Slow Like Honey, Honey Moon ~ By Marybeth Bonfiglio

Posted on June 14, 2014

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Today the moon is big, it is overflowing with light. The Strawberry Moon. The Rose Moon. The Honey Moon. It opens up to us today in the sign of Sagittarius on the day of Venus under the number 13.

That there is some magic in that. This moon is the beginning of a new rhythm for us all.

We love to invite everyone to find their own meaning and ritual during full moons, so that it feels true and healthy and assessable to you.

:leave a jar of water out tonight to drink first thing in the morning,
:burn candles as invocation
:cleanse your gems in the moonlight
:conjure up your wildest dreams
:gather in circle and celebration with your tribe
:craft, write, sing, dance, cook, clean, have lots of sex
:sleep outside
:make a big moon cake

Whatever it is that you choose to do to honor this rare and beautiful full moon, may you be blessed held with love. And because today is Friday, the day of Venus, it can never hurt to set your intentions around all things of beauty + love.

This full moon offers us a moment of fiery action, a moment to expand and open up, to align our lives with our philosophical, spiritual and creative visions. This doesn’t mean we need to do anything- actually quite the opposite- we just need to Fully Be. To embody exactly what we are, what we want, who we are becoming. It’s an opportunity to actually slow down, take a moment to remember what it’s really about for you. Open up to that. And by all means, take it slow. Pay attention. Enjoy the wave of energy that is coming into you, but breath it down into your soul. There is nothing to do or anybody else to be but you, right now, in this moment.

Focus on letting go of all that does not serve you. Release what’s been used and done. Enjoy the feeling of emptiness mixed with the energy of the full moon within your being. Spend time dancing with that sensation until the Solstice- when you can set your new intentions for the glorious season of the summer sun.

Today begins the illuminations and gate openings so we can step into the Summer season with freedom and ease and with our hearts wide open to See. And hopefully some of what we see is that summer is a time to savor the dry or sticky heat and to enjoy the sweet taste of long, joyful days and simple nourishing nights.

We often think of winter is the time to slow down, but really winter months are hard work. We put our heads down and go so deep inside… that takes up a lot of energy. It’s tiring.

But in the summer, we lift up, lighten up, unfurl possibility towards the sun, allowing the fire to do her work around us. We unfurl like the garden, all our nourishment needs are delivered with beauty and love. We allow the ocean to be our bath so that we can be exfoliated with clarity. And we lay in the grass… just because it feels so good and so right against our soft skin.

This summer let’s all try to slow down, be slow like honey, be slow like love. Let this full moon be a gateway to summer slowing us down, bringing us patience, setting us back into nature, back into the pace of the garden.

Some summer spells to sit with tonight. Or make your own list. And cast them under the light of this moon.

*Don’t make too many plans. Let each day unfold as it will

*Throw away that on-going list that stresses you out. Make a list of words that you want to feel, make a list of words that bring you into the energy of summer.

*Go pick strawberries. Somewhere near you there is a strawberry field. Take your time in finding it. Give yourself hours to get there. Spend all day looking for the juicy red of this month. Next month, make it blueberries.

*Stock up on honey. Pour it on your skin before you bath. Pour it in your lemon water. Pour it over poundcake. Pour it over your life, watch how it moves. Let it be your teacher.

*Burn fires. Make a simple fire pit in your yard with a shovel and some stones. Get some folding chairs. Get some wood. Sit around it at night with whiskey {that you have poured honey into} and tell stories to your kids, tell stories to your lover, tell stories to your future. Tell slow stories that last the entire season.

*Turn of social media for 80% of your summertime. Paint those paintings, write that book, carve that stone. Use only the inspiration being the sun, the warm earth beneath your feet, the balmy air at dusk, and the birdsong in the morning. Save your energy on your arts. Create. Find your muse between the flames.

*Gather pen pals and sit out on a blanket under an apple tree and write letters to people. Throw in some rose petals. Sprinkle them with glitter. Spray them with perfume. Include a magic spell especially for them. Put a stamp on it. And hand it right to your postal person, looking them in the eyes, and saying thank you.

*Camp. Glamp. Get a cabin. Whatever is comfy for you. But get out of dodge for a night. Say the hell with it to the street lights. Wake up with the sun with nothing else around you but space. Breath in that space.

*Love yourself sensually. You decide what that means.

*Spend time with people you adore. Laugh hard with them. Let them see the true you.

*Take on wearing sundresses with nothing under them.

*Eat a lot of salad.

*Kiss a lot of people. Or just one. But kiss a lot.

*Follow the rhythm of the sun rising and the sun setting, the moon waning and the moon waxing. Follow the rhythm of your heart under the burning heat of summer desire. Move your legs at the pace that feels healthy. Move your mind at the speed that feels true.

We hope you feel the magic of the full sweet moon. We hope you feel blazing love as the wheel turns into this next season, of passion and ease. Blessings as you walk slow, talk slow, and love as slow as slow can be.

