587-581-5081 Marikarhall@icloud.com
Summer Solstice Eclipse Ritual

Summer Solstice Eclipse Ritual

This weekend is the summer solstice, solar eclipse and New Moon in Cancer, Cancer and the moon are kindred energies they come from the same deep and holy place, enabling us to feel the feels and wrap ourselves up in the caring and compassion of our hearts. They bring us closer to the motherly energies we all possess and ask us to love ourselves completely and honour our own sacred lives, as well as all life. In Chinese Medicine, the heart is the empress. It oversees the work of all our other organs and houses our shen, the light of spirit that animates us, allowing us to know our true selves. The heart-mind speaks to us through our feelings and helps guide us on the truest path of spirit. The peak time of the heart is in the heat of the summer, a time of connection, play, laughter and energy. Just as the fire element drives the heart, we are driven by our inner fire that asks us to step out and dance amongst the other flames, to connect and create sparks of joy and love. Fire, like all elements is in a constant flux and keeping it from being extinguished or burning up is a practice we all take on each day of our lives.

Through observing nature, ancient Taoist Sages recognized that the simple ways that fire was strengthened and weakened. In moderation, heat strengthens fire and cold soothes it, in excess heat may cause fire to burn up all the body fluids, while cold will freeze the body and no fire can start. The spirit of wood with its direction and healthy anger can reignite and replenish our fires and the soothing nature of water can calm an abundant fire. They also recognized that when we go through a traumatic experience, our inner shen will return to Shen and leave our hearts and bodies empty. In my shamanic training we referred to this as a susto and can result in delusion, anxiety, depression, confusion, despair, fear, panic, numbness or pain in an area of the body, sleeplessness, palpitations, difficulty breathing, digestive concerns, the list goes on. Depending on where the trauma happened and our natural areas of weakness. Sometimes these sensations can come up without an obvious experience of trauma  but from something witnessed, heard or felt that links to our ancestoral or past life traumas. 

The solstice was a fire festival for most of our ancestors, being the longest day and shortest night of the year they would stay up with bonfires through the night asking for the blessings of the sun on their growing crops, relationships, babes and lives. Fire is a powerful transmuter of energy, burning away what no longer serves us and carrying our prayers out into the universe. 

 

Here is a simple ritual for you to work with on this summer solstice, eclipse, new moon:

If you have access to a place where you can safely have a fire that is ideal and you will need a piece of twine or cord, some tobacco, cornmeal or another offering and some twigs, If you don’t you can use a candle and very thin thread and paper along with an offering.

  1. Begin in the dark, sit comfortably and take three deep breaths centering yourself into your body
  2. Call in great spirit and your guides, allies, ancestors and angels to support you and hold you in your work
  3. Take some time to breath in the dark and find that place deep inside you that feels dark and unwanted
  4. invite it to be seen and share its medicine with you. 
  5. pick up your piece of twine or thread and begin to tie knots in it as each aspect of your shadow comes up. 
  6. Once you feel completed, light your fire and offer it some tobacco, cornmeal or other offering to thank the spirit of fire for its support
  7. Now place your twine in the fire and watch it burn away taking several deep breaths feeling it release from your mind and body
  8. Now pick up your sticks and begin to embrace the positive or opposite aspects of what you just released. Fill the sticks with it. If you are using a candle write it down on paper
  9. Once complete add those sticks to the fire or paper to the candle. Again take several breaths, breathing these qualities into your body.
  10. add more of your offering to the fire. Thanking the fire, guides, spirit, etc for there support and release them. 
  11. Sit and enjoy the light of the fire/candle on this the shortest night of the year. 

Please let me know how it went and if you have any questions please reach out. 

How to stay calm and centered in the face of stress, change and overwhelm

How to stay calm and centered in the face of stress, change and overwhelm

How are you doing?

It has been over six weeks since we started self-isolation here on the island and as with most things it feels like forever and just a few days ago at the same time. There are days when I love it, the ease and gentleness that a day can take puttering around the house, playing with ayana, getting my hands in the dirt and then there are others where I wake up with this intense agitation like a bird trapped in a cage and I want to rage at the powers that be for telling me I can’t be free and do what I want to do. If you know me you know I love my freedom and in a year with a collective need for freedom this feeling of being locked up can seem extra intense.

