altared consciousness

(yes, my friends, i can spell. it’s a play on words.)

“i contend that the planet’s health actually depends on our respect for fungi.”-Paul Stamets

traci + chaga 4-eva

ah, the futility of recycling. we carefully sort our stupid soda cans, cosmos and bath salt jars into blue and green bins while completely disregarding the entire amazing process of decomposition going on below, beside and all around us.

yo, where do ya think that shit’s going?

we open cans of slimy-ass button mushrooms and horrify our children with them, never realizing that those stupid cans end up in the aforementioned recycling bins.

we spray poison on the fungi, bacteria and wrigglers who are our only hope for long-term survival on this planet. then recycle the containers.

spore-riffic!

we humans are much better at naming things than loving things.

fungi are powerful warriors. they can be our allies, and we can be theirs. yet we resist, choosing to ally ourselves with products. for that IS what we are doing. we are very much telling the fungi kingdom, telling the plant kingdom how we feel about them, what we think about them-if we bother to think about them at all–by our actions. they may not be writing about it in their journals, they may not be making tv shows about it, but don’t think they have no idea. animals know we dumo them off by the milions in so-called “shelters”…to be gassed to death in heaps. don’t think non-human life hasn’t noticed how we feel, what we are doing, and how we’ve repressed it all.

windfall chaga

and the point here is not to induce “guilt”. guilt paralyzes us. f that. the point is to toss guilt into the fire and find our core, find our action, find our calling.

i very much believe that other living things wish to form alliances.

i very much believe that plants can form symbiotic relationships with each other and with other beings.

i very much believe that a relationship with a plant or a fungus is a “real” relationship.

i believe that ALL natural substances have the potential to be psychedelic, “mind manifesting”, heart manifesting, relationship-forming, alliance forming, to pass through us physically and otherwise, to bridge the massive gaps between humans and earth. we should be sick of merely being ON the earth, floating coolly above it all, we are OF the earth. and we are sick.  we are.

“i’m ready for my close-up!”

and what are we going to do about it?

bittersweet

well, i’ll tell ya what. this blog sure isn’t going to save the world. my wandering around in the woods tripping out on “the colors” isn’t going to save the world. voting isn’t going to heal the earth or stop the obscene amounts of garbage from piling up.

but plants, animals, insects and fungi do have the potential to help humanity shift the way forward from steamroller to watering can. from dumpster to garden.from sewer to compost. and from a culture of rape, abuse and addiction to one of mutual aid, reverence and connection.

plants and fungi  have the ability to show us that we ARE all connected. that an injury to one IS an injury to all. that our walls are NOT serving our souls. and, finally, that absolutely everyone has the ability, at any time, to at least START to make a change in their body, mind and/or soul that can help contribute to the future we want to see, that we must see if there will be any tomorrow what. so. ever.

 

it ain’t all fluff out there.

 

On the Joys of Doing Nothing

spring forth, all.

So…nothing. It is my #1 medicine. No, i am not a nihilist. They are obsessed with nothingNESS. Big difference. iI am into standing by, quietly, while stuff happens without my meddling. Why does nothing work so well? Because the human body is a little ecosystem which has built-in ways to resolve much of the challenges that come along.

I am not talking about emergency medicine. Not the Ebola virus, people. I mean self-limiting illness. The common cold. Non-fatal wounds.  Mild to moderate gas. Just wait.

It is fun to support ourselves and others when moderate non-fatal illnes comes along-chicken soup, hot nourishing infusions, basic hygiene, rest, herbal steams. Addressing symptoms has a place in the world.  However, it is amazing to realize that with or without us and our potions the human body exhibits the will to heal. Need a salve for wound healing? not really-wounds heal. Herbs may be better used here to keep it clean. Need some herbs to “dry out” mucous? Just remember, mucous is  often there for a reason. Dry it at your own risk. Echinacea/Goldenseal to “ward off” a cold? Not only is a cold natural, we can drive illness deeper with endless faux immune boosters.

Additionally, why not live everyday for health? I often see folks get ill and decide to temporarily swear off their normal 3 pounds of sugar a day, cram a ton of vitamins and herbs in,  and increase their nightly rest from 4 to 6 hours.  Good health is like a savings account that you make deposits into every time you nourish yourself! You cannot draw health funds out forever without replenishing. Basic self-care  is a life skill worth practicing all the time, not just in times of crisis.

azul!

