Friday, December 20, 2019


The winter solstice (on or around December 21st) has long been honored as the moment we shift from the darker half of the year to the lighter half, as the days begin to lengthen- the sun is reborn. Germanic and Norse traditions historically celebrated a festival known as Yule or Yuletide, a holiday that is still celebrated by Neopagans and Heathens today and lasts anywhere from three to twelve days. Many traditions we now associate with the Christian holiday of Christmas originated in historical Yuletide celebrations, such as caroling, imbibing on wassail (spiced cider), mistletoe kissing, as well as decorating trees with lights, and hanging holly and ivy in the home. A Yule log, traditionally made of ash, was brought into the home and lavishly decorated before being set ablaze, as the highlight of celebration. A piece of the previous year's log was added, symbolic of retaining prosperity throughout the year and into the next. There are many variations of these celebrations in modern traditions. Whatever you celebrate, we hope you have a blessed and warm holiday!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Book Spotlight: A Year of Living Mindfully by Anna Black

Experience a year of living mindfully with weekly activities and practices that will help you enjoy a more stress-free, contented, and fulfilled life.

Anna Black believes we can see our essential nature as the blue sky and our experience, good and bad, simply as impersonal weather that obscures it from time to time. We can’t stop the difficult times occurring but we can help ourselves move through them by connecting with our essential nature through mindfulness. In A Year of Living Mindfully Anna helps you to gradually integrate mindfulness into your everyday life. Week by week it suggests different activities and meditations to cultivate present moment awareness. The emphasis is on progressing at your own pace and cultivating a spirit of curiosity about the moments that make up your life. There is plenty of space to reflect on your experience and what you are discovering. Anna suggests ways to actively cultivate qualities that build our emotional resilience in the same way we may exercise to improve our physical fitness. We can learn to handle difficult emotions more positively and learn to respond to our experience rather than being hijacked by it.


VIRGINIA CEDARWOOD: Essential Oil of the Month

While most trees are bare this time of year, cedar trees are evergreen. Cedar oil can remind you of your deep strength and give you some emotional stamina this winter. Cedar is considered a sacred tree in many different cultures and traditions. It has been used in many different religious and spiritual ceremonies and practices, partly because it is known to relax the mind and body, making prayer and meditation easier. Used in aromatherapy, cedar oil can be a wonderful tool for aiding both relaxation and concentration. It can both alleviate feelings of stress and stimulate cerebral function, making it easier to focus. Cedar oil can help ease tension in the body and make it easier to fall asleep. It can be used to help one breathe easier, help with the buildup of phlegm, and a variety of other respiratory ailments. To help with breathing, try using it as a natural vapor rub by diluting it and massaging it into the throat and chest.
When diluted and used topically, cedar essential oil can help ease inflammation, dryness, cracking of the skin, acne, and can reduce signs of aging. It can facilitate wound healing, as well as soothe muscle aches and spasms.
Cedar oil is great for encouraging hair growth and health. It has been known to reduce hair thinning, slow hair loss, and help improve circulation to the scalp while cleansing.
It also can be used in spray bottles to disinfect and to repel insects.
Enjoy cedar oil's many and varied benefits this winter season.

by Theresa Musatto

RAINBOW OBSIDIAN: Gemstone of the Month

The French writer Albert Camus once wrote, “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” In this darkest time of winter, the stone of rainbow obsidian can remind you of that invincible summer within yourself. Like the rainbow comes after a storm, rainbow obsidian holds this rainbow within itself, as a promise of hope encapsulated by the fertile darkness. This stone is useful for grounding and is a powerful protector. It can help you touch on some of the root causes of emotional distress. It carries you deep within yourself and aids in shining light on different, perhaps buried, parts of oneself. This journey is not always pleasant to begin with, but looking deep into oneself bears the fruit of true understanding and peace that cannot come without an earnest and determined search.

Use this stone as an ally in this dark months, to dig deep and find your inner rainbow.

“Rainbow Obsidian helps one take the downward journey to unexpected Light. One often expects the spiritual Light to be found above, in one's flights towards Heaven, but for most human beings it's impossible to escape the prisons of one's own wounded psyche without going down. This journey into the depths is as amazing as it is necessary. As one descends, one finds the forgotten pieces of oneself that have been left behind at each wounding. Reclaiming the parts and continuing downward, one may experience more emptiness and deeper darkness before suddenly bursting into Light at the very nadir of the descent.” - Robert Simmons

by Theresa Musatto

WILD CHERRY: Herb of the Month

As winter progresses, wild cherry bark can help you with any coughs or colds that come along. Considered one of the most precious herbs to the Native Americans, it can be used in a variety of ways. Known best as a cough suppressant, one can often find wild cherry bark syrup at their local natural food or herb store. Because it is also a bronchiodilator, it not only suppresses coughing (very useful if it is keeping you up at night), it can also open up your airways. Its astringent actions reduce mucus, and its gentle nervine action helps you to feel soothed. Being a member of the rose family, it is not surprising that wild cherry bark is also a wonderful heart tonic. It both tones the heart and aids in relieving congestion of the cardiovascular system. It can help remedy heart conditions such as heart palpitations and high blood pressure.

Wild cherry bark is also considered a wonderful digestive tonic. Being a bitter, it promotes the secretion of digestive juices, which help the breakdown of food and aid in the absorption of nutrients. Additionally, it can tone and strengthen the digestive system and can be useful for cases of indigestion.

Many Native America tribes used the berries and inner bark to treat worms and diarrhea. Used as a poultice, wild cherry bark and root have proved to be useful in treating a variety of skin problems and wounds. The inner bark was applied as a poultice on cuts, ulcers, wounds, and burns by the Chippewa tribe.

Prunus serotina (wild cherry) is very closely related to prunus virginia and both are often referred to as chokecherry. According to the Field Guide to Medicinal Wild Plants, "When Captain Meriwether Lewis fell ill with fever and abdominal cramps on the Lewis and Clark expedition, he was on his feet the next day after being dosed with chokecherry twigs simmered in water." 