Beyond{Nola} an Interview with Marybeth Bonfiglio + Isabel Abott

Posted on April 29, 2014

 
When your gorgeously talented co-creator and sisterfriend joins fierceness with one of your addictively talented {also sisterfriend} contributors to create a travel writing experience, what else is there to do but ask them everything you can think of about it? Check out what they had to say below and when you’re done, hop over to their website to get all the deets and grab your spot!
xoxo
Danielle
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Why beyond?
Because there is a world out there and we want to see it. And we want to see it from a different perspective than just a tourist or even as a local. We want to see it as a human intricately connected to it’s space and what conspires within that space.
 
The idea for an un-retreat has been thrown out for a long time, a gathering about getting Out versus going In. So that was the seed and when we really got down and dirty with it, it became not just about getting out, it became about exploration and it became about writing and it became about navigation and movement. We can sometimes get indulgent with our inner work being so “inner” and often when we take that work and mesh it with new external environments we gain a shift in process that can open new doors. Who are we when we step outside our lives and enter different landscapes with our eyes and hearts open? What can a strange land do to inform our healing and our seeking? What kind of longings can be fed while wandering? And what kind of stories of self + place are born from that.
 
Beyond is about going beyond the Self, Beyond travel, Beyond even travel writ-ing. It’s about exploration and adventure and paying attention to the world and who you are in it and what you have to say about that.
 
Why Nola?
Because it’s one of the best places on Earth. Color. Sounds. Tastes. Mystery. Grit. Grime. Holy. Disaster. Life. Sex. Death. If you think about cities as astrologi-cal signs I think of New Orleans as Scorpio. And what kind of pilgrim doesn’t want to venture to a scorpion city under the sea level? It’s almost too much mag-ic to even think about. This city is both sacred and profane. It’s also a place of so much devastation along side such extreme beauty and life. That’s a juxtaposition to be part of, to watch, to take photos of, to write about. To explore all the while exploring our own inner-New Orleans.
 
What else are you dreaming up together?
We are just dreaming that people will rise up, really start to see the world as a beautiful playground to be part of. To seek and find. We are dreaming up that people will meet up with us in New Orleans and own their edge and write about that. We are also dreaming up they will want to do it in Seattle in October and Chiapas Mexico in February of next year. We are just dreamers. So we are al-ways dreaming. And then doing. We are both fire signs so we burn through shit fast, let is ash and begin again. It’s good stuff.
 
What will a day at Beyond be/taste/feel like?
It will be as it is, in the moment. It will taste like what we will allow to enter our mouths and what we dare to let out as well. We will feel what we are willing to touch. Words that come to mind: spicy, buttery, decadent, musty, pink, rising smoke, burning rough, sticky sweet. A mix of velvet and rod iron, off beat and magic in a glass.
 
Who is Beyond for?
BEYOND is for the doers, the poets, the exhibitionists, the travelers, the wonderers, the wanderers, the storytellers, the misfits, the radicals, the empaths. It’s for the seers. It’s for those who long to write from a different perspective and travel the world from a different orientation. It’s a gathering made of wild ones, for those hungry to not only be seen, but to see. It’s for those who long to See.
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Altars to Living Temples: Sara Eliason ~ Spring Field Guide, 2014

Posted on April 28, 2014

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Rising from the rich loam of winter’s great lessons and shedding old skin makes way for the renewal of spring, and we are gifted the opportunity to let go that which no longer serves us and to step fully into new rites and rituals which will nourish our rejuvenation. The ritual of creating altars transforms the common into consecrated and opens a conduit within the creator for the still small voice to flow through. With the focus of intention and purpose, an altar serves as a reminder to be present, to awaken within the dream and to feel the beauty which surrounds us.
Creating altars to the body and its dwellings establishes a communion between the spirit, the body which contains it, the spaces which protect it and the earth which nourishes it. These altars of gratitude and reverence need not be separated from us, placed only in a building devoted to religious purpose or set upon a mantel or in a corner of a room. We can create altars to our bodies through adornment. We can make altars of our homes through homemaking, consecrating all aspects of our life as sacred.
 
Tenets of Altar creation:
 
Awakening to the heart of your altar
To create beauty requires first that we recognize beauty in our surroundings. Mind-ful attention to the present and a gratitude for what is will awaken your spirit to the beauty that you are and the gifts that surround you. From this soft focus of loving attention you begin to see the beauty in your body, your home, your family, your life. Practice by sitting quietly and becoming mindfully aware of something beautiful about your holy vessel. Shine a light on your beloved so brightly that all the rest fades from view. Stay there. Hold the moment. Wash your soul with the gratitude, joy and love, which radiates from the object of your affection. Is it your eyes, your soft hips, your strong shoulders or the bend of your hair? This is now the heart of your altar.
 
Shine a love light
Holding the image of the heart of your altar as your muse, ask yourself, what would honor your beloved? What would consecrate it? Become still and listen. Your be-loved is asking for something. It’s reaching for you in gratitude for your loving at-tention and it is growing in stature. Your intuition knows what would complement the heart of your altar.
 
