Voicing the Wise Woman Way Newsletter

We are now posting our Nourishing Newslettter on our blog, Crow's Daughter's Herbal Wisdom. 

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Frozen Earth Sparkles by Moonlight ~ January 23, 2008

The full moon spotlight flooded my bedroom at 4 in the morning.
I got up and started to work, making lists of things that need tending.
Later I prepared for ritual, concocted a ceremony to burn evergreen boughs.
Releasing my dreams by smoke into the world.
The fire blazed so hot, so wild.
I ran to the stairs and looked back from far away.

Is my power this wild?
Are my dreams really this big?
This morning...
My eyes wanted to stay shut.
I am not sure I am ready for more light.
Where does the moon live in side of me?
Is this the light that I wish to shine?
Sunlight is so bold and brazen, I can't look upon her
without squinting, without looking away.
Moonlight glows from my womb, a reflection of my soul.

This time that I am born ~ December 22, 2007

I have been sitting in silence
deep down
in the belly of the earth,
inside the
the mother,
Yesterday the flavor of light
that shone
beckoned my heart
and I knew it was
time to emerge.
This time
that I am born
I am completely new.
I can tell that
who I am
is not who I was.
I am aware that
what I see
is a formation
of what I am becoming.

a multitude of promise ~ November 9, 2007

Greetings, Lovers of the Green,

rain falls
plants fall over
turning golden and brown
wishing to rejoin
mother earth
little star lady
chickweed returns
enriching autumn salads
rose hips ripen fully
brilliant red
softening to release
her seeds
mushrooms emerge
all over the place
from forest wood chips
reminding me
of the fairy realm
seeds latch onto
my clothes
steadfast in their pursuit
to continue
a beautiful lesson
to watch burdock
dark brown plant
fall effortlessly
to earth
sending off her seeds
full of new life
into the world
she does not linger
in feelings of regret
she lived fully
now dies fully
each seed head holding
a multitude of promise
I follow burdock
releasing my life
into the holy darkness
giving thanks
knowing new life will emerge
from seeds
I have sown


The Treasures of the Dark Maiden~ September 25, 2007

Greetings, Lovers of the Green,

I walk in the garden and listen this morning
To the sounds of Autumn
A few pink catnip flowers whisper
Tomatoes pray for a bit more sun
Pumpkin leaves faded to yellow
Prepare for ripening fruit
Crow wings overhead
Cawing, cawing
A little nettle sprout determined to continue
After a strong weeding
Clover happy and content to bloom
As long as possible
Comfrey steadfast and vibrant still
Reminds me about her constant medicine
Burdock leaves beckon me to imagine
Their gigantic roots.
Bright fuchsia dahlias are
The entrance to the underworld
Apple hanging heavy and desiring
The cauldron
The shape of a goddess garden emerges
From an ancient psyche
Persephone calls us to seek
The treasures of the dark maiden

May it be in Beauty.




Wisdom to Hold Ground ~ July 9, 2007

Greetings Lovers of the Green,

sun filled world
bright days wild
dark nights
potent with
what shall be
what is

our garden is wild
with weeds
nourishing foods
potent medicines
and deeper callings allow
less time for a perfect garden
how is this helping
some deeper yearning?

wild peas grow all over this year
purple blossoms spreading
intertwining with planned plants
returning nitrogen to the soil
we are in need of this here
the soil calls for more food
to strengthen her

two weeds growing
in raucous abundance
Sow thistle leaves
are mineral rich
wonderful in salads
as they flower
our goats gorge on them
little mallow is spreading far and wide
thought it would be so nice to invite her to
a little corner
of the pumpkin patch
she didn’t stay in the corner
for long
stretching out in all directions
carpeting the soil
with her heart-shaped leaves
and delicate pink flowers
delicious in salad and
enough for herbal vinegar
she soothes our insides

more weeds

dandelion ~ wise woman plant
plantain ~ bee sting plant
lamb’s quarters ~ better than spinach
chickweed ~ in the shade of the potatoes
burdock ~ yang/wild woman plant
shephard’s purse ~ midwives plant
red dock ~ remedy for nettle sting
yellow dock ~ iron-rich liver lover
red clover ~ I planted this
butter cup ~ poison tenacious plant
self heal ~ subtle chakra teacher

this year as I look
in the mirror
of my garden
I see
the intertwining fertility
of my most alive self
abundant graciousness
of growing where I land
wisdom to hold ground
spreading green ways
all over the place

may it be in beauty


Leaves Reflecting All of Life ~ May 11, 2007

Greetings, Lovers of the Green,

at your doorstep
a vibrant green world
leaves reflecting all of life.
motherwort chanteuse,
rhubarb giantess,
steadfast fir,
womanly rose,
mother of all...cleavers
nourishment avails herself

May it be in beauty.


