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Christ plant

Planting flowers in the vegetable garden brings color and good cheer to all that green while we are waiting for the fruition of the harvest, and so with happy planning, I raised the multicolored nasturtiums from seed and waited with goodly anticipation for the bursting open of those flowers of red, orange and yellow.

Garden Nasturtium

They did magnificently, and grew with such vibrant largesse and color in a special patch in front of the bush bean bed. I don’t think there was ever such a beautiful display of their large rounded leaves and multi-colored blooms (both edible btw) in any of my former gardens.

One morning a friend stopped by to see how my garden was coming along and we walked through this particular fenced-in and highly organized cluster of beds. She was taken by the lushness and beauty of the nasturtium patch which was really quite stunning, delighting each of us…

When she left, I drove into town for a quick trip to the market, and upon returning, stepped into that vegetable garden to harvest some beans for lunch. And WHAT A SHOCK!!!!

A once- vibrant full bodied lush nasturtium plant in the center of that community lay flat on the ground, almost totally drained of life, surrounded by the rest of the nasturtiums in distress also though not quite as almost fatal as the center plant. “WHAT is happening???” I must have cried out in alarm as I rushed to the center plant, lifting its limp and floppy leaves to assess this disaster and search for the cause.

The cause was… the hatching of thousands of tiny black aphids on the underside of its once-sturdy leaves, sucking the life out of it and infesting more lightly the nasturtiums around it.

Dashing to the hose to spray off those little buggers, trying to rid the plant(s) of every last one, I gave it coos of consolation and encouragement. “Come now, you must come through this…we’ll make it all right”… and I headed out to the hardware store to purchase the soapy insect infestation wash, SAFER. Back home washing the plant, which in about 1/2 hours time, had once again become totally covered with more aphids, sucking away draining its life force. Another wash of this unfortunate nasturtium and it companions, this time with SAFER and water to cleanse the plant of these invaders.

This process continued for several days…and each time I went out there, my once most magnificent nasturtium plant..the largest and sturdiest of the group.. lay prone, flat and devastated with the continued hatching of these little black sucking pests, although the other nasturtiums began to be untouched.

Frustrated, with another cleansing of the hose…I talked to the plant…a pep talk of great energy..” Oh Dear! Please do not give up…come on, you can do it! Pull yourself up by the bootstraps…don’t let the buggers take you down….”

And then, right with the ears of my Heart, in the center of my chest, I “heard” these words:

                                           “I AM THE CHRIST PLANT”

To say that I was stunned by this communique is an understatement for really, my cheerleading was quite secular and not a prayer. But in a flash, I UNDERSTOOD the message.

The strongest, most vibrant plant in the center of the communal patch of nasturtiums had taken it upon itself, in nature, to become the sacrifice for the rest of the garden. It was the “Christ Plant”… the archetypal One who gives its life to save the others for the survival of Good. It was because of that plant that bore the intense onslaught of the aphid infestation that helped the other plants to escape relatively unscathed, and in good health.

I took great care with that plant after that, understanding something new about the mysterious workings of the garden and its inter-connected inhabitants beyond my usual knowing or bookish research. Eventually, the onslaught was over, the Christ Plant survived, never quite regaining its former unblemished beauty and the garden thrived.

It also made me think of heros and heroines in culture who in their strength of character, stand up for what is right in the midst of infestations of wrong-doing or cultural slides into wrong agendas and how often they run the risk of mockery, banishment or even danger and death. I think of goodly mothers and fathers who sacrifice much for their children and of good friends who accompany each other in times of trial.

I come to understand the bigger meaning of the archetypal  Christ Consciousness beyond religion and alive in the soul, the garden and the consciousness of the earth and its inhabitants.

*** This story is a true experience of the plant’s speaking. It took place a number of years ago, and so I have no pictures. I have substituted pictures instead from this year’s bean garden in which there is one plant in the center that looks terrible and is just not doing well, altho the plants on either side, just a little compromised, are doing well and fully productive. I have resisted the impulse to pull it out, entertaining the possibility of it being the Christ Plant, giving itself over to the infestation more fully allowing the other plants more health and resistance.

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Pearls Gardening


I am in and out of the house all day long as I come and go, checking out things in the garden to my endless amusement and delight.  Viewed with a quick passing glance, the scene appears static and frozen, like a snapshot capturing a still moment for all of eternity….but….

But what a false impression is THAT! The garden is dynamic and in motion each second and things are happening at an uproariously fast pace even tho we might not register it in the way we experience time as a human. Take the beanies for example.

I with a sense of fun and anticipation go out in the morning to collect some beans, eagerly parting leaves and looking for those that can be collected of the right size. I even wear my reading glasses so I can find them and not miss the ripe and ready ones for lunch or dinner. When I have collected ALL of them that I have discovered, they come in with me to add a tender crunch of green to my meal. (Did you ever notice that green beans from the garden taste every so much differently delicious that those beans you pick over and choose at the supermarket which often have an odd flavor and take FOREVER to cook to tenderness?)

I feel good to have harvested all that I found making a stimulus for more little white bean flowers and eventually new pods on those vines.

What a surprise though that same day when I go out in the evening at dusk to water the grow boxes, and check over the plants one more time…you know, just to see what’s happened during the day. SHOCKING to turn over the bean leaves just for a peek, or to survey their well-being, and find fully mature beans hidden from my morning’s careful foraging… how in the world had I missed these newly giant beans in the former harvest just half a day back?? I think they are having fun tricking me…

OBVIOUSLY, the vegetables are a playful species… loving to play hide and seek. I find myself laughing out loud… I’m game….!  :-)

I must admit that the plants and I have a very personal relationship, as if they were pets or even people. We do seem to play games together as I pay such close attention to their habit, synchronicities and unique ways and a kind of “communication” happens between us through imagination and observation. Like when after a day in bright direct sunlight, the cukes and tomato vines give up and droop almost flat to the ground, dehydrated and thirsty. The Greening Spirit, concerned,  immediately comes to the rescue to water the boxes and spray them with a fine cool-down mist setting with the hose as if I heard them gasping… “oh PLEASE…WATER!”

This same attention, awareness and sensitivity is also needed with the people and relationships in our lives…noticing who needs a little extra care, watering through compassion,  a hug, or listening when they are dry and flattened by life, acknowledging or cheerleading them on for their special appreciated talents or gifts..their “fruits”… and saying grace and thank you’s for their friendships and nourishments in our lives.

It’s all one thing, you know……..  :-)

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From Christine, the Greening Spirit

Pearls Gardening



Sunflowers and smiles  at Buttonwooods Farm in Griswold, Ct.

Sunflowers and smiles at Buttonwooods Farm in Griswold, Ct.

What is it about Sunflowers that makes us so smiley and happy? In a world full of bad news and upset on a daily basis, and the constant barrage of vapid or divisive media chit-chat we sometimes need to FLEE into our gardens, or garden centers or those wonderful land-trusts and farms offering creative Greening Spirit delight and refreshment.

Sunflowers speaking;

Sunflowers speaking; “Hello there, Humans! Lighten up!”

I have decided at a time of personal life challenges and change at this time to purposefully include happy “field trips” to places nearby that I have always meant to visit, but had not yet done so. Calling a friend who is always ready for a spur-of-the-moment adventure, we took off to join throngs of smiling people who were doing the same to visit Buttonwoods Farm during this two-week only sunflower festival.

Peekaboo You....Look this way! Down here!

Peekaboo You….Look this way! Down here!

Point and shoot digital cameras, cameras with BIG closeup lenses and busy cell-phone cameras were in everyone’s hands…stop, snap, stop, snap…taking home a sunflower picture if not a bouquet. My friend Margie had her little camera and focused on a happy sunflower being visited by a bee gathering its pollen.


The sun was bright, the path through the acres of Sunflowers was long but upon exiting there was a lovely hill and a big shading tree and cool breezes to stop and view the field from a higher vantage point and rest up before making the return trip…

Cool breezes on the hill up there

Cool breezes on the hill up there

People, young, old, of all shapes and sizes made the journey through the Sunflowers to be greeted and blessed by all that good cheer.

Never too old to greet the Sunflowers!

Never too old to greet the Sunflowers!

On the way out, we met a real Sunflower Smiley Face!


After our trek through the Sunflower Fields…back to my own neighborhood for Ice Cream across the way, sitting in the shade and enjoying every single lick on a warm day.

I didn’t bring a bouquet home with me from Buttonwoods.. I knew there were, on a much smaller scale, but still smiling, emergent sunflowers in my own garden…they are just beginning to open now as will add to the greening spirit joy and delight as I also daily prepare to release this home and venture into a new chapter.

I want to take these smiles with me wherever I go …..  :-)

My Garden, My Soul

My Garden, My Soul

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Yellow   ps. T’would make me smile if you leave a *like* if you did, share away or make a comment of your own! Are you smiling?

Soulfulness can infuse everything! Please visit my other blogs! They’re FUN!


In various herbal conferences I have attended, I was always intrigued when certain teachers and indigenous speakers would make references to hearing the plants sing, or receiving messages from them about how to use them for healing. As far as I knew in my long years of gardening it had never happened to me… at least not yet until one summer when I unexpectedly became a wandering minstrel gypsy with a performing Ecuadorean family of musicians as their co-ordinator, unintentionally (but rather cavalierly) abdicating my role as garden mistress. That was the summer I finally “heard” the plants…only it wasn’t a song…it was an indignant lecture and chiding.

Attentively planting and raising my heirloom vegetable plants from seed in early spring, I looked after each stage of their emergence and growth with great delight. Planting them in the rich prepared soil of the side garden, I looked forward to seeing them begin to take root and thought of how much fun it was going to be, as always, enjoying their delicious goodness in my kitchen and table during harvest.

But, after working as educational co-ordinator during the winter with this gifted family of musicians for school concerts, it was decided that I would accompany them on the road in summer for a variety of festivals. That meant that I would teach piano Tuesday through Thursday morning, and leave with them in the dark of night on Thursday, returning late Sunday night or Monday morning.

Obviously, my home and garden life was disturbed and disheveled as I came and went balancing my music teaching with on-the-road away adventures with the performers.

Late midsummer when the plants have set  their fruit and begin to offer their goodies harvest, I stood by the garden in a now-rare state of presence and mindfulness thinking to bring in some tomatoes or squash or beans or SOMETHING and was shocked at what I saw.

My originally carefully and lovingly planted veggies and herbs were…were…a mess or just plain dry and barren. Rich soil, good enough rain and moisture,  a wonderful contained spot, but the garden was now overgrown with tangled weeds around the plants that (WHO) seemed to be gasping for life. The WEEDS were doing GREAT! The poor vegetables…oh dear.

I had to admit that I had not had much time if any to tend them as I came in an out each week between my work at the piano and my work …and adventure…on the road. I stood there trying to analyze why the weeds looked so healthy and robust, and the vegetable plants that I had helped to initiate into this life experience where so…stunted and forlorn. I stood there really trying to figure this out logically….and then, all of a sudden…….  WHAM! 


In my mind’s eye an image came of its own accord of a Walt Disney-like cartoon plant… tall plant with leafy tendril-ed  arms, one of which was placed indignantly upon its stalky hip and I “heard” these extremely clear, stern and huffy words, not in my head, but somewhere in the middle of my the region of my heart:

“Wh-elll ! WE who are FOOD, are not like the others that grow in the forest on their own without help. If you say you are going to be here for us and are not, we are DISAPPOINTED!”

I was totally stunned. I had just been told off by a garden of Disappointed Vegetable plants. Yes, I had led them to believe we were going to do something grand together as we always had done in the past.. And then I took off for a summer adventure leaving them to fend for themselves in the heat, the winds, the bright hot sun, the sometimes rain and sometimes not, the encroaching tangle of strangle-weeds and vines.

They sure TOLD me what’s up and Truth isn’t always pretty….

All I can tell you is that this is not a made-up story. It REALLY happened and I have never forgotten it! Plants, like people who are family and friends, do count on us to be there when we say we will…and we hope for the same support in return. Sometimes we are better at it than at others times…life is so full of distractions and personal challenges that we get side-tracked as we try to personally stay upright.. But we are all in the garden together and interdependence often is the key to survival ( and pleasure) as we flow through the seasons of our lives.

Yes, the Plants DO speak to us when we stand still enough to listen. :-) AndI always do try to listen now. The kind that of listening that is centered in the Heart.

At a fair with Manuel of YARINA

At a fair with Manuel of YARINA

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From Christine, The Greening Spirit

School Concert with YARINA

School Concert with YARINA

On the Road with YARINA

On the Road with YARINA

At home with the Family Cachimuel (YARINA)

At home with the Family Cachimuel(YARINA)

Cukes Overboard! Escaping!

Cukes Overboard! Escaping!

You don’t have to go far from the garden to learn lessons about life, plants and people. For instance, Cukes have a mind of their own…being such a watery vegetable, their emotions are quite sensitive. If the environment of their daily life becomes too small and contained, or they have to partner up sharing space with others who have a different temperament (like Italian Frying Peppers), they can only put up with so much.

Cukes have the propensity to wander…and wander far, as well as have a rather secret life. That is, in search of emotional freedom and adventure, they travel by their vines right out of the box and across and around the green, yet sending out their fine tendrils to hold on to something steady and reliable…you know… that means anything in its path, to assure a modicum of security as they wander far…just in case.

Cukes on the move.... vines heading out!

Cukes on the move…. vines heading out!

Their “secret life” manifests in tossing themselves..the cuke itself…right out of the back of the box where they remain hidden from your eyes even though you thought you had spotted and collected every delicious one.

But NOOOoooooo…. out back over the fence behind the box or border, hiding in a mass of tangle of their leaves and vines are the BIG guys. Having “jumped ship” before you could shout…”Ahoy…Cuke overboard!” they live out that secret life of competing for the biggest and best of the group before in a slant of light, quite by accident…you..the Master Gardner…catch a glimpse of them and fight your way through the vines getting all prickled and itchy to round them up to accompany you for dinner.

Fighting your way through the viney jungle

Fighting your way through the viney jungle

…Which of course, they are happy to do. Vegetables know they are here to serve as food, and are happy to fulfill their mission being at table with us.

I often think how necessary it is for creative people to break “out of the box” of traditional culture and our home base as we mature when the familiar and static patterns become too routine, and too small or tight for exploration and self-expression. Sometime to grow into our bigger soul-selves we just do have to jump ship, go over the side into the wilds of life to find out who we are. It serves us well to send out kind tendrils of friendship and connection as we move about, even if we have to hide out back at times to do our creative work inspired by imagination and dreams.

