Finding Balance with Spring Equinox

Spring Equinox is here! And a Super Full Moon too! 

Spring Equinox is one of my favorite days of the year. The balance of night and day, yin and yang, earth and heavens is palpable to me. It is the pull of the awakening of life after a cold lifeless winter. 

Spring is also the return of the Wood Element. We see green sprouts growing around us while within in us the yang energy also awakens. We feel this instinctively though it often goes unnoticed in our busy lives.

For the last two decades I have recognized and celebrated the Spring and Vernal Equinox, Summer and Winter Solstice and cross days like Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, Samhain. I pay attention to the changing of the seasons for reasons I can’t explain. It feels essential for my mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.

These rituals connect to the universal energy around me and tune me in with natural cycles. And affected by in infinite ways I only understand in fragments. On days like today, with the Equinox and Full Moon energies, it’s easier to feel the connection. Revel in it!

May you find balance in life and love and be in harmony with the cosmic qi around and within you! 

Happy Spring, y’all!! 

With love,

Jessica 

when energy flows, wellness grows 

Winter Musings (in a Redwood forest)

I have been in heaven the last few days. The medicine of fog and rain, mixed with a little sunshine and rainbows has been just what I needed. Although the grey dreary days of North Coast winters can contribute to seasonal depression, it is a great reprieve from the dry, cold winds of Colorado. My spirit needs moisture!

The weather is maritime and mild and many of favorite plants are thriving and saying hello, so I have been enjoying the walks around our land. We are only about a mile from the Pacific ocean and as I wander through the redwoods, I can hear the waves crashing while I harvest self-heal, yarrow, violet, and plantain leaves for my tea. The ocean being the Water element incarnate, I am even more nourished by this winter ritual.

Nature heals. If you aren’t sure about that, go take a walk among trees, sit at the edge of a lake or river, or gaze at the mountains in the distance. Take three deep breaths and notice how you feel. Are you more relaxed, content, or at peace? If not, take a few more deep breaths and reflect on what you are grateful for. Give thanks for every breath you are blessed to take.

For the love of plants,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

 

Simple & Nourishing Tisane

I’m paying homage to my first herb teacher, Jane Bothwell, with my recipe post today.

This was probably one of the first herbal blends I ever made, and definitely the first I drank that wasn’t Celestial Seasonings Chamomile, Peppermint, or Sleepy Time.

I remember Jane speaking of each plant with love and reverence. Although I hadn’t really been exposed to herbalism, everything she said made sense. The way she spoke about herbs resonated deep within me and I knew at that very first class that herbalism would be a part of my life.

Thank you Jane for sparking my passion for herbal medicine!

Simple & Nourishing Herbal Tisane

1 handful of Nettles

1 handful of Milky Oats or Oatstraw

1 handful of Spearmint

1 handful of Red Raspberry leaves

If you have access to these herbs fresh- perfect! If not, dried is wonderful too!

Steep herbs in 1 quart of boiled water and steep for 15-20 minutes (or sit for a couple of hours in the sun)

Strain herbs (or not- herbalists like to strain through their teeth, lol!)

Sip and be nourished.

 

With love,

 

Jessica

My Love of Herbal Medicine Making

I love it when my clients say that they make their own medicine or grown their own herbs. I firmly believe that our strongest medicines are the ones we make ourselves. Don’t get me wrong. Part of my business relies on sales of formulas I make and sell, but I am almost giddy when I her that a client wants to make her own tea, tincture, or salve.

I know the strongest medicine is what you make yourself. It’s also not something everyone can or wants to do. It gives me great joy to formulate for people, infuse my magic and love into their blends, and then give them with confidence that the herbs are going to have a profound impact on their lives.

Working with plants has completely changed my life. I am so grateful for their teachings, for their wisdom, for the life they provide us all. I am honored to be a voice for the medicinal herbs, for the wildflowers, and for the trees. There are many online herb schools to choose from. I encourage you to deepen your connection with plants; your life will be forever enriched.

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Solstice Celebration of Life

Today we celebrate Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year where yang is at its peak. For some of us it signifies the beginning of summer, others Midsummer. The fiery nature of summer has been increasing since Spring Equinox and on this most yang day of the year, we celebrate the Sun and all its life giving properties! We give thanks for the abundance of food, herbs, and flowers that provide all the sustenance we need. We are truly blessed to be a part of this world.