A Cup of Green ~ March 17, 2007

Greetings, Lovers of the Green,

happy to say
i got the poppy seeds
planted in time this year
the cold soil inspires
their growth.
poppy is such
a wicked witch
i use her seeds
in breads
a few years ago
i dried some poppy heads
and was pleased that the tops
never opened
to release the seeds
this produced
little poppy head rattles
i use these rattles
to listen
gentle sounds
delicate instrument
wild divinatory medicine

strong and subtle
energies of spring equinox
dance through my mind
they are like the new
green poppy leaves
rising up out of the soil
almost invisible still
just a little bit of
green now

Earth holds our world
in her cup
She unfurls
her newness and invites
us into her open hand

this subtle life giving container
that holds the spring
invites me to soften my hold
on the seriousness of the world
and open myself
to the beauty around me

it is the child
that is creating us
the delicacy that yearns
for the sun on her leaves
and conjures
a bright red flower
bold green fruits
and goddess wand

May it be in Beauty.

Introduce Yourself to the World ~ February 6, 2007

Greetings, Lovers of the Green,rose hips late winter
There is a slight stirring in the garden
these past few days.
As our frozen Earth warms,
I have enjoyed venturing out
to look for plants emerging
from the dark soil.
Just a little bit here so far,
catnip, oregano, bergamot,
lady's mantle, oxe-eye daisy,
And there is this feeling I get
when I pass the rose hips thorns...
'can't wait, can't wait'....'I'm ready, I'm ready'
This is what it must feel like to be preparing
for manifestation in the world.
All that work in the underworld
is being stirred in a giant cauldron of worldly soup.
What we wished and prayed for...
what we developed, enhanced and transformed....
and what we began can now make itself known
in this new world.
I think an introduction is in order.
Whatever it is you are initiating this year,
take some time to present it to the world.
Talk about your dreams now,
tell stories of your visions for this new year
Create ceremonies of fiery passion,
Allow vulnerability to be present,
This new world, nothing like it ever before,
Nothing like it ever again.

May it be in Beauty.


Winter's Repose ~ January 7, 2007

Greetings, Lovers of the Green,

An incredible mid-winter! crow on cottonwood
Winds of the change have blown through
Breathing new life into existence.
A flood in our basement,
From rain, flowing water
I had to move dusty boxes
Unearthing treasures, long forgotten
The lights go out
Power remains says one wise woman
Witness the Holy Darkness says another
Now we rest,
Restore in gentle repose
Before the quickening

Happy New Year!

2007 is going to be an incredible year of nourishing
the power within us to create authentic,
fully connected lives.

I am so excited and delighted to offer you many ways to explore the healing way of plants and the Wise Woman Tradition. The richness of these teachings breathes incredible energy into me and I am filled with gratitude for life.

If you have been longing to come and participate in a class, apprenticeship, and/or one to one teachings, now is the time to do it.

May it be in beauty.


November New Moon ~ November 20, 2006sunset in Utah

Greetings, Lovers of the Green,

new moon today
as quiet can be
nesting inside
giving thanks
for what was
what is

I am so thankful for all of you in my life. It has been such a fabulous year of teaching, witnessing and communing with loved ones, the plants, and the helpers of the unseen realms.

May you know peace within you,
Julie, Crow's Daughter

Samhain ~ October 31, 2006

Greetings, Lovers of the Green,dead sunflower

my husband tadd
called it
the killing frost
it came last night
leaving a blanket
of icy jewels
over our valley
and today as I walk
in the garden
where there was
vibrant greenery
plants are wilted
turning black
and falling
toward earth
cosmos gone
zinnia gone
shungiku edible chrysanthemum
fallen over and gone
white russian kale
happily spreads
her green wings
knowing the cold
brings sweetness
in her taste
rose hips
invite harvesting
more potent
after the frost

the cold dark earth
brings the wisdom
of darkness
into focus
the inner realms
the underworlds
team with mystery
and call us strongly
to be nourished
by the night

susun weed
spoke five words
we heal
in the dark
i wished to change
live from wholeness
instead of fragments
i set out
to discover
the darkness
as ally

as a child
i was afraid
of the dark
i had nightmares
and anxieties
about what lurked
under my bed
in my closet
my mother left
the hall light on
the light
let me sleep
in peace i thought
until i started
the darkness
i turned
off the lights
and slept
in utter blackness
i found
comfort and ease
in no light
in darkness i found
within nothingness
i found

tonight is samhain
the journey complete
we have reached
the center
of our beings
and utter darkness

in days of old
it was
the witching hour
the deep
dark earth
left for dead
creating from
an unknowable
an incredible
of being

i invite you
into stillness
of deep
womb time
what will
you form
the nothingness
of darkness

may it be in beauty

October 9, 2006

Greetings, Lovers of the Green,

The Harvest Moon was shining in my window a few mornings ago as my husband, Tadd got ready forgarden tomb of jesus hollyhock work. I drank in its reflected light and cozied up in bed for a few more hours sleep. Frost on the buttercup leaves surprised me as I went out to feed Scrappy and Fille Luna our Nubian goat kids. Glowing moon on the wane and cold Earth bring us inward.

