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Friday, June 29, 2012

Wild Rose Summer

As we head into the weekend it feels like summer has really began, even though it officially happened a few days ago with the Summer Solstice  But today marks the beginning of a Holiday weekend in my part of the world. It's also, officially, the last day of school, and that alone is cause for celebration in my opinion!

My wild rose, that joined the potato patch all on it's own, is in full bloom. The incredible wonderful smell is everywhere these days. So  it feels very "right" to be writing about this flower. The wild rose seems to be a symbol of summer as well.

Wild Rose is a Bach Flower essence.  It's main indication is to balance a sense of apathy or resignation, but as with all Bach Flower essences, the story goes much deeper than that.

Julian Barnard, in Bach Flower Remedies: Form & Function, writes about the symbolism between the Bach Flower Wild Rose and the fairy tale first told by the Brothers Grimm called Little Briar Rose.  The Disney version of this story is "Sleeping Beauty".  It turns out, in the original version, the Princess was put to sleep by magic decree of the thirthteenth Wise Woman. Hmm...

As Barnard explains, the Wise Woman caused everyone in the castle to fall asleep for a hundred years.  With everyone sleeping, and no one tending to the garden, the wild rose bushes grew up all around the castle tower.  The rose  thorns were the dimise of many a hopeful Prince that attempted to climb the tower, kiss the Princess and release the spell , and probably her father's wealth as well!  But once the rose was out in full bloom, one Prince, that apparently was hardy enough to withstand a few thorn pricks, was able to make it through the bushes, climb the tower and awake the Princess. They of course found true love and lived happily ever after.

The symbolism, according to Barnard, may be that Dr. Bach chose the Wild Rose Remedy for those who become apathetic and allow their will to fall asleep.  A few drops of the essence and your purpose may become clearer and you find the motivation to wake up and take an interest in things around you.

But the idea of a Wise Woman casting that sleeping spell instead of an evil witch really makes me reconsider the tale and take a look at Wild Rose in a different light.  Perhaps that Wise Woman really knew what she was doing.  Perhaps it was a gift to allow the Princess some time to "sleep off" all those  false alarms from guys that weren't hardy enough, or motivated enough, to make it past a few thorn pricks. Maybe Wise Woman really understood the value of taking some time to relax and allow external forces to get caught up with you.

Since I started writing this blog I've really noticed the cyclical nature of life.  Almost a year ago to the day, I was writing about Wild Rose. earlier post talked about the Kapha Dosha and how people with this personality are slow and steady. They are calm, unflappable, people. If out of balance, the Kapha personality can benefit from the boost of Wild Rose to get them out of an unpleasant situation they may have become resigned to. It's the motivation factor that gets you off the couch to change the channel to something you like better when the remote control has run out of batteries.

We often focus on the negative aspect of the Bach Flower remedies.  That's the easiest way to identify what you might need- by focusing on what isn't quite right.  But all the remedies have postive aspects as well and it's the balance in the middle that is important for true peace.

The postive aspects of the Wild Rose remedy is that you accept responsibility for your life and circumstances and use your initiative to make changes. In Sweet Shack and Bach Bar, Norma needed some Wild Rose to balance her Crown Chakra and reclaim the meaning in her life. But it isn't an impatient drive to succeed, forcing others to change or do what you think they should do. It isn't a frantic search for meaning and action.  It's about having the will to change what needs to be changed while maintaining that steady, calm, easy going nature that allows you to enjoy exactly what is in front of you.

 I'm not a big believer in waiting for princes, but I am a big believer in Wise Woman knowledge. So I'm thinking that Little Briar Rose's Wise Woman saw what the princess needed at that point in time was a good sleep.  It was the chance to just lay back, settle in, and wait for some other people to get their act together.  Sometimes we just need to let the roses grow without messing around with them,  pruning them back, or trying to invent versions that don't have thorns.

I figure it's no accident the wild roses come out in full bloom at the beginning of summer. I figure it's a symbol to settle into the beautiful weather.  It's nature telling us to relax and just let things be, and let things grow. A long weekend doesn't mean you have to "do" a million things to get caught up from a busy year of school and work, goals and objectives.  A long weekend means you can sleep later, go to bed earlier, enjoy the easy company of friends.  I think that might be a good motto for the whole summer season.

Let the Wild Roses bloom and the path will be easier!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Survivor Guilt, Vagus Nerve, and Bach Flower Pine

It's pretty hard to turn on a television, a radio, open a newspaper, or scan the Internet these days without being flooded with images and sounds that tug on the vagus nerve and our sense of empathy. 

A lot of the events that are being covered in my part of the world at least, really seem to carry a component of  "could have been me". We are seeing  floodings that cause mass evacuations, at the same time there are wildfires in other parts of the county.  These events could happen to anyone and that fact alone tugs on that vagus nerve.  One of the most shocking events perhaps, is the on-going rescue from a collapsed roof in a mall in Ontario. On the grand scale of things, "only" a dozen people are trappped, and possibily killed. It isn't a huge event, yet it's getting a lot of attention, and a lot of media coverage. It  is raising a lot of questions. It's also stimulating a lot of vagus nerve reaction in my opinion.

When I see people interviewed that are close to the event, I see, what I believe to be,  a lot of "survivor guilt".  This is a common phenomenon during tragic events. It's very prevalent among First Responders. It can be a contributing factor for Post Traumatic Stress Disorders. You see the horrific things that have happened to those around you and can't determine why you have been spared such horror.  You start to feel a sense of guilt that you survived what others didn't. We walk this fine line between feeling a sense of relief that our house isn't being washed away, our backyards aren't on fire, and our loved ones aren't trapped under rubble, and feeling guilty because our house is still standing just fine, our backyard isn't on fire and all our loved ones are accounted for. Even closer to the event, it's common to feel guilty that you got out of that mall somehow when others were left behind.  People start to question whether or not they should have done something they didn't. We feel responsible for the tragedy of others and guilty that we couldn't intervene somehow.

So we blame ourselves. And when we can't handle that level of angst we throw it back onto someone else as displacement behavior.  We blame the government for not putting more money into rescue operations, or for making the decisions they did. We blame the responders for not acting quickly enough or agressively enough. We blame corporations for creating structures that appear to be flawed, or building housing where natural disasters can occur. And the list goes on and on and on, until it comes right back to each of us personally, and we wonder deep in our hearts, why we are left when others aren't.

