Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Flower Essences revisited; and a few thoughts about dabbling vs serious study (of anything)

The flower essence posts sure are popular, and there have been some questions from readers, so instead of answering them each privately by email, I'll try to cover more ground here in a post.

First off - no, I will not supply them to others. Yes, I did mention to a couple of you that there is a local shop sorta interested in buying my tinctures, oils & essences, but that's a bit different, it's in bulk so I wouldn't have to deal with the time & expense of filling little bottles and mailing things out.

Besides, I haven't yet decided if I could, in good conscience, sell essences at all. Maybe I shouldn't even have opened my mouth to that shop owner that I make them; I still see essences as intensely personal concoctions, best made from one's own flowers. Tinctures & essences are very different animals.

Essences work more on an energetic level than tinctures and since energetic issues are so incredibly variable, I can't say (nor can anyone else, I'd think) with any certainty, what kinds of effects any one flower essence would have for any one person.

I'm beginning to see working with flower essences the same way I see working with something like the Tarot. There are dabblers and there are those who approach the subject with deep respect. Not reverence, exactly, but something close to it.

I'm not a dabbler, I never have been. I don't take myself seriously, but I take the work seriously. So if someone else wants to dabble with the essences or with the Tarot, that's fine, that's their call. But I won't .. let me rephrase that .. I just can't reduce the teachings I'm getting from any of my flower essences down to a few lines, any more than I would offer a few lines to explain the meaning of one of the Tarot cards. Each Tarot card is a book in itself, if taken seriously. So too (I'm coming to see) is each flower essence.

There still exist in this world something called the Mysteries. There are arts, highly esoteric, some ancient, some not so ancient, that are part of the exploration of human consciousness, ways to understand and express our place in the Universe. Many, many people are drawn to these arts but not many have the .. capacity (for lack of a better word) to handle them.

So it is that we have lots of flashy, surface stuff for everyone to have fun with. Auto-generated 'tarot card of the day' sites to tell your fortune. Pre-made medicine bags of trinkets to attract money or love. And yes, flower essences that promise to connect us to our angels or rid us of bad habits. Whatever it is, there are many ways that those who consider themselves 'seekers' can find what they think they're looking for.

And that's as it should be. The flash and sparkle keeps the wannabe's occupied so the serious students can get on with the work, undisturbed. It's called redirect, and it has been around as long as there have been Mystery schools.

The word "occult" actually simply means "hidden". Modern usage has come to associate it with magic, witchcraft, satanic rites and the like, but the medical usage of the term (like when they test for 'occult blood' in the stool) is correct. If something is considered occult, it is because it is there but not obvious unless you know how and where (and why) to look. That's how 'occultists' themselves define the word, too.

By that definition, there is an occult aspect to working with the flower essences, just as there is with the Tarot (or yoga or herbalism or any religion or the creation of music or art for that matter). That hidden aspect we're discussing here comes from the flowers/plants themselves, and, importantly the interaction between specific flower and specific human. I stress this relationship all the time when I talk about medicine plants, it is even more pronounced when working with the essences.

So really, it's up to you how you want to work with essences, just like anything else with a whisper of Mystery to it. You can take the surface route and probably have some fun with them, maybe even some benefit if you're willing to put in the personal work. After all, even the most crassly commercial versions of the essences can be used as tools for looking under the hood of our psyches, (who are your personal angels? Why do you want to contact them?) Or, you can make your own essences from your own flowers and open a door to something more.

IF you make your own, take it from me, you're going to want to learn as much as you can about 'signatures'.

If you've known me for long, you'll know I don't mind tossing out snippets of information here and there, or directing folks to other writers, but I don't have the time, energy or inclination to hold anyone's hand. So have at 'er in your own way but don't expect much out of flower essences (or any other spiritual pursuit) if you don't want to put in the work.

By the way - my study of Tarot (and the pre-requisites that have to be studied to understand the Keys) has been ongoing for 30 odd years. Some years it's been intense study (many long hours, well into the night, every night, for months on end), some years just enough to 'keep my hand in' (many hours, well into the night, for a few nights once a season or so); I still consider myself very much a neophyte. My studies of the medicine plants, probably 20 odd years now; (there's lots of overlap between the two) and I know I've barely scratched the surface just of the plants that grow around me.

As we study any of the Mysteries (here I include herbalism) there are many points along the way where we can go madly off in the wrong direction. Dabbling can be more dangerous than serious study; better to put something aside than continue on blindly. Better, too, to understand that we often can't find the answers we're looking for because we're asking the wrong damn questions in the first place. We have to be willing to shift our perspectives as needed.