I have an affinity for Persephone, the young Goddess who takes on the task of exploring the Lower World for six months of the year. She is daughter of Demeter, Goddess of Grain and Abundance and companion and apprentice to Hecate, the wise old crone and wicked(i.e.wise) witch. Some say they are all one Goddess in three forms mirroring our many paths. Persephone holds truths for me and has helped me greatly on my path as shamanic herbalist and green witch. She makes her descent at Fall Equinox remaining and exploring the Lower World for six months. She helps the dead find their way. And it is written that she destroys the light.

Destroying the light is a metaphor for releasing any attachment to our world which is falling to Earth right now and will soon be gone. This Earth based story seems most relevant at our present time in Herstory. It brings to mind some questions that we can ponder as we begin our own descent to the Lower World.
What part of my world will I incorporate and which will I cast off as I descend into the inner realms.
What parts of me are fully alive right now?
Who are my helpers?
How will I give thanks?

It can be challenging for some to move into the darkness and deepness of the Earth's rhythms. Depression and anxiety often flare and deepen during this time of year. Letting go of attachment to the world we created this year can be helpful in working with these intense energies. And...One of the practices I have found most beneficial in nourishing myself into the dark months is to fully engage myself with the rhythms of the Earth as she wanes.
Here are a few ways to do that...
Go to bed earlier or at least quiet down your energy with the waning of the sun each day.
Eat the herbs that are nourishing and most potent right now. Roots like dandelion and burdock, also root vegetables like rhutabegas, turnips, parnips, potatoes, onions etc. root soup ingredients
And here are a few nourishing practices that increase health and vitality and honor our wholeness...
Make applesauce by just chopping up apples (removing the seeds) and cooking them, skins and all. The pectin is most abundant right between the peel and the fruit. This substance is incredible for healthy digestion and thus for our immune system.
Experiment with the nourishing herbs, Stinging Nettle, Oatstraw, Rose Hips. These herbs not only add mineral richness to our daily lives, they make it less possible for depression and anxiety to take hold.
Eat live food, and by this I mean fermented food. It is quite easy to make yogurt yourself without a yogurt maker.
Here's how...
All you need is...

One gallon of milk, organic if possible, raw is best.
A milk thermometer.
A clean gallon jar.
(You can buy one at any kitchen store.)
A cooking pot
to heat up your milk.
A 1/2 pint of plain yogurt.
(Look for the kind with lots of good bacteria in it, at least two kinds. And don't get the kind with dry milk powder, pectin is fine.
I use Redwood Hill Farms plain goat yogurt.)
A wooden spoon
to stir the milk as it heats.
A small bowl
to mix yogurt starter and a little milk.
Make sure all of these items are thoroughly cleaned.
An ice chest.
( If you remember you can put some boiling water in this ahead of time and then just before putting the yogurt in it you can dump out the water. This make the chest nice and warm for yogurt transformation.)
Put milk into cooking pot.
Turn the burner on medium/high heat.
Heat the milk up to 110 degrees. No hotter.
Mix a little of this warm milk with the yogurt starter.
(About two thirds of that 1/2 pint.)
Then add this to the warm milk on your stove.
Stir until it is thoroughly mixed.
Pour this into clean gallon jar.
Pour boiling water out of ice chest.
Put jar with yogurt fixin's in the ice chest.
Close the lid and put a large towel over it.
On the top write the time you put it in.
Keep this very still.
Voilá!...You will have yogurt 24 hours later.

Nourishing our Wholeness and connecting daily with the Earth Rhythms brings us into our bodies as we explore our vast inner landscapes and we begin to cultivate inspiration to create a new world again next year.

May it be in Beauty.


September 11, 2006

The garden and land are so beautiful now, rose hips ripening and turning redder each day, pumpkins growing bigger than I could ever imagine, heirloom tomatoes red and oran3 calendulage and hanging heavy from the vines, long italian beans dangling from spirals, calendula brilliant and powerful reflecting the sun's last stand before waning, and tall sunflowers smiling and waving at me over the garden fence. I am so thankful for this summer and this garden. I look back five years as I write this and remember the call from my mother about the World Trade Towers being hit by two planes. I remember the grief of that day and the outrage I felt toward our president, our government that would somehow make it possible for such a thing to happen. That day changed me. I deepened my commitment to the Earth and the work of connecting people to plants. And I took on a quest to forgive those that create war, that feel it is necessary for war to take place in order to be safe. As I began to see what it would take to forgive our president, I saw even more deeply and knew that I must forgive myself. There is a place in me that wishes to annihilate parts of myself I don't like before fully understanding them. I am on a quest to love those parts and invite them to dinner. How can I nourish my wholeness? How will I live so that what I want from others is what I am giving? What else can I let go of that holds me back from living fully? Forgiveness and gratitude are blessings. I fall to earth in humble praise of Her and I see myself.