So I wanted to share with you some of the tools I use on a daily basis to help clear and release these energies, stay centered and grounded, protect my energy from the collective fear and grief and recharge myself when I am drained. I have actually started a youtube channel and will be posting these exercises in more detail so check it out for more info and let me know what you think.

As a mother of a tiny human and a solopreneur, on top of everything else I find it essential to go to bed early and rise at least an hour before my daughter. I do this for myself first of all and for my family, work and community secondly. Rising early allows me to start my day with intention and get in all the little things that make me a better, calmer, happier person. The first thing I do when I wake in the morning is set up my mat and after drinking some lemon water with chia seeds to get my liver moving and give a little flush to my intestines and kidneys, I do 20-30 mins of movement. I usually go with what I feel at the moment whether it is Yoga with Adrienne, some self lead or youtube inspired qi gong or some serious movement with The Class or Betty Rocker. This gets my qi and blood moving and brings my awareness into my body and clears my mind.

Next I Clear

No matter what movement I do I love to finish it off with shaking. Shaking helps to release pent up energy, loosen and lubricate the joints, relax the muscles and just feels awesome. I begin by bouncing on my heels and letting my bones rattle and vibrate from my feet up to the top of my head, then I bring my arms and head into the mix, shaking them as gently or vigorously as I need, then I lift each leg and shake it out. Lastly I jump around letting my whole body loose with deep exhales, howls and groans. There really is nothing like shaking to activate, stir and release. (Check out my video on more ways to clear your energy.)

Then I Center

After Shaking it is time to center, centering helps me to bring my energy into myself and set my mind to neutral in service to my heart. The third eye located in the middle of your head where your pineal gland is located is also known as the Seat of the Soul. It is a place where we can place our consciousness to witness and direct our lives. You can simply put your awareness on this spot and look out from this place. I like to visualize a room where I am seated on a cushion with candles and incense burning and a small looking pool in front of me. From this centered place I can go about my day and observe my thoughts and reactions more clearly. (For more ways to center check out my video)

After I Ground and Connect

Once I am centered I like to ground my energy down into the earth, this gives me stability and a sense of connection and wellbeing that my animal body loves. I bring my attention down to the base of my spine and visualize a root growing down into the center of Mother Earth where it divides growing out into the four directions to anchor me fully. From here I take some deep breaths feeling that connection and the calm, supportive energies of the earth wash over my body while I send my gratitude to the earth from her love. When I feel complete with Mother earth I draw that energy up through my body to the top of my head where a great trunk grows up into the heavens and branches sprout in each of the four directions and I begin to breath and connect with Father Sky, the sun, moon, stars, planets and spirit. I draw down the energy of spirit and the light of these celestial beings to fill my body. Also sending thanks to them all for what they give me. (For a full guided meditation on this and connecting to the Father Sky, sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of the page)

Finally I Protect

After grounding and connecting I bring my attention to my Dan tian (energy center in my abdomen) and visualize an electric blue octahedron ( two four sided pyramids with their bases together) around my body and energy field. The tips of the pyramids are above and below me and the four points are located in front, behind, and to the left and right of my body. It is electric blue as this is the colour of truth like Archangel Michael’s sword. I then invite in and thank my guides and instruct them to keep away all low vibrational, fear based, negative energies that are not in my highest good. I also place this octahedron around my home, car, bike and clinic.

These five steps that I do first thing in the morning help set me up for a good day ahead and only take a few mins. Throughout the day if I’m starting to feel agitated or heavy or in a situation that feels tense I will shake off what doesn’t serve me or send the energy down into mother earth to be composted and then quickly visualize my octahedron and I’m good to go again.

I hope you take the time to give these a try and keep your energy clean and clear. Living on purpose with intention and taking responsibility for our energies is once of the greatest things we can do. Please let me know what you think of these exercises and pass this on to anyone you know who might be served by it.