Sometimes we just have to go rogue and become “cuke”.

But after a while, we must remember to come back to the table and share our goodness! Our crispness, moisture and stories…

ps. As writers, how do we know if you liked this if you don’t tell us! Please click *like* if you did, share away, or leave a comment and say hi!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Garden June Sacred Lots of inspiration on my other blogs! Come and visit!


Anyone who has attended an Herbal Internship knows this exercise of being sent out into the garden or fields to sit with a plant that “calls you” and just listen….. listen for a message about it or from it as an answer to a question. You most likely will NOT experience this kind of communication task at your  local gardening club monthly meeting, or the University course in landscaping and horticulture who are about things other than talking and listening to plants.

You have to hang out with the herbal people who tend to be more than a bit a-cultural or with fans of Findhorn!

Plantspeak 5

We have done this kind of communication with nature often here in my own garden whether it be with other plant people or with our Dreams/Peer Mentoring Circle and no one….NO ONE…ever comes back to the group without a special message or insight. But then again, these are the kind of whimsical, open and yes, magical, people I tend to hang with.

Plantspeak 3

I mention herbs first because they have such a long tradition of both medicine and magic which both push our boundaries to entertain unusual or unexpected sources of wisdom and guidance. They DO have a propensity for words sent directly to the human heart. But you can listen to flowers and vegetables too…perhaps the devas that represent them are the ones who speak, but if you LISTEN the way children…young ones under the age of six..would listen, you will be amazed.


It is good to take a notebook and write down the thoughts and inspirations as they come, for like a dream, they may fade as you come back into the mundane and ordinary mindset.

Plantspeak 2

It is always exciting and amusing to compare notes afterwards as it is quite fun and inspirational to share the magic, validating that there ARE worlds around us and within us besides the one we usually think of as the “real”. Share away and enjoy…but maybe not right away at “the office”.  :-)

Plant speak 7

I find that entering the “magical mind” is a wonderful way to balance those many other complicated issues we deal with in living our lives. Escaping into a good novel, or attending a wonderful play (Think “The Lion King”) or viewing an imaginative movie (Think “Avatar” or “Lord of the Rings”) we really enter various dreamworlds that are rich resources for creative thinking. Listening to the plants is a wonderful exercise of loving connection to that green world that indeed is our ground of being.

Highlighted in these pictures: Echinacea, lamb’s ears, milkweed, arugula, blackberry brambles, sweet pea and much more hidden in the green.

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From Christine, the Greening Spirit


You know, it’s all kind of magical! Check these out too!


For a number of years I taught a green internship called The Sacred Garden on herbal wisdom, natural foods and women’s spirituality. The yard and garden highlighted in this series was (and still is)  our classroom.

One meeting day, one of our lovely students came with a rolled up yoga mat, blankets and her usual bag of special necessities for all situations. She was very stressed out, dealing with several major life issues needing discernment and sorting. Life was chaotic with many competing voices demanding her attention.

What she desperately needed, she said, was to have a little time out from the group to think those things over. “Of course”, we said, and went into the material of the day, setting her free to be there but on her own.

Several hours later, during a break in our projects I noticed her car still here altho she seemed not to be. “Where is she?” I asked myself..with a little concern I might add.

Walking through the yard and edge of the bordering woods there was no sign of her. Not in the shed, or under the trees out back, or a bedroom in the house. Coming along the side of the back yard and behind the garden I wrote about in Part 11, between it and the sheltered thick hedgerow of the property’s boundary, I caught a flash of white low to the ground and deep into the green narrow hidden overgrown splinter of land.

And there she was, lying on her yoga mat, hat over her eyes, little camera in her hand, comfy blankets around her legs in the warmth of a bright sunbeam yet cushioned and sheltered by a carpet of overgrown green.

She had run away to think and balance and heal a tired soul. She had  run away to find her greening spirit. Which actually, she did.

I often find that when I too am burdened with concerns and decisions needing to be wisely made, that writing, dancing, playing music and “running away” into the green world and the rhythmic misty world by the sea lifts those burdens and brings clarity and calm. The music of wind and crickets and birdsong, and the coolness of “veriditas” in nature has such a loving Soul that longs to bonds directly with our own.

Maybe because it is that we and it are all one thing…… one Soul…

I have learned that seeking refuge by periodically “running away” into nature is absolutely necessary to keeping connected to that One Soul when we have wandered away.

I have also learned that by running away in this way, we actually come home…….

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From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Christine 3    More good stuff on my other blogs too!

Evolution 1

As I go through old photos, deciding what to keep and what to toss  preparing for an eventual  move from my present sanctuary of over twenty years, I am surprised over and over again at the way I have gardened for many a season.

I found this series of photos of the small vegetable/herb and flower garden I created quite a while back at the side of my house. That was “then”.  Now, many years later, this space is totally hidden by a hedge of brambles and wild rose… a “Secret Garden” perhaps to be re-discovered someday by the next owner.

These photos are memories of the evolution and organized planning of a beautiful “life” and garden within neat and safe boundaries. I am pleased that I have had the opportunity of creating such a planned and organized sanctuary for the sake of art, beauty, healing and refreshment. However, this is a different time of life for me at present…at least for now… and my garden and my life are more un-planned, un-contained, alternative, sometimes un-kempt in areas and certainly wilder in soul/spirit…

So here it its. Memories of the evolution of an orderly garden:

#1. The Beginning Idea

Evolution 1

#2. Boundaries Three

Boundaries Three

Boundaries Three

#3. Deciding where to put the rosebush

Deciding where to put a rosebush

Deciding where to put a rosebush

Evolution 4

Evolution 3

#4. Rosebush planted! Now on to the flowers/veggies and herbs

evolution planted copy

#5.  Chives and herbs along the sides

Evolution Success

The borders and familiar sanctuary of my life are breaking down at present and so the my garden/my soul of “today” looks quite different than it did up there when life was a little more stable and predictable.

Now my garden is in moveable grow boxes and the back and side yards are left to nature’s plans…un-mowed and seemingly un-kempt…  my Soul and future a personal field and meadow defying predictability, certainty and stability for a while.

Garen Lush July 5, 2015

Yarden mow (2)     Yarden mow   back











Wherever it is that I go you can be sure that it will have to be somewhere that, when I step out of an open door, I am in green space ready for the next garden. My Life, My Soul, My Gardens…we evolve together….

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Boots on the Ground





Please visit my other blogs that have evolved over the years with is never boring.









Piano Teach






Bean Baby
When I was a youngster, I received many a microscope kit for Christmas (by request) as well as girly things like dolls, and teeny bopper things like a transistor radio in pale blue.

I asked for microscope kits because from an early age, I was drawn to the wonders of nature and seeing the mysterious patterns and shapes in the tiniest unfoldings of plants, stones, and insects. I wanted to see them up close and personal, so my “natural science” tools were microscopes and slides, and magnifying glasses of various strengths.

Oh what amazing wonders I have seen up close and personal! Intimacy and deep-seeing have always enchanted and nourished me.

I, in this time of my life, sometimes still have a magnifying glass in the garden, but it is the camera that is my “microscope” today along with the photo editing programs that allow me to zero close into some captivating thing in the middle of a bigger territory, by cropping.

In the past week and up until yesterday, the bean plants in my garden were decorated with little white flowers. And then  *POP!*…. just this morning, there they all-of- a-sudden were…..silently (to my ears) bursting and pushing the flowers outwards…little beanie babies being born from somewhere in the center of that fading bloom.

Bean borning (3)

It’s not that I have nothing else to do in my life except to watch a baby bean be born. I teach piano, cook, prepare a variety of interesting courses on dreams or positive manifestation or inner peace at the University, lead groups, visit with friends and go dancing…naming just a few things. But…over and over again, I am called back out to the garden throughout the day and in my comings and goings, to stop and pay attention to some incredibly important,  awesome and powerful event….like a bean being born, a miniature eggplant crowning out of the green womb, or a calendula bud silently exploding open and orange into the sunlight. It’s very mysterious and very organic, this sprouting something new almost every minute. Ongoing change and transformation out there… something amazing is happening all day and all night long!

I think about my life and some significant challenges I am facing at the moment. Challenges of having to let go of my home and the garden of this series, challenges to maintaining the stability of familiar work and service, yet  transformational opportunities for teaching in new ways, and living inter-dependently rather than independently. Like a beanie baby, pushing out from the flower of familiarity and comfort and becoming something new-ish in the world and my way of moving through it.

The pfesity and prophetic priest, Matthew Fox once wrote somewhere in his book “Original Blessing” (and paraphrased here) that if all “holy books” were put on a shelf for a number of years and we went out to read nature instead, we would learn everything we need to know about living a wise and good life. A “Whole-y” life, I call it.

Beanie Babies Borning is my message and lesson for today. Got it!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Selfie  Some of the other things I spend my time on when not watching baby beans grow.  Please visit!

Kale with water droplet-look!

Kale with water droplet-look!

Yesterday morning when I went out to the garden very early, the whole front yard and plants were awash in brilliant blinding light. Everything shimmered with moisture and dew that was rapidly evaporating in the heat.

The morning light was behind the plants as the sun was coming up and everything was back-lit with halos and transparencies, not the best conditions for taking a picture.

Blinding Light

However, close up to each plant, there was light behind them and a radiance around their edges that revealed things not readily seen in other more mundane situations. Once again, I was grateful for this time in my life that allows a mindful presence before my day starts, grounding me in mystery with the opportunity for deep-seeing and new in-sights.

We live in a culture of speed touted as a virtue, and distraction, a tool for programmed consumerism…both of which are Soul-thiefs. We miss so much that is grounding and heavenly combined as we run (or are chased) through our lives pursuing a dream of what is supposedly important.. imposed by popular culture, not revealed by Presence to the miracles and messages all around us and within us.

Stepping out into the world, early morning, shocked into stillness by radiance..(it is said that to look upon the face of God or Angels is a blinding experience). Even squinting, Illumination can come out of awe and prayer. All of which can change our lives.

This was it. Were there Angels in my garden?

And…. can you find the water droplet in the kale leaf (?) not noticed until magnification and deep seeing.

There is ALWAYS more than initially meets the eye…….

With love from Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Light  My other blogs are full of illumination for body and spirit too!

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The first baby eggplant!

The first baby eggplant!

Those of us who are gardeners…especially of vegetables…get REAL excited at the rapid day-by-day emergence of something we will eventually eat! I am a grandmother, and I am astounded at the SPEED of the life cycle of my vegetable plants…. they grow up faster than my grandchildren, who are inches taller every time I visit! And so are my green garden beings who I tend each morning and evening…

Oooh! Hello baby tomatoes!

Oooh! Hello baby tomatoes!

I have so many pictures of my children and THEIR children (my grandchildren) from over the years, cherishing each phase of their lives from teeny newborn to …well… stem, leaf, flowers and fruits of their unfolding or yet-to -unfold lives. As they all live farther away from where I do, I think I have transferred my need for intimate familial relating and caretaking to my greening garden plant-children, delighting in and photographing every new stage of their becoming too.

Are you REALLY going to turn into a BEAN?? C'mon you can DO it!

Are you REALLY going to turn into a BEAN?? C’mon you can DO it!

Cheering my little grandsons on the soccer field and my granddaughter for her amazing artistic skill, and clapping at the discovery of the first cucumber hidden under their leafy vines seem to come from the same place of love and delight.

Oh you are such an adorable little cuke!

Oh you are such an adorable little cuke!

Some things grow faster and more directly from seed than others for instant gratification.. abundant, lush and up-front it is what it is even from an early age without the metamorphosis of one stage into another. Thank you, for the immediate and direct gift of nourishment while we wait for the unfolding of others. Sometimes we just need that nourishment without the “wait…”

Oh you are so gorgeous! Let's eat!  (Kale chips?  Sauteed Kale with olive oil,  garlic and onions?

Oh you are so gorgeous! Let’s eat! (Kale chips? Sauteed Kale with olive oil, garlic and onions?

All you at-home gardening kin out there…you are smiling with me, aren’t you? (listen to yourself the next time you go out to check your plants. I bet you talk out-loud to them…..  )

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

The Garden Guys (Grandsons planting stuff)

The Garden Guys (Grandsons planting stuff)

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TeaselHead 2015

It’s not just one garden ie the one I planned. There is another kind of garden around me…the one that comes of its own accord, the Wilds Garden, perhaps seeded by the Faeries who take delight in surprising us or bringing us and the land things we didn’t know we needed.

My Wilds Garden has plants that are not usually found in polite garden centers for “landscaping” and  perfectly weedless lawns. They ARE weeds, but weeds who bring special healing for body and for spirit. Weeds like poke, St. Johnswort, milkweed, blackberry brambles, mugwort, plantain and today’s subject…TEASEL.

This year, quite out of nowhere and suddenly, the Teasel Twins appeared on my lawn near the side un-mowed meadow.

Teasel Twins

Tall and stringy, they have been growing into maturity day by day, but not softening one bit in their sharp and spiny personalities, looking like some fierce ancient dragon plant. And in truth, their prickly “dragon” power may be wondrous medicine for some really challenging medical conditions. For me, I believe they appeared as Guardian Spirit Plants since I had been very concerned about ticks hindering my peace of mind in the garden having had Lyme Disease twice over the years. I had been fretting about that as I decided to once again grow and tend vegetables, herbs and flowers after three years of not being able to do so.

In colonial pre-technological days, teasel earned its common name as the prickly flower heads that were used to “tease” the nap up in cotton fabric. This commercial use was, in its time, useful although labor intensive. But teasel has a more healing mission most recently as an emergent protocol for several “modern” diseases afflicting thousands: Lyme Disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue. arthritis, and lupus. Two renowned herbalists whom I have had the opportunity to learn from at the Inernational Herbal Symposiums, Matthew Wood and Stephen Harrod Buhner, work experimentally and successfully with feisty Teasel in the management and healing of these often debilitating diseases.

For more helpful and inspiring information on this green ally that is making inroads in treatment for these contemporary illnesses, check out Matthew Woods’ excellent  book “The Book of Herbal Wisdom: Using Plants as Medicine”  which has a long in-depth section on Teasel and Lyme Disease.


For a wonderful all-round herbal guide check out also a delightful book that I found at the bargain table at Barnes and Noble but is a true gem: “Backyard Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies” by  accomplished herbalists.Julie and Mathew Seal. It also has some very important information and instruction on the growing and preparation of Teasel and all manner of herbs for healing purposes.


