The Sun and Moon Meet (so what does a full moon on solstice mean?)

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The moon was full a few hours ago.  The first time that the moon has been full on the summer solstice since 1948.  The large moon meets the strongest day for the sun.  This is more significant than one would think.

At my shop the tops of the canning jars holding hundreds of jars of medicine are popping.  The herbs move.  The fluid they are suspended in changes colors.  The medicine will be ready.  The medicines that go out into the full moon of June are always the most brilliantly colored and generally the strongest medicine I will make all year.  The full moon changes the frequency of the medicine (remember everything is energy) making it match our bodies unique energy level.  The moon cycles control the ocean, women’s cycles, and have a great influence on farming, and on medicine making.

All my medicines go through the sun as well.  This often surprises people since the little dark bottles at the health food store take such good care to not show their faces to the great sun.  Think sun tea.  It infuses the herbs.  The sun is our ally.  It detoxifies the skin, creates natural vitamin D, controls our moods, and sets our internal clocks.  The sun is as powerful as the moon for my medicines.  (I do not cut my medicines like common tinctures so I never worry about loss of energy or mold.)

So here today we have the longest day for the sun, the change of season is upon us, and the moon is there to greet the sun.  This will have a powerful influence not just on medicines and plants, but on us as well.

This is a time to become your strongest self.  The frequency is right, the season is new, it is time to be renewed.  Change is swirling all around us and it is time to really look inward and focus on our utmost important intentions.  Not your intentions for anyone else, just you.  Time to release all that is past.  Release anything not adding to your life.  Release any habits, jobs, relationships, old ideas, anything that may have been there for too long keeping you stagnant.

Focus intently on new ideas, jobs, relationships, place of living, creative ideas, and passions.  It is time to manifest the place we want to be.  To be the person we want to be.

I know I have allowed myself to become too busy.  The things I have done over the years were done with Doug but without his help I have taken on too much.  Too much time working in the shop, teaching others, volunteering for things, trying to do everything at home, at work, and for others.  I need to scale back a smidge.  My medicines and my peace of mind will suffer.  I will think today on how I can make changes to make my work and my personal life lead to the most balance.  What are my priorities?  What are yours?

I really need a bonfire to be dancing around in the moonlight tonight to bring it all to being but I guess my oil lamp and a journal will do.  Happy Solstice!  Summer is here!

Growing Comfrey (and all its benefits)

 

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I have great friends who let me learn from them and dig up their yards.  Sandy let me come over and dig up another comfrey plant because the garden center didn’t have them in yet at the time.  I dug around the base in a wide girth so that the plant didn’t know it was going anywhere.  I plopped the whole mass into a three gallon bucket and off he went.  I had joked with Sandy that I was going to plant it in the community garden.  She questioned my morals.  Comfrey will spread everywhere y’all, and you won’t have friends at the garden if you do that.  It stayed on my balcony and is thriving in its bucket!  I will get it in new cushy digs today so that it can spread out at its leisure and the tap root can get nice and long.  I have a great love affair with comfrey.

There was a study done in the seventies with a very small handful of people who all had liver issues.  The study concluded that comfrey harmed the liver.  Now, anytime I hear “studies prove” I question, who put on the study?  (Big pharma in this case) How many participants? (12)  Why would this plant not be recommended by the FDA? (It kills cancer.  Quick.) hmm.

The variety we use isn’t even the same one that was viewed in the study (still not recommended by the FDA), this is a hybridized version but its benefits are still there and continue to astound me as a plant medicine healer.

#1 It can kill cancer, inside and out.

#2 It can heal up broken bones (even severe) in two weeks.  It is stellar when it comes to healing the skeletal system.  Ligaments, bones, muscles, and tendons respond to the healing properties of comfrey very quickly.

#3 It is a garden hero.  In my permaculture class it was a major highlight in gardens.  The tap root aerates the soil, the large leaves can be cut and placed under large plants to add nutrients to the soil and to smother weeds.  My friend, Lisa, sent me an article on turning the comfrey into liquid fertilizer.

