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  • Wednesday, May 19, 2021 4:42 PM | Anonymous

    A Droplet of Peace
    by Catherine Bastedo
     

    Early this morning as the sun rises to a new day, it shines upon thousands of sparkling droplets decorating the blades of wild timothy grass on the high rocky point by the lake. After intermittent rain all day yesterday, I welcome the sun and these marvellous droplets, each one clear and beautiful, a sparkling diamond that slowly lengthens and spreads as the sun warms each blade.

     

    Droplets also sit upon the leaves of the old roses in the little rock garden; the larger ones, round globules in the centre of the leaf; the smaller ones, tiny beads that cling to the serrated edges. I keep my eye on one, hoping to catch the moment when this large drop will be warmed enough to lose its shape, spread upon the leaf and evaporate. Why does it seem that I have never done this before, never taken the time to really see the perfection before me?

     

    A woodpecker drums on the far shore and time stands still for a brief moment, encouraging me to find my true centre of peace, the drop of perfection that sustains and nourishes me. A beaver swims quietly in front of me, the v-shaped ripples on the mirror-calm surface moving farther and farther away. And my raindrop, the one I have singled out, is holding its own, while others have disappeared like magic.

     

    I decide to continue my watch…but am distracted by a shrill bird call and leave to determine the source of this odd sound. The cry draws me to the water and then into the woods, but I cannot locate the caller. When I come back, my drop—I feel some connection with this drop of water now—is still there, one of the few.

     

    As the day warms up, the dragonflies come out to feast, dozens of them above me, their flight patterns crisscrossing and their wings shimmering. Then I hear the unusual bird again and I wander off as before. How easily I am distracted from my moment of concentration. I hear large wings landing on the water and decide that the bird must have been a wood duck.

     

    Back to my scrutiny—I sit still on the ground, my knees raised. My drop of water lies perfectly on the rose leaf and I wish it would stay there always.

    A song sparrow trills, unseen; the phoebe who has made her nest in our veranda alights on a branch of a white pine near by, preening her feathers, unaware that I am spying on her morning ablutions. She reminds me to return to my own inner cleansing, and the loon’s lonely call adds weight to this thought. So I try harder to focus my being, and I seek this little globe of perfection inside me that nourishes me. I can almost feel it now, a sense of peace and calm in my heart that I would like to last forever.

     

    The shimmering drop appears to change shape ever so slightly, and as I watch, the little chipmunk that lives nearby runs beneath my raised knees, stops briefly under my legs where I cannot see him, and then hurries on his way. I am honoured that this little creature has come so close. Perhaps I have truly reached a still point.

     

    And the drop remains—one of the very few intact. It seems to be sending me a message that the centre of peace I found this morning will not disappear as quickly as I had thought. I can hold onto it persistently when I must leave and be surrounded by other people, activities, jarring sounds, and city air. But the rustle of the pines, the scent of the moss heating on the rocks, the trilling notes of the Song Sparrow, and especially this perfect centre of peace, will stay with me.

     

    The droplet of peace says to me, “I will be there as long as you are, as long as you seek me.”

     

     

  • Wednesday, May 05, 2021 5:01 PM | Anonymous

    Wild Green Wild
    by Mary Lane
    author, "Divine Nourishment, A Woman’s Sacred Journey with Food.”



    Once a dear friend and I were the only humans living on the peak of a certain mountain in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. Our neighbors were the plants and animals on 250 acres, sprawling in every direction. JULIE FAIN ART I spent most of my time wandering around every rock, creek and path as far as I could travel by foot. The mountain became my mother, friend and teacher. She nourished me on many levels.

    Every spring the mountain woke from her winter slumber, slowly at first, a stretch, a yawn, a warm day followed by a week of snow. Then another warm day. Eventually the snow ceased and the warmth increased. The mountain vibrated with awakening energy rising from her depths.

    Within a matter of weeks, she went from deep sleep to ecstatic expression of brilliant color, bursting with flaming orange and yellow azaleas, pink mountain laurel, sassafras, dogwood and redbud blossoms. Suddenly, young violets covered the ground, their new light-green foliage sprinkled with small lavender blossoms. The bears, mountain lions, snakes and cardinals became visible once again and reclaimed their grocery store.

    I gathered the precious leaves of the young violets and blossoms for my wild, green salads. I combined them with tender dandelion leaves, cochani, purslane, chickweed and the watercress growing by the streams. These wild greens vibrated with the energy—the same spring energy that was surging through me and the mountain, a force of creation and self-expression that didn’t know the meaning of holding back.

    The mountain wore her brilliantly colored spring blossoms like a maiden on fire with desire. Her ecstatic presence permeated with scents, beauty, nourishment, wisdom and creative energy.

    The spring wind picked up and caressed me gently as it brushed across my cheeks, my body, awakening every cell to the energy of new life, pulsing with potential, asking to create a new beginning.

    The wind knew when to gently waft across my skin to get my attention. At times it ravaged me like a forgotten lover reclaiming its place. My hair blew, my eyes watered, and I, too, awoke with desire from a long sleep.

    If I hadn't aligned with the previous season, making my peace with the stillness of winter, then this rising life force demanding to be expressed would turn to frustration and anger. The touch of my breezy lover irritated and annoyed me. I hid inside to get away from him. The fluttering leaves in the trees and plants no longer sounded like music. They became mere noise that I wanted to shut out.

    Spring's life-force energy had been freed, stirred up and ignited. Now it was available to support me in expressing myself more fully during the new year’s cycle. But I had to be prepared to use the natural energy of spring. This is what I learned from that mountain in North Carolina.

    Now I support my annual journey by staying in alignment with this energy. When the earth itself is waking, I focus on spring foods and preparations. They will support me to come out, be seen, get active and dance with the world around me with passion, enthusiasm and joy.

    As the energy awakens and moves upward and through my body, it can be thwarted. Bringing the young spring greens into my diet will nourish my liver and blood. I do this to help the rising life-force energy move freely forward and upward into an expression of who I have become. Tossed with a little lemon juice, these young greens enable my body to rid itself of physical and emotional toxins.

    Spring is the perfect time of the year to drink a daily tea made of dried dandelion and nettle leaves. These herbs give our body added support for cleansing, building the blood and keeping the energy moving.

    Spring is also the best time to enjoy raw or barely cooked vegetables. Quick stir-frying or light-steaming of seasonal vegetables, nourish our energy, moving it closer to the surface of the body when we are more active and outward.

    I eat young greens raw or slightly cooked, tossed with fresh lemon juice and a touch of olive oil with a variety of fresh herbs—a delicious and simple way to enjoy these seasonal foods. Add a variety of young sprouts, such as alfalfa or radish. They align us with the energy of new beginnings. When I’m in sync with this season, I don’t hold back or apologize for who I am any more than my beloved mountain. But I need to get in sync or I feel like a forgotten potted plant left to die of thirst in a dark corner.