I also believe we feel some guilt over the connections we didn't quite see prior to a tradegy and the opportunities we think we have missed.  Maybe if you were in the mall that morning you bought a cup of coffee in that food court or a lottery ticket at the kiosk and you didn't really pay much attention to the interaction you had with that worker.  Maybe you didn't really acknowledge them, smile, or say something special. Had you known what was going to happen to them, you surely would have done something more significant- at least thanked them for being there? And the guilt mounts...

Survivor guilt is real and ligitmate and can be destructive to self and others. It isn't helpful.  But it also doesn't help to blame yourself for having a sense of blame!! So along with the heavy equipment that is rolling in to various areas of the countries and the specialized teams of responders, I wish we could roll in some compassion, some understanding, some honest recognition of the connection we all feel, and a case or two of the Bach Flower essence Pine.

Pine is indicated when you have a sense of guild and self-reproach. You blame yourself for everything that seems to have gone in the world.  You feel undeserving and unworthy.  You think you haven't done enough no matter how hard you tried. The joy of living is lost because you feel so guilty for not using your gift of life to the greatest advantage.

Julian Barnard, in Bach Flower Remedies Form & Function, writes the Pine condition develops over time.  For First Responders it can develop over extended operational periods, or years of seeing tragedy happen to others. As the world comes into our living rooms via live coverage of events, we experience that development as well. 

Dr. Bach wrote that the postive aspect of the Bach Flower Pine is to  "allow the Universal Love to flow through us to others". Hmm...

Again, it seems the "trick" to balance is to allow the flow rather than block, stop, or displace our emotions onto someone or something else.  It's about feeling the impact of tradegy and realizing that we are connected, we do feel a sense of the angst, but our job is not to fix it. At least not in the ways we might imagine.

Perhaps the answer is not to critcize the goverment, analyze the decisions that were made from our arm chair views, and try to find a reason why we are different or not connected. Any of those events could happen to any one of us. But they didn't.  That's not our journey right now.  And if we were supposed to fix or intervene, or experience it, we would have "been there done that".

It is our job to play our role and that's it. And perhaps playing our role involves some sort of energetic connection with others that doesn't involve "doing" but is about "being". Perhaps by tuning up our vagus nerve and allowing emotions to flow we do help others that are in the position to make a difference. Maybe it isn't about shutting off that connection but about feeling the loving connection.  Maybe it's not just about feeling that connection with the victims but also with the responders and with each other. I think that's what Dr. Bach meant when he talked about letting Universal love flow. Maybe when you pick up your coffee this morning, or you lottery ticket, or buy that item in the mall you'll allow yourself to connect just a bit with that stranger, not because it's your duty or your responsibility to make them feel good, just because we are all "in this together". Maybe instead of cricitizing the rescue efforts, we should just appreciate how difficult a task it must be.

In the face of all this tragedy, in a balanced Pine state, you don't judge yourself or ourselves. You accept yourself and your judgements.  You accept yourself as a person of power and value- exactly how you are right now. And with that acceptance comes acceptance of others and an acceptance of their decisions, judgements and actions.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Nail Polish Musings: Courage to Reveal Self

You never know when a seemingly casual conversation with someone will really end up having an impact.  Often, I think the other person involved in the conversation has no idea their thoughts and words will later make a difference. Such was the case for me and a conversation I had with someone over two years ago. Yup! took me two years to figure out the message...

At a party, I had remarked to this person that I liked her nail polish.  That's how casual this encounter was.  It just caught my eye. Totally coordinated with her outfit. Rather than just brush off the complement, we ended up talking about nail polish for a bit.  I told this person I admired nail polish on others but it "just wasn't my thing".  I explained that by times I had tried putting it on, but I really just didn't feel comfortable wearing it.  The thing is- this person understood that feeling.  Maybe it's more common than I would have thought!  She explained that at one time she had felt the same way,almost embarrassed to reveal that kind of "flash",  but believed you had to try it out and test the waters. She explained she was now very comfortable with it and enjoyed it.

See what I mean.. a pretty casual, seemingly superficial conversation.  And yet it wasn't. There was something else exchanged there that took me two years to figure out. Hmm..

I realize I do have some thoughts on nail polish that go way beyond the surface. Truth be told, there have been times in my life when I've been pretty disdainful of this decoration. It probably goes way back for me. I grew up with a Wise Woman that among millions of other things, was at one time, an "Avon Lady". There was an ample supply of samplings and trial packs and display items. I shrugged off  all that stuff.  I didn't want to gather with the women in the kitchen and get "practiced on". I escaped to the barn where I could get my hands dirty and work hard pitching hay, shoveling stalls out, or milking cow. I wanted to  feel rewarded for my skills, not my "being". The Wise Women let me go.

Later on in my life the nail polish re-emerged. When I started working in emergency services there weren't a lot of women in the field. And yet, of those that did, a surprising number of them were real nail polish wearers! I was kind of disgusted by that, truth be told. I thought they should "blend in" with the guys I guess and not flaunt such "girlish" attributes when working. I'm just telling it like it was, and remember, I've had some revelations about this! I once had a partner that could put on her lipstick, balance a coffee cup, and drive weaving in and out of heavy downtown city traffic with sirens wailing. All at once. Nail polish in tact.

At another point in my life when I was immersed in the English Horse Show & Jumping circuits, I discovered female trainers were of the "nail polish camp" as well.  I still really can't figure out how they do that.  They shovel out stalls, clean and adjust tack, feed and exercise huge animals and sport beautiful nails. I know for a fact most of them have broken a bone or two in their careers and yet somehow they don't seem to "break a nail"?? And in the Western world of barrel racing it's not much different. Hmm...

I guess a part of me admired those nail polish flaunts. But the surface part didn't at all.  I cut my nails short so they would be "functional".  I was pretty proud of scars on my hands and considered that evidence of how hard I worked.  I wanted to be seen as "capable" and tough I guess.  I thought nail polish signified something I didn't want revealed I guess.

So here's what I think now....

