Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Not herbal, but miraculous!



Am am the oldest of 4 children. I am the only one that has been married(twice)
The second oldest, who is 40, decided that while family was in town for the holiday, he and Jenn would marry.
So this was a huge and unexpected event for our family which really made Christmas even more special.
Being together is always difficult anyway, and some of my children were not there, but all my brothers were and we all witnessed this together.

Family.....with the current economy scares and people feeling so insecure in life right now, it is FAMILY that will keep up strong. Without money to do things independantly, the core of what makes our lives important might be more focused upon and cherished.
What family means to each of us might be different. It could mean us and our partner, or children, or our parents and siblings too. I know not everyone has good relationship with family, but if there is someone with whom you bond with, nurture those relationships.

I have been thinking of the economy woes, and I have spoken out several times about not falling prey to the scares announced all over, but to TRUST. Embracing those headlines and fearing what is to come is really not anything to embrace.
On the other hand, some people are falling prey by losing jobs, houses and such.
It is a real issue.

So I spent time pondering the economy, which is part has effected me, and came to a conclusion that I see many positive things coming out of it.

People aren't spend crazy like normal. People are thinking more of what they truly need instead of being wasteful. That is HUGE in our country to begin to repair a countrywide lifestyle of waste. How can we be grateful when we are wasteful? I dont see those 2 being very compatible.
The green trends, despite the popularity, is a good thing. People are becoming more aware of what is best for the planet(which includes ourselves and those we love)

We must take care of our home-she nurtures us and brings us our most needed provisions. Without a healthy earth, we receive second best from her. Or worse, polluted, and unhealthy CRAP!

With 2008 closing in, a new year with new opportunities await each of us.
I love having that new chance to begin again and refocus in the winter months when thought can go into this more.

If I could say one word of encouragement today, it would be to look into 2009 with hope. Embrace those you love and spend time with them. Be aware of shifts in life, and that new opportunities might come along that never were thought of before.

I am hoping to arrive back to my humble apartment in Jackson in time to bring in the new year, but currently in Vegas with my people (family).
On another persons timetable to leave which has changed several times already.

But the positive in this is that we have been binding as a family, from my parents and my children to my oldest daughter and her child and all the others in between.
This is what matters is people and I am grateful to spend the last of a difficult year with them.

And with all the feasting and partying, I am now looking into Zumba for some excercise. I am feeling a little thicker this week...lol

Abundance and love to you in 2009
Kristena

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Shout Out! Some of us made the top 100 herb blogs


Top 100 Herb Blogs

I see some familiar blogger friends on the list too. YAY.

I was so happy to see this because to me, it shows the need to work together in our skills to help our communities.

My daughter is preparing for nursing school and it was also very reassuring to send her this link and say, "See, the medical community as we know it needs the unity and care that we can give".

Thank you nursingdegree.net for choosing my blog and for even looking into the musings and research of many herbalist devoted to our path. I trust this is a good step forward in the change so many of us desire in our medical system.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Catching a cold? Your kitchen holds the help you need.



In my experience, these 2 kitchen spices are miracle foods in the truest sense of the word miracle.

I want to share a couple stories with you and some simple recipes to help you with this winter ail.

Prior to Thanksgiving, I had company for 2 weeks straight practically. It was wonderful and fun and I have no regrets, but also my visitors were here during one of the busiest times of the year for me with Christmas orders and a bazaar to prepare for.
Along with this busy time, came colder weather and festive eating and drinking which as we know can really wear down the immune system.
The Friday evening after Thanksgiving, it came. A dreaded cold. The first night I did nothing and retired early.
Waking up Saturday morning, I was worse than the night before.
At that point I felt miserable and could hardly get anything done.

So I made haste to my kitchen. I pulled a chunk of ginger and 2 cloves of garlic.
I drew some fresh water and began to bring that to a boil. Maybe 2 cups worth of water.
I then grated ginger. Once the water came to a boil I took my water off the heat and added my grated ginger to the pot and allowed to steep for awhile.
As that was steeping, I crushed the garlic and allowed it to sit out for at least 15 minutes to release the powerful component,allicin.

Once the tea was ready I strained a cup and drank that slowly. I was in no hurry for heavens sake I was sick.:)
Once I got through my first cup I grabbed a pinch of the crushed garlic and put it into my mouth and washed it down with some water. Much like taking a vitamin or pill.

About an hour later, I felt like a brand new person! It was so amazing.
I also did this the next day along with echinacea and elderberry and osha for several days afterward to ensure I remained well.


So Sunday night my 11 year old comes home from a weekend with his dad. He looked sick and said he felt awful. So to bed he went the first night. The next day he too was miserable and so of course, I insisted he let me do the ginger and garlic with him to help him at least feel better.
After I administered all the herbs, I had to leave to take Olivia to her class. Jonathan had been laying around under a blanket when I left.
After dropping off Olivia and running by the grocery to pick up an organic chicken breast for some homeade soup, I arrived home to find my son up and happy. He asked me if he could go outside...lol
Your medicine worked mom, he said.
Well, of course he still needed to rest and keep up the immune building so I have him on echinacea several times a day now, and have him doing ginger again today.

Ginger is a warming herb and pushes through cold. It increases circulation and causes sweating.
Ginger taken before the garlic helps digestion prepare for this potent remedy and since the circulation is moving, gets the medicinal components through the body much quicker.
Garlic is a detoxifier and aids in respiratory disorders so well. If you are coughing due to bacteria type infection, garlic might clear that up quickly for you.
Both ginger and garlic are expectorant to help move out that stuck mucus from your lungs.
When I was sick, I did have lung issues. Jonathan did not have any lung issues with his cold, yet this remedy turned us around quickly in both our situations.

Dreamseeds and Dragon Lady stocking at Fresh



Please come by and see our affordable Christmas sets stocked tonight at Fresh
http://hyenacart.com/fresh

Friday, December 5, 2008

A casual interview about Wild Mane



Karen Fegelman is the creator of Hyena Cart. When Hyena Cart started, there was listings of high demand items such as cloth diapers and natural family needs. The shoppers would in turn wait around like a pack of hyena's waiting for a special something to be listed so that they could purchase that item.
So Hyena Cart was then named after these 'hyena packs'. And she created a fabulous interface for those work at home entrepreuners so that stocking is easy and affordable.
I have been using Hyena Cart for several years now and am so grateful for the opportunity to be there.
If you would like to find a place to put your wares, this is a good option for you!

So last night Karen had some questions for me on the shampoo bar Wild Mane, that I have created this winter.

Here is the questions and responses to that.





Would I be making any shampoo bars in the future with fruity scents, or fragrance oils?

First of all, as far as fragrances go I am not using them in my products at all and the main reason why is because they make me feel sick when using them. I decided my health and happiness was far greater than money and I had to learn that the hard way.

However, I will consider working with some other essential oil fragrances for shampoo bars. It takes alot of work to do what I do with extracting the oils so this is definately a work in progress as far as scents go.

What I do is target hair health and nourishment of the hair and scalp so I use herbs I gather and make oils specifically for that.
Then the essential oils I use will support the end result I am seeking.
For example Wild Mane shampoo bar is specifically for dryer, color treated, or normal hair mostly.
The essential oils I used are to support the scalp in the winter dryness. Most people are using wood stoves or heaters on top of the dry air normally in winter, this was what I created for this season.

I personally battle my scalp and hair in winter so this is definitely something close to my heart that I wanted to tackle.
So far it has proven successful for me-better than any product I have ever used including shampoos designed for flakiness.

