside the box within the confines of culture? Life as we know it has been and is constantly shaped by the change and disruption that comes with scientific and social breakthroughs. The struggle between tradition and change is what history books are made of.
2020 brought much change for us all, collectively and individually. A lot of us humans naturally resist change, and that's ok. But perhaps if we took the time every once in a while to stare up at the sky on a clear night, we could suddenly gain the perspective we need to trust the process as life unfolds in miraculous, unexpected ways.
My deepest thanks to Steven Forrest and his astrological teachings, including his book "The Inner Sky." Also to Tyler Pernor (www.thechironium.com) whose free astrology course taught me the elemental correspondences of each zodiac sign.
Creating herbal oils is a simple and enjoyable process. Herbal Infused Oils can then be made into salve, lip balm, cream, used for culinary purposes, or simply used as a massage oil.
There are several ways to make herbal infused oil: 1- Solar infusion Method, 2-Heat Infusion method, 3- Alcohol Intermediary Method.
Personally I have mostly used the simple solar infused method, but I recently made comfrey oil using the alcohol intermediary method and I must say that I am very impressed. The oil is much more potent than any I have ever made, and it was ready within 24 hours! But each way has it's own strengths, so read on to learn about all three methods! First though, let's talk about choosing the herbs and the oil! Or if you already know which herbs you want to infuse, scroll down to get directly to the instructions!
Choosing your herbs and oil
Choosing an Oil
Everyone has their favorite oil to use in herbal oil infusions. I keep it simple and most often use organic olive oil since it is affordable and readily available. Plus, one of my favorite herbalists, Rosemary Gladstar recommends it! Other favorites oils for herbal infusions include sweet almond oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, and coconut oil.
Herb to Oil Ideal Ratios
Dried Herbs 1:5-1:8
Fresh Herbs 1:2-1:4
(Weight of herb: volume of oil)
...and there is always the folk method: fill a jar halfway with your herb of choice, and add enough oil to cover
For best results, hand chop or use a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder to grind your herb before mixing it with the oil. This exposes more surface area of the herb to the oil which creates a more potent infusion. You can grind the herb into smaller chunks, or all the way to powder. Powdered herbs take more time to strain from the oil, so I prefer to grind the herbs into small bits. But the choice is yours so find your own preference by experimenting!
4I have heard this method called the 'folk' method . . .and so it is. . .simple, straightforward, and easy! You can use either fresh or dried herbs for this method, but if using fresh herbs care must be taken to ensure that the oil doesn't go rancid due to moisture from the plant material. Let the fresh herbs wilt to ensure the moisture is gone, and always be sure the jar you are using is clean and completely dry. It's also incredibly important to make sure the herbs always remain completely submerged in the oil.
The process is simple: chop or grind your herbs, place them in a jar, and fill with oil. Place a lid on the jar, give it a good shake, and place it in a warm sunny location where you will see it often. Over the next 4-6 weeks, shake the jar and then be sure that after the herbs settle they are still submerged. Strain and keep in a cool, dark location.
Using heat to create infused oil produces a finished product in a short amount of time. There are many variations of this method, but the general idea is simple: heat the oil and herbs slowly and at a low temperature (120-140 Fahrenheit) to avoid burning the herbs. You can either use a crock pot, double boiler, or yoghurt maker. If using a double boiler, simply mix the herb and oil into the top pot and simmer the water underneath for 30 minutes to an hour. For the crock pot method, place your chopped/ground herb of choice in a clean, dry jar, add your oil (being sure the herb is submerged completely) and place this in your crock pot. Add water to your crock pot so that water reaches to just below the lid of the jar, and set to low. l keep the lid off the crock pot to be sure the oil/herbs don't get too hot. Let the herb and oil heat all day or overnight to create a strong and potent oil. Strain and rebottle, storing in a cool and dark location.
Alcohol Intermediary Infusions
This method creates a very potent oil that has a longer shelf life than oils made with the above methods. This is due to the addition to a small amount of alcohol to the plant material which prevents mold and microbial growth. The process is still pretty simple, but contains one additional step in the beginning. Use only dried herbs for this method.
Grind your herbs into a course powder. For each ounce of herb, add approximately 1/2 ounce of whole grain alcohol (everclear or vodka) to the ground herbs and mix, just enough to dampen. If using the folk measuring method, fill your jar about 1/4 full of ground herb and add just enough alcohol to slightly dampen. Cover you jar and let it sit for 24 hours. Next fill the jar with your oil of choice and mix well, making sure that the herbs are submerged in the oil. Lastly, use one of the heat infusion methods above. Strain and rebottle.
Opening Our Wild Hearts to Healing Herbs Gail Faith Edwards
Materia Medica Monthly, Sajah Popham (online Program) www.evolutionaryherbalism.com
Wild Remedies Rosalee De la Foret & Emily Han
Rosemary Gladstar's Family Herbal Rosemary Gladstar
Making Plant Medicine Richo Cech
Happy Solstice! I wish you the merriest, most joyful day with a deep undertone of peace. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, just knowing that the days will grow longer is deeply comforting and brings much hope!