Curate by color and texture
Visual harmony can be created by the same handful of tools used on repeat. The most effective tool for creating order and harmony in the visual world is through the use of color. Nature does this with perfect precision. As your eyes become accus-tomed to sensing the delicate color and textural balance all around us, you will learn to replicate these patterns within your own compositions. This skill is intuitive, for the eye is a carefully calibrated instrument which creates the color it sees around it as it passes through our lenses. Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder and you are created to see it and feel it through your holy vessel.
 
As you awaken to the color stories in your environment, notice how the intensities of color change through a landscape. The primary hues in any natural composition originate from a handful of rich neutrals. The palette changes by region and changes moment by moment in a harmony so subtle that until we look closer, the golden hills or the blue mountains or the green of the grass or the taupe of the soil and bark seem dusty and soft. The more intense hues are reserved for the flower, or the ber-ry or the fruit or the sky at sunset for a fleeting moment. Intense, rich color is an ac-cent. Texture also remains in perfect balance in our environment. Color and texture appear to answer each other, as if caught mid-sentence in a lively conversation. The freshly ground meal of the soil, the scabby layering of the bark, the smooth glossy leaf and the soft fur of the fruit. Notice too how the color intensifies as the propor-tion decreases. Your body also contains perfect color harmony and perfect textual balance. Replicating this natural balance in our altars creates harmony of our dwell-ings.
 
Become a curator of the holy vessel that contains your divine spirit.
Create a color story altar by starting with one feature. If a color is present in your natural compo-sition – your eyes, your hair, your skin tone, it will also illuminate your spirit in your adornment altar. Practice by focusing on the accent color of your eyes. Limit the number of colors in your adornment altar to one to three hues and three textures. Blessed with green eyes? Choose three shades of green from light to dark and change the value and texture as you layer them on. You are creating a relic of your body, consecrating it as sacred, so everything is as important in this altar as if you were standing before a divine being. The harmony of this altar will create a ripple effect in your vibration in our universe so regard the hidden layers of your altar with the same reverence that you attribute to the layers that are most visible. We are the sum of all of our parts. The lingerie under our clothing is part of your altar, if the frequency of your hidden layers matches that of the outer layers and matches that of the divine spirit within, you will radiate holiness. Think of how the colors and textures of your altar are speaking to one another. What song is sung by the silky teal blouse, knitted chartreuse sweater, the chase twill forest green pants, the chunky emerald and brass necklace and the cognac leather booties?
 
Honor indigenous materials
Consider materiality when selecting elements for your altar. Use natural indigenous materials that are handcrafted with loving devotion to keep the frequency of your altar elements in alignment. The energy of an object or a material or a product of nature that is shaped by loving devotion is in alignment with your holy vessel. This soulfulness is felt as much as seen. We intuitively understand the value difference of a handmade fabric, an earthen clay tile, an antique chair, an artist drawn sketch, a one of a kind piece of jewelry. We feel the connection with the maker, and sense the story in the life of the handmade. Honor your holy vessel with altars of the same quality. Consecrate your home with soulful everyday objects in order to live within a sanctuary worthy of your divinity.
 
Bravely edit that which no longer serves
As we enter a season of renewal, gaze upon yourself, home and life with soft eyes and awaken to the heart of the altars that you will create to honor your divinity. Al-low yourself to let go of the relics of the past which no longer serve your growth. Letting go of the old clothes or old furnishings or the accessories which once served your life is not a lack of gratitude. It is an act of faith in life’s abundant ability to al-ways provide for you what you need when you need it. This clearing of the past is a brave form of deeply reverent gratitude for the beauty that surrounds you and will allow the altars that you create of your favorite belongings and adornments to shine in their fullness. This single act of faith will begin to edit the clutter that threatens to shake the peace and joy and beauty which is your divine right. You will feel lighter, more peaceful, more purposeful.
 
Expanding on these tenets and applying them to every facet of your life creates a sa-cred sanctuary of your very being and the dwellings that you inhabit. This inten-tional act of devotion makes sacred our purpose and the resulting radiance washes all with a healing balm. Our very being-ness and our reverence and gratitude for life makes holy our temples and allows us to see others as holy vessels too. This soft focus and loving approach to the art of creating beauty becomes our most powerful act and our most effective mark. See your very life as a temple, consecrate your shrines with living altars and rejuvenate from the communion your radiance culti-vates with other divine beings.
 
xo Sara
www.saraeliason.com

Earth Day Bioregional Quiz

Posted on April 22, 2014

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It’s time to re-indigenize ourselves. To know the ground on which we tread. To really know it.
 
This quiz is adapted from Indigenize! but there are several more such as this one and also this one. This post and macro photos contributed by Rachael Rice

MAKING CONNECTIONS

 
1. Where does the water in your house come from? Trace the water you drink from rainfall to tap. Where did the cloud gather its moisture?
 
