R O O T , R I S E .

F A R M + A P O T H E C A R Y

Relief Rituals for Endometriosis By Natalie

Jessica BrownComment

It’s been awhile since a guest blog has come out, but I am so happy to announce our next guest! Natalie is a kind, loving, wonderful friend whom I met through North Coast Growers Association Farmers Markets! We were both vending our veggies and totally hit it off. Recently, she has been finding new ways to care for herself and her body. This post is for any woman wanting to deepen their awareness, friend of a woman wanting to learn more about endometriosis or women’s health, or any curious human! There are delicious recipes shared and information on nourishing herbs as well. I learned a lot, and am grateful for her vulnerability and openness.

Grab a cup of tea, and enjoy…

Relief Rituals for Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition that affects 1 in 10 women, but often goes undiagnosed, with little and hard-to-find support from western healthcare that doesn’t involve birth control band-aids or recurring surgeries. For me personally, it was 11 years until I received a diagnosis – and only because the pain turned from terrible periods once a month to chronic, debilitating, daily pain. I was lucky. It’s a terrible realization that it takes chronic pain to be heard by a doctor, but I was lucky. 

Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory, estrogen-dependent disease that involves the growth of endometrial tissue outside of the uterus. The bleeding of lesions during the menstrual cycle causes pain all month long, and healing and relief is multi-faceted and complex. To keep it simple, I focus on this: symptomatic pain relief, and long-term healing of the root cause - detoxification and inhibition of estrogen dominance. 

Proper diagnosis requires laparoscopic surgery, and as there is no “cure” it can feel like a powerless path to finding relief. But I’m here to share what has worked for me. It might not cure you, it might not stop a flare up from ever happening again – heck, I got a flare up from sitting for too long last week – but I truly believe there’s a place for self healing and deep relief on the endo path. 

I’d like to share some simple & nourishing practices that have eased me along my own healing path. If you suffer from bad cramps on your moon cycle, think you might have hormone imbalance, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, adenomyosis, pelvic congestion, or want to maintain a healthy, nourished reproductive system – these are for you! 

*Disclaimer: I will be sharing about herbal support and integrative self-healing practices, but by no means do I disregard the effectiveness and relief that the health care system can provide. These daily practices are foundational healing, but benefit greatly as a supplement to some important care from skilled doctors as well. Do what you need to do – no judgment here! 


Food Is Medicine 

Food can be the most foundational medicine there is. This topic could be it’s own blog post, so I’ll keep it short and sweet. I’ve come to discover what food deeply nourishes and heals me, and which foods immediately cause inflammation and flare-ups.  For me, dairy, red meat, caffeine (coffee in particular), and sugar have been major sources of inflammation. If you’re having break-outs, flare ups, or pain throughout your cycle, I highly recommend figuring out how your food might be playing a role. 

As women, our bodies have different needs for nourishment at different times of the month. Check out the work of Alisa Vitti and Aviva Romm to read more about nutrition and your cycle and find inspiration to support your body in all of its seasons. The simplest meals can be vessels for power-packed nutrition. Here are a few of my favorite creations:


Black and Blue-Green Oatmeal

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This oatmeal is a great morning meal during your luteal phase, after ovulation and before menstruation. It’s blood building, and packed with iron, vitamins, and minerals to deeply fortify your body.  

Featuring:

Spirulina – extremely nutritive, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, rich in iron, protein, and micronutrients

Blackstrap molasses – rich in iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and selenium

Maca – restores hormonal balance and suppresses estrogen dominance

  • ½ cup organic oats (rolled or steel-cut, whichever you prefer)

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 tbsp sunflower butter

  • 1 tbsp spirulina

  • 1 tbsp blackstrap molasses

  • 1 tbsp maca powder

  • splash of non-dairy milk of choice

  • maple syrup or honey, to taste

  • blueberries (optional)

Cook oats with water as you would normally make your oatmeal and stir in the rest of the ingredients when finished cooking. Garnish with fresh blueberries, and enjoy!

Another variation that’s great for summer is a black and blue-green smoothie:

Sub oats for 1 frozen banana, frozen blueberries, and nix the syrup or honey. Blend and enjoy as is, or my favorite way – in a bowl topped with granola.

Mushy Massaged Kale Salad

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This kale salad literally gives me life. It is SO DELICIOUS, and I feel lifted, nourished, and refreshed whenever I make it. It’s safe to say this recipe is my favorite food on earth. Original recipe courtesy of my friend, Jonathan Brody. I like to add some additions for extra bitter liver-cleansing goodness, but make however you wish. The mushier the better, I promise!

Featuring:

Dandelion leaf – Rich in Vitamins K, A, B, and C, calcium, iron, manganese. It is a potent liver cleanser, anti-inflammatory, and aids in detoxification and digestion

Plantain leaf – Rich in Vitamins A, C, calcium, and iron. Astringent, anti-spasmotic, and demulcent, it helps to soothe irritation, inflammation, and spasms

Cilantro – Cleanses the body of toxic metals, and rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It has anti-histamine, anti-inflammatory, and anti-spasmotic properties as well as stimulating proper secretions from the endocrine glands - properties that assist in reducing menstrual pain and endo flare ups

Recipe:

  • 1 bunch lacinato (dino) kale; it’s the juiciest, but use whatever you have on hand

  • handful of dandelion greens

  • handful of Italian parsley, chopped

  • handful of cilantro, chopped

  • 3-5 plantain leaves, chopped

  • 2-inch piece of ginger, chopped

  • 2 sticks celery, diced

  • 1 avocado, diced

  • 2-3 tbsp spirulina

  • sea salt

Dressing

  • 1-2 lemons, juiced

  • 3 tbsp tahini

  • 2 tbsp honey

Strip kale leaves from stem and tear into a large bowl. Sprinkle generously with sea salt and massage until kale is juicy and tender. Add the rest of the ingredients, dressing, and spirulina and mix well. 

Turmeric Tahini Glow Smoothie

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This smoothie is full of anti-inflammatory turmeric, warming spices, power-packed tahini, and balancing ashwagandha.

Turmeric- anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and reduces the production of hormone estradiol, therefore reducing and inhibiting endometrial cell growth outside of the uterus. 

Tahini – sesame seed butter: contain essential fatty acids, lignins (help to block excess estrogen), and selenium (helps detox excess hormones from the liver)

Ashwagandha- an adaptogen that helps our bodies cope with stress by bringing them back to homeostasis. It balances energy, regulates hormones, strengthens the adrenal glands, increases blood production, and so much more! 

Recipe:

2 frozen bananas

2 tbsp tahini

2 tsp turmeric

1/8 tsp cardamom

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ashwagandha powder

pinch of black pepper

nut milk of choice

Add ingredients to a blender and fill with nut milk until just covered. Blend, and add more milk if needed. Pour, share with a friend, and enjoy! 

Herbal Oils and Castor Packs

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To prevent flare ups and for the week or two leading up to my moon cycle, I apply herbal oil to my abdomen daily. My absolute favorite and long-time plant ally is Yarrow. Yarrow is cooling and warming, astringent yet gentle, anti-inflammatory and helps sooth menstrual cramps, heavy bleeding, gastrointestinal discomfort, and congestion of all sorts. For these reasons and more, it makes an amazing oil to help reduce pelvic congestion and pain associated with endometriosis. 

The benefits of herbal body oiling are deeply healing and endless. It’s a wonderful way to attune to what’s happening in your body, slow down, and take time for your daily ritual of self care. Listen to the Mythic Medicine podcast’s episode about body oiling, find online workshops and videos by Kami McBride, and support your local herbalists or enjoy the process of gathering and making your own. 

Castor Oil Packs

Castor oil packs are another powerful tool to enhance lymphatic circulation, reduce inflammation, and promote healing of tissue beneath the skin. They can be applied wherever you most need the relief. If you’re suffering from an ovarian cyst, place it over the side that needs it. Place it on the right side of your abdomen for liver detoxification, or over your pelvis to tonify and support your uterus. 

To prepare a castor oil pack you will need:

  • High quality Castor oil

  • Dye-free wool flannel cloth (I’ve used HomeHealth and Heritage Store brands)

  • Plastic bag – castor oil stains! Cut a plastic bag to cover your abdomen over the oil-soaked cloth

  • Hot water bottle or heating pad

Apply a generous amount of castor oil onto flannel cloth, saturate but not to the point of dripping. Place on abdomen, cover with plastic, and apply heating pad. 

Castor oil packs take time – at least 30 minutes to an hour to be exact. Set up a comfy place to post up for a while, and lay a towel down to prevent any oil stains. This time can be a great opportunity to light some candles, meditate, read a book, take a nap, or watch some Netflix.

Herbs for Endo

Herbal medicine offers multidimensional healing and relief for the full scope of endo root causes and symptoms. I try to incorporate herbs into my daily routine that are:

  • deeply nourishing and blood building

  • liver cleansing (to help move excess estrogen out of the body)

  • tonifying for the reproductive system

Daria beautifully and thoroughly covered nourishing herbal infusions in the last blog post, so refer to her recipes that are safe for pregnancy and great for supporting the reproductive system through all of its stages. 