    Aligning with the energy of the spring season supports the blossoming of my heart and passion as I relate more to the world around me during the summer months. I continue to eat an abundance of greens to keep my rising energy flowing freely throughout the summer. I nourish my spirit with lover, friends, hikes, gatherings, dance and all my passions.

    The wisdom I gained in the stillness of the winter months prepared me for the rising joy in the spring and summer. As the summer months wane I begin my slow return to my inner world. In the early fall I am grateful for the wisdom that has been shared with me. I am ready to let go of what doesn’t support the deep joy when I honor and feel connected to all there is.

     

    Spring Green Tonic

    This is a good tonic that you can drink all through spring. Go out in nature and gather as much of the greens as possible. Not only is this a good liver tonic, but gathering wild greens out in nature gets you in touch with nature’s reflection of spring energy.

    2-3 handfuls mixed herbs: parsley, dandelion leaves, mint, chickweed, miner’s lettuce, nettles, plantain.
    1 TBS chopped fresh ginger
    2 cups freshly squeezed grapefruit juice.
    2 TBS fresh lemon juice.
    1-2 TBS honey
    2 cups water

    Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until leaves are liquefied. Allow to stand for an hour or more and strain. Discard the solids and drink the refreshing liquid.

    Mary Lane, author of Divine Nourishment, A Woman's Sacred Journey with Food. Through Mary’s 30 year career as a professional chef she awakened and deepened her understanding of the connection between food and nourishment, sustainability, the wisdom of nature, sexuality, and the Divine Feminine. She draws upon the wisdom of her own journey and weaves it with her expertise in the ancient Taoist 5 Element System of Nutrition, Plant Spirit Medicine, sacred sexuality, shadow work, wildcrafting, and professional training as a chef. She is dedicated to supporting women to transform the self rejection buried in the shadowy depths of our unconscious to self care, honor and love.

    Mary Lane is the author of the book:
    Divine Nourishment, A Woman’s Sacred Journey with Food.

  • Monday, May 03, 2021 9:25 PM | Anonymous

    Hysterectomy Hysteria: or .... How to hang onto your uterus

    by Carole Tashel, Clinical Herbalist




    Imagine you were unlucky enough to be a menopausal woman in the mid- to late-1800's, perhaps with irregular painful periods, hot flashes and a dash of depression. You most certainly would have been diagnosed with"hysteria," a catch-all diagnosis with a misconception at its foundation: that the uterus (Latin hystera) was the origin of women's physical maladies and psychological "neuroses."


    The cure, then, for this distress was hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus, cervix and ovaries). Perfected in the 1870s, hysterectomy was eagerly adopted by doctors as a quick fix for a variety of women's problems.


    If you think that modern doctors in the late 20th century would surely have jettisoned these old-fashioned misogynist ideas, you're wrong. At a 1971 meeting of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the prevailing attitude toward the uterus was summed up by Ralph W. White, MD: "It's a useless, bleeding, symptom-producing, potential cancer-bearing organ."


    But things are better now in the 21st century, right? Think again. Hysterectomy is still the second most commonly performed surgery in the US (after Cesarean section). The most frequent recipients are women just approaching menopause, age 40 to 44.


    In 1988, the American Medical Association got curious, did a study and found that about 50% of the 700,000 annual US hysterectomies were unnecessary. Perhaps more accurate than the AMA's conclusion, the experience of the Hysterectomy Education and Resource Services organization reveals a much more chilling reality: Of the 110,000 women HERS has counseled and referred to board-certified gynecologists for second opinions, 98% of them discovered they didn't need a hysterectomy after all! The lesson? Get a second opinion, and educate yourself about tests (like laparoscopy and ultrasound) that can determine whether you really need a hysterectomy.


    Is Your Doctor Your Advocate?


    Hysterectomy is not the simple, benign procedure many docs make it out to be. For too many women, hysterectomy is merely the beginning of a new set of problems. During surgery, ligaments and nerves are frequently damaged or severed, leading to problems such as constipation, urinary incontinence and disturbed sexual response.


    If you have fibroids (a common reason for hysterectomy) you may be able to have only the tumors removed. If you must have your entire uterus removed, find a doctor willing to preserve your cervix and ovaries. Cervix removal leaves some women with a shortened vagina resulting in painful intercourse for the rest of their lives. Few doctors know the important role the cervix plays in urinary, bowel and sexual function; older MDs have been trained to always remove it, which they do 98% of the time.


    And though women have less than a 1% chance of ovarian cancer, 60% of hysterectomies also remove the ovaries. Ovaries have an important function throughout a woman's entire life, producing androgens, affecting her sense of well-being, muscle strength and libido.


    Beware of doctors who press their ill-advised opinions on you and seem not to be your advocate.


    When one of my friends planned a necessary hysterectomy, her doctor recommended removal of her ovaries as well, because they were "just a cancer waiting to happen." (Are men encouraged to preemptively remove their prostates? I don't think so.) This is not my idea of prevention. And according to a 2003 survey of 700 gynecologists in the Washington, DC area, women are rarely or never counseled on the disadvantages of hysterectomy or their choice as to the extent of the surgery. This is not my idea of informed consent.


    Ending the Medical Nightmare

     

    There are some very good reasons to surrender your uterus to the knife: Invasive cancer, trauma or damage to the uterus, life-threatening bleeding or other long-standing conditions that interfere with quality of life. Otherwise, you have ample time to make a truly informed decision while exploring viable alternatives to relieve symptoms and/or correct your condition.


    Two major reasons doctors suggest hysterectomy are heavy or prolonged bleeding and fibroid tumors (which are often the cause of heavy bleeding). Abnormal bleeding is rarely caused by cancer, but it does happen, so it's imperative to get a medical diagnosis before trying natural alternatives. Uterine prolapse (descent of the uterus due to weakened support) is less common, but it is treatable by an ancient Maya uterine massage technique. See resources on arvigo massage.


    Bleeding is disruptive and can be pretty scary. Once you determine your bleeding is not life-threatening, work with a practitioner to identify appropriate remedies. Since many women have only a couple of episodes of abnormal bleeding while heading toward menopause, it's worth treating it naturally to avoid hysterectomy. Susun Weed puts it succinctly in her book Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way, "Menopausal flooding doesn't last forever; hysterectomy does."


    Natural treatments might focus on addressing the anemia, enhancing vitamin K production in the colon (helps clotting), increasing bioflavonoids to strengthen capillaries and balancing prostaglandins. Herbs can strengthen uterine walls, regulate hormones and check abnormal bleeding.
    Fibroids are firm, non-malignant uterine growths that occur in the majority of women over 40; most remain small and cause no problems. They develop in the context of high estrogen levels, then shrink after menopause as estrogen levels drop. Symptoms depend on the size and location of the fibroid. Natural therapies such as acupuncture, dietary changes, herbs, homeopathy and compresses can frequently stop fibroid growth and alleviate symptoms.