2. Where does the water go that drains from your sink? What about the water (& other stuff) leaving your toilet?
 
3. Choose a favorite meal and trace the ingredients back through the store…the processing plant…all the way to the soil. How many people, states, or even countries helped produce this meal? What went into the packaging and transportation of its ingredients? How many of the ingredients could you (did you?) get locally or even grow yourself?
 
4. What kind of energy do you primarily use? Where does it come from? Trace the path of energy that powers your home from its sources to you.
 
5. When your garbage is thrown away, where is “away”?
 
6. What are the primary sources of pollution in your area?
 
7. What are the major natural sounds you are aware of in a particular season?
 
8. What agencies are responsible for planning future transportation and land use in this area?
 
9. List three critical environmental issues in your area. What can you do to help?
 
10. Draw a map of your territory, the areas you travel regularly – without using human markers like buildings or street names.
 
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EARTH

 
11. What primary geological events or processes that shaped the land where you live? (Extra Points: What is the evidence?)
 
12. What soil series are you standing on?
 
13. How has the land in your area been used by humans, over the last two centuries?
 
14. Who lived here prior to white settlement, and what were their primary subsistence techniques?
 
15. What was the vegetation type in this area prior to white settlement?
 
16. Where is there wilderness in your bioregion?
 
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WATER

 
17. What is the elevation above sea level where you live?
 
18. What is the average annual rainfall for your area? What was the total rainfall in your area last year?
 
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NEIGHBORS

 
19. What Spring wildflower is consistently among the first to bloom where you live?
 
20. Name seven common trees in your area. Which ones are native? For the others, how did they get here? Why were they brought?
 
21. Which indigenous people inhabit(ed) your region before you? Are they still here?
 
22. What were the primary subsistence techniques of the culture that lived in your area before you?
 
23. Name five edible wild plants in your region and their season(s) of availability.
 
24. Name three medicinal wild plants in your region, and what they can be used for. BONUS: which parts are the most effective (stems, roots, fruits…)?
 
25. Name seven mammals common to your area. Which are native and which are new here? From where did they come? Which animals are extinct from your area?
 
26. Name ten birds common to your area. (Extra Points: Which are year-round residents? Which are migratory?) (For the EXPERT: Where do the latter winter over?)
 
27. If you have deer in your area, when do they rut, and when are the young born?
 
28. Name five grasses in your area. Are any of them native?
 
29. Name four wild mushrooms that grow in your area, two edible (only if you are an expert) and two poisonous.
 
30. Describe the defense techniques used by three different other-than-human beings living in your area. (Examples: camouflage, poison, thick skin, thorns…)
 
31. What are the major plant associations in your region?
 
32. What plant or animal is the “barometer” of environmental health for your bioregion? How is it doing?
 
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SKY

 
33. Sitting in your living room, point North.
 
34. How recently was the Moon full? What phase is she in now?
 
35. On what day of the year are the shadows the shortest where you live?
 
36. From what direction do winter storms come in your region?
 
37. How long is the growing season where you live?
 
38. How has the typical weather changed in your area since you were born? (Ask an older person to remember weird weather.)
 
39. Name one constellation or star that comes out only in winter, and one that comes out in summer.
 
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FIRE

 
40. When was the last time a fire burned in your area?
 
41. What caused it?
 
42. How did the land change after that? What grew back first, second, third? What bugs, birds, and animals followed?
 
43. How is fire dealt with where you live? (Controlled burns, completely prevented, seasonal controls – what sort?)
 
44. What are three of your favorite songs to sing around a campfire?


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For more earth wisdom, get the Amulet Field guide here: http://amuletmagazine.com/fieldguide

A Way in the Wilderness~By Sara Janssen

Posted on April 19, 2014

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I was a city girl with starry-eyed dreams of a farm that I could call my own. I had felt this desire repeatedly over the years…but had pushed it down down down, so I wouldn’t feel it any more.
 
But it pushed back. And in June 2013, we found ourselves calling that farm home. Expansive mountain views, a sweet little barn with prayer flags, a tiny house for guests, and a wood-fired hot tub were included in this corner of happiness. And with 1½ acres, our three little girls explored freely every day. Life was beautiful.
 
It was a rental, but we were ok with that. “A trial farm!” We said. “Let’s do it!”. And so we did. Oh how we did! We didn’t just tiptoe into farm life. We threw off fear and bravely dove headfirst into the wild unknown of chicken poop and goat yelling.
 
There were magical mornings. Pink and purple sunrises. Roosters crowing. Eggs gathered. Goats calling to me across the field. The connection we felt with our animals was surprising and immediate.
 
The energy of the farm was ever changing. Constant noises from chickens, ducks, goats and a llama…along with an occasional snort and snicker from neighboring horses reminded us where we were. We were exactly where we needed to be.
 
We discussed the possibility of purchasing the farm…so that we could truly call it our own. Plans swirled in our heads…barn paint colors, guest accommodations, gardens laid out in our minds.
 