Root & Reishi decoction for liver support:

Bitter roots support the detoxification process in the body by supporting the liver, enhancing lymphatic circulation, and ensuring healthy kidney and bowel function. This decoction (a tea that is simmered on the stove top rather than just steeping) pairs bitter roots, demulcent marshmallow root, anti-inflammatory ginger, and adaptogenic reishi for whole body wellness. 

  • 1 part burdock root

  • 1 part dandelion root

  • 1 part yellow dock root

  • 1 part marshmallow root, or powder

  • 1 part fresh ginger root, chopped

  • reishi mushroom, whole piece or powdered

Add 1 tbsp herb for each cup of water. I usually wing it and add a heaping handful of roots to about ½ gallon of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let simmer until the liquid reduces by half – 30 mins to an hour. Strain and enjoy! 

Tonifying Tinctures:

-Vitex (Chaste Tree Berry): balances estrogen dominance by supporting the production of progesterone and lutenizing hormone, regulating the menstrual cycle and ovulation

-Angelica (Dong Quai): anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmotic, balances hormones, regulates the menstrual cycle, and nourishes the blood. *don’t use while on period or if you get very heavy periods

-Wild Yam: aids in estrogen balance, tonifies the ovaries, soothes cramping, and reduces nerve pain

These relief rituals can be deeply effective if practiced consistently, long-term. However, they are not a cure. Follow your intuition and listen deeply to your body. Don’t hesitate to supplement your self care with a lot of care from others as well. Go to reiki, receive abdominal massage and acupuncture, practice restorative yoga. Give western medicine a chance to help you, but ask questions, maintain boundaries, and stand up for yourself. 

I hope that these practices, potions, and recipes bring you accessible, simple, easy-to-implement relief. May you feel inspired and empowered to incorporate one or all of these into your own life. Happy healing!

Thank you so much Natalie, for this beautiful in depth post on women’s health.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to comment below



Self Care Ritual and the Childbearing Year By Daria

Jessica BrownComment

This week we have another amazing mama. Introducing my sweet friend Daria and her babe Isa! I have been blessed by Daria in so many ways during our friendship. She is a kind, giving, and nourishing human who is a joy to be around. I had her write a little something from her heart, and what came of it is truly beautiful and inspiring. I hope you enjoy her insight into becoming a mama, an explanation of the medicinal properties of some chosen herbs, and a couple amazing herbal tea recipes. This post is for any human interested in ways to nourish themselves.

Grab a cup of tea and enjoy…!

There is joy to be found here: self care ritual and the childbearing year.

At the center of a family's wellness is the wellness of the mother. When the mother is nourished, the family is nourished. When the mother is aligned and present, so is the family.

This interconnected relationship between maternal wellness and family wellness is the reality of my life way. Beginning with the conception of our daughter and up until this present moment I have witnessed this truth come to light each morning and set with the sun each evening. What a beautiful blessing it is; to know my ability to nourish myself is inseparable from my ability to nourish my family. With this gift has come deep real responsibility. To myself, my family and to the world. To do the work and truly hold space for reflection, acknowledgment, accountability, unlearning, relearning, healing, listening, trusting, receiving, giving and loving; all•ways loving.

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Motherhood called me in to listen to my body and spirit, trust my intuition, receive what nourishment I need and give nourishment through my own. The past two moons with the blessing of our second child on the way, I've heard motherhood whispering to me again. In a partial state of déjà vu, I take time and enjoy the deliciousness of a familiar season - familiar sounds, fragrance, rooting, sprouting - but my intuition listens and hears the difference in this new season of motherhood calling to me. One of relearning pregnancy care as a mama of a one year old- with days full of divine fleeting moments - and remembering; that whatever emotions and physical manifestations are flowing through me in each moment of this pregnancy - and no matter if these moments are similar and different to my first journey impregnated - there is joy to be found here. Joy to be found in the ritual of nourishing myself. Joy to be found in the new delight of doing so side by side with my daughter. Joy to be found in witnessing nourishment multiply itself through my family as I keep giving my loving energy to it.

One sure way I hold onto this joy daily is my ritual of making pregnancy tea and infusions.

When I was pregnant with my daughter I held and nurtured myself each morning by making my half gallon tea for the day before going to work. Now my daughter and I have been making my tea and infusions together; what a joy it is that this is my truth to write. My blends are based on what I'm hearing from my body and spirit each week, but all consist of the below powerful and womb loving herbs:

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Alfalfa (medicago sativa): nutrient dense with maximum storage and absorption. Alfalfa contains a wide variety of minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfur, chlorine, sodium, potassium, silicon, and trace elements. It is also a good source of vitamin E, vitamin C, and vitamin K. It contains essential amino acids that are not made by the body but must be obtained from food sources. Alfalfa contains the highest chlorophyll content of any plant.

Nettle (urtica dioica): Nettle’s purported anti-inflammatory effects have been repeatedly confirmed by modern research over the past ten years. Nettles boost our immune system function and is are an effective treatment for many skin conditions. Pregnancy is predictably unpredictable, nettle is the herb that can keep up with the waves.

Dandelion (taraxacum officinale): A backyard herb with many benefits in pregnancy. Dandelion is a source of a variety of nutrients and the leaves and root contain Vitamins (like A,C, K and B-vitamins) as well as minerals (including magnesium, zinc, potassium, iron, calcium and choline). It offers gentle and powerful digestive and hormonal support to aid in the daily physical and spiritual labor of incubating!

Raspberry Leaf (rubus idaeus): When I think of raspberry leaf I think of my love for women and how lucky I feel to embody feminine becoming. Raspberry leaf is my good girlfriend that I go to for all my womanly needs: magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, and vitamins B, A, C, and E. The high level of B vitamins in particular makes it useful for relieving nausea, soothing leg cramps, and improving sleep. (Symptoms that definitely increase during pregnancy!) The high concentration of vitamin C in raspberry leaf makes it great during illness and I use it in a variety of my favorite herbal tea recipes for immune support during moments of vulnerability which can flare up in pregnancy. It strengthens the uterus and pelvic muscles which I believe offered me and my daughter a blissful labor as she came into this world.

Oat Straw (avena sativa): Oatstraw is my go to for when I am feeling prickly and nerved. During pregnancy the body may feel different sensations through the nervous system, oatstraw makes our perception of those sensations delightful. Oatstraw is particularly high in calcium and magnesium – minerals that are much needed during pregnancy. It is also considered a useful nervine, safe for pregnant women. Oatstraw tea can help promote calm and reduce tension.

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis): Lemon balm is a mental wellness ally in every season of life especially pregnancy. It has a calming effect and helps relieve irritability, insomnia, and anxiety. Pregnancy comes with varying levels of sleep disruption and lemon balm minimizes it in every way.

Chamomile (matricaria recutita): Chamomile will forever hold a special place in my heart. I use it daily on myself and my family. It's my daughter's favorite tea currently and our biggest support when she is teething.Chamomile has several health benefits like relieving muscular pain, curing insomnia, soothing cramps and remedying runny noses.

Rosehips (Rosa spp.): Loaded with vitamin C rosehips assist in toning the body to prevent arthritis, sciatica, muscle cramps etc. It allows our body to maintain needed iron levels, protects adrenal function and supports our connective tissues.

Burdock Root (arctium lappa): Burdock is known to strengthen both the liver and urinary tract which get overworked during the childbearing year. It has been used to balance blood sugar during pregnancy which is crucial to a healthy pregnancy and baby. Women who are prone to constipation can try burdock as a mild laxative that supports the body throughout the digestive process.

Lavender (lavandula spp.): I especially enjoy lavender mixed with peppermint in pregnancy. Both offer a simultaneously relaxing and rejuvenating energy into my day. Lavender aids in digestion and has mild sedative properties.

Partridge Berry (mitchella repens): Partridge berry lovingly tones the uterus in preparation for birth. It even has the power to stop an impending miscarriage or early birth.

When you're vomiting one minute, crying the next and laughing while crying, it's grounding and empowering to take the time to nourish in the process of making tea and infusions daily. The familiar fragrance that I bask in with my daily tea and infusions feels like a beautiful dance of coming home to myself. There is joy to be found in the ritual all•ways. I look forward to what joy will be discovered through ritual in this new pregnancy. With my daughter and husband with me for each season. Including writing this post together! We had a blast! My husband was our photographer and my daughter and I created a sweet moment for the two of us to hold in our hearts forever. What joy was found here!

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Below please indulge in a couple helpful handy midwife created recipes and remember to find joy in the ritual all•ways:

Nourishing Pregnancy Infusion:

2 parts nettle

1 part red raspberry leaf

1 part oat straw

1 part alfalfa 

1/2 part rosehips

1. place dried herbs in a jar

2.  Fill the jar with hot water

3.  Breathe into the steam from the water, set an intention, say a prayer

4. Cover and let sit 4-24 hours

5.  Strain into a new jar or beloved vessel

6.  Enjoy and nourish

Herbal Infusion for Anemia Prevention:

1/2 ounce nettles

1/2 ounce dried parsley leaf

1/2 ounce dried yellow dock

1/4 ounce peppermint leaf

Heart Burn Relief Tea:

2 parts anise

2 parts fennel

3 parts peppermint

1 part cinnamon

Recipe source: moonstone midwives pregnancy care handout

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Thank you for taking the time to write this, Daria. And thank you reader for embarking on this journey with us! Let us know what you think in the comments below, and please feel free to ask any questions!