May it be in Beauty.

August 18, 2006

Greetings, Lovers of the Green,garden abundance

I have noticed
A holy presence
Here on the land
And in the garden
The hard work;
The planting, the watering,
The weeding, the tending,
The listening, the trusting
Is all coming
To fruition.
It is time now
To stand back
And witness
And begin the harvest.
In the old days, I heard zucchini flower
This time of year
Brought inspiration
...and fear
The peoples
Of the land
Held gratitude
For gifts of the green
And there was another energy;
A fear it would not
Be enough.
That energy; the Shadow
Is created
By the great light of the Sun.
Within its holy presence
Is a mystery. house at harvest time
Shadow is rest,
Quietness on the surface.
Dig deeper now
And find treasures.
Within it are places
Still needing nourishment.
Places we ignored or forgot
When we were cultivating.
We can look for those places
See what work is ahead of us
As we prepare to
Return to the earth,
Venture within
And explore
Our vast inner landscape

Here is a shamanic exercise to explore the Shadow and turn your fears into inspiration:deer in shadow and light

Go out in your yard, to a local park or venture into the forest. Find a great tree that casts a large shadow on the ground. Stand in the tree's shadow. Notice your breath, and breathe in the oxygen from this tree and breathe out as an offering in exchange. Ask three questions and after each one listen, observe and notice what see, hear, smell, taste and feel as you stand in that shadow listening. What part of me have I forgotten?... What nourishment is needed?... Who are my helpers? When this is complete, step out into the light, the sun again and look at the great shadow. Feel the sun's warmth and strong rays on you. Acknowledge both energies and welcome them...both are needed. Give thanks to the tree, the sun, the shadow cast and treasures you are discovering.

May it be in Beauty.


July 3, 2006

Greetings Lovers of the Green,
The barn swallows returned this year to remodel theirnest which even has long horse hairs flowing from it. It has been a lovely adventure to watch the diligence of the mother and father barn swallows nurture their young. I got involved this year in their protection. I noticed one morning that a very large crow was flying close to our deck. I went out and stood and called to the cbarn swallowsrow to stay away from these birds. I had to do this twice. After the second time the crow stayed away. (Perhaps it was because I know how to speak crow?:-) Just the other day, I noticed that the two barn swallow parents were flying in and out, over and over. Flying lessons were taking place. Then later in the day, at least six barn swallows were doing the same thing, diving and swooping in and around our porch, over and over. The whole community of barn swallows was teaching the young ones to fly. Today, I ventured out in the garden early to work before the heat of the sun got too intense. On the fence at the bottom of the garden were five little ruffly birds, sitting and watching, waiting for breakfast and one by one they took flight...pumping their wings vigorously as if it was so much work to get through the air but non-the-less flying. As I pondered these fledglings and their new found skill I discovered a mirror about doing. I am just beginning this life as a farmer, as a steward of this sacred land, and at times it seems hard and I really have to work to keep myself flying. But no matter the struggle, the challenge of the task, I am flying. It is like this with everything we wish to do well...first we watch, then we attempt and imitate. We work really hard and we make lots of mistakes. And all the while we are doing it. Doing is not really the doing perfectly or the doing right but just the doing.

Being is stillness,
Centered and whole
Doing is movement,
Aliveness and breath
Being is oneness,
Doing is creation
Being is returning
Doing is birth.

May it be in Beauty.

May 16, 2006

Greetings, Lovers of the Green,

The native Hawthorne on our land is in bloom. Last year, there was only one or two flowers anwild rosed all far beyond my reach. I wasn't even sure it was a hawthorne tree because its leaves are shaped differently then the European Hawthorne. The thorns are not very sharp, in fact I am not sure they are thorns. The flowers are creamy white and smell like honey. I was surprised about this. I was expecting the haunting smell of European Hawthorne when I put my nose into her blossoms. But then as I stood and took in the experience of standing beneath a native Hawthorne tree, I did for just an instance smell that fragrance, the one that fortells the summer and hints at ripeness and deep connection.
The ecstacy of flowers stirs me. The Wild Roses here are deliciously budding and just starting to bloom. I have been anticipating this for weeks now. There is quite a bit of play involved in making medicine with Rose. Vinegar and tincture, oil and lotion...this is one of those plants that does everything, nourishes, heals, calms, softens, seduces, awakens and protects. I bow down to this plant and serve her. She is queen on this land, subtle, vivacious and oh so lucscious. She loves the attention, too. Some plants like to be ignored, some even like neglect, but Rose loves to be loved. And so I offer her my humble attention and anticicpate her amazing fragrance.
May it be in Beauty.

