Since it is a hybrid, you aren’t likely to find any areas to search and will only come across the wild variety. There are sources for the plant itself if you wanted to grow it, places such as Richters carries it : http://www.richters.com – and you often find it in nurseries, sometimes called Russian Comfrey … also Horizon Herbs has it: https://www.horizonherbs.com
If you're ready to go deeper with your herbal studies, join Susun on her new Mentorship website. Get new content weekly such as the expanded herbal ezine, replays of teleseminars, videos, audio of Susuns past lectures, many articles by Susun, and even personal one on one mentorship from Susun. www.wisewomanmentor.com
I found an article by Susun where she recommends E. angustifolia but it takes 6 weeks for the tincture to be ready.
May I ask , is it still beneficial to do this even though I am finishing my round of antibiotics soon so waiting 6 weeks would do no harm do to speak? And still be of benefit? Not sure how the body works in this regard..
I can buy this herb and her instructions are very simple I'm keen to make it just not sure if I should take something during the 6 weeks also whilst tincture is getting ready? I have linden, oat straw and nettle leaf dried herbs would any of these help with restoring internal environment after antibiotics? It's an infection that has arisen from an old root canal tooth I had done many years ago. (I'm adding in yoghurt and raw garlic etc. and lots of vitamin C)
Thank you Geraldine
For the time being, yes, definitely eat the yogurt, making sure it contains live cultures including L. acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, and S. thermophophillus -- Susun recommends plenty of miso, unpasteurized sauerkraut, homemade beers and wines, picked-by-your-own-hands-and-unwashed fruits and salads, sourdough bread, and whey-fermented vegetables (see Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon for whey-fermented vegetable recipes). These are all ways to help with creating good gut flora.
Susun likes the use of Echinacea as an infusion as well. So use one ounce of the dried root in a pint of boiling water and steep it for at least eight hours. If you have acute infection, fever, etc. you can drink two cups until the fever comes down. Then make a lighter infusion: one ounce of the root in a quart of boiling water and drink one or two cups daily for another week or so. So there is a way to use the echinacea immediately rather than waiting for tincture to be ready.
I know you are in Australia, so unable to call in during Susun's radio show so I will pass the message along and once she has a chance to give further suggestions we'll pass it along. Sometimes it may take a bit of time depending on how many questions and callers Susun has. You can always listen in by computer as well: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/susunweed Archived shows are there too ...
If you're ready to go deeper with your herbal studies, join Susun on her new Mentorship website. Get new content weekly such as the expanded herbal ezine, replays of teleseminars, videos, audio of Susuns past lectures, many articles by Susun, and even personal one on one mentorship from Susun. www.wisewomanmentor.com
Using infused herbal oils is an easy and pleasurable way to keep your breasts healthy, prevent and reverse cysts, dissolve troublesome lumps, and repair abnormal cells.Breast skin is thin and absorbent, and breast tissue contains a great deal of fat, which readily absorbs infused herbal oils. The healing and cancer-preventing actions of herbs easily migrate into olive oil—creating a simple, effective product for maintaining breast health.
Add beeswax to any herbal oil and you have an ointment. The antiseptic, softening, moisturizing, and healing properties of beeswax intensify the healing actions of the herbs and carry them deeper into the breast tissues.
Whether you want to maintain breast health—or have had a diagnosis of cancer—infused herbal oils and ointments are soothing, safe, and effective allies.
Wonderfully fragrant infused oils can be made from all kinds of evergreen needles. (See page 298.) Evergreen oils are superb for regular breast self-massage, especially for those troubled with painful or lumpy breasts. Evergreens, including the renowned yew, contain compounds clinically proven to kill cancer cells.
The most powerful in this respect are arbor vitae (Thuja occidentalis) and cedar (Juniperus virginia). But all evergreens contain antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral, and anti-tumor oils. I make my infused evergreen oil from white pine (Pinus strobus), the most common evergreen in my area; friends use spruce, cedar, and hemlock.
