Herbs Alters and the Axis Mundi

What is the Axis Mundi you ask?
The Axis Mundi is the center of the world. In myth and religion it is symbolized by a pole, tree, a mountain, or pillar that often depicts the uniting of heaven with earth and of course sexual union of complimentary opposites..

It is also within the human body as the chakra system, the Sefirot in Kabalism, and as the symbol in medicine it is known as the Caduceus – 2 intertwined serpents on a pole.

What does this symbology mean for us ?
I believe ultimately it represents our sacred space our sacred altar within and without as well as achieving a state of centeredness, and alignment.
Many disciplines work with this premise such as yoga, tantra, shamanism and some forms of martial arts where this is observed within (mind , body, and spirit), as the temple.

I feel it is useful to have symbolic personal alters as a representative of our personal cosmology, what we are working on, where our attention is focused, goals, intention, etc.
Alters are where the personal and collective meet and it is important to keep it fresh so it remains changing, deepening and evolving as we do, a kind of model for centering within.

In the Andes mountain cultures of South America of which I apprenticed and am a lineage holder; the people carry a portable alter called a mesa or misa, this is the personal medicine bundle and small enough to be carried around. Inside the medicine stones called cuyas that are collected from pilgrimages to sacred mountains and other sacred places are wrapped inside a handwoven cloth of llama or alpaca fleece. The mesa cloth is divided into 4 quadrants called siyus representing the 4 directions (all 4 together called the tiwantansuyu) with the axis point being the center where the 4 meet. The Mountain people are people with a verticle axis cosmology because they live in the Andes mountains and so their cosmology is sourced from their mountain environment and connect to dark points in the the milky way galaxy. This is their axis point to personal and communal cosmology represented in the living landscape and within the mesa.

As an herbalist and plant spirit whisperer I was taught by some of my favorite plants that they can be conjoined as a spirit medicine to attune us to our axis mundi for these plants are the complimentary opposites of each other
The following info was shared with me by the plants about this is that when we attune to our inner sacred space we facilitate the observation of what already exists – a state of centeredness, wholeness, and inner connectedness to everything even if for just a moment. Of course there are many levels and layers to this.

The specific plants that have spoken about the vertical axis mundi have been Devils Club which is our pacific northwest relative to ginseng, which grows in lowlands, dark humus soil and is one of the first defense plant to grow up damp creek beds in a temperate clearcut area.

I have witnessed her in action when I worked in clearcuts to re-plant them ). In fact devils club will literally walk over a hill in a matter of a couple of years up creek beds and down by dropping its tall (up to 8 ft) spike covered stalks that will take root from its nodal axis. Osha is the Devils Club resonant and complimentary opposite of the tall mountains east of the cascade range above 7,000 ft. Taken as companion medicines as in essence or tincture form the two are the plant version of this.

Lower axis Devils club (Oplopanax horridus) is a warrior plant, strongly protective and covered in spines. The messages to “respect me” sounds loud and clear and is used medicinally for many physical ailments from relief of ulcers, arthritis, digestive track ailments and as mild blood sugar balancer are among it’s many many uses. As a spirit I see her as deeply feminine although both sexes are present. She deepens our roots and spreads our consciousness out to our community-like she does in her own growing colony, increases our inner chi or prana (devils club grows in colonies surrounding the elder plant much like Artemisia tridentata (desert sagebrush). Message “We are stronger with our community beside us and around us.” We also see that her spines prickliness are an adaptation to protect her precious life and medicine. Her most powerful medicine herbally is stored in her root bark. Energetically devils club can help us clear ancestral karma that we inherit through our DNA, it helps to bring our shadow material into consciousness so we may work with it to heal and gain the wisdom pearls held there.

Osha the upper axis Osha (Linguisticum porterii) in the carrot family grows above 7,000 ft elevation associated with bear medicine, Bears seek it out after hibernation to clear their digestive systems and even wash their fur with osha root saliva. Humans used medicinally for upper respiratory conditions and internally for intestinal cleansing. This plant warrior carries the solar energy within. Osha is for those doing deep spirit work to bring light to personal and collective shadow material so we can move forward with humbleness, compassion and stop projecting our stuff.