April 19, 2006

Greetings Lovers of the Green,
Just a week or so ago I returned from California where I attended a Shamanic Healing intensive through the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. It was incredible opportunity and I am changed because of it. It rained, actually poured for most of the time and the landscape was quite green. (I am told that later in the season the hills in Marin County are golden brown and to see them covered in their greenery is a gift)During one of the few times when the rain let up we were asked to walk on the land and connect with the nature spirits.
I connected with Poison Oak Toxicodendron diversilobum and she gave me some really good advice. Each day, then, I met with her for “private consultation” :-) About four days before the end of the training a woman approached me and said she had poison oak irritation and since I was an herbalist perhaps I knew what to do. Well, I knew there were things that I had read but I couldn’t remember them because poison oak doesn’t live where I live. But I did know the other plant people in our group and a few of them were from California. The second person I asked said, “Mugwort” Well, that was quite exciting for me, because I do have an intimate realationship with Cronewort(Mugwort) Artemesia vulgaris. So we set off for the old grandmother tree in the woods where I had found some cronewort just a few days back. This woman picked some and later told me that within seconds of applying the mascerated fresh leaf to her poison oak irritation the itching went away. (Yet another talent of that old wise gal!) A little bit later on I went back to look again for the Cronewort near the old tree and found a very large plant growing very near her with a great vine of Poison Oak winding around it. This to me was a powerful sign and gift. Where there is fear there is power, where there is a problem there is certainly a gift.

May it be in Beauty.

March 21, 2006

Greetings Lovers of the Green,

There is fullness this spring equinox. A round, pregnant belly of life giving fullness. And I can't wait to see what will grow in my garden. We plotted out quite a large area near our house last fall and began to cover it with soil ammendments, old manure soaked hay from our barn, cardboard and then compost. Where there once was grass is now a large garden pregnant with potential. The posts came nexsheete mulchingt and then the deer fencing. Soon the gates Tadd built will be hung and the rabbit hard wire installed. Trellises must then be added, archways, passages into paradise.
Moving around for the past six or seven years has taught me a great deal about connecting with the native plants and weeds in my vicinity. I had given up permanent plantings for so long to search with my beloved for a place from which to grow, to change, to offer and to find peace. We are here, and it is now time to grow a permanent garden. I intend to grow old with this new garden being created. As a child, I imagined such a paradise, and now here it is before me.
It was said in days of old that spring equinox (and also fall equinox) is the time to make choices.
I choose myself. I choose laughter and play. I choose to see peace. I choose a life close to the earth. I choose nourishment. I choose to give. I choose to heal myself. I choose to sing my song from this place.
What will you choose?
May it be in Beauty.

balm of gileadFebruary 8, 2006

Greetings Lovers of the Green,

It is time to begin again, my friends.
Time to initiate.
To start and bless that beginning.
In the old, old days in Europe, they celebrated Imbolc as the first day of Spring.
The emergence of the first green and the growing strength and stamina of the sun were evidence that the world was beginning again.

This is such a beautiful time to nourish ourselves deeply. The old ones knew of nourishment and heralded it as the way of healing. It was not until the madness of the patriarchy became common place that people chose to cleanse themselves during this time. Cleansing is a way of forcing change and not necessary. We can once again claim our heritage to nourish. Come step on the spiral path with me and you'll see how easy it is.

Imagine that you are walking a spiral, a golden labyrinthine thread that takes you through the passages of your life. Each step is new and unique, each experience fresh and full of vibrant energy. This path is one of possibilities, of beauty and deep trust. Will you join me?
Each moment new cells are being created within us and request nourishment for optimum health. What will we offer ourselves new each moment?

As you walk this path with me, take some time to go outside and discover the emergence of green in the world. What plants do you encounter? Chickweed? Dandelion? Sorrel? Little Mallow? They will all make delicious and nutritious additions to your spring salads and will also offer you a connection with the green world so new and tender, and yet full of wisdom.

Take some time now as we explore the new green world to connect in the moment with your surroundings...This shamanic exercise is a good way to initiate connection:

Go outside in your yard.
Become aware of your breath, noticing its inhale and exhale.
Begin to look at the Earth, noticing plants, stones, insects etc.
Keep looking and as you see something, say to yourself, “I see___, I see___, I see___.”
Do this for at least five minutes. (There is no need to have a watch with you, just spend what you think is five minutes.)
Every now and then as you are doing this bring your attention back to your breath.
When have completed five minutes of this task, give thanks for everything you witnessed.
Take a bit of time now to ponder this experience
You can also do this exercise with the phase,“I hear___.” or “I feel___”

May it be in Beauty.