I think those Wise Women were having a lot of fun.  They were "tough as nails" and yet they gathered together and laughed and allowed their creative sides to take over. They painted their own nails, they painted each others' nails and they tried out all kinds of colors. They were so comfortable in their sense of self and their ability to perform, match up, and take on the world, that they could reveal their gentler, less serious, feminine side as well. They knew how to balance work and play, feminine and masculine energy.  No tug of wars for them  Hmm...

There might be a match here for the Bach Flower essence Agrimony. When in an Agrimony state you wear a mask to hide your true self. The mask is often a layer of humor. Perhaps it can also be a layer of disdain for nail polish? When an Agrimony type is balanced they have a real sense of self-acceptance so they don't need the mask anymore. They communicate openly and aren't afraid to reveal their true feelings. The mask comes off in a balanced Agrimony state and perhaps that allows an opening for true creativity.

If I had those earlier times back again, I think I would sit there at the kitchen table basking in the energy of those Wise Women. I think I would be very patient and involved while they painted my nails in glittery colors.  I imagine I would then skip out the door with my painted nails and go show them to the cows while I shoveled out the stalls.  I guess I could admire the glitter while I milked.  It isn't about having to choose, it's about having it all!

As I type this, my nails are a beautiful shade of green.  High Heart green actually  Maybe I'll invest in all the chakra colors of nail polish!  And if driven inside because of the rain or the bugs I suggest you celebrate with a bit of color. Better yet, have a color party and see what kind of casual conversations come up!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Alternative Therapies for Bug Bites

I realize it has been a tough weekend in a lot of areas. There have been major weather events such as wildfires, hurricanes, flooding and tornadoes. In many parts of the world political unrest is occurring and systems continue to be rattled everywhere. Strange and unusual events are occurring, including sudden roof and stadium collapses, shocking crimes and tragic death and destruction.  No one seems entirely removed from it all as we continue to move forward at a crazy pace these days.  However, in my own little part of the world, we still seem pretty detached from the "big collective drama" and I think that's worth celebrating.

In fact, it's official: summer has begun. And that seems like cause for celebration in itself. That means relaxing in the shade watching your crops grow.  It means the deck is opened, picnics are prepared, and we get to spend time closer to nature. But what's all that buzz about???

We had a rainy weekend and that kind of dampness, in combination with warm temperatures, has brought out the buzzing creatures of mosquitoes, black flies, bees, wasps and whatever other flying creatures seem to multiple in gigantic numbers and arrive at the picnic whether invited or not. In the big scheme of things, I realize that's not a huge issue.  But it can really be cause for irritation and it doesn't always have to be.

There are as many methods to repel them as there are creatures. Some of the "fixes" are no doubt as toxic to humans as they are to the bugs. In the natural world, there are lots of diet suggestions and ideas. You are supposed to eat bananas or not eat bananas- I can never remember which it is? Orange peel is supposed to work. Apple cider vinegar  is suggested. (I'm not sure if that works but I know our horses do like the taste of it!). If you find something that works, in my opinion, you should stick with it. I'm not convinced there is really a "cure all" approach, but if you've got something please write me a comment to explain it!

I do know there are a lots of alternative treatment suggestions once you have been bitten.  This is one of the events that can really convert a non-believer to alternative healing, because the results can be sudden, and immediate. I wrote about bug bites last year around about this time and the same treatments still apply

This year I would add the Perelandra combination essences of Immune and Lymphatic to the list. They may help prevent the reactions in the first place and work for both humans and animals. These are taken as a few drops  every day and work to build up your immune system. They are recommended for animal issues with ticks and fleas as well.   I have found ETS Plus for Animals helpful for animals (particularly horses) that seem "crazed" by the unrelenting nature of the bugs when the weather conditions bring them out in droves. Much like Bach Flower Rescue Remedy, it seems to have that relaxing, accepting and adjusting value.

To the Bach Flower essence list from last years posting, I would add Cherry Plum.  Similar to ETS Plus or Rescue Remedy, this essence might help if you feel the buzzing, itching, irritating nature of pests might drive you out of your mind. A few drops of Cherry Plum might be helpful for that picnic guest that can't sit still and flees to the car because the bugs are driving him out of his mind.

For many people, and animals, it seems as though early in the season, the reactions are more severe. Maybe we develop an immunity as the season wears on.  If the hives have appeared, the bites are red and swollen, and the itching is severe, I still am a huge fan of the homeopathic Ledum. It's the dramatic, "make a believer" remedy. A few pellets of Ledum and the hives  disappear.  It won't prevent the bugs from biting you but it might settle down the reaction and provide immediate relief once they have attacked you.  It's an excellent remedy to have in any human or animal first aid kit and just so happens to be the antidote for tetanus as well. I wouldn't  send a kid to camp without it!

Maybe there is a way to just "go within" and not be bothered or affected by the bugs. Maybe you can talk to the Deva of Mosquitoes like Wise Woman did once and work out an arrangement on acceptable territory! Maybe there are times of the year or times of the day when you just can't be that close to nature and you need to let the bugs have their chance in the scheme of things.  In other words, a "retreat policy"?

But in my opinion, the bugs might appear to make us take notice of the need for balance in a dramatic way.  Maybe if we are particularly bothered by their sting, it's a signal our immune systems need attention to protect us from something bigger as well.   Maybe the sting of the mosquito and the reaction is produces appears so we can appreciate the healing nature of Wild Rosemary from which Ledum is created. Maybe the irritation of some insects is providing a distraction in our focus so we are prevented from getting involved in bigger dramas and traumas. I guess if all I have to worry about is a bit of swatting and some itching, I'm doing okay in the bigger scheme of things.Hmm...

For that I am grateful. Bring on the buzz...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Animal Signs: Chipmunk

I was startled by something running around in the hay pile this morning. As soon as I discovered it was a Chipmunk, my pulse rate came down about 50% and I completely happy to have a conversation with my new rodent friend. And it really did feel like we had a bit of a conversation. Well, I guess he did most of the talking and I listened. He feels like a buddy to me.  I'm pretty sure it can't really be the same one, but it seems like I see him in my potato patch sometimes, I see him run under the deck, I watch him play in the woodpile sometimes, and I think  he has a house somewhere around the big tree with the planter. He seems to make a circular path around all these places of interest.