Be well…

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Dreaming

Our ancestors once held dreams in very high regard as a way to communicate with the non- linear worlds. it was so important to some cultures that there were temples created just for dreaming and some for healing dreams in particular. In ancient Greece these were named Asclepeions named after Asclepeios god of medicine. In Roman culture similar temples were built to Nodens god of dreams, healing, and nature. At these sites would be dream interpreter priests that assisted the dreamers in decoding their dreams and help the dreamer facilitate the dream being made real in some way. The healing would come through sleeping in special spaces, receiving a cure that came through the dream, medicine then made for you, and undergone a series of ritual baths and purifications.. In Greek temples you would find non-venomous snakes crawling all around, brought specifically to live in the temple as they were sacred to Asclepeios and associated with healing, whereas in Rome it was dogs that were the healing animal guardians. Sometimes the dream temple would have a theatre where the dream could be ritually played out, or maybe it would be expressed through another art form such as a poem, song, sculpture or painting, but it was of great importance to symbolically make it real in some way.
We as a so called modern culture tend to disregard our dreams, unless you were raised by a family that taught it’s importance, learned about dream importance from studies in psychotherapy or Jungian studies, studied certain spiritual practices that held dreaming in esteem, or were raised by indigenous peoples.
My connection to dreaming started at a very young age, I can remember dreams I had from age 4 onward and kept dream journals for my entire life. I know it was unusual but I was a dreamer from the start and somehow I just knew it was important, as important as my waking life and deeply communicating a much larger world. As an herbalist I get communications with plant spirits in my dreams on a regular basis. These communications teach me about the medicine that a particular plant has in great detail, sometimes a plant ally of mine will teach me about other plants I have never met before in the waking world. This is just one way dreams can be a great line of communication with the spirit realm. I have a seriously well developed dream telecommunication system and I am eternally grateful for it. I think anyone can develop this skill with intent and commitment. it is within us all.
I have much more to say about this as I am passionate about us as a humanity reenlisting the help of our dreams to solve many of our collective issues and personal, to receive inspiration, innovation, healing, to connect us deeper to all our relations, our multi dimensional selves, our guides. ancestors, pasts, futures, and travel the multiverse.

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Rewilding Ourselves part 2 -Going Feral

REWILDING
So how do we reconnect with that feral child that we once were and give voice to it again? There are so many ways and no wrong answers.
One way is to spend time in nature where the inner child can see the beauty and sheer delight all around. Creative pursuits where we loose all sense of time and are lost in the now connect us.
You may work consciously with your inner child as if it were your own child, by asking it what it wants and needs from us to feel safe to come out .
This is how we begin to parent the parts of ourselves that might have been lost or damaged, unseen, and unheard when we were children; essentially becoming the parents to those parts that we would have liked to have had.

My teacher and herbalist Stephen Buhner calls this work reclamation of the soul.
Most of us did not have a perfect childhood, but you can create a dialog now with your inner child through visualization and with an open heart/ feeling center to create a safe place for it to be with you.
This a way to reclaim a part of ourselves and let it come out and play with and through us now.
This is not so much a training exercise as it is a remembering.
Your child knows how to be playful, wild, uninhibited, curious, experimental, see everything as if for the first time, talk to the plants, animals etc.
This is a start to becoming feral, a way to come home to your self.

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Rewilding Ourselves

I wanted to mention that the CHS (community supported herbalism) shares program is available for purchase at my etsy store.
This is for the winter share and is available in full and half share.
go to: http://www.greenlynx.etsy.com

Rewilding part 1
Now what does the idea of “rewilding” bring to mind? I first heard this used by herbalist author Stephen Buhner years ago in a radio interview. He said “once you have tasted the wild redeemer you can never go back”.
I for one was never domesticated in the first place and only now realize what a rare blessing it was. When we were children we were fully present in the moment and open were all channels of perception and communication with everything. Heart, mind and gut instincts worked together until one day you are questioned and doubt enters than a bombardment of training begins to unsettle your wholeness. Dogma from authority figures -parents, schools, churches, peer pressure to conform to consensual reality is nearly complete. You are taught the right way to be, do, look, speak and act. You betray yourself in order to fit in and do well in society. If you are a feeling type person- you are seen as weak. If you are intuitive you are crazy. The mind is master in this world. What does a person do? If you are lucky some tragedy occurs in your life, or some crazy ecstatic experience happens out in nature and this thing this experience leads you on a path. a long path back home to your essential self – your soul self.