    Avoiding Unnecessary Hysterectomy


    It's important to deal with reproductive abnormalities early, before they turn into full-blown problems. If you have a small fibroid that's not causing any problems, it's possible you can shrink it. If your cycles are difficult or you have PMS, balance your hormones before things get worse. Watchful waiting is not the best choice.


    Reducing excess estrogen levels ("estrogen dominance") is a critical part of any attempt to avoid unnecessary hysterectomies, as well as other serious problems like cancer. Approaches are varied and surprisingly effective for many women.


    * If you are overweight, do something about it. Because fat cells convert other substances into estrogen, extra weight increases estrogen levels. Fibroids in obese women may not shrink after menopause. (What causes weight gain is a complicated topic, and beyond the scope of this article.)
    * Avoid foreign estrogens (xenoestrogens). Many chemicals, pesticides and pollutants double as strong estrogens in the body, skewing the balance. Hormones added to commercial meat, poultry and dairy are definitely unwanted.
    * Eating a variety of fresh, whole foods increases your intake of compounds with weak estrogen-like activity (phytoestrogens). These mitigate high estrogen levels. There are many herbal phytoestrogens as well.
    * Sometimes the problem isn't excess estrogen, but rather, a compromised ability to clear estrogen. Fiber can help (especially flax, rye, buckwheat, millet, oats and barley). Your liver changes estrogen into a harmless metabolite so it can be excreted. If you've had hepatitis or taken drugs, your liver needs extra support (options include Milk Thistle and increasing your intake of cabbage family vegetables).
    * Women with hormonal problems are often advised to reduce their intake of saturated fat from animal products. I have no proof, but I suspect the real reason some improve on this regimen is that they are not ingesting the xenoestrogens concentrated in the fats of commercially-raised animals.
    In order for doctors to realize that women's body parts are not dispensable, women will need to educate themselves, then share what they learn with their doctors. It wouldn't surprise me if proactive, menopausal Baby Boomers begin to reduce the number of unnecessary hysterectomies.
    ________________
    RESOURCES:
    Hysterectomy Education and Resource Services, www.hersfoundation.org, 888-750-4377. An independent, nonprofit, international women's health education organization.
    National Uterine Fibroids Foundation, www.nuff.org.

  • Tuesday, April 27, 2021 2:06 PM | Anonymous

    Spring Tonics
    By: Jessica Godino



    Spring has finally arrived, and you are enjoying a lovely walk along the creek. Suddenly, something stings your ankle! No, its not a wasp, its the stinging nettle plant, known to botanists as Urtica dioica. But before you curse this common weed, you should know that it is one of the most nutrient dense foods available. Nettle greens are a rich source of calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, cobalt, copper, potassium, trace minerals, chlorophyll, the B-complex vitamins, and more.

    Not only are the greens incredibly good for you, they are delicious too. I harvest the tender tops from the time they first appear in spring through mid-summer when they begin to set flowers. To avoid the sting, gloves are recommended! Luckily, they lose their sting when cooked. Cooking nettle greens is easy. Just substitute in any recipe that calls for spinach or other fresh greens. Or steam them for about ten minutes or until they are tender, and serve with a dash of tamari and vinegar. Save the broth, its yummy and filled with nutrients.

    If you choose to eat wild nettle greens, you'll benefit from the many medicinal properties of this amazing plant. Nettles are a tonic for the kidney, adrenal, and thyroid glands, so they can help increase and stabilize energy levels. Used regularly for several months, they can prevent hay fever and other allergies.

    Because of their dense concentration of minerals and amino acids, Nettles help to build healthy bones, hair, skin, and teeth, as well as being an excellent tonic for pregnant, lactating, and menopausal women.


    If you haven't been lucky enough to stumble on a patch of nettle this spring, don't worry, ­they're easy to find! This plant loves to grow in rich, moist soil. In Asheville I find them most often along the French Broad River and its tributaries. (UNCA has a great patch on campus.) Nettle looks like a big mint, although it is unrelated to that family. It is best identified by small stinging hairs covering the leaves and stem, opposed serrated leaves, and a deeply grooved stem. It also grows in patches(some rather large), so it is rare to find a single plant.

    While you're out foraging for your Nettles, you might find some Chickweed (Stellaria media). Like Nettles, Chickweed is an extremely common weed that comes out with the first warm weather. It is packed with nutrients, including significant amounts of calcium, iron, copper, magnesium, zinc, chlorophyll, protein, and vitamin A. It loves cool weather, so the best growing seasons for this plant are spring and fall, although I can usually find it all winter long! It retreats as soon as the heat of summer comes on. Anyone who has ever gardened has surely encountered chickweed. It is a low growing plant with small diamond shaped leaves. The flowers look like tiny white stars, with five deeply divided petals.

    It grows in a dense green mat. Long before the lettuce and spinach in the garden are ready to harvest, the Chickweed is full grown and begs to be eaten. My favorite way to prepare Chickweed is simple-make a salad! Eat it on its own, or combine with other greens. It is always a welcome burst of life after a long winter without fresh cut greens. The taste is sweet and mild, like lettuce. Chickweed stimulates and refreshes the lymphatic system, another good reason to eat lots of it after a sluggish winter.

    A springtime feast wouldn't be complete without Dandelion greens. Although in America the Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) has gotten a bad reputation, this isn't true everywhere. In France, beds of the prized bitter delicacy are planted right outside the kitchen of many homes. My Italian grandfather sent his five children out to pick dandelion greens as soon as they appeared in the spring. In America we rarely eat bitter foods, although sadly we are missing out on a secret many Europeans still know. Bitter foods tone and stimulate the entire digestive tract.

    Eating Dandelion greens, even just a few, with your meal will encourage your stomach to produce hydrochloric acid, your liver to produce enzymes, your gallbladder to produce bile, and your intestines to step up peristalsis. The whole digestive process is assisted, and as a result we are able to assimilate more nutrients from our food, and problems like gas and constipation are decreased. Dandy is a potent liver tonic and rejuvenator, prized as a spring tonic by many cultures. Several leaves a day will go far in helping you make a healthy transition into the springtime.

    Worth eating for their nutritional value alone, the greens are extraordinarily high in Vitamins A and C, potassium, and calcium. They are also high in iron, phosphorous, and the b-complex, as well as other trace minerals. Tasty both fresh and cooked, try adding a chopped handful to your salad and put some in with your other steamed greens. I like to cook them with sweet foods that help cut the bitterness, like onions, squash, and garlic. Surprisingly, without their telltale yellow flower dandelion plants can be hard to identify in early spring. The best key is that their toothed leaves have no hair at all, unlike their look alikes. And remember- the flowers are edible too!

