How to Use Fresh Herbs

20180227_204739Fresh herbs are delicious and very good for you.  It takes awhile to get used to their intensity, but once you start using fresh herbs it becomes second nature.  Those crisp, strong flavors adds pizzazz to any dish.  Most of the time you will add fresh herbs at the end of cooking.

Using scissors is the easiest way to clip or chiffonade herbs.  For large leaves like basil and sage, roll into a tight roll and clip into ribbons.  The best way to store fresh herbs is like fresh flowers.  Place them in a glass of water in the refrigerator.

Sprinkle ribbons of fresh basil on pastas and pizza.

Clip oregano leaves on to pizza or put in crust before baking.  Fresh oregano livens up red and green chile.

Chives top salads and potatoes and soups.

Saute olive oil, garlic, brown sugar, a little salt and pepper, with sage leaves for a delicious pasta with sage sauce.

Roast root vegetables with rosemary, sage, thyme.  Or for a fresher taste, top roasted potatoes with herbs.

Cilantro goes beautifully piled on top of beans, rice, guacamole, or tortilla soup.

Mint and parsley with garlic and lemon liven up veggie meats and vegetables.

Be brave!  And add spice, health, and freshness to supper.  Make sure you plant these lovely herbs.  They are even better straight from the garden!

How to Clear, Protect, Increase Positive Energy, and Set a Shield with Incense

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Whenever you have people over.  Whenever something amazing happens.  Whenever a fight occurs.  All these things leave impressions on the energy of your home.  Have you ever walked into a home, particularly when you are house hunting, and you can feel the energy, good or bad, in the place?  Some shops feel great to be in.  Some homes feel comfortable to be at.  That is the energy.

I think we can all agree that the world we live in is not black and white.  It’s not spiritual realm verses physical realm, but rather a more interspersed and parallel existence we share.  I have people at my house often and I work as a medical intuitive and a medium.  Things can get funny around here.  I had set up a good perimeter around our yard and for a long time it worked, people walking by me could not see me wave, never came in the gate without being invited, they would just walk on by.  Recently I keep getting strange folks coming to the door.  Electronics have been acting weird.  A raven…a raven y’all (not normal)…was cawing so loudly in front of my house it drew me to the porch to see what he wanted.  Then I felt something touch my back.  Time to smudge!

Now traditional smudging is how I was taught but it is not that easy to keep it lit and balance a feather, a lighter, and a shell.  My husband and I have used incense with great success and it is far easier to wield and has a lovely glowing tip which just feels like magic as you swirl the smoke.  Never use just sage to smudge with.  Such a common myth.  You have to combine herbs.  Sage itself opens portals and you will end up with a house full!  We used incense sticks of sage and lavender.

We started in the basement.  He went with the sun (clockwise) and I went with the earth (counter clockwise) around each space muttering to ourselves.  Ask for protection.  Ask that only those that walk in the light remain.  Ask for blessings.  Express gratitude.  Raise the energy so that only love and positivity remains.  We then did the upstairs.  Then we went outside under the ink dark sky and dancing stars with the bright moon leading.  Around the perimeter of the yard we watched the bold red tips of the incense sticks and smoke swirl and permeate the air.  Create a barrier.  Create a force field, if you will.  It is up to you to keep the energy strong and protection in place.  The powers that be will help you when called on but you can’t just say a quick prayer and expect it to be done.  YOU are responsible and truly able to wield the power and wisdom necessary to have a safe haven and a positive energetic space.  The whole universe conspires to help you when you go through the process of raising energy for a purpose.

Some spritzes of witch hazel infused with essential oils like sage, cedar, sandalwood, lavender, rose, and frankincense around doorways and in the air will help set the blessing.

This should be done as often as needed.  You will certainly feel the difference.  It is empowering knowing that there is a way to protect your home and loved ones while cleansing the air and creating a beautiful, comfortable space to dwell.

Smudging 101, Deer Visitors, and the 10%

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There is a Talking Circle at my shop the first Sunday of each month.  Not really church, just a place to be with others and pray traditionally with Native influences and customs.  This last Sunday we talked about focusing our energies on the 10%.  90% of what we worry about is what the media tells us about, world issues, family issues, and many, many things that we have absolutely no control over.  As we focus more and more on the 90% we lose track of the 10% of things we can control and our gifts that we carry that can assist in this world.  Focusing on the 90% leads to anxiety and depression and helplessness.

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Last night I felt an overwhelming sense of desperation and helplessness.  How can we possibly afford anything in the state that has the newly highest cost of living?  How can we survive?  How can we stay near our babies if we had to move?  and on and on with scenarios that may or may not exist.  I went to sleep early as slumber will renew me and oft give me answers.  I woke up renewed.

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Within the realms of the 10% I can choose my back up plan in case we cannot get the large farm.  I could very well be an urban homesteader while making a difference in a career.  The career that I would be best in (in my opinion) is teaching young adults.  So, I relooked at my curriculum choices for school with a renewed sense of purpose.  I will let things unfold naturally, while saving money, since I cannot see the future.  No matter how hard I try.  Meanwhile I call on strength from the Great Spirit and the Directions.  This is how to smudge (prayers and blessing).