Joy through Movement by Krystal Young

Jessica BrownComment

Hi lovelies,

This week we are so lucky to have the wonderful Krystal Young. I met Krystal years ago living in Arcata, and even had the pleasure of attending her super fun wedding in the redwoods and on the beach to her beloved, Alex! It has been a pleasure to know her and watch her grow into partnership, into motherhood, into herself. I feel lucky to have her as a friend, and blessed that she wanted to write a post for me/you on how movement has changed and continues to shape her life. She shares so openly about her experience and how it lead to where she is. I’m grateful for her vulnerability and choice to share these things with us. She’s an inspiration to me, as I’m sure she will be to you as well!

At the end of the post is an amazing video to gently get your energy flowing! It’s totally accessible for all folks, and you need nothing more than a device to watch it on and some sitting space.

Grab a cup of tea and enjoy…

Here is a bit about my experience and then on to the juice inside Yoga and Dance.

HI! I’m Krystal ,

I live yoga and dance. Or yoga and dance lives through me. What I mean to say is, when I’m not spending time with my sweet toddler, cleaning, or resting, I’m moving psychically or contemplating the movement inside of me. Hear me again, I REST. Oh, Goddess, I’m like reeeeally good at resting. But I’m also good at being consumed by movement, and the moments are really bright when I’m playing Dancer and Mother in unison. My life is dedicated to this passion. It’s an obsession. Fortunately, and contrary to the opinion of some (including my inner critic), it’s more than a compulsion for being the best, and it’s is not actually an attempt to leave the “real” world. On the contrary, movement has given my life attention-demanding flavor. Truly, at its root, my fixation on movement is an ever expanding love-affair with ecstatic joy.

I wanted to tell you a little about my experience because I think it can help you see something remarkable. Push through, the sad part is temporary. I grew up quickly through abuse, and I lived aggressively my entire adolescence. I attached my anger to my identity, and I fought through both separation and love. I was abusive both physically and emotionally to myself and to those that I truly cared about. I was institutionalized and drugged. I blamed myself, I believed I was a monster. I identified with my depression and victimization, I was addicted to misery. I did not know how to evoke joy.

And it was no different after I gave birth to my daughter. I was overweight (“as usual” said my defeated brain), depressed, angry, scared, regretful. I felt moments of magic, of course, but I could not easily touch joy. I was much more well-rehearsed in negativity and suffering. I mean, I had been unhappy for most of my life mostly due to circumstances completely out of my control. But I now had serious responsibilities as a Mother. I began to really struggle to regain some sense of control for my daughter’s sake; I was kind of a mess. Fortunately one of the tactics I used to catch my breath was putting her in child care for an hour at a time at the local gym. I really just wanted some space to think. I did not recognize myself in the mirror. I really didn’t know who I was anymore. I let my daughter find her courage in the gym’s childcare while I began attending dance and stretching-based group classes. This is where I eventually found a way to consistently contact my joy. I dropped my daughter off and went to the same class, same room, same spot, same days of the week. I couldn’t dwell on my regrets, I was too busy focusing on demanding poses, often questioning the teacher and my survival. Eventually, once I acclimated, I began focusing less on the difficulty of the exercise, and, with closed eyes, I instead began to bathe in the joyful energy pulsing inside of me. I realized that I had never spent time with myself in this way, and all of the free time I had before having my daughter (so much) was spent trying to be with and impress other people. I was living mainly externally. Suddenly my mind was blissfully unaware of anything other than the life inside of me. Let me be clear, I really valued that free time as a new mother, so I showed up to the gym because it meant more me time. The more I showed up, the more I wanted to take it further. And when I decided to push myself into a more difficult class, my muscles would hurt and I would get pissed and curse the teacher under my breath, and I thought about walking out in spite of her, but never once did I regret her challenge by the end of class. I just showed up to practice, and through practice it became easy. Eventually, it became difficult to stop. And the joy that keeps coming up randomly throughout my movement, the kind of joy that brings a lightness and a swelling of something inside so sparkly and full... that joy, like anything could, became a habit. And the habit of joy is not limited to my mat, it permeates my entire being wherever I go.

This joy that comes from my heart space has become my life’s dedication, and so within that same year I took a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, changed my college major to Dance (no background in this field whatsoever), and as soon as I completed my 200 hours I began teaching the medicine that is movement. I no longer identify with my anger, depression, or unskillful coping mechanisms. I choose to be better. And my relationship with joy is ever reaching new peaks and depths into which I passionately project myself.


- YOGA -

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Because I started from a place of disadvantage (not an athletic kid, you guys), I’m a huge advocate for “practice,” which can look an infinite number of ways. We practice every single moment of every single day, just the focus of our practice changes, and maybe the intention varies. Maybe you’ve also heard that realistically skills are well-rehearsed through a long road of failures, and not innate. Life skills are no different. Right now, in this moment, you are practicing being human (hopefully we get better at this with age, but not always). Yoga is where we practice handling the challenges that come with being human. Yoga is where we get real specific and practice living life with intention.

Yoga is a practice of disciplining the body, but not just your physical body, additionally your mental, emotional, and spiritual body. Hello, self love! Our bodies need and crave stability! We practice this discipline with intense focus for a short time so that we grow the habit and carry our virtues around the clock. It looks like this: in a typical Yoga session, whether that’s twenty minutes or two hours, we bring our awareness to the inner workings of the body. We “simply” try to take a breath with each movement, usually a stretch, while focusing the subtleties of the body, as opposed to random musings of the mind. Inhaling on the expansion, exhaling on the contraction. This can be like going on a trip, because our inner body is a vast and expansive world full of life and essence. A place so many of us ignore, including myself. And on each trip one can discover new sights, sounds, feelings, emotions (including joy!).

Movement is a part of the practice of yoga for good reason, as movement stirs prana, or your life force. This prana is the essence of joy! By moving the body, you are moving the prana, chi or energy around inside of yourself, creating a sensation that demands your focus! This prana naturally moves to your own personal rhythm, but it also syncs up with the energy around you, connecting you to the great oneness, or universal heartbeat, that we all share. The feeling of this universal rhythm is pure, consequence-free bliss! The joy and lightness you seek, that we all share but easily forget or grow stranger to, is always present, and can be found my moving into the body. What lives inside of me, and each of us, is infinite joy and boundless compassion. It is said that our suffering arises out of the illusion of separation. If Yoga promises the remembrance of oneness, you can see how suffering is diminished and joy is enhanced. Connecting breath to movement allows the yogi to connect to the universal life force that is ecstatic joy!

Your Yoga practice need not be hot and rigorous to be effective. Truly you will receive many of the same benefits for the subtle bodies if you just stretch with breath. I have included a video below as an example of  twenty minute morning practice for beginners. If you are new to movement, and feel ready for more than light stretching, though I think stretching is a morning ritual that should last a lifetime, I highly recommend dance!


- DANCE -

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Quick, what comes to mind when you think of “dancing?” It’s likely to be something completely different than what comes to my mind, which is typically myself alone, half-naked, dimmed lights, weird music, crawling around on the floor. And this is completely different from the communal celebration many indigenous cultures would imagine. Western world has such an interesting take on Dance, from ballet to jazz to breakdancing to mosh pits or stripping! And while it is a damn beautiful thing that we are able to freely express our bodies through this artform without legal repercussions. I believe that Western culture has taken more subtle approaches to limiting expression of the body, of limiting joy. In America, we see the aggressively rigid dance instructor trope teaching painful choreography around the clock to exhausted dancers. The dance is formulated and controlled. As a 10 year old I was told by one that I was “too old” to dance. The narrative is that the title “dancer” is only given to those that have trained competitively their entire lives (and their bodies are clearly paying the price for such rigorous discipline). This is a fallacy. Anyone can evoke the dancer inside, and he or she need not be controlled by external forces. In other words, you need not be trained in dance from birth in order to be a Dancer. In fact, you need not be trained at ALL to be a dancer. Additionally, your body need not be punished by dance, because when used properly, dance is medicine!

I believe, within each of our hearts, lives a dancer. Do you not feel emotions? Do you not have a body? Can you move the energy in your body? You have it all, you may have simply forgotten the connection. Start with a finger, maybe a wiggle. Move up the arm and add the body! Limited mobility? If you can move a single limb (even a finger), you can move into your own modified dance! Moving with your own heart, I advocate improvised ecstatic or creative dance, which looks like turning on some music and letting your body move in whatever form comes to the surface. If you are completely in the dark when it comes to actual dance moves, all the better! You will find the sillies a lot faster that someone who takes themselves very seriously, and the sillies are the road to joy. Can’t afford community classes for motivation? Dim the lights and play whatever moves your spirit. Close your eyes, feel, and move towards those feelings. It can take just the tiniest amount of courage to begin. Dance is such an effective physical exercise because it does not always feel like exercise. You enjoy the music, the body responds, the mind discovers the movement, maybe you have a laugh or maybe you are impressed. Either way, you’re having fun. You’re connecting to your joy.