This is a wonderful day to take some time to ritualize the dawning of a new era in your life; a time to let the old die and welcome the new. I am sure this year has brought much transformation for each and every one of us, and this day is a wonderful opportunity to take some time to journal, meditate, dance, sing, or do whatever you feel called to do to celebrate and revere your journey thus far. On this longest night of the entire year, I like to envision my own symbolic death and rebirth. Like a phoenix rising out of the ashes, we can celebrate the fires that have brought our transformations and embrace the new 'I' that is emerging.
This Solstice is even more potent because today is also a Grand Conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn at 0 degrees Aquarius. Saturn has been transiting Capricorn since December of 2017 (minus a brief time in Aquarius in 2020) and Jupiter has been in Capricorn since December 2019. These two heavyweights have also been dancing with Pluto in Capricorn throughout 2020, creating extremely rare astrological happenings that have caused much change and upheaval (in case you didn't notice). But now, Jupiter and Saturn have left Capricorn and entered Aquarius, significantly shifting the planetary energies and creating new dynamics in the heavens. I will go into more depth on this subject in the coming newsletter for Aquarius season!
But as Jupiter and Saturn leave Capricorn, the sun enters it, so let's talk about Capricorn for now!
Capricorn is the last of the earth signs on the zodiac wheel. Taurus is fixed earth, and can be understood as earth in the form of rocks and minerals. Virgo is mutable earth and is best represented by the plant kingdom. Capricorn, cardinal earth, is earth in the form of humans and animals. This is one of my favorite ways to study each sign...through each of their unique elemental correspondences. Just observe nature in winter, and you will come to understand the Capricorn archetype. The earth is bare and seemingly dead, but the life force is alive and well: deep within the earth, trees, and each living being. This turning within is a necessary part of the cycle of life, of course. It is natural and normal to slow down and go within during the winter months, but we don't always follow nature's rhythm with our modern lifestyles. If we choose, as best we can, to emulate nature and her rhythms, I believe we can find balance, peace and repose. Solitude is another natural theme of winter and is a major cornerstone of the Capricorn constitution; time alone is as necessary as food and shelter for those with strong Capricorn in their charts.
Another way to understand Capricorn is by considering the image associated with it. The bizarre combination of a goat and a fish (the Sea-Goat) can be hard to grasp at first, but it's symbology is simple; a goat that can climb the highest mountains with an inner depth that swims in the deepest seas. Capricorn is like a wise elder, who has climbed their own mountain of choosing, and has the silver hairs on their crown to prove it. Though Capricorn is often represented as a power hungry, cold scrooge, that is simply its shadow side. The higher expression of this archetype is inner power and absolute integrity, and the ability to reach meaningful goals that have been carefully chosen. Even if you are not a sun, moon, or Capricorn rising, these patterns exist within us all, and we can look to our natal charts to understand where these themes play out in our own lives (blog post on how to do that coming later!)
Last but not least, to more deeply understand Capricorn we look to its ruling planet, Saturn. Saturn represents time, structure, boundaries (think of its rings), and discipline. Saturn is known in ancient astrology as the Greater Malefic, for its lessons are often 'hard' and usually involve a theme of 'going at it alone.' But is hard always bad? and is solitude not the greatest teacher? I think most would agree that transformation and growth rarely happen when things are easy. Like the winter, which can be cold, difficult and grim, our pain and challenges have the potential to show us that we are stronger and more resilient that we could have ever imagined.
Astrologically, 2020 has been dominated by Saturn and Capricorn themes. Knowing this has very much helped me weather this long, 'winter like' year. I look forward to when we can gather together again and share our 2020 transformation stories, I am sure they will be bountiful!
Until then, wishing you wellness, warmth, and some peace and quiet this Capricorn Season!
Capricorn Melancholy Tea
2 parts St. John’s Wort flowering tops Hypericum perforatum
2 parts Chamomile Matricaria recutita or Anthemis nobilis
1 part Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis
1/2 part Borage flowers Borago officinalis
1/2 part Lavender Lavandula
1/2 part Roses Rosa
The mere sight of this colorful tea blend will brighten your day!
In addition to a healthy, whole foods diet, regular exercise, and plenty of deep
restful sleep, this tea helps strengthen the nervous system and uplift one’s mood,
especially during the winter months when sunshine is limited.
Prepare as an infusion, using approximately 1 Tablespoon of herb mix per cup of water.
Pour boiling water over herbs in your favorite tea pot or glass jar, cover and steep 15-30
minutes. Drink 1 cup three times per day.
FDA Disclaimer: This formula has not been evaluated by the FDA, is not intended to
substitute advise from a physician, and is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, or taking
medications, please consult with your physician before starting new supplements or herbs.
Welcome Sagittarius season!