What is the difference between hot and cold process soap -- not the difference in making it, but the difference in the resulting soap?

I made hot process a couple times and did not like it all so went back to cold process. So I feel I disserve the fine hot process soaper that really does a good job by sharing my experience...lol

The important thing for cold process is that you have to let the soap cure at least 3 weeks or longer for the bar to harden and become mild.
Also, with cold process, you have to use a heck of alot of essential oil to make it through the process if you are striving for an aromatherapy soap.
I want people to be uplifted all the way through the use of their bar, so I dont skimp on essential oils.
Hot process, might take less essential oils and would be ready much sooner than cold process soap. Usually after you make a hot process soap, it is ready.



What do you see as the main difference between regular soap and shampoo bars?

Shampoo bars are created with a different balance of oils. Castor bean oil is often used in shampoo bars. Castor is an excellent moisturizer, but not so much a good cleanser. That is why most body or everyday use soaps will not have castor, or just a small amount of castor.

Both olive oil and castor bean oil actually grab moisture out of the air and keeping it near your skin or hair and scalp.
So handmade soap with either of these ingredients will help keep the skin in good condition.
A regular bar of soap can actually be used on the hair, in fact some of my customers order regular soap for their entire body needs including shampooing.
My hair needs a shampoo bar. My children do well with regular soap for their hair. So it just depends on each person and their type of need.


What do you think are the best ingredients in a shampoo bar for those with dry or oily hair?


Well for dry hair, I like the castor and olive oil combinations mostly for that reason. Then of course essential oils.
In Wild Mane shampoo bar I use rosemary, peppermint, cedarwood, sage, lemon, ylang ylang and Italian lavender for scalp and hair care. These essential oils are good for normal to dry scalp and hair.

For oily hair, lemon and rosemary can be used for that as well, interestingly enough. I would also probably include geranium as well because that is known to help the hair and scalp not be so oily.

I think good circulation is also important to scalp health which is why I like the peppermint and rosemary in Wild Mane.

The nettles and horsetail I gathered from the wild and these ingredients work well for all hair types,strengthening the hair. Horsetail is an amazing herb for nails too.


Do you think a conditioner or acid rinse are necessary when using a shampoo bar?


Well, that is a good recommendation actually. All shampoo will build up on the hair eventually, so using 1 tsp of vinegar per pint of water on occasion will cleanse the hair naturally.

Using an herbal rinse is also alot of fun and healthy for your scalp.
Take a handful of your chosen herb and pour a pint of boiling water over the herb and allow to cool. Strain and add a small dash of vinegar.
When using this rinse, pour it over your head and try to let it sit on your hair and scalp a couple minutes. Hanging out in the tub makes it easier to enjoy an herbal rinse.

Rosemary -sage rinses have been used for dark hair.
Chamomile has been traditionally used for blonde hair.
You could use mint, nettles, or anything you'd like to really.

This makes the hair soft also.


One person used the Wild Mane shampoo bar and wrote me and said her hair was all over the place. Some people may feel they need a conditioner after using a shampoo bar.

What I recommend is Flax Seed Gel for a natural way to calm the fluff.

Take 1 Tbsp of Flax seed and simmer in 1 cup of water until it is reduced by half or about 10 minutes or so until a gel type consitancy begins to form.
Strain the seeds, and add your own essential oils if you'd like scent to your gel.
It will be different than store bought hair gel, but actually dual purpose to help hair not be so fluffy and also condition at the same time. It is very inexpensive to make as well. Refrigerate what you dont use and toss out after a few days.

Aloe vera gel I hear will also work if your hair gets too fluffy with a shampoo bar.

What do you find are the pros and cons of different oils when making a shampoo bar? What about olive vs. coconut oil? Also, do you think it likely that castor oil would cause build-up?

Well Olive and Castor are wonderful for attracting that moisture so many of us need.
Olive oil also does not inhibit any of the normal skin processes we need to accomplish , such as shedding dead skin cells or even sweating, so this is why it is the largest percent of my soap blends.
However by itself, the lather is pretty low and also the soap is pretty soft.

Coconut oil can be pretty drying if too much is used, but it sure helps with lather and hardness so I love using it.
Sweet Almond oil is mild and is emollient and a little goes a long way in soap.
Avocado contains vitamins A, D, E, protein, and so much more nutritionally, and it remains pretty intact throughout the soapmaking process. A little goes a long way with this oil as well.
Shea Butter is the same. It makes it through the rugged change of cold process soapmaking, and come through taking good care of our skin and hair. It is such a wonderful moisturizer for all skin types and also mild.
I use an organic fair trade butter that is not refined, so it can smell a bit strong, but worth it. All the nutrients are still there using this shea.
Palm oil is often used to help a bar harden. Since using too much coconut oil in a formula will by too drying for the skin, palm oil compliments by supplying the hardness and cleaning ability to keep the soap mild.
There are many other oils that are wonderful to work with for conditioning, cleaning, or nutrition, however most do not have a long shelf life, such as hemp or flax.

Some oils have an extremely strong smell, such as that fair trade shea I was discussing earlier. Castor can be strong as well.

So, I think each soapmaker finds what they love and works with it.
For me, I love the oils I use for my work because they all have positive benefits for the skin or hair and scalp. I buy 35 pounds of organic extra virgin olive oil every month or so because it is so worth it to have that in my formulas.
It is harder to work with in soapmaking, but I want the first and finest pressing in my soap, instead of the chemically extracted third pressing.

Following your heart and finding what you love to work with I think is what each of us goes through as soapmakers, and choosing the oils is part of that for us all.
A local soapmaker in my region uses Neem oil in her soap. I thought 'Neem Oil, how cool'. She is the first one I know that uses that.

So many oils are beneficial, and each of us are unique in our product and choose what we are drawn to.
I dont think there is so much a right or wrong oil, but just like art, what we create with what we love.


And here is Karen's review of Wild Mane on her blog Straight Talk on Natural Living

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A different holiday..wishing you the best of the season


So this year I am living in Wyoming and my husband is in Arkansas. This was the first in 8 years we had not celebrated together.

And interestingly, it was by far the best. No expectations, no family order, nothing like that.

Prior to the holiday my daughter and granddaughter came down for a few days. the above pic was an early Christmas we celebrated here with 6 of my 7 children. The wee one is my oldest granddaughter. We missed you Rachie and Meg!


My granddaughter and daughter play together


My oldest daughter and I get silly


My friend Michele and I have been friends for over 20 years. We were separated in the early 90's but I found her several years ago. We enjoyed a Thanksgiving dinner in the community.


My former brother in law John joined us as well as my sons and their dad, but they took off for another party before our pics were taken....lol all that food!
John spent time with us later in the evening and was discussing a lecture he heard of mens brains compared to womens brains and how we are scattered constantly multitasking and how men can actually sit and think of nothing. The way he discussed with us had us laughing so hard. Laughter is such good medicine!



Here we are after the rest of our group left. It was a delightful day. Michele helped me work on soap wrapping which usually takes days for me to accomplish. The both of us together got it done in a day. What a blessing!


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday-there really is no religious dogma or expectations...just a good time to be grateful for the harvest and celebrate with those you love.
I hope your upcoming season, however you celebrate will be joyful and abundant in love and peace.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Walk in the Wild part 4

As we went to hike a trail leading to a lake, some die hard ski enthusiasts marched quickly past us with joy and determination in their future plans. I have no idea if they were going to hike up the Grand and ski down it or not, but that is certainly the way they were headed. So I had to get a pic. People here tend to live on the edge and challenge is a normal thing for so many here.