After today the days begin to shorten as yang energy decreases and yin energy once again begins to rise. Enjoy this slow process of moving from Fire into Metal. Observe where you may feel out of balance with this seasonal shift. Rejoice when you feel the passion and joy that summer brings.

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Lovin’ those Evergreen Foot Baths

This recipe is inspired by the Tree Walk I took with Deb Soule and Kate Gilday at the International Herb Symposium and for my love of our life giving conifers. Thank you Deb and Kate for your gentle wisdom.

Take a walk through your favorite grove of conifers and breathe deeply, giving thanks for the life they have provided for millions of years. Look down and see if there are any offerings of small branches with fresh green needles on them. If so, gently pick them up and bring a small bundle back to your house.

Put the branches in a large pot and cover with water. Put lid on pot and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, turn down heat and take out one cup of tea for yourself and slowly sip. Cover again and simmer for 20 minutes. Take out another cup of tea for yourself.

Once the water is warm enough to use as a footbath, pour water (with or without branches) into a small tub. Soak your feet for 5-10 minutes while drinking the tea. Allow the strength of the trees to come up through your roots, helping you to stand tall and true in your convictions. Breathe and give thanks.

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

A Peaceful Journey

May has been one full of dramatic changes. It hasn’t just been the weather, where we have had 80 degree days, thunderstorms, hail and snow all within a couple of weeks. The shifts have also been of heart and soul.

Many of us are coming to grips with the undeniable injustices that are occurring all over the place. These horrific acts have always been happening, but now with the internet we know exactly when they happen and sometimes we even get a live feed.

We want to know what’s happening so we can try to change it. I just don’t know if our psyches are able to assimilate all the information that comes at us in newsfeeds, notifications, and pop-ups.

I know for me it is overwhelming and downright obnoxious. Knowledge is power, but a lot of what we see is not knowledge, but distraction and opinion pieces that look like real news. How are we supposed to know what is important and relevant and what is just written to rile us up.

As I sit here upset with the way things are, I remember that I can help change what I don’t like to see in the world. My place is just to remind others, and myself, that it is our relationship with Nature that will bring about the greatest peace. I just have to find peace within myself and then I will be much more peaceful and loving towards others (easier said than done!).

Here’s my Peaceful Journey Blend that I will be dousing myself with all day today, and probably the next 4 years! Remember, use organic and ethically wild-crafted herbs and essential oils whenever possible! And use those precious essential oils sparingly!!

Peaceful Journey Blend 

3 drops Mt. Shasta Lavender essential oil- relaxes NS, reduces anxiety

3 drops Clary Sage essential oil- brings clarity to thoughts and feelings

2 drops Mandarin essential oil- transforms energy

2 drops Frankincense essential oil- reduces pain and sorrow

Add all essential oils to 1 ounce carrier oil (I Love apricot kernel oil). Mix well. Put in a roll-on bottle and anoint yourself when you need clarity and relaxation.

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows 

Being Compassion: The Wood Element

Ahhh, Spring is here! Equinox always brings me to tears of joy as I witness the balance of yin and yang on our planet and feel it harmonizing within me. Winter is damn hard for many of us, and Spring bring us a renewed sense of hope and positivity. The longer days gives us that solar energy everything on Earth needs to thrive. Spring is the time to start bringing your wintertime musings and dreams from the visionary world into the material one. Understanding the nuances of the Wood element can help you with those manifestations.

I wanted to introduce you to the Wood Element in Chinese Medicine, as it represents Spring, and the generation of new life, new energy, and new ideas. The Wood element/phase has gotten a negative wrap (like an ethereal concept of the manifestation of life on Earth can be negative!) with people saying “when the wood element is out of balance, one is angry, inflexible, bossy, violent, loud and rude.” All of these qualities can be attributed to Wood out of balance- but one very important quality of Wood is often not talked about. The Hun- our ethereal souls.