If you do have the means and opportunity to take a class, and have no experience whatsoever with moving your body, I highly encourage you to join a creative, ecstatic, or improv dance class. These types of classes are very loose, totally non-judgemental, and all about free movement! Dance is often a practice that is best enjoyed in groups, and it’s a beautiful thing to be inspired by the energy of others. Solo practice is incredibly important, but I believe social practice to be equally as valuable, it’s just different. Either way, I’m making my bliss a habit. By practicing joy through dance and yoga, we establish a connection with joy. Joy then becomes oh so much easier to access any time of the day!

Having a hard time moving regularly?

The biggest issue when it comes to being an active person is getting over that initial hurdle. In other words, trying to MOVE from a place of stagnation or depression! I went from low-activity pre-pregnancy, to totally inactive and on bedrest by 9 months, to postpartum which was still totally inactive save my arms that were exhausted from holding that baby! Anyways, I went from all of that to an incredibly healthy and active-all-day with energy to spare type of person. How did I do it? One class at a time, and from a place of loving acceptance. Growth only happens in a safe space. If a body is constantly told that it is “ugly, fat, not enough, etc,” it will not open up to positive change. The body opens up to growth when it feels safe. Not to say that we should become complacent in our unhealthy state, but rather we just approach our bodies from a place of compassion. By sending signals like “you are safe, beautiful, worthy, not to blame, etc,” then the body responds by becoming comfortable and receptive. That last one is really important, you are not to blame. No one is. A series of events got you to where you are now, most of which were totally out of your control (the family you were born into, your childhood education, your learned behaviors). Placing blame is unproductive.

This is the part you can take control of: your attitude. So often we look externally for solutions (this can include blaming our bodies or the world,) but effective, long-lasting change always begins internally. By accepting and loving yourself as you are right now, a perfectly “flawed” human-being that makes mistakes and is learning as they go, you open yourself up not only to the joy of the universe, but the love of those around you. Open up the beauty of your own mistakes, accept yourself as you are walking in the door, and know that physical practice is an act of self-love, which is something you have always deserved. Remember this wisdom: by building compassion for yourself, you will instinctually begin to lovingly nurture your own being. This eventually includes habitually maintaining a routine of self-care that includes movement!

Joy often seems so distant, and yet is lives deeply within each of us and is accessible in all moments. An easy way to access this joy is through movement, and if you are new to movement and want to access this joy, then I highly recommend Yoga and Dance as activities to sprinkle into your week. These two practices have changed my life dramatically, and that joy will ripple on, through my daughter, possibly for generations to come.

Thank you Krystal for this AMAZING post and video!

& Thank Y O U for reading, we hope you enjoyed it! Please try the gentle yoga video above to awaken your joy and let us know how it goes in the comment section below!

With Spring Comes Nettles...by Saige Romero

recipeJessica BrownComment

This week have have the lovely Saige from @freestonehandmade .

I had the pleasure of vending next to her at an event in Arcata last year, and we totally hit it off! Since then, we’ve shared many moments helping each other through small business questions, trials, and successes. The more I grow closer to her, the more grateful I am to have her as a friend of mine. She makes amazing jewelry, that I wear pretty much daily. It’s soft, feminine, and elegant. This post she wrote inspires me to remember the magic of cooking, remember that it’s another beautiful ritual to enrich my life. I have to say, cooking is one of those things that is totally meditative and exciting for me. I zone out, trying to bring in all of the flavors together. I love how it can take me to a place of joy and contentment. It can help me ground down, and nourish myself in the ways that I need.

Image by Saige Romero

Image by Saige Romero

Now, A little bit about nettles…

If I was stranded on an island, I would hope there were nettles around.

They are so nutrient dense!!! One of the things I like to say to people who are new or overwhelmed with the herb world is start with nettles. Nettles can help, nettles are your friend. It’s been used to make fabric, food, tea, among many other things. “The ancient Greeks and Romans cultivated more acres of nettle than any other crop, and they used it extensively as food and medicine as well as in clothing.” Nettles are a nutrient dense powerhouse. Rich in many vitamins and minerals, especially iron and calcium. Full of chlorophyll and protein. Nettle is a tonic herb meaning when you take it on a daily basis, say every morning with breakfast, and it builds upon itself. It is able to nourish you more deeply, become more attuned to you and your body. Nettles have been used as a daily tonic herb for things such as growing pains, allergies (it has antihistamine properties), liver detox, PMS, prostate issues, and many more. If you’re feeling tired throughout your day, try to get nettles in your day at least once.

Nettles are magic and they may grow wild near you…

Since it’s Spring right now, it’s the perfect time to harvest the delicious fresh nettle tops if they grow in your region. I highly recommend filling a half gallon jar a little over halfway with fresh nettles, then adding hot water and letting it steep overnight. Strain in the morning, and drink all day long! This infusion is earthy, a little spicy, and extremely healthy. I like how easy it is to get such a potent dose of nettles with this infusion.

Now that you’ve read a little bit about the properties of nettles I’d like to share Saige’s article.

Grab a cup of tea and enjoy…

My first introduction to Nettle was while I was cooking at a farm-to-table restaurant where the menu changed every two weeks. On the first day of the new menu it was always a total free-for-all, fend for yourself- stressed mess of line cooks. Imagine you’re learning a new menu, 4-5 of the dishes are your responsibility, each with 2 sides of their own and a sauce, you might know the recipe but if you don’t you’re relying on your trusty friend google, and you have approximately 2 hours to get er’ done and ready for service. C.h.a.o.s. During this new menu day mayhem, the owner brought in her usual crate of produce, I reached in without hesitation, full intention, both hands and grab the “mystery” greens... instant regret. What the hell is this!? Nettle.

I don’t cook professionally anymore, not because of the Nettle. Ha! For many other reasons, but when I decided to quit my job as a line cook I hadn’t expected my relationship with cooking and food to change as much as it did. For a long time the way I cooked at home was very similar to the way I cooked at work; rushed, competitive, and complex. It wasn’t until I started my first garden that I really felt a shift in the manner I cooked and the way food made its way to our table, It’s always been with passion, but it hasn’t always been slow and patient. Having a garden, which has been 100% trial and error, has really struck an interest in the plants that i can grow at our shady home, and an interest in the plants that are already there. Of course interest has formed into a relationship of sorts, and every spring I look forward to seeing those first signs of nettle so that I can patiently, meditatively and lovingly prepare this pesto as slowly as I want.

Image by Saige Romero

Image by Saige Romero

Image by Saige Romero

Image by Saige Romero

Nettle & Walnut Pesto

  • 5 Cups of fresh Nettles

  • 3⁄4 Cup Toasted Walnut halves

  • 3⁄4 Cup Parmigiano Reggiano (Optional)

  • 1⁄2 of a Lemon-Juice

  • 1⁄4 -1⁄2 Cup Olive oil- Desired Consistency

  •  1⁄4 Teaspoon Salt

  • 1⁄4 Teaspoon Black Pepper

  • 2 cloves of Garlic

Image by Saige Romero

Image by Saige Romero

  1. Harvest the Nettle. With gloves on, use garden shears to cut the top 6 inches (ca. 15 cm) of a 1-2 foot tall stem in Spring.

  2. Cut the leaves off of the stem with the garden shears or kitchen scissors into a bowl or strainer. Rinse off the garden grime.

  3. Toast walnuts in oven at 350 for 10 minutes, let cool.

  4. Bring a quart of water to a boil and blanch the nettle leaves for one minute.

  1. Strain and rinse with cool water to remove the heat from the leaves. At this point the nettle is cooked and you can now touch it with your bare hands. Put the leaves on a tea towel and blot them dry.

  2. Add to food processor or blender with all the other ingredients.

  3. Buzz until desired consistency.

Image by Saige Romero

Image by Saige Romero

I know I can’t wait to go harvest some nettles myself and make this divine creation. Thank you Saige for sharing your heart and this recipe.

& Thank you for reading, let us know what you think in the comments below and how the pesto tastes when you make it! :)

Image by Saige Romero

Image by Saige Romero


Find Saige’s lovely creations here:

www.freestonehandmade.com & her instagram @freestonehandmade


Writing Ritual by Julia Muse

Jessica Brown2 Comments

Julia and I met during our days in the Art Department at Humboldt State University, we ended up hitting it off and at one point even lived together! We have been connected ever since and have shared creative, wild, and fun times. Lately, I have been so inspired by her writing and her daily writing practice. I asked her to share her inspiration and how she got to where she is today within her art forms. She is an amazing photographer, creatress, cook, dancer, poet, teacher, among many other things! I wanted to know how writing has shifted her life, how it plays into her many art forms! It is such a joy to read her daily musings through her instagram posts. I will link her instagram handle and website at the end of the article for you.

Grab a cup of tea and enjoy…

To live in a world that prioritizes progress & development, it takes our own doing to carve out space to indulge in our own essence. As well as an appropriate belief structure that supports our worthiness to simply be in a state of beingness . Most of us have been born into a culture that is designed to make us believe we have to get somewhere, to become & achieve something. There is an agenda in this engineering that distracts us from the essential purgative of all living things, that is to occupy one’s place in the web of life, the order of being. 

