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Archive for December, 2006

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A good friend and wise woman sent me this article, I wanted to share a bit of it with you,enjoy……….
oh! and by the way ” Happy New Year Everyone”.

I often spend the season of Lent in a hermitage, where I live alone for the whole 40 days. The more I am alone with the Alone, the more I surrender to ambivalence, to happy contradictions and seeming inconsistencies in myself and almost everything else, including God.
Paradoxes don’t scare me anymore.

When I was young, I couldn’t tolerate such ambiguity. My education had trained me to have a lust for answers and explanations.
Now, at age 63, it’s all quite different. I no longer believe this is a quid pro quo universe — I’ve counseled too many prisoners, worked with too many failed marriages, faced my own dilemmas too many times and been loved gratuitously after too many failures.

Whenever I think there’s a perfect pattern, further reading and study reveal an exception. Whenever I want to say “only” or “always,” someone or something proves me wrong.
My scientist friends have come up with things like “principles of uncertainty” and dark holes. They’re willing to live inside imagined hypotheses and theories.
But many religious folks insist on answers that are always true. We love closure, resolution and clarity, while thinking that we are people of “faith”!

How strange that the very word “faith” has come to mean its exact opposite.
People who have really met the Holy are always humble. It’s the people who don’t know who usually pretend that they do.
People who’ve had any genuine spiritual experience always know they don’t know. They are utterly humbled before mystery.

They are in awe before the abyss of it all, in wonder at eternity and depth, and a Love, which is incomprehensible to the mind.
It is a litmus test for authentic God experience, and is — quite sadly — absent from much of our religious conversation today.
My belief and comfort is in the depths of Mystery, which should be the very task of religion.

by Richard Rohr

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Aralia nudicaulis

Walking a spiritual path is a process of self-liberation, and that is a process that frightens established authority. I think one of the reasons our society fears altered states of awareness is because those realizations may inspire or engender a loss of control.

Long before the bearded patriarchal male gods, there was the goddess- feminine spirit of birth and fertility, the earth mother. In all ancient societies, beer was a gift to women from a goddess, never a male god, and women remained bonded in complex spiritual relationships with feminine deities who blessed the brew vessels, and the rise in consciousness that the brew supported.

The following recipe is adapted from the Canadian Pharmaceutical Journal of 1876.
Wild sarsaparilla was used extensively in “root” beers of that time, and is very delicious and highly medicinal herb. www.concentricrings.org This blend was also known as “New Orleans Mead”.

Wild Sarsaparilla Ale

8 ounces fresh sarsaparilla root- Aralia nudicaulis/ a member of the ginseng family
8 ounces fresh licorice root
8 ounces fresh cassia root
8 ounces fresh gingerroot
2 ounces cloves
3 ounces coriander seed
12 pints corn sugar syrup
4 pints honey
8 gallons water
yeast

Take the roots, seeds and cloves – contuse them ( bruise with a mallet).
Boil for 15 min. in 8 gallons of water, let stand until cold.
Strain though cheese cloth
Add corn sugar syrup and honey, stir until dissolved, heat liquid again if necessary.
Cool to 70 degrees F and pour into fermenter.
Add yeast
Ferment until complete, about I week.
Prime bottles, fill and cap
Ready to drink in 7 to 10 days

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The quest for beauty has certainly spanned the history of humanity.

  • 40,000 years ago cultures painted their faces with red ocher crayons to look attractive.
  • In the Mesolithic Era castor oil and animal grease were popular agents to soften the skin.
  • Lipsticks were hot about 5,000 years ago in Ur.
  • Beauty seekers smoothed and beautified their bodies with scrubs from clay and sand.
  • Facial packs made of barley and sesame seeds were used as anti aging moisture treatments.
  • Henna hair packs were applied and baked in the sun to activate their alkaloids to change hair color.
  • Communal baths filled with goat’s milk drew vigilant beauty buffs to release the bodies toxins through the skin and soak up relaxation.