It struck me to wonder why I was perfectly okay with my visitor being a Chipmunk.  I was immediately relieved that it was a Chipmunk and not a mouse or some other creature.  There doesn't really seem to be a logical reason why a Chipmunk is quite okay by me, and a mouse just isn't. In fact, lots of people see chipmunks as more of an "issue" than mice in terms of potential damage. Sometimes I think creature reputations and our perceptions of them come from folk lore, stories and movies. For instances, snakes are often the villains,sort of sneaky and evil, while monkeys are happy and friendly, while in the wild I don't think that's quite the case. But there are  probably an equal number of cute little mice as there are chipmunks in stories and movies so that doesn't quite explain the difference in my mind either.

So then I considered the idea of power animals or animal spirit guides.  Maybe the Chipmunk has a certain energy that I just feel rather drawn to, or okay with, that explains my attraction and calmness. I guess I feel that way about certain people, so why wouldn't that extend to the animal kingdom as well. Hmm...

Steven Farmer in "Animal Spirit Guides", writes that the Chipmunk signifies trust that you are well protected and there is no real danger you have to face. Violet, at also describes Chipmunk energy as having a quality of trust and an absence of fear.

It seems that Chipmunk energy embodies the positive aspects of the Bach Flower essence Aspen. Chipmunks have a sense of assurance and inner security that allows them to move with confidence. It doesn't seem to me to be the quiet self-assured nature of a balanced Cerato type, it's a chatty, seeking adventure, fearless attitude that resonates more with Aspen.

Farmer, Violet and others all agree that the energy of the Chipmunk indicates a curious nature and a willingness to investigate anything that comes along. Chipmunks circle around and expand their circle finding all kinds of things along the way. In my opinion, this type of love of discovery, seems to resonate with the positive aspects of the Bach Flower essence Clematis. Chipmunks take lively interest in the world and their surroundings and just find pure enjoyment in that grounded interaction.  It doesn't seem like you can ever catch a Chipmunk daydreaming.  They are grounded in the moment, an active participant in their environment.

"My" Chipmunk seems to be equal parts worker and goof. I know he's busy storing food and creating things.  He runs back and forth between that potato patch and his multiple condos carrying things and filling his cheeks. It would seem he has a pretty long "to do list". I don't seem him sitting around fretting about where to start, ever. He's busy, decisive, and directed.  But sometimes, he really seems to be just busy having fun. It would seem he really enjoys his work and he engages in some lively conversations while doing it.  That would seem to be a fit for the positive aspects of the Bach Flower essence Hornbeam.  He finds that balance between work and play that speaks to pure enjoyment of the moment.

I think "my" Chipmunk is pretty balanced. I believe most animals in the wild are exactly who and what they are meant to be and likely enjoy emotional balance because of that.  But every once in awhile, it would seem as though this guy gets a bit crazy. He moves quickly whatever he's doing and he has a bit of that fidgety, hasty nature that resonates with the Bach Flower Impatiens. I once watched this guy try to pull a piece of cloth off the wood pile. It was stuck there pretty good and he really wanted it.  I think it started out as a game and then became a project for him.  I'm pretty sure he started cursing when he couldn't get it loose after awhile.  He got a bit absorbed in the whole thing and just "couldn't let it go". That kind of quick action can lead to accidents and when the cloth finally let go quite suddenly he fell pretty far pretty fast and had to shake his head a bit before getting back at it. He has also been known to make the dash across the driveway right in  front of cars when it seems he really should have waited. Maybe that's just his trust that I'll slow down, but all that sounds like just a wee bit of Impatiens to me.

All the animal energy sources I found, suggest that when a Chipmunk shows up you should consider protecting a project for a period of time. At they suggest you keep new projects out of sight for the first 6 week period. They compare this to the complex burrow system that a Chipmunk creates to offer protection for their new projects (their young). Farmer also writes that the appearance of a Chipmunk is a sign to keep a completed creative project to yourself for a few weeks before revealing it to others. Farmer also writes that if Chipmunk is your Power Animal, "noticeable and sometimes dramatic shifts and changes occur for you in either three-month or one-year cycles".  Hmm..

Maybe that cycle of changes and shifts is a cautionary note on a global sense.  Perhaps we are all feeling shifts and changes that require some reflection before bringing new ideas forward. Taking that time to allow actions to fully form or waiting till the timing is right also resonates with the calming, relax and allow, balance of the Bach Flower Impatiens.

There is no question that "my" Chipmunk wants to be heard today. Shortly after our morning conversation I received an email from a friend that included a picture of a Chipmunk.  Perhaps that's just pure coincidence, but I took that as a sign that Chipmunk energy is "out there today" and deserves to be listened to.

Happy scampering!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Solstice: Nurturing Light

Yesterday we moved into a New Moon in Gemini phase and today marks Summer Solstice and the sun in Cancer according to my We'Moon 2012 book.

Summer Solstice is a time for celebration. I wrote about Summer Solstice last year  It marks the longest day of the year for us in the Northern Hemisphere because the earth's axis is tilted towards the sun. It feels to me like the earth is turning her face to the sun for that warming, nurturing feeling of "all is right in the world". It is also the time that officially marks our moving from the season of spring into that of summer.

Summer Solstice has often been celebrated with agricultural type focus. It's considered a time when new life, having struggled to come back from the dormant times of winter, is truly being soothed and supported by warm sunshine, soft rains, and gentle breezes. During this gentle growth phase, it is also a good time for humans to "let go" and let nature take it's course. If you've put in your crops and struggled through some shifting temperatures, long days and physical labor during the spring, now is the time to step back for a minute to enjoy a period of relaxation until it's time to harvest.  Growth is now happening that is beyond your control.  Hmm...

It sounds good to say you are just going to sit back and let things take their course, being soothed by the light.  It's not always so easy to do that in my opinion. The New Moon in Gemini can make it a bit difficult to settle into that lawn chair as well. Gemini energy is about duality and we tend to juggle the possibilities, being unsettled between action and relaxation, doing and letting, thinking and being. Just when you think you've picked one and it's time to settle into that hammock, you are struck with a thought of something you really should do.  As soon as you get started in that activity you think you should just drop it all and go settle into the hammock.. and back and forth you go...  The Bach Flower Scleranthus might be helpful for that

With the sun in Cancer, there's a good chance what drove you out of the relaxing hammock was the thought that there was something you needed to do for someone else. Cancer is a water sign and people that are Cancer "types" or born under this sign, seem to be very good at providing emotional support for others. They nourish everyone else and encourage strength in others. That's the power of the sun during summer solstice as well.  We look to nature to provide that soothing opportunity to feel protected, carried for and looked after. And nature provides.