Everyone who visited swooned upon arrival. We loved hosting parties and having overnight guests. There was space for the kids to run and explore. Campfires to dance by and wild open skies to view the stars. It was truly a dream.
 
Then, the day before Thanksgiving, as I was working diligently to prepare the farm for my entire family to arrive, we received a call from the owners.
 
They were coming back to live at the farm…and our plans came to a screeching halt.
 
It felt as if someone had punched me in the stomach. Hot tears came immediately…and anger started seeping in.
 
Why did we have to start over?! I thought this is where we were meant to be! So much energy was spent pouring my heart into that space. Seeds planted. Flowers tended to. Animals cared for. Sacred spaces created inside our home.
 
Only to have it all taken away.
 
I remembered a scripture I had read in Isaiah earlier that week:
 
“See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness…”
 
I took a deep breath.
Softening.
Allowing my heart to accept.
 
I could not change it…so my only option was to embrace it.
 
I started working quickly to find new homes for our beloved animals. They had changed me…all of us…in a way I had never expected. It was a teary goodbye. One that sat deep in my soul for a long time after.
 
We packed up the farm and turned our eyes towards the mountains.
Now, instead of admiring those mountains from afar, we are settling into them. Our first home purchase in 8 years of travel and constant transition.
 
Towering pines surround the house. Swaying in the wind. The grounding energy of the granite rock face is powerful and certain. He made a “way in the wilderness”…and I couldn’t be more confident that we are on the right path.
 
And so, this spring we celebrate new beginnings.
But with every new beginning, there is a releasing. A letting go.
 
We are mourning the death of a dream. Our little farm dream.
And as followers of Jesus, on Good Friday, we mourn His death.
 
But if these deaths would not have taken place, we would not know the amazing life that we are experiencing today.
 
Life abundant.
Life overflowing.
 
Jesus conquered death. He rose triumphant on Easter morning, settling our debt once and for all. Any doubting has ceased. We rest in Him and His care.
 
And oh how grateful I am for that care.
And for God’s remarkable timing.
 
He knew that saying goodbye while the farm was in the full bloom of summer would wreck me. It’s my favorite season and one that I richly celebrate.
 
Instead, we closed the gates for the last time during the dark and dormant days of winter. The gardens lay bare. The barns sat empty and quiet.
 
We are nesting and building and blooming in our new space, just in time to see the splendor of creation do the same all around us.
 
Wildflowers! Warm misty mornings! Foxes running through the back prairie!
It’s all kinds of wonderful.
 
A way in the wilderness is our new dream. Our new beginning.
Perfectly suited for us.
 
* * * *
 
Sara Janssen dances on a mountaintop above Boulder, Colorado. You can find more of her writing at www.nestinggypsy.com.

Amulet’s Spring Field Guide is Here!

Posted on March 17, 2014

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photo credit: katelyn demidow
 

I am going to try to pay attention to the spring. I am going to look around at all the flowers, and look up at the hectic trees. I am going to close my eyes and listen. -Anne Lamott

 
We are so excited to bloom forth our spring guide on this glorious full moon weekend. We’re truly so in love with this issue ~ filled with some of the most delectable stories of vision and mission, packed with nourishment for our bodies and spirits, for our families and homes. It’s a perfect companion for the waking, the unfurling, the rising.
 
We are ever grateful for our contributors. Once again we have been blessed with the opportunity to gather and curate incredible voices and visionaries; a conversation with Karen Maezen Miller about planting the seeds of now, an interview with Carrie-Anne Moss on creative parenting, Maya Hackett’s stunning article on how food truly is the revolution and Sara Eliason’s beautiful piece on creating altars of body, mind, spirit and space… and so much more. This issue is one of our favorites yet- we have devoted ourselves to filling it with pure love and have paid careful attention to make sure it embodies the energy of this vibrant season. We hope you love it as much as we do. It really is our gift to you.
 
Breathe in fresh air. Play outside. Take it slow. Pay attention to the flowers. Gather what refreshes you. Say yes to what makes you feel awake and alive. Nourish yourselves and your communities. Rise up. Have a total blast as you watch those seeds grow. In joy, in spring.
 
Blessed be.
 
Amulet

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How the Cottonwood Got its Star ~ Latisha Guthrie

Posted on February 18, 2014

All things in life are born from earth. When the stars were created, they ran around beneath the soil looking for a root to be born from. They traveled underground until one day, they heard laughter and joyful voices near the river. They followed the happy noise to a stand of cottonwood trees, their roots thick and sturdy spreading in out in all directions. Delighted by what they heard, they went into the cottonwood roots, up the through the trunk of the tree and hid out in the knotty twigs. Soon all the stars began to come and hide out in the cottonwood twigs.
 