    Celebrate the new season by going out to gather some wild foods. By eating what is abundantly offered from the Earth you will feel more connected to the place you live in. The deep nourishment in edible weeds will help you feel more alive and energetic. Best of all, you¹ll enjoy the delights of being outdoors among the wild plants.

    Recipe - Nettle Shitake Stir fry

    Ingredients: One bag fresh Nettle tops, half an onion, several handfuls fresh shitake mushrooms


    Directions: Sauté onion in olive oil until soft. add thinly sliced shitakes and sauté several minutes. add nettle greens, along with several dashes of tamari and a few tablespoons of water (just enough to keep it from scorching). simmer about 10 minutes.

  • Tuesday, April 27, 2021 12:25 PM | Anonymous
    Shamanic Midwifery Hands That Heal Birth
    by Jeannine Parvati Baker
    Part 2


    As a spiritual midwife, my primary responsibility is to empower the mother to give birth spontaneously. The tendency is to enroll in the cult of experts who say, "I know more about your body than you do." My responsibility as a healer is to return any projections of power upon me to the family I am serving. The truth is that I am not medically nor surgically skilled, ~ I cannot deliver a mother's baby for her. Rather, I remind the mother that she is the only one able to give birth (her other option is to be delivered) ~ and I support her every way I can. In this way I am able to respond to my original calling ~ to be the guardian at the gate.


    To aspiring healers who are called to attend childbirth, I advise the following; first, midwife, heal thyself, Next, do no harm. Remember your own birth and forgive any trespasses upon your soul. And always, listen to the still, small voice within ~ and the voices of countless mothers before who gave birth with dignity and as a natural expression of sexuality. Last, realize that mothers who give freebirth can connect with the Source of all creation and be the God-Us in action.

    It is an honor to see the original face of any new one. Each baby born holds the light very purely and as a spiritual midwife, I greet the new one with celebration and gratitude for the ordinary miracle of birth.

    Humility, patience, trust, integrity ~ these qualities are essential to a spiritual midwifery practice. I was called as a young woman myself, yet traditionally it is the grandmothers who are asked by Spirit to be midwives. Now that I am a grandmother, I see the wisdom in first being seasoned by life before answering the call. However, as a young midwife, I would take my children to births with me, considering this the best part of their home school experience.

    Therefore I encourage young midwives to be who we really are ~ if we have children, to give a living model to the families we serve by being real mothers and taking care of our own children. Hygieia College was founded, in part, to meet the needs of mothers desiring to increase the upward mobility of their minds as mothers. Our college holds all gatherings and workshops with children not only invited, but honored.

    At the edge of the millennium, more midwives are being ordained by the God-Us to heal birth without being indoctrinated nor controlled by medical licensure. In that one legal definition of a license is permission to do what society considers "dangerous or immoral, we are choosing to be midwives based on authentic need. Homebirth is not dangerous or immoral" ~ actually the converse is true ~ hospital birth is dangerous and immoral. The U.S. is 20th in the World Health Organization's statistics on perinatal mortality and morbidity. In other words, there are 20 other countries in the world where it is safer to give than birth than in an American hospital. The other countries with better statistics almost exclusively use midwives rather than doctors.

    But what about the "consumer" or "patient" ~ do they not need protection? Let me clarify that I am not suggesting a "buyer beware" attitude toward midwifery. If a midwife is capable, she will stay in practice. If a midwife is not serving her community, she will eventually not be asked to attend anymore. We do not need the State in our bedroom for indeed, birth is a woman's expression of sexuality ~ and in my practice, not under legal or medical jurisdiction.

    Traditionally midwives are the wise women, the herbalists and psychologists of their communities. They knew who was sleeping in whose lodge ~ and being attentive to the sexual dynamics of their communities, could facilitate the sexual energy of birth. A major eradication of wise women took place in the dark ages and most midwives were destroyed as "witches".

    It has taken a long time for a renaissance in birth to occur. Midwives today must be courageous to practice in our constrictive and litigatious climate. Sometimes the most courageous amongst us are targets of litigation. Midwives need the support of the entire healing community to face the challenges ahead.

    In 1986 I gave birth underwater to my last baby, Halley Sophia. As in our last three births, we hired no expert to attend "just in case". All my work is devoted to making every mother a midwife ~ so I practice what I preach. I live in a state where parents have the right to chose where and with whom they give birth so we broke no law. Yet, in my neighborhood there was an unease which, in my pregnant, intuitive condition, I sensed.

    I went to my neighbor's church on a fast and testimony meeting day and addressed the congregation all at once. I said, "I have prayed about this birth and have been told that being home is our sacred place. However I have one fear and that is, if something goes wrong in this birth, I'm concerned what you would think. So, I now ask that you pray for a perfect delivery at home."

    After the meeting, the very ones who had been in the most fear about our upcoming unattended birth, now were enrolled as allies for they soothed me with stories of their own relation's various births at home and promised to pray for us.

    With all these prayers, during Halleys ecstatic birth, I had a vision where I had eyes all over my body and could "see" multi-dimensionally. I realized that I was like the White Hole in astrophysics ~ that source point where something new comes into material existence, the opposite of a Black Hole. My uterus is the universe ~ I am the stargate.

    As mother, I am the means by which life creatively expresses itself and giving freebirth is akin to the origin of stars. In other words, I know how God-Us must've felt giving birth to the universe.

    How can my personal experiences in birth serve the world now? One idea of how evolution works, is the morphogenetic field theory of Rupert Sheldrake. It has been popularized by Ken Keyes in his book, THE HUNDREDTH MONKEY. What this idea states is that there are leaps of evolution for an entire species which occur simultaneously amongst all members regardless of geographic location. In regards to childbirth, I observe the phenomenon of morphic resonance in this way ~ more and more families are choosing to freebirth, all over the world.

    When a critical mass is reached of ecstatic rather than suffering birth, there just may be a leap of faith. All mothers may remember that we are co-creators of life and have totally within each of us the capacity to show the world what our love looks like in the form of a baby. Whenever I give a talk or workshop, I imagine that the one mother who is the "critical mass" for freebirth may be attending and inspired by my word medicine to reclaim birth.

    Indeed, each mother I speak with, in my mind, is the hundredth monkey, a change agent for evolution, as well as the God-Us incarnate. For as the canon of Hygieia College states, Healing One Mother is Healing the Earth. Blessed Be the Babies!!


    ~ Part 1 ~

  • Tuesday, April 20, 2021 10:38 AM | Anonymous

    Spring Tonics: a one-day workshop with Susun Weed at the Wise Woman Center
    by Wise Woman Karen Joy


    Memories from a previous workshop…


    Have any of you ever been to the WWC? It's a treat to see it in its many seasons. It's loaded with plants, wild and cultivated, dotting the forested and open land with rocks jutting up in between (the land used to be used as a stone quarry, I believe, many years ago). Goats roam free here -- mommas and many kids (papas? I don't know). There are also 2 geese -- Loverboy and Sweetheart. And two cats (that I saw) -- I think I remember them as mother and son. Of course there are also many other creatures happily living here.