Perhaps because of this energetic feeling of nurturing, and the human struggle between "doing" and "allowing", sometimes this sense of nurture gets a bit misplaced in my opinion.  I think at this time of year, we can get really caught up in doing things for others. Parents are busy signing kids up for summer camps and activities. We get the idea that we need to provide the perfect "summer vacation" for everyone. There's that whole "prom dress nightmare" going on  And if that weren't enough, during this shifting times, most people I know have some sort of crisis occurring within their circle of friends or family that can draw energy away from self in an effort to provide for others. I'm not saying that kind of loving concern and help isn't important and valuable, but it's always about finding balance.

Summer Solstice it would seem isn't supposed to be a "heavy" event.  It isn't about that internal reflection that Winter Solstice might be. I don't think it's about reflection, setting your course, or focusing intention. I think it's meant to be "light". Isn't that the point?  Light in terms of celebrating what's easy, what is being done for you, what is good and positive in your life. It's about recognizing that sometimes the best thing you can do for everyone is to look after yourself and if that means lying in the hammock with your face to the sun or feeling the rain- go for it. Once you feel nourished yourself, you'll have energy for others. And if those "others" in your life are doing the same thing, they might not need your help anymore. Maybe they didn't really need it in the first place!

So, in my opinion, today should be a day of doing whatever feels good and easy for you. In fact it might be a good day to "do" nothing.  In searching for today's picture I found a great blog  If you need to do something to celebrate Summer Solstice this seems like just the ticket.  Heather Fontenot, the author of this blog gives instructions for making Fairy Wands, Fairy Baskets, and my personal favorite the Sun Candles of today's picture. That's the kind of "light" I'm talking about! 

So let go of the need to "do" today and just enjoy the sun in your face, the light in your world, and the love that nature provides.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Book Review: Daughters of Copper Woman

Last week was a pretty busy one. I was caught in a lot of very practical, grounded, action-orientated energy. Stuck perhaps in that "day job to pay the bills" type cycle. I was working with a lot of men in power positions and let's just say there was a lot of masculine energy being thrown around. I am learning the value of trying to keep things in balance, so in the down time in between the action, I read Daughters of Copper Woman, by Anne Cameron.

One of my editors talked to me about this book a few months ago.  She told me she had been reminded of Cameron's book when she first read Sweet Shack and Bach Bar  She was surprised I had never even heard of this book. Apparently it's a classic. Although I am a writer, I am not very literary. I read books that jump out at me or for pure entertainment. If I don't like a book, I've learned to allow myself to stop reading it. I try to be "literary" sometimes. I have copies of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, War and Peace.   I keep these copies in our family emergency survival kit. I teach people they should have these kits made up in case of an emergency. I suggest they include, along with all the practical items like food and water, flashlights, a radio and spare batteries,  small (non-electronic) games or books that might keep you amused during long stretches of power failure or during evacuation. I put those paperback books in there for myself. I figure that's the only way I'm ever going to read them!  That's the balance thing.

However, when your editor mentions a book to you, and then even lends you her copy, I figure you should read it!  I opened this book up with great expectations of entertainment. When I first started it I struggled a bit. It wasn't quite capturing my interest and I didn't "get it". I let it sit for a bit. This week I picked it up again and was hooked!  Couldn't imagine why I wasn't that impressed for the first couple of chapters.

Daughters of Copper Woman, is the story of creation according to Native American mythology. Cameron wrote the stories as told to her by women who believed it was time to let the secrets free. The book was published in 1981. Perhaps that was the first time, they believed it was both safe and timely to share the secrets of the Secret Society of Women, a powerful group within their culture.

As I was reading this book I was feeling this was no doubt groundbreaking feminist literature when it first came out. Apparently it is now considered an "underground classic". It is very much a celebration of the power, intelligence, and positive force of women. It  is not derogatory towards men as much as it rather dismisses them. The first male character to appear in the book, and he does come in rather late, is called "Snot Boy". He is pitied more than anything for his incomplete growth. The other characters don't dislike him, or fight with him and I appreciate that.  He's just rather inconsequential and they understand they need to help him through things a bit. We get the feeling he will eventually evolve to a more intelligent life form, but he still has come no where near it by the end!  I carried around the thoughts of "Snot Boy" when I watched some posturing this week. Hmm....

The book is positive affirmation of the power of feminine energy and Wise Woman knowledge. It's about feeling good about where you came from and where you might be going. It's a story about the creation of the world, the cycle of life, and the importance of sharing wisdom. It's about knowing when to share the secrets: when the time is right and the audience is receptive. Hmm...

It turns out Anne Cameron has written over 30 books, including the award winning Dreamspeaker, first written as a screen play and made into a movie.  This website for Copper Woman  describes the book in detail as well as some of the others she has written.  I'll be looking for Dzelarhons, the sequel to Daughters of Copper Woman.

Maybe underground classics are finding new growth. Maybe it is through seeds that were planted in 1981 when this book was first published that we enjoy greater understanding of who we are and the power of balance today. I hope we no longer need to keep that secret.

I'm pretty sure this book was talked about when it first came out. I rather imagine groups of women enjoyed the company of others and mentioned how they felt about the book.  Maybe they shared a glass of wine or two during formal and informal discussions and book reviews. I wonder if it had an impact for Native American women. I wonder if they are sharing Wise Woman knowledge with their children.  I wonder if Snot Boy has been let in on the secrets at all? Maybe he has a book to write too?

There is so much to be learned from this book that I believe can be used in the hear and now. It is defiantly a book worth reading. I will be buying my own copy once I return mine so I can share the secrets too. It's the kind of book that deserves to be read slowly, in pieces so you can absorb the information and then go back for more clarification once you have found your own truths. And that's the power of Wise Woman knowledge: to apply old wisdom to new issues.

Here's to balanced evolution.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Weeding without Judgement

Yesterday was kind of a fast paced crazy day in my world.  It came out of nowhere and since I wasn't expecting it I found myself scrambling to sort it out and keep up, responding to all kinds of unrelated issues and events. Today I expected more of the same so I was prepared to "handle it". And perhaps that's why- it was a really calm day. Hmm...