Wild cherry should be avoided in large doses and for long periods of time. In addition, avoid if you are pregnant or nursing. Consult a doctor if you are taking it with medications because wild cherry bark can affect how they are are broken down by the liver.

by Theresa Musatto

Saturday, December 7, 2019

The Magic of Soup: January is National Soup Month

In the 17th century B.C., I-Yin, the Chinese imperial chef studied herbs for medicinal use in cooking and developed the healing herbal soups that are now a standard part of the Chinese diet and healing regimens.
Experts believe the therapeutic value of soup comes in part from the ease with which the body assimilates the ingredients, broken down by simmering, as well as from the synergy of food and herbs cooked together. Soups don't require much energy to digest so in many cultures they are often used instead of food when a person is sick. (For example, chicken soup: the Jewish penicillin). Soup is an ideal vehicle for introducing therapeutic substances into the daily routine. You can eat soups containing tonic herbs and food daily for preventative health.
To make a good tonic soup, use a non-metallic pot such as a ceramic or crock pot. Cook the ingredients over low heat. Simmering gently leaches out the energetic and therapeutic properties of the foods, rather than destroying them.
Fall is the season of the lung, which is nourished by pungent foods, and must be protected from excessive dryness, and from ailments like cods, bronchitis, and the flu. Winter is an important time to tonify the kidneys with soups. As you strengthen the kidneys, you strengthen the whole body.

Soup Recipe for Cold & Flu
3 whole scallions, sliced into thin 1" strips
1 ounce black or white soybeans
5 quarter-sized slices ginger, cut into 1" strips
2 pints water
Bring all ingredients to a boil. Cover and simmer over very low heat for thirty minutes. Makes 2 servings.

Recipe for Kidney Tonic Soup
1/4 ounce fennel seeds
1/4 ounce cinnamon bark
Dried orange peel (about 1/2 of an orange)
2 scallions, cut into thin 1" strips
3 cloves garlic, pressed or chopped fine
3 quarter-sized slices ginger, cut into 1" strips
1/4 pound tofu (or cooked chicken) 1" cubes
1 quart vegetable or chicken stock
Place fennel, cinnamon, and orange peel in a tea strainer or herb floater. Place with other ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered for forty minutes. Remove strainer and serve. Makes 2 servings.

by Judy Burger

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Recipe: Chocolate Adaptabili-Tea Balls

Chocolate Adaptabili-Tea Balls
1c. nut butter of choice (such as almond or cashew)
1 c. raw, local honey
1 oz Adaptabili-Tea, ground & sifted
1 c.+ cocoa powder

Mix the honey & nut butter together thoroughly. Add the powdered herbs and combine evenly. Add cocoa powder until you have a knead-able dough consistency. Roll into 1” balls. Can coat in additional cocoa powder, if desired.

FRANKINCENSE: Essential Oil of the Month

Frankincense is a wonderful oil to use when you want to feel connected spiritually, as the case may be this holiday season.
Frankincense is the dried resin from the Boswellia tree. The resin is burned as incense, and often incense in stick form is made from it. The scent is said to be very uplifting spiritually- some say it can help you feel connected to the Divine. The resin is anti-inflammatory and can be used for a variety of ailments, such as arthritis. The essential oil contains constituents that help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, while enhancing mood and memory. It can work against aging, by reducing the appearance of wrinkles and other spots, as well as increasing the skin's elasticity. It can be used for cleaning, as it eliminates both surface and airborne bacteria. It can both disinfect and tighten pores, therefore being helpful with the effective healing of cuts, scars and wounds. When inhaled, it can work to encourage easy breathing, clearing the nasal passageways.
Being a strong anti-inflammatory oil, it can reduce redness, itching, and swelling, and is known to soothe inflamed skin. It can also stimulate growth of new cells and help with circulation and blood flow.
Be sure to always dilute essential oils before applying to the skin. Never ingest essential oils, as they are very potent and can damage the liver if used without caution. Avoid frankincense essential oil if pregnant or nursing.

by Theresa Musatto

AMETHYST: Gemstone of the Month

Amethyst can be a wonderful ally in this season where many traditions celebrate their connection with Divinity.
Considered a stone that helps support one's connection with the Divine, Amethyst can be a helpful tool if you would like to feel connected to something greater than yourself. If you are seeking clarity, feeling lost or disconnected, this stone may assist you in feeling united again. One of the most known of all the gemstones, amethyst is in the quartz family and is often readily recognizable by its sparkling purple that can range from so dark it's opaque, to as clear as pure quartz. The stone has a rich and long history of variety of uses, mainly that of connecting one with their version of a higher power, and enhancing clarity and spiritual vision. “Amethystos” is a Greek word that means “not drunk”, and was seen in ancient Greece as a protection against drunkenness. Holding the stone was thought to help one find the clarity needed without drinking and reigned in any impulse towards overindulgence. In the same manner, amethyst is a great tool for anyone trying to break any bad habit. It is also a very purifying stone and helps to protect from negative energies. With the clarity amethyst gives, it can also enhance intuition. It is said that holding an amethyst or having amethyst in one's environment, can give one a feeling of being in a “bubble of light”. It is also known for bringing people into awareness of the angelic realm. It can connect you deeply with your soul, and you may feel more understanding about your path and direction.

“.. it is a stone of spiritual protection and purification.. It can be an aid to curbing overindulgence and giving up bad habits. It can be used to assist one in quitting smoking, drinking or drug use. It stimulates the chrown chakra and is an aid to meditation, helping to still one's thoughts and move into higher states of consciousness. It can clear one's energy field of negative influences and attachments and can thereby facilitate the creation of an energetic 'shield'- a field of spiritual Light around the body that wards off the negativity in one's environment.”- Robert Simmons

“Amethyst facilitates, mediates, and engenders communion and communication with one's guides and angels. It assists one in surrendering to the Divine and assuming one's spiritual power as a creation of that Divine being.”

- Naisha Ashian

by Theresa Musatto

HAWTHORN: Herb of the Month

The season can be for many, about bringing a more heart-centered awareness, with gratitude and the giving of gifts. Hawthorn fits perfectly into this season, as it is a main heart herb, both physically and emotionally. The physical effects are documented and extensive. Emotionally, it can give you the “Christmas morning feeling”, both warming your heart and making you feel more relaxed.
Hawthorn, also called thornapple, is a thorny shrub or small tree belonging to the rose family, and is native to the north temperate zone. It is a tree that has long thorns and small red (or ranging from yellow to black) berries that are a bit tangy and are packed with nutrition. The leaves, berries, and flowers are used as medicine. Known best as a heart medicine, hawthorn also has a variety of other medicinal properties. It is an all around heart herb- besides its astonishing ability to regulate blood pressure, it has been shown to help with conditions such as angina and heart failure.
The berry is also known to activate bile and gastric secretions, which aids in the digestion of stagnant food in the GI track, especially food that is rich in protein or fat. The berries are packed with antioxidants and also contain a variety of compounds that help gut flora to improve digestion of nutrients.