Benny stands in the ice cold waters



We pause along the trail and do a connceting to the earth excercise where you stand and breath in bringing energy from the sky into your feet as if you are taking root in the earth. then breath in from the earth, through your body to the sky. Then breathe one more time and bring energy from the sky and earth into your center.

Then, in peace, I lay on the cold ground and enjoy the total peace the wild country provided me at that moment.

Then off to reach the lake. it was a beautiful lake with the Tetons behind it. There was a thin layer of ice. The boys and Ray skipped rocks on the icy layer, and the sound that made was so interesting. Kind of like some sound in a sci fi movie:)



We then found this. A childs notebook and a pen that had been left behind.


The lake itself...WOW


A trail beyond the lake to take us back to the car. Only 2 more miles kids...lol
A squirrels sound in the forest was so cool



The view heading back toward town. What a blissful day. Lets go have our picnic now! Were totally ready after that hike.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Walk in the Wild part 3

Driving deeper into the Gros Ventre mountains, we came onto a small herb of mountain sheep.
I was thrilled because this is not something commonly seen, like elk, antelope and deer.


It is wonderful living among the herds


Our family challenged each other to hike up a small steep hill and I am thrilled that both these children are good hikers. They have suprised me on more than one occassion taking steep trails.



Another spot near the Moose entrance of Grand Teton National Park.
We took a great hike here!







The littles and I stand on a bridge over a small clear creek.
There is that amazing Grand Teton always present:)


And Dad and the littles on the same bridge

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Walk in the Wild part 2

As our family walked through a forest path, a little bird made such a noise!

I am not sure if the presence of humans created this stir or if this bird does that anyway.
But it was sure cute




There was alot of this plant growing along the path




Ben attempts a hike up a steep hill and does it easily






There is almost no escaping the Teton range no matter where you go






Nature brings out the love in us all


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Walk with me for a week in the wild Part 1

With the short summer season here in the high altitude, sometimes a long fall comes after that.
This can be difficult for a town that depends upon tourism, because there is not a heavy snowfall. Here in the valley of Jackson, there is no snow on the ground.
My husband is here visiting and my daughter and granddaughter will be here in 2 days for a half week visit.
I am very content that we have had the weather we have had to explore some new places.

So I will share some of the majesty of our fall with you this week.

Our week began however with a delicious meal with a very good old friend. We brought along drums (thank you Heather and kelly for letting me borrow those) and shakers and a tamborine.
After dinner and conversation and alot of hot tea, we sat around and played.

It became very spiritual in nature and messages came from Spirit that brought forth the most amazing feeling, dancing and uplifting.
I will share a video of that wonderful period of time 'in that space'

A simple song came that night as we were playing and a little white girl soul came forth in singing.
The words that came through were
Love
Joy
Comfort
Peace
And that song has been in my mind all week in that soulful melody that night as well as some added 70's R&B sound that added to it during this past few days...lol
My 7 year old loves to film drumming so I must include not only this special beginning of the week but his passion in art.

The next day we did some hiking and sight seeing and with the weather so nice, the entire week has been to try and explore new territory before snow and ice hug the roads and make them impassable.

The majesty of nature is a healing presence and whispers messages to us as we partake of her love.

Enjoy this week in the wild with me:)


This photo is on a road that leads to a small town called Kelly. The snow topped mountain is called the Sleeping Indian. When observed from another view, it appears that an indian with a headress is resting with his hands on his chest. It is really cool.




This was cool. So close to us. Along with a female.




Heading up to the Gros Ventre Mountains to check it out!



Whoa Dude, thats a long way down. We wont be playing catch on this flat spot, that's for sure.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Blessing Your Home

Do you bless your home or send energy about it for protection and safety?

I learned in the Christian tradition about this years ago and have transferred that powerful act into my spirituality today.

I have used smudge, salts, prayers and essential oils for many blessings I have done for myself or others over the years.

If you feel your house needs clearing, try burning smudge, sage, mugwort, juniper, cedar or other herbs you may have.

Opening a window sometimes throughout the day or at night can be helpful to keep stagnation of the air element from occuring. It also connects you to the world outside, which this time of year is so beneficial. We tend to close ourselves off when it is cold and grey.

I used salt when I moved into my apartment by going around the perimeter clockwise to remove negative energies and then again counter clockwise to represent protection.

I use oils sometimes for their specific virtues. Young Living's Gratitude is one that really helps me and I love using it for anointing objects or myself. Living in gratitude is essential to joy and peace.

Any ritual you decide upon in blessings, make sure your intention is clear. Are you seeking protection, cleansing, joy and peace, bliss, love, all of the above? speak clearly to the Spirit that you perform this ritual for the purpose intended. It will be good to speak it forth for yourself as well.


And to add to the example, this week I particapted in a house blessing for our friend here, Kelly.
She had recently closed on a Habitat For Humanity house and worked diligently and steadfast in doing her required hours and saving money for down payment.
She lost her husband this year on top of her home and responsibilites of its construction. She had numerous challenges her way.
So to see her close on her home this week was a major victory for her, her children as well as her friends and loved ones.
Habitat, as it's tradition, has a house blessing when a house closes. A very different blessing ceremony than I would do, it was still quite meaningful.

They gave her a key plaque to represent her ownership.

A loaf a bread with a blessing that her cupboards would always be filled

A bag of sugar to represent the sweetness that they hoped would fill her and her family all the days of her life.

I dont recall the other objects but it was quite special.

The one thing I do recall is that they got to know Kelly and her sincere efforts to organics and recycling, that all the blessings, where applicable were organic and they bought her a recycling sorting system as a gift.

Kelly called upon our friend Heather Bupp to do the official blessing.

Here is a picture I took of Kelly with one of her children, and Heather prior to the blessing.


An unusual blessing I am sure for Habitat, Heather felt to smudge as we sat in a circle on the floor, despite many women in dresses..lol

We had a simple ritual sending forth love, peace and positive energy into Kelly's home.

It was great for bringing us all together and really shows that any tradition can do this for their place of residence, or any possesion, or loved one, and it represent something powerful to them in their path.

So if you'd like to share any comments on blessings, feel free to do so.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Free Shipping and Free Gift


Get free shipping and 1 of each beeswax ornaments
For the first 3 people who order over $100 worth of products from Dreamseeds Organics http://hyenacart.com/dreamseeds
Large Star
Medium Star
Moon
Buffalo
Bear
Moose

This special will help you adorn your natural home OR give as gifts to others.
These also can be wrapped on a present to decorate.

If you would like to give as gifts, you can divide the star and moons and give as one set and the cabin mountain animals as the other.
So many possiblities -for free



Enter the code hundred
in the code section upon checkout and you will get the free shipping and I will automatically add the ornaments to your order

US orders only

International orders, I will do half price shipping for you. You can still enter the code, and I will invoice you after I ship your package for your shipping amount.

Happy Holidays

Sunday, November 2, 2008

If the World could Vote

I cast my vote this week and it felt good. Originally I was not going to vote, but then I had a dream that was so odd that it compelled me to move for local government as well as the Prez.
A mama online shared this link today and it was so interesting, I thought I would share that here to
http://www.iftheworldcouldvote.com/

Just to get an interesting perspective of how people feel.

Be a voice people, especially for your local government where you live so that your right to parent the way you like, be an herbalist, or whatever is supported by your vote.