So many amazing uses, one unsuspecting plant.

How to Make a Topical Cancer Oil

Combine in a half pint jar 1 part dried comfrey, 1 part dried red clover to 3 parts olive oil.  Loosely add lid and place in sun for two weeks.  Add a teaspoon of frankincense essential oil.  No need to strain.  Shake well.  Apply to suspicious or known spots twice daily.  This oil can be applied to abrasions, bug bites, sunburn, any skin issue for quick relief!  Label and store in the cupboard.  Stays good for over a year.

(I wrote another article on comfrey three years ago.  Click here to read!)

 

 

The Many Uses of Lavender

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Lavender has so many lovely uses, many that you may not be aware of.  Lavender easily grows in a pot on the porch.  Opt for English lavender.  Folks do tend to only think of French lavender which is astounding with its single stems and fields of purple waves but French just won’t stand up in our climate.  English lavender develops a nice woody base and with a good straw covering will survive in winter if planted in the garden.

Lavender is wonderful in food.  Add it to thyme, oregano, or basil when preparing dishes.  It also makes a very nice tea.  Blend it with any black tea, Earl Grey is nice, or a green tea with lemon and lavender is unique and refreshing.  Lavender boiled with simple syrup to make lavender lemonade is astounding.

Medicinally lavender works in many ways.  It is a mild nervine, or pain reliever.  It levels out stronger nervines like skullcap, valerian, or California poppies.  It won’t work on its own for pain, but is a great supporting actor.  It also helps with stomach upset along with lemon balm and mint.

It is a star in healing emotional issues.  Just think about smelling or seeing lavender.  It instantly improves mood.  It does that internally as well.  It is used with hawthorn, St. John’s Wort, and roses for severe depression.  By itself it can lighten one’s spirits and helps heal heartbreak.

It can be added to smudge herbs to help infuse love and positivity into a space.

The essential oil can be used topically (never ingest essential oils, not even multi-marketing ones!) directly on wounds or bug bites.  Put on pimples to make them vanish. Use with aloe on a burn.

Lavender has many helpful uses.  If you pick up a plant from the nursery today you will have your own lavender medicine at the ready!

Stinging Nettles (wild food and medicine)

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You might view your weeds a little differently if I told you that they contain ten times more nutrition, vitamins, and minerals than conventional greens, or that you might never have to buy spinach again, or that you can heal all sorts of things from cancer to hay fever with wild greens.  You might think twice about getting the weed killer out!  Those weeds, Friends, are food and medicine.

Yesterday when I arrived at my shop a beautiful box was waiting for me.  A gift beyond measure.  A new dress?  A cup of coffee?  Candies?  No, stinging nettles.  A whole box of discarded weeds.  She was only too happy to drop them off at my shop.  Gold, people, gold.

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Stinging nettles are used widely in Europe as a wild green.  Once they are cooked or dried the stingers are inactive.  In pasta or soup, they add a powerful supply of minerals and are a free source of greens.  If you don’t have any growing in the pasture you can go to Tagawa, or other garden store, and order a plant.  For $4 I have one growing on my third floor balcony.  A great supply of allergy medicine.  Yes, allergy medicine.  Nothing stops allergies faster than stinging nettles.

The other reason I have it in a pot is because it will spread like a runaway toddler.  It does have stingers, bitty fiberglass barbs that irritate the skin, so wear gloves when harvesting.  Dry a good part in a paper bag with holes in it for three weeks.  This will provide tea to stop allergies quickly and keep you in nettles over the winter.

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Fresh nettles can be eaten.  I use a sandwich bag or the like to protect my fingers as I cut up the greens.  Today they will join the beans that were cooking all night in the crock pot.  Beans, bacon, cream, onions, and nettles with homemade bread.  A delicious lunch, I must say.

And friends, don’t forget to eat curly dock, yellow dock, sunflower leaves, dandelions, lamb’s quarters, and purslane.  Delicious and healthy!