Blessings

Marika

Dreaming a New World into Being

Dreaming a New World into Being

Dear Ones,

These are extraordinary times we are living in and they call for us to gather up all our strength and tools to navigate them. In shamanic traditions it is believed we are constantly dreaming our world into being and advances in the world of quantum physics we are beginning to see how true it is. So I challenge you at this time to begin to allow yourself to dream. Think on all the things in your life that aren’t working for you and begin to paint a picture of how they can improve, think on all the things you love in your life and how you want them amplified, expand your thought to your family, friends, community, city, country and out across the whole world.

Here is mine:

I want to live in a world that is ridiculously accepting, generous and loving.

Where children can feel safe to play in their communities

Where everyone can feel safe to be who they are

Where people touch, hug, kiss and express their love, joy and gratitude for each other

Where everyone’s perspective is welcome

Where we know ourselves as the stewards of mother earth and care for all her children

Where we use only what we need and share what we have

Where people are connected to their dreams, their spirit guides, their ancestors and their higher selves

Where life is regarded as a true miracle and death is regarded as the next step in a well lived life

Where ritual marks each day and the initiations we pass through are honoured and celebrated, allowing for time and space to mourn and grieve

Where we care more about the quality of the food we eat and where it comes from than our latest new gadget

Where integrative and traditional medicines are valued just as highly as modern medicine

Where companies give back to the communities they work in, take from and are responsible for the full life cycle of the things they create

Where our elders are seen as the bearers of great wisdom and the passers down of memory

Where each choice we make takes into consideration the next seven generations

Where every person has enough food, water, clothing, a warm, cozy, safe home, access to the tools needed to practice their passions, hobbies, work and art

 

I’d love to hear your dream! Please share in the comments or email me at marikarhall@icloud.com

Covid-19: Opportunity in the Challenge

Covid-19: Opportunity in the Challenge

Wow, what a time we are living in!! I have to remind myself daily that this is the world we have dreamed and it is truly amazing to see how people are coming together, how the pollution of the world is down, how we are being asked to move more slowly in such a fast paced world. I really and truly see it as a gift we are being offered and not one to take lightly. Below you will find some information on covid-19 that perhaps you have not come across and some resources to help you through this and all the other challenges life has in store for us.
 
All life is connected, in fact our bodies are literally made up of bacteria and viruses. They help us break down our food and bolster our immune systems and challenge us to evolve physically, mentally and spiritually. Viruses are especially fascinating as they require a host cell to replicate and so parts of our DNA are actually virus DNA. 
 
We can not escape this truth nor can we escape interacting with these microorganisms. It is a part of being human. But many of us view these tiny beings we share the planet with as something to be eradicated. I think however it is more about harmony than war. Our bodies are innately clever and built to decide which organisms are friend and which are foe. Our greatest defence against organisms that threaten our lives is in our immune systems and part of the immune system is built up of good microorganisms. 
 
In traditional Chinese medicine pathogens are broken down into wind, cold, hot or toxins often with accompanying dampness. In order to expel the pathogens we need strong wei Qi and Zheng Qi (immunity) which are built out of kidney and and stomach fluids. If we are stressed, depleted, or weak than we won’t have enough Qi to defend our bodies and the sicker we will become. 
 
So how can you boost your immune system firstly through diet, eating warm wet foods- porridge, soup, broth, stew, avoiding cold, damp building foods like candy, ice cream, dairy, processed foods. We can also take supplements, herbs and at home practices that have been shown to improve our immune systems. 
Vitamin A,C&D
Zinc
Astragalus
Chaga and reishi mushrooms
Moxabustion
Acupressure
Qi gong 
 