    After parking with assistance and greeting from Susun and the two apprentices living there at the time (cars' tires kill the surface microorganisms living in the soil, we learned this weekend, as well as, of course, any plants. This is a place that values ALL the life there and doesn't accept its usual secondary status to vehicles -- so great importance is placed on driving and parking in designated areas.) . . . . after parking, we (I believe about 13 women, though men are welcomed at these) gathered at "the circle", where infusion awaited us. This day was oatstraw, yum!

    We spoke in turn with a talking stick, introducing ourselves, where we reside, and sometimes our reasons for coming and questions for the day. The talking stick allows us to share in our moment, uninterrupted, whatever we desire. Susun reminds us this need not be words, but can be a dance, music, song, or poem. This day, the first of the season, most of us seemed a bit shy, sharing "the facts". Two women brought their babies. One mother brought her mother. Having come long distances, some of these women stayed the weekend nearby and got to meet the night before at the moonlodge held every Friday before Susun's weekend one-day workshops. Susun seems to me to love to share her knowledge. All questions seem welcome and often come with detailed answers -- I believe I've heard "there are no stupid questions".


    We went out right away for a gentle walk in the woods (there are something like 45 acres to the Center) stopping often to visit a plant or tree, learning her beauties. One thing I remember from taking these classes two years ago is SOO much learning is offered. Though I think I absorb it all, I don't always remember it consciously. I could take the same class every year for ten years (and more) and get new and deeper understandings of what is presented to me. With that said, I will share with you some of what I remember.


    I remember visiting partridgeberry, or twin flower, getting close to the ground where she lives and seeing her leaves and red berries that have been there since last year. I saw how her berry had two flower ends explaining her second name.


    Anyone who has learned from Susun knows how she abounds with stories. This is probably one of the best ways I have encountered for remembering what I have learned, though sometimes they are just pure enjoyment. I heard of a girl who, after seeing all these red berries in a partridge belly, concluded these partridges "laid" them there all over the forest floor. Makes sense to me!


    Wintergreen, we were told, who also lies close to the ground and has similar looking red berries (at first glance anyway), tastes dramatically different. Its berries taste like wintergreen, while mitchella repens (partridge berry) has extremely tasteless berries.
    Though the specifics I can't remember, my largest impression of this plant is it is a wonderful ally for women! I also remember reading this in an article on Susun's website about fertility.


    Please don't take my lack of detailed knowledge as an indication of what's offered at the class. Some women chose to take notes and could probably recite many "facts" about this plant alone. I chose to learn differently. I listen and watch and feel and don't put much priority on memorization except when there is something specific I really want to know NOW.


    I prefer a feeling in my body that allows me to spot this plant when walking the woods and feel it as a woman's friend, rather than words without feeling. I know in time, as my learning works into deeper layers, this knowledge will come along with the feeling. So when a time comes that I am looking for a "woman's friend" I will research more of the details, and they will be familiar because I know that all I heard in this class and others lives in me. Can anyone else relate to the type of learning I am talking about?


    Okay, so back to our walk. We visited eastern hemlock (thuja?) and white pine, both predominant in our area. We tasted them. We experienced them as we chewed, encouraged by Susun to notice the sensations in our mouth. The hemlock, I noticed, made my mouth get wetter. It encourages mucus production, she shared, and mucous is good! Yes, it protects us, cushions us, it lines our sensitive skin. We want it. Perhaps, then, I thought, the mucous that accompanies a cold, isn't the "evil cold" itself, but our protection kicking in. And, perhaps, why steaming our face over a pot of hemlock needle brew, clears the stuck mucous isn't because it is "drying" (as my experience chewing it proved), but because it encourages the production of mucous, allowing it all to move!


    As we moved from plant to tree to plant, we heard of properties in plants and the best mediums to extract them in. All of this, of course, can be read in articles written by Susun and her books, and though this is wonderful knowledge, it cannot, for me, compare to the memory sensation that goes with the moment of hearing it from her.


    For example, I have read more than once before about extracting the oils in a plant with oil (olive oil). So though this is not new to hear, now I can know this with the taste of the oil from the hemlock needles I am chewing in my mouth, the sight of this tree's branches in front of me, the women I have just met all around me, and all the sights, sounds, and smells, that go along with a beautiful spring day in the woods.


    We were told how white pine carries five needles in a bunch, less common in a pine than three. Looking at the base of these needles we see white, hence its name, and I hear Susun say while counting on her 5 fingers W-H-I-T-E, five needles in a bundle!


    We look down the hill and around the corner from this pine and see big (for this time of year) green plants along the hillside. We curiously surround them, these leaves reminiscent in shape, color and size of lily bulbs I have been seeing lately emerge from the ground. What family does this remind you of? we are asked. Liliaceae, someone knows. What plants are in this family? we are also asked. People say what, if any, they know. Among the many pretty flowers common to spring, some mention onions, garlic, etc. We are encouraged by Susun to smell and taste a leaf that offers itself to us. Yum, onion! They are ramps.


    Before we head back for lunch (yes, we're not even half done with class!) we visit two more plants growing near each other at the bottom of the hill near wet land. They are wild chives and trout lily. We sit among them, taste them, and listen to Susun share much knowledge about them.


    We walk back to the deck we will be eating lunch on. Susun goes inside to heat the nettle soup she explains was prepared the night before so the nettles could infuse in the water overnight. The two apprentices took two groups of women who wanted to help collect wild greens to add to the salad. They were the tender tips of madder (gallium - related to the sweet woodruff that is often made into "may wine") and garlic mustard leaves pinched off where they meet the stem. Garlic mustard has a bit of bite like mustard, and a taste of garlic.


    The bell was rung, we sang a song, and we ate a feast of salad with wild greens and nettle soup. Water and infusion were provided to drink. So were condiments -- olive oil, salt, tamari, miso, gomasio, and a sampling of vinegars. Other than umeboshi vinegar the others were herbal ones made from plants we were introduced to this day. And I certainly can't forget the bread from freshly ground organic grains baked by one of the apprentices (I am so sorry I am not remembering their names right now).


    Organic butter was provided and was delicious!!!! cheeses made there from the goats' milk -- three kinds, garlic, aged and wild chives. I have to say such a simple sounding meal is heavenly (more accurately, earthly) and left me bored that night with my more complicated or empty feeling comfort foods like pasta. In fact, I went home that night and drank the nettle infusion I (thankfully) prepared that morning before class.


    After lunch we stayed nearer to the house and the gardens there fenced off from munching goats and such. There was sweet birch (which actually I think we visited before lunch). The description for this class mentioned we will "bite buds" which indeed we did -- sweet birch buds, yum! Wild root beer or sarsaparilla? We learned how her sap is flowing now and won't stop if tapped. We watched the drip drip of her yummy water from the thin branches where her buds were taken.


