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Terrior and Botanical Medicine

Numina

What is terrior exactly?

This word is certainly experiencing an appeal in the mainstream to describe all sorts of things in relationship to its surrounds. This word is of french origin and is used to describe the many variables in nature that make a unique and quality wine. This living landscape or the solar, hydro, earth, wind of a place and it’s effects on a plant; in the original case the wine grape.

I just love the holism implied by this word and can see why it is so popular now.

As we begin as a species to wake up and move away from the reductionist worldview that takes things out of context with whole and attempts to divide it down to the smallest denominator.

I envision a world where we as humans move back into accord with Gaia (this complex intelligent planetary organism of which humanity makes up but a…

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Starting a Grassroots Herbal Medicine Movement

Its Mars retrograde, Mercury retrograde, new moon just a couple days ago, as well as mercury transit the sun exact today.

-Oh and it’s also close to the (Beltane sexy juicy fertility holiday), so what does a Lynx Raven Wolverine trickster spiral dancer creatrix like me decide to do?- Start a movement thats what!

What the heck am I talking about you might ask? Well I have been nurturing this little seed corn kernel inside myself for a good while and now is when it wants to be planted.

I first shared this at a lecture I gave at the Medicinal Herbs Growers and Marketing Conference in Port Townsend WA a couple weeks ago.

I have envisioned a space/spaces/gardens in every community where herbal medicinals can be grown and the wisdom of their uses can be shared by all those in each community (who choose to) by local herbalists, visiting herbalists, first nations herbalists, all those who want to participate. We could invite other healers, storytellers, artists, and holistic practitioners to bring their “medicines” to the project. A very “Radical” act (radical means going back to the roots), and a radical idea I know.

Imagine real green, real sustainable, local, holistic earth based health-care, health-nurturing, sharing, community herbal gardens- like the pea patch garden movement only an herbal medicine gardens movement.

Herbal medicine “is the peoples medicine” as herbalist and wise woman Susun Weed says.

This means real healthcare real choice. Real power to the people, taking back your health power -back into your hands.

This means a place for all members of a community to come together to dialog, to make medicines together, eat real food together, make art, share stories, maybe even”potluck democracy”who knows..

These community gardens, can be incorporated into the food gardens (because after all food is medicine too), and these gardens could be Permaculture based like (food forests), or something else uniquely designed to meet the needs of each community.  A gathering place to reconnect people with the living landscape so it would be more than an herb garden but camps of green revolution re-connecting to earth.

Now is the time.

Contact me if you want to get on board or start your own in your community let’s work together and support one another.

A way in, a way back into accord with all life.

P.S. I am the new chapter coordinator for the Pacific Northwest Chapter of Herbalists Without Borders International.

http://herbalistswithoutborders.weebly.com/hwb-chapters.html

An amazing organization doing many great projects all over the world.

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Those Wild Wild Roses

Wild Rose wisdom reblog.

I can’t believe our wild roses are blooming the first week of May this year, so I thought I would share all the sweet goodness, recipes, and story medicine I shared last year about the wild rose..

Enjoy!

Green Lynx & Bear Creek

It is already the first week of June here in the great pacific northwest of WA state.

Here on the Olympic Peninsula we are in late springs most prolific wildflower blooming time.

Blessed in this part of the world  by abundant hedge rows of our beloved briar feminine native wild Nootka rose (Rosa Nootkana) it sure does inspire creative imaginative concoctions for this rural herbalist.

IMG_0827 Drying Wild Rosa Nootkana for tea

There is much folklore and myth surrounding roses and wild rose in particular are important to indigenous peoples of the Americas.

There is a beautiful Ojibwe story about how the people had stopped noticing and caring for and giving thanks for the wild rose. And so the roses became weakened and rabbits began to eat them all until there were very few left. Hummingbirds went hungry as did the bees, bears grew thin and as honey grew scarce and…

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Between Eclipses

We are between

A place between

 Place in the dark weighty storytelling of old where unusual, profound, profane, unlikely magic can and does occur.

Once apon a time

Otherworld

Middle path

Middle kingdom

Good place to dedicate

I re-dedicate myself to poetry

To story

To prose

Voice inside that tends deeper connection to wild little things around me and within.