One evening, the spirit of the night noticed there were less and less stars in the sky. The spirit of the night called upon the spirit of the wind to help bring back the stars. The spirit of the wind knew the stars were hiding in the twigs of the cottonwood tree and so it created a mighty gale that would snap the branches from the trees. As the branches broke and fell to the ground, the stars shot out of the tree into the sky. To this day, if you break the twig of a cottonwood at just the right place, you will find a shadow where a star once hid.
 
Storytellers far and wide have held the attention of listeners with their own versions of how the cottonwood got its star for many generations. It is a many storied myth that both children and adults enjoy. With the snap of branch, the tree indeed reveals its stars. The enchantment is sealed and the full extent of her medicine begins to reveal itself as an ally of great depth.
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I am an herbalist by trade, or so I’m told. I prefer plant philosopher or earthen storyteller. Something along those lines. You see for me, magic is in the connection I make with the plant not the product. I practice the Art of Noticing: deep listening and observation to the plant and her community. What is her story? Who are her neighbors? How is she telling her story through each of my senses?

I have my apothecary yes, but more healing takes place in an afternoon of collecting, noticing and crafting than any amount of potion I put in or on my body. The product serves as a reminder to trigger the sensory experience of that day. Every bottle of medicine is infused with the greater story of how the plant is here to connect us. Once upon a time, medicine people understood this to be an important part of healing. In the age of “there’s an herb for that,” we may do well to revive this part of our tradition in order to create a stronger bond with the medicine.
 
Cottonwood bud oil and salve is a wonderful multi-purpose healer. In my home we primarily use it for achy joints (carpal tunnel in my case) and burns. It can be made by gathering the twigs in late winter after lady wind has scattered them about the forest floor. Snap the buds full of resin from the twig and place them into a jar about ½ full. Fill to the top with olive oil, cover with cheesecloth and let infuse for a few weeks. It is a simple remedy to craft. However when you are gathering this year, don’t just make an oil. Before you return the left over twigs to the forest, have fun snapping those twigs. Make a wish as you break them open and send a few stars back to the sky. Consider their story and share it with us. I’d love to hear how you think the cottonwood got its star.
 
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Latisha Guthrie, Mama. Nature girl. Plant philosopher. Joy junkie. Sensory herbalist. Rechilding my inner healer through ridiculous amounts of love, laughter and play.
www.herbmother.com

Imbolc {roots + rice}

Posted on February 2, 2014

 
White root roast for imbolc.
 
Roots are abundant this time of year and so as part of our Imbolc eve dinner we also roast the white ones.  It’s a simple, delicious and really healthy dish to share.
 
5-7 turnips
3-4 parsnips
1 radish root {optional}
1 yellow potato 
5 cloves of garlic
olive oil
sea salt
pepper
parsley
and a light grating of fresh romano cheese
 
Wash up your roots + potato
Chop them.
Mince garlic
Toss together with lots of olive oil, salt and pepper.  
 
Preheat oven to 375.  Cook the roots for about 45 minutes.  Toss again, cover with a really light grating of romano cheese and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley. 
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Coconut Rice Pudding
 
1 cup rice
1 can organic coconut milk
1 cup water
big pinch of powdered vanilla or 2 tablespoons liquid
3/4 cups fresh squeezed orange juice
orange zest
2 tablespoons fresh grated nutmeg 
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1/4 cup maple syrup 
 
Bring rice, coconut milk, water and orange juice to a boil.
Simmer, add vanilla, nutmeg, ginger and maple syrup.  Stir.
Allow to simmer until all liquid has been soaked up by rice.
 
Serve with fresh nutmeg + orange zest grated on top.
2014-02-02_0002

The Day of Brigid.

Posted on February 1, 2014

Our talented sister, friend, contributor and extremely prolific artist/designer, Erin Darcy offers up a super special craft with us to do with your kids on this day: The Day of Brigid. 
 
Erin, born in the US and found herself in the Land of Fae {Ireland} after meeting her one true love online, is dedicated to honoring the Irish goddess/saint Brigid- who brings blessings to those who light the way in her name. 
 
As a dreamer, artist, wife, baby wearing mama, activist, birth junkie and wise woman, we are so honored to share with you this video created by Erin for Amulet readers.  If you feel called to make this craft today, share with us how it turns out! 
 
You can read more of Erin’s musings and find out about her insanely gorgeous paintings, drawings and design work at www.starvingartistink.com 
 
::: Click here for a beautiful video of how to make the cross :::
 
Brigid’s day 

 
Brighid, daughter of the Dagda, one of the sisters three (all named Brighid) form the Celtic Triple Goddess. 

Our Brigid, the goddess of fire, of the forage and the hearth. Of poetry and healing, childbirth and unity.. She is known by many, and reborn in Christianity as St.Brigit of Kildare.  Her mythology traces way back before the birth of Christianity, to the Tuatha Dé Danann – the peoples tribe of the Goddess Danu.
February 1st marks the Feast of Brigid, Imbolc, the first day of spring. On Brigid’s eve, people leave a sheet (Brigid’s cloak) outside to catch the morning dew – it is said that Brigid walks the earth, blessing the morning water and giving it healing power and protection. 
  