Happy Post Halloween


The D-Team.
Dreamseeds(me) for scentsactional herbal specialties http://www.dreamseedsorganics.com

Dragon Lady Heather Bupp-Some of the best tasting herbal tea blends around, as well as an awesome friend and great herbal practitioner
http://www.dragonladytea.com

Merav-She is the spunkiest woman my age I know! And the best damn massage therapist ever. If you are in Jackson, get one from her, for sure. It will put you in orbit, I tell ya.
And she speaks her words of wisdom and support for both of the D's (dreamseeds and dragon lady) She is awesome!



Congratulations love birds! I am so happy for you.

The kiddo's-we came up with whatever we could and stay in our tight budget. It was fun!
Congratulations to my friends Merav and Josh. They let us in on a little secret at the Bupp Halloween party.

I can hear the wedding bells already. I am so happy for them.

trick or treating is so kid friendly in Jackson. The entire square was filled with parents and children in costume trick or treating at the shoppes downtown.
We had such a good time and saw some serious creativity out there.

And all the candy....the downside...but it's halloween, time to be whatever you want and be ok as well as partaking of wildness and fun.

A few hours after trick or treat we attended the Buppsters party with so many people filling the house at first I thought I might keel over in social anxiety. (that is one aspect of my life I am working on, Oh introverted me)
But it was so fun, a couple of Snake River Brewing Pale Ale's and I was calmer.:)

Just sharing a littel bit of fun before the busy season hits.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Herbalist's are normal people


Sometimes it seems all we do is go looking for plants, and create potions,salves, tinctures and teas, doesn't it.
There is an idea that herbalism is our devout religion and that we do nothing else.

(it is my religion:) lol )

I just wanted to shout out to my son Jonathan for completing his football season with the youth league. He already is sad that it is over and looking forward to next year.

The coaches were so awesome and he was so encouraged.

So see, we are normal......or are we...lol

Congratulations Jonathan! I love you and am proud of you son.
Now come help me harvest some rosehips, would ya;)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Herbalist Spotlight-Matthew Wood



I love the cheerful energy of this picture of Matthew Wood.
He was actually speaking in a neighboring state a month or so ago and I sadly missed that venue.
Matthew is an amazing herbalist and has authored such books as

Seven Herbs, Plants as Teachers


Earthwise Herbal

The Book of Herbal Wisdom: Using Plants as Medicines

The Practice of Traditional Western Herbalism: Basic Doctrine, Energetics, and Classification

Vitalism:The History of Herbalism, Homeopathy, and Flower Essences

And a new release coming out in April, 2009
Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to New World Medicinal Plants


Matthew is in his early 50's. A single man that has devoted his life to this work. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


He shares this story on how he was lead to herbs.
It was 1967. Age 13. I read "The Teachings of Don Juan" by Carlos Castaneda and
realized that herbs were reference points for patterns on the physical,
psychological, and spiritual levels.

Going back further than that. Age three weeks, we arrive in Big Cyprus Seminole
Indian Reservation in Big Cyrus Swamp, FL, fifty miles by dirt road from the
nearest town. Leave when I am two years old. I learn a different perspective,
alien almost to ordinary Anglo-American culture.

Paracelsus (1493-1541) has had the deepest effect on Matthews work. For introduction see Paracelsus, Selected Writings, ed.
by Jolande Jacoby, 1953, Bollingen.

Matthew prefers making his formulas with fresh plants in brandy.

The late William LeSassier (1951-2004)has had the biggest impact on how things are experienced by Matthew today. William was a truly great herbalist and master
healer and psychic presence. It was great to spend time with him whenever
possible.

Classes are helpd in Minneapolis privately, and around the country too(CA, NM, WI, MI, GA, MA, NY,
etc.). Also at Minneapolis Community Technical College.

Matthew also is available for consultations.

I asked Matthew is he has any visions to share with us and he says,
"Yes, I have a vision. Have to cool my jets as I get older. Will keep the
details to myself." I totally agree! lol

One last word Matthew leaves with us is,
As Arlo Omaha, one of my teachers said: "herbs work by magic and they don't work
any other way."
You can visit Matthew's website to see more about what he offers and see great pictures too.
Sunnyfield Herb Farm

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Empowerment

What do you do to help to empower yourself?
This past weekend I spent time with someone who broke free from some seriously disabling situations and like metamorphis, had incredible change.
The healing work was brought about from some herbal readings that eventually lead to Cranialsacral therapy.
What a blessing to see a woman not only break free, but have joy again.
So we decided to celebrate with food, fun and drumming.
We spent the entire weekend talking and disecting our lives, and anointed ourselves with essential oils to represent our freedoms.
One the first evening we went to the river INTOWN! where people must have seen us as strange (I was 2 hours from home in a largely LDS town).
With drums in tow, candles, sage, my children, and cymbals and belly dance hip scarves, there was drumming, prayer, dancing and having fun.
The second day we just visited together.
That day as my friend was working, I cleaned part of her house. Because when a woman is down, she does not have the energy to clean, really.
Then on Sunday, our last day together, she worked and I finished cleaning and then I anointed her house with oils and blessings.
We then spent our last hours together eating and drumming again and putting our feet on the earth and allow its energy to nurture our souls.
The tambourine came out too and it was so prayerful and EMPOWERING to play music together as if your inner soul crying out to the divine on behalf of others, which then in turn strengthens yourself.
Before I left, I felt to anoint her feet in an essential blend of Abundance. This was symbolic of her walking in abundance. It was soul moving and tears flowed.
Then, she in turn wanted to anoint my feet, that I may have the same blessing.
About 2 hours after departing her home, still on the road, I felt so much power go through my feet.
It was really amazing and I am more empowered today than I was 2 days ago...lol
So what do you do to empower yourself.
And what is empowerment anyway?

Well, wiki defines empowerment as this:
Empowerment refers to increasing the spiritual, political, social or economic strength of individuals and communities. It often involves the empowered developing confidence in their own capacities
Here is a term I can share I feel more in line with:
The courage to break free from the chains of limiting belief patterns and societal or religious conditioning that have traditionally kept women suppressed and unable to see their true beauty and power.

Our society by and large has kept women down far too long. This summer I emerged from my patriarchally bound cocoon into a beautiful and graceful dance in which the steps I am still learning.
It took radical changes that did make me afraid. But taking the steps on breaking free physically, emotionally and spiritually is the best thing I have ever done for myself.
And having gone through that experience, helps me to help others in my gifts as an herbalist.

So I ask, are you empowered? If not, seek it out a step at a time.

I end this post with something I found somewhere that blessed me as well as a couple of "2 second" filmings my son did the night we drummed at the river.
These videos are too short and humble, however it is an expression of 2 friends rejoicing together that one who lost her power, regained her strength and is moving forth into the awesome work she is to do upon this planet.
be blessed and walk in your power and love,
KR


Be Good To You

Be Yourself ~ Truthfully
Accept Yourself ~ Gracefully
Value Yourself ~ Joyfully
Forgive Yourself ~ Completely
Treat Yourself ~ Generously
Balance Yourself ~ Harmoniously
Bless Yourself ~ Abundantly
Trust Yourself ~ Confidently
Love Yourself ~ Wholeheartedly
Empower Yourself ~ Prayerfully
Give Of Yourself ~ Enthusiastically
Express Yourself ~ Radiantly




Thursday, October 9, 2008

Arrowleaf Balsamroot



This is a lovely patch of Arrowleaf Balsamroot that grew this summer. Although it is resting now, the vibrant plant blooms all over the valley here in Wyoming.

The flowers are 3-5 inches wide and are part of the sunflower family.
The leaves are velvety, sometimes up to a foot long, and has a silvery grey tinge to it from the velvety hairs.
The root is useful for immune stimulation and a good first line of defense in times illness wants to creep in.
The root can be harvested in spring or fall and made into a tincture for expectorant, immune system boost, and it is also anti microbial.