For example, there ARE herbs that function as antibiotics or antifungals, and they have their place. But more importantly, there are herbs (often the same ones) that, used correctly, will heal tissues so that they are no longer so susceptible to infection. Most people using herbs today are still stuck in the Western medical paradigm of kill, kill, kill the invaders. That's missing the point of what herbs can do for us, and if killing pathogens is the sole aim, we're better off using the big guns, the meds themselves; they're more effective.

If we take the example of the Tarot, we find that even those who study it for years will often still see it as a fortune telling device. They're still dabbling. Shuffle the cards, lay them out asking "what shall I do about such & such?". That would be all well and good as long as you then take the 'answer' and use it to gain a new perspective, knowing that the random drawing of cards is simply that, random. It's that we use them as a tool to shift our minds out of a rut of thinking that matters.

If we want to be told 'what to do' about a situation, it's a dangerous thing to let random pieces of cardboard with pretty pictures on 'em guide our actions. That's what dabbling will get you.

What the study of the Tarot (and its prerequisite studies) is for is to teach us different ways of thinking. We learn to make non-linear associations, so that we can see the 4 of discs/pentacles, think of the base of a cube, maybe, so that brings to mind solidity, then the planet Saturn comes to mind and from there, bones (structure) and from there we might ask ourselves about necessity.

I know that might read like meaningless gobbledygook to you, (and that wasn't even strictly 'correct' in accordance with the Tarot) but it's the sort of thinking required of us sometimes. It is important to understand that we are quite capable of thinking ourselves into dead ends with linear thought. A plus B does not always equal C in real life.

So - Associative thought processes are just different enough that we can find new angles, look at our own thinking processes and so understand ourselves differently. As long as we use tools like the Tarot (or the flower essences) to examine our thinking (and therefore our motives), we won't be tempted to ask pieces of cardboard (or other humans) to tell us what to do.

In my experience, people who dabble in one interest after another are dabblers on the whole. It's not until we throw ourselves headlong into something (live it, breathe it) that we can learn from it, not just about it, but from it. And that can take a lifetime.

You dig?

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

A classical music interlude

It's a lovely day here. The morning was sunny and not too buggy so I was able to spend hours in the garden, then we went for a drive and by the time we got home I just managed to get the laundry in before it got soaked by the daily showers. Happiness!

I haven't offered up any music for a while, so here are a few quick pieces from youtube for y'all, just a few snippets of pieces we have in our music library in case you might want to add them to yours. I recommend viewing the last video full screen.

First, a little Mozart .. I particularly love the strings in this Andante, although the piano's not too shabby either ..

Thursday, 6 July 2017

If it works - or even if it doesn't - write it down!

Woops! That's poison ivy, isn't it .. oh shit. Oh shit shit shit shit.

That was me a couple of hours ago. That's not what this post was supposed to be about, I had something else planned entirely. So let's do the something else first, then I'll tell you about the poison ivy encounter.

It starts with strawberries, yesterday.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Restorative justice.

I wonder if the farmers around here are intuitive enough to take this as a hint ..

The farmland here is rolling, gentle hills. A little rocky here, sandy there, and clay-ey closer to the river. The farms are small, traditionally it's been all about cattle, with fields sown in hay, alfalfa & corn for winter feed. Some rotation, of course; oats do well here. Barley is iffy thanks to summer storms.

It's only in the last decade or so that we're seeing more and more soy, and only in the last few years that we're seeing 'modern' farming techniques being used. Massive, computerized machinery. Fields 'burned down' with chemicals to get rid of the weeds, hedgerows and sugar-maple bushes taken out to make room, and vast fields of that soy, year after year, crop rotation be damned.

Remember how I told you about our excessively snowy winter and the ensuing spring rains resulting in a whole lot of moisture? That was early May, and it's still raining. Now going on July and the fields haven't recovered; an awful lot of them remain unplanted. Boggy, that's what they are, especially (of course) those fields where the hedgerows and maple-bushes that surrounded them have been removed - that modernization greed has left the water table fucked. Fields that may have been just a bit damp are likely to now be unsalvageable for years to come.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Blueberry flowers, gratitude and magic

From this site: (chosen because of its simplicity, low woo-factor and because there's the occasional quote in the chart from Matthew Wood, my current favourite writer/herbalist.)

