Tag Archive: Mugwort


Tea

In our herbal traditions, it is suggested to work with each herb individually in making our teas, this practice called “a simple”. This is a good practice, like getting to know an acquaintance more deeply by visiting one-on-one, exchanging stories and experiences and transforming from “acquaintance” to “friend”. This is also especially important when preparing tea for medicinal purposes, letting each herb do its special thing in specific circumstances needing balance or healing.

But there is also tea-making for “energetic”, spiritual or magical purposes as well and for this I have always been inspired to make blends, combining several herbs for qualities of character and soul that I am working with and hoping to bring into myself or life experience.

When I make tea in this way,I steep it for many hours..in the sun, or overnight even, then strain and refrigerate. While hydrating during the day, I do half clear drinking water and half of the herbal blend  in a tall glass to drink over the hours. I am conscious and present to why I am doing this, taking in the qualities of my herbal friends to live more peacefully, more kind, more creatively and magically, ever open to the support of synchronicities and communications from the loving and fun-loving invisible world.

Yesterday’s blend was a mix of  garden-fresh mugwort, motherwort and nettles with added dried lemon balm and spearmint.

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What properties was I bringing into my own self from these delightful allies and friends?

Mugwort=the herb of elder wise-women who “see” and know the deeper meaning of events and discerns the ways of people and nature (the “seer”),  the herb that opens the third eye of deep-seeing and dreams.

Motherwort= the herb of the loving brave-hearted Lioness Mother (Leonurus cardiaca), the herb that strengthens us in adversity, installing courage into our spirits to face persnal challenges and to be able to sturdily support others ie our children and grandchildren in their need. Leadership with a big heart.

Nettles = The Pfeisty herb full of green power, allowing us to speak up when “pissed off” or prickly for just causes,  nourishing and toning the whole of our spirits (and body..) inside and out. Stregnth and clarity of purpose.

Lemon Balm = which “maketh one merry”,  sweetness, calming and good humour in all circumstances.

Spearmint = Sweetness and the ability to “keep cool” under pressure or the heat of life circumstances. A practical addition to temper the bitter flavors of mugwort and motherwort as well.

 Magical Mugwort (with red clover blossom)

Magical Mugwort (with red clover blossoms)

 

 

Mighty Motherwort

Mighty Motherwort

 

Nettles (ouch!)

Nettles(ouch!)

When making this tea, I do not have specific proportions.Walking through the garden and grounds with paper bag or basket and scissors, I pick and snip. In the kitchen, I strip the leaves (be careful of the STING when handling the nettles) into a quart jar, filling it with what I have collected, cover with boiling water and tighten a lid on the jar. I steep it in the sun, or on the counter or shelf in my room for hours or over night (I love keeping my friends close by!) Later, straining, refrigerate and add to my drinking water.IMG_2174

There are herbalists like Matthew Wood, who go by the principle that “less is more” and I find that even diluting this tea further in my drinking water, that definite and significant benefits are experienced in my psyche, spirit AND physical body.

Next week, I WILL be preparing “simples” to re-new my relationships with the various herbs and their properties and effects more intimately, like sitting down with a good friend to catch up.

But for today I call in the essences of courage, big hearted motherly/grandmotherly love, fierce and prickly truth telling in today’s dangerous political climate, the magic born of dreams and deep-seeing wisdom, a cool headed approach to what I have to do, and hopefully a merry heart and a sense of humor to hold it all lightly.

A note to consider..This tea with the mugwort and motherwort is a “bitter”..great for toning the liver, but  more acceptable to seasoned herbalists. To make it a pleasant experience for newbies, I suggest making a tea of lemon balm, spearmint and nettles, adding just a few leaves of mugwort and motherwort for the special essences of those two.

ps. I’d love to know who you are who read these posts from around the world! Don’t be shy…leave a comment, say hi or share a story that relates to the post!

 

YellowFrom Christine, the Greening Spirit

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*** 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!..hot 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:

Do you love music? http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

Do you love delicious fresh food? http://sensuous soupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

Do you hope for positive life experiences? http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 

 

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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.

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         (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.

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(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!

hydrangea

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

please visit my other blogs too!

http://sensuousoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

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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.

Ferns

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.

Mugwort

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. 

Elder

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

My other blogs have magic as well!

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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!

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Mugwort Magic and Medicine!

Mugowrt

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 a “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  and Milkweed, 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: This is a re-post from 2011. When I check on what posts are searched for, I find that “mugwort/and herbs” are often clicked on here…sharing again. But perhaps more to follow. I LOVE mugwort!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise

 

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