Blends well with mullein when expectoration is needed and also fireweed for a dry throat. Those are plants that grow here in Teton Valley, anyway.

It grows in dry soils that are not rich in organic matter and is so lovely to look upon.
I am looking forward to working more with this plant next year when she wakes up from her cold weather nap:)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Changes


This picture was after a rainstorm. It was the first full rainbow I had ever seen in my life which seemed to touch down at the site or an organic biodynamic farm I did some work at this year.
The picture is fitting for the post because there is a rainbow for us all.
Changes
Has this been a year of changes for you? Change is hard, isn't it.
Yet the divine call for change cannot be ignored because often it will be in your face until that happens.

For me, it was a difficult year with suffering.
After a long winter of working very long hours to make ends meet while my husband was not working, my body just gave out.
It began with a bubble and the feeling of a UTI, which thankfully at that time, chickweed, cleavers and dandelions were a bloom and I would go out in my yard and eat and harvest like a little rabbit.
My insides felt as though they were trying to come out of me and I had a tender bubbly mass that sometimes rested in the pelvis and sometimes moved upward toward my stomach.
I of course was under a dr care every 3 months post cancer, but all checked out fine in that department.
I called the doc several times to explain what was happening and all they said was you are doing to much.
Well shit, I am a 42 year old woman. I am not doing anything that difficult that other women my age are not doing.
The plants were so important to me and often they gave me aid, but I still had deep seated pain in my body that nothing could releive.
I of course still kept going physically as best as I could, but inside, my light was dimming and very fast too.
I felt close to death. It was intense, painful and extremely REAL.
One day I went to my herb cards and pulled the top one and it was angelica. I thought ok, I will go take some.
Within 10 minutes of administering a dropper of angelica tincture, the bubble in my stomach melted away. In that moment I said to myself I AM FREE. I felt it. Like a mother giving birth, the mass was gone.
The next day, still gone. Today still gone:) YAY angelica. I knew I needed to get to know her more.
But the other extreme pain was ever present.
I had a healer tell me I had cancer all over and that in 4 months she could clear me out.
So I got a cat scan. Almost $2000 in debt from that, NO CANCER.

The messages that came to me for a couple months was that I needed to be in a healing place in the valley of the Tetons.
Thinking that was crazy and rebellious, I fought it at least 2 months. Patriarchy still had a hold on me that to save myself, I must follow the rules, be a good wife, even though it was killing me.
I did plan a 3 week trip to the Tetons to bring my 10 year old son to see his dad, who had open heart surgery in May. I really thought that because I am GOOD, I would come back after 3 weeks and not rock any boats of rebelliousness. So I only packed clothes for all three kids and I for a weeks worth of wearing.
The rest of my vehicle was packed with my older sons things they had in storage.

The first week I was here, I was in a fog. My soul had some spark ignited, and all I could think of was that I was BAD if I chose to stay. So I waited on this for perfect signs to be clear of what I would do.
But the messages were that if I went back, I would die.

As I battled in my mind and heart making the right decision, the day I chose to make it final, my engine blew up in my vehicle leaving me stranded here.
Talk about making my decision set:) After that, an affordable apartment opened up for me. I have an incredible view from my window. A healing view of the mountains which brings peace to my soul.
In three months time my health has improved. I feel my strength and youthfulness restored. I have learned more about myself in 3 months, good and bad.
I have friends, and I am close to my sons. They tell me often how wonderful it is that I am here and how they really feel good that they see I am happy.
I get time in the wilderness with the plants. Seeing them grow and in this season die or rest, has been awesome for me as an herbalist.
I feel peace with them.

So what do we do when we are called to change? Well, if we are, I can assure you it will be in your face until you respond.
That is difficult. And the emotions get shaken.
Being content is also important, however being content YET unfulfilled is not.
We are called to keep changing and growing to become what we need to be.
This time of change for me has not only brought physical and emotional healing, but has enforced my betterment as a mother to the most important people in my world.

And one thing to share here is death. I felt so close to death. I asked people to visit with me to have coffee or lunch sometimes because I needed some laughter or personal time to keep that fire from going out.
Even though these people knew how difficult it was for me, they were too busy to meet.

And I realized that friendship is about supporting your loved ones through their difficult times and that I truly did not have those supportive ones in my life like I should have had.
That fortunately has changed in my life, which is probably one of the important points to the healing that has occurred.
The other thing I want to share is judgement and condemnation.

While in this terrible state of health, I got nasty letters, and strong confrontations that I was not in church and that I needed to get into the bible and get that community to be well. That I was bound to do bad things because I was not in church.
Now how the hell does that help anyone?

Telling a person they are bad when they are already down to their lowest point without being bad, could never help anyone.
My spiritual life is completely different now that I have had the freedom to practice as I feel is right in my own heart. It is glorious to me.
Breaking free from patriarchy is one of the greatest healings that has occurred.
But it took a huge leap into the unknown to bring that into fruition.
And that is why change is scary and we fight it.

So back to death, as healers, we need to be aware of the suffering not only in body, but of soul and mind that a person is going through when they are failing.
As natural healers, Compassion and Love needs to be the voice that guides us to helping them deal with their situation, and without compassion and love, we are only helping them dig their grave.

It is not about what we know, because none of us knows it all. It is not our ego nor our personal achievements that should lead us.
The people need compassion and love.

Monday, September 8, 2008

You cannot escape the call

I was harvesting herbs in the forest this week hiking up hill with my 2 youngest children. It seemed nature was calling to me so strong that day, giving me ideas for many medicinal purposes to help others.
I felt such joy and power.

The same feelings I often experienced as a kid when my dad would take me fishing in the mountains of Utah. I would wander for hours perfectly content without fear and I felt so much power.
So connected. And then I grew up. Those memories were etched in my brain. How I missed waht I had experienced when a child.

In a moments time I realized that my calling was birthed in me as a girl.Nothing ever in my life has come close to those fishing memories. Such amazing power, freedom, and trust is the best words to describe how I felt. Of course I was not an herbalist nor did I know about the plant world then.
I did know how to walk for hours on rocks in the river and pretend that I was guiding people through the wilderness. Such Fun!

I am at home in the pine forests and mountains. I feel my spirit soar and my female instincts rise up. I walk with a keen-ness to what is around me when I am in the high country and my intuition kicks into gear. I think of my people, mama's, clients, my family, and help comes to mind for them best in my retreat alone in the mountains.

I am powerless. I am in love. Drawn by the beating heart of mother earth, I cannot escape the work I am to do. Because to help people, I need to be in the highest place to seek the spirit of what I must do to help others.
She draws me constantly to spend time in her womb to rebirth myself and the emerging daughter I am to be.
This place is my cathedral and I am drawn to worship the creator with a humble sincere soul, emptying out all to the ground. Often I want to cry. I feel shaken inside, again powerless. In Awe.
My church! My refuge! I could easily hug a tree and bow to the earth as I tremble at the majesty of this place. Trust.

There is no escaping the spirit and when she says go, indeed you cannot escape it otherwise you be troubled continually until you follow through with what you are to do.
I am a medicine woman, powerless again the spirit calling me....calling me strongly with love. My heart beats with intensity as I sit at the feet of mother earth to hear what she is saying and to follow through as a wise daughter with her teachings.
Blessed Be

Friday, September 5, 2008

Lets not forget the healing power of the SUN

I learned a great truth this week. I dont know if I ever considered the sun healing, rather more helpful for things like vitamin D and health.