Infused evergreen oils are generally non irritating (a few women report sensitivity to spruce needle oil), but essential oils of evergreens can cause a rash. Essential oil of the evergreen tea tree (Melaleuca species) has been poured into cancers that have ulcerated, causing some to go into remission. This is dangerous and may be painful; I strongly advise you to seek counsel before you use tea tree, or any essential oil, in this way.
Olive oil (Olea europea)
The oil pressed from the fruits (olives) and seeds (pits) of these magnificent, long-lived trees is neither an infused oil nor an essential oil. It is my favorite oil for eating, cooking, and using as a base for infusing herbs. Virgin or extra virgin oils are great for eating, but have a rich smell which is overpowering in an infused oil or ointment.
As a base for infused oils, I use the less expensive (and less aromatic) pomace oil—made by pressing the ground pits after the olives have been squeezed dry. No matter what type you use, fancy or plain, olive oil will no doubt uphold its ancient and venerable reputation for healing and nourishing skin and scalp.
Plantain leaf oil (Plantago lancelota, P. majus)
With its brilliant color and its solid reputation as a breast cancer preventive, plantain oil/ointment is another favorite for breast self massage. Frequent applications of the jewel-green oil—as many as ten times a day—have been used successfully by women to reverse in situ cancer cells in the breasts. Plantain oil is very easy to make at home. (The aroma of the finished oil reminds me of salami.) Plantain ointment is the first first aid I reach for when I itch, when I get a sting, when I need to heal torn muscles, when I want to draw out thorns, splinters, or infection, and when I need to relieve pain and swelling.
Poke root oil (Phytolacca americana)
That strange-looking weed with the drooping black berries that towers over gardens and roadsides throughout much of eastern North America is pokeweed—an old favorite of wise women dealing with breast lumps and breast cancer. If I felt a suspicious lump, I’d reach for poke root oil. It reduces congestion, relieves swelling, and literally dissolves growths in the breasts.
Jethro Kloss, author of the classic herbal Back to Eden, used freshly grated raw poke root poultices to burn away breast cancer. Caution: Fresh poke placed directly on the skin is strong enough to damage healthy tissues as well as cancerous ones.
The infused oil is also effective and far safer. A generous amount is gently applied to the lump, covered with a flannel cloth and then with a hot water bottle (no heating pads), and left on for as long as you’re comfortable. This is repeated at least twice a day. Poke root oil is too powerful for regular preventive care. Caution: Poke oil can cause a rash on sensitive skin. Ingestion of poke oil can cause severe intestinal distress.
Poke root tincture can be used instead of poke root oil. The properties are quite similar, though the oil is absorbed better and may be considerably more effective.
Red Clover blossom oil (Trifolium pratense)
The infused oil of red clover blossoms is a remarkable skin softener. It melts away lumps, counters cancer, and helps the lymph system reabsorb unneeded cells. Combine it with internal use of red clover blossom infusion for an even better chance of eliminating abnormal cells and preventing breast cancer recurrence. It’s gentle enough for regular use in breast self massage.
St. Joan’s Wort blossom oil (Hypericum perforatum)
The vermillion red oil of the flowers or flowering tops of St. Joan’s (St. John’s) wort is mild enough to be used regularly to promote breast health, yet powerful enough to seem positively miraculous as it repairs damage to the skin and nerves of the breasts. I consider it an indispensable ally for all women. In addition to using it for breast massage, I favor it for assistance in healing the armpit and breast area after surgery, reducing skin damage from radiation, and relieving nerve and muscle pain. Its antiviral powers pass through the skin and into nerve endings, preventing and checking a wide variety of skin problems, including virulent hospital-bred infections such as shingles.
I find St. Joan’s wort oil an exceptionally useful ally for women dealing with nerve damage caused by removal of axillary lymph nodes. Frequent applications restore sensation, promote good lymphatic circulation, help prevent lymphedema, and offer prompt and long-lasting relief from pain.
Women who apply St. Joan’s wort oil before and after radiation treatments report that their skin stays healthy and flexible even after dozens of treatments. In addition to preventing radiation burns, this oil prevents sunburn, too. It’s the only sunscreen I use to protect my skin, which gets plently of sun. And it’s a superior healer of sunburn, as well.
