Do you have a garden? If you do, how do you feel about weeding? We have several gardens on our property and weeding is just part of my summer routine. I don’t really mind it at all actually – I love getting my hands in the soil and actually find it quite meditative.
Recently I have become more interested in learning about the plants that flourish so abundantly in my garden beds. It is actually quite amazing how fast and prolific some species can be and I’ve been curious to know more about how these plants are ecologically valuable, edible, medicinal or sacred in some way.
Here is a little of what I’ve learned:
- Chickweed ~ Stellaria media: This plant is native to Europe that has widely naturalized in North America. Chickweed indicates tilled, fertile, nitrogen-rich soil and is excellent raw (in place or sprouts or salad) and is also delicious cooked. However it should only be eaten in limited amounts since it can cause an upset stomach for some.
- Common Horsetail ~ Equisetum arvense: Prefers acidic soils. Externally it was traditionally used for chilblains and wounds. It was also once used to polish pewter and wood (I’m definitely planning to try this!) and to strengthen fingernails (because of it’s high silica content).
- Common Plantain ~ Plantago major: Loves disturbed areas – I seem to be constantly pulling them out of my gravel driveway. If you can leave them to mature, the ripe seed heads can be used for bird food. Common Plantain is often referred to as the ‘soldier’s herb’ because it has been used over the centuries to treat wounds on the battlefields. Roman legions also used it in footwear to prevent blisters and the leaves can be chewed and the juices mixed with saliva to be spread on abrasions, burns or bee stings.
Kind of amazing right? Knowing more about all the plants in my environment makes me feel so much more connected with nature.
So over to you. Can you learn about at least one weed you see in your garden and share what you find out with us? Head over to my Facebook page, post a picture and what you’ve discovered.
If we went way back in time and asked one of our ancestors about their connection to Spirituality they might look at us in disbelief. Before the word and concept came into being, each of us experienced a seamless connection to life and the Earth that was embedded deeply into our bodies.
That connection took the form of waking to greet the sun in reverence, drinking life-giving water, harvesting plants for sustenance, playing with thriving children, feeling the effects of the phases of the moon – all of this, permeating every aspect of our existence in the world, was the experience of Spirituality.
And even though in our modern world there is often a feeling of disconnection, each of us carries an inner remembrance of our connection to Source, and the current of transmission and reciprocity between all beings.
Just as a seed does not need to be taught to grow and become a plant, flower, fruit or tree – your body contains the imprint of exactly what is needed to be complete and whole exactly as you are. To sense that you are always held in belonging and connected to all beings everywhere through space and time.
The invitation is there. Always. Come closer to your essence. Trust that your body…remembers.
This month in the Embracing Shakti Temple our featured embodiment of the Divine Feminine is Airmid, the Irish Goddess of Herbs and the Art of Healing. She is a goddess who takes things slowly and is content to wait. She understands that healing and growth can take time and she embodies the sweet quality of patience.
Airmid was a member of the Tuatha De Danaan, the most ancient race of deities in Ireland. She and her brother Miach followed in their family’s footsteps of being incredibly powerful healers. Both were more skilled and impressive than their father, Dian, who was so envious of his children’s gifts, he murdered Miach.
Deeply grieving, Airmid went to her brother’s grave and laid a cairn of stones around the burial plot. She went there everyday to grieve. Then, after a year, she noticed three hundred and sixty-five herbs grew on that spot, one for each day and one each to cure a specific part of the body. She spread her cloak and began to gather up the herbs according to their properties. Dian learned of this, and again in a fit of rage, he overturned the cloak scattering the herbs to the wind, so no one but Airmid would ever understand their healing gifts.
Little else is known of Airmid in Celtic folklore, but after falling out with her father, she spent her time in the mountains where she tended to fairies, elves and humans that needed medical attention.