Like tending fire

A good time to let go

Let go of what wintery skins needs shedding

Dedicate self to an ever unfolding deepening life

Someday I will be like old growth forestIMG_2115.JPG

May deep dark gifts within merge into the light like spring bulbs pushing through ebony earth or fox woman’s silent footfalls on the unconscious 

A tiny red paw drew back liminal curtains to enter my dreamtime last night

She Blessied me for sure…

Victoria Reddick © March 17,2016

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Gathering Medicine at Mid Winter

Well If your anything like me these days in mid winter I begin notice all the change going on outdoors from gentle pulses of life stirring under foot, the gradually longer days, and Gaia waking -our collective intelligent earth organism’s energy flowing up now as we move toward the spring equinox. My sleepy bear hibernating deep dreaming self that has up till now been focusing on personal interiority , rest, reading, writing, for most of the winter, is now rousing, being called to spend much more time outdoors, out in the world, and not be so inward focused.

Along my morning land meanderings I’ve  begun taking notice that the bulbous flowers are sending up their leaves, the first flowers of spring the snowdrops are blooming, the pussy willows are on, the first of my peppermint is up, the male Hazel tree is hanging heavy in long florescent yellow catkins thick in pollen and my own feral honeybees are buried entirely and most intimately on and in those catkins -It is a sexual dance.

Another favorite of this time for the bees and myself are the cottonwood (populus balsamfera), or (populus trichocarpa) -gathering the trees resinous buds. This is the mojo of magic to me the pure scent of wildnesss- of heaven and if I were a bear I would find a downed branch and just roll in all that divinely scented medicinal stickiness- like bear aromatherapy.

This stuff is what the bees eat to create bee medicine and propolis -that magic glue used by bee architects. By Herbalists it is sometimes referred to as Balm of Gilead although not the same shrub as the biblical reference identified as Commiphora gileadensis, which is the plant that bleeds the Balsam of Mecca. Some botanical scholars have concluded that the actual source was an unrelated plant, a Terebinth tree in the genus Pistacia.

Our cottonwood bud medicine is in the resin and we gather it best by finding a downed tree or branch that has fallen over the winter in one of the many windstorms.

I like to keep track of my annual harvest places -go look near rivers, ponds, and creeks to find cottonwood as they love water almost as much as willow trees do. I gather the resinous buds in a clean jar and pick all of them if it is a downed tree or branch, and only about a third from a live tree where I can reach the buds. I have even harvested on DNR and Forest Service land via my horse where I had my beautiful living ladder companion to boost myself a little higher into the tree. Back at home I set these out for a day or 2 to get most of the dampness off the buds- (I live in rainy foggy country).

These buds then go into a clean jar with copious golden glugs of organic olive oil poured over them-to cover completely, label the jar for dates, place harvested, and anything else important to note. This jar gets covered in a cheesecloth and a rubber band so any  moisture still in the buds can evaporate off. Into a dark cupboard and a stir with a chopstick every once in a while (I am not dogmatic about this).

The buds can really stay in there a long time and the concoction will begin resemble strange oil covered insect carcasses that smell really good.  The most potent bud oil I have made has stayed in the jar for a year or more. I also tincture some of the buds for other uses like a mouthwash, & throat gargle for sore throat.

This gorgeous oil makes a great healing oil for massage of sore muscles, can be made into a healing salve, a great stand alone herbal salve or combined with other herbal oils such as St Johnswort or arnica flower.

It is antiseptic, antimicrobial, anti inflammatory, & analgesic.

Enjoy the early spring, get out, be in the wildness, make some good medicine  for body and spirit, and connect to the deep awakening rhythms of mid winter-we are all a part of it!

 

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Cottonwood buds infusing in organic olive oil

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Cottonwood Salve

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Those Wild Wild Roses

It is already the first week of June here in the great pacific northwest of WA state.

Here on the Olympic Peninsula we are in late springs most prolific wildflower blooming time.

Blessed in this part of the world  by abundant hedge rows of our beloved briar feminine native wild Nootka rose (Rosa Nootkana) it sure does inspire creative imaginative concoctions for this rural herbalist.

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Drying Wild Rosa Nootkana for tea

There is much folklore and myth surrounding roses and wild rose in particular are important to indigenous peoples of the Americas.

There is a beautiful Ojibwe story about how the people had stopped noticing and caring for and giving thanks for the wild rose. And so the roses became weakened and rabbits began to eat them all until there were very few left. Hummingbirds went hungry as did the bees, bears grew thin and as honey grew scarce and a domino effect rang through the world.