There are so many forms of temptation to lure us out of our connection to self. I have learned in my life, it takes a constant nurturing to stay presently connected with my experience. I have tended to yoga, as my oldest practice in staying connected, and it has been the backbone of my spiritual practice for the past 7 years. Yoga was a door that opened me up to a whole new way of being with myself, a path that continuously leads me out of anguish, trauma & judgment. It gave movement to the calcified pain bodies that I had accumulated along the journey to now.

Yoga guided me into dance as a form of spiritual & artistic practice, which is my most cherished way to commune with & explore the depths of my being. Art is both an expression of presence & an offering back to creation. Dance is my celebration of deep gratitude for this beloved body, in this precious life. The same inquisitive longing that has inspired my movement journeying has called me to the ritual of morning writing.

Each day is a new ceremony & when we treat it as such, by revealing to spirit our willingness to acknowledge our life as a scared gift. The mystery acknowledges us. 

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I first came to my writing practice from the work of Julia Margaret Cameron, in The Artist Way. I attempted to do her work in entirety but “failed” after the second week. But I did adopt her morning pages exercise as a tool for anchoring & awakening daily creativity.

Creativity to me is so much more than the act of making art, it is the act of thinking, speaking, cooking, loving, forgiving, understanding & being artfully. 

To me great art is honest.

My writing practice shows me everyday where I am at.

I have come in & out of journaling over the course of my life, but over the past year I really chosen to devote myself each morning. 

If, for some reason, in the morning I don’t create a big enough window to sit down & write, I try to fit it in at a later point in my day. But the morning is the sweet spot. This practice has become both a way for me to take inventory & express my needs to spirit. 

My typical flow begins with describing personal history, I.E. “Yesterday I ran into so & so, it made me feel ______, I forgot to pay my insurance, I will do it first thing after breakfast…. Etc. Then somewhere after the first page or so I begin to uncover a deeper layer of happenings. Feelings of sadness, or excitement of a potential outcome that elude to a more soul oriented experience. 

I then use prayer to call upon support & clear my field in both a physical & psychological sense. 

“Higher Self, I ask for all the help I can get to stay on task & focused on completing ..____XYZ” 

“I break contact agreement or vow to host any belief that perpetuates self-criticism” 

“Higher Self, please help me to get out of my own way & devote all of my energy on being of the highest & clearest, through the expression of my gifts & abilities, please help me to be compensated generously for that expression”

After doing the prayer work I feel an immediate expansion in both my perception, energy & the remainder of my journaling feels more like transmission from source. I can feel into the most appropriate language by feeling into the words as a poetic embodiment, but each day is different, & that’s the beauty of it. 

I feel, any daily practice is a ritual. It’s a platform that we come to & allow our own wisdom to reach us. By creating a habit of respectfully showing up for ourselves, more of our power comes to coalesce. Paying reverence through a practice is indication of our spiritual maturity, not in achievement but in our level of honoring. To gain greater traction on our path of interconnection with life, we start by respecting our resource of time. Giving structure to our faith & waiting without demand for spirit to reach us there. 

Sitting down with a cup of bulletproof coffee, & journaling has become my favorite part of my day. This wasn’t always the case, it took patience & diligence to sit down and make it to that 3rd page. But like all things we tend to, it gets easier & more fruitful with time. What I love about having a “practice” is that there is no end point, & how we come to and away from it is just as important & informative as doing it. 

There is a deeper layer of subtle energy we learn to feel when we spend time with a practice, greater pixels of our experience are made visible. Writing for me allows for a development of sensitivity as well as an anchor to hold down, & create structure for my wild non-linear mystical feminine nature. I also practice yoga everyday to further support a more effective use of direction in my creative flow. The older I get & the more time I devote to my practices the more I see where I can surrender. To get out of the ideas I have for myself, my life & how I think things ought to look & simply allow myself to embody & express the truth of what is.

I am wild about writing! & it only continues to open me up more deeply to myself as well as to opportunities & ways of connecting & collaborating with others. I wake each day and can know one thing that is for certain,

I MUST WRITE!

If I were to impart any piece of truth I have discovered for myself it is this, follow your curiosity. Show up for what excites you, consistently. For we are attracted to certain practices for a reason, methods of uncovering & retrieving our personal magic ☺ 

XOXOX,

J U L I A M U S E 

You can find Julia and her art practices at…

www.ascendedresonance.com

@innermuse

Leave a comment below to let us know what you think!

Luteal Love by Sarah Martin

Jessica Brown2 Comments

Luteal Love

By Sarah Martin @sarahs.healing.house @spindrift_tinyhomes

This is the second post in my series highlighting another magic maker in my community! Sarah and I met in the kitchen of the ever so lovely Beachcomber Cafe, and we’ve been connected by a nourishing sisterhood ever since. She has taught me so much about delicious and nutritious ways to take care of myself. We fantasize of a day when we share land and homestead together making all of our similar dreams come true. Currently, Sarah and her amazing partner Bijan are living in an epic and gorgeous off-grid tiny home they built just last year. They are in the exciting phase of starting their own tiny home company where they build you your ultimate dream home, that you can take anywhere you please! I will link their information below at the end of the recipe.

We are living in a decadently rich time right now where so much information around health is making its way to our doorsteps. This post, and the book recommendation at the end of this post are a great place to get started in the hormonal health world. I am so honored to walk this path alongside Sarah and happy to share this amazing information and recipe below, about how to support yourself during your moon cycle. That being said, this recipe really does apply to any humans looking for a deeply restorative and nutrient/vitamin dense snack!

Grab a cup of tea and enjoy this amazing creation by the lovely Sarah…

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This post is going to be all about balls and menstruation.

What a great intro right?!
But seriously, these two topics have woven together so inspirationally in my repertoire of self care recently that it is kind of becoming my trademark. So here we go, lets talk about balls and menstruation.

Let's first discuss what I mean by balls... I love making sweet treats, especially raw vegan ones, and I have found that making little energy balls are the easiest and most delicious way to take your medicine!

Energy balls consist of a binder (usually dates or some kind of dried fruit) a nut, coconut flakes, and any other kind of herb, seed, powder or flavor your heart desires. It is so simple and so empowering to whip up something special for yourself that is exactly aligned with what your heart, mind and spirit are needing to get you through the day. And these needs are changing all the time, especially as a person who identifies as a bleeding woman, am I right?!

Now let's get to the menstruation part... The past few years have been all about aligning my lifestyle with the cyclical nature of my body, and a huge part of that for me has been aligning my diet with my cycle. I am a big time foodie, and so tirelessly researching and understanding the different nutrients and ingredients that accentuate the changing tides of my cycle has been LIFE CHANGING (emphasis on the LIFE CHANGING part). In the past, I have experienced horrible PMS symptoms. I thought it was just normal and this is the way it will always be for me, even though I saw a lot of women around me not having this experience. Every month, the two weeks leading up to my period I prepared myself and the people around me for all ranges of meltdown attacks to happen at any minute. I also prepared for my breasts to swell two sizes bigger and become so painful to touch, to be in a constant state of constipation, to be depressed, to have no energy, to break out all over my chin and so many more variations of what it means to simply suffer in one's body. 

So many women go through this, and sadly, so many more women don't even know the hormonal climate of their bodies and what chemical reactions are happening to make this all happen. THANK THE GODDESS there is a rising movement happening in the realms of women's hormonal health that takes into account the holistic approach, involving first of all knowledge and awareness, then how to make the changes in diet and lifestyle necessary to live our best life in harmony with our hormones. It has been a long road of recovery for me, but I think I finally figured out my perfect balance (and calling in the Law of Balance every day) to where I am living in harmony with my body, instead of battling it constantly. I could talk forever about how this has all happened with me and what changes I have made (or you can read Woman Code by Alisa Vitti for some high vibe guidelines), but what I really want to share with you is how I have created energy ball recipes that are inspired by the different phases of my cycle!

As I mentioned above, the luteal phase (the weeks after ovulation and before your menstruation) is where I have struggled the most in the past, and so I have created a delicious Luteal LOVE energy ball recipe to share with you all. This energy ball is packed with proteins, zinc, iron, magnesium, amino acids, vitamin E and hormone regulating yin herbs that have really saved me during in-escapable long days on the brink of PMS collapse. I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as I have, and feel free to change it up in any way that feels good for you. As long as you keep the base with the dates and the nut/seed of some kind, the rest is up to your creative freedom!

Another great thing about Sarah is her resourcefulness. Shopping in the bulk section with your own jars is a great routine to get into. And this lady right here is the one who taught me to embark on this new practice!

Another great thing about Sarah is her resourcefulness. Shopping in the bulk section with your own jars is a great routine to get into. And this lady right here is the one who taught me to embark on this new practice!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 juicy medjool dates (without pits)

  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil

  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds

  • 3 Tbsp black sesame seeds

  • 1 ½ Tbsp almond butter

  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds

  • 3 Tbsp cacao powder

  • 2 tsp moringa powder

  • 2 tsp ashwaghanda powder

  • 1 tsp gotu kola powder

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1.5 Tbsp coconut flakes inside, ¼ cup coconut flakes outside for rolling

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare food processor with the S-blade attachment.

