Archive for January, 2015


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

Moi hat 2 My other blogs:

Cooking for Pleasure and Comfort- http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

The Power of Words and Intention- http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

Piano teaching hints, memoirs and beautiful music- http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

 

 

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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: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

The wonder of music and piano:  http://pianomisyress.wordpress.com

The wonder of intentional words: http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 

 

Mugwort

Mugwort

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: “..it 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 ..no 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 stone..you 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: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.com (generous use of culinary herbs!)

For beautiful music inspiration, piano and music memoirs: http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

For the power of manifestation and good words: http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Spirit..you 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 story..to 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

woodsme

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

  For the magic of positive words for a happy life: http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

For the magic of music and playing piano: http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

For the magic of good eating! : http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

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