    So what is beauty anyway? I like this quote from Sophia Lauren:

    “All seasons of life are beautiful. Aging is a problem only when you stop liking yourself as a person. Fortunately, I still like myself inside and out. Not in a vain way – I just feel good in my skin”.

    Here’s a bath oil that you can make to give as a Holiday gift to friends and of course to yourself.

    MEDITERRANEAN BATH OIL

    ½ cup Olive oil
    ½ cup Sunflower oil
    ½ cup wheat germ oil
    ½ cup Safflower oil
    ½ oz. essential oil of Bergamot
    ¼ oz. essential oil of Basil

    Blend these together and store in an amber colored glass bottle. For gift giving use decorative labels or wrapping to personalize your product…..but always use dark glass when storing herbal formulas. Keep oil blends in refrigerator

    I do not recommend the use corn or cottonseed oils unless they are labeled organic. Theses oils are usually gathered from fields that have been sprayed with pesticides or fungicides and you may wish to limit your intake and accumulation of these poisons that non-organic oils can contain.

    ……………and a little something extra for those tootsies that march through the mall at christmas time.

    CALLOUSED HANDS, BRITTLE NAILS OR CALLOUSED FEET

    Warm enough Olive oil to cover your feet. Make sure its WARM by testing it on the inner skin of your arm by the elbow…..if it stings, its to hot!

    Pour Olive oil into a pan or tub large enough to soak your feet in.

    Mix into the warm Olive oil;

    ½ oz. Sage essential oil and or

    ½ oz.Red Clover essential oil.

    If you can not find these essential oils use the dry herbs ( ¼ cup of each ). Put dry herbs in cloth tea bag sack ( sold at most health food stores in the tea section or housewares section) using this tea sack keeps the dry herbs from sticking to your feet when and but the herbs essence to mix with the oil.

    Soak feet for 15 – 20 minutes. This is the time for the whole body to relax or meditate. Don’t rush this part, this is a gift to yourself. Blot excess oil off your feet and put on a clean pair of socks to hold in the moisture. Repeat each day until condition heals. *note: save the oil and refrigerate it until the next treatment, then just warm it up again. If using essential oils instead of dry herbs, you will need to refresh the recommended amounts of these oils.

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    Winter Diet

    The Kidneys are the rulers over winter; their condition is disclosed in the bones and head hair.

    As we move into winter, there is a need to adjust our diets. The weather is colder, and the body needs a diet that will produce more heat at its core. With shorter days we don’t burn as many calories as we might in the summer, when we are more incline to exercise.

    Try a diet that is mainly protein and carbohydrates, this diet produces more core heat. Take care not to overeat, with less physical activity people may gain more weight than one wishes to. 1 or 2 pounds is o.k. That should keep the body in pretty good shape until spring comes and its time to cleanse and lighten up the diet.

    Each herb can best give its essence to the mixture as follows: Use this as a guide for your future blends.

    HARD ROOTS – burdock, comfrey – simmer 20-30 minutes

    SOFT ROOTS – licorice, marshmallow, ginger – simmer 10-15 minutes

    BARKS – cinnamon, sassafras – simmer 10-20 minutes

    SEEDS or BERRIES – fennel, fenugreek, anise, and juniper – simmer 5-10 minutes

    LEAVES- peppermint, rosemary, nettle – never boil or simmer, put herb in teapot and pour boiling water over them.

    FLOWERS – hibiscus, chamomile – steep in the same method as the leaves. 10-20 minutes.

    SAMPLE TEA

    Use comfrey root, ginger root, cinnamon bark, fennel seed, peppermint and chamomile.

    In a glass or stainless steel pot boil 5 cups of water

    ADD:
    1 tablespoon of comfrey root, simmer 5-10 minutes more

    THEN ADD:
    5 thin slices of ginger root and
    2 to 3 sticks of cinnamon bark simmer 5-10 minutes more

    THEN ADD:
    1 tablespoon fennel seeds simmer 5-10 minutes more

    THEN ADD:
    To the teapot
    2 tablespoons peppermint leaves
    1 tablespoon chamomile flowers and leaves

    POUR:
    Boiling water into the teapot and steep the leaves for 15-20 minutes

    SERVE:
    With lemon and honey

    Hope you enjoy this blend. Got any blends you want to share?

