Monday, September 3, 2012

Sage Mountain: The Shaman’s Path, Women Shamanism, Spirituality and Healing Plants

Just came home from Sage Mountain Herbal Retreat Center in Vermont after a weekend of a great workshop called The Shaman's Path.  Workshop doesn't seem like a big enough word to describe the weekend however.  We learned with wonderful healers and shamans Rocio Alarcon, Susan Ross Grimaldi and Maria Elena Martinez, a collection of 40 amazing women and of course, Rosemary Gladstar.

The magic of Sage Mountain is difficult to put into words.  I hadn't been back for a couple years and needed to just ground to the earth there again.  I was able to work with yarrow as a power plant this visit, learned to drum a bit and challenged myself to participate in activities outside my personal comfort zone. 

And there was such laughter and good friends made.  It was a group of women in the best sense, which sometimes doesn't happen.  Strong, independent, open, honest, vulnerable, healing, sensitive, loving, giving, kind and searching - it was quite a group as we all shared and learned from each other.

I was enthralled with Susan Ross Grimaldi's work in Mongolia and China documenting and helping re-institute the ancient history of shamanism there (see more about Susan on her website  Her words on personal power touched deep inside and the responsibility that personal power invokes in the healing process.  And through her talk on Shaman Chants, finding my own personal song (thanks to my workshop partner and friend Linda helping with this), which we all have inside us, just waiting to get out.

Rocio Alarcon brought her work from Ecuador and the Amazon rain forest as well as the Basque country in Spain to work with us on spiritual cleansing and healing through water.  A very special evening healing water ceremony under the full moon in the clean, cold Vermont water on that magical piece of earth was transforming.   I was especially blessed to be Rocio's partner in this ceremony, an extra added bonus.

And as we talked about herbs used in the shamanic process and did energy healing with the plants, I'm forever amazed and grateful of the healing bounty that is all around us.  We asked for healing for women around the world who are suffering, oppressed, violated, and marginalized, sending the healing of the plants and recognizing the shaman in each of us in the process.   May we all be thankful for what we have and who we are, and use that in going out into the world to foster healing, kindness, peace and love.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Aack, It's a Groundhog!

I knew I was in trouble the other day when one of my big, beautiful but still green tomatoes was missing the whole side.  Someone took a bite right out of it hanging on the plant and left it there, half eaten.  Guess it wasn't ripe enough.

So as I'm eating lunch today looking out at the garden, 'Phil' goes lumbering across the garden, briefly looking at me sitting inside.  As I jump up and get my camera and sneak to see where he is going, he munches on some parsley and then strolls past the nasturium towards the gate.  In no hurry, but guess he wasn't too hungry because he didn't seem to eat anything else.  Here he is above, unfortunately the echninacea was in the way to get a good shot of his head, but that rolly polly body and bushy tail give it all away!

So if he's strolling around in the middle of the day, I know he has found my little garden and I have a battle on my hand.  Guess I know where the chard went.  I read "The $64 Tomato" a few summers ago and laughed outloud at the chapter about the groundhog, but I guess I'm not laughing now.

AAAHHH, so NOT want I want to deal with in the garden.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Garden in the Woods

Visited Garden in the Woods today in Framingham.   It's been too long since I've been there and it was beautiful as always.  I'm starting a new garden area at the end of the driveway and want it to look natural, like it would have come right of the woods.  I got some wonderful ideas, and plants.  Here are some highlights:

King Solomon Seal, Polygonatum biflorum, yes, much larger than the ones home in my garden.

Goldenseal, with the berries just starting to form in the crux of the leaf.  I love how it does this.  The garden had multiple areas in the woods with stands of goldseal, so nice to see this powerful plant thriving in such abudance.

Paris quadrifolia, I'm not at all familiar with this and loved the blue berry on the top.  Will need to look it up, anyone know this one?

The garden has a collection of pitcher plants, these in a little island in the pond were my favorites.

American Ginseng, Panax quinqufolia.  Another plant so nice to see thriving in our area.

I loved this view of the Mayapple, Podophyllum peltatum, showing the little fruits starting to form under the leaves.

Cool horsetail, not quite sure what species Equisetum but I asked at the info center and they said it was scouring rush.  Need to research, loved the colors.

Great St John's Wort, Hypericum ascyron.  I've never seen this large variety before, striking!
And there was so much more, a garden well worth visiting many times.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day Blooming

I've never seen Memorial Day weekend blooming like this at the store, and it is wonderful.  While we might typically have the chives blooming, they are almost past and I haven't even made any chive vinegar yet.  The sage is gloriously in full flower and the yarrow flower started opening yesterday, a full 3 to 4 weeks early.  The garden is just briming, not sure what will be left in a month or two, but maybe we'll get some second flushes of flowers this year. 

The garden is overtaken with feverfew this year also, which I love but enough already.  It is budded and ready to open soon, and as soon as it flowers it will get picked and dried and the plants removed to avoid a total feverfew garden next year.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tea Adventure

Visited the prettiest tea house yesterday for Ladies Lunch Out here in Florida.  The Glass Slipper Tea Cottage is in Fort Walton Beach, FL and absolutely charming.  The food is delicious, the teas (Harney & Sons) delicious and I had to smile when they brought out pots of Hot Cinnamon Spice tea, one of our bestsellers at the store.
 We all got to put on hats, and there was a tray of tea cups where we chose our own cup.  This display of tea pots from around the world was so pretty!  The food was wonderful with delicious scones, savories, and desserts served with clotted cream and lemon curd  They had a nice cookbook which of course I bought.

And I learned about cheese straws.  I was told in the South, every shower and event has cheese straws and they are delicious.  Got the recipe for that and will have to try it.

Here are the ladies, what a wonderful outing (I'm in the back on my toes, you can see my big beige hat just peeking through!).