December 30, 2005

Greetings, Lovers of the Green,robin and rose hips

This New Moon day
brings quietness.
Rain falls here
on dried grasses,
and rose hips.
The promise of
seems evident
Just days ago
we celebrated
"The Turning"
of universal energy:
The gathering
of our gifts
from the inner realms,
and the offering
of these treasures
to the new world
before us.
The dark of the moon
coupled with
the dark of the year
supports us
to move
slowly, assuredly
as we bring
into the light
that which we

Gather with those you love and share the stories of the year and years past. As you speak them, allow them to be relesased...take some time to move slowly and dream deeply about what you will now birth into being...

May it be in Beauty.

August 24, 2005

Greetings Lovers of the Green,

In my garden, there are plump seed pods ripening on my radish plants. These are heirloom Frenchemmi tatti and betty Breakfast Radishes that I have been growing and from which I have been saving the seeds for a few years now. The radishes that sprouted beautiful pink flowers and then these wonderful pods are deep, dark red and very large. I remember my first garden...My mother took me out in our back yard when I was just about four years old and together we planted radish seeds. Until we sold my mom's house a year ago in May I spent quite a bit of time out in that garden with my mom. She loved to buy plants and squeeze them in somewhere in her small yard. Her garden was quite crowded with foxglove, many rose varieties, poppies, monk's hood, violet, wild strawberries and trillium. Just before we said goodbye to that house that I grew up in I dug the trillium's out of the yard. They were her favorite. She had talked her friend Marie into going into the woods behind her house and taking some trillium for her. Each year she would wait until the trillium bloomed before letting the gardener weed her beds. (Just in case he thought the trillium a weed) and then she would send me out there to look for it, as if she wasn't quite sure it still lived there.

My mom learned gardening from Emmi-Tati, her mom's sister. I have a picture of the two of them standing in front of 10 foot tall sweet peas! My memories of Emmi-Tati's garden are from my mother's stories. I feel the urge to plant a garden like hers here on this land. I imagine that she loved the earth and plants and knew something of the old Finnish ways of earth magic.

Seeds hold the entire life of a new plant within them. Gathering seeds from your garden is a wonderful way to set an intention for something new in your life. It is a way to make a promise. As you begin the journey inward this fall, take some time to go out in your yard and find some seeds. Hold a seed in your hand and imagine what it will become next spring. As you do this make a promise for something you will become. Give thanks.

May it be in Beauty.

July 15, 2005

Greetings, Lovers of the Green,

The barn swallows nested on one of the lamps on our front porch this year. At first we thought we would deter them from nesting but heard a legend about how its good luck for these beautiful birds to build a home on our home. Well, they didn't wait for our go-ahead, they proceeded anyway and within a couple of days built a beautiful nest with little feathers sticking out of it. On Sunday, my father-in-law visited and he and Tad and I delighted in watching the little babies opening their mouths as mother and father swallow brought food to them. Well, this morning as we began our day we notice two sweet little rufflely birds sitting on the deck railing. And as we approached to take a closer peek they took flight. What a delight!

Perhaps it is time for us all to take flight, today... spread our wings and trust that the wind will carry us and that our strength and stamina will sustain us until we land once again.

May it be in Beauty.

June 5, 2005

Greetings Lovers of the Green,

There is a peace this Summer Solstice that greets me each day when I step outside. A quietness gently resting in our valley. Perhaps it is the new moon approaching that softens the edges of Summer's Fire. I can't quite place the impetus for this feeling. And I need not spend too much time finding reason for peace. It simply is right now. Do you feel it? The wild rose done blooming, the burdock about to flower, the grass shining brightly in the sun, the berries plump with juices all lull me with their peace.

It was said in days of old that the time between the Summer Solstice and Lammas (Aug. 2nd) was a time when the energies of the earth were fully charged, fully awake. That there was an open channel of energy flowing from the deepness of the earth up and out into the cosmos. And down from the farthest reaches of the universe down into the earth. This time of year is a time of manifestation of our visions and dreams. Prayers spoken now are swiftly brought into being. And this year the prayer of peace is great. Peace abounds now. Blessed Be.

I am wondering where within you is peace? Where do you see peace around you? What dreams will you bring swiftly to fruition?