The pictures here show Teasel in its “green” and growing phase. But there is a BIG surprise coming as the prickly heads enlarge and mature…and for that…another post on Teasel will soon follow.

Truly, I am mesmerized by and LOVE this plant, this weed. It is the prickly part of my Soul that needs to soothe, heal  or cast out the “demons” that can cause me pain in self-doubt and fear, or the ache-iness of longing and memories that need to be released in order to move on to new beginnings.

Thank you, Faeries, who sneaked in overnight and brought the Teasel Twins to my Garden, my Soul this year.

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

Garen Lush July 5, 2015   Also!


The power of words, sensuous cooking and eating, and music/the arts in the blogs above contribute to a Greening Spirit life!



*** Photo: Lemon Balm Tea, steeping, fresh from the garden

As every herbalist knows, once we start growing herbs, harvesting or drying them and making tinctures, teas, vinegars and all manner of preparations, we start collecting glass containers to keep them in and especially so we can SEE them.

What that leads to are closets compulsively filled will bottles of different shapes and sizes, saving interesting jars that originally  contained pickles, jams, mustards, condiments, or liquids like wine and spirits.  We cannot…CANNOT…. resist a pretty bottle or jar…!

Glass Garden

We also cannot resist the magic of the herbs either and so hopefully we are engaged in the making of lovely herbal delights for healing, culinary temptations or gifts for bath and beauty. Thus…. A Garden in Glass!

Glass Garden 3

*** Picture: Dark Moon Tea/Dreamers Tea (recipe at the end of essay)

The garden is not producing veggies yet, but the greening herbal leaves are abundant and ready for preparations like flavored vinegars. One of my daughters just asked for a family favorite which I have not made in recent years… my Italian Lovage vinegar in a light red wine vinegar (like Pastene), also adding fresh parsley, basil, a few..just a few! pepper flakes and a smashed garlic clove. LOVAGE is a strong herb…I describe it as a kind of cross between parsley and a medieval celery.  This first tiny batch will start us off and more will be steeping as summer progresses. These smaller glass jars originally held Major Grey’s Chutney.

Glass Garden 5

Summer goes by so fast, as does life, which we do begin to realize when our children go through major passages like graduating college, getting married, becoming parents themselves while we become grandparents. Capturing the essence of the greening seasons of the garden and  those in our lives seem to be a desire to hold on to the experience or the memories through tasting, savoring…sometimes in photographs, sometimes in food…and sometimes in glass bottles to remind us of the seasons of life and love. Our Gardens in Glass …a little bit of magic…!


***Recipe:  Dark Moon/Dreamers Tea

A blend of dried mugwort, rose petals and perhaps a little spearmint or lavender… To your liking.  A teaspoon per cup, steeped for about 10 minutes, strained with honey for a social tea with friends. Stronger…a longer steeping time (an hour), 2-3 teaspoons per cup to drink before bed to stimulate and remember dreams…. (make sure to write those dreams down in the morning!)


From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Christine 3My other blogs:

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(Drying Lemon Balm for Tea on the Piano Bench)

*** Gardening sounds like an outside thing and it is….but harvesting eventually ends up indoors, for cooking and eating, and also for drying if you have herbs. The bounty of the herbs goes beyond fresh tea (no you don’t have to dry the herbs first to make tea). There is enough in a season’s harvest to dry for use in the winter.

Rugosa 10

(Drying Rugosa Rose Petals for Tea)

*** My home is very small, and I work at home mainly in the open living room-kitchen space. My piano is here in full view and my kitchen table is often “my office”. Everything I do is on display at all times and my life, work and creative projects are sharing the space with the projects and people who come and go here.


         (Drying Lemon Verbena for Tea/ Hydrangea Leave for Bookmarks)

*** Drying the herbs on the piano or coffee table, or pinned to the kitchen wall is what happens here along with paying bills, cooking, writing all manner of things, creating art, hosting peer mentoring circles and giving music lessons.

*** My house seems to amuse my guests and students, wandering on the front lawn in and around the grow boxes of vegetables and clay pots of plants before entering the house, and then coming inside to see leaves and flowers on display, drying, on pieces of furniture and all available flat surfaces.


(Drying Parsley and Lovage for Vinegars)

*** One summer when  all manner of herbs were hanging from a beam in the living room, a new piano student…a well-known physician…came in for his first lesson. He looked up, standing under hanging bunches of drying herbs and said…”Hmmmmnnnnn…….”.  I was thinking,  he being a doctor, that he might judge that as old world stuff.  Suddenly in the middle our first piano lesson he asked…”Do you believe in magic?”,  thus initiating the first of many lively exchanges about alternative medicine, art and music in our time together… A fine doctor, he eventually became an acupuncturist as well, and supported my investigations into Teasel as a remedy used by indigenous peoples for Lyme disease. I am pleased that my piano “studio” was a safe place to discuss alternative medicine with a mainstream medical doctor!


Whether outside or inside, I love sharing space with the herbs, vegetable and flowers. After all, that is the mission of a Greening Spirit!  Veriditas!

From Christine….

Christine 3

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Brambles (2)

Well, in Part 3  (Order and Chaos) of this series, I revealed  to all the wild un-mowed backyard which has now been christened “The Meadow”.  All of my attention this year has been out front growing vegetables in boxes in full view of anyone passing by and the picture of that mower in the tall grass is it only on its way back to the shed after the front lawn has been spruced up.

Yarden mow (2)

The back has been untended for three years for several good reasons and for sure I have felt a bit guilty about it each year. But just a bit, because in fact, each time I go out there, I am captivated by the spirit of the wild, the untamed, the unplanned. There are TREASURES in that meadow…. varieties of ferns under which faeries hide, teasing waving grasses that keep the black kitty who wanders through the green in hunting mode early morning and at dusk, and for sure, herbs for healing that appear on their own without any assist from me.


Treasures for sure!  My herbalist colleagues know these to be just that although  those who are into perfect presentations of turf and balanced landscsaping ie immaculate carpets of green untainted by…argghhh! A WEED! …. would be “tsk tsking” at my supposed irresponsibility.

Not so.

Burdock! – burrs and healing seeds in the making. The root, if I were to dig it up, which I am not planning to do, is powerful cleansing and nutritive medicine.

Burdock closeup

Mugwort- The herb of dreamers, visionaries, opening the third-eye of deep-see-ers and wise-women. A smudging herb and the herb used as moxa in acupuncture. It is also an herb for regulating the menstrual cycles of young women.


Lemon Balm- According to Hildegard of Bingen ( ) “it maketh one merry” and indeed its delicate lemon scent and flavor tempers sadness and stress in the moment,  especially sweetened with a little honey. A delightful happy herb, it is nonetheless considered one of the premier nervine herbs to calm distressed spirits. My large patch of meadow lemon balm grows amidst a stand of ferns whose interesting shapes amuse the eye.

Lemon Balm

The Brambles: where the blackberries grow all tangled up with milkweed, mugwort, and in some places, treasured nettles. Invasive but colorful bittersweet grows in there too, and thank goodness for some friends who are compulsively compelled to rip it out on sight while passing through the yard. At the moment, the berries are still red, but I watch them turn darker each day in the competetive game of one-upmanship with the birds who will try to get to them first before I do.

Brambles (2)

ELDER- Oh what a precious and magical shrub… every part of the plant having a use, especially the flower (used in gypsy cold care tea) and the berry (used in elderberry syrup as medicine for the flu).  The elder was the magical herb that played a prominent role in the movie, ” Sorceress”  about a medieval herbalist, her craft and the danger it put her in. 


When I was a little girl, I was enchanted by fairy tales and faeries and I always knew that the best place to find them would be in the meadow, hedgerows or fields. I am in love with the vegetables and flowers and the magic of their unfolding  in my orderly garden but where the wildness Nature has the upper hand is the best magic of all.

I will add a less poetic paragraph here that is a reality where I live, needing precautions for safe foraging and gathering in the meadow here and in the real wilds. Ticks and their four or five tick-borne diseases are endemic where I live in New England, so although lovely dream-like pictures of young women in white flowy gossamer dresses dancing through the fields are on-line,that is NOT what I look like when out there. Covered up with socks, boots, and layers of long-sleeved denim…all sprayed with permethrin has become an un-fun and certainly un-glamorous necessary costume for avoiding the ticks and the very serious diseases they carry. Clinging to tall grasses, or nesting under dried leaves and shrubbery, they love hitching a ride on YOU, to bury underneath your skin and transfer their nastiness.

Yarden mow   back

But still, go forth in the proper way, to discover the Treasures of the Meadow forgotten or unknown in today’s techno society. The real magic is out there.

(all pictures credit: Christine Phoenix-Green)

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise

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Yarden mow (2)

Every front has a back and every life has a public and a private reality. In the practice of “dreamwork” we use the terms “The Conscious” and “The Unconscious” to understand the parts of us that we ordinary identify with and know about ourselves in some sort of orderly fashion and predictability vs the part of us that is more hidden behind the scenes(or underground to use a green metaphor) and often surprises us with unexpected behaviours or bursts of unplanned genius and creativity. In truth, in a balanced life, we need to allow for the activities of both territories.

Ancient writers, philosophers and poets have often used the garden as a metaphor for the soul and I find that it is so, as an expression of the way we live our lives. Thoughtful awareness, intention, focus, purpose, conscious planning and follow-through often (but not always!) produce the results we intended. The garden, tamed and contained, has a pleasing order, and is its own delight. In my world it is on the front lawn……what I can see from the open front door of my living room and what others can see as they pass by. Well tended,  watched over for the expected daily bursts of growth, what’s been consciously and deliberately planted appears (mostly) as planned.

Garden June 25

What is NOT seen from the well-planned front lawn of the Conscious mind is that back yarden that is always there and active altho un-tended with deliberate mindfulness and attention. No human “control” issues back there. That does not mean it is not FULL of life and things not ordinarily thought about. It TEEMS with wildness and creativity, this un-mowed territory, and it teems with the encoded genetic and experiential memory of weeds and herbs and vines, and roots and ferns and mosses and all manner of ancient life still blossoming all around us. Stepping around the house from the front to the back yarden there is a kind of shock entering this world of seeming chaos. Isn’t that an appropriate and understandable response or reaction when the wildness of the Unconscious bursts through into our well-ordered lives?

Yarden mow (2)

I  faux-lamented to a friend about this behind the scenes chaos, that in the  abandonment of control behind the house, my “lawn” had turned into an un-mowed field. Being an Englishman of proper language, he informed me that over there, it is called a “meadow“.

How lovely to think of this overgrown and untended area with the word “meadow”… a place to run through, investigate and play in discovering a wildness, as we should when immersed in living with “soul”. I much prefer now to think of that un-mowed part of my life as a meadow rather than a chaotic mess to tame and subdue with my imposed willfulness and intention, letting it reveal wonders and surprises to me if I just let it be.

Yarden mow   back

Later today, I will be stepping into that green chaos and see what’s out there and will report what I find in the next chapter here of  the My Garden, My Soul series…

Flower Child      Veriditas! from Christine,  the Greening Spirit

All my writing does seem to be a mix of order and wildness of thought! Check that out in my other blogs:


Ms borage without border

Those whose gardens are the sanctuaries of herbs know that humility is a Virtue.  We often refer to herbs and their “virtues”, a medieval usage of  the word, describing their merits and usefulness subtly hidden in their at-a-first-glance smallness. Theirs is a humility defying the flashiness of showy and commanding Divas, but instead, tended in the green world by the elusive but ever present plant “Devas” whose mission it is to oversee and communicate the virtues inherent in each plant. Indeed that humility might almost render a clump of borage invisible except for tiny quick flashes of blue if we are moving through the garden mindlessly and in a hurry.

MsGarden Gate

The herbal kindom require us to slow down and practice the soul-virtues of stillness and deep seeing. Looking closely into a patch of tiny blue flowers amongst their soft but prickly leaves, we observe a tiny magnificence of color, complexity and imaginative shape. The borage flowers are beautiful…another of the plants that exhibit the 5-pointed star in its form. If we moved quickly and mindlessly by a patch of this plant, as so many humans do in our largeness and speed, we might miss the complex but delicate blossom design.

Borage flowers closeup

Borage has many “virtues” and gifts for us. An herb of “good cheer”, it was thought to dispel melancholy and pensiveness (Culpepper) which actually happens when taking a true look at its richly colored flowers and their display.

A slight taste of cucumber in its leaves and blossoms offers a cooling effect…it can be used as a tea, or added to salads.

Herbs and their uses come in and out of favor in different time periods, but truly their virtues are always present whether acknowledged or not. I find that something shifts and awakens in me when I am hanging out with the herbs…something mysterious, wondrous, and alive…as if under an enchantment.

Enchantment… a virtue of Soul accessed through the magic of deep-seeing and discernment.  A rather nice way to live….whether one be a a plant or a person.

*** These pictures were taken in the garden of good friends….

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

156316_593312384017317_1591585182_n     Hopefully, my other blogs will enchant you as well!

Garden June Sacred

Being a Taurus Sun Earthkeeper person, I have always had gardens where I live. The cycle of the seasons in a 4-climate region has captivated me since childhood…each turn full of magic, myth and mystery.

Growing up in an inner city in the northeast USA, I was not exposed to posh gardens in the concrete environment even though I lived in an apartment building on Ash Grove Place which still had a genteel air leftover from earlier times when the neighborhood was lined with ash trees before cars. The plants that came through the cracks and between the buildings in ally-ways were the wild things…dandelions, poke, yellow dock, plantains and the flowers of grasses. Of course back then, I didn’t know their names but I was called to them because they were green growing living things tucked in and around the hardness and grey of city asphalt.

There were two “garden” situations however that served our city spirits. One was the chain-link fence bordering the back parking lot behind our apartment building. In spring and summer, the tall fence was covered by the climbing vines of morning glories. The blue flowers were a never-ending delight…the tight spirals of the buds before opening, which we would pick, blowing at their now- tiny opening at the base .. and out they would flare into full flower by the power of our own mini-godlike breath. Picking the full flower itself , we would also suck at the small opening at the base of it, pulled from the vine, to taste a delightful delicate sweetness,  coming to understand what the bees were collecting while visiting its center!

