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 infused Method, 2-Heat 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!
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, it is affordable and readily available, and one of my favorite herbalists, Rosemary Gladstar recommends it! favorites are sweet almond oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, and
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
Solar Infused Oil
I 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 needs to 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 submerged in the oil.
The process is simple: chop 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 3-6 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.
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 it's 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
My Dreams are real
I can feel them, touch them
The doubts creep in, but I'm learning to mistrust them
Having a vision, following through
the most challenging and rewarding thing to do
So I take baby steps, one by one
I walk towards my future
Past and future are one
For time is a spiral
and its all-ready real
Choosing my thoughts wisely,
I go by feel
I do what feels good!
I do what feels right!
Following my quiet yearnings,
Dreaming not only in the night!
I seek your council
Teach me in the ways of stillness
Retreat Quiet Non-doing
Stillness comes naturally now
To do lists lose their usual appeal
I meet resistance if my mind tries to plot, plan, and strive
Dark Moon, you teach me
That I am already there
I am HERE
in my heart, in my spirit
Beauty and harmony and perfection already exist
My dreams have already come true- In the spiral of time I meet them now,
and I am content
Step into your power
But also be weak
Shine your beautiful light,
But first in the darkness you must seek,
Follow your heart
By quieting your mind,
Be utterly confused,
Then walk a straight line.
Life is a paradox,
There is dark, there is light.
Be with what is,
to expand with what might. . . .