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. 

    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

    An Ode to the Father of my Dreams and the one of my Flesh

    An Ode to the Father of my Dreams and the one of my Flesh

    It’s funny how the memories we have of someone don’t aways match up to real life or at least not the way other people see life or themselves or each other. After my father passed, I began looking through old photos of him, to remember and feel I still had a piece of him around, but the man I saw in those photos was not the same as the image I held in my mind and I wondered as time passes and he is gone for longer and longer from my physical world if the image in my mind would mold to that of photographs or continue to be something different. So on this Father’s day I wish to lay down what I remember of him now and the lessons he taught me in life. Perhaps they will stay the same or perhaps they will change as my own life changes.

    My father was not a perfect man, as none of us are. Some have called him a golden boy, others a playboy, some saw him as a teacher and others a sportsman, some knew him for his love of drinking and dancing and some for the quiet solitude he found in nature and the peace of his country home. My earliest memories of him are at that country home when I was just a wee child wandering through the magic of the world, embraced by the love of those around me. I remember him in many ways; with his hands deep in the soil of the gardens or behind a chainsaw or hammer, waxing our skis in the early hours of the morning preparing to take us small children out to explore the stillness of the rising sun on prairie snow, dancing in the living room carefree with so much joy and sitting on the couch with him late at night when he had returned from work. These early memories are imprinted upon my memory almost like a dream, a dream of the father I knew I once had. But in any life these things change and the majority of our shared lives together he fell short of this dream. I now know that he did what he knew to do with his own experiences and imprinting. We are all a product of our raising and our cultures and though my dad was a markedly sensitive man there was no platform for him to learn to embrace this, except for time and the many lessons his life presented him with.

    His life lessons did lead him to embrace and honour that sensitive man more thoroughly and I am so grateful that the last five years of his life came so much closer to the first five of mine. Despite all the pain and hurt, conditioning and hiding, we were able to connect and find joy in our shared experiences. This was the time that I truly got to know my father and the dream turned into a reality and this is what I wish to carry on in my heart and share with my children when they ask of their grandfather.

    1. Be Gracious, Thoughtful and Kind – while he was in hospital just a few weeks before he passed I asked him what his guiding principle of life was. After shaking his head at another probing question and some quiet reflection this is what he came up with. Though I know this was an ideal and he did not always live up to it, in so many ways he did. Throughout the challenges of losing his job, going to court and then to jail and finally his illness, he managed to be so gracious, thoughtful and kind. He would help others when they needed it and constantly was on the look out for making someone’s work easier or more efficient. Every day that I visited him in hospital he would thank me for being there and helping him. For the first time since I was little I felt validated by my father.

    2. Connect with Everyone- my father was a very social man. He loved people and could easily connect with them and learn about their lives in the time they spent together. In the hospital he knew all of this nurses, doctors and aides names and stories. When I was young I remember one day driving down the highway and he stopped to pick up a First Nations man, loaded up with bags and a scruffy appearance my father innately trusted this man and welcomed him into our vehicle. I initially felt uneasy by the appearance of this man, but as my father broke out into conversation with this man, I remembered that we are all humans playing this game of life and we each have so much to offer no matter how we look, what we say or where we come from.

    3. To be smooth- Anyone who knew my father would have heard him say “be smooth” and this was something he truly embodied. Sometimes it seemed phoney to me like he wasn’t dealing with his shit and sometimes I am sure it was. But he had this way about him of keeping going with a smile on his face no matter what happened; injuries, job losses, separations or accusations. In the last two days of this life he even managed to conserve his energy and each time a new visitor came by he would muster up some strength and smile at their presence. He remained smooth till the end.

    4. To take care of myself- My father like his father was a man who knew how to survive; camping in the backcountry, building houses and furniture, fixing old things. dealing with emergencies, he knew how to be self-reliant and throughout my life he instilled this in me in two ways. The first by teaching me these many skills when I was a child and the second by not being present as a father when I was coming of age and so I learned to find my own way.

    5. Enjoy the good things in life- Bobby loved things, beautiful, well made, high class, delicious, food, wine, beer, cars, sports equipment, stereos,…. He loved it all and he definitely left all of his kids with a sweet tooth for nice things, but also an appreciation for caring for your stuff. He instilled in me that if you buy well made goods and took care of them, then they would last you a life time and your mind and body would be happier for the beauty that surrounded you and the nourishment that you provided it.

    These are the things that sit with me now in my mind and heart as the memories of my father. They may change and perhaps more will come with time, but they are true now and in moving through my grief, writing this has truly helped me connect, reflect and convolesce. Thank you to those who take the time to read this, may it move you to reflect and perhaps inspire you to heal your own grief. And most of all thank you to my father who helped to bring me into this world and share these many memories and lessons over our lives together.

    Pin It on Pinterest