St. Joan’s wort oil is an invaluable ally for those with sciatica pain, leg and foot cramps, ba ck pain, neckaches, arthritis pain, bursitis, or any other ache. I use it externally (along with 25 drops of the tincture internally) as often as every 10 to15 minutes when dealing with the acute phase of a cramped, spasmed muscle. For long-term pain, I use oil and tincture as frequently as needed, sometimes as often as ten times a day.
St. Joan’s wort oil is also the best remedy I’ve found to relieve the pain and promote rapid healing of nerves and skin troubled by shingles, cold sores, mouth and anal fissures, genital herpes, and chicken pox. Hourly applications of oil, plus 25 drops of tincture taken internally at the same time, is not excessive in the initial, acute stages of these problems. As symptoms abate, I use fewer applications. In chronic conditions, I use the oil and tincture four times a day. Used as a scalp oil during chemotherapy, St. Joan’s wort encourages rapid regrowth of healthy hair.
Yarrow flower oil (Achillea millefolium)
Yarrow flowers and leaves infused in oil make a sparkling green oil that promotes fluid flow in the breasts and inhibits bacterial growth. Women have noted that consistent use of yarrow oil seems to prevent the growth of new blood vessels that cancerous tumors need for growth. Yarrow is also a wonderful ally for relieving swollen, tender breasts and nipples. As it may irritate the skin slightly, I use yarrow only as needed.
Yarrow is a plant imbued with a reputation for psychic powers and energy healing. The aroma of the oil is said to give power to the heart and strength to the vulnerable. Sleep with yarrow, and you’ll have a dream of the future.
Yellow Dock root oil (Rumex crispus, R. obtusifolia)
This dark yellow, orange, or burnt-sienna-colored oil is a classic remedy against all hard swellings, tumors, growths, and scabby eruptions. It softens tissues and helps the body reabsorb lumps. The ointment excels as an ally for those dealing with skin ulcers (bed sores), burns from radiation, or mouth sores from chemotherapy. Yellow dock has been known to resolve worrisome nipple discharges. Yellow dock oil does not recommend itself for regular use; I reserve it for occasional intense use.
Your garden. What fun -- and frustration -- await you there! The best mentor you can choose, as far as I'm concerned is Nature herself. Nature likes life everywhere. Have an open field and plants magically appear! This is the way plants grow when left to themselves. We don't have to struggle so much.
It is wisest to let Nature have Her way. Nature has her own agenda, and your life as a gardener will be easier if you bow to Her desires. Better to dance with the fairies than struggle with eliminating "weeds".
All weight bearing exercise causes my feet to ache terribly afterwards. Not right away. A few hours or the next morning. Both feet equally.
I am blaming it on a long standing issue with loose joints. My awareness of this began when my hands would ache while doing massage work and when my ankles would feel like they are coming apart the minute I began to jog. This started many years ago.
Any body have a similar experience or possible suggestions.
In light of the recent events attempting to regulate and cage the healing power of the plants and the amazing wise women who work with them, I want to post this piece as a reminder of the spirit and voice of our calling and love; of the root that mothers us all, sending us as shoots towards the sun to tend our kin, human and otherwise.
If it is the highest and the greatest that you seek, the plant can direct you. Strive to become through your will, what without will, it is. -Goethe
Come with me into the juniper woodlands, into the green world where the garden still grows wild. Feel in your body the wild canyon gales of the sacred southwest, the river lapping at your feet and the soft mud rising up between your toes. Move with me as if the mother were holding you to herself, as if you are being embraced by emerging light and damp earth... as it is, and as you are.
Know in your bones, in that small, hollow space between your ribs that you are the beloved of both land and water, born to feel the ecstasy of the fecund earth as well as the death throes of each being. We are all living extensions and sensory feelers of the body of the earth, of our mother Gaia. We are the poets and priestesses of this fertile, verdant wildness. There is nothing so fulfilling as the love of the land, of being not so much filled, but opened, as a conduit for the force and rush of energy and light, this is what we are born to be, and an integral part of each our individual purposes and callings.