With such sweetness around, I thought I would share a recipe for herbal honey. A rare delicacy, one that is not often chosen these days to nourish and to heal. When you've tried this there is no stopping your exploration of others. There are a few herbs in your garden's that you can use right now to make herbal infused honey. Garden sage, thyme, rosemary, lavender... among others. Here's how: Collect one herb in a basket, one that has not been rained on for a few days. Choose a jar that you believe this herb will fill to about an inch below the top. Chop it up and fill the jar with it. Now drizzle honey over the herb until it reaches the rim. This project will take a few days to complete. The honey takes its sweet time soaking into the herb and reaching the bottom of the jar. You will need to continue to pour honey over the herb until the entire mass of it is covered and the honey reaches the top. Amazingly enough, I like to wait for about six months before straining the honey. It seems to always work that way. You can certainly strain it within six weeks but somehow it just tastes better after a good long soak. And actually, if you are using one of these Mediterranean herbs they will nourish your immune system at the time of the Winter Solstice, six months away. If you have roses, wild or garden roses, try this with those. It is delectable and quiet sensual what you will come up with. Honey is my ally. The bees my friends and companions in the garden. I thank them for such a deep golden gift.

May it be in Beauty.

May 8, 2005

Greeting Lovers of the Green,

What a beautiful green and fertile earth we live on! It's time to enjoy Mother Earth's green cloak as the life force of our planet is expressing itself in the leaves. I have been enjoying the incredible lushness of Big Leaf Maple leaves lately. What beauty! And just yesterday I spied some vine maple flowers delicately dangling from their floating leaves. This is a wonderful time to gather the leaves for nourishment and for medicine. Dandelion leaves are now a bit strong for salad but can be picked and dried for tea and made into tincture for a digestive tonic. Plantain (Plantago lanceolate or major) is the most vibrant in the month of May. You can certainly pick her anytime but right now her medicine speaks loudly.

Plantain Plantago lanceolata or major

Do you know her? She is the bee sting plant. You have most likely walked right over her without noticing. She is resilience. To find her, go out in your yard or property and look around the edges of your garden, the driveway or around near the sidewalks. She is an edgy gal, a gatekeeper. To me plantain is one of the deepest and most precious medicine we have around us. We are so fortunate that she hitchhiked her way to our land from her native Europe. There actually are a few plantain species here in the Northwest that are native. I have spied one here on Whidbey on the beach. When you taste that one, you taste her mineral salts right away. Again hanging out at the edge, near the sea.

You can make an infused oil from her precious leaves now and here's how . . .

Gather in a basket, plantain leaves that have not been rained on in at least two days. Cut or chop them up into little pieces. Put them into a jar, packing lightly until they are just about an inch below the rim.

Pour olive oil over this.( I use organic extra virgin). Put as much oil as you can in the jar, covering the leaves and leaving very little air space. I use a chop stick to stir and make sure all the air bubbles are gone. Cover this with a lid and label it with name, date and perhaps where you gathered, moon phase etc. Put this on a plate in a place away from direct sunlight. (Darkness is best) Toss and shake this every day or so. Top it off occasionally as the oil will soak in and so you will need more to cover the leaves. Let this concoction sit for at least six weeks. Strain it and you have a healing oil, a beautiful oil that will soothe dry skin and heal rashes (the best remedy for diaper rash there is!) This oil will actually stop the itch of insect bites!. There are many other healing stories about this plant . . . such a useful weed.

  • When you are out on the earth enjoying her bounty here is a shamanic exercise to deepen your connection with the earth. I have shared this with some of you before. It is a good place to start a relationship with the green nations . . .
  • Venture outside on the earth where an abundance of plants are growing.
  • Let your eyes wander from plant to plant until you find one you are particularly drawn to
  • Sit or stand very near this plant
  • Begin to notice your breath, breathing in and out 3 times
  • Now, allow yourself to imagine that when you breathe in you are breathing in the oxygen created by this plant.
  • And when you breathe out you offer your breathe, carbon dioxide to this plant
  • Breathe in and out with this plant for 7 breaths
  • Listen . . . and ask the plant, "What have you for me?" . . . Listen
  • Take note
  • When you feel this is complete give thanks to the plant.

As you explore this incredible season in all her greenery take note as well about your newness, your own green blessings. Where is your life force right now?

May it be in Beauty.

March 2005

Outside my door I have a little kitchen garden. When we moved here we found a few raised beds already created. They were overgrown with weeds, grass, cleaver, chickweed etc. I have been weeding them and together with my two young students have planted oatstaw in one of them. It is starting to poke little shoots up above the surface. The girls planted oatstraw in the shape of peace signs, spelling out the word peace and also snake like curves. After we planted this wonderful plant, we were over near the barn examining the Stinging Nettle and harvesting a bit to dry when we spied a garter snake venturing out from her protective home to catch a little sun. This represents to me a deep connection that was formed between the earth and our animal and plant allies. Snake felt honored and respected as we drew representations of her in our plantings. She came out to bless our work. There is deep connection in everything when we take the time to see it, to listen for it, to welcome it. Opening to this way of life is my task for this years growing season. How can I witness and honor the sacred in each moment.

