Sunday, March 31, 2013

We're Here Again With Our Stuff

So according to some, moving is one of the most stressful things in a person's life.  It's right up there with death and divorce.  We have now moved four times in one year.  But we have arrived.  Add a toddler and a sluggish, under-productive thyroid into the mix and you have even more trouble.
  We've been without most of our things now for about a year as they have been packed and never unpacked, or packed and re-packed. I am amazed at how good it feels to just have my stuff again in one place, even if a large portion of it still is packed away. It makes me a little sad that I need that stuff. I wonder if that means I identify with the stuff...?
  Having been without it for some time, I think it's more that all of those things make life more enjoyable, that's why we get them.  Knitting needles and yarn, paints and paintbrushes, old books, cast iron waffle irons.  None of them are necessities or they wouldn't have stayed packed away.  But they are those things I'm always trying to get back to.  A lot of hobbies etc. suffered immensely after my son was born.  They were stuffed away with no time and no energy to touch them. A combination of poor health and an extra colicky baby, and then a very active kid who has needed lots of adult engagement.
  How I would love to be one of those SuperPaganMoms somehow managing the energy for artistic endeavors, life-fulfilling work and Coven-leading all at the same time.  The way my life and energy work, I have to parcel out the energy and time commitments to just a few at any given moment.  I would love to be able  to burn the candle at both ends without simply burning out, or just have the energy and health to do all those things and still feel great.  It is something to strive and hope for.  It is why I am constantly looking for new techniques for health. I want to feel really great. Here is to move number 4, may it be our lucky number!
So Mote It Be.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I'm All Out of Bullsh*t

I realized today that I may be shooting myself in the foot by posting things on herbal nervines, or by admitting that I am having anxiety problems in the first place.  I'd like to say a bit on that.
  I am getting too old, too tired, too busy etc. to worry about selling myself properly.  Either you like me or you don't, on my good days and bad, bad years and good.
Everyone has problems, and I am no exception.  I am a real person with problems just like everyone else.
I like to look good, I like to feel good, I like to be very spiritual and spiritually minded, but right now, I don't have a lot of energy to put into certain things.  When I settle down from this move those things will improve again, but in the mean time I just am who I am.  I hope my readers can understand and sympathize.
love and light to all,

Herbal Nervine Part 3

Okay, so my package finally arrived and I've been experimenting.  Still haven't managed to steep valerian root for the 24 hours in tepid water, but I have learned to heat water to almost boiling and steep for about a half hour and that seems to work well.
  I have to admit, valerian seems to work for me, but not in the way I have come to expect from western meds.
It won't knock me out, but I do manage to sleep anyway and it seems more restful.
  I bought a tincture of California Poppy I keep with me for emergencies or when I don't have time to brew anything, that seems to work well, seems to make my head hurt a little, but still calms me down.  All of them make me a little light sensitive and sleepy, but I am that on a good day anyway.
  Valerian also works well to calm me during the day.
Okay, there's the update I need to get going!


  We had another lovely dawn Ostara ritual.  Same place, same time and pretty much same people now for about 13 years!  This was the first year it actually snowed...however, we didn't do it on Ostara proper, but a few days late.  Shit happens, and this year it was not possible to do on the Spring Equinox.  I am okay with that, you pretty much have to be if you are pagan, since our holidays aren't exactly recognized nationally and your job, school etc. doesn't actually care. It's a sad state of affairs, add it to the list and move on!
  Isis (hereto recognized as a conglomerate Goddess representing the Great Mother) had more beautiful eggs this year at her feet and some lovely eggs made with sand with stones in the middle too. Some years she has flowers, sometimes money or food too.
  I am hoping that someone else will take over the ritual in our absence if we can no longer get there someday.  I think it is the perfect place and time for Ostara.  Who knew that such a beautiful statue of Isis existed in Iowa (I didn't until about 2001)?  The picture is from many years ago, forgot a camera again this year.
She is truly gorgeous.
Hail to the Great Mother!

p.s. a song we sing every year that seems appropriate, and a pagan chant just in case you want to use them:

as the sun comes up sing "Morning Has Broken" (Tune is from the Cat Stevens song with a few changed lyrics)

Morning has broken, like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird.  Praise for the singing, praise for the morning, praise for them springing fresh from the world.
Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlight from heaven, like the first dewfall on the first grass.  Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden, sprung in completeness where her feet pass.
  Hers is the sunlight, Hers is the morning, born of the one light goddess gave play.  Praise with elation, praise every morning,  Goddess’ creation of the new day.
  Morning has broken, like the first morning, black bird has spoken like the first bird.  Praise for the singing, praise for the morning, praise for them springing fresh from the world.