Hawthorn has a very rich history in the Celtic tradition, where it was considered a portal to the realm of Fae, and it was written about in many different myths around the world. It's known as one of the oldest medicinal plants that has a written history. It was prescribed as a remedy for heart problems by the ancient Greek physician Dioscorides in the first century AD. 

While hawthorn is generally considered safe and has been consumed as a food in jams and syrups throughout history, it's always best to consult your doctor before using hawthorn medicinally if you are on a heart medication.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Book Spotlight: I Don't Want to Be an Empath Anymore by Ora North

Do you feel all the feels—all the time? Are you fed up with the mainstream spiritual “love and light” scene that calls for constant positivity, even in the face of true loss, trauma, and pain? If so, this book is for you.
I Don’t Want to Be an Empath Anymore is a gift for the jaded empath searching for authenticity in spirituality, and spirituality in being authentic—something beyond the clich├ęd, positive affirmations that seem to invalidate our anger, sadness, and pain. When we feel broken—and when real damage has been done, it’s not always helpful to ignore our feelings and tell ourselves that we are perfect and whole.
In this refreshingly honest guide, shamanic practitioner Ora North offers practical exercises to help you navigate your intuition and empathic sensitivities, create much-needed boundaries, and build confidence. You’ll also learn to balance your emotions and energy, and harness the strength of your shadow side to embrace your whole self and live your best life.
Like the Japanese craft known as Kintsugi—the art of repairing broken pottery using a lacquer dusted with powdered gold—the process of acknowledging and repairing our fragmented selves can make us even more beautiful than before, cracks and all. In this book, you won’t find platitudes or attempts to whitewash your experiences. What you will find are real, practical tools and guidance to help you make the most of your unique abilities.

I Ching, a Tradition, By: Amy Chris Keiper, also known as the writer, L.C. Harrison

I Ching has become a cross cultural philosophical creation, that has been used for centuries to promote connection with higher consciousness. Created during the Zhou (Chou) dynasty in China, I Ching has roots in Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. I Ching is a type of cleromancy based on numbers in connection with the ancient texts of the Book of Changes/I Ching (Yijing). In the Xia dynasty, I Ching was utilized by Rulers to find guidance by connecting with the Spirits of Nature and Ancestors. Dr. Carl Jung utilized the I Ching in his therapy sessions. Jung felt that the symbolism in the I Ching was supportive in healing with a focus on the conscious and the unconscious, the realm of consciousness (the psyche). I Ching is a meditative tool that supports connection with the higher consciousness for guidance, wisdom, and self-realization.

The practice of counting to build the hexagrams for I Ching to consult the texts with coins, sticks, etc. can be meditative. I Ching is viewed as supportive in making better decisions in helping to reduce doubt, creating focus and clarity by the meditative practice and in forming clear questions, promoting a broader perspective by setting aside emotions during the meditative practice, and reducing stress as the mind relaxes for focus. As a tradition, I Ching is viewed as a way to observe patterns in change, that there is always change, and as a way to understand the inner self in relation to life choices.

I Ching has come to have a tradition, where it is practiced by families at the time of the New Year for guidance in the coming year. Questions are worded in a “Would this be Beneficial” manner. Traditionally each person may ask up to three questions, which may be a daily practice. The same question should not be re-asked within the same week. Although I Ching has been utilized as a tool of communicating with ancestors, I Ching is traditionally viewed as sourced from the higher consciousness (the divine).

Overall, this ancient practice is a way to understanding the self, healing the inner spirit through realization, and adapting the benefits of meditation into your life with added insight. In the promotion of broader self perspectives, open-minded approaches, and clarity for the understanding of change as a constant, I Ching is a healing tool for decision making, awareness, and the inner self.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

After Wrapping All The Gifts, Wrap Yourself Up!

A Bavarian monk named Father Sebastian Kneipp developed an herbal wrap treatment along with his practice of hydrotherapy and herbal regimens. He used layers of hot, herbal-scented towels, similar to the aromatic body wraps of today.
You can save hundreds of dollars and enjoy this technique in your own home. Few materials are needed. A large plastic or vinyl sheet that is waterproof, along with a blanket, large beach towel and a 12-ounce spray bottle are all that is necessary.
Lay out the blanket on the floor, put the plastic sheet over that, and the beach towel over that. Fill the spray bottle with very hot mineral or distilled water with a total of 10-15 drops of your chosen essential oils. Shake well and spray onto the beach towel. Shake often while spraying. Lie down face-up on the beach towel and reach around to grab all the layers, pulling them around the sides and on top of you. Time is important, because the essential oils are evaporating and the water temperature cools quickly. Consider a heating pad under the blanket to assist in warming.
Close your eyes and relax totally in your "cocoon". You can stay wrapped up as long as you are comfortable and remain warm, about 30-60 minutes. Aromatic wraps encourage your body to detoxify by increasing perspiration, stimulating circulation, and promoting lymphatic drainage. A detoxifying wrap would include Cypress-6 drops, Lemon-5 drops, Juniper- 2 drops, and Lavender- 2 drops. Or for a relaxing blend, try Lavender-10 drops, Bergamot-3 drops, and Sweet Orange- 2 drops.

by Judy Burger

Saturday, October 26, 2019

VALERIAN: Herb of the Month

If you are already feeling like going into hibernation mode, valerian can help you. Valerian is a flowering plant that is native to Europe and Asia. Its uses are well-documented throughout history; from Hippocrates to Culpepper. Known best as a sleep aid, valerian can also help with anxiety. It has a compound in it called valerenic acid that is believed to work on receptors that enhance GABA in a similar way as sedative medications. It is often referred to as “nature's Valium”and is a wonderful remedy for general stress.
Native Americans used it to heal ulcers and wounds, as well as treating coughs.

The smell and taste of valerian is pretty unique and there's really nothing that mimics it, in that regard. The only way to know what it tastes like is to try it! Some people think it smells like dirty socks, others describe it as deeply floral.