The Light Workers

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Perhaps you have never heard of an HSP.  You may know them as other descriptions such as too sensitive,  anxious, depressed, only has a few friends, doesn’t like school, often sensitive to overhead lighting, loud noise, overstimulation, too many people, often the brunt of bullying, cry baby.  Teenaged HSP’s get diagnosed as bi-polar (particularly females), ADD, ADHD, depressed, or anxious.  Big Pharma makes a fair amount of money “fixing” these beautiful people to make them “normal”.  But all they do is shut off their innate abilities.

I held in my hands a women’s magazine and read the small captioned news bit.  HSP, or Highly Sensitive Person, is a person more in tune with their natural surroundings.  Often sensitive to artificial lighting, loud noise, crowds, overstimulation, and….  I think my mouth must have dropped open.  Never in my life had I read such a perfect description of myself.  I was always told I was “too sensitive”.  An HSP certainly sounded nicer.  I have talked with more plants, trees, and animals in my life than people.

Now, here is the thing about HSP’s, they are also often times very intuitive, clairvoyant, whatever your comfort word for it is.  Some can see spirits, some are our medical intuitives, some are the foreseers, and always, always empaths.  The reason we are so dang sensitive is because we literally feel everything that we see or read about.  I cannot read novels of violence or suspense, I will feel the violence.  Same with movies.  Sadness in other people made ten times more amplified.  News…forget about it.  HSP’s must never read the news.  Happiness is felt more intensely as well.

HSP’s are what many call “old souls”.  Many of us remember past lives even.  Many are wise before they ought to be and just seem….odd.  HSP’s are not considered autistic but may border the autism frequencies, highly intelligent, intuitive, aware of everything.  Our healers.  Our lightworkers.  With an intense desire to become a hermit!  But we cannot hide out.  There is much work to do.

As a child I don’t know if I ever met another HSP but as an adult, as the phrase became more known, I have met more.  My mentor, old roommate, Hopi friend is an HSP.  We talk about it quite a lot.  He is a hospice chaplain and brilliant at his work.  He told me once that there are not very many of us and I, at the time, believed him.  Until I opened my shop.  My shop is a magnet for HSP’s.  Parents bringing in “anxious” young people, young adults coming in on their own that have been classified as one thing or another who just need to know that their abilities and gifts are important and are not a malady, older adults that never could put their finger on it.  Our healers.  Our light workers.

Elbert county is an interesting place.  Part rancher, part cowboy, part home on the range, with an inordinate number of energy healers, artists, right brained society and young people, many more than I ever would have guessed, who are intuitive.  My work morphs from simply making plant medicines to teaching these young people how to filter, how to work with their empathy, their “knowing”, their light.  That they are indeed normal.

If you know or meet someone like this, smile at them.  Know that they are the healers of tomorrow, and that there is an entire society of too sensitive folk out there about to make the world a much better place.

A Spring Herb Walk with Sacred Owl School of Original Medicine

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Sunday was bright and just the right amount of warm.  We were like school girls tripping down the trail stopping every few minutes to look at new growth, smelling and tasting plants, and looking for snakes.  Laughter and stories fell around the group as we made our way down the meandering and winding path.

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Scrub oak is used in place of witch hazel for its astringency.

One of the classes from my school, Sacred Owl School of Original Medicine, went on a herb walk to Castlewood Canyon.  There weren’t a lot of things popping up this early but the spring tonics were showy and beautiful.  Some things that we tried to identify were small in their early spring infancy and we scoured the pages of the guide I brought.  A lot we couldn’t be sure, but promises of coming again later in the season, the fresh air, and the cold drinks and herb truffles the students had made, and resting at the end of the path made for a lovely day out of the classroom.

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Young yarrow leaves promise lots of beautiful white yarrow for circulatory, heart, and wound use.

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Dandelion may seem ordinary, or even obnoxious, but it is one of the best liver cleansers available.

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Currants, along with all berries, are very good for the kidneys, and the leaves are demulcent making them great for tummies, and uteruses!

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Dock (curly, burdock, or yellow) are all amazing medicines for cancer use, blood cleansing, and immunity.