The second garden was for viewing only through the openings in the chain link fence to the back lot of the next-door neighbor. A German immigrant with a thick accent, he was a crabby terrible tempered territorial old man who yelled loudly and threatened any and all kids who might attempt to climb over the fence to receive a ball gone astray in the air, landing in his green sanctuary. But he was an amazing gardener and it was like peering into the Garden of Eden or a guarded oasis in the middle of the hood between buildings. As an adult, I now understand his fierce and protective personality preserving the peace and order of his sacred garden from a pack of potentially disruptive and invasive neighborhood kids….

My own gardens from marriage, parenthood, divorce, partnership and singledom on have varied. My first planting was of Lamb’s Ears (stachys officinalis) which first captivated me in a re-created colonial apothecaries’ garden at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT when I was age 21. The gardens that  followed throughout my life started with herbs and their charming and healing mystique, and later, flowers and vegetables. Always always green around me.  

Veggie Garden

( One of my earlier gardens )

Several years ago, serious vision problems with early cataracts began to develop and it became impossible for me to see in sunlight and also to just see clearly at all. For the past three years, that, plus a couple of stressful, attention-stealing life situations blocked the ability to garden. I thought that was okay. But there was a flatness in my spirit as a result…unrecognizable to others…but known to my own self. A loss of some sort of energy and meaning. A loss of “veriditas”.

Now, with much excitement and gratitude, my eyesight has been restored through surgeries,  and with the renewal of vision, I could not let another year go by without tending the “Green”.  Three years of not taking care of the yarden turned it into wildness except for the front. This year, I invested in Grow Boxes, not having the time or energy to tame field and woodland and in planting them and situating them in my yard,  I realized that in not gardening the last three years, I had lost some part of SOUL….my own “Greening Spirit/Veriditas”… by not participating in the cycle of the seasons in person and not tending the plants. But now! My Soul has come back home to both the inner and outer gardens!

Garden rainy

A week or so ago, as I walked through the front border to the road, I stubbed my toe on an exposed corner of a flat rock buried under moss and matted grass. I bent over to scrape away dirt and plant matter to find a garden plaque that my partner David had placed in my new herb garden almost 20 years ago when we moved in. I had at that time also been teaching a nine-month internship in folkloric herbalism, natural foods and earth spirituality, called “The Sacred Garden”.

Garden June Sacred

How synchronistic was its surprise emergence from “under” to welcome my SOUL back home as I became a “gardener” once again.

They are BACK! My garden, My Soul !

Veriditas! from  Christine, the Greening Spirit


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Rugosa 2

Yesterday I wrote an essay on Rugosa Rose and the exquisiteness of its fragrance. I posted the link on FB only to find that a number of my FB herbalist/magical friends had also written or posted links and essays on “The Rose”  and its variety of virtues as well, at the same time. What synchronicity!

I have learned that when that sort of thing happens, that there is a mystery in the air and the channeling of a message from the Universe that needs to get out to all.  And yesterday it was the rose. Apparently a number of us, aware or not, were the channels for passing on the message of the Rose….  beauty, inspiration, healing, nourishment and Love.

I love being a messenger or channel of all those things and so I am very grateful for the abundance of Beach Rose (Rugosa) around my house. At this time of the year, they are overflowing with delicate sensuous fragrant flowers that captivate all who come through the yard to the front door. At all times of the day I gather the fresh petals blossoms for tea. Though one could make a tea of just the rose petals, I prefer to add them to other herbs like lemon balm, lemon verbena, or basil… OR…I add them fresh to a cup of a special prepared blend like the one pictured  above ..tulsi/lavender….calming, scent-uous and yes, subtly enticing.

When friends or piano students visit who have especially come under the enchantment of the scented garden, I will pick a small cupful of petals for them to take home for their own tea as well.

The petals can be dried for future use either in a dehydrator at low temperature, or on a screen, paper towels or nubby cloth towel. My piano students and I are sitting less comfortably on chairs during this week’s lessons as I have stolen the piano bench to serve as a drying surface…but the inconvenience is temporary and the reward a special delight.

Rugosa petals

                                                                                                                                               It is also possible to make a most luscious syrup from the petals. On early mornings during the season, some of us go to the wilds where the rugosa roses bloom in profusion,  and gather a basket full of petals.     

Seaside Mists (2)

Later:  prepare the syrup in a large glass bowl…a layer of sugar, a layer of rose petals, another sprinkled layer of sugar to cover, another layer of petals etc. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for a day or two. I keep mine in the fridge…others keep it out. Strain and add a  small splash of rose wine, or brandy….or not. Keep in a sterilized glass jar, or pretty bottle. I keep this in the fridge as well. Add a splash to champagne, or over ice-cream or a special dessert.

If this is not beautiful, healthful, nourishing to body-mind and spirit and overflowing elixir full of love from the earth, love of the rose, and LOVE in all ways, I don’t know what is!

Rugosa 20

(all photo credits: Christine Phoenix Green)

With love from Christine, The Greening Spirit

Cranberyy 2  For other earthly delights, check my other blogs!

Music and Piano Memoirs:

Delicious Food:

The Power of Words and Positive Attitude:

Rugosa 20

Everywhere we go we are inundated by powerful artificial smells in products…everything from hand creams and makeup, to dish soaps and detergents,, spray disinfectants, car fresheners, candles, shampoos, doggie grooming products and on an on. Walk into a grocery store, passing by the floral department and be assaulted by the overpowering scent of hyacinths, even though there might be only a few tucked in display.. the area sprayed to create atmosphere and stimulate buying. Go into a fabric store and be assaulted by acrid fumes of formaldehyde which is impossible to mask.

Product scent chemistry is big business, enticing us to buy…everything. A world of illusion.

I have been fortunate to live in a little house surrounded by greenery…shrubs,  grass, woods and garden. Part of it is wild, part has been tamed for untreated lawn and for growing flowers, vegetables and herbs which provide unlimited delight from early spring to late fall. What comes with such blessing is scent… the rapturous, elusive, delicate scent of the natural world.

Many years ago, I brought home two little pots of Rugosa (Beach) Roses and we planted one by my front door and one by the road. They are somewhat invasive and have never really been tamed, refusing to surrender their wild spirit. Living in a climate near the ocean, they have formed quite an impenetrable border on one side of my house and at this time through the season, are bursting with gorgeous pink flowers against their rich and thorny greens and the scent ….the most delicate, heavenly fragrance, which could never be created in a laboratory. When people..friends and piano students…come into my house from the yard, they often stop for a moment, captivated by the soft fragrance in the air and tell me that the magic of scent in the garden..again, rather elusive and invisible to the eye… put them momentarily under enchantment.

We desperately need such enchantment in a world full of noise, constantly assaulted by the bright and blinding lights of consumerism and illusion of all that is is natural..the sights, the sounds, the costumes, products of the commercial word trying to entice us to embrace and purchase their faux delights for pleasure, happiness and fulfillment.

But instead, flee to the woods, the garden or the shore..stand still and BREATHE in Nature and the scents of what is real…and connect with what is real in yourself.

Rugosa (Beach) Rose… the Queen of the Seashore…

Seaside Mists (2)

***  More on Rugosa Rose in the next few days….  check in again!

*** Photo Credits: Christine Phoenix Green

Breathe…! From Christine, the Greening Spirit

dreams   There’s much magic in the Universe…check out my other blogs!

GREEN FIELDWhat is it about the color GREEN that is so luscious, cool, and healing? It has been poetically said that in the process of photosynthesis, the green color is “congealed sunlight” captured in the plant’s leaves and for sure that is a magical process of creative transformation.

Green, the color of the earth’s bounty and wealth, and associated with money and wealth along with gold, silver and precious gems. Green, the color of emeralds, the jewel of the month of May, and the color, along with soft pink,  of the Heart Chakra and its emotion and “knowing”.

Green leaves giving cool shade, gardens of  green veggies containing water, moistness, vitamins, minerals and medicinal properties.

Veggie Garden

(one of my vegetable gardens)

Green,  and Hildegarde of Bingen’s premier and most holy word “Veriditas!” meaning the greening, moist and verdant powers of life and all that softens, feeds and opens the Soul.

Green….the lush and varied hues of the magical kingdoms of the hidden realms of (supposedly) mythical earth creatures, faeries and elves vividly known through the imagination but shy to human 156316_593312384017317_1591585182_neyes.

Green, green, GREEN…

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

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Manifestation :

Radiance Melissa

“There is no creation that does not have a radiance, be it greenness or seed, blossom, (leaf) or beauty. It could not be creation without it.” ~ Hildegarde of Bingen  (1098-1179 c.e.)

It is true than everything has its own shimmer and radiant sparkling, but it is not always perceived except with the eyes of the Mystic or Dreamer. How lovely are those graced and gifted moments when Light opens and illumines for us the life force of the greening spirit that is of science, earth and heaven all dancing together.

Radiance 10

The delicious woods and gardens walk with one of my daughters in honor of Mother’s Day was filled with the radiance of life and love … in the land, the vegetation and air itself. It is no wonder that painters have often painted “halos” of light around who and what is holy and beautiful.

May the eyes of our Souls be ever open and perceiving of the Radiance existing all around us… 

(top picture, my daughter M…who is full of radiance herself)

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

ALSO: Yellow 3                                            



Ah, with a sigh I admit I was not born into privilege and wealth and therefore it is not part of my daily inheritance to wander through “the gardens” in early morning going over my agenda of appearances and social commitments for the day. Perhaps if I had been, I would not actually have the time to linger and daydream in such a sanctuary being busy with a multitude royal responsibilities. As a commoner and somewhat of an artist and dreamer, I, though definitely working for a living, often have the luxury of time to wander through such preserved gardens as a total romantic… one definition of which is ” to carry on a love affair with”.

How could we not be in love with such a place, or long to be in love with a soulmate who also might be lingering behind one of those flowering shrubs waiting to pop out suddenly to bow and kiss our hand (that HAS happened to me on more than one occasion..the chivalric kissing on the hand…quite lovely I must say).

Garden Romantic 2

Thank goodness there are places like this that are well planned and lovingly tended by caretakers whose high service is to preserve beauty and to share it with those who seek moments away from the mundane!

 Until a knight…just for me..springs out in front of me with that kiss, I will linger in places like this in all seasons and never apologize for the romance of life…illusions, longings and fulfillment that CAN and often does surprise us when we least expect it!

Waiting for that surprise with anticipation,

Christine, the Greening Spirit


(Long Hill and Sedgewick Gardens, Beverly, MA)


I think you will find surprises in my other blogs!


Gareden tulips soulspace

In the poetry and writing of the Mystics, the flower garden is often a metaphor for the Soul or the time out to tend the Soul. If you are not sure exactly what “the Soul” is or means….just open the gate to the flower garden, enter there and be IN it surrounded by the colors, textures, imaginative shapes and sensuous scents and you will come to understand “The Soul” or Soul-Space.

Linger there, awed by the beauty and the stimulation of all your senses,  for “the Soul”  is not separate from the body…. the body is IN the Soul, surrounded by the Soul, and not the other way around. Soul Space is often boundaried and contained, the fence symbolic of the time apart necessary to pay attention to its creative potential and flowering gifts…time out from the “un-awares” and surface mainstream life. 

Garden tulips-001

But really..better still…the secret to happiness:  once inside the garden, awake and aware, it is possible to gather the flowers of Soul and bring them back out into your life and the world around you…so in need of Beauty. Live it! BE it!

From within the Garden,

Christine, the Greening Spirit

Flower Child

There are lots of ways to be in Soul Space!

Please visit my other blogs…

Tree stark

I am teaching at the local University a course called “Dreams and the Imagination: Doorways to Creativity and the Arts”. It is my way to see things first as they are or appear to be, and secondly with the eye of the Dreamer. If you have regularly visited here on the Greening Spirit blog, you may have already guessed that…that through photography and editing, I cannot resist telling a story through the altering of images.

No apologies or uncertainties as I am dedicated to following the promptings of the Imagination and encourage others to do the same, in my teachings. I am always called to the attempt to turn the ordinary into some form of art as for me it is a way of play and pleasure.

I was recently asked by one of the students in the above class about the Imagination’s capabilities to imagine either the best or the worst in all situations which is of course, true. We must choose. I personally mostly choose the playful, the hopeful, the beautiful, the magical and the wondrous possibilities inherent in dreams and visions for the better because really, for is more fun!

This tree was fine as it really is to the naked eye on our walk. But there was also imaginative magic in the “dreaming” of this tree image, playing with light and shadow, tint and color, enhancing and softening to make it available, understood and cherished in another way.

We each and all are actually dreaming, imagining all of the time, sometimes even “hallucinating” when giving into our fears of what might be or what others might be thinking of us…

Let’s choose instead to dream of and imagine beauty, the magic of possibilities, and not forgot also to be playful in the creation of meaningful lives and  self-expression….!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

The Dreamer (Artist unknown)

The Dreamer (Artist unknown)

If you like to live life with Imagination and Play..please visit my other blogs!

Garden Gate

Sometimes in life we don’t know whether we are coming or going. Are we leaving the garden of the familiar  through the open gate,  letting go of people or places feeling sad, or are we accepting an invitation to enter a new phase feeling open and excited?

Sometimes we are in-between. Sitting on the fence for a while, which often feels kind of hard…boulders we may have to climb over to get either in or out!

I love this garden gate though…it looks curvy and musical and suggests to me that going either way…entering or leaving…coming in or going out is worthy of a song celebrating freedom and choices…surrounded by such greenery on either side… “All is well, all is well, and all manner of things shall be well” ~ Julian of Norwich.

This is a lovely affirmation I say often these days, being somewhat stalled myself, sitting on the stone wall between my old life and home and the uncertain, unknown future on the other side of the fence. Because that gate is so lovely however, I am hopeful that each side of the garden will be equally beautiful…

Garden Gate 2

This garden gate is on the beautiful land trust Long Hill and Sedgewick Gardens in Beverly, MA.

Photo Credits: Christine Phoenix Green

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise

I am writing all the time between teaching music and piano! So much to share!

Please wander over to my other blogs for great recipes and kitchen memoirs, music links and stories about teaching music, and wonderful practices and thoughts for affirming life with the Law of Attraction and Word Magic!

GS 2

We do take trees for granted, often thinking of them in standard  forms, sketching the generic “tree”  while doodling on paper during a phone call or faculty meeting. But oh truly there is no such thing as a generic common tree. They are so delightfully unique, dressing themselves in designer leaves and bark…beautiful bark of the most outrageous designs!

Bark 2

I have always loved the tree-trunks with their permanent drapes and folds like living skin…which actually it is..and caressed them as I pass by, like petting a beloved dog or cat. But in addition, oh my how they self-decorate themselves in the most eye-catching designs and textures.