It is through the essence of Airmid that we may learn to use and appreciate the sacred power of plants. The symbolic number 365 tells us that, with time, we can heal our wounds and that herbs have power throughout the solar year, whether in seed and root, bud and stem, or flower and leaf.
Here are some suggestions to evoke the energy of Airmid so that you too may connect to the secrets and powers of the plants around you:
- Go for a walking meditation and gather plants along your away. Pause and reflect upon each species that you choose and ask permission to take a piece of the plant with you. Find a quiet place to create an earth altar with your gatherings and sit in final reflection of the abundance and beauty of plant life everywhere.
- Sit outside and take 20 conscious connected breaths. Breathe in and out through your mouth and drop the breath right into your belly. Every breath you take in has been imprinted by the plant that created those Oxygen molecules. This is medicine that I believe is activated by consciously breathing. Take in the healing that the plants around you are providing all life.
- Plant a garden, flower pot or window box in Airmid’s name and ask her blessings for the growth of your herbs. Do some research and learn about new ways that you can use the plants that you grow. Great opportunity to get creative!
How does Airmid’s story inspire you? Do you have another practice that connects you to the plant world? Or do you have a picture of your garden or earth altar to share with us? Please head over to my Facebook page and post away!
This week I am in Joshua Tree, California attending the 2019 Global Inspiration Conference (GIC) – a gathering for breathworkers from around the world. There are more than 25 countries represented and 250 incredible breathwork facilitators sharing their teachings, ideas and gifts. Pure magic.
I wanted to share some words from a master teacher Jessica Dibb that touched my heart and moved me deeply. This, to me, expresses the essence of the breath so beautifully.
Every cell of this body
Every feeling of this heart
Every thought of this mind
Every atom of this soul
Every action of this lifetime
This sacred Breath.
May you be inspired to breathe consciously today.
The longest day of the year fast approaches, this Friday, June 21st.
The word solstice comes from two Latin words meaning ‘sun’ and ‘stoppage’, this will be the day that the sun stops moving North and reaches its highest point of the year.
The Solstice represents a time of newness, nourishment and sustenance – an opportunity to turn our attention inward and cast light on the shadows.
Cultures all over the world and throughout history, have celebrated this day. They observed that the expansion of consciousness opened through meditation, practice and ceremony on the Solstice is magnified in a very powerful way. Taking pause on this special day can be a very potent experience.
There are many ways to celebrate this special day, here are a few suggestions:
- Be intentional and turn off all your devices for some part of the day. This helps you align into the frequency of your chosen ritual.
- Prepare a home altar with colours of the sun – brilliant golds, red and oranges. Use candles, flowers, food and anything that brings thoughts of brightness and radiance into your being.
- In a journal or in meditation, reflect upon your journey over the last 6 months. What has transpired for you in the first half of the journey around the sun this year?
- Place a jar or bowl of water out in the sun early on Friday to be energized with the Solstice sun. Drink in the later day to receive the vitality of the most important of cosmic entities.
- Write a list of your intentions for the next 6 months. Bury these intentions in your garden to grow with you over this next cycle of light.
Most importantly, play, have fun and remember all that you’ve generated this year & honour what has burst into creation!
If you have a particular ceremony or practice that you use to celebrate the Solstice – please share it on my Facebook Page. I would love to know how you honour this special day.
Today I want to say thank you. Thank you for being here and being a part of my community. When we come together, even virtually, we create the space and support to grow and evolve. Collectively we raise our vibration so that together we can contribute to the raising the consciousness of all. In Sanskrit the word kula means community of the heart, an intentional tribe, clan or family. Every one of you here certainly feels like my kula.
Over the past several months, my team and I have been working hard behind the scenes on a new website and some exciting offerings that will be launched soon. A few of the (free!) things we have in the works include:
- The Shakti Oracle (this summer)
- Prioritizing Pleasure Webinar (this summer)
- Embracing Shakti Movement ~ 13 Day Journey (starts September 10th)
And so a couple of quick things in anticipation of lots of new and exciting content coming your way…
1. Please make sure that my emails are not sitting all sad and lonely in your spam or promotions folder. Just drag over this email into your main folder and voila, you will find them easily when they arrive.