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I highly recommend getting a nice, colorful guide for plants for your area and heading out onto a hiking trail.  That is medicine in itself!

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Class of Spring 2016!

For more information on my Master Herbalism program and my school, check out www.SacredOwlSchool.com

 

Featherheart Finds Medicine

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In Liz Gilbert’s book, Big Magic, she refers to ideas as actual entities of their own and goes on to explain the real magic in that.  One poet talked about when an idea started coming she would run like heck to the kitchen to get paper and pen, sometimes even writing the poem backwards and capturing it “by the tail”.  I know this feeling.  And sitting in a classroom at an old hotel on the top of a mountain in Cloudcroft, New Mexico listening to a lecture on herbs, I found myself grabbing my notebook and not hearing another word from the class.  I wrote a children’s book with feverish intensity.  I needed very little editing and when I got home my daughter, Emily, agreed to do water color paintings for the book.

What resulted was a beautiful children’s book that leads the child on an adventure with Featherheart to her Grammie’s house.  As she and her Grammie head out into the morning with their baskets they meet plants (and learn their identification and properties) and birds and other creatures.  The book whimsically teaches while entertaining and the adult reading will learn as well.

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The book is printed in a sturdy calendar format with big pictures and easy print.  I hope you will let me share with you my work.  For blog readers it is only $10.  Call to order 303-617-3370 or email Katie@pumpkinhollowfarm.net.  And as always, thank you so much for reading.

The Healing Power of Turmeric (and how to prepare it)

Turmeric has long been touted for its health benefits.  Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and circulatory herb.  It improves blood flow, helps with digestive issues, and pain.  It is what I call a supporting actor in many of my medicines.  It helps all the other herbs do their jobs better.

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I am not an advocate of pills.  Really, how many herbs can you stick in one little pill?  By the time you put in the other ingredients, and your stomach works its way through the pill you have practically zero plant medicine there.  Allow me to give you some ways to turn turmeric into amazing medicine that is accessible and bioavailable.

#1 Tea.  Oh, my favorite.  I usually just slice a bit from the end of a root and put it in my tea but while visiting my friend, Lisa, in California last week, she taught me a tremendous way to prepare turmeric.  Blend 2 Tablespoons of dried, powdered turmeric with 4 Tablespoons of water.  Add 1/8 teaspoon of ground pepper.  Pepper greatly enhances the bioavailability and effectiveness of turmeric.

Let’s face it, Folks, between pollution, pharmaceuticals, and our food system we all have some free radicals and inflammation to deal with.  So, every day I combine a scant teaspoon of this mixture with a Tablespoon of honey, a good squeeze of lemon, a basil or mint leaf, a chunk of ginger, and 12 ounces of boiling water to make it into tea.  Then I add a Tablespoon of coconut oil.  Wait, don’t let me lose you here!  It makes it taste ever more nurturing, the sweet creamy flavor with the spicy herbs, and the fat makes the antioxidants from the plants more bioavailable.  Delicious.

#2 Vinegar extract.  Place a 2 inch chunk of ginger root and a 2 inch chunk of turmeric root with a touch of pepper in a pint jar of organic apple cider vinegar.  Replace lid and put in window for two weeks.  Add maple syrup for taste and take a teaspoon a day or add to recipes or tea.

#3 Alcohol extract.  Do the very same thing but in a pint jar of vodka, rum, or brandy.  The alcohol is sharper but it sure pulls the medicine right out of the plants!  A teaspoon in a shot glass of orange juice is a scant amount of alcohol and a very effective way to transport the medicine.

No matter how you take it, turmeric is there to help you, as are all plants.

 

How to Make Your Own Sunscreen (stop poisoning the kids!)

There is a lot of documentation, and one could even just look at the ingredients and know, that sunscreen actually causes skin cancer.  Skin cancer is big business.  Furthermore, if one has skin cancer it needs to be treated systemically as cancer cells are pulled through the skin from the blood stream by way of our marvelous detoxifying sun!  The sun does not cause skin cancer.  If so, how on earth did the pioneers, Natives, and all our ancestors ever survive without sunscreen?!