But this week I learned how the sun can heal.

I was out with my children as they prepared for the school bus. It was very chilly and I was not planning on being out to long so did not dress accordingly.
On my way up to my apartment, the neighbor comes out and decides to chat.
We must have spent a half hour outside and all the while I kept thinking of how cold I was becoming and feeling something try to grip.

I went about the rest of my day struggling to warm up. I would drink teas as well as doing my regular household chores but the coldness wanted to linger and my throat and chest started feeling sore.

I had a few hours alone in the afternoon and really felt called to the river to harvest medicinal herbs for my people. Donned with stocking cap, long sleeve, jeans and hoodie, wool socks and all, I went to the river feeling yuckier UNTIL I ARRIVED.

I got out of my car with backpack full of paper bags and scissors, my water bottle and cell phone. An easy load.
I began walking and the sun was beating upon me and dont you know within a couple minutes I was completely cured.
I spent the afternoon there harvesting and feeling great. And I within an hour my stocking cap was off, hoodie in my backpack and was relaly feeling warm and great!
(of course being with the plants helps even though I walked into the middle of 3 snakes which took my by surprise)

And I pondered how fast this recovery happened.

You know, we have created our homes and lives completely indoors. Most of us rarely go out unless we are getting into our car to go somewhere or check our mail and then it is back to our caves.
I can stay busy in my cave for an entire day and never go out if I really dont think about it.

People are not supposed to live that way. We are to live with sunlight and fresh air.

Certainly some folks are sensitive to the sun as skin cancer rises, and sometimes protective care is essential to folks for their health, but to fear the sun it is not healthy. We need the sun. Boy even a 10 minute walk during the cool of the day while the sun is still out can be so good for the mind, as well as the body.

I was impressed with the suns healing touch that day and just wanted to pass it on:)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Herbalist Spotlight-Aviva Jill Romm



I am so pleased to present today Aviva Jill Romm. She is a 41 year old mother of 4 children ages 22-14 years.She has been married for 24 years. Author of such books as Natural Health After Birth, Vaccinations, A Thoughtful Parents Guide,The Natural Pregnancy Book: Herbs, Nutrition and Other Holistic Choices,Pocket Guide to Midwifery Care, and Naturally Healthy Babies and Children: A Commonsense Guide to Herbal Remedies, Nutrition, and Health Aviva is a powerhouse WOMAN! A midwife, herbalist, and currently continuing in her medical studies, I love this woman and all she mentors to many of us.





Do you remember what was going on in your life that lead you to herbs?
I was 15 years old, in college (I went early) studying premed and becoming an eco-feminist hippie!

How old were you at that time?
15 yo


Can you share some of the work that has most influenced you? Such as
books, blogs, video and lectures.
Well, at the time I first began studying herbal medicine there were really no books on the market--just 3 of them! So the plants influenced me directly--practicing on friends and learning whatever I could from whatever I could get me hands on. Over the years I've been influenced by so many of my herbal friends/colleagues---Roy Upton, Michael Tierra, Amanda McQuade Crawford, Mary Bove, Tieraona Low Dog---all of us whom talk about herbs, healing, etc. And this is just the top of the iceberg of who has influenced me. Also, i was heavily influenced in my midwifery by Ina May Gaskin and my midwifery mentor, Sarahn Henderson. I have been deeply influenced by ecofeminist writers and medical anthropology as well.


When making plant medicine, are you drawn to any particular method?
I love working with plants to make creative, beautiful healing products. I suppose I love making oils and salves the most. I also find making suppositories for gyn infections rewarding because they are so effective for women.



Do you have a most memorable event, conference, or one on one experience
with any of our herbal foremothers and forefathers or any other key person
used in your path of herbalism? And how has that influenced you today?
Jeannine Parvati was a close friend and a mentor very early in my career/path. She told me I reminded her a great deal of herself but she learned from suffering and wanted me to know that a shamanic path of healing did not have to be learned through suffering---to learn how to be wise without having to suffer was her advise and blessing.


Where are you located?
Right now near New Haven CT because I am in school at Yale School of Medicine...


Do you work with the public and could you describe your work? such as:
I teach, I write, I see patients every day, and have practiced as a midwife and herbalist for 20 years.


Do you teach classes?
Yes, and am about to expand into whole new teaching ventures about which I am really excited! Also, I now offer a women's herbal distance learning program and have over 60 students. It's a great program and will be expanding to include on-site training and eventually clinical internships.


Do you offer consultations?
Currently I am seeing patients in medical school, but not offering private consultations. I will expand back into a full practice when I complete medical school.



Do you travel for herbal work?
I have travelled in the past to teach for conferences, and will again, but travel is limited now because of school.


How can people contact you to find out more about what you offer, calender
of events, blogs, weed walks, etc?

Avivajill@aol.com

Do you have a vision for your work in the future or are you seeing how it
unfolds?
A large vision--clinic, community medical care, internation medical care, offering internships in herbal women's health and pediatric health, the course growing to include more components, healing gardens, and a spa on Friday nights for local practitioners to come and enjoy (smiles!)

Most of the readers are new to herbs and if there is one word of wisdom or
sage advice you could leave them, what would that be?
Be patient learning the plants and leaning people; teach what you know; be yourself; and be open to a wide spectrum of healing modalities so patients can be supported in what they need, not just in what you believe. Suspend judgment, be kind, and be honest.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lessons learned from the river I love


learn from the river, the river that I love.
She flows down from the mighty mountains, cutting through stone. Pouring down onto sage filled flatlands nourishing cottonwoods that sit at the feet of natures cathedral.
The river absorbs the deepest snows and extended rains. She widens herself to carry the load, as her purpose must be fulfilled.
Even in times of drought and emptiness, she will adjust accordingly. Though her banks be revealed in such lack, she WILL keep MOVING.
So much of nature depends on her movement.
Flora and fauna soak up the drink she offers them as she passes by so that the life cycle may go on.
The beasts of the high country depend upon her for sustanance.

Humans engage in her power. Farmers depend on her for the food they bring the nations.
Each cup of coffee is from her, although rarely is a person conscious of her gift.
The anglers wade deep to obtain food from her waters.
Joy and laughter can be heard in her flow. People seeking the mysteries of her journey by raft or boat.
She brings awe as she winds through canyon and flatland as her beauty is unsurpassed.
Regardless of the conditions she emdures, each winding pathway can change from a smooth travel into a mightly turbulance, violent and dangerous.
Yet, she still moves on.

At times, her way may be blocked by surrounding landscapes in her path.
She does not stop and hesistate, but may split herself in two around the barrier, adn then comes together again eventually.
She knows her journey will be long-her focus on her final destination. Her HEAVEN, as her waters will eventually settle into the sea.
Those some may disrespect her purpose, abuse and pollute her life, she still MOVES ON!

How I love this river. Her message is clear.
Strength and purpose is her passion-nourishing life as a lactating mother that gives continually, despite the conditions she herself may endure.

Flow dear sister, rise up from that which drains you. Be strong through the journey and like the beloved river, MOVE ON through it all.

Kristena Haslam Roder
8-19-2008
While sitting at the feet of the Snake River, Jackson Wyoming.

I still do not have a personal computer so the photo is from http://pscc.state.wy.us/tetons.jpg

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Nicole Carter Herbalist Spotlight


Nicole Carter has become a dear friend to me as well as someone I turn to sometimes for help. Nicole is a 33 year old mother to 2 beautiful children. The work she has forged out in my hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada has been such a blessing to the community as well as myself.
Her husband is very supportive of her work in teh Nevada desert, and I totally expect her to bloom in big ways. She has laid her life down and worked so hard.
She is that HAWT blond in the pic...I am behind her somewhere:)

Here is what Nic has to say.