There is a tendency, at least for me, to respond to increased activity and chaotic energy with the same type of energy level. And once you reach that point and start making decisions and "doing things", it gets a bit hard to wind back down and get out of that cycle.  In my opinion, that's what happens in a lot of workplaces. Someone or some event or deadline sets the pace and everyone else responds in kind and by the time you know it days, weeks, maybe even years have gone by with this intense level of stress. It might actually start out as productive energy, but somewhere along the way the deadline passed and  it becomes just energy. It loses the focus and because gaps and lulls get filled in with unnecessary issues and problems and the whole thing is just a ball of stress. 

I remember that feeling so I try to avoid it.  I caught myself in that tornado of energy this morning. There was a temptation to "keep doing" if for no other reason than preventing another day like yesterday. We have this idea that if we are "proactive" we will get ahead of the game.  Yet, it doesn't seem to actually work like that. So today, when there was a lull, and a beautiful sunny day, I purposefully walked away from the technology and the work issues and I went outside to weed the garden.

I realize for most people, weeding the garden, isn't a big deal, a new action, or an enlightening moment. But for me, this is transformative action.  I don't weed.  I plant things, like my potatoes, and flower bulbs and then I "walk away". I rejoice when the intended vegetable or flower appears. I talk to them and admire their growth.  But when unintended "things" arrive, I enjoy them too.  I don't really understand why you would pull out a dandelion and plant a yellow flower for instance.  That just doesn't make sense and it would seem one person's "weed" is in fact, another person's flower.  Many so called weeds are medicinal in nature and highly useful. So, even if I have no idea what they are, I just say Hello to them and figure they have a right and reason to be there.

It isn't really because of laziness that I don't pull weeds.  It's something deeper than that- at least most times.  I am afraid to be the judge.  I'm afraid I will choose one plant over another and in my decision making process will take away something really valuable. So I just let them all "fend for themselves" and work it out.

The first couple years of putting in a garden, this approach actually worked. And it still seems to work for the potaoe patch, because of the seaweed I guess. But after a few years of new layers of horse manure, flowers going to seed, and some good soaking rains, my beds of flowers are just massive overpopulated green masses. There might be flowers in there, but it's mostly just a mass of green all sort of struggling to rise to the top. 

So... where to start.  I debated about this and tentatively pulled out a couple of bunches of what was obviously oats. I had some equine help with this. The horses told me if I would please pull them out and throw them over the fence they would make sure they were well taken care off.  Before I knew it I was pulling like crazy.  I realized I didn't have to "judge" whether this plant was better than another. I just had to pick for the moment and make space for something to really flourish.  I realized that if I did pull out a bulb or two or something that might have been quite beautiful, there was no doubt "more where that came from". Once I started pulling and filling that wheelbarrow, I realized the ground below was really rich and beautiful in it's own right and I started to imagine what I might create there- not forever, just for this season. Hmm...

I think this is a life lesson.  I believe we are sometimes "too careful about what we wish for". We get "allowing" mixed up with "choosing" or become so caught in the need to allow and the fear of choosing  that we stop putting our intentions out. I'm thinking when this happens we get a whole lot of everything, but nothing really gets to mature to it's full capacity and we never really see the color of anything because the roots are all struggling to get a hold in something. I believe some of the fear is thinking that we are making a choice "forever" rather than in the "here and now". Maybe we are conditioned to think this way a bit. It's about choosing a career when you're 15 that will last you to retirement. We tell kids to choose wisely because once they choose, that's it- no going back. Hmm...

But it would seem you can go back. Nature does that every single year. Sometimes more than once a year. It's a continual cycle of "do overs".  If you really like what you plant one year and it grows well and looks beautiful you can plant it again or in some cases, tend to it so that it will reappear. But if you don't or you want a change, you just get back to the dirt and start again.

There is a Bach Flower that resonates with this fear of choosing or judging. Wild Oat comes to mind.  In a Wild Oat state, everything in the garden looks like it has potential. All options have merit and are beautiful and for that reason it becomes really hard to pick. And yet, all those possibilities don't quite seem right either. You keep waiting for someone else to do the choosing for you. You almost hope for possibilities to be withdrawn or eliminated so you don't have to pick. Yet, you feel the dissatisfaction in that as well.  Perhaps it is no coincidence that the horses told me to pull out those Wild Oats first!!!

So.. pick a color, make a choice, choose a direction, plant some flowers.  You get a "do-over" if you don't like it. You get a "do-over" if you do like it!  It isn't about picking forever. It's picking what feels right, at this particular time. But first you might have to get rid of some stuff so you can see the dirt! Happy weeding!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Butterflies, Wanning Moon and Emotional Release

Today has been kind of a crazy day in my part of the world.  It was busy with sort of "unexpected" things and I found myself following a number of different directions and multi-tasking none too well. I wasn't the only person feeling some pretty fast paced and intense emotions.  There was a lot of banter going back and forth on issues I wouldn't have thought would have been controversial. Despite it being a beautifully, sunny, "picture perfect" day, emergency responders were busy all over the place responding to motor vehicle accidents. It just seemed like the energy was chaotic for no known reason.

I checked in to see if it might be solar storm stuff.  I guess I'm doing a very unofficial, not very scientific, study on that. basically means, when I feel this weird sense of chaos and see evidence of it in my part of the world, I check the space weather site.  Sure enough, solar activity is high today according to the site and there is lots of stuff going on.  Maybe we should receive this activity level as part of the weather forecast.  Maybe it's more important to put up a shield or consider the Violet Flame when solar flares are happening than it is to remember to take an umbrella for predicted downpours?

So in between a number of chaotic electronic missives, I found myself outside. I really wasn't thinking about connecting with nature, although that would have been a good idea.  I was thinking about doing a couple of neglected chores and had them added to my already too lengthy "to do" list.  Suddenly a huge monarch butterfly was flying all around me. I guess I rather ignored her at first so she sat on my wheelbarrow and got really "in my face" and seem to be wanting to lead me away from my thoughts.  Hmm...

I've written about butterflies before. They are a powerful symbol of transformation. Steven Farmer in, Animal Spirit Guides, writes when a butterfly shows up you should lighten up and stop taking everything so seriously.  Hmm...