The Hun are described in different ways but many texts say the Hun are three benevolent, 3vin-sagescompassionate beings that guide our actions, thoughts and dreams. When out of balance, the Hun are restless and can become frustrated, relentless or de-motivated. We can help balance our Hun by leading a more simple life. Eat foods that are easier to digest (knowing your constitution is key to good health because appropriate foods will differ between people), minimize the alcohol and drugs, take a deep breath in times of stress instead of spiraling out of control. These can be life changing moments when you just took one minute to care for yourself instead of going down a road of negative emotions.

Spring is the time to eat those tender, young greens! Dandelion, burdock, violet, nettles- all are sprouting right now and inviting you to take a couple nibbles of their new growth. Try it! You may just like it- and your Hun will love you for it!

May the blessings of Spring bring you renewed energy, compassion and insight into why you chose to be here, right now, with all of us.

With love,

jessicabaker

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

 

Plant Medicine to Soothe the Soul

Many of us are experiencing an underlying tension that has us reactive and sensitive. I know I have had to be very conscious in my language and actions because much of what I was saying wasn’t coming out as eloquently as I would like.

The politics that enraged millions of people into action has begun to settle into our beings and has created fear, depression and anxiety. The hope that many carried for almost a decade has been replaced with despair, anger and apathy. I feel all three of these things on an almost daily basis.

When I’m in a space to recognize my feelings, thoughts and behavior I can transform these overwhelming emotions with love, understanding and compassion. I am able to take myself out of this moment and remember that this is only a blip in the evolution of consciousness. Sometimes we need to feel betrayed, afraid, and pissed off-if those are the only things that spur a leap in our own humanity.

As always I utilize our ancestors, our plant allies to bring me back to a sense of peace,
calmness and compassion. This winter Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) has been a daily friend, strengthening my Wei Qi (defensive energy) so I elderberrycan deflect some of the negativity and retain my own vital life force energy. If you’ve been getting colds/flus frequently, I highly recommend starting the day with one tsp of elderberries steeped in a cup of hot water. Berries are generally simmered, but I find elderberry to work wonders as just as infusion. Some species of elderberry are toxic, only use sambucus nigra or

Our aromatic plants are always important to help us move out of a feeling of discontent. Artemisia-tridentata-close-up-e1396654925527The strongest essential oil I am working with right now for clearing out what feels stuck, opening the lungs, and activating my crown chakra is Big Mountain Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata). The aroma of Big Mountain Sagebrush is overwhelming for some, but I love it. It smells similar to chaparral or creosote, and it is just as healing. I recommend one drop on the top of the head. You will be surprised at the insights that will come to you.

To deepen your exploration with herbs, join me and other experts for a free online event March 20-24! RSVP at no charge: The Plant Medicine Summit

With love,

jessicabaker

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows 

Elderberry credit:  Roger Butterfield

 

 

 

In Honor of Us All

I am very grateful and inspired by the billions of people worldwide that have participated in direct action for the equality of Women, Muslims, LGBT, and anyone that lives south of “the border.” Your compassion and courage is seen, heard, felt and respected!

I am working through my own emotions surrounding those that disagree with or choose not to participate in direct action. I am also sitting with my own feelings about how far I am willing to go to continue the momentum. The blatant disregard for me, as a woman, as a human, as a being of this Earth,  is too much to just sit back and pray that “they” will change their actions.

We have to start by changing our beliefs if we expect our actions to reflect true equality. We have to acknowledge our own conveniences and prejudices if we say we really want equality for all. What does equality for all really mean? Equality for all means the end of a consumer lifestyle that depends on labor conditions we privileged would never work in. Equality for all means a living wage for farm workers that grow and harvest all of our food. Equality for all means no mines and pipelines through other peoples land.

A lot to assimilate before my transformation can begin. We are all just people, most just trying our best to make it in this world. We are in this together. How do we choose to co-evolve?

I always come back to my plant allies when I’m having a hard time accepting things I don’t want to hear. I think of Chen Pi, tangerine peel, used in Chinese medicine to regulate digestion and help with assimilation of both food and emotions. I like to diffuse the essential oil of Citrus peel when I need help digesting the realities of our world. Citrus’ ability to transform energy is not to be overlooked.

Take some time out today to notice how you are digesting the things that affect your life. When we begin to assimilate these experiences, then can they be transformed. I am with you as we shift our perspectives and paradigm.

