Saturday, June 26, 2010

Infusion, decoction, tincture, salve...

For my Healing Spiral I am required to make at least one infusion, one decoction, one tincture and one salve. Here are the herbal medicines I've made and used on a regular basis to complete that requirement...

Infusions: red raspberry leaf, chamomile, peppermint, fennel seed, rose, feverfew

Decoctions: elderberries, ginger root, cinnamon bark

Salves: throat and chest balm with menthol, lip balms, arnica bruise balm

Tinctures: willow bark, hawthorn berry, dandelion, elderberry, feverfew

I have also made some capsule medicines with powdered cinnamon and ginko.

Picture, left to right: elderberry syrup from decoction, dried feverfew, chest and throat balm, red raspberry leaf, rose petals, hawthorn tincture, lavender buds, chamomile tea (infusion) and cinnamon capsules in the middle, along with one of my herbal healing books I used for this spiral.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Healing Herbs and Plants

Here is a list of the healing herbs I currently have growing in my garden.

Aloe Vera, Aronia, Artichoke, Basil, Bearberry, Borage, Calendula, Catnip, Cayenne, Dandelion, Echinacea, Elderberry, Feverfew, Flax, Garlic, Ginger (Galangal Root), Hops, Horsetail, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Meadowsweet, Parsley, Peppermint, Plantain, Raspberry, Rhubarb, Rose, Rosemary, Sage, Spearmint, Stevia, Thyme, Wild Cherry, and Yarrow.

Picture: a pot of wild (captured!) feverfew growing on my balcony. Feverfew grows wild here in spots, and this one was in danger of being mowed over this spring, so I moved it to a pot where it could finish its life cycle (and be harvested) in peace.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What My Garden Teaches Me

(This post is one of several I have written that attempts to explain what Druidry means to me, in a practical every day sense.)

My garden is my primary Druidry instructor. My garden brings the Universe down to a size that my feeble human mind can wrap itself around and understand. My garden lets me participate in the drama of birth and life and death in a way that draws me in and compels me to pay attention. My garden is a metaphor for me, for my life, and for my place in the universe.

This verse, adapted from a popular poem (Dorothy Frances Gurney) sums this up quite nicely for me.

"The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth...
One is nearer the divine in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth."

All of nature is my teacher. But in my garden, as with any personal relationship, the lessons I learn are more poignant and compelling because they take place closest to where I live, closest to my heart. So, what has my garden taught me over the years?

It's taught me that I am happiest when I have dirt under my fingernails.

It's taught me that you can wrestle with Mother Nature, but you can't truly "win." You may gain some mastery over her for a short time, but as the saying goes, "Nature always bats last." In the end, she will do as she always does - and that is as it should be.

It's taught me that working with Nature is far better than working against it.

It's taught me that the natural ways of soil and clean air and moist humus and warm sun make for happier plants and a healthier gardener.

It's taught me that no matter how small a space I may have, I will always be happiest sharing it with something else that is alive.

My garden has taught me that all life is intertwined and dependent. Human life is no exception to this rule.

It has taught me that even the humblest, most "desolate" place may hide some magic within - if you look for it.

It has taught me that the smell of green things growing is far better than any perfume.

It has also taught me my place. The garden feeds me. One day I will feed it. Life will go on, but in a different way, and that is also as it should be.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Healing Spiral - Recertified in Adult CPR

Just took the exam to re-certify (had the full classes a few years ago for Infant, Child and Adult CPR) in Adult CPR and passed - First Aid is next to go, then I'll be completely finished with this spiral!

Edited to add: First Aid exam taken and passed, too! All finished with this part of my Degree work!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Morning Sun Salutation

A short ritual to greet the day


One Druid
Clear glass chalice with water
One G2V class star (substitution allowed if not available from your location)


Get up early enough to watch the sun rise. Pick a spot with a clear view of the horizon.


Watch as the sun slowly moves from below the horizon and into view. Appreciate its beauty, and the light and warmth it gives. (If it is cloudy, imagine the sun shining beyond the clouds sending its light and warmth to the Earth.)

Salute the rising sun with your open palm facing outward and give thanks to the sun for its gifts – light, warmth, energy, just enough gravity to keep the earth from being flung out into darkest space... If the sun is not visible that morning imagine it where it should be and salute that spot in the sky.

Notice where on the horizon the sun has risen and make a mental note to notice the changes in its location as the year progresses.

Fill the glass or goblet with the cool water, and raise it in front of you as if toasting with it to the sun. Watch the sparkles of light from the new day dancing within the clear depths. Imagine the life giving energy of the sun flowing into the water and pooling there as liquid gold. Imagine the water becoming charged with this energy and life.

Drink the water meditatively. Savor the coolness of it as it travels down your throat and into your body. Feel the energy from it moving into your being, bringing with it health, vitality and life.

When finished, wash and dry and put away the goblet. Go about the rest of the day with a good attitude.

This is a good ritual to perform at least once a week, if not more often.

Desert in Bloom!

Today my husband and I went on an "explore" out into the desert north of here. We love to do this on occasion, and in the early summer is the best time, because 1) it isn't so danged hot, and 2) the snow has just melted and the flowers are often out.

Flowers in the desert are generally not very showy - but they can be quite fascinating. Today we saw some miniature monkey flowers (mimulus) that we've seen elsewhere in the Craters of the Moon ecoscape. These are tiny - and I do mean TINY - flowers that bloom in early summer between the time the snow melts and the time the temps get hot enough to bake the ground.

This tiny clump of three Monkeyflowers could be hidden from view with a silver dollar. Each of the plants within the clump could be covered up with a quarter. That is how small these are. It's amazing to see them all over the ground.

This photo covers an area just a bit wider than a foot or so. There are other flowers besides the mini-monkeyflowers there, but I haven't identified them yet. It's just amazing what treasures you can find if you look down while out on a walk!

This is one of the things I love most about Druidry - it not only encourages, but in a way it mandates that I take the time to enjoy even the small things one can find in nature. How many years of my life have I simply walked past tiny wonders without even taking the time to really appreciate them? How much of my life have I spent not ever bothering to lift my head up to the night sky and stand in amazement at the billions of worlds whirling around above my head?

I love most how this path has re-awakened my feeling of wonder.

Old Poetry Found Again

I wrote this a couple of years ago, but found it again just this past weekend while going through some of my files. Okay, I'm no bard, but it's a start.

Elemental Truths

The salt of all the primordial seas
is present still inside of me
The first waters that fell as rain
flow now eternally through my veins

The very earth upon which I stand
is one with the substance of my hands
My creative thoughts do ebb and flow
as air's gentle winds upon me blow

Sometimes I am fire, a formidable force
as tides of emotion through me course
Other times I am gentle as the starlit sky
to whose awesome beauty I raise humbled eyes

Of this holy Earth I am but a small part -
may its rhythms beat forever within my heart