Bark 20 (2)

My daughter Melissa and I swooned with pleasure and curiosity during our Mother’s Day walk…a week late, yesterday, she reading the identification tags with fervor and my stopping taking pictures of roots, leaves, bark, and all manner of lush greenery.

Melissa Tree

Textures and whirls in the bark..what stories do they tell? What purposes do they serve?

Bark 30

Our beloved and magical trees.. full of the Greening Spirit of Life!

MD Woods 2015

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise                                      Please visit my other blogs!

MD 100

Modern Day Life is so busy. It was not possible for my children and I to celebrate Mother’s Day together last week, but we have adjusted as necessary and daughter Melissa and I just moved it to Saturday a week later doing something we both love to do…meandering through the green of nature, whether a garden center, garden tour or wood’s walk.

She had been to a plant sale earlier that morning at a Nature Conservancy near her home that she had never visited before and was awed by the beauty of the environment. When I arrived from out-of state before noon and after cheering for grandson Owen at his little league soccer game  we decided to leave  mainstream civilization, and forego Mother/Daughter manicures at the spa for a return to further investigate the grounds. We can honestly report that the beauty of the woods and varied “gardens” there floored us and more than blessed us with love and the Greening Spirit of the earth.

MD Melissa gardens

(Daughter Melissa)

My camera is always with me and so I see things twice…Once with my eyes, and twice with the lens. Well, no…THREE times actually, for editing and enhancement of my photos into art apart from the original image brings me deeply into the world of magic and story for writing later.

After our walk through these awesome woods and wild gardens worthy of Thoreau’s escape from civilization, and a trip to a garden center, we went to an early dinner at a specialty restaurant serving delicious entrees of local foods and ended up at Target to buy a birthday gift for a kiddies birthday party.

A wonderful day of varied  experiences with a beloved daughter..mainstream cultural activities on either end…but the magic of wild and cultivated Greeness in the middle

Part 2 more pictures and Greening to follow…. (Long Hill and Sedgewick Gardens)

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise     Please visit my other blogs!

Herb fence

Wherever I have lived I have had a garden of  colorful flowers, herbs which I adore especially for their medicine, and vegetables which delight me to no end watching them blossom and offer bounty over the season with such amazing creativity from seed, to stem, leaf, flower and fruit…

I have so missed gardening for the past 3 years because of vision problems that kept me from being in the sun and white glare, and the residue of Lyme which has made me intolerant of high temperature and especially humidity. Alas! My gardens as a result,  have turned, untended, into field and mini-forest.

But now, as I am reclaiming my vision through surgery, I am longing to once again assist my green allies in making their dramatic appearances in my yarden once again, even if in Grow Boxes which can be moved for tending to bypass the achiness of Lyme that flares up periodically. Since I have always photographed what I love, I have a portfolio of gardens-past memories to keep me inspired.

Over the years of gardening, we tuck little green gems wherever we can in between things. The above garden border contains daylilies, chives, burdock, milkweed, showy irises, furry lamb’s ears, and out of range of this picture…lots of mugwort, the dreamer’s herb of the crone or wise woman. Just looking at this picture makes me want to run right outside now and see if I can find them beneath and behind the now tangle of thorny vines that have taken over areas I have not taken care of recently.

Oh most green and colorful garden treasure… I love you!

IMG_7728 from Christine, the Greening Spirit

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Hi Mom 100

A special Mother’s Day essay for Mothers and Daughters! And ESPECIALLY for Daughters of Mothers!


It is sometimes a difficult task for Mothers who are especially bonded to daughters, treasuring their closeness, to be perfectly graceful and accepting about the ending of day to day familial intimacy. Maintaining times together with our ever-widening “tribal” configurations with in-laws, children and grandchildren can be daunting. Yes indeed, we have full lives as well with our own friends, peers and enjoyable social activities after “empty-nest” syndrome, but for those of us who truly enjoy and savor the time with and company of our daughters, that bond of closeness with our girls and the longing to be together to talk and share never actually  goes away.

Fam 2

Being a Taurus woman with a Cancer Rising sign,  it is hard to escape the theme of Mothering. Taurus…the sign of the Earth Mother… and Cancer, the sign of the Great Mother of Home and Hearth makes it hard to escape the deep emotions around closeness and connection with our children..and for me to daughters. (Bonding with sons is a different issue and energy with its own story to tell, but as I did not have sons I refer only to what I know). I used to think that it was just unique to me with this particular astrological heritage, but in talking with many other women who are mothers of daughters, I learned that the bonds run karmically and emotionally deep….and for us Moms, though we celebrate the achievements and accomplishments of our daughters, we all have had to learn to manage the periodic sadness and feelings of momentarilly being left behind, and the energies of trying to subtly and successfully (or not) catch up to stay connected. 

We Three

Living in three different states with families and children, my daughters and I cannot easily get together throughout the year but when we do, now including husbands and children as a larger family group, we enjoy the brief togetherness of “us”  and as MOM #1,  I savor the feelings of familiarity and pleasure knowing even for a day or two the comfort of that “us-ness” once again being together. Altho we each now have quite different lifestyles on our individual paths, our shared tribal sense of The Past and the Present intertwine for a time…and then they are off and speeding down the highway of their individuated paths but  hopefully they have been nurtured (as have I) by re-connecting as the “tribe” from which they were sprung!

Still there are times when things and communications do not go as smoothly or as planned… a momentary situational or emotional “disconnect” and the distance between us seems to have lengthened. A while ago such a thing happened and for now in this moment, I cannot even remember what it was about, but there was something…some misunderstanding, frustration, disappointment or lack of time to connect that left me feeling WAY behind, losing the sense of my place in “family”. It was a morning filled with those feelings when I left the house to go shopping for groceries on a quiet weekend but my heart was filled with longing and a prayer for each of my daughters and for the time when we could be together for a special visit..

 As I turned onto the highway thinking/feeling this distance,  a silver van sped by with a message etched out in the heavily dusty rear view window. It went by SO FAST and raced far ahead of me but I had caught a hint of the message and hit the gas pedal with amazement trying to catch up to the car.

Hi Mom 99

For those who know me here, it is a very familiar occurrence that the “Universe” often gives me instantaneous “feedback” when I am working with intense Soul-stuff necessary to restore inner balance and harmony… an often humorous, inexplicable and surprising communication that soothes, affirms, directs and guides me back to right thinking and peace.

With one hand on the steering wheel and one hand holding my camera to the windshield, I closed in on that speeding vehicle to photograph the message on the rear window of that van, which I KNEW was especially for me in that ILLUSORY moment of feeling “left behind”  through the distance  of physical miles between myself  and my daughters in their truly very busy lives at this time  And there it was…! One of those “I Can’t/CAN believe it” messages on the back of that car when I finally caught up to it ….. “HI MOM!”

Hi Mom 100

I KID YOU NOT! How could this synchronicity have happened in that exact moment of personal mometary longing for connection, closeness and communication with and from the two young women I love most in this world! At the exact moment of reading that message, I in my mind, distinctly heard the music of goodwill and greeting in the unique voices of each of my daughters upon greeting by phone or in person. For sure did I laugh out loud!

Always I am thankful for these messages from the Spirit World that keep me in line and feeling loved and connected. And always I am thankful for having been allowed to be the mother of two of the most beautiful babies/girls/WOMEN on the planet!

Mamma a Girls

Not to ever forget as well these lines from “The Prophet” …a guide and lesson for all Mothers/ Parents to “let go” while still maintaining relationship with our children:

On Children
 Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

To my beautiful daughters Lisa and Melissa. We are ALWAYS connected. Happy Mother’s Day to all three of us… in it together as individual creative and kind women of shared blood, lineage, heritage and memory,  whether nearby or in distance through the miles.  I love you always!

Mamma Groupie

From Mom, aka The Greening Spirit with love.. 

Happy Mother’s Day!

self Oct 2     Always I am so amused to get that immediate feedback from the Universe when I am on track. This morning at our Unitarian Sunday Service in honor of Mother’s Day, the choir sang this song “Calling My Children Home”  which is exactly the theme of this post about a mother’s “heart”.  Here is a beautiful rendition of this, lyrics following, by Emmy Lou Harris. Have a tissue at the ready.


Those lives were mine to love and cherish.
To guard and guide along life’s way.
Oh God forbid that one should perish.
That one alas should go astray.

Back in the years with all together,
Around the place we’d romp and play.
So lonely now and oft’ times wonder,
Oh will they come back home some day.

I’m lonesome for my precious children,
They live so far away.
Oh may they hear my calling…calling..
and come back home some day.

I gave my all for my dear children,
Their problems still with love I share,
I’d brave life’s storm, defy the tempest
To bring them home from anywhere.

I lived my life my love I gave them,
to guide them through this world of strife,
I hope and pray we’ll live together,
In that great glad here after life.

I’m lonesome for my precious children,
They live so far away.
Oh may they hear my calling…calling.. and come back home some day.

Ship in the window (2)

There is a retreat center I often visit for a quiet afternoon away from the world. It is on an island off of the New England coast, accessible by a narrow one-lane causway and surrounded by almost 360 degrees of ocean view. I love disappearing away from my everyday life of work, tasks and schedule into this Time-Apart sanctuary of stone, wind, sea, and stillness enveloped by the soft symphony of nature which somehow has a deep silence to it.

Enders AprilWalking the grounds I find myself slipping into a kind of altered state of mind…a dream state in which all senses are sharpened and I see with the eyes of the heart as well as the eyes of my body. It is during this time many things that are “hidden in plain sight” are revealed. There are surprises everywhere! And it is for this reason that I am never without a third set of “eyes” – my camera,  to capture what is suddenly revealed during this meditative state of presence and deep-seeing.

The buildings there are made of stone, as is the whole island and I am most intrigued with the main house decorated with multicolored tiles along the edges of roof and the ceilings of porches. Last week as I wandered in search of some new spring beauty to photograph I happened to glance up along the house wall facing the gardens and sea. Up …WAY UP… in a window near one of the roofs…a flash of soft white….

A ship in the window.

Now I suppose it could have been built as a hobby by one who just loves ships and enjoyed crafting a project in down time. After all, this is a retreat center and there is a staff of priestly sorts who teach, counsel, bless, pray and offer hospitality to visitors, in between making jams and jellies to help  support the center’s gift store. Still this is an island and therefore there IS at least on occasion after hours,  down-time.

But maybe there’s more to that ship in the window. 

Making a commitment to a life path…whether it is a religious vocation, a marriage, parenting, being an artist or professional musician or the owner of a business… is a fine and meaningful thing and if done voluntarily with joy and love, can bring deep contentment in spite of the ups and downs of any life over the years. Sometimes  we commit to several of these paths and juggle. But we cannot do it all and fulfilling the responsibilities of any and all of them GROUNDS us and often tends to keep us in a singular place of duty, familiar environments and ROUTINE.

We cannot  do it all least not simultaneously. While following our chosen paths, there are many other paths therefore that are unchosen in real time.

BUT in our imagination and in our dreams we can travel anywhere, do anything, be anything! I suspect that the ship in the window might be a reminder of that, to he or she who would find it pretty much impossible to tend to the wounds and comfort  of those who come to the monastery for refuge….AND while doing that, also be a pirate (allowing for a bit of the dark side) or an adventurer upon the high seas to far away lands and relationships beyond the monastery…(or classroom, kitchen, boardroom, office cubicle).

Perhaps the ship in the window is both an anchor to place AND a reminder of possibilities available to us when and if we come to a fork in the road, when things are finished, when we must let go of the familiar that has begun to drain us rather than feed us, when we find the necessary courage…IF and When…to set sail in a new direction and seek new horizons.

The ship in the window, whether seen from inside the room or outside from way below looking up possibly reminds us that our dreams and visions are always ready for a new journey no matter what our life’s present Path. And a ship …always a symbol for the courage of the Soul’s ability to travel upon the water of the Unconscious towards new realms, possibilities and experiences….


Photo credits:  Retreat center photos by Christine Phoenix-Green, dark ship on the waters by unknown.

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

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Grumpy Rock

NOTE: Amongst my FB friends, we have been talking about seeing faces in the trees and in nature. I thought it would be fun to repost this… the nature spirits are all around us!

Mr. Grumpy Rock:

It’s probably because I have Cancer Rising and a Pisces Moon, that I have quite an imagination and a  highly intuitive sense that allows me to peek into the “invisible” world that co-exists right alongside the material one. I “read” faces of people, imagining their personalities and hear the “music” (major or minor key?) in people’s voices,sensing their mood,  and I “see” distinct personalities in nature as well. Driving past a stand of trees, I can see the ones that are family groups, or lovers, or free spirits within their arboreal community. I see shapes in clouds that reveal a story, and  I have experienced looking down at reflections in pools of water that tell me what is happening up in the sky.

Today while driving out of our little lively local library, someone was coming in at the same time. Our windows lined up for a brief moment as we passed each other going in opposite directions and we were in direct visual contact for a mili-second. What I saw was a face that was very very crabby if not downright angry..not sad, not worried, not flat…but quite unpleasant and cross, and I thought..”my word, I don’t think she would be pleasant to interact with just now..”(or maybe ever). She reminded me exactly of a woodland entity I met while on one of my nature walks at a nearby preserve. She reminded me of ….Mr. Grumpy Rock.

One of our seaside nature preserves is an old forest, with immense rocks, boulders and deep pits  hewn out of the earth during glacial events..a very interesting territory with narrow paths, knobby exposed tree roots,  overhanging canopy and lichen-covered boulders of various sizes and shapes. I love the variety of plants found here..sassafras, sweet fern, yarrows, goldenrod, St. Johnswort, red sumac and other herbal treasures. Oak dominates, but the forest is host to many other species of trees and entering its sanctuary is like entering another time and place in history when coming off of the mainstream road of the present. There are many paths that wind and meander and one always has to IMG_4002eventually make a choice to stay on the path or move to the side and investigate a bog.

On one particular walk, when the leaves had fallen and the trees were unclothed and courageous to the elements of the sleeping season, I followed a bend in the road that was lined with a community of large rocks and boulders along one side. I always have my camera with me..always..for who knows when something extraordinary  or of exceptional beauty will be revealed without warning and I serve to capture it for the purpose of remembering.

And so I started down this new path bordered by these large boulders and was suddenly startled by a most definite scowl..the face of a very disgruntled rock who I think was also grumbling and mumbling to himself as I passed by. Not that he was aware of me, actually.. he was really just too into his own story, and centuries of discontent had etched itself permanently upon his face. He wasn’t sad. He wasn’t suffering that I could see, but he was just one of those types who by temperment, was just plain crabby. And the older he got, without a change of attitude..the bigger and wider his scowl became.