One day there were no more roses and the people finally noticed the roses were gone and all the things that had gone wrong from their loss.

They prayed and a medicine person was shown in a dream that there was one last rose that was growing on the foothills of a mountain but it was very weak.

They set out to find the last rose and with the help of Great Spirit they found this rose. The peolple cared for this rose- they talked to it, loved it, and sang to it until one day it was strong and began to talk. The people told the rose that they had avenged the rose by making war upon the rabbits -who had eaten all the roses and that they would soon kill them all. The roses spoke out and said “do not do this-  for the rabbits are not at fault- “It Is you who forgot us, the people stopped noticing us, stopped using us, stopped caring for us and this is why we grew weak.”

Then and there the people stopped killing the rabbits but the wounds the rabbits received in this war can still be seen by their long stretched out ears and there split lips. The people vowed to pay attention and to give thanks to the roses and use them, and the roses flourished again.

So much deep medicine for us in that story..

There are many things to make with this lovely sweet spicy heart pink rose.

I love to solar infuse the freshly picked blossoms in organic coconut oil placed in a big glass bowl on a warm sunny day. I bring the bowl in at night and pick fresh blossoms each day and repeat the process for many days. This rose infused oil can be used “as is” for a great face and body oil or with the blossoms strained through cheesecloth when warmed and still liquid. This oil can be whipped alone into a luscious body butter, or you could add in other oils like shea, vitamin e. Makes a great addition to cream and lotion recipes.

This stuff is edible! Yes you can also eat this yummy stuff straight or put it into recipes. I like to make homemade chocolate truffle balls made with raw fair trade cocoa, add the melted coconut rose oil, and a bit of honey for sweetness. This makes a delightful vegan snack.

There are so many uses for a rosy, spicy, and tasty flavoring, and remember roses both flowers and hips are naturally high in vitamin C, bioflavonoids and are great for making witch hazel infused toners for the skin, The rose herbal actions are both internally and externally drying, astringent and tonifying.

The roses can be used to make flower elixirs, tinctures, honey infusions, vinegars and essences, I also steam distill them for aromatic hydrosols and dry plenty of them for teas. Fresh petals and hips can make tasty jams and jellies. I don’t recommend eating the hip seeds of Nootka rose as the seeds can cause an itchy anus.

My rule for ethical wild harvesting is to only pick about 1/3rd of any wild plant. Remember the plants are not just a pretty background to our lives, they are not just here for human beings, plants are intelligent, wise, sentient beings with their own lives and there are many other beings dependent on them for food, shelter etc.

Ask permission from the land and plant spirit -if I hear No- I listen.

Say a gratitude prayer of thanks to the plant and open up sacred space (in whichever way you choose).

Always leave a small offering to the plant spirits and the land- (like a pinch of tobacco, a small crystal, a song, or a strand of your hair if you have nothing else) I leave nothing harmful to critters. (no chocolate).

I ask the plants to make the medicine good and strong and that it may help those who receive it. Sometimes I do this days ahead of time and attune to the plants days ahead of time.

Remember to close sacred space when you are finished

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Wild Rose Honey Elixer

Always be respectful as harvesters, enjoy the plants, and be kind to our fellow beings- green and otherwise.

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Wild rose petal infused coconut oil

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Loading the alembic still column with wild rose buds and petals for distillation of aromatic hydrosol

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Trillium Flower Essence

So many people ask me about Trillium flower so I am reposting this article.

Green Lynx & Bear Creek

Trillium flowers are present in the woods now and I want to share my love of this flower and its wonderful use as energy medicine.

Trillium (Trillium ovatum) sometimes called Robin of the wood, or Wake Robin is a beautiful flower with 3 petals, 3 leaves and is a white flower that transforms during its ageing process by turning from white, to pink then to purple. The number 3 (sacred number to the celts), sacred in story telling, tells us that it has 3 distinct qualities. Traditionally used as herb called “beth root” (birth root), and is useful as a tonifying astringent for the uterus in preparation for birth, or used to help those with heavy menstrual flows due to uterine fibroids. As a flower essence for energy medicine we can look to the doctrine of signatures to read the energy’s. The deep green color of 3 leaves and stem relates to the heart chakra, the 3 white petals for the top of our…

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