On the eve, gather with friends and harvest rushes, straw, or long grasses. Whatever you have available in your local area. 

Dine on a feast of apple cake, apple pancakes, or a deliciously understated barm brack. Cakes made with apples are traditional on St Brigid’s Day. 

Weave your cross, and gift one to a neighbour or friend – an offering of protection and to bring good luck.  Hang your cross in the eaves of your home, by the door or above the hearth. 

That night, lay a sheet in the grass to collect the dew, and first thing in the morning- collect the water, fold away the sheet – and use to bless the space of a birthing woman, bring to offer healing to the ailing and sick. 

 
To weave the cross :: 
You will need 12-16 rushes (or more for a fuller cross) 
Lay your first straw north and south, let us begin this sun wheel for spring, by placing the second straw behind the first- and fold it over to the east… just as the sun rises,  we turn our wheel east to west, and continue adding the next straw, turn, and add another straw, continually turning our wheel counter-clockwise. 

Once you are satisfied with the fullness of your cross, tie them off – use a straw, string, or tape. 
Cut the ends even 

As the rushes and straw dry, your cross will become more loose, naturally deteriorating. Brigid’s cross should never be simply discarded – rather, it should be light on fire for this Celtic Goddess of Fire.
 
2014-02-01_0002
 
–




Barm Brack recipe ::

Tea Brack (Catherine Leydon)
 
225/8oz Self Raising Flour
375g Dried Fruit
300ml/1/2 pint Cold Tea
125g/4oz Caster Sugar
1 Egg (beaten)
Good pinch of Mixed Spice
 
Place fruit and tea in a bowl and leave to soak overnight.
The following day, when the fruit has absorbed most of the liquid, preheat the oven to 170′C/325′F/Gas 3 and grease and line a 2lb loaf tin
 
To the fruit, add sugar, egg, flour, and mixed spice to the bowl and mix well.
Transfer to the prepared tin and bake for approx. one hour or until risen and firm to the touch (you could inset a skewer to check it has cooked through)
 
Cool on a wire tray; then, when cold, wrap in greaseproof paper and try to wait for two days before cutting, slathering generously with REAL butter and eating many slices with a large pot of tea.

(this cake stays moist for days and days wrapped in greaseproof paper, so a great standby for visitors or gifting. If you can resist that long)


Recipe tried and tested by Emily Rainsford Ryan from www.thenest.com 

–
 

Kerry Apple Cake ::
 

Ingredients:
3 large cooking apples,
peeled, cored and diced
225 g/8 oz/2 US cups
unsifted white flour
90 g/3 oz butter
90 g/3 oz/(scant) ½ US cup
caster sugar
1 teasp baking powder
¼ teasp salt
1 extra-large egg, beaten
¼ teasp nutmeg, grated (or
ground cinnamon or ground
cloves)
3 tbls Demerara sugar

Method:
 
Grease a 20 cm/8 inch cake tin with butter,
then line it with greaseproof paper.
Sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter
until you have a mixture like fine
breadcrumbs. Mix the salt, sugar, and baking
powder together in a small bowl, then stir
into the flour mixture. Add the chopped
apples and the egg and mix to a soft dough.
Turn the dough into the cake tin. Mix the
Demerara sugar and spice and sprinkle over
the top of the cake. Bake at once at
180°C/350°F/Gas 4 for about 45 minutes, or
until a skewer inserted into the middle of the
cake comes out clean. Traditionally this cake
is eaten hot from the oven. It can be served
warm (even cold) as long as it is freshly
made – just warm it gently if it is to be eaten
the following day.


 
Cider cake ::
 

Ingredients:
 
110 g/4 oz butter
110 g/4 oz/generous ½ US
cup caster sugar
1 teasp bicarbonate of soda
225 g/8 oz/2 US cups
unsifted self-raising white
flour
½ teasp freshly grated
nutmeg
2 medium eggs, beaten
200 ml/7 fl oz/generous ¾
US cup medium sweet cider
2 juicy eating apples,
peeled, cored and sliced
into wedges (optional)
1–2 tablesp caster sugar for
the topping

Method:
 
Grease a 23 cm/9 inch square, non-stick
baking tin with butter. Cream the butter and
sugar until light and fluffy. Sift the flour,
nutmeg and bicarbonate of soda together.
Beat a tablespoon of the flour mix into the
butter and sugar mixture followed by all the
eggs. Mix in half the remaining flour. Add
the cider and beat in fully. Mix in the rest of
the flour. Pour the mixture into the tin. If
using the apples insert the slices into the
mixture (wide side facing upwards) in an
even pattern. Bake immediately at
180°C/350°F/Gas 4 for 35–45 minutes or
until the top is golden, the cake begins to
shrink from the sides of the tin, and the top
feels springy to the touch. Allow to cool
slightly in the tin before turning out
carefully. Place right side up and sprinkle the
top with caster sugar. This cake is also lovely
eaten as a dessert while still warm served
with whipped cream.