Well now. Isn’t that just the way it can be with us humans who, without paying attention to how we habitually think and talk,  can also have that tape of kvetches, complaints, discontents and resentments playing over and over in our minds on an unconscious level, tempering the music of our voices and creating the shape of our facial expression. One of my Aunties used to tell me when I was growing up and grumpy and out of sorts that if I kept looking like that, it might freeze that way on my face permanently..a really harsh destiny, self-inflicted. Nobody in the forest dared to mention that to Mr. Grumpy Rock..but it was obvious that he was not having fun. Is it fate? Or is it at some level a choice to be in a snit, perturbed, irritated on a regular basis, argumentative, and witholding of good will and gratitude for what IS working well, even amidst the challenges, upheavals and seasons of life?

So I go back to the brief eye-to-eye encounter I had with a passing human today, in which I was reminded of Mr. Grumpy Rock. Perhaps it was just a momentary pique on her face, worthy of compassion..but inviting a cautious wide berth just in case. Perhaps it was an expression worn daily and perpetually, frozen there in a particular stance in life..certainly an uncomfortable destiny.

For me..I hope what gets etched into my own face are crinkles of laughter around my eyes, and lines of welcoming smiles turning upward around my mouth. It’s not all perfect and it’s not always easy. But the “lines” on our visage actually have their origin somewhere deeper and closer to the heart, where the real stories are. And then we decide..

As an addendum to this story, I also met a neighbor of Mr. Grumpy Rock. His next-door neighbor Grumpy Rock Sleepyactually. He’s been listening to Mr. Grumpy’s Rock’s  low grumblings, and complaints for many years now. And he just closes his eyes and tunes out..his name is “Sleepy”. He’s very old, patient and tolerant. Good friends are like that.

***Recently one of my little grandsons was having a crabby time and you know the grumpy face…lower lip out, frowning line..grumpy pout. I told him that if the Face Fairies saw that look and decided to freeze his face, he might look like that forever…. he looked at me uncertainly like “is she maybe right?” and we smoothed out to something more pleasant. I know he won’t forget that because little kids are still in the half-realm of magic at his age (pre-k)

Keep the eyes of your imagination and heart open!

from Christine, the Greening Spirit


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Tree cry

“Tree Spirits 2015” Yes, I am one of those people (and small children) who see faces in the trees, the rocks and boulders, the plants. Directly outside my kitchen window and across the yard at the edge of the wood, this tree in the center looks back at me daily. Several years ago, I noticed that he was grimacing in discomfort if not pain…at least that is what I saw in his “face” etched in the wood every time I looked his way. That summer, I noticed that there were dead limbs, leafless way up at the tips of his branches and I wondered if I was seeing something about the state of health…true to my intuition as several years have gone by, he and a whole line of his tree brethren all along the border of the wood, and past the neighbors border as well have become ill and died out. When I look out each day, I still see his communication of passing…perhaps an illness way down in the roots connecting to all his kin. All passings make me sad…..and it makes me sad to think there was pain in this process for him and the rest of these trees….

A memoir from Christine


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IMG_0798 (2).jpg Sage in Snow

photo credits ~ Christine Phoenix Green

(Repost from 2010)

Here in the Northeast USA, it is during the months following the Solstice that we experience Winter’s force and power although each day we gain a few minutes of light, moving towards Spring.

It was the depth of darkness and cold that first drew us into stark awareness of the season of stillness in late Autumn, but we had the holidays to look forward to as diversion as well as celebration, giving us respite from the primal posture of Nature’s cold season and its relentless demands upon us.

Now it is REALLY time to be still and to lie fallow…at least if you are a seed in the earth, asleep,  but in deep dreaming about the life that will emerge and blossom into magnificent manifestation in a few months time.

We (and perhaps the seed also tho I doubt it) no longer of agrarian bent culturally, have such a hard time being still and fully entering the slower time of waiting, dreaming and deep listening that is offered to us this season…so used to busy-ness,  activity and artificial light that tricks us out of the reality of our Creature-hood!

So perhaps Mother Nature speaks to us, as well as the Earth, when she sends a  fierce blanketing of whirling snow over all movement and noise, save the commanding Voice of a howling wind to send us deep into our caves by candlelight. To be warm. To be safe. To germinate into our newness at the right moment, which is not exactly now, yet.

M and M upstairs windowWe are humbled by such fierce, stark and powerful weather when there are no colors but grey, brown,  black and white. About a day or two or three are all we can take without losing hope, and feeling drained, and in captivity to the cold, especially if we cannot shovel out and start the car!

But, after the fury-the calm, the light, the blue colour of sky  returns upon the accomplished blanketing and we finally surrender into winter because of it. We crunch, booted, upon ice and snow dotted with twigs and broken tree branches as we move more carefully going about our busy lives, accepting this new season and perhaps even blessing its stark beauty. For the moment, we forget that there is something new coming in soon…

Piano students come and go during the week in my little cottage and the fierce storm of this past week interrupted that rhythm. When the storm passed and a semi-safe path was shoveled to allow entry,  I still accompanied my students, many who are adventurous Elders, out to their cars to insure their safety,  and then dashing in quickly out of the bitter cold, to the warmth of my studio.

And as I dashed up the snowy path , lost in thought over the next appointment, a small flash of greening caught my eye, low underfoot almost once past it. What was that? Retracing my steps, there it was flat in the snow…one clear, spring green Sage leaf lying peacefully where it had landed, probably snatched from the mother plant during the fierce blizzard winds, whirled about and then coming to rest, undamaged in this patch of white.

There it was , fuzzy and fat-veined in a pattern repeated in nature like the upwards branches of a tree or the downwards roots of the same, or the branches within the human lung, which mirror back again, the tree. What a wondrous precious thing to see, like a magical message from Summer past, or Summer Becoming…A gift from the Earth lying there to be seen hopefully by one such as myself who needed to be reminded of the ever present, ever faithful Cycle of Life-Death-Life over and over again, and my place within that awesome Wonder.

Sage in snow. A teaching every day, every day…..  (Bundle up!)

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

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Picasa Ice 4 (3)

Yesterday I directed a retreat in which the morning topic was “The Miracle of the Four Elements”. We pondered each element separately, Earth, Air, Fire and Water,  considering its reality, its manifestations, its metaphors and the wonder of its part in the whole of Life.

This morning, realizing I had run out of half and half for my “wake-up” coffee, I reluctantly changed from comfy nightgown to daywear so I could go across the highway to buy it. I was, however, not able to leave immediately as after yesterday’s day of heavy rain and last night’s freeze, my car was covered with ice.

What to do in life when thwarted? My answer usually is “Make Art!”

Inside to grab the camera, and back outside to photograph the ice patterns on the auto before the car started to defrost!

The wonders and Miracles are all around us if we open our eyes!

Picasa Ice 2 (2)

One of the MIRACLES of the element Water that was overlooked in our musings yesterday was that water is a shape-shifter! We talked about the oceans and tears and the symbol for the deep Unconscious in dreams.. How could we have not mentioned water turning into ICE and these magnificent ice crystal patterns!

It is true that there is never a moment when beauty and the imagination is absent. There are natural wonders around us at all times, often missed but captured when the eyes of our hearts are open. Poets, mystics, artists, writers, children and elders are often the ones who become seers (deep- see-ers), moving through life attuned to the magic..

For the wonders and miracle of the Element of WATER… we are enchanted!

Picasa Ice Blue

Note:  these pictures of ice on my car were turned into art with help from the editing programs of Windows and Picasa. (Doing on the computer what used to be done in the darkroom. That’s a miracle too!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise  There are more wonders on my other blogs

The wonder of good food and kitchen memoirs:

The wonder of music and piano:

The wonder of intentional words:





In the previous Herbal Love 1 essay “Finding My Plant Spirit Guide”  I spoke of MUGWORT and how it seems to have come to me many years ago, planting itself right outside my bedroom window next to the exact wall outside, where I sleep and DREAM inside. In fact, I do dream most vividly and for thirty years have led and participated in a circle of dreamers who gather regularly to share our dreams and our life stories. Combined with my herbal studies, I have learned of the ancient connections between dreams and the knowledge passed on to indigenous healers from the plants themselves through the vehicle of the dreams.

Over and over again in interviews with shamans and healers in various cultures, the “Dream” is mentioned as a source of the wisdom and knowing about certain plants to use for those needing care, healing and balance. In his wonderful book “Sacred Plant Medicine”,  Stephen Harrod Buhner writes ” While many indigenous cultures value and use empirical knowledge about medicine passed down from generation to generation, they typically attribute their most effective healing knowledge to visions or dreams of the plant spirit or other helpers. (p. 25). He continues: “ was hard to overlook the detailed knowledge the Indians had of their plant world……As native peoples were questioned more closely about their plant medicines, the uniformly replied that the source of their knowledge came from dreams or visions or that the plant had told them its medicinal use.” (p. 27).

As I pondered these writings, I wondered what plant I should choose who might talk to me as a friend and helper as I love so many of them and have grown so many of the wonderful herbs in my garden, teaching others of them and how to use them. But then, I thought about Mugwort…so much of it under my bedroom window and that it is an herb associated with dreams and the visions and deep-seeing of the third eye of intuition and I laughed out loud need to go “looking” for a plant ally…there was one in profusion right outside my dreaming space throughout all seasons! How incredibly obvious! And I never personally planted it there…it came of its own accord!

Mugwort, mugwort…the premier herb to mix with lavender for the famous Dream Pillows we all make in our herbal internships as a special fragrant project, sometimes inserting rose petals for love, or a tinysmooth crystal for deeper insight. Mugwort essential oil anointing the third-eye space of the forehead to enhance visions and intuition. Mugwort used in teas for young women to regulate menses…the moontime…as mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris) is ruled by the moon. Mugwort, made into a tea for rituals around the dark or full moon…Mugwort, made into a tea for the dreamers refreshment in our workshops or a stronger brew before sleeping to stimulate new dreams. In Pam Montgomery’s book “Plant Spirit Healing: A Guide to Working with Plant Consciousnesness”, she writes of Artemis, Goddess of the Moon and ruler of Mugwort: As the Moon Goddess she embodies the magic of the dreamtime and imparts to mugwort the ability to easily enter daydreams, night dreams and journey dreams, just as easily with insight, clarity and deep knowing” (p.183)


The Dreamer (Artist unknown)

The Dreamer (Artist unknown)


We live in times that desperately need new vision, deeper insight and sparkling clarity to face the challenges of our personal, cultural and ecological lives. For those who are natural dreamers (The Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio peoples) and those who wish to pay more attention to the wisdoms of the dreamtime that are available to those who pay attention, Mugwort can be a wonderful ally and guide.

The recipe below for Dreamer’s Tea is shared with you as I share in the sacred wisdom circles that I am part of. The recipe is not carved in may add more or less as you are inspired.

Dreamer’s Tea (dried herbs)

2 parts mugwort

1 part rose petals

1 part spearmint leaves or to taste (mugwort is a little bitter)

1/2 or less lavender for relaxation and spiritual uplift (optional)    OR  1/2 or less dried rosemary for dream recall (optional)


When I make my infusions (tea) I do not have a specific amount of dried tea per cup of water as it depends on taste and purpose. As a “social tea” in working wisdom circles like our “Dreams/Peer Mentoring Retreats” I make a lighter brew for the spirit of the day (perhaps a well rounded teaspoon of dried tea per cup, and a short steeping time). For a before bedtime infusion to stimulate dreams and dream recall, I brew it stronger…perhaps a tablespoon dried herb mix per cup and steep it longer, adjusting or adding more water to taste I love my teas with organic locally harvested HONEY to taste as well.

May you be blessed by Mugwort and your Dreams and Visions tonight!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

shawl  To inspire your dreams and visions for a creative life, good food and beautiful music, please visit my other blogs!

For delicious comfort food and kitchen memoirs: (generous use of culinary herbs!)

For beautiful music inspiration, piano and music memoirs:

For the power of manifestation and good words:








Mugwort and clover

MUGWORT, Clover and Milkweed in my summer garden


Winter has finally arrived on the coast of New England and it is COLD and dark in the very early evening and later morning….time to go into my library of beloved books and select several favorites long-shelved and read years ago. The surprise is that they all seem new in the re-read although they are underlined by my own hand with personal notes in the margins from the past. What’s true is that I am new, as it always should be if one is an ever-greening spirit in life as we move along through the years, now receiving their beautiful wisdom once again at a deeper level in the re-read with greater understanding and application.

I have been re-reading several books about communing with the plant world, trees and herbs from the perspective and practice of plant SPIRIT medicine and guidance which is different from the herbal books on how to make medicines, tinctures, teas. This is about real and actual communication and conversation with the spirits of the plants who are willing to interact with us as our teachers, mentors, guides, helpers and healers if we are respectful and honoring of them and such possibilities. Several of these books are Eliot Cowan’s “Plant Spirit Medicine”, Stephen Harrod Buhner’s “Sacred Plant Medicine” and EliotPam Montgomery’s “Plant Spirit Healing”, all teachers whom I have sat in front of at various herbal conferences in the past.

What I realize is that I have always been talking and listening to the plants..and especiallythe herbs…in my garden, taking it for granted and ascribing it to the fact that I have a rich and fertile imagination. But what I realize is that communication has been going on between me and the plants for a long time and now I want to listen in a new way and to find out who my plant spirit helpers are..Plant Spirit

I thought about this for quite a few days here in the onset of winter when many of the outside herbs have buried themselves deep under the leaves and soil to rest, so I can’t go out and have that conversation in person right now, today. But as I was going through older posts here on the Greening Spirit, I came across a post or two about herbal workshops that I facilitated several years ago and one of the herbs that kept coming up in my consciousness and fondness is MUGWORT.  Mugwort… magical third-eye visionary dreamer’s herb of young fertile women, and older wise-women. Mugwort, that grows in vibrant profusion outside under my bedroom window, where my head is near that wall in the bed inside where I nightly deep-dream, the source of inspiration for our Dreams/Peer Mentoring Retreats and my writings. And I did not plant mugwort there. It came of its own accord to that very spot. It knew who was sleeping on the other side of that wall!

I have more to say of Mugwort…but for now I re-post the story below from when I was preparing to teach an herbal workshop several years ago..placing myself mindfully in the middle of that mugwort patch to receive inspiration. Apparently we have been talking for a very long time… but now our relationship is about to get a whole lot more serious…  lifelong partners?

