Seasonal Connections :: An Herbal Goddess Guide to Self Love and Care of the Wild Heart
It's the season of love and the stars are aligning just for you! Today we have an extra special Valentine's day edition of the seasonal connections blog series featuring the ever magical Darcey Blue of Shamana Flora.
Its the time of year when couples are getting ready to celebrate their love and “coupleyness” roses and chocolate litter every grocery store counter and street corner, and we turn our attention to our hearts and love. Whatever the state of your romantic love life- single or partnered- there is no excuse not to just love on yourself and nourish your wild and beautiful one heart just as she is. I’ve been walking a long path back to wholeness and healing of my own heart, and while grief, heartache, loneliness and longing are still a part of life, celebrating and nourishing and tending my wild heart and sensuality has been the best medicine of all. I don’t think we can ever be finished with embracing the fullness and magic of our own heart, and our own connection with LOVE. In Peru, they use the word Munay to express “love” but its not the romantic love between partners, its the kind of love that permeates all of creation, the love that holds the sun and the earth in harmony, the love of the rain that falls on thirsty plants, the love that radiates from a true spirit filled heart. So inviting you to LOVE yourself and your one wild heart this month through the gifts from the plants.
Be Juicy- One of my favorite ways to nourish and tend myself to make sure I am staying juicy, hydrated, and delicious. To me, feeding my body with juicy nourishment keeps me feeling beautiful and happy with who I am as a woman, regardless of partnership. How do we nourish our juiciness? Hydrate, take pleasure in what we eat and drink, make room for healthy indulgences, and feed our cells with nutrient rich healthy fats. In Ayurveda we speak about “ojas” , the vital nectar of life, which is deeply connected to our nutrition and our vitality, in all aspects of our lives, from sexuality to inspiration. To be juicy:
1. drink plenty of fluids
2. infuse revitalizing and juicy herbs into teas- my favorites are shatavari root, ashwaganda root, licorice root, marshmallow root, oatstraw, and red clover.
3.consume nutrient rich healthy fats- lipids are a requirement for good health, and our brain tissue is made up of nearly 70% lipids, and EVERY SINGLE CELL in our body has a membrane made up of lipids. We need fat to be well. I add a spoon of coconut oil, ghee or pasture butter to my warm teas, or use a little bit of full fat coconut milk or whole milk in my tea brew.
4. take pleasure in healthy indulgences like a piece of dark chocolate, an aromatic cup of spicy chai sweetened with honey or maple syrup, drizzle coconut milk or melted chocolate ono top of frozen blueberries or raspberries, infuse cacao nibs into my tea, or really sit with my bowl of soup and enjoy every last drop as if it were a precious gift.
Engage in Sensual Play- We are physical and sensual creatures, we humans, and nourishing our sense of sensual pleasure is something we can always do for ourselves. This may or may not have anything to do with sexuality. Sensuality is a part of our sexuality, and a healthy relationship with our Sensate self is the first step to healthy sexuality. My favorite ways to engage my sensual nature are through sacred, loving and nourishing self care.
- Self massage with a warmed delicious aromatic body oil. In ayurveda, “Abyanga” or self massage is a daily practice for well being of the body and mind. I like to blend a massage oil based on the season and my constitution- in winter using warming and soothing essential oils like cinnamon, tulsi basil, vetiver, orange, and patchouli in sesame oil. For a heart opening blend rose, jasmine, lavender, clary sage, vanilla may do the trick. The process is simple, warm your carrier oil/essential oil blend (approx 2 oz) in a bowl of warm water. In bathroom, undress, and cover your floor with a towel, and generously massage and rub the oil all over your body, focusing on joints, tender spots, and your womb and breasts. You can also oil your scalp and face, and don’t overlook your feet. This should take 5-10 minutes. Afterward take a warm bath or shower to rinse off the excess oil.
- Perfuming/anointing- I’ll admit, I’m a bit a of a natural perfume addict. I have dear friends who make glorious perfumes from all natural plant oils that I enjoy multiple times a day. Seriously, a goddess should anoint herself at least 3 times a day. Find a natural scent you like and makes you feel exquisite- it can be a simple single essential oil, or a complex perfume blend, and make a point of anointing yourself several times a day as an act of self care and self pleasure.
Make LOVE to Nature - an adjunct to sensual play, is to get sensual with nature. It might sound a little crazy, but I have had amazingly powerful connections and experiences with nature, trees, stones, rivers by allowing myself to feel a deep sensual connection with it. Really embrace a tree, as if this tree was your beloved, allow yourself to open and feel that life force within the tree. Find a big rock that you can lay down on and caress with your hands, feeling deeply the textures and cracks and divots that make that rock unique and special, connect and open to its ancient and steady energy, was it once magma from a volcano, or the sand of an ancient sea bed? Allow the stone to tell you its story. Stand outside and allow the sun and the wind to play with you and caress your skin. Allow yourself to truly feel the way these natural elements engage with your physical and sensate being.