Farmer also writes that Butterfly energy is about getting ready for a change,
"one where an old habit, way of thinking, or lifestyle is going out, and a new way of being is emerging"
I don't think transformation comes all that easy to any of us.  It's a process and sometimes a challenging one.  Farmer suggests that the Butterfly reminds us we will get through the transition and perhaps we would get through it easier if we stopped taking things so seriously.

Another source I check when the energy feels weird to me is my We'Moon 2012 calender.  It turns out today marks a Waning Moon in Pisces. Another, Hmm...

The Waning Moon is a time to let go of things that don't serve you anymore.  Pisces is all about emotions and feelings, so when I put those together, I figure today is a day for letting go of emotions that might be holding you back and preventing, delaying, or obstructing the transformation.

It seems when we don't allow the release and go with the flow, we cause a bit of chaos and destruction. When we "fight" with traffic the accidents pile up and we are forced to stop. When we banter back and forth we just keep ourselves "clogged up" in non-action instead of allowing something new to take shape.

There are some Bach Flower essences that can help with transformative energy and allowing the release. Cherry Plum, Star of Bethlehem, and Walnut all have a fit.

Cherry Plum is helpful if you are so worried about the release that you try to maintain tight control.  When you do that you prevent the transformation from taking place, or you force the separation to be a painful one.

Star of Bethlehem resonates with the energy of the Butterfly. It is the Bach Flower essence of transformation. It isn't always an easy process and that's when Star of Bethlehem can provide some soothing relief.

Walnut might just be what's needed in these times of change to provide some protection. Like the Violet Flame, Walnut can provide some help when outside influences such as solar flares, magnetic storms, moon phases and atmospheric conditions are playing havoc with your emotions.  Perelandra ETS is helpful for these kinds of conditions as well.

Maybe I should listen to my own advice now and then or at least read my own posts!  Maybe today is a day to just stop, take stock, follow a butterfly trail for a few minutes and allow the transformation to occur. 

Happy flight...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Tarot Card Rebel: Allowing Self

I had a Tarot Card reading done for the first time the other day.  It was fun, rather enlightening, and it didn't hurt a bit! I have Angel Cards and Goddess Cards  I use sometimes. I even have a deck of Tarot cards somewhere but never really knew how to use them.  Sometimes I think aids like this can help you realize who you are. They are a nudge towards introspection. And that, in my opinion, is a good thing.

One of the cards that came up, and the one that we really talked about in detail, was the Rebel.  That's probably no surprise to my friends and family.  It really wasn't a surprise for me.  I love a Rebel. I always have. And I'm proud to feel there is a Rebel in me. It's an energy I am drawn to and appreciate.  I think we all have "rebel energy" inside us and perhaps in this changing world it's coming to the surface for more and more people.

It turns out the Rebel is a major arcana card which  means this isn't just a passing fad or a temporary subplot.  A major arcana is a persistent theme in your journey. Hmm..

Rebels like to challenge the rules.  But it isn't about challenging the way things are done for the sake of a fight- not quite.  It's about challenging them because they just don't feel right inside. Rebels are drawn to chaos, that type of spinning energy feels like the "winds of change", but they don't really get caught up in the drama so much as they just use that type of pace to shuffle things around so they can find their center.

I think Rebel energy is sometimes aided by the Bach Flower essence Wild Oat Rebels know there is something different out there for them. They feel the pull from multiple directions and it can be hard to find the right path. It's tough to settle on a course that is really and truly right.

We hear a lot of talk these days about manifesting from intention. That's sort of what "The Secret" was all about and it is a theme that persists. That idea can make a rebel... well... rebellious.  Perhaps even a little crazy. We talked about "allowing" in my Tarot reading. If you have finally figured out what's right for you, what your true path is, perhaps with the help of some Wild Oat, some mis-takes, some hard lessons, and some scattered pursuits that you didn't quite finish, you aren't likely to want to wait for that intention to be manifested. If the words, "wait" and "allow" twist something deep inside you, you might be a rebel. And you might be a rebel that could use a bit of the Bach Flower essence Impatiens.

In order to really follow through on your journey, maybe you have to go through a period of reflection and review. That might also be part of the allowing and the timing of things.  Maybe you have to release all those things you gathered to you in your rebel seeking days that no longer fit. I'm not sure all this review and release is conscious. I'm sort of hoping it happens at a deeper level. Maybe it happens when you're doing the dishes, or putting in the laundry, or writing up that report, or trying to fix your computer crash.  Then when everything is properly aliened, and Venus has gone through transit, the moon is in the right phase, and a million other things you aren't even aware of occur, you find yourself exactly where you know it's right to be. Ahh....

The Rebel in us all is about shedding the things that don't fit or feel right. Just because it's right for someone else doesn't mean it's right for you. The chains in the Rebel card picture are broken to symbolize that shedding, breaking away, and releasing. When you trust yourself and find you true inner core you won't have to be rebellious anymore.  You'll have inner peace and trust.  You'll have the true balanced nature of the Bach Flower essence Cerato. It might be helpful to take a few drops of that if you find yourself slipping back to someone else's idea of what might be right for you.

My Tarot reading was a pretty spontaneous event.  I didn't go thinking I had a specific reason, or an intention. I just kind of "found myself there". I also had a card come up that symbolizes sharing or teaching. I had no idea what I was going to write on this blog today and yet it was haunting me to write something. So I'm going to take that as a sign that this idea of the Rebel might be a truth for more people than just me.  That this is something I'm meant to share. That perhaps, there is Rebel energy out there for many people that wants to just be acknowledged as part of the journey.

I think it might just be rebels that change the world.  Not by overthrowing governments or changing systems, or protesting. I think it might happen, one soul, and one journey at a time as we all rebel as individuals until we find the peace within.

Rebels rule! You are the boss of you!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Venus In Transit and the High Heart Chakra

There seems to be a sense of anticipation in the air that is adding to the intensity of things these days.  Today seems to be a monumental one, maybe every day is, but this one seems to be catching a lot of attention. Apparently Venus is "on the move" today. Venus is in transit which means over the course of six hours Venus will track directly between the earth and the sun. This means, given correct atmospheric conditions and location in the world, you could actually see what will look like a small black dot track across the sun. Today's picture is from the National Geographic website and is a picture of Venus in Transit the last time this happened- in 2004. Notice the little dot to the right of the sun in the picture- that's what Venus in Transit looked like then.

