Avena sativa is a long time herbal ally of mine. She supported me through my corporate years, from the inside out and the outside in.
She seems to be best known in her rolled form ...
But folks recognize her in her cracked form as well. And there's her beautiful, fresh and silky form that is like an embrace - milky oats.
And there's her dried, aerial bits - oat straw. This is the aspect of Avena that hooked me some 20 years ago. I sipped her and bathed in her ... intimate practices, both. And we've learned more about each other over these many years. So ...
Today I enjoy a beautiful February snow. The spouse had to be at his place of employment for 5am. I remember his kiss and his "I love you," half awake and half in restful mystery.
I woke to some reading, and the enjoyment of sipping a brew of Coffea arabica, until it was time to unlock the chooks, bring them their food and water, feed the dog and take her out for her morning constitution. While I was bundled and out, I figured I'd start some shoveling. A path to the chokes, the deck and the driveway. I returned indoors - before finished with this round - for three reasons:
A plow showed up to tend to a neighbor's drive and the smell of spent diesel destroyed my peace, magic and moment in Nature.
I needed to break my fast.
Saint Joan slammed a door.
So escaped the fumes, had bite and fixed a wee glass of water splashed with a teaspoon 'r so of tincture of Hypericum perforatum to sip on throughout the morning - before heading back out to shovel, and after. I even dribbled a bit down my spine.
Hypericum perforatum, or Saint Joan's wort (as she's known in the Wise Woman Tradition of herbalism), is a botanical you might know as Saint John's wort.
In my early morning shoveling, she entered my consciousness, slamming the the door on her way in, so as not to be missed. No whispers, no song, no shouts. For a fiery wench, she's as cool as cool can be.
You see, she is a steadfast ally to me and the flames that sometimes flare in this evolving body of mine. I have a touch confirmed arthritis in my right hip, and certain activities inspire it to excitement, which tends to be less than pleasant for me. But the activity is Good for my body. All of it. Even my hip. So tiny doses of Saint Joan before such activity (and after) keeps these flares from flaming too high. And in my spontaneous act to start shoveling, I forgot this.
I'm grateful for my relationship with this Rooted Ancestor, for she is beloved and a Medicine of many talents - more than this one that I mention here. And I'm grateful that she slammed the door.
....is cordially requested at a Launch Party for How David Met Sarah on
Friday, December 9, 2011, at 7:00 PM at the Phoenix Rising Arts Collective in Thomaston, CT, at 135 South Main Street in the old Seth Thomas factory building. We hope you will come and celebrate with us! Meet the "real" David, have your book signed, see amazing exhibits by local artists, and nibble on delicious holiday treats supplied by Passiflora Tea Shop.
It's autumn in my little corner of the world and that means it's root-digging season. With this help of friend Sheena I was able to, among other things, start a jar of Urtica dioica radix (Nettle root) tincture.
I've not yet worked with this root, so I'm not in a space where I can share much about my experience with it, short of digging the roots. It didn't take long to get to know this part of the plant. I have an intimate and loving relationship with the aerial part of the plant, but the roots are new to me and I'm already glad that we've met.
Once the lovely, pale roots were cleaned, I quickly learned that chopping them up was best left to the kitchen sheers. Clearly, this is one tough cookie.
My reason for wanting to play with this medicinal rests in its affinity for men's health, specifically to prostate health. I love the men in my life, and if the aerial parts of this plant offer any clue to the actions of the rooted parts, I suspect they will love the men in my life also.
It's been such a busy summer. In fact, it perplexes me to consider that autumn's full arrival is only weeks away. I've been busy growing food, eating food and preserving food. And, in my world, food includes herbs. I dry … ferment … can … freeze … infuse in vinegar, oil, alcohol and honey …
Speaking of honey, I was recently guided to make a small batch of goldenrod (Solidago spp.) infused honey. This is a first for me, and I'm sensing it will come in handy in the coming months for something renal or respiratory related, for lungs or kidneys that crave a little toning sweetness … or (and this really resonates for me) to soothe and comfort the heart-center as we journey into the heart of darkness toward and into the season of winter.
Whether we use her botanical or common name, she speaks of the sun.
Solidago expresses sol (sun) and dago (dagger), the dagger of the sun … that cuts through haze, mists, fogs and the deepest darknesses … all the while allowing shadows to emerge with clarity and crispness, forms in which we may nurture sustaining and loving relationships with them, for they are a loving part of us. Goldenrod, which blooms with summer's waning, expresses the staff that we may carry into the west, to steady our footing and offer golden light and warmth as we head into the solitary cold and darkness of winter's realm.
To make a infused honey is, like so much of herbal Medicine (the people's Medicine), so simple. Fill a jar with your herb of choice, cover with a nice local, raw honey, cap and label with contents and date. You can place the jar on a high shelf, out of direct sunlight and forget about it until you have a need to remember. Strain it and use it at will. I often process my jars in a dehydrator, giving them a several hours at a low (110F) temperature over the course of several days. Some folks process their herb and honey in a crock pot on the low setting for a few days. As I say to my students, this is not rocket science … trust your guidance, your intuition … trust your experience … and have fun.
At least that's what the ones I've been listening to have been saying to me. Recently, you might say I was guided to take a closer look at how I've been feeding myself. I realized that, especially given the hit I've taken to my heart chakra, I could be eating a whole lot more green food.
So I've added greens - fresh greens - to every meal, including breakfast. And I don't have words enough to tell you how much better I feel.
I haven't been doing much writing or reading lately: what I have been doing a lot of is weeding....weeding and rambling.
Weeding is a good way to do nothing as long as I don't care how many weeds are still left when I'm done. And on my ramble this morning, I saw wild phlox, buttercups, honeysuckle, ragged robin and forget-me-nots.