With love,

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Jessica

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Terpenes are found in plants and animals and are responsible for the aromas that we are all so used to smelling. As terpenes have contributed to the evolution of all life on Earth, their therapeutic value  can not be stressed enough.

Close your eyes and think about peeling a fresh juicy orange. Can you smell that familiar orange1citrus aroma? You’re smelling compounds within the large family of terpenes. Do you love the smell of lavender? Terpenes are responsible.  How about the smell of conifers after a refreshing autumn rain? Terpenes again.

These fragrant compounds not only hold many of our childhood memories, but they have contributed to the formation of our limbic, immune, endocannabinoid, and endocrine systems. Our ability to regulate temperature, mood and appetite are all functions of the limbic system. The limbic system is also responsible for olfaction, or smell!

The connection between plants and humans is so ancient we have forgotten who are ancestors are. I encourage you to go out and smell some plants- allow yourself to let your memory take you places you may have forgotten long ago.

More on the limbic system in Thursday’s blog, when we will explore what compounds you smell when you crush up a bunch of lavender, walk past a pine tree, and peel that juicy orange. Together we’re going to have an olfactory buffet!

With love,

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Jessica

Solution for the Holiday Hustle

Herbs and essential oils are some of my favorite allies to combat the stress of the holiday rush. Instead of stalking the malls, I choose to walk among the conifers that have been here for millennia. I inhale their resinous aroma and instantly breathe deeper. Evergreens, like redwoods, pines and firs are some of our oldest ancestors, and their resiliency is transmitted to us, simply by being  in their presence.

I share with you one of my favorite blends for honoring the vitality and strength in all of us.

Holiday Hustle Spritz

2 ounces Spring Water

5 drops Douglas Fir (or conifer of choice) essential oil

4 drops Clary Sage essential oil

4 drops Mandarin essential oil

2 drops Spearmint essential oil

Add each essential oil separately to the spring water, blending thoroughly between each one. Pour mixture into a 2-ounce glass spritzer bottle.

Spray as needed for energy, inspiration and grounding amidst all the holiday madness. Inhale and appreciate that it’s necessary to take time to slow down, breathe and relax.

If you find yourself stressed out, contemplate on what you are getting caught up in. If you are worried about what to buy someone you love, know that your friendship and love are the greatest gifts you can give someone this holiday season. Your presence is all they truly desire.

With Love,

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Jessica

Retreat to the Trees

As we move deeper into the dark time of year, instinctually we know to slow down. We feel the need to go to sleep earlier, sometimes ridiculously early for me, as it is pitch dark by 5pm and the coziness of my bed is overwhelming as the cold darkness engulfs me. But the hustle of the holidays is counter-intuitive to our natural urge to hibernate, retreat and restore.

Instead of spending time indoors, nourishing ourselves with slow cooked stews and teas, we run around mad buying gifts and preparing for endless parties and indulgences. A lot of this energy can be fun as we gather with friends and family to celebrate the holy days around the world. All the running around and monetary stress often lowers our immune system as we resist the wisdom of our bodies. Something archaic within us knows we should be home resting with a warm tea (or toddy!)

To honor this instinct in me, I’ve gone back to my home in the Redwood forest on the coast of Northern California. I feel the need to withdrawal to the seclusion of the forest, innately drawn to the rocky shores of the Pacific Ocean, where I have always felt at home. This year, more than most, I know it’s necessary to be in my comfort zone during the darkest month of December. I need to stay balanced, nourished and insulated instead of hurried, frazzled and distracted with extraneous seasonal events.

This time of year I need to be on tree time. On their time I can slow down enough to hear these ancient beings remind me that even with all the intensity and seemingly insanity in our human world, there is also an immense beauty and connection that surpasses any injustice we witness on our minute mortal scale. I am reminded that we have worshipped and communed with trees for millennia, as our Solstice and Yuletide rituals, and Christmas trees still emulate. Being in an ancient forest is my way of celebrating Solstice, the return of the Sun.

How are you honoring these dark holy days before the return of the life-giving Sun? I will for sure be humming my own version of O, Tannenbaum and sipping a warm conifer cider.

Photo credit: k-k.club