Here is a shamanic exercise to initiate this practice:
Before you proceed with this exercise, bring into your awareness an intention. Your intention may be to connect more fully with yourself, to seek wisdom about a particular issue in your life or simply to connection more fully with the earth. You can write this down or just speak it to yourself.

  • Go outside in your yard.
  • Become aware of your breath, noticing its inhale and exhale.
  • Begin to look at the Earth, noticing plants, stones, insects etc.
  • Keep looking and as you see something, say to yourself, “I see___, I see___,I see___.”
  • Do this for at least five minutes. (There is no need to have a watch with you, just spend what you think is five minutes.)
  • Every now and then as you are doing this bring your attention back to your breath.
    When have completed five minutes of this task, give thanks for everything you witnessed.
  • Take a bit of time now to ponder this experience

You can also do this exercise with the phase, “I hear___.” or “I feel___”

May it be in Beauty.

December 28, 2004

First Issue

The Turning

December 28th ~ Today is a holy day celebrated in ancient times as The Turning. On this day the old ones believed that the focus turned from inner wisdom to the wisdom of the world and her abundance. In ceremony and dance they would gather the gifts from within and turn to greet a world that offered them whatever they needed. This is so beautiful and offers me nourishment for my journey into the light once again.

One of the things the old ones did in their ceremony was to gather pines cones and fir cones from the tall trees and place them by their doorsteps. This brought the energy of the trees close to them. It honored the seeds of these wise beings as representing the seeds of our dreams.

The Tall Trees

In times of old, the tall evergreen trees were guardians. They offered nourishment, healing, warmth, shelter, and magic. Their energy was known to be most vibrant and powerful in the dead of winter. I have been exploring this energy for some years now. I find the medicine and magic of Douglas fir to be quite an amazing gift. To connect with her and other evergreen trees is as simple as walking outside your door.

Here on Whidbey Island, trees surround me. I consider myself blessed by this. But even in the heart of most big cities you can find local evergreen trees, offering their strength in their quiet and deeply powerful way. I offer you a few ways to reweave the connection between humans and trees.

A Shamanic Exercise with Evergreen Trees

  • Create an intention for your journey; you may wish to focus on a particular issue or circumstance in your life.
  • Adventure out to a place where there are evergreen growing (It doesn't matter whether this is a park in the city or deep dark woods.)
  • Stand with your backs to a tree
  • Feel roots grow down from your feet, where you stand, growing and growing down
  • Spread your arms up and out toward the sky, feel your arms turn into branches growing up and out.
  • Feel your head growing and moving toward the cosmos.
  • Now see if you can feel your heart beating...beating... beating
  • Close your eyes if they are not already closed and listen... listen...listen
  • What do you hear?
  • Take note
  • Then ask yourself, “What is still here?”
  • Listen...take note
  • Don't interpret yet, just observe
  • When you feel complete with this listening, bring your arms back down and move them as your arms
  • Move your feet and legs, feel yourself fully as you again
  • Thank the tree
  • Now spend a few moments in silence and ponder what you heard and what it might mean to you as an answer to the question, what is still here?
  • You may want to write or draw the wisdom you receive

Evergreen Tree Infused Oil

Another way to connect with the energy and magic of the trees is to create herbal concoction from them. I have made infused oils with Douglas fir, Western Red Cedar Western Hemlock and Western White Pine.

(I have heard that Spruce infused oil is a bit harsh, so experiment wisely with these creations.) Not only do these oils help to heal minor wounds and rid our bodies of things like athletes foot, they are

also nourishing for the nervous system. Experiment with this; try a spinal column massage or a head and foot massage.

Here's how to make tree infused oils:

  • Adventure out to your local park or woods. Often the best time to do this is after one of those winter windstorms.
  • Look for fallen branche
  • Pick the ones that have fallen recently. You can tell this by their vibrancy.
  • Gather a few branches.
  • Thank the tree for her gifts.
  • Bring these home and lay them to dry a bit. (You don't want to have any moisture on them.)
  • Now, fill a glass jar with the branches, chopping them if they won't fit in the jar.
  • Pour olive oil over this until it covers the branches and is close to the top of the jar.
  • Let this sit in a cool dark place for six weeks
  • Strain this oil through a sieve with a cloth draped over it.
  • Now, pour this wonderfully aromatic oil into a beautiful glass bottle.
  • Pamper yourself with it.
  • May you turn to greet a world of peace and prosperity!

    May the tall trees protect and guide you!

    May it be in Beauty.


Crow's Daughter

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