Also "She's Been Waiting"
   Sing "She's Been Waiting"
She's been waiting,waiting
She's been waiting so long
She's been waiting for her children
To remember to return ( repeat chorus)

Blessed be and blessed are the lovers of the lady
Blessed be and blessed are Maiden, Mother, Crone
Blessed be and blessed are the ones who dance together
Blessed be and blessed are the ones who dance alone

Perhaps you can find the tune to "she's been waiting" on youtube? it's also a lovely chant! =)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Herbal Nervines Part 2 (Sleep Is Nice...)

I've used valerian root before, in a blend for menstrual cramps.  It works pretty well for that purpose, not something you usually see when you are doing research on the herb.  It helps by relaxing muscle, and since the uterus is a muscle, it helps pretty well.
  It's mainly touted, however, for it's benefits for sleep (anxiety too, but mainly sleep).  I've never really had trouble sleeping until now.  I must say, so far valerian has been dismal in its effects for sleep.  A little more online research suggests that's because of how I'm brewing it.  It's another one of those roots, like kava kava, that seems to do better with cold water.  (How many roots are like this?? I never knew this before...)
 Unfortunately I'd already brewed up a strong valerian tea again tonight with boiling water, but tomorrow I'll try the cold and let you know how it goes!  One website suggested as long as steeping overnight.  Also makes me wonder how much better it would've done for menstrual cramps all these years.  Maybe I really can throw my ibuprophen out!
  Kava Kava is sometimes mixed with valerian, I could see that being nice and that would definately be something to experiment with.  Kava kava has seemed to help me remember my dreams, at the very least.  Some say they are more vivid, and for me, this basically means I am remembering them, or perhaps just having more than usual.  Colors do seem a bit more striking perhaps...
  Another thing to note is that valerian also seems to be taxing on the liver, so I need to go easy on the coffee (something I'm cutting anyway since caffeine makes you more anxious!), alcohol etc.  As a result, kava kava and valerian are probably both contraindicated with any other anti-depressant or anti-anxiety perscription drugs (which are also hard on the liver!).  Taking a break from any herbs once in awhile is probably a good idea too.
Don't think I'm offering any medical advice or advice on herbs for that matter, I'm not, I'm just offering a little insight into my own experiment! 
Well, I'm off to try to sleep.
Wish me luck...or light a candle...or whatever it is you do!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Herbal Nervines Part 1

So I started getting really  anxious lately.  In ways I never have before.  I think between the move to a new place after 13 years, and a bunch of other new and interesting problems I had too much on my emotional plate. 
  I was in a really bad way when I talked to a good friend of mine.  "Why haven't you tried some herbal nervines like motherswort?"
  Of course!
 I was so busy being anxious I had forgotten to turn to herbs as a solution--something my normal self would have explored long ago.
  I have tried kava kava in the past just for a slow-down to my day in the evening.  I used to steep it in hot water like a tea, or perhaps I even boiled it a bit, figuring since it was a root that was what I needed to do (often a safe assumption with roots...).  Even though I was screwing it up, it still had quite a nice, relaxing effect.
 I decided it was my front-line defense this time around.  *note to self and readers...when ordering herbs online for something like this, go ahead and splurge for 1-2 day shipping!!* I still don't have what I ordered yet, unfortunately! But I did have some kava left around from the last time, thank the Goddess!
  The traditional method of extraction uses tepid water, not hot or boiling.  People often masticate the root first, (and there seems to be some evidence that the enzymes in saliva help to break down some of the chemicals and make them more available for use) then spit it into a cup and set to soak for 25-30 minutes.  For me, I soak it first, then chew the pieces up (they're softer if you soak first) and can resoak, but I've found that during chewing, I've absorbed pretty much all there is. I just chew up the root, drink the water it soaked in, and I'm pretty good to go.  It seems to last around 8 hours. I take once in the morning and once in the evening.  About a tablespoon of chopped, dried root to 8 ounces of water.  I am tired but relaxed and can power through it, sometimes I add a little green tea a couple times a day to help counteract it.  Pretty much any prescription drug will also causes drowsiness, plus, they can have some really bad side effects.
  Kava kava's side effects are usually things like vivid dreams, being sleepy and relaxed but still capable of more complex thinking.
There have been reports of liver toxicity in people who took extracts and were also drinking (don't drink while taking nervines!! They are typically a little taxing to your system just like prescription anti-anxiety drugs), and it appears that the extracts were tampered with by people trying to make more money by using toxic parts of the kava plant.  I think one website said it best by saying that this is like saying we shouldn't eat rhubarb because the leaves are poisonous.  Of course, we do, we just eat the stems and not the leaves.  Kava is the same, only the root is safe.  Another reason I think buying dried root is preferable so I can better see what it is I'm getting.  Using a good, reputable company is helpful as well.
Is supper-time here, I'll be back later for part 2, and I'll let you know how the other nervines work for me.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Natural Dyed Eggs For Ostara