It is best not to take large doses of valerian over an extended period of time. There is a very small percentage of the population that actually has a reverse reaction to valerian and are highly stimulated, therefore it's best to start with a small dose and see how you react to it.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

LABRADORITE: Gemstone of the Month

As the weather increasingly gets colder and winter approaches, labradorite can be a great ally and spiritual medicine. A stone of inner reflection, magic and intuition, labradorite can help you use these darker days for deep internal work that can help you feel more whole and light. Utilizing the medicine of winter, for the inner reflection that it creates, one can emerge into the spring with greater appreciation and awareness. The more winter is utilized, the greater the gifts. The stone can look like the wings of a stunning, iridescent butterfly wing. The butterfly is a symbol of transformation, and this goes right along with the stone's properties.
A legend of the Inuit people is that the frozen fire of the Northern lights fell and got trapped in the stones. An Inuit warrior tried to free some of the light trapped in the stones with his spear, but could not get all of it to release, so some of it remained, creating the iridescent beauty that is the stone called labradorite. According to the legend, this explains why much of it comes from the coast of Labrador (part of a Canadian province that experiences the Northern Lights). The stone does indeed capture some of the beauty of the Northern Lights.
To quote Robert Simmons from the Book of Stones:
“It is an inter-dimensional stone, emanating an energy which helps one to consciously pierce the veil between our waking world and the many domains and planes of inner awareness. It is a gemstone of adventure, for it offers one the chance to embark upon a multitude of voyages of self-discovery. It is said that a tyrant wants power over others and a true magician desires power only over himself or herself. In wearing or working with labradorite, one disconnects from any tendencies to control others, while one bonds deeply with the knowledge that self-mastery is the path of true fulfillment.”
He mentions later that the stone can “center one in constant awareness of the multiple layers of reality.”
Naisha Ahsian comments that the stone can “help one consciously move between the worlds.”

Saturday, October 19, 2019

AMBER: Essential Oil of the Month

Amber essential oil is a deeply warming, earthy oil that is comforting on colder days. Amber is a fossilized resin from tree sap, and is relatively rare. It has an innate deep resonance that can both calm and uplift, seemingly warming your moods from the inside, out. Besides its clear affects on anxiety and mood, it can also be added to a moisturizer because of its effects on the skin. Add a couple drops to a carrier oil or moisturizer for enhanced skin healing properties. To make a wonderful facial steam, add a couple drops of amber to a bowl of hot water and enjoy your pores being opened and your mind relaxing- a restorative way to end a long day. This treatment can also help any issues going on with the respiratory system. It can also boost the immune system. A couple drops can be a nice addition to bath water for a deeper healing experience.

by Theresa Musatto

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Head to Toe Herbal Skin Care

For those who love to indulge in herbal luxury, begin by cleaning your face and removing all makeup. Use this simple herbal wash.
Infuse 1/2 cup chamomile or lavender flowers and 1/2 cup crushed fennel seeds in two cups of boiled water. Steep twenty minutes, strain, cool and use to wash your face.
Now apply the following herbal mask and allow it to set for ten minutes.
1 Tbsp. comfrey leaves and 1 Tbsp chamomile in 1/2 cup boiled water. Cover and steep ten minutes before straining. Add this to 3 Tbsp. powdered oatmeal (grind in coffee grinder) or 3 Tbsp. yogurt. Apply liberally to face and neck. Lie down and cover your eyes with a cotton ball dipped in the leftover infusion. Rinse and apply an herbal toner. Here's a recipe for a simple toner.
For sensitive and mature skin, make an infusion of 2 Tbsp rose, lavender or calendula in 1/2 cup boiled water. Strain. Use 1/2 cup of this infusion along with 1 tsp. vegetable glycerine and 1/2 cup witch hazel. Apply with a cotton ball.
For oily skin, infuse sage, lemon balm, lemongrass, lemon verbena, rosemary or any combination of these herbs in 1/2 cup boiled water. Strain. Use 1/2 cup of infusion with 1 tsp. glycerine and 1/2 cup witch hazel. (Refrigerate after using. Will keep for three days). After toner dries and sets, apply an all-natural moisturizing cream or lotion.
Remember to nurture your nails. Infuse 2 Tbsp. horsetail or crushed dill seed in 1 cup boiled water. Cover and steep twenty minutes. Strain and pour into two small bowls. Soak your nails for ten minutes or longer. Massage 1 Tbsp. of almond oil into the nails and cuticles. Use the infusion to soak the toenails also and massage any leftover oil into the toenails.
Then it's time to step into an herbal bath and finish the beauty treatment with a good twenty minutes soak. Use any combination of the following herbs in a cotton or muslin drawstring bag.
Chamomile- soothes skin and reduces puffiness around the eyes.
Comfrey- soothes inflamed skin and reduces blemishes
Fennel- cleans and tones the skin
Sage, Thyme- antiseptics
Lemon Balm, Lemongrass- increase circulation and gently astringe the skin
Rose petals- reduce fine lines and soften the skin
Rosemary- reduces oily skin

by Judy Burger

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Book Spotlight: Dark Nights of the Soul by Thomas Moore

Every human life is made up of the light and the dark, the happy and the sad, the vital and the deadening. How you think about this rhythm of moods makes all the difference.

Our lives are filled with emotional tunnels: the loss of a loved one or end of a relationship, aging and illness, career disappointments or just an ongoing sense of dissatisfaction with life. Society tends to view these “dark nights” in clinical terms as obstacles to be overcome as quickly as possible. But Moore shows how honoring these periods of fragility as periods of incubation and positive opportunities to delve the soul’s deepest needs can provide healing and a new understanding of life’s meaning. Dark Nights of the Soul presents these metaphoric dark nights not as the enemy, but as times of transition, occasions to restore yourself, and transforming rites of passage, revealing an uplifting and inspiring new outlook on such topics as:

• The healing power of melancholy
• The sexual dark night and the mysteries of matrimony
• Finding solace during illness and in aging
• Anxiety, anger, and temporary Insanities
• Linking creativity, spirituality, and emotional struggles
• Finding meaning and beauty in the darkness