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    Herbs are a natural and primary therapeutic remedy for human ailments. Therefore, human beings have relied upon plants for healing for 1,000’s of years.

    Pharmaceuticals are poor substitutes for plants. They may be helpful for short-term or acute conditions, but their long-term actions often deplete the primary life-force of a person because of their inorganic nature.

    I believe chemical medicine contributes to a dependancy that is destroying our love of the natural world.
    Herbal medicine, therefore, relates to larger spiritual and political issues.

    For us to survive as a species, we need to reconnect with the universe and natural healing. We must replace our current medicines that are antibiotic in nature ( with out life ) for with those of life, probiotic ( encouraging life).

    My concern as an herbalist is not just technical or medical, but planetary and humanistic.

    Heres an immune building recipe for the fall and winter months…….I use it and it has kept me flu and cold free for many winters.

    FIRE CIDER

    ½ cup grated fresh ginger root -Zingiberis officinale
    4 tablespoons grated fresh horseradish-Amoracia lapathifolia
    5 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and crushed -Allium sativa
    2 cups apple cider vinegar
    1 teaspoon cayenne pepper – Capsicum frutescens or 1 hot Serrano or habinaro pepper, sliced

    Mix together the above ingredients, put into a jar with a tight fitting lid, use a piece of clear plastic bag under the lid to keep the lid from corroding.

    Put the jar into a bigger plastic bag and seal and bury it in the ground for one lunar cycle,starting on the full moon- about 1 month.
    Say a blessing over it and cover it with the soil.

    In one months time dig the jar up, strain out the solid parts, re-jar it.

    Mix 1 tablespoon with 1 ounce of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons maple syrup and 8 ounces of warm water. Drink though out the winter as a tonic for the immune system.

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    The signals our bodies use to tell us we need to cleanse ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally are multifaceted and often mirror symptoms we associate with illness. If we heed these signs, we not only feel better quickly but also stave off poor health before it can start. These quick fixes for common ailments can get you started.

    1. Applying pressure to the acupressure point between the thumb and forefinger can release blockages causing pain, tension, and fatigue. You can relieve a headache naturally by squeezing for 20 seconds and releasing for 10 seconds, without letting go, four times.

    2. To breathe freely, irrigate your nasal passages with a neti pot and warm salt water. As you clear and soothe the sinuses, congestion associated with allergies or infection will gradually disappear.

    3. Apple cider vinegar is a powerful purifying and detoxifying agent. Soaking for 20 minutes in a warm bath infused with two cups of apple cider vinegar pulls toxins from the body and can clear blocked energy.

    4. The foods you eat can have a profound impact on your outlook and mood. Eating a small yet satisfying meal rich in complex carbohydrates can lift your spirit and help you let go of feelings of anger, irritability, and depression.

    5. Anxiety and fear dissipate quickly when countered with conscious breathing because concentrating on the breath enables you to refocus your attention inward. You can ground yourself and regain your usual calm by taking a series of deep belly breaths as you visualize your feet growing roots that stretch miles down into the earth.

    6. Though tuning out can seem counterproductive, a few minutes spent lost in daydreams or listening to soothing music can help you see your circumstances from a new angle when you feel frustrated.

    7. If you feel ill health coming on, brew a wellness elixir. Simmer three sliced lemons, one teaspoon freshly grated ginger, one clove freshly minced garlic, and one quarter teaspoon cayenne pepper in five cups water until the lemons are soft and pale. Strain a portion into a mug and add honey by tablespoons until you can tolerate the taste. Drinking this potent mixture of antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal ingredients three times each day can ensure your symptoms never progress into a full-blown illness.