Look! The plants are all around us, the brilliant orange flowers of Yerba de la Negrita, the fierce spikes of Agave and grandmotherly arms of the ancient Cottonwoods. these vibrant green beings are some of the very first peoples. Not only do they provide the air we breathe, the food we eat, the clothes we wear, but they have the ability to provoke a wide range of feelings, reactions and states of mind. From the tongue tingling tastes of plump mango fruits to the gently protective properties of milky oat tops to the sensual evocation of the red rose to the reality shifting shamanic powers of the salvias and the poppies, the plants move us, tantalize us, heal us and sometimes irritate us like nothing else.
Shhhh, listen... deep within us, somewhere much deeper than ears or skin we can sense and hear the songs and speech of the green ones. Since before the first ceremonies and the first healers, we learned from these ancient teachers, and dreamed of their subterranean world of roots and soil. As with our ancestors and the indigenous peoples across the world, we use the plants in medicine, ritual and pleasure.
Shamanic Herbalism ...there is other music in these hills, by no means audible to all... on a still night, when the campfire is low and the Pleiades have climbed over rimrocks, sit quietly and... you may hear it --a vast pulsing harmony-- its score inscribed on a thousand hills, its notes the lives and deaths of plants and animals, its rhythms spanning the seconds and the centuries. -Aldo Leopold
Understanding and connecting with the plants begins with opening our awareness to their energy and presence. Simply noticing that they are there, whether the dandelions in our apartment parking lot or the leafy shade of ancient oak trees in the city park, they each have individual personalities and energies. Each possesses its own mode of healing and signature song.
There are many ways to meet the plant spirits. They may come to us in our dreams, speaking in the symbols and whispers of our dreamtime or they may grab us in their thorns, holding us fast and waking us to their language and presence. Still others may lure us with their lovely ephemeral scent or the mutter of the wind in their leaves. Whatever way they catch our attention, it is up to us to look closely, to feel fully and listen attentively. We cannot expect any teacher to instruct us over the chatter of our own voices and minds, and the plants rarely shout.
All forms of art require a dedication to focus, and none more than the shamanic arts. Before we can learn to hear we must learn to be silent, to quiet our minds and allow our bodies to sense the intricate, active world around us. The best times to hear and fully feel the spirits of many plants seems to be dawn and dusk, the traditional times of the emergence of the faery folk, ancestral spirits and wild animals. During these between times our senses are more aware and the boundaries between the physical and the spiritual fade and blur. Take advantage of these brief magical hours by venturing outdoors to spend quiet time with Gaia and her plant children.
Two of my students accompany me out into the early morning woods. Dawn is emerging in a lavender mist as we lay together on the cool ground, listening with our whole bodies, and with our expectant spirits. When we become still, we are able to hear the rhythm of breath, the beat of life, the hum of song, the intricate pulses of the plant world, the drinking and eating, breathing and opening into sun and air, withering and rotting back to earth. We must be fully attentive to feel the energy of the plant pressing against us, entering into us, sensual as a lover touching flesh, sharp as a knife slipping under skin, warm as wine spreading through the river of our veins.
To begin our journey into the green language of the plant world we can use a few simple exercises to enhance our awareness.
#1: Begin by choosing an individual plant, don’t base this choice on any preconceived notion of it being an “important” or even a medicinal plant. Let yourself be drawn naturally to a specific species and then to an individual plant.
#2 Sit beside the plant (especially in the early morning or near dusk), noticing everything you can about it, look at it from above and from below, what kind of leaves does it have? Is it flowering, in seed or just starting as a small sprout fresh from the womb of Gaia? Gently break off a leaf and smell it, is it pungent and musky like oregano or does it have a more subtle and delicate smell like a violet? If it is flowering, smell the flower. Is it sweet or bitter, and what is it shaped like? Look also at its environment. Is it growing beside a mountain stream or out of a crack in the pavement? Is the area wet or dry? What is the surrounding vegetation (if any) like? Are there bees, butterflies or other insects or creatures tending to or eating the plant?