2. If there is anything I can do to make your experience and our community better, please let me know and email me.
And to show my gratitude for letting me show up in your inbox each week, please enjoy this short video where I lead you through the Deerga Pranayama. Watch it and breathe with me – I guarantee you are going to feel amazing!
Around the world our Muslim friends have been celebrating Laylat al-Qadr. Considered to be the holiest night of the year, it is traditionally celebrated on the 27th day of Ramadan. Known as the “Night of Power,“ “Night of Decree,” “Night of Destiny,” or “Night of Measures,” it commemorates when the Quran (the Islamic holy book) was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.
The Prophet Muhammad retreated from his daily life on a regular basis to meditate on the higher truths within the human existence. After fifteen years of this practice, he received his first call of revelation from the angel Gabriel, beginning with “Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists).”
It is said that on this night, God gives abundant blessing while also showing mercy to practicing Muslims, who actively seek His forgiveness and engage in various acts of worship. Praying for salvation and blessings (known as Ehyaa), Muslims believe that past sins are forgiven if the person prays throughout the night. Additionally, it is believed that angels descend to Earth during this time to perform every errand decreed by God. Muslims also believe that this evening marks their fate in the following year.
Laylat al-Qadr is a time of community, where everyone comes together to worship, pray and celebrate. It is also a time of acts of good will and charity, particularly towards the poor and unfortunate. This holy night is celebrated by millions of Muslims around the globe and is quoted in scripture as being “better than a thousand months”.
So, tell me, my Muslim friends, I would love to know what this special evening means to you and how you celebrate it with the ones you love. What are you asking for this year? Drop me an email back and let me know!
A couple of weeks ago I sent out an email called The Fundamental Practice – which speaks to the art of slowing down. I’m curious if that newsletter resonated with you? Have you been able to be a little more purposeful in these past several days about pausing and just being in the moment?
Maybe you find that difficult to do. Maybe it is your intention, but the next thing you know the whole day has flown by and each moment was jam packed. Happens to me all the time.
So I am going share a little secret that helps me. And you need just 3 things:
- a moment of your time
- a pen
- several sticky notes
This is what you do, write the word BREATHE on a bunch of your sticky notes. Then I want you to put one on your computer, one on your bathroom mirror, one on your coffee machine, one in your car. Put one wherever you are regularly in your day.
And when you see this note, start to train yourself to take one conscious breath. 2 breaths. 3 breaths.
That is all it takes, 3 conscious breaths to slow down the sympathetic nervous system. In less than 20 seconds you can drop into a sense of calmness and presence.
Try it and notice if your capacity to slow down, even just 5% more in your day starts to happen. Take some pictures of your sticky notes and post them on my Facebook page. I guarantee the effect will be nothing short of magic.
In two days, the Full Moon in Scorpio will descend upon us. With this passionate and emotional water sign in control, you’ll probably experience some really deep feelings. The scorpion is an independent and deep thinker who is unafraid to blaze their own trail. They will kill themselves before being killed by another. If that doesn’t spell fearlessness, I don’t know what does!
To help you make this most of this Full Moon, I have provided a simple ritual that will help get you past your own fears!
SCORPIO FULL MOON ~ FEAR RELEASING RITUAL
· 5 crystals of your choice
· Smudge stick – I like sage for this one
· Pen and paper
· Incense or aromatherapy diffuser (optional)
1. Begin your ritual by cleansing your space, self and crystals with your smudge stick. Recite a mantra or prayer of your choosing that speaks to how you are cleansing your space with light and loving energy.
2. Light your incense or put on your diffuser to set a relaxing ambiance and feel free to also put on some calming music.
3. Grab your pen and paper and at the top of the page write “My greatest fears are…” then begin writing whatever comes to mind. Dig deep and get it all out. No fear is too big or too small. Release it all out onto the paper.