The other day my son came home with a fever, headache, tiredness and mucous. I propped him in front of the woodstove with a blanket and an herbal infusion for fever support and lymphatic moving. I did nothing to lower his (mild) fever. He ate very lightly and put himself to bed very very early. The next morning he was back to normal.

Now, had I placed him next to a Himalayan salt crystal lamp or rubbed him with overpriced  hemp seed oil and precious endangered goldenseal I could have said “see! those things work!” and if I see a salt lamp regenerate a severed limb I will be impressed. But until then my dreaded indoor electro-smog is not keeping Levi from overcoming his self-limiting illness naturally and quickly.

This may sound funny coming from an herbalist. but i am not an herbalist IN ORDER TO sell products. iIprovide herbal tinctures to those who want or need them because I llove to share my love of plants and humans.  But moving product by any means necessary does not drive my day.

And all this is not to say don’t use herbs. Not at all!  DO use herbs-for nourishment, for support, for emotional and physical and spiritual wellness! And use movement, use grounding, use rest and therapeutic talking and writing, Use healthy sexual expression  and love and ferments and meditation and baths and dance and sunshine and a shot of whiskey. Lord knows in this world we can use all the help available to make it through. But do not let these  goods and services  take the place of your own life force, the most amazing-and free-medicine available.

purple power

welcome, united international stump enthusiasts of the woooorld!!

welcome to the official stump lovers appreciation gallery. now, featuring even more symbiotic relationships!

close up stump

now accepting log lovers, lichen lickers and slug buddies.

mossy stump

“if a sunbeam wounds me, i shall succumb on the moss”-arthur rimbaud

the twins

worms eat free every wednesday!

the eft’s bookshelf

join me in an appreciation of all that rots.

lil’ nesty

well, it’s 1-2-3, what are we rotting for? don’t ask me i don’t give a damn. next stop is lichen-land.

bonjour

spores make the forest go around.

puffball family

yes, my friends, you too can enjoy stumps. for free! all you need to do is go outside, you are almost guaranteed to find one eventually. stump-spotting makes an excellent date activity and all you need are a pair of sensible shoes and a spotty dog.

fern riot

stumps do appreciate your attention, as they are often overlooked by those who stand on them to look at other stuff like birds, “the colors”,  stupid sunsets and such.

red efts

stumps come in all shapes and sizes! somewhere out there is the right stump for you.

one yellow leaf

and remember, i’m not just the stump club president, i’m also a client.

muck, mud, swamps and the primordial ooze.

recently i spent some time looking for a home. and let me tell ya, those realtors sure do downplay the muck that exists. “oh, don’t worry you can fill that shit in, honey.”

NO! give me muck! i love it! i live for muck. no, really.

jewel

cause have you all seen what springs forth from the primordial ooze?

have you seen the jewel of a lotus bloom from the muddy depths?

is it not a blazing freaking neon metaphor for life, the magical beautiful flower coming up from the sludge of muck to bloom and grow and bloom and make seeds and make friends and bloom and bloom and bloom? and then to give back to the cycle….

and is the miracle not fleeting, and a statement on life and US and our whole “human” deal?

muckity-muck!

sometimes the joy is not as obvious and easy as we would like it to be. sometimes the joy doesn’t look like a better homes and gardens centerfold.

bonjour, little frog

but isn’t life worth getting muddy for? isn’t it worthwhile to roll up your damn pants and dig in, to find some soothing scullcap or some delicious calamus root or some queenly angelica? to hear the song of the ancient  bullfrogs and see the buzzing  blue dragonflies? to enjoy the swoops of bats flying and the slithers of snakes crawling?

did i mention “muck” yet?

i do believe that good things come to those who are not afraid to get a little mud on their outift, literally and figuratively, and even better things come to those who ARE afraid but do it anyway. and if there is nothing else i contribute to this paved-over wetland of an earth which i so love, i would like this one point to be chiseled on my gravestone while i slowly turn back into the swamp from which i came:

all things which are good and beautiful in this world owe their existence to the mysterious, the muddy, the dark, and the sludge in some way, shape or form.

what is reflects what can be.

so, did you hear the one about the ragingly awesome flowers?

two flowers walk into a bar…

rose love

why did the flower cross the road?

beach legume

knock knock! who’s there? flowers!

makin’ bee barf

flower? i hardly know her!