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However, some of us lighter folk don’t necessarily want to look like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer at the beach either.  Tanning, or the pigmentation of the skin, is the body’s way of protecting against burning (the natural response from being in the sun, not a tanning booth).  That first bout in the sun can be too much at first after a winter under too many clothes.  Sometimes if you are hiking for a long day or hanging out at the beach you may need something a little stronger.  Infants and young children may need more protection from sun burns too.  Coconut oil is a SPF 16.  The lotion recipe I shared yesterday is a SPF 12.  Red clover, chaparral, comfrey, and other herbs create their own SPF.  Eating a diet primarily made up of vegetables, fruit, and whole grains further increase your body’s own defense against sun burn and skin cancer because those antioxidants keep the blood oxygenated and cancer cannot survive in an oxygenated environment.  All we are really trying to do here is not fry that first day out!

First we will make my anti-cancer oil.  You will add a teaspoon of this to your 4 ounce jar of lotion I taught you how to make yesterday.

In a pint jar add 2 Tablespoons each of chaparral, comfrey, and red clover and cover to 1/2 inch head space with olive oil.  Keep lid real loose and place in window for two weeks.  This kills free radicals on the skin.

For even further protection add 1/2 teaspoon of micronized zinc oxide to that 4 ounces of lotion and blend well.

All of these ingredients can be bought online (or in the shop if you are local).  This takes your sunscreen to a SPF 45 plus.  Great for newborns and any skin type.

Taking back our choices for our own family’s health is empowering and essential.  Making your own body products is just one more way to do so.  You can see other recipes under Beauty/Health and Herbal Remedies tabs on my home page.

Now, I am going to throw my sunscreen into my suitcase and get to the airport!  I’ll be writing you from sunny San Diego tomorrow!

 

As the Owls Looked On (and teas to help heal the spirit)

 

Spirit Journal CoverThe five owls perched overhead near me each morning as I wrote, prayed, cried, and did yoga.  The temporary farm we were on last summer was a beautiful place.  I knew we were about to lose everything and the dread of what was going to happen next and the scrambling for some semblance of sanity and organized planning to move forward tangled with each other in that open field as I sat cross legged in the early morning sun peering across the acres of unscathed plains, my eyes taking in the sight of watercolor mountain tops still touched by snow across the horizon.  The owls looked on.  Directly at me.  Their messages clear and soothing.  Change was coming, but it would be for the best.

During that time I jotted down each little message that came to me.  Different plants came to mind to be made into teas.  I knew the spiritual use for some of them like roses-love, hawthorn-heals a broken heart, but some of the herbs that came to mind I did not know the meaning of and looked them up to find that they had a perfect place in each tea blend.  After I wrote, meditated, and listened, I went into the old farm kitchen and made a large mug of tea using those herbs for the day.  I would feel my strength return.  I did this for twelve days.

Eight months later the pieces fell together in one seamless layout.  In one day the book was completed.  A twelve day journal that discusses spirit animals and chakras, highlights a word to meditate on, a quote, a writing prompt, a gratitude section, a place to jot down other healthful habits, places to write and dream, and a spiritual tea blend.  I carefully hand blended each tea in each tea bag and placed them all in a pretty cellophane bag, one for each book that was printed.  It took days but I knew that this journal and the healing teas with them would help others just as it had me.

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The cover of the book is a photograph of one of the owls that stayed near me during my time on that farm while this book was creating itself.  This was one of the infant horned owls that looked on.  My daughter, Emily, stayed up in a tree for some time waiting to capture this shot.  It serves as a reminder that we are not alone and that everything in the universe works together to help us on our journey.

“White Wolf’s Spirit Journal; Twelve Days of Balancing, Healing, and Energizing the Spiritual, Emotional, and Physical Self” is only $25 plus shipping.  Call to order-(303)617-3370 or send a check to White Wolf Medicine, P.O.Box 2012, Elizabeth, CO 80107 for $35 to order.  Better yet, come into my shop, have a cup of tea, and pick one up!