Magical, Medicinal MUGWORT!  ( a post from 2009)

In any garden, the early morning is a magical and misty time. Especially if you live by the sea, the morning often emerges slowly from a mysterious and echo-y blanket of fog, under which the sounds of birds drift in and out as if from a far and distant land, even though they are just in the woods behind the garden.

In special preparation for the June 7th “ Your Magical Garden” class, I have been sitting with the Wild Weeds throughout the day and especially in the early primeval hours just before the Sun breaks through to burn off the mists. With notebook and portable chair, I have been sitting in the middle of the Mugwort patch, at the edges of the Stinging Nettles  under the budding white pine tree, side-by-side with the renegade blackberry vines, in front of the yellow dock, meadowsweet and elecampane, over the dandelions, and near the wild lettuce and baby poke, waiting in silence and stillness for them to “speak” to me as to why they are there, especially in MY yard, and what they want to communicate. And, trust me…they DO.

MUGWORT this year is especially vibrant…and unless you are a Wild Weed yourself, or a Greening might be one of those Muggles (NO relation to the plant!) who think that you better call Chem-Lawn to help clean up the edges of your lawn. NO! NO!

Mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris) is a wonderfully magical and medicinal herb that has come to the aid of those of us who need a digestive remedy, or to help with a woman’s monthly cycle, or as an ally to stimulate your dreams and intuition (and much more). Tho this herb provides nourishing help to both men and women, it is one of the “magical” herbs for the especially powerful “deep seeing” gifts of the elder woman, who often recognizes what is amiss within the family, the tribe, or the society and is called to speak in behalf of balance and right relationship. For that “straight talk,” stimulated by the visions and dreams unlocked by this magical plant, the assistance of Stinging Nettle, which stands tall and commands respect if you do not treat her respectfully, can give courage to voice….but, that is another be shared in another post, forthcoming (or at the workshop..)”

***NOTE!  Check in a day or two for Part 2 to this essay: More on the place of “Dreams” in the world of Plant Spirit Medicine and a Dreamer’s Tea recipe!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit


   There is much magic in life! Check my other blogs!

  For the magic of positive words for a happy life:

For the magic of music and playing piano:

For the magic of good eating! :

Bamboo Forest


It is a tradition in our family to take a walk in nature together when they come back to visit on the holidays. Sometimes by the sea, often in the woods of oak, beech or birch on winding trails with fallen logs and lichen covered boulders along the sides of the path, we  being refreshed and inspired by the wildness of the earth.

This time we visited a local compound of unusual shops that has always been a strange and unique place here tucked away on a small side road in our little New England coastal community. Oddly called “The Umbrella Factory” it is reminiscent of the funky artsy shoppes and culture of the hippy 60’s with an amazing garden and garden center, falling down barns, wandering peacocks, ducks and guinea hens, fenced-in pens with sheep, and  large rumbling ostrich-like birds.

The vegetation, though cared-for and apparently tended, still has a witchy-wild draping of massive tangled vines and strange plants that radiate an energy of mischief and …well….the unexpected as if unseen forces are watching US!

In the back of the property is a huge stand of bamboo…so thick, deep and wide  that it is indeed a forest…and a path has been cut through it now which is too tempting to NOT walk into and through the growth to see where it leads and eventually ends up.


It is dark in there. And the canopy so thick that there is no sky, but rather an enormously high vault of  bamboo poles and green leafy ceiling.  Indeed it feels as if one has entered into a mysterious cave with no way out but THROUGH or going back the way you came in. There are a number of false paths on the sides that lead nowhere so following the straight cleared path ahead is wise.

Bamboo is a whole other kind of plant… hard, hollow, and segmented,  it has an ancient and prehistoric feel to it by touch and sight.. I can almost imagine dinosaurs crushing their way through such a forest. Even though it absolutely tempts one to cut a stalk down and make a flute for music, it voluntarily makes the music of percussion on its own in heavy wind, or clacking if one walks through the woods hitting the large pillars with a stick while moving through. It is, in its segmented growth, a perhaps very distant relative (at least in  ancient spirit) to the tiny segmented horsetail plant that grows low to the ground and which we love to pull apart gently and obsessively, separating each level of growth.

(Above: Horsetail)

The Bamboo Plant has captured my imagination!

Tonight I prepare dinner and in taking out my green-to-eat IMG_8864 - Copyvegetable…asparagus…I  think also that this plant seems very ancient as well and looks like a little bamboo too, tho I hardly imagine making a flute out of it!


The Bamboo Forest here in New England at the Umbrella Factory is a very strange forest and a nearby adventure to enchant (or unsettle) children and adults with fairy-tale imaginations…a different kind of woods walk for sure!

My son-in-law finds his way back out to where we entered:


From Christine, The Greening Spirit


portal 5Please visit my other blogs for walking through other part of life!

For Music, Piano and Memoirs:

For comfort food and cooking memoirs:

For positive thinking and speaking for a satisfying life:






Night sky

It is a Holy Night. It is a night of especially Sacred Mystery. It is Solstice, Dec 21, 2014 , the official first day of Winter..the frozen fallow season in the Northern Hemisphere… and the night when the earth is tilted on its axis farthest away from the sun while rotating and whirling in its orbit without spinning off wildly into the even darker void.

And to add to the power and mystery of this evening, a new moon is emerging from its three days of hidden solitude and into the darkest night of the year at the same time, inviting us twice to ponder the eventual returning Light of both SUN and MOON and what they each symbolize for our lives. This unusual occurrence is a metaphor, if not a sacred omen,  portending the possibility of  the healing of darkness in people and cultures at war and unrest with grief and suffering,

There is an even deeper message with the emergent new moon on this night for the much needed Divine Feminine to make Herself fully present to us as we go forth into the new year when the old Patriarchal systems are breaking down all around us and around the planet, surrounding us with chaos and confusion.


SolsticeThe Divine Fire/Sun of the sacred masculine gifts of fertility and guardianship merging with the Divine Lunar Feminine gifts of Nurturing and 1510562_613984021984137_1944865603_nProtection is more possible ….and necessary at this time of history. His-story plus Her-story = Our-story.




And so, now is a feast of the Cosmos,  and of the indigenous earth-centered or Pagan Path of Sacred Mystery on this Solstice/SOULstice night. THIS holy time calls us to look deeper into the symbols and metaphors of what the Dark, the Light, the ever-faithful; seasonal cycles , the cold, the wind, the ice,  and the  powerful forces of Nature have to teach us about our proper place in Creation. This night is about our Creaturehood, our vulnerability, our humility, as well as our magnificence since we too are made of star-stuff and the Flame of Life that animates us while we are here. We are Sun, Star, Moon, Water, Flesh, Fire and Air. 

Tonight, it is good to step outside into the cold and dark and gaze up into the sky, listening to the silent sleeping of nature, and the winds moving through the bare branches. It is then time to go back inside and light a candle, symbolic of fire’s power to bring us warmth, joy, passion, and Life.

Solstice/SOULstice…and many blessings upon us all!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

christine_phoenix_green ** Note: Artwork credits: unknown


Capricorn Tree

Oh the gifts we give and get throughout the holiday season!  Sometimes they truly fulfill a desire, sometimes they elicit that weird smile that accompanies the phrase…” uh, gee…thankssssssss..uh…so much?”  and the confused inner question (“what were they thinking????). Holidays require a sense of humor!

As a piano/music teacher for over 30 years, I have received my share of musical Christmas ornaments for the tree, mugs with the musical staff imprinted on the sides, curvy black and white keyboard flower vases  and treble clef earrings. All gifts from appreciative students and their thoughtful parents accepted with grace and gratitude.

Not all gifts from family who are not with each other for most of the year are deeply personal although the gifting itself is sweet … another pair of fuzzy socks, a gift card to the supermarket, or a stick-on-the-wall light that comes on with a mere tap so you don’t fall down the cellar stairs.

But sometimes, there is a very special gift that is deeply personal, coming from the heart and hands of the giver and sent on purpose with love and directly to the heart of the receiver.

In my daughter M’s last year at an away-college, she would spend her evenings with her boyfriend who was a landscape architect major at the “studio” where the students worked on their design projects for the semester. A large long room for setting out displays and installations was the place for creativity.

Somewhere over the years I had waxed poetic over the little artsy crafted trees in specialty gift stores…some with leaves of jade,  some with bare branches. And “M” had that memory tucked away on file in her “about Mom” data bank.

That holiday season I received one of the best gifts of all time:  a  hand-made wire solstice tree on a base of slate. M had crafted this over the course of that semester in the evenings at the landscape architecture studio…long 10 foot length pieces of the thinnest wire, twisted and wrapped with care into this little tree, it being naked and bare in the winds of winter, branches blown sideways into the elements. No craft kit, no instructions to follow… a creation from herself, a gifted crafter who loves to figure these kinds of things out as a puzzle. The tree was fixed into the base of slate with the help of her boyfriend’s father, a dentist who had some other tools and crafty ideas himself.

My surprise and delight was just what she had envisioned…! What a gift!

Each year this tree comes out onto my piano in December, with a red tinsel garland around the base and the single tiny red bulb hung in its vulnerable, so simple and so ready to be present first to December and the dark and cold, then to the Solstice with that tiny ball of red..a berry of aliveness when everything is asleep underground, and finally as a reminder to keep the true spirit of Christmas by being still and present through simplicity and love.

Twenty years have gone by since I received this treasure…and today, on my daughter’s birthday…I send her a  BIG hug and another THANK YOU for this little wire Solstice Tree… and for her own beautiful self who was our Christmas gift the year she “arrived”.  Happy Birthday, Dearie, with love!

From Christine (Mom), The Greening Spirit



Me and M on her FIRST day of school (kindergarten) sooooo long ago!






Burnt Siena

The new box of crayons! Flipping open the top of that collection of 64 colors was always such an exciting deal, as a child, as a mother and as a grandmother watching the eyes of youngsters light up with the dazzling vibrant possibilities.

The Crayola Crayons have been replaced by other forms of coloring tools…pencils, gel pens, markers fine-tipped or thick, with or without sparkles. But none of these offer the variety of hues as that box of crayons.

My favorite crayon was always the Burnt Sienna…and is still. In nature, where there are Autumn oaks, there are lighter and darker shades of this color when the season changes from summer to deep fall…I seek it out amongst this seasons colors that will soon be a limited palette of black, grey, brown and white. A combination of brown/pink/salmon all mixed together, create in Burnt Sienna a warmth and comfort that I find irresistible.

The Celtic Catholic Priest (Druid?) once said that we need to have new names and concept for “God”. He called God the Great Artist.

Works for me.

Thanks for the brushstrokes of Burnt Sienna this season.

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

 My other colorful blogs:

Comfort food!


Words and Thoughts Magic!





I’m not sure what it is about autumn that evokes such a feeling of tenderness in me towards the little leaves that carpet the landscape, and the broken lichen-covered tree limbs that lay nestled in the colorful piles upon the forest floor. They are all “passing”  now to eventually dissolve back into the earth, but during that process, they are still teaming with life as food and nourishment for other living forms. If one could capture a visual of the enzymatic activity on film, it would all dazzle and sparkle in the breakdown and constant release of life energy.

They don’t go out without sensual beauty..the colors, the shapes, the crackling of dryness underfoot when  trod upon, the scent of the turning…pungent and earthy… I love them in their bold fragility, my heart full of compassion for the generosity of their being. I want to keep them forever, though I understand that that is not the way of life or the purpose of this season…

IMG_8731Back home, I bring the essence of Nature from this walk into my very self with a steaming cup of Lavender Tulsi Tea, lightly sweetened with locally tapped maple syrup. It’s as close and personal as I can get to holy communion with the energies of the Autumn Woods…


From Christine, The Greening Spirit

woodsmeMy other blogs:

Music and Music Memoirs:

Comfort Food and Cooking Memoris:

Word Magic/Positive Life Experiences:








woods deep colors

Kettle Pond Sanctuary, Charlestown RI.

Maybe it is because I am a Taurus earth sign with a Cancer rising water sign that the woods and the sea have always been magical places for me . When the world of civilization and complexities of daily life as a child and as an adult became and become overwhelming, these two places in nature have always been sanctuary for sorting out and regaining equilibrium.

As a child growing up in an inner city in New York state, concrete buildings and sidewalks did not allow much greenery except for the parks which we frequented on Sundays or holidays, and the wild weed plant life along the edges of parking lots or between apartment buildings. Later, moving upstate to more rural countryside, the GREEN of farmlands and un-fussed over lawns was everywhere,  and for a city kid…this was pure heaven. I remember the day we moved into our first home  (instead of an apartment) in our new town. My brother age 8, and I, age 11 rolled and frolicked with delight in the soft lush grass in our first REAL backyard. We could hardly believe that we had our very own expanse of GREEN!

Upstate, there were also many areas all around us that were semi-wooded..trees, ferns, ponds, bushes, little streams of running water with frogs in them even! On the property of a small estate bordering our  middle class neighborhood, I discovered a discreet earthen  path that led into a deeply wooded area with a rushing babbling brook winding its way through the hidden grove of standing and fallen trees and plant life. In this grove was a little naturally cleared circle in which one could comfortable sit, unseen by civilization. Often I would disappear into those woods for comfort, centering and a state of what I can only call childhood prayer. I think of those days with longing, and with the memory that those were  the days when a child could safely disappear into the woods without fear of being kidnapped or harmed, and also the days when children could DO something like that or WANT TO do something like that instead of learning about the world by googling the word “nature” or playing virtual games with pictures of the woods on a computer. My grandchildren do not have the opportunity these days to  safely disappear and “get lost” in those hidden places free from adult supervision, commercialism and “virtual reality”.

I still seek out these hidden woods and forests for centering, balance, perspective, inner  peace, prayer and INTERFACE with the magical energies and spirits of the natural wildness. Mostly at nature preserves with trails…and always with a camera. There is so much going on in these places…shapes, colors, textures, qualities of light and shadow, the ongoing dramatic interplay of life and death..things growing, things breaking down in an exquisite economy in which nothing is wasted.

These places, for me, are where I go when I need to just leave the madness of the world’s confusion, contradiction and insanity… to withdraw mentally and physically,  and metaphorically  “get lost” in the holy and magical sanctuary of the woods, which in itself is a beautiful and sacred text of wisdom,  if one knows how to read it!

woods connection FB

From Christine, The Greening Spirit


There are many places to find wisdom! Check my other blogs!