  2. Heat coconut oil on low. Turn off when lightly melted, but not boiling. 

  3. Take out pits of the dates and add into food processor.

  4. Combine all other ingredients in food processor. Marvel at the beautifully rich deep colors of which you are about to indulge upon!

  5. Add in melted coconut oil to the food processor on top of the other ingredients. 

  6. Blend on high for 5 minutes or until the consistency is smooth and sticky. 

  7. Set aside a small bowl of ¼ cup coconut flakes and a couple pinches of cacao powder for rolling the balls in.

  8. With your hands, create 1 inch balls of the mixture and roll it in the coconut flake/cacao. You should be able to make 12-15 balls. 

  9. Enjoy the luxurious taste of this rich and empowering snack. They will last in the fridge for 1-2 weeks or on the counter for one week.

Sarah in her and Bijan’s first tiny home that they currently live in. Side note: This will be available for purchase very soon! Head to their instagram and website to learn more.

Sarah in her and Bijan’s first tiny home that they currently live in. Side note: This will be available for purchase very soon! Head to their instagram and website to learn more.

Thank you to my beloved Sarah for taking the time to write this nourishing recipe and give insight into what you have learned by living in harmony with your hormones and cycle.

You can follow along Sarah’s beautiful journey by heading over to…

@sarahs.healing.house

You can follow along Sarah and Bijan’s tiny home crafting journey by clicking either links below and heading over to…

@spindrift_tinyhomes & www.spindrifthomes.com

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One more reccomendation, that Sarah had mentioned above, is the book Woman Code by Alisa Vitti. I, too, can attest to this book changing my life for the better. If you or someone you know has or will have a menstrual cycle, deals with fertility issues, low libido, etc. please pick a copy up! I use the app she has created on my iphone to track my cycle, I have read and constantly come back to the book, and love the articles she sends out via email. Click on either links below to follow along the journey of cycle syncing.

www.floliving.com & @floliving


Thank you for your time and please write below with any questions or comments!

Morning Rituals by Chelsea Connor

Jessica Brown6 Comments

Morning Rituals: Starting the Day With A Tonic

By: Chelsea Connor @houseofnourishment

This week I am beginning my introduction to other magic makers in my circle. I want to shed light on the rituals and folks that have helped and inspired me. This week is written by the lovely Chelsea Connor of @houseofnourishment. I have known Chelsea since we were in high school in Huntington Beach, CA. Fast forward and a lot has changed in both of our lives with a big one being that we both moved to Northern California. I live on the coast and she lives inland, but our paths have crossed again because we are interested in a lot of the same ideals and lifestyle! Chelsea is a kind, smart, and YES kind of person and I am so honored to know her and have her sharing on my blog. I’m so excited for you to read what she has share. Please leave a comment below to let us know what you think and share this with someone you love!

I have linked her instagram above so you can continue to learn and grow with her! Grab some tea and enjoy… -Jess

By Chelsea Connor.

By Chelsea Connor.

Something I’ve found to be foundational in my well-being is the addition of a morning ritual.

I wholeheartedly believe that in order for us each to show up in the world, we must first show up for ourselves. It can be so easy to rush out the door each morning without giving ourselves the peace & quiet we need before taking on the day. Whether your morning ritual is five minutes long or two hours, I hope it’s exactly what fills you up.

One part of my morning ritual that has nourished me in the most ways is creating and drinking a warm tonic. A tonic is simply something that is prepared with the intention to increase one’s well-being. As a way to cure the craving for a creamy, cozy latte, I began crafting tonics without integrating the usual coffee to fuel my morning energy. Almost instantly, tonics induced a shift in my anxiety, energy, mood and overall feeling of nourishment. Through creativity, I put together a variety of formulas that rejuvenated me in ways I’d never experienced. Not only is the taste lovely but the velvety potion knows just how to prepare us for whatever kind of day lies ahead. 

By Chelsea Connor.

By Chelsea Connor.

Tonic Structure

Building a tonic that is unique to you is supreme. While I often share my own tonic recipes, I find that the best way to experience a tonic is to explore the ingredients that you crave & that nourish you, specifically. This can be as simple or complex as you desire. The magic of a tonic is in the moment of pure bliss as you sip & savor all of the flavors your body hopes for. Tonics serve as a gentle means to nourish both to your body & soul. 

As a good rule of thumb or for those who seek more of a roadmap to get them started, there are 4 main components of a delicious tonic. These consist of: a base, good fats, flavor & herbal or plant allies.

A base will be any liquid that will create the foundation for your tonic. This may be warm/cold water, tea, or coffee depending on what you desire.

Good fats are any sources of richness that you may want to add to increase your tonic’s creaminess while supporting your blood sugar balance. I love to use full fat coconut milk, coconut butter, almond butter, ghee, grass fed butter or any other smooth and delicious fat source I have on hand. The selection(s) you make & the quantity you use are completely up to you.

Next, you may enjoy adding flavor or seasonings to intensify your creation. These may be cinnamon, ginger, sea salt, turmeric, vanilla, or, if you enjoy some bitterness, cacao. A combination of many of these or just one alone, with the other three elements, will yield a beautiful drink.

The final step in putting your tonic together is choosing any herbal or plant allies you wish to include. This step is the only one that is especially optional and only necessary if you feel one of your favorite plant medicines may provide a needed boost your day. This may be as simple as adding a few rose petals to the top of your tonic or as complex as you’d like it to be. I commonly find myself reaching for one to three adaptogens and/or medicinal mushroom extracts as a way of supporting brain function, stress responses and immunity. Feel free to get curious and creative by trying new herbs that you feel drawn to. 

With these 4 buildings blocks, you’ll surely find your rhythm. Listen to your intuition and craft whatever it is your body is asking for. 

By Chelsea Connor.

By Chelsea Connor.

Cacao Tonic

A tonic that I have come to know & consume every morning is one made of cacao. Cacao is a plant ally, a good fat, & a decadent flavor addition, making it exceptionally nourishing amongst the many nutritional benefits it also contains. 

Cacao is a fruit which grows on the Theobroma cacao tree in many tropical lands. The literal translation of its name and it’s historic legacy refers to it as  “food of the gods” due to its deep flavor and invigorating effects on the spirit. Cacao is rich in magnesium, zinc, iron, antioxidants, polyphenols, theobromine and anandamide, the body’s own “bliss” molecule. The synergy between theobromine, anandamide and a touch of caffeine inspires a mild stimulating sensation. Some refer to this feeling as “heart opening” and pure love from the spirit of cacao.

In my own experience, I’ve found cacao to embody the bitterness that I’ve loved in coffee while providing rich, sweet, and fruity notes that add to its deliciousness. I enjoy a cacao tonic each morning made with fair trade, organic and pure cacao, known as ceremonial cacao, grown with care by small farms in Peru. What once would have been recognized as hot chocolate in my younger years, now serves my well-being, and hopefully yours, daily. 

By Chelsea Connor.

By Chelsea Connor.

MORNING BLISS CACAO TONIC

Ingredients

1 cup hot water

¼ cup full fat coconut milk or any other nut milk

3-5 Tablespoons ceremonial cacao or 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder

¼ teaspoon of lion’s mane mushroom extract or any other plant/herbal ally you’d like

A dash of cinnamon & sea salt

Sweeten to taste with stevia, maple, or local honey 

Method

  1. Blend all ingredients together in a blender until thoroughly combined & lightly frothy.

  2. Pour into your favorite mug & find a quiet place to sit.

  3. Take a deep inhale focusing on your intention(s) for the day, slowly exhale through the mouth & enjoy each nourishing sip of your tonic. ♥

 

By Chelsea Connor.

By Chelsea Connor.

Thank you Chels! @houseofnourishment

Thank you for your time, leave some love in the comment section below! -Jess

The Art of Nourishment

Jessica Brown2 Comments

A big part of my soul speaks authentic bliss through food.

Cooking inspires me to my core, I lose track of time and become totally enveloped in the balancing of flavors. Sweet, salty, sour, savory, creamy, spicy. These things light me up! If you know me, you know I dream of cooking you a homemade meal. Whether its a bowl of curry, veggie tacos, kale chips you’ll love or just an epic sauce full of flavor. Honestly, sauces and dressings bring me utter joy!

That being said I’d love to share one of my favorite recipes with you:

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Chipotle Cashew Cheez

This sauce goes on about everything in our home. When I make it more as a thin sauce I drizzle it over roasted veggie tacos, when it’s more of a paste I use it as a pizza sauce base (and add a little extra tomato sauce). If I’m in a pinch for time I eat it on carrot/celery sticks as a snack that fills me up and gives me energy! But the sky is the limit here, and trust me, once you make it you’ll want to eat it on everything.

Cooking is about tapping into your intuition and making it taste good to YOU, sample throughout the process, and add more or less of something. This should be fun, play!

Ingredients:

about 1.5 cups of cashews soaked with hot water for at least 15-20 minutes.

a couple Tablespoons of olive oil

juice of 1/2 a lemon

dash of salt

dash of peppa

1/4 TSP to as many teaspoons of chipotle powder as you’d like (however hot you want it!)