Do you remember what was going on in your life that lead you to herbs?
I was putting myself through college, waiting tables, busting my ass. I
needed something to help me with the physical and mental stress. I found the
help with herbs, I was hooked forever.

How old were you at that time? 21



Can you share some of the work that has most influenced you? Such as books,
blogs, video and lectures. My favorite book is by Adele Dawson. I've attended
few workshops or conferences buy one in Scottsdale in 1995 or 1996 was related
to aromatherapy and I realized how plants are so connected to everything within
and outside of us.

When making plant medicine, are you drawn to any particular method? Im a tea
girl. I love the simplicity of being able to take any plant and make tea from
it, ready in minutes. Albeit some taste better than others, its fast and easy
and can be modified to your liking.

Do you have a most memorable event, conference, or one on one experience with
any of our herbal foremothers and forefathers or any other key person used in
your path of herbalism? And how has that influenced you today?
I met Rosemary Gladstary at the United Plant Savers and saw her connection to
the planet through herbs. I love that "basics" sense of living with plants and
employ it daily.
Where are you located? dare I say it, Vegas

Do you work with the public and could you descirbe your work? such as:
Do you teach classes? I do work with the public, teaching community outreach
through the local university (UNLV). I love it bcuz i can reach a lot of people
and its not expensive for them to try it out. 99% of them are hooked too.

Do you offer consultatons? Yes

Do you travel for herbal work? No, but I would if I needed to.

How can people contact you to find out more about what you offer, calender of
events, blogs, weed walks, etc? I have a website with links, a calendar of
events and a free quarterly newsletter.



Do you have a vision for your work in the future or are you seeing how it
unfolds?
Im really watching to see what happens. There is so much interest in herbal
medicine, and I myself have a lot to learn and experience yet. I would like to
open an herb clinic with classes and consulting and a herb "pharmacy".

Most of the readers are new to herbs and if there is one word of wisdom or
sage advice you could leave them, what would that be? Dont rush to get to the
"end" of studying, learning is a continuum.



Nicole Carter, MEd., M.H.
Master Herbalist, Holistic Health Educator
Nicole Carter Herbs

Friday, August 1, 2008

Tales of the runaway Herbwyfe..changes and soul searching

So as many of you know, I have been in Jackson Wyoming for almost a month now.

Came here as an internal nudging, a sense of healing and growth and education in the natural world.

I have my 3 littles and my 2 older sons are here. My ex husband is here.

My current husband is home at the herb center.

I know to look at me right now, things would seem improper, wrong, confusing, unstable, and wacked out really.
And it is quite unusual.

But I feel to stay, for how long I do not know.

And I have been faced with so many feelings. With mom dying, with my marriage, with my children, with myself.

Being able to drive just about anywhere and hike or view the beauty of the Teton region is so healing to the soul.

I was approved for an apartment that works within my budget. That in itself is a miracle.
Not only that, but as I awoke this morning and opened my shades, the view took my breath away. This apartment ahs south exposure and this north window gets a beautiful view of the mountains and a park below us.

As I have been praying and waiting to be sure I am doing the right thing, I kept waiting jsut to be sure staying would be right, when the day to make my decision ont he paratment came, my vehicle engine blew and now I am stuck here....so yeah..I finally got it through my head that it is ok to be here and now I have no choice. And it will be ok:)

My children love it here so much.

I am workign with Dreamseeds here in the Teton Valley, getting to meet people and share my work with others, while learning from other healers here on occassion basis.
My friend Dragon Lady has been such a huge blessing for me here. We love the plant world so much and have different gifts so our conversation stays exciting.

Tonite is a family drum circle we will attend. The children are stoked.

I ahd a message from my mom after her death of asking my forgiveness, which I had already given but it brought comfort to my soul. The message came from another woman who knew nothing about me or my mom, and the woman spoke to my mothers mental illness which floored me. The whole situation brought a healing beyond words.
While my brothers tended to mom's affairs, they had signs in Georgia come to them. It was quite interesting for us all.

I am a bit afraid. The winters here are seriously cold and powerfully strong. I wonder how I will make it without my husband here. Yet, I think that is the very thing God wants me to realize. That my faith needs to be strong, that I am more of a powerful woman than I realize and that I deserve peace and happiness.
And I also have layed friendships on the table. I have been so sad due to the lack of friendships in Arkansas. The few that I had were only alive if I kept them going by doing all the visiting and phone calling. I cannot say how badly this hurt me. So many times I was hurting emotionally or physically and jsut did not have the support I needed.
Breaking away has been so good, to realize how wonderful I really am and deserve good relationship, but to have people here, in the short time I have been here, call and speak to me on their own.
I really needed that! To feel valuable, you know. Women, WE ARE VALUABLE. Let those words set into your heart.

So, that is an update. workign with teton plants, like balsamroot. I did see some wild valerian and have gathered horsetail, wild roses (that are amazing by the way) and red clover that is plumper and juicier than those in Arkansas, and more beautiful useful plants.

Working with pine pitch right now. This is fun!

Dreamseeds is open, things will be added to the site soon. I am excited.

Monday, July 21, 2008

In mourning of my mom

My mom passed away friday night...she died of lung cancer.

It is intense in my life right now for so many reasons, so I am probably going to need some time to work through this. Just letting you all know.
Love KR

Friday, July 18, 2008

Womens gathering under the full moon-the power of nature



Imagine the way it used to be when women actually supported one another. Do you know what that is like? Probably very few of us have had the blessing of that.

Do you take time for yourself doing something that actually nurtures you?

How is your connection to nature around you? Do you fear it or does it soothe your soul?

There are so many thoughts that I seem to understand deeper as I have experienced things the past few years.

I must say that I felt seriously called to come back out to this area and not sure exactly why.
I knew that plant study would be part of my work here, but so much of what is happening is true nurturing to ME.
Granted it has only been a week, but I have my children with me, and still working, yet my physical condition is about 85% better this week.

Allergens and smoke from California fires has crept into the valley, but Bio Allers to the rescue and I am well! (bio allers is a great homeopathic ermedy for allergies that seems to work for me everytime!)
The hikes have been so fulfilling, the water running down the mountains, the smell of lodgepole pine...it all makes me feel loved and ok.
The elder is wild here and the gentian violets are a real treat to see. So beautiful.

Yesterday I decided to scale the side of Teton pass in search of arnica flowers with Ben who is 7 and Olivia who is 4 in tow. What an adventure. I was so proud of my littles for doing so well without fear. We gathered wild sage instead.

Last night however, was such a treat. Womens drum circle with women from all walks of life just visiting, sharing food, drumming, singing, dancing, together....under the full moon lighting up the snow topped Tetons on one side, and the gentle valley mountain silhouettes on the other side.
Looking at the Tetons, it was intense!!!! DID I SAY INTENSE?
The Tetons do something to the emotions in likening of taking your heart and completely turning it inside out, emptying it of all the garbage that is trapped in there. I know that sounds crazy that a mountain range has that much power, but it does here.
The Tetons make you face yourself in a very real way and it puts it in your face so intensely, that looking away at the more gentle mountains are neccessary in order to catch your breath and obtain some calm.