#3 Draw the plant. You don’t have to be an artist to do this, all you need is a desire to better understand as well as to express your feelings about the plant. Don’t just try to capture the shapes of the leaves or the proper number thorns or spines, but instead try to express the personality and essential spirit of the plant.
#4 Write about the plant. Write down your observations about its appearance and environment as well as your impressions of its nature. Don’t be put off if you feel like you have no idea what you’re talking about, just record what you sense through your body (see, smell, touch and even hear) and intuit with your heart.
#5 Find a good field guide for your area or someone familiar with local flora to identify the plant. Once identified, do some research and find out as much as you are able about it. Is it a perennial or an annual? Does it have any medicinal value? Is it native to this land? If not, where is it from and how did it get here? Is it cooperative or invasive? Are there any stories or myths associated with it? Write down what you find out along with your original observations, watching for parallels or tie-ins.
#6 Return to the plant. See how it has changed or not changed. Sit with it again. You may notice previously unseen details or experience a different impression. If your research showed that this plant is edible or medicinal, taste it,. harvest a small amount at the correct time. Record your feelings and observations about this experience. Write about and draw the plant again. Repeat this as often as you return to visit the plant, at least once a season.
Sacred Plant Medicine
People (like soil, bears, butterflies, and monkeys) have made their medicine by percolating water through plants, eating them whole, soaking them in water for teas, or rubbing them on their skin... for we, like all other life, have long been inextricably interwoven into the fabric of the plant world. Stephen Buhner
We, along with many of our relatives, from the elephants to the bears to the birds to the ants, have used the plants as medicine. We have healed our wounds, eased the pain of our dying, aided our births and traveled into vision and ecstasy with the help of our green allies.
It is only recently that we humans have forgotten and destroyed much of our knowledge of the ways in which our ancestors used the plants to heal, this has happened primarily through cultural annihilation and assimilation. We must begin again, by salvaging the remains of our great, great grandmothers’ knowledge. By watching the animals around us. By learning from each other and by asking the plants for their help. And we must teach our children what we learn, passing on through story and shared experience, as well as inherited cellular knowledge, the power and beauty of herbal healing... so that we will not forget again.
At the same time, we must also remember that the plants are just what they are: plants, and not humans. And that while they are often happy to help us when we ask, it is not our interests that they are most concerned with, but the wider web of plant, animal, fungi, bacteria, with the beloved body of Gaia who is the mother and Creatrix of us all. Knowing this, we enter into relationship with the plants respectfully, prayerfully, humbly, remembering we are but one part of the living, feeling whole.
Into The Green World
Only through the earth may we be as one with all who have been and all who are yet to be, sharers and partakers of the mystery of living, reaching the full of human peace and the full of human joy. -Henry Beston
In my hands, the vibrant violet blue flowers radiate the cooling calmness of the Salvia clan, she is a lush plant, her bright green leaves standing out in stark contrast with the Summer’s dusty grasses and withered wildflowers. She grows throughout this riparian canyon, with riverside watercress and up against the prickly cholla cactus. I gather her slowly, mindfully, cutting the flowering tops from the stem with a quick snip, and thanking her for her medicine. Even after I place the Salvia gently in my woven basket, I can feel the life of the plants still in my hands, feeding me not only oxygen but something undefinable in scientific terms: magic! And I can still hear their songs weaving through the mountain air. We are all, whether aware of it or not, nourished and affected by their spirits as well as bodies. By the fertile beauty of their dying, by the fierceness of their flowering and the radiant fullness of their fruiting.
Join me, on this journey ever deeper into the green world... into the wild garden.
As a short interim from my usual writing I wanted to share with you the experience of the annual Wild Women's Gathering that I and my partner Loba host each year. Hope you enjoy, and I'll be back to my normal writing next week. ~Green Blessings, Kiva
Finding words to convey the power of the 2006 Wild Women's Gathering is quite the challenge! As we relive a kaleidoscope of memories, what strikes both of us first is how deeply all we Wild Women immersed in the reality of non-linear time, the days and nights melding and melting together. Recalling them now, we can see the shifting tapestry of swirling colors, sounds and tastes. We hear the song of the river, the beating of an ancient drum....
