A deep intimacy has been cultivated with the land and the plants here at our farm through my relationship with the roses. Through a daily practice of listening, breathing, and the exchange of wisdom teachings, the roses, the trees and the plants have shaped and expanded the ground of connection here. It is not only I that has been in communion with the land. Apprentices and students have spent many hours listening and sharing the wisdom received. Now I notice that from these continuous practices, the wisdom given is becoming deeper and stronger and the healing offered is immense.
Recently during our apprentice weekend, we spent some time down in our very large thicket of roses. The wild rose hips are now vibrantly red and ripe. The assignment was simple. Go down to the wild roses and breathe with them. Breathe in, imagining that the breath that is filling your lungs is the oxygen provided by the roses and when you breathe out, give your breath away to the roses in exchange. Do this for 21 breaths and have the intention of connection with an ancestor.
What was heard and felt? The plants are our ancestors. Ancestry is the language of nature..and so much more. The way I felt as I listened to the sharing was that this deep wisdom being shared is healing us.
I began many, many years ago to harvest the wild rose hips from around Western Washington in the Autumn time. I knew about their vitamin C content and that it is enriched with the cold weather. As I continued my connection, listening, breathing and harvesting, I became aware that the red rose hips connected me with womb space and the deep dark medicine of female power. To stand before the roses, breathing in the red of the hips, breathing into my womb. This simple act…
Through experience with rose medicine, I learned that she shifts our perspective toward healing in a most subtle and mystical way. Rose is said to be anti-viral. But through my experience with it, I wonder about its affect on colds and flu…because it is not anti anything.
I have learned over the years that rose hips support the health of the kidneys. (The place where chi originates.) And that the pectin in the rose hips supports healthy digestion.
I have become aware of an idea called Ancestral Chi. I have searched for information about it in the ordinary realms but found very little. My journeys and shamanic teachers have been quite forthcoming about what this may be. Ancestral chi is raw wisdom, the song of the heart and then the expressions of the heart, a voiceless voice that words grow out of. It is universal energy. And somehow it connects us with our lineage, this lineage which expresses itself in a nonlinear way.
And so this year as the season of autumn expresses itself and the time of Samhain/Halloween is near, I am seeing a more expanded version of the story that the veil between the worlds of living and nonliving, of visible and invisible is thinning. With these teachings, I sense a profound opportunity to tune into a deeper, richer experience of life.
Harvesting, Preparing and Utilizing Wild Rose Hips:
In my practice of the wise woman tradition of healing, I have learned that by receiving the nourishment that the plants offer us, we also take in their wisdom. Not only do we receive all the nutrients and healing capacities of the plants, we also receive an understanding of the plants. This is the wholeness of what the plants offer and this is what brings healing.
This year I am making many different herbal preparations from wild rose hips. Today I made wild rose hips herbal vinegar, wild rose hips oxymel, wild rose hips elixir and I am cooking up some fresh wild rose hips on the stove to make the wild rose hips syrup. Soon, I will also make wild rose hips infused oil.
Here is a brief guide, for you, for things you can make. Don’t be afraid to try your ideas. Wild Rose hips are gentle and so you really cannot fail.
Wild Rose Hips-Nourishing Herbal Vinegar
This is very simple to make. Fill a jar about 1/2 full with ripe, red, wild rose hips. Pour apple cider vinegar over this to the top. Put a lid on it, a plastic lid is best as the vinegar can rust the metal cap. Label it with name and date. Store in a place away from light. Wait six weeks and strain the vinegar through a strainer with a cloth. You will have a vibrant, mineral-rich vinegar for salads and greens.
Wild Rose Hips-Nourishing Herbal Infusion
Gather the wild, red rose hips when they are ripe and dry them. If you have a nice warm place away from light, you can dry them on a flat basket. I have also dehydrated them when I had a lot. When they are thoroughly dry, which take a while, boil them up in water for a good long time. The recipe is one ounce of dry herb per quart of boiling water. You can eyeball this if you don’t have a scale. You just want a lot of herb in your water. Drink this for a refreshing and somewhat sweet and somewhat sour taste. This is quite an exquisite infusion. It is much different tasting than the organic rose hips you can purchase.
Wild Rose Hips Oxymel
Fill a jar about 1/2 full with wild red rose hips. Pour raw honey over this and then add apple cider vinegar. You can experiment with what proportions of each you like. I like it sweeter, others may like it more vinegary. Put a lid on it and label with name and date and store for at least six weeks away from light. I like to shake this a lot to keep the vinegar and honey mixed together.
Wild Rose Hips Elixir
This you make the same way as the oxymel, but instead of the vinegar you add 100 proof vodka. Follow the recipe above.
Wild Rose Hips ~ Herbal Infused Oil
I tried to make a cold infused oil with rose hips and it went off. But I met a wonderful woman at an herbal conference that taught me how to make it by heating it. Put the wild red rose hips in olive oil in a pan that you can put in the over with a lid. You want the over to be hot, but not too hot so it changes the consistency. Also, oil will catch on fire if it get too hot. I let this simmer in the over for a good eight hours. Then I cool it. I then do this again. After that I let it sit on my counter for a week or so and then strain it. This oil is deeply healing for the skin and smells divine.
Wild Rose Hip Syrup
This year is my first time making this. I am right now simmering the ripe red wild rose hips. I am going to do this for a good long time. Then I will cool it down and I will strain it. And I think I am going to cook it down a bit more to make a very strong decoction. And then I will add a lot of honey. I have been told that the honey will preserve it. If you don’t use enough honey, it will go off.
What else can you make?
May it be in Beauty.