4. Take some deep breaths and a moment to check in with yourself. Be ok with the thoughts and feelings that may have arisen and remember to be gentle with yourself.
5. Lay on the floor or bed in a comfortable position. Take your crystals and rub them with your hands to generate some heat and energy. Place the first crystal on your heart center, the second just below your belly button, the third over your third eye (middle of forehead) and keep the remaining two in your hands.
6. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths to settle your mind. Then bring your awareness to each crystal, one by one. Feel the crystal and see its energy in your minds eye, while thanking it for being a part of your healing.
7. Bring your attention to the crystal on your third eye and gently repeat (but you can also write your own): “I am opening. I am surrendering. I am accepting the flow of my life. I know I am always Divinely supported. I know I carry the wisdom inside. I know that I am always guided by myself and by the world around me. I am on the right track. I am on the right track. Everything is working out perfectly.”
8. Now move to your heart center and repeat (or use your own): “I surrender, I will no longer fight the change or circumstances of my life. I will accept wholeheartedly my life and all that makes me happy and uncomfortable and everything in between. I surrender to all of it and know that I am loved. I love myself. I love my life. I love the opportunities I have been given to transform.”
9. Finally, bring your awareness to you the crystal on your stomach and repeat (again, feel free to use your own): “I love myself; I love myself. I know I am strong. I know I can get through anything. I no longer have to pressure myself. I no longer have to be perfect for I am perfect just the way I am. I forgive myself. I accept myself just as I am and I know that I always have the power to create what I desire.”
10. Rest in this position for a moment and when you are ready, get your pen and a new piece of paper and write down “My Third Eye Crystal wants me to know this…” and write whatever thoughts or feelings come to mind. You can also repeat this process for your Heart and Solar Plexus crystals too.
11. Take your “fear” piece of paper, look back over what you wrote and see if any new thoughts or feelings have risen. Now, rip the paper as a way to release your fears.
12. To finish this ritual, discard the ripped paper. You may want to keep your “crystal” paper somewhere safe. If you have found the power of your crystals too intense, you may want to close things out by smudging yourself a final time.
I hope this ritual aids you during the Full Moon in Scorpio! Drop me a line and let me know if it helped curb some of the more intense emotions that many of us will probably be feeling. Until next time, beautiful friends!
Are you someone who is super busy, working, creating, being on and running from here to there? I’m guessing yes. In my world, time often feels like it is sped up and that there is so much to do all the time. Sound familiar?
But here is what I know. In order for you to truly connect with yourself and your essence, there has to be a willingness to slow down.
Slowing down is hard. We resist it. We often actually keep ourselves busy on purpose. Why?
In my experience, the reason we don’t like to slow down is that we actually start to feel things and recognize where we are out of balance. Where we are out of integrity. Where we are not in our centre,. Where we do things that don’t feel aligned. We start to feel the places where we experience shame. That we are disconnected from. That we judge.
It all comes up.
So that is why we keep busy – to escape feeling all of these things.
But as you and I both know, the reality is that if we don’t slow down, we can’t grow, we can’t evolve as a humans. We will never bloom into our full potential unless we are intentional about meet ourselves exactly where we are. And to do this, the basic fundamental practice is to slow down.
Right now, take a deep breath in and slowly exhale out. When you slow down your breathing, you relax the central nervous system and begin to change your brain wave state. You activate the parasympathetic nervous system which sends a message to your being that it is ok to rest. Ok to let go. Ok to open. Ok to receive.
Take a few more deep breaths – right into your belly. What are you experiencing? Can you sense a willingness to drop in and feel more connected to the world? To surrender into this moment into something much greater than you and your busy-ness? How does that feel? The present moment is the only moment we can truly be alive. It is your presence that is the greatest gift to humanity – not what you do but who you are.
I hope you can feel it – the magnificence of you simply being.