"Blueberry (low bush)
Vaccinium Angustifolium

This essence brings resiliency on all levels- physical, emotional, psychological. It enables the person who takes it to “bounce back” from illness or adversity. Low Bush Blueberry is a good addition to any healing blend and an important part of the blend Crisis Care."

Who couldn't use a little more resiliency? I know I could, and Paul (my husband, co-conspirator and all around good guy) wouldn't mind a little more himself, so it seemed a good essence for us to try out. And also, blueberries are something we've got plenty o' in this neck of the woods. This is blueberry country.

It's also blackfly season.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Flower essences - where does the information about them come from?

Following up on the last post of a couple days ago ..

Talk about a rabbit hole!

No surprise, this - the descriptions of the attributes of the flower essences are extremely variable between sources.

There's Edward Bach's original work, (here's the official site) and those who adhere to it; that's fairly standardized (not that I believe 'standardized' is a necessarily always a good thing, but the man was a pioneer and his work is valuable ..). There's also a dizzyingly large array of essences 'discovered' since Bach, because let's face it, there are more than the 38 flowers that he had access to in the English countryside; people want to (and should) be able to use what grows near them ..

Monday, 12 June 2017

A new shtick for me - flower essences.

I never thought I'd see the day I'd be diving into the airy-fairy, woo-filled world of flower essences, but if you were to rummage amongst all the jars of infused oils and deeply coloured tinctures on the top of my china cabinet today you'd find 4 jars and several small brown dropper bottles of what looks very much like plain water.

Flower essences are sorta-kinda like homeopathic remedies. It's one of those "they're the same only different" deals. Their similarity is that both are extremely diluted - I'll tell you just how diluted in a bit - but they also differ in a very important way.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

"Meat space"

noun informal
the physical world, as opposed to cyberspace or a virtual environment.

I can't think of a more vile term, or one more expressive of the disdain those who use it must hold for reality.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Thoughts on the 'intelligence' of creaturehood.

The 'intelligence', or 'innate wisdom' of the body.


We refer to 'instinct' when we speak of how animals know how to be animals.  A robin, for instance, knows how to build a robin-style nest, which differs from a grackle's or a crow's. The robin isn't taught, it just 'knows', on 'instinct' how to build its nest.. or at least this is the vague and non-committal way that science explains it.

potential pears
We humans have to be taught most of our human-ness (supposedly). We have a few instincts that we retain into adulthood, but not many, and most of those involve responses to danger. We've managed, just in the last several of generations, to quell even our most basic instincts, like the need for water or certain foods. Now we're told how much water to drink. There was a time we drank only when thirsty; the human race didn't die out from dehydration.

At the most basic of levels, the care of our newborns, once instinctive, has been so profoundly influenced by 'authorities' (social mores, baby formula makers) that many women have lost the instinct to breastfeed their babies. What was once an absolute necessity for the infant's survival is now a choice, and we've come to the point where there are many women who simply cannot produce milk.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Nothing important

First we went by Mr. Haldeman's house to see if he'd come home for lunch, but as he hadn't, we swung by his feedlot.

"Feedlot" is a dirty word to 'enlightened' city people but really, in winter, you can't be having the cattle out in the field without shelter, and risking your tractor getting stuck in the snow every time you bring them hay. There's wolves and coyotes to consider, too. So, for about half the year, most farmers bring them in where they can have an eye kept on them.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

A whole lot of moisture

It's still raining here. 

Actually if anything the rain is intensifying and it's starting to get to me. Our house will be fine, we're on the top of a rise .. but down the hill toward the main part of town the creek that flows into the big river is swollen right up to the bridge, not 'just' from the snow melt and incessant rain, but also because the river itself is spreading UP the creeks now. 

Normally a small, reedy marsh, it's now about 5 times its normal size.
On the other side of the houses is the Ottawa River proper, so
they're surrounded.
The hills of Calumet Island in the distance.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

A shrub story (with tangents)

Our garden is an ever changing thing.

Not that it is an "it", of course, it's very much a "them".

Our garden is an ever changing cast of characters - that's better - and this year we're bringing in some new ones. A surprise influx of cash (aw shucks Dad!) means I'm now plotting to bring in certain plants en masse, in numbers I've always wanted to grow them but were previously out of reach, budget wise.

Frustratingly, now I'm having great difficulty finding many of the plants I want, leading me to wonder if there is a conspiracy afoot to keep herbs that are commercially important to the supplement industry (valerian, for example) out of the hands of home gardeners. Whether some nefarious plot is afoot or it just isn't profitable to the greenhouses to sell these 'specialty' plants, it all comes down to the same thing. Certain once-ordinary, 'garden variety' (pun intended) plants are no longer ordinary at all.