Several women arrived a week early, to ground, to help, and to attend to their needs for solitude and counsel. What a gift it was to feel the strength of their intent, and their ability to focus on their personal work as well as be of service in many of the preparations.
One woman came from Las Vegas, Nevada, to renew her already strong connection to the canyon with several weeks of presence, learning, and service. What a joy it was to have her help with baking cakes, gathering grape leaves, stripping bundles of fresh rosemary for flavored butter and oil, making sauerkraut and pickled garlic! And help washing the many dishes we produced! Another wonderful woman, aged 54 but demonstrating the openness and spirit of a child, drove here for a quest all the way from Oklahoma in an old Plymouth van. The third came from Vermont to do "the naked-for-two-days-with-blankets-and-water-thing" as she put it (otherwise known as a Level 2 quest!). After a fast, recuperation and counsel, they glowed with presence and vitality. What a blessing! Truly all three women set an example of connectedness, generosity and helpfulness that affected everyone arriving later.
Nearby forest fires intermittently filled the air with smoke, sometimes even raining down ash on us as we danced and sang Forest Service roadblocks made getting here a quest in itself, an adventure and a challenge, and set the stage for a transformative gathering. And the distances some covered were great. Attending was an attorney and Reclaiming priestess, who came from New York. A young woman living in Olympia, Washington drove with her friend for 48 hours straight in order to heed a long-felt calling from the canyon. Others came from Arizona and New Mexico, braving the scary news reports of the fires and talking their way past the concerned state police manning the blockades.
Almost everyone that came, no matter what their "occupation", was involved in some kind of healing work. With several Reiki practitioners, masseuses, a nurse, a psychotherapist, a shamanic counselor and a Gaian healer, there was an overwhelming feeling of everyone caring and wanting to help!
In our discussions we talked about ways to rewild, to renew our connections to self and earth in order to be able to live and give from our most authentic self. We guided the group in redefining wildness as being self-willed, true to our passions, instincts and intuitions, deeply feeling, connected to the forces of all life and magic. We told our stories of coming to embrace the wild life and purpose of the canyon, and how that shift has healed the parts of us that had been hurt growing up in a culture that doesn't honor earth, womanhood, Goddess or wildness. One woman shared how much things have shifted for her since she found her home living closer to nature, and others shared of their struggles and triumphs in reconnecting to their wildest selves. We shared stories about our relationship with our bodies, and speaking about the power of what we women can do for each other in a short time of dwelling together in a wild way. Indeed, what a huge gift it was for all of us to play unashemedly in the river no matter what our different body types. We shared about our experiences with eating disorders, body hatred, not seeing ourselves as beautiful, and working to shift those patterns. One intense woman spoke passionately about her grief of not celebrating her moontime until it was over, and how much she wants to help young girls have a different experience. We talked about choosing our own families, and finding ways to establish boundaries in all our relationships, while fostering openness and healing. And about animal totems, and those animals spirits that we feel as our primary helpers.
We balanced the sharings and conversations with times of quiet and solitude, busy activities and rambunctious play! Each morning lovely singing floated up from the canyon bottom, often followed by the song of an airy flute. Some of the women went on hiking adventures, while others tended to the camp kitchen, gathered wood and got started with breakfast. It was beautiful to see how naturally the women found tasks they felt happy doing, and how easily everything that needed to happen got done in a joyful spirit. Some loved to gather plants for tea and cooking, others enjoyed washing dishes at the river, carrying buckets of water, running errands and tending the campfire.