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    On this darkest night when all is at its stillest point let us remember the ancient ones who knew how to honor the natural world around them as they became one in the wild lands that supported and nourished them……

    Imagine……..

    It is just before sunrise on a cold December day some three thousand years before the coming of Christ. For those crouched at the heart of the cave it must seem as though the light has been banished forever.

    Then suddenly, a tiny sliver of sunlight strikes the stone slab at the back of the chamber. Slowly it widens, climbs upward, illuminating a number of mysterious carvings, circles, spirals and zig-zag patterns.

    For the people seated in the center of the great mound, every symbol has meaning. But by far the greatest significance is the return of the sun itself. The light that enters the dark womb of the earth brings with it the promise of warmth and life to come……..

    I celebrate the Winter Solstice each year with a ceremony that includes my family and friends. We gather for two days and nights in the wild places of Nature.

    Celebrating around a Sacred Fire as we remember our Ancestor’s, the ancient ones who knew how to live close to the Earth. All present feel fully alive as we drum, sing and pray-we share in the stories of each other’s lives. Nature brings out the aliveness in a person.

    I love to share the natural world with the people I meet. www.concentricrings.org

    Listening to the language of nature keeps me, and those I have turned on to it, connected in the same way our Ancestor’s were connected to this invisible teaching. They knew intuitively how to respond by living wild and free.

    Here’s a little wild food recipe to try for yourself. Happy Celebrating!

    CHICKWEED PESTO

    1 CUP FRESHLY PICKED CHICKWEED, RINSED AND CLEANED
    1 LARGE CLOVE GARLIC CHOPPED
    ¼ CUP PINENUTS OR SUNFLOWER SEEDS
    1 CUP OLIVE OIL
    1 MEDIUM HOT CHILI, STEMMED AND SEEDED; WANT SOME MORE HEAT? ADD THE SEEDS
    1 TSP. SEA SALT

    IN A BLENDER ADD ALL INGREDIENTS AND BLEND UNTIL SMOOTH. IF MIXTURE IS TO THICK ADD A BIT MORE OIL

    USE ON PASTA, CRACKERS, IN SOUP FOR A FINISHING TOUCH. OTHER HERBS THAT CAN BE USED IN THIS RECIPE, ARE CLEAVERS AND NETTLES (BLANCE FIRST).

    ps. If you arre not sure what herb “chickweed” is drop me a comment and I send you the info.

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    I am sitting on my porch this morning, watching the sunrise. The sun’s rays move across the grass and melt the frost that clings there, frozen crystals sparkle and dance in the pale light of the dawn.

    I watch the steam rise from my mug of hot cocoa, taking a sip, my mind begins recalling how beautiful Brazil is at this time of year. The jungle is blooming with an endless variety of exotic blossoms, nuts and fruits. It late springtime there in Brazil, warm and welcoming, a sharp contrast to this morning of frost.

    I had purchased the local cocoa mix that I was drinking this morning from a small shop in Ilehus, a little town on the coast of Bahia in Brazil. A quaint and charming community with plenty of local color. Ilehus is well known for its cocoa plantations and its production of chocolate.

    Several years ago I journeyed into the tropical jungles of Brazil to taste the juice of the cocoa fruit and other local delicacies. The area of Bahia is a botanical pharmacy of health. Its one of the reasons I began to travel, www.concentricrings.org I wanted to experience other cultures and their healing methods, using food and herbs as medicine.

    Little did I know I would be hopelessly seduced by the culture of Brazil, the jungle, the people with their zest for life. The Brazilian’s know the secret of life and they embrace it with every sunrise. Gee I’m glad I made hot cocoa today!

    Here’s a little tip for your health too. :-)

    Most of us think of hot cocoa as a soothing chocolate milk beverage. But cocoa is also the intensely flavored chocolate powder created when almost all cocoa butter has been removed from chocolate liquor.