Finally we need to release the fear, anxiety and stress as it is one of the primary things that weakens our immune system. Here are a few suggestions
deep breaths, 
time in nature. 
warm baths, 
exercise, 
talking with loved ones, 
rescue remedy,
Acupuncture, 
Meditation ( sign up for my newsletter to download my tree of life meditation) 
All of this goes far beyond just the virus, the incredible amounts of change that are being asked of us are unsettling to our instinctive centre. Residing just below our root chakra, our instinctive centre remembers all of our early childhood, ancestoral and past life traumas. Whenever anything is unsettling to it, whether it be childhood trauma, an ancestor who died of the spanish influenza or our own death many life times ago from another epidemic, our body remembers and the fear rises up, even if we rationally know the fear is not justified by the circumstances our bodies don’t know that and we are sent into a fight, flight or freeze response. The best ways to manage this are with breath, bringing awareness into your body and your environment to remember you aren’t in immediate threat, smudging yourself with tobacco, palo santo or sage and getting shamanic healing to clear the fear and realign the body, mind and spirit. 
 
Remember all challenges are opportunities, For the first time in years you can hear the birds singing in Wuhan, there is no smog in the skies of major cities like LA, people are coming together online to support those less fortunate in need. We are truly at a time of writing a new dream for humanity. I personally am incredibly excited about this opportunity! In Shamanism, there is a practice of dreaming our worlds into being, most shamanic cultures believe that everything we believe comes true and so each moment we have a chance to dream a new and better world into being. Through practices like mindfulness this is what we are doing, we are becoming aware of our surroundings, our actions and our reactions and learning to change them, creating a new reality for ourselves. What better time to try and do this then when we are asked to change our lives and are given the time and space to rest, reflect and dream. 
I hope you take this time to dive deep, walk in nature, move slowly, enjoy time with your loved ones and really imagine what a better world would be like.
 
To help you I have recorded a tree of life mediation which is part of my morning routine and is excellent at releasing fear, worry, anxiety and stress, grounding oneself and realigning body, mind and spirit with all that is. You can get your free copy when you sign up for my email newsletter.
 
I am also offering sliding scale distance shamanic healings. A powerful way to reset our systems, clear our fears and begin to dream again. $30-60/session
I will be available for a limited number of acupuncture and shamanic acupuncture sessions for those in need. 
I am also available by email if you have any questions or concerns.
 
Many Blessings
Marika Reid Hall RAc HDP BA
 
Postpartum Healing: A Holistic Approach

Postpartum Healing: A Holistic Approach

It is believed in Chinese Medicine that proper healing in the postpartum period can lead to a graceful menopause, greater health overall and even recovery from previous illness and chronic dis-ease. The body, mind and spirit go through tremendous changes in pregnancy and these changes don’t stop once baby is in the outer world. We must grieve our lives from before, we must learn to communicate and support a whole new human who is utterly dependent on us, we must find a new rhythm and our bodies must find a new normal. This takes time, lots of patience and support from our greater village and can lead to amazing, almost magical transformation in our bodies, beliefs and perceptions.

While most put lots of emphasis on the birth plan and what the nursery will look like, not many think about those tender weeks, months and first year of recovery and transformation, love and grief, confusion and joy. It truly takes a village to support a new family in this period of time and I encourage all my clients to sit down and make a plan in advance. Asking friends and family to help cook food, do chores, run errands and give a family space to find their new groove. 

In many traditional practices including traditional Chinese medicine, the mother and baby were left from one moon cycle up to 6 weeks to recover and build their bond. Family and friends would bring food, clean, keep mom and baby warm and away from cold, wind and the outer world, in order to protect the new family from illness, over exertion and emotional overwhelm. In some cases the mother was not even allowed to bath. Her only job was to eat, rest and learn the language of her new baby. In our modern world we know it is good to bath on occasion and getting some gentle exercise is very important to help in both physical healing and mental wellbeing. But the general principles behind these practice are still important to keep both moms and babies healthy, encourage recovery and bonding and lead to long term health outcomes.

In this article I am going to go through some of the key elements to work with postpartum that I have learned in my studies, practice and life. 

Building up the blood and yin

“Qi is the commander of blood and blood is the mother of qi”

It takes Yin, Qi and Blood to make a child. Yin the material form of all life gives rise to the anatomy of the body; its organs, tissues, muscle, skin…. Qi the energetic form of all life gives rise to the physiology of the body; digesting food, breathing, thinking, moving,… Blood, a yin substance connects the mother and baby, nourishing the fetus in the womb and then turning into breastmilk after the baby is born. Labour requires an extraordinary amount of qi to birth our babies and with the birth mothers lose some blood and with it more qi. Thus it is essential to build up the yin and blood to restore mama to her full strength and to make the milk that baby requires.