1 teaspoon of smoked paprika

1-2 garlic cloves

2-4 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (depending on how much you love this stuff)

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend on high until creaminess is desired. Add more or less liquids (water, lemon juice, acv) for consistency of you dreams. Taste test, and see what it needs more of!

Store in fridge for about a week (although I don’t think it will last that long if you’re like us!)

Other ideas for additions:

dash of apple cider vinegar if you need more tang

sun dried tomatoes

tomato sauce (for pizza/pasta sauce, this makes sort of a vegan vodka sauce!)

Some of my other homemade staples in the fridge:

kimchi

salsa

nut mylk

energy balls

cilantro pesto

chimichurri

carrot/cabbage slaw

Comment below if this intrigues you and

you’d like me to share more recipes!

The Magic of Sweet Chamomile...

Jessica BrownComment

This is the start to a series where I will be going in depth about some of the medicinal herbs that I grow on our farm and use in my products. A sort of spotlight onto a single herb and how/why I use it in each of my products.

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I am beginning with German Chamomile (matricaria recutita), a sweet and gentle herbal ally to get to know on a intimate level.

Chamomile is quite easy and lovely to grow in your home garden. Give it summer sun, a light to medium amount of water, and pick from it weekly to obtain blooms all summer long. I recommend planting it in soil in the springtime and keeping the soil moist to germinate. If where you live experiences nice spring rains then you’ll be taken care of. A way to ensure you will have chamomile is to sow the seeds in trays and raise starts to then transplant out into the garden. Here is a great link on seed starting. The great thing about chamomile is that it seeds itself for next year, as long as you let it hang around late summer, go to seed, and drop its seeds in the soil. My favorite place to get seeds is at www.strictlymedicinalseeds.com.

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Chamomile has been used for generations and generations to aid folks in stressful situations.

It has a gentle yet effective affect on the nervous system, immune system and digestive system. It is safe to use on children, adults, and even babies through breastmilk. Try taking it or administering it during highly stressful, anxious, or frustrating times. It is helpful if experiencing children’s colic, stomach disorders, uneasy digestion, infections. Any discomfort within digestion can be aided by a cup of chamomile tea or tincture. It is like a deep breath, there for you to call upon when you need. I created a chamomile oxymel so that this medicine can be shared with folks of all ages. An oxymel is an alcohol-free tincture made of herb, organic apple cider vinegar, and local honey. It tastes delicious and sweet, with a hint of tangy!

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Chamomile Oxymel

Ingredients: Homegrown chamomile, organic apple cider vinegar, and local honey.

All of our body & systems benefit from touch. It stimulates the lymph to flow healthily which aids in detoxification, calms the nerves, increases circulation, among so so many other things.

When administering it topically, try it in a massage oil form. After a shower when your pores are cleansed and open massage onto your temples, feet, or whole body! Take the time to massage yourself or ask a loved one to nourish you, this ritual is the perfect nightcap. I am a firm believer in whole plant infusions. This means that I collect the plant at peak potency, finely chop the material, and infuse it into the carrier oil for 2-4 months (time dependent on plant). Because the entire plant is infused into the oil, the components are able to truly awaken and seep into the carrier oil. No part is missing or being stripped out; it is a slow method that creates a high quality product that is essentially better for the environment. Essential oils, use a LOT of plant material to create each little bottle. For example, it takes roughly 63 lbs of lemon balm to make 15 mL of Essential Oils. I choose to infuse the plant material into organic sunflower oil because while it is a nice and light oil, it is deeply nourishing and warming so that any type of skin is able to soak it in. Also, It carries more Vitamin E than any other vegetable oil. Lastly, growing oil sunflowers has the lowest environmental impact of large scale vegetable oils because the flowers depend on the least amount of water, have the lowest carbon footprint, can be planted in poor soil, and are GMO free. 

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Luminous Moon Oil

Chamomile, Hops, & Mugwort slowly infused into Organic Sunflower oil to melt the stress away and get a good nights rest.

Water as Medicine. Hydrosol; hydro meaning water, sol meaning solution.

Why do hydrosols work? Because we quite literally are water and our body is able to recognize hydrosols immediately when it comes into contact with our skin. We can hydrate, tone, cleanse our skin. While also tapping into the aroma therapeutic properties to uplift, clear, and stabilize our mood.

What is a Hydrosol?

In the most basic sense a hydrosol is a distilled plant or flower water. I use my copper still to create steam that flows upwards through whichever plant I am distilling. The water vapors rise and spiral back down through the condenser to cool and form back into liquid. The steam naturally extracts water-soluble components, essential oil molecules and the magic of the fresh plant. In each bottle, you may see little dots of oils, those are the essential oils. 

How do you use a Hydrosol?

In short, all the ways! The list is quite endless. My favorite way is as a face toner and hydrator. They are wonderful in foot baths, compresses, clay masks, cream/lotion making, eye pads, drinking water, etc. They can be used for depression, anxiety, burns, scrapes, headaches, sinus congestion, eczema, acne, sensitive skin, etc.  

Chamomile Hydrosol helps to soothe muscle spasms, relieves pain, calms the nervous system, and acts as an anti-inflammatory.

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Chamomile Hydrosol

The blue hue occurs because of the Azulene the flowers hold. This hydrosol is blended with Yarrow and Calendula to help with hydrating, cleansing, and toning sensitive skin.

“Pharmacological and clinical studies confirm what herbalists have long known: The common wayside plant known as chamomile is a very important medication for the nervous system. One of chamomile’s major constituents is azulene, a beautiful, azure blue, volatile oil obtained by steam distillation. Azulene contains whole complex active principles that serve as anti-inflammatory and antipyretic agents.” pg. 321 in Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. Above is a beautiful example of the azulene that german chamomile carries within its little magical blooms.

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Glow Floral Face Mask

Chamomile, Rose, & Calendula mixed with white clay to help gently detox and tone the skin.

Gently detoxify and soothe your skin. I specifically chose white clay for its ability to cleanse but in a sweet & subtle way. All of the flowers in this blend are wonderful allies to the skin. Roses are great at toning all skin types and are mildly astringent, helping to pull bacteria and dirt from pores. Calendula is a potent bloom known to promote cell repair and growth. While also being anti-septic, anti-inflammatory, helps treat skin infections, rashes, sores, bruises, and burns. German Chamomile is anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, calming, and helps ease soreness.

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Goddess Glow Kit

Glow Face Mask, adiance Hydrosol, Sun Beam.

Thank you for your time and interest, please comment below with any questions!

You hold the key...

Jessica BrownComment
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As we near Winter Soul-stice and the new year I am beginning to journal about my visions for my 2019. Now is a potent time to be dream weaving your creative life ahead. What did you love about 2018? What do you want to keep nurturing in your life? What are some of the things you want to learn? What are your craving to create? What art form / creative expression is calling to you?

Personally, I took a huge leap this year that resulted in being one of the best decisions. Moving our farm was a lot, but turned out to be a 111% Y E S that has led to an amazing community of people, a beautiful place to call home, and space to feel F R E E. When I look back to my journal at the beginning of 2018 and reflect on where I am at now, I see that my visions have turned into my reality. I am over the moon grateful and am marinating in the magic. What I learned from this situation is that taking risks can lead to exponential growth. Following my heart and staying true to my vision for my life and what that looks like and feels like. And most importantly listening to my intuition…that gut feeling when you are in a place or situation. That is either telling you a solid yes, or a solid no. The beautiful thing about this sacred tool we have, is that the more you use it and listen to it, the stronger it becomes. It’s like waking up and doing yoga everyday. After about a week you will feel your body shifting, becoming stronger, breathing easier in the poses.

When you envision your next year, 2019, get specific! How do you want to feel and what endeavors help you to feel that way? I love to think of a feeling and the specific action to do to obtain the feeling. “I want to feel strong in my body and yoga really helps me to feel that way.” “I want to feel grounded, and a nice brisk walk really helps to get my energy flowing.”

What imprint do you want to leave on this world?

Now is your chance to truly feel into all of your dreams, big and small.

Grab a journal and a cup of tea, & do some reflecting.

Remember that you are so so powerful.

This gift of dream weave writing is a potent tool in our evolution.

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Stay Well this Winter.

Jessica BrownComment

Fire Cider

A lot of folks tend to catch a cold this season, so I wanted to share a basic guideline for making an age-old tradition called fire cider. It is simple to create and a great thing to do with people you love. It is a creation that will keep you, your family, and your friends fighting off any winter colds by using a preventative measure. I love to use it as the base of my salad dressing, or to just take it more traditionally as a daily shot.

You can pack it with any goodies you like, let your intuition guide you and have fun!

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My tip is to think of all of the foods and herbs you go to when you are sick…

Take any/all of the ingredients below in whatever proportion feels right to you:

onion

garlic

horseradish

citrus of any kind: leave the peel on for bitter qualities that help with digestion or take the peel off if you want just the citrus flavor/benefits : lemon, orange, grapefruit, etc.

fresh turmeric root

fresh ginger root

rosemary

burdock root

ashwagandha root

dandelion root

cayenne pepper or any hot pepper

black pepper

apple cider vinegar

mason jar of any size you please

lid

parchment paper (so that if you are using a metal lid, it does not corrode from the acv)

bottles

labels

  • chop ingredients

  • fill the mason jar with ingredients & cover with organic apple cider vinegar by about 2 inches

  • cover with parchment paper / plastic lid / anything to keep flies out

  • store in cool, dark place for 4-6 weeks

  • strain vinegar & compost the ingredients

  • add as much honey as you’d like to the vinegar solution until it tastes delicious

  • bottle label & share with your friends & family!