    Cocoa contains more than 30 nutritious organic compounds, including:

    Polyphenols and the essential minerals, potassium and magnesium, which help regulate blood pressure and promote healthy body systems
    Beta-carotene and vitamin E, plus niacin and folic acid—all essential for good health

    Flavonoids or antioxidants in cocoa and dark chocolate may inhibit platelet activity, an effect that might help prevent heart disease.

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    Intensely dark, rich and sweet chocolate is pure sensual pleasure. Its blissful taste inspires feelings of satisfaction and comfort, and now new scientific research gives us even more reason to be passionate about chocolate: it’s a source of some terrific nutritional benefits when enjoyed as part of a varied, balanced diet.

    Chocolate is an antioxidant, eating it will give you a boost.

    In addition to being a delicious treat, there is growing evidence that real, high-quality Dark or Bittersweet chocolate and cocoa contain healthful polyphenols, including the type called flavonoids.

    Polyphenol compounds (found in red wine, tea, apples, oranges, and various vegetables) act as natural antioxidants in the body, protecting it against disease and damage caused by free radicals.

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    Just as the life force of an animal is contained in its blood, so are fermented beverages infused with the life force of the plants from which they are made. Those plants that are more important to the survival of man, or which have stimulating psychological effects upon him are in tribal and early Western societies, thought to incorporate a particularly powerful force. Thus, throughout the ancient Mediterranean regions, alcoholic brews
    “assumed a mythological and sacred character, being, as it were, the very life essence of the herb goddess. When the sprits of these plants are personified by a patron deity, the beverage then become the “blood” or “milk” of that goddess and magical virtues of the most sacred of substances.
    Mikal Aasved

    It is said that in the long ago times. At the time of the first people, there was a sacred infant who was left unattended by him mother. I’itoi, Elder Brother, saw this and his tears fell to Earth and upon the child, where upon they both sank into the ground. The first people, when they found the child gone, began to search, but they could not find him until Crow began flying over their heads, calling out to them. Hearing this, they began to follow, and Crow landed on top of a 30- foot-tall saguaro cactus, a plant they had never seen before. Here, Crow ate some to the saguaro fruit and regurgitated it into a basket, saying to it, “you know what to do”. Whereupon the fruit began to ferment. When it was finished fermenting the wine began to sing the Rain Song.

    The people all gathered there together and drank the fermented fruit wine. They were so intoxicated that they became afraid and decided to get rid of the saguaro. They called upon Badger, giving him all the seeds of the plant, which he was instructed to throw into the ocean. On the way he met Coyote, who tricked him into throwing the seeds up in the air, where the wind took them and spread them. Soon saguaro began coming up everywhere.

    When the people saw this, they gathered at a saguaro to decide what to do. As they were standing there, the child for whom they had been searching rose out of the top of the saguaro. Patiently, the boy showed them how to make the sacred saguaro wine. The people were told. “Now you must do something in return for this gift.” One of he young men asked, “What must we do?” In response, the child began to sing the first of more than a hundred rain songs that the Papago must remember and sing each year.

    The people were told that they must always remember the songs and ceremonies and do them each year, for if they stopped, there would be no more rain. I’itoi then came and gave the women the cactus poles for gathering the ripe fruits, agave-fiber head rings for balancing the collecting baskets on their heads, told them the injunctions that governed the use of the saguaro, and showed the people the ceremonies they were to follow in preparing the wine. I’itoi then told the people to drink the saguaro juice just as the earth drinks the rain, and that will help the rain come. And this they have done ever since.

    Ingredients

    • 8 quarts cleaned saguaro cactus fruit pulp. Prickly pear cactus fruit as a substitute
    • 4 quarts water
    • Wine yeast

    Slowly cook the fruit pulp and water for one to two hours after it begins to boil.

    Let cool until you can handle it

    Strain and return the syrup to the stove for another hour, boiling slowly.

    Remove from heat and cool to 70 degrees F

    Pour into fermenter and add wine yeast.

    Seal with air lock and allow to ferment 1 week

    Bottle and store

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