    We learned how to collect these thin branches (with scissors please for a clean cut), the length of a quart canning jar and a bundle that would fit in the circle made by connecting my thumb and longest finger. We could the put them in the jar and pour boiling water over them, cover and let infuse overnight. We could drink the mild brew in the morning, we could then pour more boiling water over the same branches and drink that night. The taste would be a little stronger!


    We could repeat this process with the same branches, day after day, with the taste getting stronger each time. At some point around the fourth day I think, is when I would stop drinking and start cleaning with the water! Susun says it is a wonderful degreaser. I think I remember her saying this could go on for about a month. How's that for a spring tonic?!


    A wonderful taste of a tree's spring sap in my water, then something to help my spring fever desire to clean out winter! My understanding from Susun was this is a wonderful spring tonic, though not something to use as one of our regular nourishing infusions. In fact, if we wanted, we could dump the first few days of brew to get to the cleaning water. I personally savor my spring cups of sweet birch water.


    We visited more plants and at this point I am confused which were on this day and which on the next. And since this is long enough, I will continue in my next post about the Sunday class "herbal medicine chest" which will probably come tomorrow!


    Thanks for listening! I hope you enjoyed my memory of this "spring tonics" class.

  • Tuesday, April 13, 2021 12:10 PM | Anonymous
    Aries New Moon Soul Reading (I Will Survive and Thrive)
    by Kathy Crabbe




    Spring has Sprung AND it’s the fiery, impulsive New Moon in ARIES on April 11.


    So, get ready to give yourself a soul reading by picking-a-card from one of my 4 hand painted oracle decks pictured above. The reveal is below. First, take a few relaxed breaths and then make a wish.

    By the way, both Spring and the New Moon are THE BEST TIME to set your intentions for the moonth (and the year) ahead. At the bottom of this post you’ll also find a 13 minute video filmed in an incredible succulent/cactus garden in bloom near my home in Temecula, California.

    “I Will Survive and Thrive” is the affirmation of the month so say it loud and say it proud.



    New Moon in Aries Soul Reading


    Card 1: Ande was ready for any adventure

    (Lefty Oracle Deck)




    Mantra: I am brave.
    Affirmation: I am ready for any adventure.
    Element: Fire

    Song
     I am strong, brave, and ready;
     a warrior in heart, mind and body.

    I am prepared, excited, and lucky;
     armed with knowledge,
     grounded and guided by intuition.
     
     Whatever happens
     I will survive AND thrive.
     I am blessed
     and oh, so grateful
     for being alive.

    If this card appears in a reading get ready for an adventure! It may be external or internal; in the mundane world or in the magical realms. You are prepared, your mind clear, and your heart steady. If you don’t yet know the destination or when you’ll arrive that is okay too. It will be revealed in time. Trust that you ARE on the right path and that you will be guided. Signposts will appear along the way. Trust is required as well as surrender. So be present and enjoy the journey.

    In my own life I have used this card to help a loved one pass over to the Other Side. She was adventurous so this card appealed to her and helped her trust the blessings of her final journey.

    Creative Journal Prompt
     Imagine that you’re heading out next week for the adventure of a lifetime; what will you pack? Describe.



    Card 2: Sagittarius Goddess (Goddess Zodiac Power Deck)



    Sagittarius Affirmations


        I stretch my horizons to envision the big big picture

        I see the glorious possibilities in everything

        I am free of all restrictions

        I inhale optimism, courage and speed

        I trust in life

        I am lucky

        My courage protects me and my sisters and brothers









    Card 3: Flying Fish (Elfin Ally Oracle Deck)



    Keyword: Free
     Meaning: Your heart is free to follow your delight.
     Reversed: Things are taking way too long and your patience is wearing thin.

    Affirmation: I am daring.
     Astrology: Cancer, Moon, Neptune, Pisces
     Element: Water

    Medicine: Your secrets reveal a way forward.

    Lore: On air or in water, she could swim with Flying Fish, her ally, by her side. Sunshine and blue depths healed her inside so that she could dream, dance, and splash her cares away.

    She was a dreamer AND a doer and Flying Fish led the way: to sunnier shores, where magic and lovers danced and swayed.



    Card 4: Cowslip Cat (Cat Herbal Oracle Deck)



    “My spirit opens, I am beloved.”

    Cowslip or ‘Fairy Cup’ is a favorite of old herbals and a plant of the working people dedicated to Freya. Helpful in banishing depression especially after the death of a loved one. Use in funereal wreaths and talismans to contact spirits. Also in Beltane love potions, for friendship, abundance, direction and finding hidden treasures.

    Astrology: Aries, Leo, Venus


    Deity: Freya


    Element: Water


    Healing: Nervous system, lungs






    Purchase Oracle Decks




    Kathy Crabbe has been an artist forever and a soul reader since awakening her intuitive gifts at age forty after five years painting with her non dominant left hand. This awoke her intuition in a big way. In 2008 she created a Lefty Oracle deck and started giving intuitive soul readings that have touched many lives in profound and playful ways. Kathy lives in sunny Southern California with her pet muses and architect husband in an adobe home they built themselves.

    Kathy’s art and writing has been published and shown throughout the world at museum shows, galleries, art fairs, magazines and books including the San Diego Women’s History Museum, We’Moon Datebook, and Sawdust Art Festival in Laguna Beach to name a few. She has self-published several books, zines, oracle decks and ecourses and maintains a regularly updated blog, etsy store and portfolio site. Kathy received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Queen’s University and a Graphic Design Diploma from St. Lawrence College, Kingston, Canada. She has been working as a professional artist since 1992. Kathy has been an educator and mentor at Laguna Outreach Community Artists, Mt. San Jacinto College, Wise Woman University, Inspire San Diego Studio, HGTV, Michelle Shocked’s International Women’s Day Show as well as teaching her own classes: “Awaken Your Divine Feminine Soul”, and New Moon Circles. She is a founding member of the Temecula Artist’s Circle, the Temecula Writer’s Café and the Riverside Art Museum’s Printmaker’s Network. Metaphysically speaking, Kathy has studied with Francesca De Grandis (Third Road Celtic Faerie Shamanism), Adam Higgs (psychic mediumship), Om, devotee of Sri Chinmoy (meditation), Atma Khalsa (yoga), Susun Weed (Green Witch Intensive), Joyce Fournier, RN (Therapeutic Touch), Steven Forrest & Jeffrey Wolf Green (astrology) and she received certification in crystal healing from Katrina Raphaell’s Crystal Academy.
    Learn more here.


    Kathy’s 4 week eClass “Awaken Your Divine Feminine Soul” is once again being offered at Wise Woman School so get ready to Moon Collage your heart out starting one week prior to the New Moon each month…more details here: eClass.