Sagittarius is the mutable fire sign of the zodiac that bridges Autumn and Winter. If Aries is the spark that begins the Zodiac cycle and spring, and Leo is the dancing flame of the bonfires of summer, then Sagittarius can be understood as the burning embers in our hearths that gather us around during the colder months for drinking tea, reading, and sharing knowledge.
Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, which is the largest of all the planets in our solar system (in fact it is 2x larger than all the other planets combined!). Jupiter is gaseous and expansive by nature and thus in astrology is commonly known as the Greater Benefic, or bringer of good luck and fortune. Thus the Sagittarius archetype is often characterized by optimism, good cheer, and light-heartedness.
The Sagittarius archetype can also be understood through the image of the centaur, Chiron, with his bow and arrow. Half horse and half human, Chiron represents the merging of animal instinct and intuition with human intellect and reason. Not just primal gut reactions, and not just logic and reason, but the embodied intelligence of merging both. Chiron mastered and taught an eclectic body of knowledge, including music, astronomy, and philosophy. He also developed the healing arts and because of an injury even he himself could not heal, has become the archetype of the wounded healer and the namesake of the Comet/minor planet discovered in 1977.
Sagittarius and Chiron both embody the quest for knowledge and the expansion of one's mind though new experiences and learnings. This is why travel is so often associated with Sagittarius, for when we experience a culture and way of living outside of our own, we naturally expand and gain new awareness. Studying is of course another avenue of expansion, as is befriending someone whose life experience is radically different than our own.
Honestly, I cannot think of a more appropriate archetype and message for here and now (and always!) During a time when people feel isolated and frustrated, on top of polarized by politics or opinions on current events, now would be an appropriate time to open our minds to the 'other' point of view, even and especially if it is hard to do. Instead of immediately closing, or contracting our minds as soon as we hear or read something that opposes our own opinions and beliefs, perhaps we can take a deep breath and try, I mean REALLY try to understand where the other person is coming from. That doesn't mean we have to agree or change our own belief, just that we are willing to listen and consider that our perspective is limited to our own experience.
As the days grow darker and colder (at least here in the Northern Hemisphere), Sagittarius season is a perfect time to expand our minds through entertaining diverse opinions, reading, study, and quiet contemplation. Hopefully we will all have more down time, and my prayer is that we all (myself included) take the time to grow our minds outside of their normal confines, in whatever way we are inclined, whether that is reading, watching documentaries, or studying that subject we want to know more about.
Of course, expansion cannot go on forever, and we naturally and eventually bump up against boundaries and limitations, but that discussion is for another time. Stay tuned for next month's article on Capricorn and Saturn, and my Melancholy Tea Blend for the winter blahs.
But for now, brew a cup of At Ease Tea and enjoy the natural expansion and good cheer of Sagittarius season!
Special Thanks for the following authors and teachers for sharing their knowledge that expanded my knowledge of astrology and Chiron and helped inform this article:
Inner Sky Steven Forrest
Way of the Horse Linda Kohanov
Tyler Penor www.thechironium.com
Queen of Letting Go
Break open my heart,
so my love can flow. . .
Flow from the places where I've shut down,
from the dark murky waters, where shadow is found.
For that's where my gems are, there's the real gold,
the love and acceptance that comes once I know. . .
that life and death, shadow and light, yin and yang, wrong and right,
Blend all together in one glorious whole,
reminding me once again, so that I may know
TO LIVE IN THE MOMENT
TO LOVE LIKE I BREATHE
EACH MOMENT, EACH DAY
BE THANKFUL TO LIVE
The River cleanses me,
washes it all away.
Once again, I'm an innocent child at play.
The cold water awakens me,
to this gift that is life,
As I glide through her,
I forget my struggle and my strife.
So I pray to the waters,
I bow down in deep awe,
I thank you for your gifts,
You bring life to one and all,
May we respect and adore you,
May we be mindful of what we do,
So that our children's children can enjoy the waters too!
She who embodies all that is beneath, hidden, repressed
Teach me to accept and surrender to the darkness
Show me how to not cling to passing emotions, feelings, fears, and the changeability of the mind
Teach me how to find the light
Even in the darkest of nights
How to hold on to hope when all seems lost, and I'm afraid, confused, and helpless
Please, caress my soul with your deep wisdom
I pray to you Dark mother
Help me discern that which needs the sword and that which needs patience and love
Teach me to turn within for answers, instead of seeking the opinions of others
I pray to you
I pray for my family, now and for generations to come
May we heal our karmic wounds
May we evolve and live in peace, love, joy, and acceptance
and as we heal our wounds, may we inspire others to do the same,
and in doing so, Heal the Earth
I am but a child in my heart
Wanting to love, and be loved
Shying away from hurt and pain
longing for comfort in my mother's arms
Expressing myself freely
Naturally moving towards what brings me joy
Accepting others differences, without even thinking twice
For aren't we all humans, together here on earth?
Let us be childlike again
Innocent and trusting
Joyful and ever present to moments as they arise