But wait! Before you decide you have better plans for today and will just catch it next time around- chances are you won't.  Venus in Transit is very rare. According to scientists, it won't occur again until 2117.  Apparently this alignment of Venus, Earth and Sun, come in pairs, eight years apart. So the one in 2004 was the first one for 243 years, today's is the second pairing of this event. After today- it won't happen again for a couple of hundred years.  Who knows what plans you might have by then.
Venus in Transit appears to be a very big deal.  There are entire websites devoted to this event- many of them quite scientific in nature. This line-up is something that attracts a lot of science, observation, and mystic. In my opinion, it seems we understand this to be a rare event. That is backed by science.  We also seem to feel this is an important event. But, at least to me, it seems unclear and unknown, exactly why we feel this is important other than the fact that it is rare. Hmm...

It seems there are, or at least were, a few doomsday predictions on this line-up. Some of them seemed linked to the Mayan Calender and 2012 as a whole.  But as we get closer to the event, and now are virtually "in the event", those doomsday theories seem to have, well... faded into the sunset! It doesn't feel like the world will end and yet it feels like something should be, might be, possibly will, happen. 

According to lots of "ologys": (astrology, mythology) and perhaps philosophy, the Planet Venus is considered Goddess of Love. We'Moon 2012 writes that this Venus Transit is the Planet Venus dancing before us illuminated by the Sun's full face. We'Moon suggests we allow Venus to "bring loves passionate imperatives into our troubled and confused world".  Hmm.. That, to me sounds, rare, beautiful, positive, and possible. Why not?

Venus resonates with the Heart Chakra.  The heart chakra isn't just about love and relationships, it's also about love of self and a loving connection with your soul, your higher self.  There might be a special resonance between Venus and the High Heart Chakra

It seems to me if you've been feeling the pull of the Full moon  from yesterday and letting go of those ideas and constructs that don't seem to work for you, today under Venus Transit ,would be the perfect time to allow your heart to fill with self-acceptance and the ultimate peace that comes with loving yourself and understanding you are exactly who you need to be.

I wonder about the pairing significance of Venus in Transit.  Perhaps today is a good day to look back at where you were in June 2004 and think about how things might have changed since then and what your heart is now ready for or healing from. Under the power of strong planetary influence you can bring that energy to you.
In Sweet Shack & Bach Bar, Jeanne had issues of the heart chakra.  She could have used the loving force of Venus in Transit.  Wise Woman gave her Red Chestnut, Willow and Chicory to help balance her Chakra and understand the ultimate sense of love comes from within. She also gave her Molten Chocolate Cake (the recipe is in the book).

Maybe the world will look different tomorrow.  Maybe the world will feel different tomorrow. Maybe we'll have a new understanding of who we are. Maybe we will all be a little different once Venus dances for us.  Maybe we'll all have just a bit more loving energy. Rare events are worth celebrating of that I'm sure. And what's a celebration without a bit of chocolate?  Cheers to Molten Chocolate Cakes and the dance of Venus!


Monday, June 4, 2012

Full Moon in Sagittarious and Lunar Eclipse

If you've been feeling a little restless, unsettled, or have been struggling to find a new focus, you just might be feeling the influence of a the moon once again.  Today we move into a Full Moon in Sagittarius phase.  In other words: caution, intense internal exploration ahead!!

According to We'Moon 2012, the moon in Sagittarius gets us moving. We are restless and feel the need to move or explore, perhaps into the unknown, perhaps into the wilds of nature. This kind of Sagittarius energy provides a flow of energy and action that expands us past the ordinary boundaries to which we are accustomed. I've written about the energy of Sagittarius before and the connection to some Bach Flower essences that might be pretty helpful right about now.  If you are feeling too rushed and impatient to click on that link to the earlier post- let me give you a hint: you might feel the need for a bit of Impatiens today!

Sagittarius is a fire sign. That signals transformative, intense, power and a energy that tests the boundaries and goes beyond.  It is also considered a "mental sign", so the change and power of Sagittarius energy is often focused on philosophical things, changes of thinking, new concepts and methods of action.

Sagittarius's like to look at the big picture and far horizons. They are drawn to travel and far away places, other dimensions, radical change. They are said to offer sage advice.  They are not so good at focusing on the details. Sagittarius's are always up for a "road trip" or some astral travel, but they are likely to forget to fill the tank with gas or program their space ship for a save return. Hmm...

A Full Moon is intense no matter what sign it's in.  It's a good time to think about what you no longer want to carry around with you and let things go.  In this time of restless energy you might be feeling frustrated with your current responsibilities to the point that you want to escape the routine or move on to something new. If you aren't a detail orientated person at the best of times, this energy can really make it hard to focus on what is right in front of you requiring input and attention. A few drops of Hornbeam, one of my personal favorites,  might be really helpful to get you through the day with some degree of focus and attention if you can't "go with the flow".

As if times weren't intense enough, this Full Moon is combined with a Lunar Eclipse. Unlike a solar eclipse, which often causes us to focus on society as a whole, a lunar eclipse is said to cause us to look closely within. So combine the fiery, philosophical energy of Sagittarius  with that and you're likely to feel the need for internal change. Chances are you are more than ready to let go of something you've been carrying around for a long time. You might just be ready to totally change your thinking on something and embrace a new way of being.

So while Bach Flowers can help you balance your emotions through some intense times, it might also be a good time to sit by yourself for a few minutes and let the powerful energy just move through you.  Rather than fighting against the change we feel inside maybe it really is time to embrace new thoughts, engage in some introspection and let go of constructs, ideas, and responsibilities that no longer feel right for us. Under this full moon, consider what is holding you back. Maybe they don't really have to accept that hold. Maybe it's time to lighten up?

In my opinion, nature is providing us with some powerful fuel at the moment. This kind of energy can help us think outside and beyond the box. There may just be a whole new way of doing things that makes you capable of meeting all your obligations, filling in all the details,  feeling  unconstrained in the process. The full moon is a time of insight and illumination. Channel that energy within, unbuckle your seat belt and enjoy the ride.

Peaceful travels!