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Spring Equinox, Finding Balance and Supporting the Liver

Spring Equinox, Finding Balance and Supporting the Liver

We find ourselves once again at the turning of the wheel, where light balances dark and we are called to see what it in and out of balance in our lives. The equinoxes are my favourite times of year, heralding a great change from yin to yang and yang to yin. Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are blessed to be moving into spring and here on the West coast the world is singing with fertility and life. when I go on my morning walks, the birds are singing their merry tunes and the daffodils are waving hello, the cherry blossoms wave in the wind releasing their intoxicating scent. We are reminded that are that died away in the fall has given rise to this new life and so I hope for you that what you released in the fall has given rise to new and fresh dreams within you. 

For those of you who wish to take a little quite time and reflect at this powerful time. Find a quiet space and time, take a few deep breaths, light a candle and call on your guides and take some time to consider these questions:

  1. What has happened in your life since the fall equinox?
  2. What was revealed to you in that time?
  3. What feels out of balance in your life?
  4. How would you like to bring new balance to your life until the next equinox?

In Chinese Medicine we have fully entered into the season of wood. Wood is ruled by the Liver and the gallbladder and helps us to dream, plan and take action in our lives just like the little sprouts that are pushing up towards the sun. Wood is resilient when it is flexible, breakable when it is too rigid. It harnesses the deep nourishment of the stillness of winter and the water element to help guide its dreams and create change with loving kindness. You may find that if you wood element is excessive, you become dictatorial, forcing life to happen and raging when it doesn’t go the way you want it to causing your body to tighten and ache from the tension and if it is deficient, you may lack the drive to dream or plan, be stuck in a depression and feel lost in the world. 

    In order to support your wood element, I offer you hear some tips and tricks;

    • begin each morning with a room temperature glass of water with the juice of half a lemon squeezed in to awaken your liver and continue it’s digestive processes
    • try not to eat any fat or protein rich foods until afternoon, instead eating fruits and salads (ensuring these are room temperature or even warm if its still cold where you are)
    • start to add in fresh spring greens; nettles (here is one of my favourite nettle recipes), dandelion, arugula, chickweed, wild mustard and other bitter foods
    • move your body daily (go for a walk, dance, do some yoga, or qi gong….) Here is one of my favourite qi gong sequences for the wood element.
    • take time to dream, plan, and create; make art, draw, do a vision board
    • apply some bergamot essential oil to the following acu points: Liver 3 and Gallbladder 13
    •                     

    For those of you who would like to go on a little journey to tap into the energies of spring and the medicine it has for you. Check out this Drum Journey I recorded last year. 

    I wish for you a spring filled with renewal, dreaming, planting and creation.

    Many Blessings to you and yours

    Lessons from the Dark

    Lessons from the Dark

    It has been a while since I have written I have been enjoying a much needed break from all the extras in life. After the wild ride 2020 has offered us up, I have been spending time with my family, friends and clients and in quiet contemplation and reflection as i truly believe this time of year is meant for. 

    This time to nourish myself and take care of my body has offered a great many lessons, including some deep transformations of family patterns and bodily manifestations of these patterns, which only seemed fitting after teaching a course on Ancestral healing and medicine. I am still working at it as we all are but I can feel the shifts with the eclipses and solstices.

    I know from speaking to many of you,  that either you or those you know are also experiencing such things. It may show up in an emotional pattern, a dis-ease, a traumatic accident. All of these things are coming up to help us shed the last vestiges of Jupiter and Saturn in Capricorn which as an earth sign is focused on the physical, our structures and habits and patterns. Each awakening of a pain, illness or broken bone is an opportunity for us to learn and shift. Bones and teeth particularly hold our oldest patterns from our ancestors and even our past lives. So though I know it can be hard and painful and seem so bleak when we initially discover experience these pains and traumas, remember that it is always darkest before the light and with some quiet reflection and the desire to learn from our situations we can begin to shine our own light on the darkness and discover the medicine that resides there. 

    So I invite you all to sit a little in the dark and get curious see what is there for you and with love and compassion begin to light your inner light on the situation asking what you need to learn from this and what support you need. If you are having trouble awakening your own light, you can try lighting a candle and asking the spirit of fire to enter into you heart and burn away the fear, and hucha there and once it is gone ask the fire to help grow your inner light, a bright clear light that is part of who you are as a person and what the world needs right now. 