I was pretty depressed about that for a while there, but now I'm actually excited. It means growing them in my garden is all the more important. I've ordered some online, of course. But my stubborn hope is that in scouring the countryside for the smaller, out of the way nurseries I'll find what I need, and can support them rather than the Big Growers, if possible. The hunt is on!

Meanwhile, I've found love where I least expected I ever would.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Feeling our way along (becoming sensate)

There are 'feelings', ie emotions;

there's 'feeling' ie the sense of touch;

and then there's the other kind of feeling .. which I'll try to talk about today.

Stephen Harrod Buhner talks about "feeling the touch of the world upon us".

He's talking about the natural world, of course, but we have to keep in mind that the natural world includes people. You, for instance.

you can't get blood from a turnip

I'm in the midst of a love affair with beets.

Not, alas, fresh from the garden. It's only early spring here, so not much is coomin' oop yet. What there is, is a delight of course (do click to enlarge):

lilliputian dandelions
(shown with coyote bones)

adorable, crinkly thumbnail
mallows (with mullein)

finch feathers of yarrow
teeny tiny whorls of cleavers
with dropped clothespin

Minute as they are, none of these delights are making it to the house.

They're strictly for grazing on in situ, so to speak.

The beets in question are of the humble, bagged in plastic, devoid of greens, super cheap at the grocery store because hardly anyone ever buys them variety. Utilitarian.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

I like the cut of their jibs

Two stories from our little town to share with you today. In both cases, admittedly, there was enough money at hand to make things happen, but the money isn't the point here, it's the attitude.

The first involves our neighbour, Mike-next-door (so named to differentiate him from Mike-down-the-street).

Vexations to my spirit

My day to day life is blissful right now. It's not that it doesn't have some challenges - what life doesn't? - but I am feeling blessed beyond measure. It's spring, for one thing, and that helps. I do believe this past winter was the worst of my life, but it's over and I feel better. So much better.

However, when it comes to my blogs, it's another story. I wrote the post below a few days ago, just to get it out of my system, thinking I would keep it in draft to post if one more straw was added to my back. I'm not at that point, but I'm posting it anyway because .. hmmm, how to put this .. because readers of blogs sometimes forget that the writer is human. That the writer is sometimes overwhelmed by what blogging entails; this is particularly true of (but not limited to) the relationships that can develop in the background. 

These difficulties are probably just part of the game, and I probably just need to toughen up to deal with the worst of them. That's a conundrum though; I am already fairly prickly of personality and if I get any more prickly no one will come near me. I want people to feel they can approach me .. I just have to find a way to reduce the intensity of those relationships, to stop them from sucking the energy from me in the way they sometimes do.

Anyway, for those interested, here's the post, as it was written when I was approaching my wit's end ..

Friday, 14 April 2017

Halluci Nation

In the spirit of walking in the Spirit, allow me to offer another couple of videos

that most people

are far too milque-toast

to watch.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Boring is as boring writes

or something.

(As titles go, maybe I should apologize for that, it's lame. But considering my first choice was "ask me how many fucks I give right now" you could consider yourselves lucky. This piece gets ranty about stuff you've heard me rant about a hundred times and there are plenty of f-bombs to boot. So feel free to skip it, I just needed to get fucking well get it off my chest.)

As I said in the last post (read hundreds of times by bots worldwide!), these are interesting times, astrologically speaking.

My experience of which 'on the ground' (if I may continue in a cliched vein) is turning out to mean that certain 'challenges' and 'opportunities' coming up in my life, particularly of the 're-do' variety, are even more frustrating than they were the first time around. Seeing this .. er, crap .. coming up behind me in the rear view mirror (objects in the mirror are closer than they appear), I'm starting to feel like that bowl of petunias thrust into existence because some fool initiated the maximum improbability drive.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Taking our cues from heaven and earth

I had a look-see at the astrological charts for April and wow there's some interesting 'stuff' happening in the stars.

I won't go into detail (it's not my specialty) but I can tell you that 4 planets (at least) will be 'retrograde' for most of the month. Retrograde is an astrological term for the phenomena of a planet appearing to move backwards through the heavens. It's not, of course, (that would cause some gravitational mayhem, to put it mildly),

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Killoran stream

Just a quick little video taken today at our favourite haunt on Killoran road. You've seen this stream before and you will definitely see it again .. but it's different every time and we love it, so we can't help but share.

And yes, that's me following one of the deer paths into the forest. I don't have words for what it was like in there.

