Posts Tagged ‘herbs’

Medicine In Your Yard?

May 19, 2013

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It’s a little known fact that what grows in our yards is there to heal us. When I heard this for the first time, I was so excited that I scoured my yard for clues as to what herbs and weeds were showing up to help us, and could easily connect their healing properties to exactly what we needed.

Years ago we moved into an apartment house with a small hill in the back.  To my delight, the landlords didn’t use pesticides.  The hill was covered in plantain, a weed (herb) that most people try to get rid of to create an ultra uniform, grassy lawn.  The landlord’s child and my son were both suffering from different skin maladies at the time, and I knew that plantain was our ally.  Plantain knew it before I did because it was growing there in proliferation, ready to assist us.

I did what any shamanic plant medicine woman would do.  I gathered up my drum and sat with plantain and drummed.  Journeying with plantain gave me the instructions needed to create the perfect salve for healing the children’s skin afflictions.  With great respect and love, I picked the plantain leaves as directed, and created an infusion with oil from them.  Following the recipe given to me in my journey, I created a salve with the oil, some essential oils, beeswax from a local farm, and other healing ingredients.  This salve did the trick perfectly, and both children were relieved and healed.

Then someone at the local school got wind of my healing salve and asked me for a jar. She happened to have a daughter who suffered miserably with eczema that defied all medical treatments.  The salve I created was the one thing that healed her.  Go figure.

Such is the power of working with the earth, the plants and plant spirits, and the spirit world with respect and love.  A company could learn the chemical constituents of what was in that salve and copy the product, but I highly doubt it would be so effective.  When plants are measured down to their chemical properties and extracted into milligrams, they are no longer a whole unit.  They’re stripped of the full range of properties that make up the plant, and devoid of the plant spirit.  If the FDA insists on measuring quantity without individualized collaboration with the spirits of the plants, they will effectively strip away the essential nature of plant spirit medicine, and the profound healing that can take place. 

Years ago, my husband didn’t like the huge comfrey stalks what grew outside our basement door and mowed them down to the ground one day.  He didn’t understand my affection for all plants wild and unruly, and preferred a neat, uniform appearance.  Unfortunately, when he came home with broken ribs from a new karate class the next week, we had to call around to find friends with comfrey to make the poultices that relieved his pain and healed his ribs in record time. You see, comfrey knew before we did that my husband would need help and was graciously proliferating the back of the house.

 It’s possible for me to go to the doctor with an ailment and learn the diagnosis, come home and go out into my yard for clues as to what the deeper cause might be.  I’ve found strong connections between the dandelions and help with an immune system disorder. We have mint leaves along the whole side of the house that have celebrated summer picnics with us, healed tummy aches, and soothed headaches.  Nature has immense gifts and absolute magic awaiting us if we simply partner with her.

~Goddess Oceana

http://www.goddessoceana.com

http://www.facebook.com/goddessoceana

Menopause For The Clueless Like Me

June 30, 2012

Had to chime in on this one, gals.  If you look at the symptoms of menopause and bipolar disorder side by side, they are almost identical.  I was having memory loss, and tremendous mood swings two years ago.  First, I started seeing a therapist, thinking I was losing it.  After a few months, he confirmed that I was not in fact, mentally ill, but suggested I strive to slow down with the flood of topics I talked about in conversation because he felt I was a genius and that it might help people to catch up.  Thanks for the compliment, but now what?  He hadn’t helped me figure out the scourge of symptoms With which I’d had been afflicted.  (My conversations improved dramatically, however).

Upon seeing my gynecologist, I was relieved in a way to find out that I was in menopause, and received some excellent information about how to cope.  My gyno is a much older guy, and uses his well hidden intuition along with a stunning history of good medicine.  I love him because he isn’t afraid to tell me to use black cohosh for hot flashes, and he was the first doctor who didn’t have to look up a rare autoimmune issue I have when I became a new patient.  This is a rare find these days, so I’m keeping him.

Perimenopause leading into menopause is a process that can take ten years to traverse and possibly more.  I know, I was stunned when I first learned this tidbit.  It’s unreal, yes?  There are so many symptoms, and challenges that women have that they don’t realize are menopause related.  Facilitating a red tent for the last five years, I’ve learned a lot about this and encounter many women who are experiencing these things, some more than others, and some great insights into the various ways that women cope.

One of the things that’s helped me come to terms with menopause is slowing down a bit.  I haven’t been overloading my schedule as much and I’ve learned to take time out for myself.  Sleep is crucial, and yet I find myself up at 3 a.m., wide awake.  It can be maddening.  I’ve begun to make the best of it and embrace that time as my quiet time to catch up on a book, some writing, or take time to meditate.  It’s the perfect hushed atmosphere in which to contemplate and make peace with my past, and consider what’s next.

Some women recommend a year of going inward.  In our hectic lives with kids and careers, we don’t always have that prerogative, but in place of that we can take small self care breaks.  I wrote a whole article about this on my blog, inspired by something written by Clarissa Pinkola Estes about women and our bone deep need for recharging our souls.  Taking a year of solitude was an ancient practice.  I sure wish I had the luxury of going to a cabin by myself, turning inward and making peace with my life now that I’m 52 and the shift towards elder is taking place inside of me.  Meanwhile, since it’s not an option, I am finding bits of time to be alone, and as a homeschooling mom, this is quite a feat.

 What can we do to navigate this completely messy, unpredictable, confusingly unforewarned time of our lives?  Walking is good for us, taking high quality supplements, herbal and homeopathic remedies, rescue remedy for stressful situations, whatever stress relieving practices work for you…cutting out too much caffeine, times of solitude, and especially keeping a small notepad for notes.  A very dear friend almost a year ahead of me advised me to write everything down.  Everything.  Words disappear even as they are making their way to my tongue.  They mysteriously interchange, and sometimes I sound like I’m on a psychedelic drug trip as my memory, my intuition, and my inner work collide outwardly in a sentence that no one understands but me.  In fact, we are on a trip of huge proportions…a journey into holding our power as wiser elders, a pregnancy of a lifetime of wisdom giving birth to itself.  Menopause is the time to begin to learn to honor this body journey for real or else.

In Crones Don’t Whine, Jean Shinoda Bolen writes “Crones trust what they know in their bones.” They don’t bend the truth to please others, and they are far less influenced by the opinions of others than they were when young.”  This is common knowledge to many women my age.  With the onset of hormonal flux and deep transformation, we have little patience left for giving away the precious moments of our time left on earth.  Mortality kicks us in the teeth in the wee hours as some of us experience waking from sleep in full blown, bodily panic attacks.  We are slowly  shifting towards resting on the bleachers to watch with a wry smile as the younger crowd goes about their dramatic learnings.  We have some darn good wisdom when they come sauntering over, sweaty and exhausted, inquisitive, sometimes wounded and finally willing to listen.  The demands of those intent on swaying us into the next new thing, or giving us ultimatums on what they deem time-sensitive decisions is easily brushed off like a gnat as we solidly plant ourselves in our own good timing.

The conversations that show up in our faces when we’d rather be enjoying the scenery are more easily met with a simple, direct, honest request for some quiet.  We inadvertently offend those who don’t honor our truth, and in doing so we don’t waste time feeling guilty.  We’re glad to have weeded out who can stand in the face of our power and love us there.  After all, the ones left standing are the ones who will actually show up to lend a hand when we’re too decrepit to carry our own groceries someday soon enough.

Goddess Oceana

http://www.goddessoceana.com

http://www.menopausegoddessblog.com/

http://www.alisastarkweather.com

http://susunweed.com/

Women Who Run With The Wolves

Wisdom of Menopause


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