  • Tuesday, April 13, 2021 10:43 AM | Anonymous

    Shamanic Midwifery Hands That Heal Birth ~ Part 1
    by Jeannine Parvati Baker
    Author of Conscious Conception


    I am a spiritual midwife, called by the God-Us to heal the Earth by healing birth. I first heard my call to assist women becoming mothers, to realize birth as a spiritual as well as a natural rite-of-passage, by birthing my own babies consciously. My initiation in giving natural birth was in January of 1970. It was the first time an obstetrician had seen a woman squat on the delivery table to give birth. Postpartum, when I wouldn't be separated from my newborn Loi Caitlin (as they had no rooming-in arrangement), they put me back in the labor room with my baby. A laboring mother in the next bed was screaming, "Ah Dios, Dios!" How she suffered: My heart went out to her and I soothed her from my bed, my first experience as a spiritual midwife.


    About this time in my life, I began to teach childbirth education and prenatal yoga classes. My goal was to help more babies be born consciously ~thus, creating a sustainable future for my own child ~ and future grandchildren. I had a significant dream during these years. In my dream two brilliant white doves flew to me. I watched them land on my hands, and when they walked from my hands, now tingling with energy, up my arms, to my heart, I was filled with radiant light.


    I understood at that time that my hands and heart were agents of the healing light. It was awhile later that I met this archetype in the Greek myth of the two midwives who flew to the birth of the twins Artemis and Apollo in the form of doves. By then I was well known as the "baby lady" of my community and preparing for my next challenge in reclaiming birth.


    My second and third births were twins and when I was in the hospital, they x-rayed me and announced that my pelvis may be too small and I would need a cesarean section. I checked myself out of the hospital and went home to give ecstatic birth to my footling breech baby, Oceana Violet and her head first twin, Cheyenne Coral. From that point on, 1974, I have only birthed and midwifed at home. I clearly saw what a distraction hospitals can be when giving birth.


    After my third birth, I understood that I needn't hire anyone to be paranoid for me when laboring to bring forth my young. In 1975 I became a spiritual midwife whose main tools are my faith in the naturalness of birth, my healing hands and word medicine. My community made me a midwife by asking me to attend births. Rather than getting trained by an institution, and learning a medical set of rituals to take women through birth, I apprenticed directly to birth itself.


    My promise as spiritual midwife is to honor the journey, be attentive to what presents itself, and remind a mother by my presence that she already knows how to give birth. I trust that if a woman consciously conceives her baby without the help of experts, she is able to give birth unassisted by the medical experts. My "back-up is whatever God-Us is "on call" that night ~ in over a generation of attending births, every woman I have midwifed has given spontaneous birth.


    Once I was called to a birth and forgot to bring my birthing kit. Then I realised that I am my midwifery kit ~ I had my ears through which I could hear the baby's heart, I had my hands through which I could feel the baby, and I had my heart ~ which loves the baby earthside. After that experience in 1980, I founded HYGIEIA COLLEGE, a mystery school in womancraft and lay midwifery I teach the "inward skills" ~ how to cultivate intuition and know our embodied perception is the medicine bundle, or midwifery kit par excellence.


    From attending birth mindfully, I recognized that there is a lot of work to be done to heal fertility, specifically the abortion epidemic and on the other extreme, infertility. Women who had abortions as well as women who had difficulty conceiving, are more likely to have difficulties surrendering to the power of the birth-force.


    In 1986, my partner Frederick Baker and I published the tome CONSCIOUS CONCEPTION: ELEMENTAL JOURNEY THROUGH THE LABYRINTH OF SEXUALITY. In this book we articulate the practice of fertility awareness as an opportunity for Self-realization, in the specific focus of fertility. My work in spiritual midwifery includes conscious conception and I often connect with a family before they conceive their baby in capacity of midwife.


    What I notice is that a baby who is consciously conceived, who is desired by both mother and father, already has the foundation for health, wholeness and holiness in place. A baby who is not wanted, on the other hand, is spiritually handicapped in that their Source, the earthly mother and father, are disconnected. Children who are not wanted are more likely to be abused, and "act out" for negative attention ~ for it is better to be wanted by the police than not at all.


    According to research reports, babies who are born in violence (standard obstetrical management of birth in hospital) are more likely to be involved in violent crimes as youths and adults. (See the Jonn Vascocellos congressional report from California.) My work in conscious conception, toward making every baby a wanted baby (rather than a mistake in a contraceptive method), contributes to a more peaceful society.

     

    My firstborn son, and fourth baby, Gannon Hamilton, was our first freebirth. We didn't pay anyone to be responsible for our baby's birth and in 1980, my partner, the baby's father, and I experienced a most powerful spiritual initiation. There were no other adults present to distract us from the immense sexual bonding of the original lovers greeting their newborn together. The Holy Trinity has new meaning for us since Gannon's birth ~ Mother/Father/Baby. And we honored the Son as he is ~ already enlightened, whole, perfect. Needless to say, no circumcision.


    When I conceived and birthed my fifth baby, Quinn Ambriel, in 1985-86, I prepared for these experiences as a vision quest. I was given a vision which has sustained me spiritually ever since. When I ecstatically gave birth underwater to my fifth baby Quinn, I saw every mother on this earth giving birth with her lover between her legs ~ in a unique, and creative expression of love. No masked man, no paid paranoid in attendance ~ only the original lovers who first invited the new one to join them in holy family. I see this as central to what will bring peace and an authentic self-sufficiency to the world. Once parents birth their own babies, in a balanced partnership, they know they can also take care of this baby. The trust that is established in a freebirth, a delivery free of MANipulation and medical control, lasts a lifetime.


    The fear-based imprint of hospital birth is "the institution will take care of me". The consequence is socialized welfare ~ the institution of government taking care of our own responsibilities. Again the experience of being my own midwife has made me freer ever since and the sequel of homebirth naturally follows: natural healing at home (no pediatricians), home school (no teachers), and the living experience of spirit (no churches). We do not rely on institutions to mediate or make safe life for us. Birth is as safe as life gets.


  • Tuesday, April 06, 2021 8:45 PM | Anonymous

    Dandelion – A Spring Tradition
    by Linda Conroy

     

    “At least three green leaves a day for 30 days” I declared as I stood in the center of my overgrown “weedy” garden. I was planning to undertake a personal experiment. I was preparing to test the hypothesis of wild forgers, herbalists and the practices of traditional cultures around the globe. I wanted to know personally what would happen if I ate three dandelion leaves every day for thirty days.


    When I first met Dandelion as a food herb, I was not at all impressed with the biting taste of the leaves. When I talked with other people about this, I heard many anecdotes for disguising the bitter aspect of Dandelion. Everyone has a theory about the best time to pick the plant to avoid the strong flavor. Yet everything I read about Dandelion and my experience tell me that this is one of the most important nutritional attributes of this plant.