Saturday, September 21, 2019

TONKA BEAN: Essential Oil of the Month

As the days continue to grow cooler, warm up with tonka bean oil. Its smell is a mixture of dark caramel, honey, vanilla and musk: a perfect scent for the weather. Tonka bean essential oil comes from the seeds of the Tonka tree which grows in Central and South America. The tree is very valued for its timber which is hardwood but it's the bean that has grown in international popularity. The beans are used in cosmetics, tobacco, food and perfumery. Tonka bean essential oil is a fixative, used to enhance and “fix” other scents in a perfume blend. Spiritually, the oil is known as the Oil of Initiation. Besides smelling delightful, when diluted it can be used as an antiseptic, expectorant, and an aphrodisiac.
Try wearing the scent of the month, holding the stone of the month and drinking a tea made with the herb of the month for a very invigorating experience! This is a way to put you deeper in the mood of the season.

by Theresa Musatto

SUMAC: Herb of the Month

As autumn continues and seasonal colors begin to abound, sumac is among the brightest of the plants. Bright red sumac, with its leaves turning pink to orange to yellow, and its furry clusters of berries, gather in abundance around roadways and forests. Sumac is a shrub that grows in subtropical to temperate climates throughout the world, including North America, East Asia, and Africa. There are many different varieties of sumac, the red kind many see growing is often staghorn sumac or smooth sumac. The bad hype sumac gets is pretty unfortunate. Most people have heard the term “poison sumac” but the kind that is poison has green or white berries, not red. It's harder to find the white variety as it grows in swamps or marshy areas and most have not seen it at all. The red sumac is a great medicinal and culinary herb that many cultures like the Middle East have utilized for thousands of years. Sumac contains very high levels of vitamin C and the berries, bark, leaves, sap and root of the harmless sumac variety are used for many different conditions including skin conditions, inflammation, digestive issues, cold and flu, urinary tract problems, diarrhea, and fever.

Late summer, autumn, and even very early winter sumac berries can be harvested. It is best to harvest sumac in late summer or autumn (now!). When you are harvesting, try to make sure the sumac berries are dry- it is best not to harvest them right after a rain shower.

Enjoy the last glimpses of warmth with soothing sumac lemonade.

Sumac Pink Lemonade
Add 1/8 to ¼ cup of berries to a quart size jar of water and place in the refrigerator overnight. Otherwise, you can heat this up in a saucepan over medium heat with equal parts sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, for about five minutes before straining. Depending on your preference, you can add honey, maple syrup or stevia.

by Theresa Musatto

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Ginseng: Which One is Best?

The Chinese have used ginseng for thousands of years, believing it enhances sexual performance, increases energy and eases stress. Many Americans are skeptical, demanding scientific validation. A summary of what is known about the herb may help you decide whether to reach for ginseng every day, on occasion, or opt for something else.
The generic name Panax comes from the Greek pan, "all", and akos, "cure"; however, Traditional Chinese Medicine rarely uses the herb alone to "cure" anything. Instead, it is used as an ingredient in their therapeutic formulas. It's used to restore vital energy (qi) and regulate body systems- in Chinese medicine, the primary purpose for healing is to restore balance and strength so the body can heal itself.
The best known of the true ginsengs are Asian or Oriental (P. ginseng), available in white or red forms, and American ginseng (P. quinquefolius). White ginseng (actually a very pale yellow) is the peeled and dried root of Asian ginseng. The fresh root is considered "cooler" than red and useful for people who need a little energy boost. Ginseng root turns red and hard when the fresh root is slowly steamed, then dried which alters the ginsenosides, making it more stimulating than the white form. Red ginseng is frequently used for people aged forty or older who show low energy. American ginseng is considered by the Chinese as a better tonic than Asian ginseng for supporting the adrenal glands, regulating metabolism and increasing fluids. It is seen as more cooling than Asian ginseng, and thus appropriate for younger, "hotter", stressed individuals.
When choosing ginseng products, look for those standardized to at least 4 to 5 percent ginsenosides. Follow label instructions; 100mg one to two times a day is the usual dose. With ginseng extract or tinctures, it is recommended to take 1/2 tsp in a little warm water two to three times a day for one to two months, then stop for one week. You may continue taking the tincture for one to two more months. To make a tea, use 3 tsp of dried or sliced root per cup of water. Simmer covered for 45 minutes. (Red root requires longer cooking times). Strain and drink a cup two to three times a day. You can refrigerate leftovers, covered, for four days.
Taking a ginseng supplement or tea in moderation is safe for most people, but it is not appropriate for people with high blood pressure. Asian and American ginsengs have been shown to increase blood pressure in some people. Though not a true ginseng, Siberian ginseng would be a better choice for them, as it will not raise blood pressure. Young children and pregnant women should avoid ginseng.

by Judy Burger

Book Spotlight: The Kindness Cure by Tara Cousineau

It’s time for a kindness revolution. In The Kindness Cure, psychologist Tara Cousineau draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to show how simple practices of kindness—for ourselves, for others, and for our world—can dissolve our feelings of fear and indifference, and open us up to a life of profound happiness.
Compassion for ourselves and others is our birthright as humans—hardwired into our DNA and essential to our happiness. But in our fast-paced, technical savvy and hyper competitive world, it may come as no surprise that rates of narcissism have risen, while empathy levels have declined. We now find ourselves in a “cool to be cruel” culture where it’s easy to feel disillusioned and dejected in our hearts, homes, and communities. So, how can we reverse this malady of meanness and make kindness and compassion an imperative?
The Kindness Cure draws on the latest social and scientific research to reveal how the seemingly “soft skills” of kindness, cooperation, and generosity are fundamental to our survival as a species. In fact, it’s our prosocial abilities that put us at the head of the line. Blended with moving case studies and clinical anecdotes, Cousineau offers practical ways to rekindle kindness from the inside out.
We are wired to care. The very existence of our human species evolved because of an intricate physiology built for empathy, compassion, and cooperation. Yet we have an epidemic of loneliness, indifference, and cruelty, and we see these destructive trends on a daily basis in our families, schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces. This important book teaches effective skills in compassion, mindfulness, and social and emotional learning, and reveals successful social policy initiatives in empathy taking place that inform everything from family life to education to the workplace.
Kindness has the exponential power to renew relationships and transform how we think, feel, and behave in the world. Will you be a part of the revolution?