For music and music memoirs:

For delicious comfort food:

For positive attitude and life experience:



As photographers, we are always looking “deeply” into the world around us…horizons wide or far, vast skies or scenarios, closeups of the inner realms of flowers or the true stories behind the faces of people, colors that enchant, shapes and angles that tease the eye, shadows and the play of light that alternatively cloak and reveal mysteries hidden in plain sight.

I have a call to capturing and photographing “windows and doorways” leading to hidden realms and territories that may be home to otherworldly treasures, or at least to deeper meanings of life beyond superficiality and speed. Therefore, I am always “cropping” to get closer to my subjects or to frame a portal in order to accept the invitation to step out of ordinary consciousness and into the territory of “Dream”.

When one of my daughters saw this picture, she asked what is that shape in the center of the picture in the woods beyond the portal.  Is it a tombstone? Or maybe a small boulder? Or better yet…ANOTHER doorway to a yet even deeper more mysterious territory? I could not answer her really, because although I took the photo, I don’t actually remember seeing that in the larger uncropped picture until I worked with the image of the circular bent tree branch forming a doorway. Shall we call whatever it is a “mystery” for you to name with your own imagination? What would you like it to be? What story of it would you like to tell?

It is said that we, moving so fast and pre-occupied in our overly busy daily lives, often hear but don’t really “listen”, and look but don’t really “see”. That, perhaps, is because although our ears and eyes are such powerful and amazing sensing organs gathering the information,  it is the Heart  that truly interprets the input..  The Heart therefore is the real organ of Deep Listening and Deep Seeing, in which, if we take the time to crop and focus in our interpersonal interactions, gifts us with a depth for understanding the mysterious territories…the “interiority”  of those places, experiences and people with whom we are in relationship.

Whether in photography, nature, the arts, relationships or Dream, there is ALWAYS more beyond the portal.

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

portal 5Life is multi-faceted…please visit my other blogs at your leisure..!

For love of music and music teaching memoirs:

For delicious comfort food recipes and cooking memoirs:

For the magic of words and positive attitudes:




Bubbles 2

Do you have a dream? A tender longing in your heart for something not yet experienced, or fulfilled? A secret love for life’s sweet potential or creative expression that wants to pour out of you, framing your world in circular Beauty?

Our dreams for a better more fulfilling way of life are often tender and fragile like bubbles in the air. I do believe as they are breathed through us by the Divine Artist and out into the world that they hold within their radiantly colored boundaries, everything we need for them to be fulfilled, sustained by the breath of God.

When they burst of their own accord, they shower everything with colorful droplets of the dream to seed the air all around with the creative vision, manifesting in its own timely fashion.

Yet when intercepted prematurely with a finger and negative words by naysayers, the Bubble Bursts and its secrets fall to the ground in heavy wetness, the integrity and potential of its inner surprises pierced and deflated.

Bubbles 3

Please don’t burst my Bubble when I share my dream with you but kindly add your  own breath and gently blow it forward to see how far it will travel before exploding with finesse into the winds of creation! In that we will both be surprised and delighted….. together.



Note:  I captured these happy bubbles when my very grown-up son-in-law was on the deck with the children of our family during a summer visit, keeping themselves and HIMSELF amused. Squeals and claps of merriment from all!

Bubbles 1

With love from Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise  My other blogs are the result of my “dreams and visions”

For Love of Music and the Performing Arts:

For delicious recipes and kitchen memoirs:

For Art of Allowing/Law of Attraction:


Tree 15

There has been a festival of color underfoot on my front lawn as I walk across it to my car or to pick up the mail.  The Japanese maple, home to hundreds, maybe even thousands of tiny leaves, has released them each for their one solo flight, back to the earth. They are dressed gayly for the occasion, not in mourning but for the resting place and the next phase of transformation after summer’s greening work on the tree, now completed.

They are so small and perfect in their pointed edges, some quite tiny and oh so happy in splendid hues of yellow, gold, red, orange and cream. They are also so vulnerable too at this time of surrender and for the oddest reason, as I walk though, over or around them, I am filled with love and tenderness at their now fragile and fleeting beauty…I feel such compassion for them…I feel like their Mother.

Some come in with me for little altars and the warmth of candlight in my home. IMG_8623They are with me at the piano while I teach so I can see them and offer them sanctuary near the music and near friendly people who, like me, think them adorable and a wonder…like we used to feel about the babies in our lives. Such tenderness.

Little Leaves, we love you…..


From Christine, The Greening Spirit





  Please visit my other blogs too! 


For love of music:

Food memoirs and recipes (yum!):

For manifesting a positive life:




Tree 10

Shamans in ancient and modern rituals and ceremonies, through the use of potent brews, mushrooms and scents go into altered states  in which they slip through a portal of natural time into a place of deep-seeing. In this alternative state of consciousness, they move through a dreamlike journey between this world and the Other, perceiving colors, shadows, shapes and energies not readily discernible in normal time, but existing simultaneously with what we call “real”.  They are “under-the-influence” of chemical and magical substances with inherited knowledge and caution, to see and experience a level of beauty, connectedness and possibilities we ordinarily cannot see. They are DEEP-SEEING and eventually come back to full mundane consciousness with a deeper knowing and perception of the way things REALLY are in this world.

I am under the influence of  the PICASA  photographic editing program and beautiful music at full volume with head phones as I write this post…and a my magical brew,  a healing tea of the Ojibway peoples of Canada. Though the MAGIC of technology I work with the image of the tree in my Yarden to see what it might really look like through the portal from this world into the Other, where colors and light and textures are even more wondrous that what our senses perceive on this side of daily-here life.

There is a  joy in the world alongside this one..a treasure of Beauty and vibrancy, shimmering and radiating light and color in different modalities than we are used to. Things are not always as we perceive. There is a myth that altho blood when it hits the air is red, but when running through our veins, is the color blue. Look at your wrist! What is the truth? How are things, really?

Tree 15


Under the influence of Picasa, beautiful music, and Ojibwa tea of woodland herbs and bark…the amazing beauty of this Autumn is almost more than we can  comprehend. For the possibilities of what it might truly be through Deep-Seeing, I am awed and delighted. And waltzing to the music in my living room in between writing!

Tommy Bhetty’s Waltz…. (for YOUR waltzing pleasure!)

From Christine, the Greening Spirit
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BIG frost on oak-001

Leaves under the Japanese maple in my yarden


It has always been my way since I was a teenager in my parent’s home, to open the blinds to let the morning light into the room. For most of my adult life however, I have lived at ground level with sliding glass doors to a deck surrounded by woods, trees, shrubs, field and bodies of water at the far edges of greenery. My firs awakening step during these years has been to slide the glass door open to greet the morning and listen to the sounds of nature…the symphony of winds, birds and creatures, and the faraway hint of the sea. This morning ritual has always been like a wordless prayer of attention, a grounding that reminds me of my creatureliness and connection to the world of nature, being OF it, not above or outside of it. Nature is musical and it does have a repertoire of sounds and songs each season.

Early spring? Open the sliding glass door and there is an occasional solitary birdsong that has not been heard for many months of winter. But then, suddenly …PEEPERS somewhere off in hidden bodies of water in and around civilization, whatever that is for us where we are. Have we ever actually seen Peepers? Not usually, but they are THE music of early spring into pre-summer.

Summer? Where I have always lived in the Northeast, on the coast but surrounded by trees, shrubs and greenery the natural symphony is alive, vibrant and Fortissimo especially all through the night…birds of all kinds of feather, bullfrogs, tree frogs, buzzing insects like cicadas and especially the hard to describe incessant chorus of CRICKETS.  There have been nights when I have stood for an hour or more after midnight in the dark by an open window facing the woods with the overhanging canopy of trees forming an umbrella of green over my house..just to listen to the wild but celebratory symphony of our New England rainforest..expecting at any one moment to hear the cry of a jaguar as well.

In the mornings of summer into early fall, the sliding deck door get opened and there UNFAILINGLY is the ever-present low to the ground choir of crickets..a presence you can count on just as surely as the rising sun of morning. All is alive and fertile and in movement and so are we in spirit and in habits of summer play, socializing and travel.

But what are the seasons but the Turning of the Great Wheel. The summer’s heat begins to cool and give way to brisk nights and chilly mornings. We open the sliding glass door to the deck and woods and there is a thinning of the chorus..and with each night and early morning tinged with a chill, the symphony turns into a chorus, the chorus turns into a quintet, a quartet, a trio..spread out wide…of cricket song.

And then one morning, sometime in November, upon awakening and peering out beyond the glass of the sliding glass doors, we are greeted by a sparkle and coating of  crystals upon all branches, dried stalks and fallen leaves. We slide the door open gently and the silence is almost louder than the wild rainforest of summer. The silence is stunning and non-negotiable…everything, EVERYTHING is still and birdsong in the grey, no crickets..not even one solitary voice…a powerful silent call to pulling in for reflect on all that has happened during the busy times, for hearth and home whether that means going back into and under the earth, or to tend the fires of the woodstove in your cottage .

The morning when the crickets go silent is a personal holy day for me. Its date on the calendar is not fixed and I always know it is coming,  yet it always catches me by surprise when that morning arrives..the beauty of that first hard crystalline frost with the inevitable bittersweet  accompaniment of the Great Silence, the time to dive deep under the covers of leaves or blanket to sleep and dream into the next turn of the wheel.

The morning when the crickets go silent.


From Christine, The Greening Spirit

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Dollmakers13 Peartree-001


We have just come though mid-term elections here in the United States and the Greening Spirit is not happy.  By whatever forces made it happen… general ignorance in the populace informed by faux news and media sources, sloth, or the influences of billions of dollars and dark money from and for corrupt power structures.. those who have produced rotten fruit…and also NO FRUIT at all from their own lack of greening spirit…have been reinstated or inserted into the governing bodies that shape our national agendas, and our society.

Humans can be awesomely creative, generous, visionary for a better future for all, courageous for the good, humorous and just. Humans can also be self-serving, greedy, manipulative, deceptive and easily deceived, and just plain evil. Societies rise or fall on these noble virtues or “sins” and failures of integrity.

We are in dangerous and disheartening times in this country and it seems that hatred, greed, ignorance and plutocratic interests and money have won the public upper hand. It’s not a new story. The arts through literature, theater and film have portrayed this kind of epochal cultural slide in revealing and prophetic “myths” like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and stunningly, the movie AVATAR. Except “myth” is not make-believe. It is the capturing and revelation of truth.

What are we to do in a culture and society that is withering? That is becoming soul-less and soul-stealing and sterile of spirit and  good fruit?

After un-curling from the momentary fetal-position, let us look around our immediate home environments..the small business community run by local friends,  our gardeners and farmers, our  dogma-free, non-fundamentalist churches, to our artists, musicians, writers of integrity and poets..right where we are. Make art or music or poetry ourselves. Sing, dance, paint, give greetings to strangers, pay something foreward, use good manners and courtesy daily, give thanks for beauty wherever you find it. FIND YOUR VOICE and the courage to speak out for what you believe in with great excitement and enthusiasm rather than (or at least more than) the things you are screaming and raging against. Bear the good FRUIT..the juicy, sweet and tangy fruit of good works, generosity, inspiration and love.

This essay is called “REQUIEM: By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them”.  A requiem by definition is a ritual Mass for the DEAD.  It involves grief and then letting go.

Let us grieve over the deaths of virtue, peace, justice and nobility in many areas of our national culture, and with careful but definitive releasing, let go of the institutions of barren or rotten fruit. DISCERNMENT.

In the meantime, let us choose to cultivate and become the Fruit that sustains life…and that is, life that is both nourishing, aesthetic and sweet. Do it somehow, somewhere where you are. Use your imagination. Be green and bear some fruit. NOW. TODAY.

“In the people who were meant to be green…..” ~ Hildegarde of Bingen

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

self Oct 2


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Shy Pumkin 2

One delightful thing about a garden is the element of surprise when things that were hidden are suddenly revealed…finding the last fat strawberry in a row picked clean, discovering the lone crisp cucumber growing behind the garden fence, unexpectedly coming upon the treasured secret patch of nettles under the drooping branches of the white pine. ” Oh look!” we exclaim appreciating the sudden revelation and gift.

A garden teaches us so many things about life and how to live it well and compassionately. Matthew Fox, the Catholic/Anglican priest and theologian, once silenced by the Vatican for his “radical” spirituality  wrote something like: If we shelved all holy books for about ten years and went out mindfully in Nature instead, we would learn everything we needed to know about how to live a just life,  from the Earth.

As the garden plants begin to wind down from their job of flowering and fruiting, they are not as physically attractive as in the weeks of youthful promise and birthing. Drying out, browning, marred by powdery mildew, it seems that soon it will be time to clear things out in the garden as in its deep maturity, things are just about over, its gifts utilized, savored and fully harvested…

And then…aha! Amidst the drooping, tangled mass of drying out green leaves and vines, a sudden tiny flash of orange… one shy pumpkin who up until this moment-in-time has been living its tender and vulnerable life hidden from view, quietly  practicing perfecting its vibrant color, rounding out its flesh and form as a container of many seeds and inspirations for the furthering of life, all in secret under the  mass of the green and busyness of the dominant culture of the garden in full swing, in public.

One shy pumpkin. Doing its special pumpkin thing quietly out of sight just for the pleasure of being a pumpkin with no need for notoriety and fame. OR maybe… could it be the tender vulnerability and shyness to avoid harsh or unkind competitive comparisons, judgments or rejection that had kept it hidden deep under the uniformity of all those shades of green and the protective canopy of (seeming) flashier veggie-kin?

Shy pumpkin’s time has come…a little later perhaps than others of her kind. But then its always a matter of time, isn’t  it, as my counseling astrological colleagues know. When the  time and we are ripe and right, the shyness can give way to courage because we suddenly realize that we don’t have endless time as either pumpkins or people to pass on our unique delectability and our seeds, being part of the larger cosmic cycle of birth-life-death-recycling back into birth and on and on…….

Which makes me also recall a one-liner from one of those holy books momentarily shelved while we wander about gardens and woods seeking the wisdom of those place of sacred scripture…

“Do not hide your light under a basket”   (at least not forever.)

Shy Pumpkin


The timing is everything: “Come out, come out wherever you are, Shy Pumpkin! We long for and need your delicious fruit and your seeds!”   NOW!





From Christine, The Greening Spirit

self Oct 2  Don’t miss my other blogs about living life well!

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Photo credit: Christine Phoenix Green, 2014

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