I found a good website with some more direct/exact recipes.  I've had really good luck with turmeric and red cabbage in the past.  I always like to experiment with one other spice or veggie to see what color it makes.
  The only thing is, I am uncertain that you won't get more color by actually simmering the spices/veggies etc. for longer before letting the egg sit in there.  Someone will have to tell me how this person's method works vs. simmering the colorants for 15 min. or so.  I will probably simmer as usual, just to make sure I get the most vibrant color.
  I usually make the colors I know will turn out, plus one I haven't tried before to see what the color will be--I like the surprise.
  Another note, a few years the red cabbage color has not stuck properly to the egg. I suspect a residual pesticide or something is not allowing the color to stick. Does anyone know anything about this?
If you haven't used red cabbage before, you will be pleasantly surprise by the beautiful color.
Here's a link below to

some natural colorants and what colors they actually produce

 You could use regular store-bought dyes, but where's the surprise or mystery in that?

So an update on this years' egg dyes.  I really feel you need to simmer the spices/veggies etc. for quite awhile to get the color out.  We tried the method described in the link above, where you just pour boiling water over it and it did not produce sufficient color, especially for the robin egg blue that red cabbage produces.  A good green color continued to elude us this year and I concluded that the turmeric is very over-powering, I think the green is possible combining red cabbage and turmeric, but you will have to add a lot of blue and a pinch of yellow (the "green" eggs where we mixed the two colors mostly turned out yellow, in case you couldn't guess.).

The Things I Run From Define Me

I was doing yoga and listening to some music today when that phrase popped up into my head.  It may not be helpful to anyone else, but it seems to make a lot of sense to me.
  For some, yoga is a moving meditation where one can explore those places of openness or hesitation and tightness in the body; sometimes (or maybe all the time) you can directly correlate what your body is or is not doing well to your state of mind.
  I am of the camp that doesn't necessarily belive that the state of mind always created the tightness etc. in the body.  I think that a tightness in the body could cause a corressponding change in the state of mind.  The good news is, many times this can be worked out through the body, which is a hell of a lot easier than to try to "mental" your way through a fucked up emotional state which may or may not have been there as long as you can remember.
  Kundalini yoga is really great for this, perhaps even better than Hatha Yoga.  The theory is something like this (have I written on this before?? oh well, here it is again..);  perhaps when you were little you had a fear response, maybe this was abuse, maybe this was night terrors etc.  you tighten up certain muscles as you curl into a fetal position (say your psoas muscles..) and over time as this fear response continues, the muscles get shorter and tighten, this in turn changes other muscles as they adjust to this new normal, and the emotional energy behind it, that caused it, is sort of stored up in there. When you release that muscle and begin to stretch it it can release some of the emotional baggage as well.
  I have acutally had this happen in a Kundalini class before.  I didn't used to believe it could happen, it sounded kind of new-agey to me (yes, even I have my limits as to what I buy into.  I like to experience something before believing it).  The emotional baggage went back so far it is not entirely clear to me what it was, I just felt this sense of sadness leaving me, and then I had a clear memory of being in a pool with my mother, a very happy memory that I had forgotten long ago.
  Clearly this is a powerful tool for both mental and physical health at least for me, but I can safely say it is for many many others as well, or yoga would not be what it is growing to today.
  Working on ourselves through yoga can also occur in observing what you are willing (or unwilling) to do, what you hesitate on.  Do you like restorative poses only and shy away from ones requiring strength?  Can you do a headstand away from the wall or did you get stuck there?  The first time up in headstand is usually scary for people, and I was no exception.  For me, as I observed today, as I did salamba shirsasana away from the wall that I am afraid of falling.  That defines me, and confines me.  We are all limited by something, each unique.  To expand those boundaries is the divine work to make us more free
The things I run from define me, to run towards them takes cultivated strength and determination, and it is not always a winning battle.  Some battles are temporarily lost, then retried.  It is time for me to try again.

Artist: The Gaia Choir
Album: Womansong


There was a time before we were born
We were the calm in the eye of the storm
We had a memory oh so deep
About the truth and the beauty so sweet

Man and a woman, passion ran wild
They gave birth to a freedom child
We are the children of love and light
We'll guide the planet thru it's perilous night

Lift up our hearts and raise our voices
Let the people know all of the choices
Lift up our hearts and raise our voices
Let the people know all of the choices

There is a woman
who weaves in the sky
See how she spins,
see her fingers fly


She changes everything she touches
And everything she touches changes
She changes everything she touches
And everything she touches changes

She's been beside us from beginning to end
She is our mother, our lover, our friend
She is the needle and we are the thread
She is the weaver and we are the web

Chorus (2 x)

Change me, touch me
Change me, touch me, changing woman