When you feel the onset of a cold, take fire cider every hour all day long. Or, take a shot everyday to prevent the onset from happening!

If you feel inclined towards more inspiration; google Rosemary Gladstar Fire Cider to learn more!

Cheers to your health, and making medicine with your loves.

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You hold the power...

Jessica BrownComment
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I believe that you hold the power to make the medicine you yearn for and need. I want you to feel empowered within the herb realm. It is your birthright to have the tools to create your own medicinal apothecary; a sacred space to fill with loving remedies made by you and your herbal friends. creating salves, tinctures, or a simple lip balm with friends or family is an extremely nourishing event. 

one of the reasons I got into herbalism was because I was sick of reading labels and not being able to pronounce half or more of the ingredients. If you're putting something onto your skin (the largest organ of your body) you definitely want to be able to feel confident that the ingredients are simple and recognizable. I believe that if you can't eat it, it shouldn't be on your skin. Hence why I stick with whole plant infusions into a carrier oil like sunflower oil. Because, realistically, if I wanted to I could make a salad dressing with my sweet dreams oil (mugwort, chamomile, & hops in sunflower oil), and not worry about anything. awesome and simple, right?

I wanted to share my favorite books that I have come to know and love in my herbal studies so far. reading is one of the most powerful tools we hold. 

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Pick up one or all of these at your local used book store,

yay for recycling!

yay for supporting your local bookstore!

yay for keeping your money in your local economy!

1. Rosemary Gladstar 

The Beginner's Guide is amazing. It is simple but holds amazing information that  I go back to often. it begins with how to's for salves, lotions, tinctures, etc. and then introduces you to the many medicinals herbs she has chosen. 

Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health is a more in depth and detailed book, giving explanations and aids for many ailments. 

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2. Susun Weed 

This book is an all time favorite for me. It was gifted to me by a dear friend/herbalist for my birthday last year which makes it feel that more special. Susun Weed focuses on 7 herbs so that you can really get to know these plants on an intimate level. The beginning of the book outlines the Wise Woman Tradition, which is a beautiful explanation about getting back to the goddess. My favorite part is how in the beginning of the chapters the plants introduce themselves to you. Each in it's own unique tone and voice, the plants give you the vibe of their medicine. It sets a really awesome tone and a fun, imaginative learning environment. Magical and unique, a must have in the library!

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3. Bonnie Rose Weaver

Bonnie is amazing and her book is an extension of her plant intelligence and kind heart. I go back to this book often because it is so intuitively organized and just feels good. She managed a small urban farm in the heart of San Francisco; growing, tending, and making medicine. I love the book because it is personal and also informative. I learn something new each time I pick it up. *if you live locally I saw it in the Moonrise Herbs window just the other day*

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4. Karin C. Uphoff M. S., M.H.

What a book! Seriously, this is an amazing asset to your library. Karin is a wealth of knowledge, and while the information is dense, it is accessible and digestible. I love her writing style and detailed explanations of the systems of our body. There are diagrams, recipes for cleanses, medical advice, and so much more. 

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5. Brittany Wood Nickerson

This book was gifted me less than a month ago, I haven't really put it down. I go to it for anything from dinner recipes, her "vital roots" kimchi recipes, or her creative style of writing about the lifestyle she lives and insight she gains from it. I have always felt a deep sense of love and praise for the culinary herbs like rosemary, thyme, & oregano and she goes into detailed explanations of each. This book would be a great addition to anyone and everyone's life.

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6. Jeff Carpenter & Melanie Carpenter

When I found this book last year I couldn't believe it was real. They provide you with ALL of the information you would need if you were interested in running a medicinal herb farm. From how to build drying racks to the temperature to dry certain herbs at. They lay out all of their framework and how things flow for them. The book goes into detail about all of the uses of each herb, how much they yield from an acre of a specific herb, and so much more! A must have if you're interested in farming medicinal herbs. 

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7. Robin Wall Kimmerer 

I saved the best for last. This is one of the best books I have ever read. "Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants." Robin has a writing style that waxes poems about the trees, brings you to tears about motherhood, and provides information and studies about the ecosystems that are surrounding us. I loved the balance of it all. I will probably read this book once a year. Go pick it up, you will not regret it!

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one more idea! pick up a native species book & go on plant walks around your neighborhood or wildlife area. identify different friends along the way! this is such a simple and fun idea for a Sunday morning ritual. you'll be surprised to see how many plant allies are around, ones to help anything from your liver to your heart. it's fun to find a book that lists the energetic and spirit medicine of the plant as well! 

 

reach out with any questions

& happy reading!

 

Ritual Magic

Jessica Brown1 Comment

I believe that many of us are yearning for ritual in our lives. Feeling lost, we may or may not feel connected to any of the "American" traditions we grew up with and have hope for something that feels more meaningful.

Ritual may look different for each individual but I hope that my products can inspire a little more ritual magic in ones life. Follow your intuition, light a candle, ask yourself what you need. Start to dream up something you'd like to do every solstice or full moon, the sky is the limit and there are many celebrations to be had!

Creating ritual asks us to:

connect,

get creative,

& lead with the heart.

 

A Summer Solstice Full Moon Fire Ritual, 2014.    Photo taken by River Walker, Edit by Mia Pirillo

A Summer Solstice Full Moon Fire Ritual, 2014.

Photo taken by River Walker, Edit by Mia Pirillo

There are everyday self care rituals like making a morning elixir to send you on a magical day feeling loved and nurtured.

There are weekly rituals like attending or hosting a family/friend dinner to share space, ideas, & homemade dishes.  

There are monthly rituals like a new or full moon to remind us of our interconnectedness and community.

There are seasonal rituals like Spring Equinox or Winter Solstice to tune into our surroundings and commune with presence to the place and time of year we are in.

Tuning into the elements offers great inspiration for ritual: fire and water hold especially magical rituals for me. Sitting around a bon fire with my beloved friends can really instill a deep sense of peace and contentment. Making myself a special elixir to sip on with some sparkling water, tincture and flower petals helps me feel powerful and loved. 

This year was the first year I did not celebrate Christmas or New Years Eve in the traditional sense that I had before. It felt SO good, and it is not to say I will never again but to know there is a choice feels damn good. Instead, I created new rituals. Winter Solstice, the darkest and shortest day of the year. A beautiful time to sink deeply into the darkness and reflect. I took a hot herbal bath with my Sweet Dreams Bath Blend followed by a self massage with my Redwood Body Oil and made a biiiig pot of nourishing soup to share with our beloved neighbors. On New Years Eve our neighbors shared their yearly ritual with us. Sitting around a big bon fire, reminiscing and reflecting. At midnight, burning a sheet of paper with what we are letting go of from 2017 and what we are igniting and bringing forth in 2018. A simply beautiful night, an intentional way to start the new year. 

In the end, it seems as if what it always comes back to is connection. Ritual helps us better connect to ourselves, our environment, and our community. Ritual gives us meaning and inspiration, grounds us and brings us back to our center. 

Comment with any rituals you practice or are planning on practicing soon! 

xo,

Jess

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1.8.18 Welcome to Root, Rise.

Jessica BrownComment
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As the season shifts and I find myself more inclined to be inside cozied up to the fire, I decided it was time to begin sharing with you the creations I've been working on. A dream come to fruition. Last year was my first year realizing I would like to hone in on growing medicinal herbs and creating products from what I grew. Sitting here in January 2018, I am really feeling called to concentrate my growing efforts fully to medicinals. We will see what this year holds, I am so excitedly thumbing through the seed catalogues, and am inspired by the many dreams running through my mind and heart.

Root, Rise. is a labor of love dedicated to bring about awareness to self care rituals, herbal alchemy, and all of the magic that lives in between. I began practicing herbalism once I took a course with Jane Bothwell of the Dandelion Herbalism Center. As she taught us the ins and outs of her experience within herbalism, I finally felt that I was in a class that rang true, that felt like home. Everything in me lit up, a remembrance. Because if each one of us were to go back in our ancestry, we would realize that "herbalism" was not long ago a knowledge woven into everyday life, practiced by our family members. That different "weeds" and "foods" helped with this or that. Once I took this course I couldn't stop thinking about herbs and their properties. I started teaching myself by reading books that had been recommended to me, attending workshops, daydreaming, playfully making products for myself and loved ones. 

I feel strongly about bringing you the most potent and powerful product. The plants are with me every step of the way, through each season. Waxing and waning, growing and creating. The symbiotic relationship I find myself in nourishes and nurtures not only me, but the ecosystem and environment that surrounds me. I grow medicinal plants to reclaim my wildness, my truth. And in turn create potions and products that are imbibed with the true essence of magic. 

In my products you can truly taste, feel, or smell the freshness. Each one transports you right back to the actual plant. 

With very few ingredients the plant is able to come through strongly and clearly.

Thank you for joining me on this journey, I am so grateful you are here!