Saturday, August 24, 2019

LEMON BALM: Essential Oil of the Month

Lemon balm is a perennial herb that is a member of mint family that grows wild locally. It's latin name “Melissa officinalis” originates from the Greek word melissa, which means honeybee. It was planted in ancient Greece by the beekeepers of the temple of Artemis to help attract bees. It is generally seen as a calming, soothing herb and this property extends to its medicinal effect as an essential oil as well. The oil can be used to treat anxiety and even depression, as it has been shown to uplift mood. There are studies that show it can promote mental clarity and can even have a positive affect on Alzheimer's. It is strongly antiviral and can be diluted and used topically to treat cold sores. It can be used as a natural bug repellent and air freshener.

by Theresa Musatto

MEADOWSWEET: Herb of the Month

Meadowsweet is a beautiful perennial herb that is native to Europe and Asia but has been naturalized in North America. It has a spray of ethereal creamy white flowers with a strong, sweet smell. In Celtic times, the Druids held it sacred. It represented the maiden aspect of the triple goddess- the flowerbride or "blodeuwedd." It was once used to flavor mead, hence one of its common names, "mead wort".
Because it is bountiful in salicylic acid, it is effective for pain relief. In fact, aspirin gets its name from meadowsweet's botanical genus name, spirea. One of the downsides to aspirin use is its negative effects on the stomach. Meadowsweet is actually very soothing to irritation of the mucous membranes of the digestive tract while reducing acidity. Studies have found it to prevent stomach lesions and heal chronic ulcers. Meadowsweet's effects are gentle, yet effective, and can even be used to treat diarrhea in children. Its soothing pain relief works very well in instances of fixed pain, such as with headaches.

If you are prone to heartburn, try this Heartburn Relief tea from nittygrittylife
2 ounces dried meadowsweet
1 ounce dried calendula
1 ounce dried marshmallow root
1/2 ounce dried licorice root

Combine and store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. To prepare the formula, steep 1-2 teaspoons of the mixture in 8-10 ounces of freshly simmered water for 5-7 minutes (tea), or 10-15 minutes (infusion). Strain and serve.

by Kristy Baird

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Growing Older Gracefully with Ginkgo

Ginkgo is the oldest surviving tree on Earth. As a healing herb, it can help prevent and treat many conditions associated with aging thus passing on its potential for survival to humans. Medical excitement over ginkgo comes from the herb's ability to interfere with the action of a substance the body produces called platelet activation factor (PAF). By inhibiting PAF, ginkgo has shown enormous healing potential.
As people grow older, blood flow to the brain can decrease, leaving less oxygen for brain cells, or if blood flow is blocked, a stroke can result. Studies show ginkgo significantly increases blood flow to the brain and may even speed recovery from stroke. Also as blood flow to the brain improves, so do short-term memory and response time.
Ginkgo also improves blood flow to the heart, and may prevent heart attacks by reducing the risk of internal blood clots that trigger them.
Macular degeneration is a leading cause of adult blindness. In one study, ginkgo produced significant improvement in the vision of sufferers of this disease. Other studies showed it to improve tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and chronic dizziness (vertigo).
PAF causes the kind of bronchial constriction typical in asthma. Because ginkgo interferes with PAF, it is often used for treating asthma and other respiratory complaints.
PAF plays a key role in blood clotting, so it may cause problems for those people with clotting disorders. Ginkgo is considered safe in recommended amounts of 60-80mg twice a day as a preventative dose and 240mg daily for existing problems.

by Judy Burger

HIDDENITE: Gemstone of the Month

"Hiddenite vibrates to the true chord of the spontaneously loving heart, attuned to the future yet unconcerned about future consequences. It teaches, through the feelings it generates in the self, that loving is its own reward, and that getting what one wants through manipulation sours the grapes. This is a very liberating state, and one which would change the entire human world into a paradise if it were universally practiced. Hiddenite's message is simple- even if love and loss go hand in hand, loving is still the best, the only thing to do." -The Book of Stones

Book Spotlight: The Male Awakening, A Global Perspective by Rob Fournier

The Male Awakening: A Global Perspective follows Rob Fournier's epic journey as he traveled around the globe seeking a deeper sense of self-awareness. Trusting his intuition while visiting sacred sites, Rob's inner guidance led him to men from different cultures and belief systems who were also experiencing a similar shift in self-awareness.

Fourteen of the men Rob encountered on his global quest offered to share their own personal awakening process from their perspective and in their own words. Chronicling a shift in the paradigm of maleness, these stories acknowledge that for men to share their feelings and emotions in a supportive and healthy way is actually a strength...not a weakness.

It is Rob's belief that connecting to this newfound strength empowers men to create the freedom to follow their own vision and passion and states, "As each man shifts it allows for others to awaken to new possibilities."

Crystal Grid for Students & Teachers

For drive, focus, co-creating, setting & accomplishing goals & stress relief
Picasso Jasper- Promotes development of creativity, brings strength & self-discipline.
Shungite- Keeping wisdom of the past and applying to the present to create new future.
Kyanite- Removes blockages from energy field, improves brain function & promotes honesty.
Magnesite- Looks like brain- has powerful effect on mind, brings hemispheres into harmony
Golden Flourite- Alignment of mind & will. Manifests ones' thoughts through centered, focused action. Aids in thinking things through. Flourite calms the mind and settles any erratic energy and can help one retain information. Golden Flourite stimulates the solar plexus, encouraging creativity, confidence and drive.
Marcasite- Promotes self-direction and the willingness to take charge of one's life. Assists in determining a direction or goal and taking the steps necessary to achieve it. Organizing thoughts with actions and reminds us of our responsibilities as co-creators of our realities and keepers of our personal power. 