Guest Blog: Winter Earth Medicine from {Dana Tate Bailey}

Posted on January 21, 2014

Earth Medicine Readings

 

earth-medicine-bones
 
Most of my life, winter was … well … blah. And cold. And tiring. Spring and fall are my seasons; I feel much more energetic when it’s not so-damn-cold or so-damn-hot.
 
When my spiritual practice began to revolve around the seasons, though, everything changed; I found deep reverence and significance for each gorgeous turn of the wheel, and winter has completely captured my heart.
 
Earth Medicine
 
For me, winter is the time of earth medicine. One of my favorite things to do is gather stones, roots and bones, along with other meaningful trinkets and treasures, to make a unique divination set. These personal and intimate tools help me connect more clearly to my subconscious, allowing me to discover solutions to challenges that are significant to me. And I am going to show you how to make your own lovely set.
 
First, go outside (okay, stop right here… if you can’t go outside, no problem. The tools of your heart will be in your home. Okay, carry on) and look for anything that speaks to your heart. These pieces should be fairly small so you can handle them along with other small tools. Find as many as speak to you. This can be rocks, stones that are significant for you, cypress balls, pieces of amber, bones, small pieces of wood, feathers and lightweight cones (for decorating your space), etc.
 
Next, rummage around for a piece of cloth, a scarf, an altar cloth, etc., that can be used to house your medicine. *You may want some ribbon or thread or yarn to tie your bundle together after you have used it; this cloth will double as a foundation for your tools when you “throw” them for your reading.* It can be as simple or as ornate as you like.
 
When you have all of your goodies assembled, sit with each item and allow thoughts and impressions to come to you. Write them down. These will become your correspondences. You may have more than one correspondence for each item.
 
Here is an example of my correspondences:
 
Baltic amber: immunity, protection
 
Cypress ball: strength, shelter, potential,
 
Antler tip: awareness, stealth, nourishment
 
Yellow dock root: minerals, wellness, deep roots, detox, rooted
 
Smoky quartz: joint/tendon issues, pain relief
 
River rock: building blocks, softening edges, approachability
 
Seashell: tides, tears, Cayla (my dolphin friend), fluidity
 
Teeth: Speak up, bite into it, communication
 
Dragon’s blood: Power, protection, keeping under wraps
 
Clear quartz: energizing, movement, clearing, clarity, conduction
 
Notice that each of these correspondences could be something I feel I need in this moment. You may find that yours speak to you the same way.

 
Creating your World
 
Earth-Medicine

 
The final piece of preparing for your readings is to set your scene.
 
The directions can hold specific significance. You can use the directions as a formula or you can create your own personal significance (or both). For example, East can represent intelligence, vision, knowledge, renewal, communication and/or flexibility. South can represent passion, power, creativity, intensity, destruction and/or integrity. West can represent emotions, surrender, release, grief, cleansing, relief and/or support. North can represent depth, strength, wisdom, stability, ruts (as in “stuck in a rut”), solid, decay and/or endings. Center can represent spirit, subconscious, the unseen and/or the nonphysical.
 
If your earth tools land off the cloth, that can hold significance for you.
 
I begin each reading by spreading out my cloth, setting my earth tools to the side and smudging my space; this brings me comfort. The heady aroma of the smudge, whether it is white sage, cedar, mugwort, rosemary or sweetgrass, puts my mind in “the space.” You know which space I mean. The “We’re getting ready to do some good soul work” space.
 
Then I take my earth tools in my hands, I ask my question *or if I don’t have a question, I allow my primary emotion to arise fully into my awareness*, I close my eyes and then I toss the pieces gently onto the cloth.
 
Here are some tips on getting impressions from your spread.

  • Gently open your eyes, soften your gaze and notice any initial impressions. Does the scene look like anything in particular to you?
  • Notice any significant patterns and/or shapes in the spread
  • Interpret based on your directional representations
  • Interpret based on your correspondences

 
Feel free to interpret your spread however you choose. Allow your intuition to guide you. Consider recording your impressions either via voice record or a journal; sometimes when I get in the zone, I don’t always have perfect recall after a reading. Okay, okay. I can’t remember chit.
 
You can get all formal with ceremony… begin by facing a specific direction…feel free to incorporate your own spiritual ceremony into this work and make it your own. I tend to face East out of habit more than anything, but I have been known to be a bit rebellious and face a different direction.
 
Supplement with a tarot deck or oracle of your choice if you want a more in-depth reading.
 
I am always thrilled to hear of your experiences. Leave me a message at the bottom of this blog post and your name will go into a drawing to win one of two awesome gifts: a free sampler package from Sacred Hoop Herbals and a beautiful silver and lapis lazuli bracelet from The Wummin House.

 

Dana Tate Bailey is a ceremonial herbalist and practicing wild wummin. Visit her and her partner, Nessa, at the Wummin House.
http://thewumminhouse.wordpress.com/

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