The best way to build up yin and blood is through the food and drink that we consume. Bone broths, liver, red meat and red fruits and vegetables are the best for building the blood. Whole grains, nuts, seeds and spices help build up the milk. Warmly cooked and neutral foods are easiest to digest. Here are a list of foods that are great to give a new mama. 

Bone broths (my favourite recipe)

Red Meats and Liver to replace Iron

Beets and Red fruits esp. Chinese red dates aka jujubes, goji berries, raspberries, strawberries and cherries to build the blood

Oats, Barley, Peas, Legumes, walnuts, almonds, sunflower, flax, pumpkin and hemp seeds to nourish the milk

Fennel, anise, dill, coriander, caraway and cardamom to aid digest and increase breast milk.

Keeping the body warm aka mother roasting

All that qi and blood that gets used in labour can leave one feeling chilled and more vulnerable to invading pathogens like wind and cold. Thus it is essential to keep both mom and babe (who can’t regulate their temperature yet) nice and warm. There are several ways to do this. 

  • Wrap mom and babe in warm clothes and blankets
  • keep windows closed, especially if there is a cold wind.
  • Feed mom warm teas and foods
  • Moxa!! An amazing medicine in my tool kit. Moxabustion is made of Chinese Mugwort, one of the only ways to increase qi and Yang (heat) from an external source. I give all of my postpartum clients a moxa stick to use three days after birth (six weeks after a cesarean) The stick is lit and held over the womb space and slowly moved over the abdomen in circles, spirals or figure eights until the skin becomes slightly red and warm. This feeds the qi, warms the body, moves the blood to prevent stagnation and clotting and generally feels amazing!
  • Get a full Mother Roasting treatment! For more info

Of course you do not want them to get to hot either, so in summer do be mindful of the ambient temperature of your rooms. 

Reducing pain and inflammation 

The body’s natural response to going through the hard work of labour, the stretching and sometimes tearing of tissues, the hours of squatting and pushing is to send fluid and immune cells to these tissues to repair them. This insurgence causes inflammation which causes pain. In order to reduce the pain we want to reduce the inflammation by helping the healing of tissues. Good nutrition as mentioned above is key to repairing the skin and building new vessels and cells, especially helpful is bone broth and collagen. Other helpful nutrients are vitamin A, C and zinc which are crucial to building new collagen and blood vessels, Rutin and grape seed extract are antioxidants that help vitamin c enter the cells and prevent scar tissue formation. Also taking natural anti-inflammatories like bromelain or turmeric can reduce inflammation, pain and speed healing. 

One of my favourite and safest ways to speed healing, reduce inflammation and pain is with acupuncture. Acupuncture works by stimulating neurotransmitters that modulate pain, release tight muscles and helps the body find the optimum path to healing. Ideally, having acupuncture in your home three days after your delivery is best to promote healing and well being. But it can be done at any time even months after delivery to help heal scar tissue and residual aches and pains.

Homeopathics are gentle yet potent medicines that hold the vibration of the plants, animals and minerals they are made from and help the body find its return to health by itself much like acupuncture. For pain and inflammation: arnica Montana 200c, calendula officinalis 200c, staphysagria 200c and hypericum perforatum 200c are taken one tablet at a time up to every half hour.

Keeping the emotions balanced

In TCM, Our emotional well-being is controlled by the liver who is responsible for the smooth flow of all our mental, emotional and physical energy, as well as bodily fluids. So if we get stuck in a mental or emotional rut or don’t move enough our qi becomes stagnated causing the liver to become upset and stagnate further. As we know post birth there has been lots of qi and blood lost and the change in our hormones, sleep schedules and need to rest can lead to further qi stagnation and emotional imbalance. 