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Posted in Community Supported Herbalism, Ecology and Culture, flower essences, healing plant remedies, mythology, nourishing infusions, permaculture, plant spirit, Shamanism, storytelling, sustainability, weeds that heal and nourish | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Radical Self Care CSH (community supported herbalism) Shares

Support Local!!

I am enticing you to sign up for My Green Lynx Apothecary -“Radical Self Care Shares”.

I will nourish you with the earths best and sweetest goodies all hand grown /ethically, sustainably harvested, hand made with the finest organic, nourishing, seasonal, soul enhancing, body zinging herbals and botanicals. Isn’t it crazy that self care is a radical idea? We could all use a bit of self care or a lot. I recently sent a care package of goodies to a friend of mine who is mother to a 3 year old. She wrote back to me to say” thank you so much for the beautiful goodies, as a mom I never find the time to do nice things for myself anymore”.

How many of us are moving through life in overdrive and not doing much in thei self care department? How many of you know a friend who is in a healing crisis, someone that has the “BUSY disease”, a new mom, a stressed out friend, or anyone that could use a little self care and nurturing? May we care enough for ourselves to do self care instead of developing a crisis as our call to slow down.

I encourage you to sign up for a share for yourself and give one as a gift to a friend in need. Lets make self care a priority and not just a radical idea.
Go sign up on my etsy store

http://greenlynx.etsy.com

Please see the Apothecary Page for more details

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Lavender Lavender…..

It once again has been months since I posted here, I guess that means I have been busy living life, enjoying the greatest, warmest, and sunniest summer of my 15 year existance here in Sequim. I am now up to my elbows in Grossso Lavender (lavendula intermedia), the one most often used for medicine. I was given permission to harvest lavender in trade for products I make by a couple who are newcomers to Sequim. I have been harvesting, drying, and distilling every day for weeks and I still have a week or two to go. I have really enjoyed the process of distilling with my 2 large copper Al Ambic stills and have been busy making so much hydrosol that my hydrosol fridge in the barn is overflowing with beautiful bottles of plant waters. I have also distilled a significant amount of the precious essential oil. I have been distilling since 2000 when I went to my first United Plant Savers conference down in Williams Oregon. I had the pleasure of taking a distillation workshop with the delightful and elfin-like herbalist James Green. During this workshop James taught us how to make beautiful hydrosols from small amounts of plant materials using just a propane burner, a canning pot , inverted lid, a glass bowl, a brick and some ice. We made lavender, basil, and rosemary hydrosols with this simple homemade still.

I went home hooked and tried my hand at many of the things in my yard including roses, mock orange, spruce, and whaterver was blooming. I continued to learn and experiment each year until I attended a wonderful distillation class with Jeanne Rose here in Sequim put on by the Sequim lavender association. I learned so much more and had the pleasure of getting to hang out with the grande dame of herbalism a little by going out for martinis and dinner with Jeanne that evening. She was wonderful and funny and told many entertaining stories. Jeanne was a huge mover and shaker in the 60s, 70s and beyond in bringing herbalism back from the brink here in this country. She was a trained scientist as well as an herbalist, and a huge preponent of the growing american herbalist movement. What is american herbalism? A combination of western herbalism brought here by european herbalist and folk herbal traditions, the rich native american herbalist traditions, african traditions brought here by african slaves, meso american herbal traditions and later chinese herbal traditions. American herbalism is a melting pot just as we Americans are and is still being spiced by the many traditions added to it

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Dandelions Grrrrrreat!!

It is Almost the end of April and it has been way too long since I have updated this site. So hello out there..

The dandelions abounding everywhere and are at peak here in Sequim so it is a great time to harvest the tasty greens and flowers for eating raw in salads, cooking up the slightly bitter greens in all kinds of recipes, use in making herbed vinegars, tincturing and many possibilities.  This roadside weed the scourge of many mainstream gardeners is so packed full of of vitamins, iron rich and wonderful for our livers. We need strong livers to process all the waste in our bodies and dandelion cleanses and strengthens our livers so befriend your dandelions. We crave all flavors in our diet sweet, salty, spicy, pungent, and bitter. In times of old bitters were served before meals to increase our digestive juices and increase bile in the liver to help us digest and process toxins in the blood. We are way to addicted in our culture to prefer sweet and salty flavors and when it comes to bitter we make coffee our choice which is a toxic mimic for the bitter our bodies actually craves. Try some dandelions today, drink in the yellow sunshine packed field of dandelions with your eyes and then go eat some.

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