After brunch we'd often go to the beaver pond to frolic and swim, to play catch with "mud balls", to cover ourselves in mud and act like little kids! How great to be so silly and uninhibited together, to growl and chase and romp, to drum upon the water, to drum upon our bellies and sing! Nightime was great for playing too. We had the pleasure of receiving bellydance instruction from one of our participants, who was a wonderful teacher. She got us in a circle, shimmying and undulating, and laughing like crazy! Several of the women took to drumming for us, and how magical to dance to a beautiful silver flute too! We shared chocolate tantra, and many of us ended up with our faces painted in whipping cream! One woman used her artistry to give the gift of henna tatoos that suited each person perfectly, and another led a solstice ritual that got us all involved with its beautifully land-honoring, organic creation. And of course, chocolate helped us stay awake longer, to drum and dance just a little bit more whenever we got tired... and rhubarb tapioca pudding too!
The meals were a big highlight, as always! A bunch of women in the wilderness with coolers of food is a recipe for wonderment, after all! What incredible brunches we had, featuring homemade bagels and skillet toast made from homemade rosemary-olive-walnut bread, spread with goat cheese, rosemary jelly, or maybe some smoked salmon and onions! Eggs from a participant's well-loved chicken, scrambled with gouda, sun-dried tomatoes, and kale! Watermelons and mangoes, yogurt and granola, and rice pudding – yumminess galore! And suppers were abundant with the goodies everyone brought to contribute: polenta with an eggplant, red pepper, feta cheese sauce, and kalamata olives, a roasted beet onion salad with cracked green olives and lime, red lentil soup with coconut milk! And then there was the grand finale. One of the women attending, a Gaian priestess and medicine woman working to restore and resacrament two pieces of land nearby, running a health food store, working as a healer, and making her dream of sustainability come true! She brought us enough dolmas to feed a small army, a roast pork from her lovingly raised pigs, a huge pasta salad with her fresh garden produce, and a fresh fruit ambroisia for dessert! What a blessing it was to have her radiant presence with us that so-special night, making our talismans in the pavilion and listening to her story of transformation. Being willing to face the darkness of her most hidden places in order to find the courage and strength to remake her life. What a role model for all of us in our own journeys!
As we spoke of our commitments to self in our Solstice ritual circle, it struck both of us how each woman's bravery has served us in our lives, and is much of what brought us to the canyon. Being willing to believe in ourselves, to attempt the impossible, to make promises to ourselves and to do what it takes to keep them – certainly these are some of the most important attributes of the wild woman. As we went around the circle it was so beautiful to hear the different ways the women had integrated what we'd shared in our short time together. Some would be going back to completely remake their lives – to bring an end to relationships that no longer served their spirits, to search for their true home, to quit jobs in order to pursue a true passion. Others made powerful commitments to connect to the earth and to their wild selves in tangible ways every day: greeting the sun, making sure they got some "alone time" every day, dancing, singing. Some committed to their own healing processes, to following their hearts and their vision.
For example, one special woman has pledged to herself and Spirit, not to go back to a soul-deadening job that kept her in an office and away from her growth and purpose. A big paycheck and prepaid apartment await her if she want them, but she is choosing to find a way to follow her path instead, risking income and relationships in order to do what she has to do to be her fullest self. There are so many untruths we can tell ourselves to make us feel comfortable and okay, and it’s a huge commitment to promise to do what best honors our spirit selves without all the sobering “yeah but’s.” Within a few days after the gathering, another woman wrote to tell us about all the ways that she was truly using what she got here, trusting her vision and intuition enough to make every moment of her life a conscious choice, honorably ending her marriage and setting out to magically and responsibly creating her reality and world. It would have been so much easier in some ways, for her to have gone back to the same compromises and habits, instead of remaking her life. We’re amazed how she could open and be vulnerable enough to hear both this place of power and her own flawless heart, and then actually and immediately apply the lessons.
The spirit of generosity we shared so deeply was so evident in our closing circle, an ecstatic exchange of gratitude and gifts, including lovely jewelry, handblown glass, clothes, stones and feathers, beaded talismans, an amazing bear drum and perfect bellydance hip scarf. Many tears of joy and love were shed as we went around speaking of the blessings we'd received from each other and such a magical place, making plans to do it again next Summer Solstice.
Then on to a mass group hug, and one last, glorious howl!