hollyhock

who flowers on first?

roadside tansy

what do i look like, a flower?

yarrow

and then the flower says….

chicory

what is the sound of 2 flowers clapping?

st john’s wort

 

 

 

mullein!

mullein

i am a huge mullein fan. i love the biennial in every phase, i lvoe how it grows in the cracks, i love how it towers over me, waving it’s beautiful bright yellow flowers at pollinators and herbalists.

mullein

the lungs of the earth, mullein has no problem growing in the crappiest of soil, all along the highways where we have totally wrecked the ecosystem.

mullein

i use mullein for lung ailments, for coughs and colds, for muscle pain, slipped discs, knee pain. it is part of an immune tonic to move the lymph. the flowers address pain and help to resolve infections. i make tincture and oil, a whole plant salve, i dry it for later use in tea and baths. it is a plant i would never want to be without it.

mullein

however,  mullein is not a toilet paper. survivalist blogs and misguided herbalists call it “cowboy toilet paper”.

“the leaves make a wonderful alternative to carrying toilet paper with you in the woods”-desert bloom herbals

“the leaves of grandfather mullein may be used as cowboy toilet paper”-ezherbs.net

“the leaves are so soft, thick and velvety that until the invention of toilet paper it was considered to be nature;s best wipe”-debi pearl

oh, really? mullein is a fabulous counterirritant. i love it for that purpose. but whenever i harvest mullein leaves i am covered in an irritating rash. it itches like crazy! have you ever used mullein as toilet paper? do you have a vulva? try it. if you are going to write about herbs,you should try them first. yes, if you have a bionic ass, mullein leaves make great toilet paper. maybe if you are a dude mullein is fine. i do not know. but mullein absolutely has the ability to irritate the living hell out of your vulva and urethra. it is in the top 3 worst toilet papers i know of! #1: poison ivy. #2, thistles. #3! mullein!

but don’t take my word for it. try it.maybe you’re into that kinda thing. fine.

growing and making medicines with milky oats

I would love to share some photos and thoughts on the process of growing and making medicines with Milky Oats. That would be Avena sativa, for those of you who speak Latin! Avena means oat and sativa means cultivated, more or less.

Oats are an easy medicine to grow, an annual with a short growing season and quite hardy. The seed is cheap and easy to come by at feed stores or in bulk bins at the hippie market. I have also ordered a few pounds from Johnny’s. Sow the seed thickly as birds assume you are scattering it just for them! They sprout quickly but then spend quite a bit of time looking like grass, leading  passersby to wonder why you devoted so much of your precious garden space to tall grass. But wait! Here comes the oats! When the first little oaty dangles appear you can  be excited, but not so excited as to harvest. Oats aren’t like some plants where it is quite obvious when to harvest from 1/2 a mile away, with a big ol’ flashy flower, an enticing scent or a plump fruit. One must observe, and gently squeeze the little oat-seed-to-be, waiting for the miracle. One fine day the milky juice shall exude, and the bees buzz, and the birds sing. Houston, we have Milky Oats!!! The window of perfectness is small here– harvest immediately, and set to medicine making!

I like to strip off the milky seeds and tincture them right away. If I am near an electrical outlet, I will blend them up in my cuisinart. I make a lot of strong tincture, a little nice mellow brandy tincture for blending, and an elixir with vanilla beans and maple. I dry some of the oatstraw for a decoction or winter syrup, feed a lot to my chickens and use some for mulching in the garden. I also like to leave a small amount of the oat plants to go to seed and replant themselves.

Just note here: dried Oat seeds are NOT Milky Oats. They are Oatstraw, which is lovely just not the same thing.

Milky Oats act as a replenisher for the whole body, especially the nervous system. The keywords are nourishing, gently moistening, rebuilding. I think most people could use a little of this medicine, but specifically those dealing with exhaustion, depletion, addiction, cycles of stress and insomnia, dryness  and poor tension management. I blend it with Scullcap  for a relaxing evening tincture, with Rose for a heart healer, with Blue Vervain for muscle tension and/or high level of stress. Think of the Oats blowing in the breeze. Think of the strong horse running. Think of a cover crop for the garden of your heart. Fortifying your soil.

about to harvest!
fresh immature green seeds
a mess of oatseed
the milky phase is fun and fleeting
a different type of “blender sports”
now we wait.
milky oat elixir, close-up!