    And of course if you need more support I am always here for a session to help you find out what it is the dark is trying to tell you and how you can awaken this light to help transform these pains into crystals. 

    With so much love and Gratitude,

    Immune-Boosting, Earth-Nourishing Chai

    Immune-Boosting, Earth-Nourishing Chai

    Once the signs of autumn roll in I immediately start craving chai. It has been a favourite drink of mine for a long time but especially after living in India and daily finding the Chai wallah on the closest street and sipping on the warm, sweetly spiced beverage. Here is my version that I make at home. You can adjust i based on your preferences either doing a base of black tea if you want a little kick or some medicinal mushrooms if you want something more rejuvenating (chaga and reishi are my favourite) or a simple herbal base like red rooibos. You can also adjust the spices to your liking making it more heating and spicy with chilies, ginger, black pepper and clove or more neutral and sweet with cardamom and cinnamon. You can sweeten it with honey, maple syrup, sugar, xylitol or stevia and add any animal or alternative milk based on your preference. 

    Immune-boosting, earth-nourishing Chai

    Ingredients
    • Base- two bags black tea, two tablespoons medicinal mushrooms or other adaptogenic herbs or one tablespoon red rooibos
    • 3 cups Milk- Goat, cow, sheep, almond, cashew, oat,…
    • 3 cups water
    • thumb sized piece of ginger – peeled and sliced
    • one tablespoon spice mix (cinnamon, clove, chilli, cardamom, black pepper, fennel, fenugreek, allspice, nutmeg,….)
    • sweetener- honey, maple syrup, cane sugar, xylitol, stevia
    Instructions
    1. Pour water and milk into a pot and put on medium high
    2. Peel and slice ginger and add to water
    3. Collect what spices you like and grind in a mortar and pestle (I usually make lots and keep extra in a jar)
    4. Add spices to the pot
    5. If using medicinal mushrooms or other herbs add now
    6. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 10- 20 mins
    7. Add black tea or rooibos
    8. allow to steep for 5 mins
    9. strain into a cup and add sweetener as desired
    10. Enjoy!!
    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. 

    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.

     

    Imbolc Blessings: When water gives rise to wood

    Imbolc Blessings: When water gives rise to wood

    Greetings and a Blessed Imbolc to all!

    Today more commonly known as Groundhog’s day, is the ancient Celtic Quarter Cross Day, also sometimes referred to as Brigit’s Day. The midway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, this day was and still is celebrated by many as the first inklings of spring begin to pull at our bodies, the songs of the birds fill the air more, the snowdrops and other shoots pop up from the ground, here on the West Coast the Rhododendrons are blooming and the cherry blossoms and magnolias are budding. Our minds and bodies begin to stir and perhaps like me fresh raw greens begin to excite your palate and your skin craves the kiss of the sun.

    In Chinese Medicine it is the time when water starts to give rise to wood. In the Winter, Water is the dominant element, it is the deepest parts of ourselves, the collective unconscious, our bones, the wisdom of our ancestors we carry in our DNA or Jing in TCM. Winter is a time to go deep within and revitalize and restore ourselves, listen to the wisdom of our bones and the still waters of nature. From this place of strength, stillness and power we begin to set our true intentions for the coming spring. Just as the melting snow and ice give rise to water to nourish the bulbs and seeds in the ground, so do the waters of our bodies, the deep wisdom of our DNA help to give rise to our own soul intentions, those things that we wish to manifest into form, our own shoots, trees, and flowers. 

    So I invite you all to sit with yourself in the next few days (where the water meets the trees if you can) and listen to the rhythm and voice of your bones, your DNA, the water within and see what wishes to be birthed forth in the coming spring. I would suggest you write these down and place them upon your altar or plant them with some seeds to create a living remembrance and ritual of your intentions.

    And if you are interested in keeping alive the ancient Celtic ways and honouring the sacred rhythms of nature, you may call upon Brigit, the goddess of healing and poets, midwives and blacksmiths to help you make three wishes: one a universal wish to all beings, one a wish for your family and one a wish for yourself. With each wish light a candle and call upon Brigit, the elements of water and wood and your own helping spirits to support these becoming reality. When you are completed light a fourth candle to welcome back the sun that is growing stronger in the sky each day.  Allow all the candles to burn down while you envision these wishes becoming reality and embody the gratitude you feel for this magic, this life and the support of all our many helpers, seen and unseen. 

    And so it is!!

    Blessings and Love,

    Marika

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