Acupuncture excels in balancing the emotions. In fact, in Chinese medicine each emotions is associated with a different organ. Long term emotional imbalance can injure the organs as can injury to organs lead to emotional imbalance but lucky it is quite easy to help the qi move smoothly and find the correct path again, relieving anxiety, depression, worry, sadness, fear, shock, anger and over stimulation.

Some other ways to help process and balance your emotion are:

Support groups- We are never alone in our experiences, though we are each unique we also share so much especially in the world of birth and parenting. We were all born and were parented and many will go on to birth and parent themselves. Finding others who have gone through birth and parenthood or are going through it helps us to remember we are not alone and allows us to express our feelings and thoughts and hear from others perhaps gleaning some nuggets of wisdom, tools or compassion for ourselves and others.

Counselling- seeking out a trained counsellor who has experience in working with birth and parenting and can offer tools and insights can be a real game changer. I am especially fond of somatic and mindfulness based approaches.

Placenta pills are made from your placenta. The placenta is cleaned and dehydrated and then powdered and encapsulated, some also make a tincture or eat their placenta whole. The placenta is full of minerals, especially iron and hormones from pregnancy and labour. Some women find that consuming their placenta helps balance the hormones and emotions after they drop on the third day postpartum. Others find they are too sensitive to it and can’t take it. When looking for someone to encapsulate your placenta always make sure they have training in blood borne infections and proper clean technique.

Rescue remedy is a combination of five flower essences created by Dr Bach. Like homeopathics they contain the vibrational imprint of the flowers and are especially good at balancing emotions, releasing grief and trauma, reducing anxiety and fear and reconnecting the spirit withe the body. Four drops can be taken at a time as often as needed.

References

https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/news/20040708/supplement-speeds-wound-healing#1

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3839002/

Medical Disclaimer

Information in this post and on this web site is provided for informational purposes only. The information is a result of practice experience and research by the author. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem.

Flower Essences: Nature’s vibrational Medicine

Flower Essences: Nature’s vibrational Medicine

I love Flower Essences! They are one of my favourite tools for creating mental, emotional and spiritual transformation and connecting in with the seasons and cycles of nature. You can purchase many different essences online and in health food stores but they are so easy to make and allow you to connect with the plants that are growing in your community.

What are flower essences?

They are vibrational remedies preserved in alcohol that tap into the different energetic levels of your being. Each individual essence has captured the energetic imprint of a flower into water and then they are further diluted with alcohol and water. Like Dr. Masaru Emoto’s work in “The Hidden Message of Water” Water takes on the energy of the flower as it can take on the energy of our words.

Which Flower Essence is best for me?

Each flower has its own unique vibration and medicine to offer to us. Some are good for all people while others are good for just some people. You can read about different essences and see which resonate with you. My favourite list is here.

My favourite way to determine which essences are best is to go for a walk in your neighbourhood and see which flowers call out to you. It could be with their smell, their colour or just their vibration calling to you. That’s where making your own essences is so great. Once you have made your essence you can try it and identify what it is that it helps with through your experience with it.

How to make your own Flower essences?

First, find the flowers that call to you and the best place to pick them. I like to pick mine with the new or full moon but any time will do.

Prepare yourself a dish or jar and fill it with purified water, 1 cup/250ml is lots.

Go to the plant you have chosen and introduce yourself. Ask it to share its medicine with you.

Once you have asked harvest one flower head and place it in the water.

Place it in the sun or under the moon for a few hours or up to one day.

Strain the water into a sealable jar, flask or dropper bottle and top with 1 cup/250 ml brandy. Label with flower, date and any astrological info. This is your mother essences.

To make into an essence to carry with you or give a friend or family member.

Grab a dropper bottle and fill it 3/4 with half water and half brandy. Then add seven drops of each flower essence you wish to add to it. I usually add a maximum of 5 essences to a bottle. Label again with flowers and date made.

To use:

Take four drops under the tongue or in a beverage as often as needed. For chronic or deep work, once a day is good. For acute work like grief, stress, anxiety, as much as needed. Ideally taking a moment to take your essence allowing it to work its magic as you breath is best.

 

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