    After thirty days of deliberately ingesting the leaves I felt an affinity for them. I felt connected to the many cultures across the globe that ingest bitter greens on a daily basis. Many cultures ingest dandelion or other bitter greens in a salad or as an appetizer. This bitter aspect prepares the body for digestion.


    The wisdom of herbalists, foragers and indigenous people is well regarded. Dandelion and other bitter greens do assist digestion. Ingesting the leaves increases hydrochloric acid in the stomach, sends messages to the liver to prepare for digestion, increases the appetite and prepares the liver to break down fats. The more bitter the better for these functions!

    Personally, I began to desire the bitter greens once I had completed my experiment. My quest to embrace the bitter aspect of Dandelion was successful. I actually found myself looking for the larger leaves which people had cautioned me to stay away from because of the strong flavor. Inviting this bitter aspect into my diet has led to more than a decade long relationship with this important ally. It was one of many experiences that have inspired me to continue to expand my repertoire of wild foods.


    I add dandelion to salads, stir fry vegetables as well as soups and stews. I wilt her with organic bacon grease (she takes care of the fat). I infuse her in vinegar to put up for the winter months. I make Dandelion Flower Wine and Lacto-fermented soda. I make pesto from her leaves. I roast her roots; pickle her buds and much more.


    As if improving digestion is not enough, ingesting Dandelion helps support the body in many other ways. Dandelion is high in carotenes, vitamin C, potassium, calcium. Iron, B vitamins, and protein. Dandelion increases circulation and fluid waste elimination in the body, without depleting the body of important nutrients. The flowers have pain-relieving qualities, and the sap is a folk remedy for vanishing warts.


    At every stage of growth Dandelion offers the body dense nutrients while at the same time encouraging the absorption of those nutrients. As with many of the nutrient dense
    herbs dandelion can be ingested lavishly throughout the lifespan with nothing but
    beneficial effects!


    Today, gardeners and farmers are often quite surprised that people eat dandelion. One of my gardening neighbors was no exception. When I asked if I could have the dandelions she was “weeding” from her garden she asked what I would do with them. When I told her that I planned to eat them she suggested that sending them through the digestive system would be the ultimate revenge.


    The following Dandelion song calls for more of this important food source. I learned this song from a grade schoolteacher who attended one of our wild eats dinner a few years ago. She learned it from her students. This song is sung in praise of this seemingly abundant plant. It has become one of the popular blessing songs for our spring meals. Children are so wise!!

    Dandy, Dandy, Dandy, Dandy, Dandelion.
    There’s something pretty Dandy about you.
    Doodly Doodly Doo
    Dandy, Dandy, Dandy, Dandy, Dandelion,
    I wish there were more of you!

    Linda Conroy is a bioregional, wise woman herbalist, educator,wildcrafter, permaculturist and an advocate for women's health.

    She is the proprietress of Moonwise Herbs and the founder of Wild Eats: a movement to encourage people and communities to incorporate whole and wild food into their daily lives. She is passionate about women's health and has been working with women for over 20 years in a wide variety of settings.

    Linda is a student of nonviolent communication and she has a masters degree in Social Work as well as Law and Social Policy. Linda has been offering hands on herbal programs and food education classes for well over a decade.

    She has completed two herbal apprenticeship programs, one of which was with Susun Weed at the Wise Woman Center and she has a certificate in Permaculture Design.

    Linda is a curious woman whose primary teachers are the plants; they never cease to instill a sense of awe and amazement.

    Her poetic friend Julene Tripp Weaver, eloquently describes Linda when she writes, "She listens to the bees, takes tips from the moon, and follows her heart."

    Listen to a thirty minute interview with mentor Linda Conroy

     

    Study with Linda Conroy from Home

    ~Empower Yourself with Herbal Medicine Making~
    ( Link to detailed description of Empower Yourself with Herbal Medicine Making )

    The goal of the course is to have participants become familiar with herbal medicine, to become comfortable incorporating herbs into daily life and to gain hands on experience making simple remedies at home.
  • Monday, April 05, 2021 4:55 PM | Anonymous
    The Heart of the Goddess
    by Hallie Iglehart Austen



    The Heart of the Goddess: Art, Myth and Meditations of the World’s Sacred Feminine — culled from cultures around the world — has the potential to change the dominant narrative about human nature and about women’s creativity, beauty, and power, to inspire and unite us, as well as future generations.

    The Heart of the Goddess empowers women and men to become more fully human. The values we attribute to the Feminine are human attributes and, by developing them, we can help heal global issues of poverty, violence and climate change.  Women and men are called to work together to dismantle the power-over patriarchal paradigm we live in towards one of partnership, justice and compassion.

    Images speak to our hearts and our guts, and can free our psyches if we carefully choose which images we surround ourselves with. This is a crucial time of transformation and we must ingest and share what nourishes all of us and helps us grow. A powerful way to counteract disempowering images is to look at art of the Sacred Feminine, which encourages reverence for life and awe at the mystery of creation.

    Though I use the word Goddess, the true nature of the Goddess is the Life Force. She is not simply a female version of an external remote deity—She is each of us and all of life—She is love combined with power—creating the potential for a more powerful love and a more loving power. The unity of birth, growth, death and rebirth are the basis of the Goddess’s teachings. She is creation, transformation and celebration.

    Part of the path involves bringing ourselves back into balance, reclaiming the lost feminine deep within ourselves and sharing that wisdom and power with the world. One of the best ways Hallie knows to do this is to contemplate gifts of art, myth and music, receiving messages from our global family—especially those who know the Sacred Feminine, along with the Divine Masculine, and see them all as human first. To become whole, we must shine light on and celebrate that which has been denied and suppressed.

    ********************************

    ********************************

    Hallie Iglehart Austen grew up on a farm and has lived close to the earth for most of her life. Her lifelong interest in goddesses began at the age of twelve when she started studying ancient Greek language and mythology at Bryn Mawr School. After graduating from Brown University, she drove from England to Nepal and back again over the course of a year. (Photo by Irene Young)

    This journey, described in her book, Womanspirit, led to her synthesis of spirituality and 
    feminism, which she first started teaching in 1974. She has led workshops, rituals and conferences at the University of California, United Nations International Women’s Conference, and Graduate Theological Union among others. She created Womanspirit Meditations and collected worldwide Goddess art, myth and meditations in her book, The Heart of the Goddess.

     
    In 2001, driven by her love of marine life, she co-founded Seaflow: Protect Our Living Oceans to educate people about the dangers of active sonars and other ocean noise to whales, dolphins and all sea life. Hallie continued her passion for sustainable living by building two model green homes, one in bamboo. In 2010, she initiated, All One Ocean: Cleaning Up the Oceans, One Beach at a Time.
     
    Hallie uses Austen as her last name, to honor her matrilineal heritage. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, and offers private consultation and classes.


    Register for her Teleseminar: The Role of Women & Sacred Feminine: Teleseminar 

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