Watching the huge gorgeous globe rise above the mountain peaks was the most beautiful thing I have seen in years. And the sky was lit by the moons light the entire night. I was chilly, even by the fire. But I was nurtured and was called to prayer most of the evening as other women drummed...I was faced with the Tetons, myself, and the intensity of prayer for those around me and definately myself.
We are midsummer....I encourage you if you can, take some time in nature and let her love you and help you. Make friends. Eat, dance, live, love.
One day I can upload the beautiful pictures I have taken, but for now I leave you with a picture online of the Teton range, the intense side.
Just to gaze at the presence makes you feel as though you are on holy ground. Dont let this sweet little photo fool you....lol
Being here is intense and magical. I am certain I am being changed. This is not just book knowledge happening here, it is so real and doing knowledge. An interconnected place...and how long I will be here I do not exactly know. I want the work to be done in me, then in turn I will serve others and myself in a more powerful way. It is a hard journey. Days I feel like I am ready to break down and cry, and yet, I feel more power.
Thank you for being part of this with me


Much love peace and prayers to you all,
KR

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Our first week in Wyoming

I have so many beautiful pictures to share, but have to use the library computer. Dont know how I will get these uploaded anytime soon.
We are having a beautiful time so far here.

The trip was uneventful with the exception of a visit with my dear friend Eve Mary.

About an hour from Jackson, we drove over a large mountain pass and once over the Tetons were in a fog in the distance. It was almsot like I was walking into a dream.

The plant life is beautiful here, although the arnica season is ending soon and i still have not harvested. I did get a tour with local herbalist of many mountain herbs and flowers used in Flower Essences. Harvesting wild plants under the graces of the Teton range is amazing.
So far, yarrow, horsetail and roses. Today I found abundant elder and immediately put into oil.

More to come. Jsut no computer access to get it all written down properly yet.

Much love to everyone!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Day .5 and the elder abounds

Jsut a brief update on our first half day on the road. Our suburban is loaded to the brim with stuff....mostly my boys' things they need in Wyoming.
A little opening to see out the back window and the maximum safe speed for such weight is 65mph.

The stereo in our gas machine is very nice, so I grabbed a nice handful of cd's to which John Mayer, Jack Johnston, Metallica, Matchbox Twenty and Nickelback got the first listens while shaking the ole booty and singin loudly. My 3 younger children are with me and really love Nickelback..especially Hero from the Spiderman movie so they played it several times and sang loudly....they were so cute.

We spent about an hour reveiwing multiplication facts and enjoyed watching the airplanes land as we passed the Kansas City Airport.

The elder's are as vibrant here as they are back home....I wonder if this is the peoples medicine this year.
I do not recall ever a time where it was so abundant, which makes me wonder if nature is providing for us this bounty for a good reason.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The loving chronicles of the HERBAL ADVENTURE GIRL


Headed to the Tetons where the air is clean and the herbs are wild this year.
Dragon Lady Tea, Heather Bupp and I are going to spend time visiting and working with the plants, attending a full moon womens drum circle, and I am sure much more.

Her teas rock by the way if you want some yum!

I will be back a changed and stronger herbal woman! WOO HOO

Wish me well...my kids and I are sardines lol

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Elder


As the humidity rises in the Ozark air, I can smell the wise mother elder as her blossoms reach out like an umbrella toward the shining sun. I plant myself down under her branches to have lunch with my children. What a pleasant experience of peace and serenity as her aroma fills our space.

She is magical and wonderful adn full of folklore. Her name, ELDER is appropriate. You see, her value is as great as the worth of an elder human.

I know many dont consider older people as valuable, but the older folks have lived through all of lifes twists and turns, and yet they survived. Inside them is wisdom from their experiences which can be helpful to the younger generation if we seek out their secrets.

Elder has many helps for us, if we will turn to her for it.

Gail Faith Edwards shares that grandmothers beleived that you had to build a rapport with elder to get the best energy from her.
She writes that we should find an elder tree and visit it often. When we are in need, respectfully ask permission to use its medicine.

I will be honest, I often gather my elder wild as I find her. The tree in my yard is fairly new and I am allowing her little interferance so I may study her better.

I do thank the trees when I gather. Currently, I am harvesting her flowers to use in winter teas for fevers. You can add this to yarrow or peppermint for this if you want.
I also made up a lovely oil from her precious flowers, and have already used it up in my beautiful lotions, baby balms, and solid perfumes. Next year, I will tincture more, and also make elder water for skincare.
Elder is astringent and helps tighten pores.
It is also good for a mouth rinse, healing sore throats, mouth sores and inflammation of the gums.
I have heard of its use for conjunctivitis and sore eyes, even whent here is twitching, by washing the eyes with elder flower infusion.

The flowers act on permeating kidney cells and by the flowers acting on it, heat is cleared through the urinary tract. Toxic buildup can be released.

Ironically, elder is stimulant and relaxant.
Stimulant in the case of fast acting. May bring energy.
Relaxant in regards to bronchial spasms, sinus problems and excess phlegm. It also relaxes the nerves and helps some folks sleep. An infusion of the blossoms taken of the green stems is what is used.

Elder is alterative, which means it can help renew the health of an unhealthy organ or blood.
Alteratives usually help imbalance and bring life to the entire body.



High in bioflavanoids, and vitamin c, the flowers and berries are also antiviral and immune stimulating.
A hot tea of either will help you sweat out a fever, however most of us like the berries for syrup.
Cold tea is used as a diuretic.

Most common complaints calling for elder is upper respiratory tract.
When we talk about upper respiratory, think of things that happen kind of above the neck. Laryngitis,sinus problems, tonsilitis as well as flu and common colds.

The berries contain a flavanoid called procyanidins which is antioxidant and very similar to the positives found in red wine.
More potent in antioxidants as a matter of fact than vitamin c and e.
Procyanidins help strengthen cappillary walls, maintain collagen for healthy young skin, reduce histamine which may prevent allergies, and more. This is the same flavanoid praised in grapes, cocoa, bilberry, pine bark and other fruits.

The berries can be toxic if taken in large amounts uncooked. The safest varieties are Sambucus canadensis, Sambucus caerulea and Sambucus nigra which are dark purple or black berries.
The red berries from other varieties of Sambucus are most toxic so look for the dark berries kind.
Most herbalist I know use their berries in tea or syrup. All herbalist using elder only have positive experience with this plant.
Maybe that is why the grandmothers wanted to know their elders before using..to earn her good graces:)

The berries also are rich in vitamin a. They also contain laetrile, which has been discussed for years as a cancer cure.
The color of the berries are from water soluble pigments of the proanthocyanins which also prevents build up of uric acid. This is good for gout and rheumatism.

Too many, and you will be running to the bathroom, because they are laxative in a good amount.
Dont let this deter you from enjoying the berries, however. That has never happened to my family. You probably need alot, but it is good to know that it can get things going.

And of course, the famous elderberry wine. One year I look forward to making my own. I have tried some locally, but it was far too sweet for my tastes.
Wine, syrup, tea...all useful and nutritive medicine.

The roots, leaves and stem are safe to use externally. The leaves can be made into strong tea and sprayed onto plants to deter aphids and caterpillars according to Gail Faith.
If you take elder bark internally, you will be very sick. It is highly purgative!
But you can make an oil with it and create a salve good for burns and ulcers.
Some native American indians used bark for toothaches, even fresh however.

Magical and ritual use is wide with this beautiful herb. Elder flower can be burned in ritual, and the stories are vast and wide as to how to use the plant magically.

The emotional healing of flower essence of elder is energy stimulation, vigor, resilience, joy, and our power of recovery and energy renewal.

So when you run into a beautiful stand of elder, caress the umbel and allow your nose to inhale the beauty of our mother elder.
Her pollen will stick to your nose and will make you smile.