by Kellea Devies

Saturday, August 17, 2019


Triphala is an herbal blend made from three medicinal plants that are native to India. It is a fundamental remedy of Ayurvedic medicine, one of the world's most ancient medical systems that has its origins in India over 3,000 years ago.
Though you may not have heard of Triphala or Ayurveda, both the remedy and the healing system are becoming increasingly popular around the world.
The unique blend that is Triphala consists of three herbs: Haritaki, Bibhitaki, and Amla. It is an overall health tonic that is very helpful for digestion but it also acts to boost the immune system, reduce stress, can help with the effects of aging, and disease prevention.
Haritaki is known in the Tibetan tradition as the “king of medicine”. Its longstanding medicinal use is often indicated in depictions of the healing Buddha, in which he is offering the fruit as a remedy and medicine. It has a positive effect on the brain and heart, as well as regulating digestion. Haritaki has been shown to have notable effects on spiritual and mental awareness.
Amla, also known as “Indian gooseberry”, is a powerful rejuvenating herb that is loaded with vitamin C. It lowers and regulates cholesterol, boosts immunity, promotes eye health, prevents premature aging, regulates digestion, promotes healthy hair, as well as other beneficial effects to the system.
Bihitaki is called the “one that keeps you away from disease”. It is another powerful rejuvenating herb that is drying and strengthening for the mucus membranes throughout the body, especially the lungs, intenstines and urinary system. It tones the digestion system,can help during periods of stress, boosts the immune system, and can help heal stomach ulcers.

by Theresa Musatto

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

WHITE SAGE- Essential Oil of the Month

White sage is renowned for its use in ceremony, as a purification herb. The scent is powerful, pungent and camphorous. The oil is strengthening to the body and mind and has an overall cooling effect. It may be used in a diffuser for the purpose of clearing a space of negative energy, or used as an anointing oil in a manner similar to the dispersion of the plant's smoke in Native American practices. Energy workers can use a drop on their hands between clients to disinfect and clear energy.

by Kristy Baird

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Antioxidants- Can You Overdo?

Are you taking antioxidants (Vitamin C, E, Beta-carotene, Pycnogenol, grapeseed extract, etc.) to prevent disease and aging? Antioxidants play an important role in human health and many people are realizing this and taking supplements accordingly. Research suggests that you should feel more energized by taking more antioxidants because they knock out energy-robbing free radicals. But is more of a good thing, better? Could you be taking too many antioxidants?
According to Denham Harman, M.D. PhD. the farther of the free radical theory of aging, the answer is yes. If you are noticing increasing fatigue and weakness, waking up feeling tired, you may be overdoing antioxidant supplementation. Every individual has an appropriate level of antioxidants that will best serve his or her health and depends on a number of factors in your life, from foods you eat to the amount of exercise you get. But one thing is certain: More is not necessarily better.
Free radicals, while often branded as the "villains" are not always the bad guys. Free radicals are sometimes the good guys. For example, white blood cells use free radicals to destroy bacteria and virus-infected cells. These free radicals prevent immediate death from infection. In addition, with the help of other free radicals, the liver's enzymes detoxify harmful chemicals. What contributes to disease and rapid aging are excessive free radicals produced by outside environmental influences. If you wipe out large numbers of good free radicals, you're handcuffing your body's immune system.
The key is to take enough antioxidants to stop the free radicals that are acting in destructive ways but not so many that you interfere with those that are essential to your body's good health.
Below are the Alliance for Aging Research's middle-range recommendations:
Vitamin E       100-140IU
Vitamin C       200-1,000mg
Beta-carotene 17,500-50,000IU

by Judy Burger

LINDEN- Herb of the Month

The delightful aroma of Linden tree flowers gently invite us to enjoy its medicinal benefits. Linden is a common flowering tree that grows in the US, Europe and other similar climates. The flower, wood and leaves are all used as medicine. It is a long-standing favorite European remedy. It is considered to be a family herb in that it is helpful to both young and old, alike. It is most commonly used as a nervous system tonic, as it relaxes the nervous system. It makes a delightful, aromatic cup of tea that is great for unwinding at the end of a long day. Its uplifting nature makes it a wonderful antidote to depression. It is said to also help with heartache and grief. The well-regarded herbalist Matthew Wood uses a combination of linden and elder as a successful treatment for hyperactive children and linden, hawthorn and elder for cases of ADHD. Linden covers a large range of maladies, from insomnia, nervous and muscle tension, depression, anxiety, hysteria, mania, digestive issues, hyperactivity, diarrhea, colds, coughs, arteriosclerosis, asthma, bronchitis and sore throat. Being an antispasmodic, it can ease muscle spasms, cramps, tight muscles, headaches and migraines, as well as menstrual cramps. Other uses include assisting in lowering blood pressure and aiding colds, as it can help break a fever. It can be used topically to help regenerate the skin and for boils, acne, burns, rashes, freckles and wrinkles. It is also used as a gargle for mouth sores.

Try linden in a cup of tea by itself or make an enjoyable summer iced tea blend of linden, lemon balm, mint, rose, and hibiscus.

Linden can also be used in baths as a relaxing agent. The fresh flowers can be placed in a jar of honey for a few days to make a very tasty linden-infused honey.

by Theresa Musatto

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Interview with Jared Moody: Orgonite Artisan

by Chelsea Morning
This month, Chelsea interviews Jared Moody, an artist who works with organic materials as well as energetic materials to make one of a kind wearable Orgonite pendants and tools for healing ourselves on an energetic level.
Orgone Energy- in India it’s known as Prana Energy, in China, it’s called Chi Energy, I guess here, we call it soul, or spirit. What do you call it, and how would you describe it?
I would describe it as energetic motion, if you look at water, a pond or stream, you’ll find the most life where the water moves, and more stagnation and decay where the water does not move. Think of life energy in the same way. What provides energetic motion, in short, equals more prana, chi, orgon- more life. For us, this means more life energy to work with.

You create orgonite pendants, massage tools, pyramids, etc. Orgonite is fueled by the energy that is put into them and I’m always impressed by how knowledgeable and mindful you are of what you choose to use in your generators. Can you explain what organic and inorganic materials you generally use? Could you also explain the reason those materials need to be layered?
The idea behind the layering was the discovery of Dr. Wilhelm Reich, a VERY interesting man, and is a large topic, but in simple terms Dr. Reich discovered “life energy” is emitted from organic materials- living, carbon based materials. He was able to document this. He called this energy “orgone”. Any organic material emits energy and inorganic materials, such as metals, have the ability to reflect (and impart) energies. Other inorganic materials, like crystals, can break apart light (why i use tiny, but whole crystals, in orgonite), which is a way to transform energy back into its pure elemental state, “cleansed”. The reason behind the layering is to take advantage of these properties, and how they reflect/emit/reflect energy. If you layer metal/straw/metal/straw/metal you WILL create an amplifying energetic device, HOWEVER the device will only amplify the current energy fields- if it's bad energy (wi-fi router, cell tower), it will be BAD energy amplified. To correct this, crystals are used in orgonite today. The natural properties of quartz and the crystals' ability to break apart light can transform any energetic field into one that is life supporting. More research needs to be done with orgonite and radioactivity, cancers, etc.
One more thing about materials and creating- the ancients spoke about purity and following strict guidelines in the creation of anything esoteric, or magical, like orgonite. This is one reason I use the Papaver Somniferum flower petals, pods and seeds as part of the “organic” aspect to my orgonite. I grow, harvest, collect, and dry my own poppies to ensure their quality. There is real healing in the poppy.
Computer companies today spend millions on the best crystals, only to break down and use just tiny pieces to power supercomputers. Imagine if one could use the crystal in its natural state- Orgonite is a start to this technology.