Beloved of the Rose - Roses are everywhere this month, their beauty incomparable, the message they send unmistakable. And there is every reason in the world we should give OURSELVES roses. The heart loves Rose medicine. So, yes, make yourself your own beloved and buy yourself a bouquet for your altar, better if you can find sweet smelling, unsprayed roses that can be repurposed as medicine later. But, you can also incorporate rose medicine into your self care in other ways too. I am never without a good sized jar full of organic pink or red fragrant dried roses in my apothecary. Rose petal tea, steeped for 5 min in hot water, (a longer steeping is fine, just a bit more astringent), sweetened with honey and cream soothes the aches of a womans heart like few other things do, and, at the same time, help us to keep our heart chakra open and receiving Love from Life. I also keep a bottle of rose petal elixir handy, preferably made from fresh roses, but can be made from dry fragrant petals as well, for quick acting relief from emotional anxiety. Seriously, it is not to be discounted, when I found myself stranded in the middle of practically nowhere in the heat of the Arizona summer, with a transmission that just died in my car, all I had on hand was a little bottle of rose elixir. I sipped that little bottle thru that afternoon and evening until I got home, and it did save me from panic and freak out. It did not save my car though. To make a simple rose petal elixir, in a quart jar, fill the jar ⅔ full of dried rose petals (the more aromatic the better). Add ½ c raw honey, and then add vodka or brandy to cover the whole mess of roses and honey. Cover and let macerate for 3-4 weeks, better if left in the moonlight a bit to soak up those healing light rays. When it is ready, strain the roses from the liquid, and bottle the liquid. Save the roses to add to a bath or to homemade chocolate, or you can add them to tea or just eat them.
Make Chocolate for your Heart
And of course, we cannot forget, our dear friend Cacao, medicine and food for the Heart of Hearts. Cacao beans are full of nutrients and phytochemicals that boost our mood, and feed and nourish the blood and the heart, including magnesium, iron, B vitamins, PEA, Anandamide and numerous antioxidants. But instead of buying a sugar laden, diluted version of chocolate for yourself or your valentine, go for the real deal, the strong and beautiful Cacao plant has magic those store bought bars can’t really hold a candle to. (Yes there are some really good raw cacao products out there now in stores, just don’t go for the Hershey’s) But making your own cacao with herbs and spices will change chocolate forever. I get my cacao from www.Heartbloodcacao.com (ceremonial grade, fair trade and sustainable source). My Basic Quick Cacao recipe is below. You should absolutely add your favorite spices, nuts, fruits and herbs.
8 oz cacao paste
1 oz coconut oil
3 oz cacao butter
½ c honey or maple
1 tsp vanilla powder (extract is ok too)
⅛ tsp sea salt
Mix the Cacao and coconut oil in a double boiler and melt until smooth. Remove from heat and add cacao butter, honey, and spices. When completely melted pour into chocolate molds, or a wax paper lined dish. Cool completely before cutting into squares and enjoying.
My favorite additions include chile powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, clove, roses, black pepper, sea salt, nibs, ground coffee, pecans, lavender, blueberries, cherries, tulsi, kava kava.
Darcey Blue is a Shamanic Herbalist, Devotee of the Wildness and the Everyday Sacred, Provacatuer of Plant Magic and a Mesa Medicine Carrier. She teaches in person and online about sacred connection with plants, nature and spirit, and our innate wildness. She offers a yearly herbal apprenticeship in Arizona, the annual Sacred Earth Medicine Retreat and other events throughout the year. In addition she offers her mail order Herbal Medicine CSA, and other brews, potions, salves and creams at her online store. Find out more at www.shamanaflora.com and www.blueturtlebotanicals.com
Coming on Spring Equinox, March 21, 2015 - Renewal! A Journey of Rejuvenation, Recommitment, and Reconnection to Self, Nature, and Spirit. This new 12 week online community coaching and and herbal rejuvenation program from Darcey Blue, will explore ways to nourish, tend and rejuvenate our body, mind and spirit through use of whole foods, herbal rejuvenation, joyful movement, connection with nature, spirit and the heart’s deepest calling. This is not a cleanse or a detox program, though there will be elements of healthy, gentle and safe release of what no longer serves our well being, but rather an opportunity to recommit to wellness, self care, and daily practices of nourishment and personal spirituality in a supportive community, with accountability and celebration. Each two week module will help you create a committment to yourself, recipes, practices, videos, meditations, and a community call for discussion and questions. Early Bird Registration is $89 for the program until March 10!
See all the details at http://shamanaflora.com/renewaljourney/