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Traditionally Cherokee prayer herbs would consist of Sweet grass to renew positive energy, Sage to rid negative energy, Tobacco as an offering to the Great Spirit, and Cedar as an offering to the spirits; animal, plant, and the deceased.  In a pottery bowl (heat proof) place the herbs desired and light.  Using a feather to spread the smoke around a room, over thyself, or in the Four Directions.  Any feather will do.

We call on the spirit of the East direction for strength and hope and faith.  We give thanks to the Creator for all the things in our lives and our own life.  We thank Grandfather Sun for rising each morning and providing warmth and light. 

We call on the spirit of the South for childlike wonder and awe, for lessons, and we thank our four legged brethren for providing us with companionship, food, and clothing, and to the plants for giving of themselves for food and medicine.

We call on the spirit of the West for strength, health, and endurance.  We give thanks to our ancestors for guiding us and praying for us.

We call on the spirit of the North for calm and wisdom.  We thank the north for rain and snow, for lessons learned, and for peace and breath.

We call on the spirit of the sky (galun’lati), to the star people and Grandmother moon for protection and inspiration.

We call on the spirit of the Mother Earth (alohi)for caring for us, for her life, therefore our life as we pledge to be more careful with her.

We are thankful for the ceremonial fire as our prayers are taken upward on the smoke and carried on the winged ones’ feathers and for our connection with all around us. 

We draw the smoke over ourselves that we will have a clear heart, a love for all, and will do things in the right way. 

And as my breath and peace came forth, the beautiful deer (ahwi) came to see me.

Wishing you peace and less worries….ehmenah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our New Home

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We rambled up the long driveway in our old truck and took in the view of the alpaca farm down the hill and the glorious eastern horizon where the sunrises will glint down upon the plants and through the numerous trees that reside on his property.

“I really feel that the sage is here to welcome you,” he said.  I was struck and honored at his words.  The sage is prolific there.  It grows rampant this year among the many Cherokee roses.  The prickly pear and the mullein are all there.  Pines so tall they can recall when the Kiowa Indians roamed these hills and called them home.

The owner of this property is well respected, a friend of mine, who works in an emotionally challenging job helping the ill and passing.  He lives in this large home alone.  He needs help here.  It is a glorious home that holds the spirits of his parents that built it.  Sparkling ceilings and medicine bags in the foundations.  The property has a retreat-like property and vortexes abound.  It is a special place. We will live here for a year.  We will help him sort and get ready to let this beautiful house go as he moves on to his next journey next autumn.

In the meantime we will have acres of medicinal herbs and trees to use and protect.  Sunrises that greet us through the walk out basement doors.  Three more cats to add to our menagerie.  One of his chickens approached me in greeting.  A wood cook stove and wood stove to help supplement heat.  A kitchen upstairs for me to make sure everyone has sustenance.  I feel quite well received here among his mother’s things and the spirit of the house and land.  I found Doug in a recliner with one of the house cats on his lap.  I think we’ll be real happy here.

It is two miles from my shop so a brisk morning walk will take place each day but that, perhaps, is a part of the hidden blessings.  Since becoming homeless and losing everything three months ago we have been swimming several times with our granddaughter and friends, to Utah, to a winery, in an airplane, sang on our son’s album, have visited, and made friends.  We have dreamed, comforted, and become fiercely grateful for everything.  We are more flexible and need less.  We will be content with a bed and two chairs before a roaring fire as the snow drops silently outside the window upon the world of peace and quiet.  Cats curled up near us.  A table.  A bookshelf.  Cups of hot coffee.  That is all.  That is all we really need anyway.  Each other and an enjoyment of this life right here and now is what we’ll thrive on.

Creating a Medicine Bag

There are different types of medicine bags and all are wise to create.

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The one I am going to describe to you today is a protection of sorts.  It doesn’t matter if you are Catholic or Buddhist, I think we all understand that there is a lot out there that we do not fully grasp.  We are a small part of the whole.  Regardless of the believer’s perceived notions on heaven and hell, there is no doubt that there are spirits, some good, some evil, entities of destruction and angels of good.  We can help in the protection of our own being.  You might see some people have a Native medicine bag attached to their belt or used as a purse but those are for show.  A real medicine bag must be hidden.  Worn under the clothes or kept very close in a purse or the like, a medicine bag is a protection device.

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My first teacher, a wise shaman, taught me to fill mine with something from every element and helper.  I used rocks, and feathers, and totems, and herbs, and boy was it heavy!  One could simply use sage, cedar, sweet grass, tobacco, rocks or totems of meaning, feathers, medals, or holy soil.  Listen to yourself find the perfect combination.  One doesn’t divulge what is in their own personal medicine bag.  Having a shaman smudge it makes it stronger and secure. (If you don’t know one, do it yourself with cedar and sage.)

For those that are healers, intuitives, and empaths, these are imperative as good work is often trifled with from the dark side, but even those that do not find themselves in these descriptions can benefit from extra protection from the negative forces of this world.  Be safe out there and do good works!