Waterfalls, mountaintops, green forests are charged with positive orgone, and that energy has such a positive, joyful, rejuvenating, and powerful feeling! Scientifically, spiritually, and physically speaking, what are some of the many benefits of your orgonite pendants?
There are many benefits to orgonite, and crystals in general, but these benefits take time. A decrease in anxiety, it becomes easier to sleep and rest, these are usually the first things noticed. The pendant also acts as a thought interrupter, which is very helpful with addictions and habits we wish to stop.
It is like an extra protection to the mind and heart when the pendant is put on- the more one visualizes and sees this, the more it works. The reason I follow strict methods, lunar timing, salt cleansing, singing bowls and frequencies like 528hz, is that all this is incorporated into creating the very best I can, as well as a
dding new information and technologies like solar energy. My new Fire Talisman series has built in 3.5 volt mini solar panels. “Powered Orgonite”.
Today's way of living makes talking energy and healing more challenging, even when you can prove yourself right.

Studies have shown there is a faint blue aura around healthy blood cells in our body, which is believed to be orgone energy, but that cancer cells have a grey aura, possibly due to energy stagnation. What other negative effects does unbalanced orgone energy have not only on our bodies but also our environment?
In the human body this unbalanced energy can manifest as anger, confusion or being hostile and defensive to other living things. Internally, it can cause ulcers, skin disorders and cancers or mentally causing addictions and cravings.
In the environment, this unbalanced energy will manifest as deserts, thunderstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes.
Tell us a little about cloudbusting?!
Cloudbusting, in general, is a way to mitigate and clean up the environment from the unbalanced energies you see all around you- cleaning up chemtrails are an example. To talk further on this requires one to be aware of HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program), controlled weather and orgonite. In short, the weather we see around us is MAN's. Mother
Nature has mostly been subdued (why she, Nature, is so angry). Where you have these large energetic devices, like cell towers, you have a large release of negative energy into the environment. Creating devices following the work of Dr. Reich, Don Croft and Georg Ritschl, cloudbusting/towerbusting, we can bring balance to the environment. As balance is brought, the ideas to harm will fade and life is improved. It is a selfless idea- you gift the devices to the areas they are needed. Although more and more people are understanding what this is, people like Georg Ritschl have gifted entire areas of Africa and brought life back to the area. Think of the pendants, but the size of a 2-gallon bucket and placed out in nature.

Are there any books or media that you would recommend concerning orgone energy for someone interested in learning more?

10 Little Questions (because it’s the little things that mean so much)
What’s your favorite sound? 
I discovered ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) recently. Young childrens' laughter

What smell do you love?
Benzoin oil, a rustic vanilla smell.

Which flower best represents you? 
Helichrysum Flower- flower of the sun.

What do you think your job would have been in ancient Rome? 
Healer. Or performer.

Mozart or Beethoven? 
Beethoven. He went deaf and still created- legend.

Which movie would you transport yourself into; 
The Dark Crystal or Labyrinth? 

What’s your favorite herb? 
Lemon Balm

What’s your favorite essential oil? 
Citrus family- Lemon, Orange, Grapefruit. They have so many uses for modern day living.

What gemstone do you love? 
Cinnabar, crystal of sulfur and mercury- of transformation

What’s the universe trying to tell us? 
I'm not sure I can speak to this. I'm finding we are all in our own universe in many ways. Mine? Stop being so afraid.

Jared's Crash Course in Crystals:

Thursday, July 18, 2019

SUNSTONE- Gemstone of the Month

"Sunstone is a stone of personal power, freedom and expanded consciousness. Of all the stones on Earth, this one truly reflects the qualities of Solar Light- openness, benevolence, warmth, strength, mental clarity and the willingness and ability to bestow blessings upon others. There are also the desired qualities of leadership, and Sunstone can kindle the fire of leadership within those who wear or carry it. Those who feel called to lead may find that Sunstone helps them find the inner conviction and self-discipline to move forward. Those who are held back by fears and self-doubt may discover that Sunstone melts away the sense of unworthiness that can keep one from fully being who one is. Sunstone emanates a rich and positive spectrum of energies, and when one attunes to it one sometimes feels that a cornucopia of enrichments has entered one's life. It engenders a sense of abundance in regard to all one's needs and desires, and indeed it can assist one in the manifestation of prosperity, as well as the acquisition of knowledge and the attainment of wisdom." -The Book of Stones

Book Spotlight: Circle Round: Raising Children in Goddess Traditions

"In our rushed, stressed society, it's sometimes difficult to spend meaningful time as a family. Now Starhawk, Diane Baker, and Anne Hill offer new ways to foster a sense of togetherness through celebrations that honor the sacredness of life and our Mother Earth.

Goddess tradition embraces the wheel of life, the never-ending cycle of birth, growth, love, fulfillment, and death. Each turn of the wheel is presented here, in eight holidays spanning the changing seasons, in rites of passage for life transitions, and in the elements of fire, air, water, earth, and spirit. Circle Round is rich with songs, rituals, craft and cooking projects, and read-aloud stories, as well as suggestions for how you can create your own unique family traditions. Here are just some of the ways to make each event in the cycle of life more special:

Mark Summer Solstice by making sweet-smelling herb pillows for good dreams
Send a teenager off to college with the Leaving Behind and Carrying With rituals
Comfort an injured child with the Tree of Life meditation
Commemorate a loved one by planting or donating a tree

As a one-of-a-kind resource for people of many faiths and beliefs, Circle Round will be a beloved companion in your home for years to come."