Saturday, 18 March 2017


Crows think they're silver.

That's something I thought I'd gleaned from the Carlos Castaneda books that we all read back in the day, but I've just googled it and didn't find any such reference. How odd.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Something in the air

Can you sense it?

If you watch the news or read the comment sections of almost any website, it seems like there is a collective hardening of the heart going on out there. People are fearful, "othering" each other; nations are strengthening their borders; police becoming more militaristic; medical practitioners and healers are declaring war on each other's specialities; the use of extremely powerful, mind-altering drugs (prescription or otherwise) is skyrocketing. Everywhere you look, someone is trying to avoid or gearing up to fight some thing, some threat, some change that they feel in the air.

Monday, 6 March 2017

A sense of place

If you've ever stood under a starry night sky, did it make you feel small, yet somehow .. right?

To me, there's something about the sight of the stars - I mean the way they should be seen, not blotted out by street lights and buildings so that only a planet or two twinkles faintly, but the whole vast starry heavens pouring by - that makes me feel .. corrected.

It's not that the uncertainty and the frailty of being human is taken away, but that the uncertainty and frailty seem just right. It makes me laugh (in the way that we laugh when we're faced with truth) and sometimes it scares me, but it's also just delicious to be reminded that I am small, that the Universe is far too vast a thing for me to grasp. I feel let off the hook, I see the folly of ever trying to be of any significance.

Do you know what I mean?

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Writing about writing, a heap of frustration and a return to my roots

You didn't know, hell, even
I didn't really know or understand until this morning
that I have, in effect,
been lying to you all along.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017


There's a post with pretty pictures over here at the garbling blog if you're interested.

I'll be back to writing on this blog in a day or so ..

Saturday, 18 February 2017

an alder-ed state of consciousness

Sometimes working with Medicine plants is pure magic.

Right now, I'm working with alder. The male and female cones, a few twigs for their bark and a couple of leaves for good measure were turned into both an infused oil and a tincture late in the summer.

Enlarge this and you'll see the two sorts of cones:
males (sometimes called catkins) are long and pendulous,
females look like tiny pine cones.

I say, "I'm working with alder" but it's more that alder is working on me.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

wildcucumber - a troll for Mother Nature

I troll in the comment sections of GreenMedInfo and Natural News - you should look for me there and join in sometime! - and today, in the comments below a post on (shocker!) the contamination of commercial supplements, I said this:

"This has been known for decades, yet people still buy supplements instead of eating real food or turning to growing their own, including herbal remedies.

And before you try to tell me that 'not everyone can' do these things, let me assure you that anyone can find sources of clean food, anyone can grow clean food IF and WHEN they wake up to the truth - that consumerism leads to chronic, learned helplessness.

Strike out on your own people, grow some 'nads and free yourself from Big Herb."

And do you know what the mods did? They removed my post, of course.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Nature - it's bigger than we are.

The above is the snowfall accumulation stats for the nearest measuring station to us, in centimetres.

It's a lot of snow.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Get up and dance!

I'm baa-aack!

Yeah, I know you may not have noticed my absence, but let me tell you, for a while there the 'events' in the 'news' have had me spluttering and fuming so bad I could barely string a sentence together without the word 'clusterfuck' in it.

Monday, 23 January 2017

The annual cabin fever post

A thaw at this time of year isn't necessarily a good thing, and we've been in the midst of one for too long. It certainly isn't pretty. The snowbanks are gritty and brown, the roads are riddled with pot holes which are full of water. Cars going through the pot hole/lake just out there on our street splash brown water almost to the house. Yuck.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Golden threads and shiny silver snares

When we create, how much do we create and how much do we just discover that lies there, always, behind the ordinary, waiting to be revealed?

Most writers (and other artists) would love to be able to answer that question but none of us can, not definitively.

Creativity involves a shift in consciousness. It's sometimes so profoundly different from normal states that we become unaware of the ordinary world around us. It is as though we go somewhere else, to a place behind this one, the place that underpins this one .. other times the ordinary world becomes imbued with the stuff of that other place, the two worlds blend, so that this one sparkles as though lit from within.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Music for a Sunday morning

I have to admit, I love youtube (for some things).

Today I found 2 versions of one of my favourite pieces of music, a track from Peter Gabriel's "Passion Sources". That's a collection of music from the Middle East (and surrounds) that he used as inspiration when writing another album, "Passions". Both albums are available in full on youtube.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Repost - Not content, but context

Here's a ranty little piece from about a year ago, back when hardly anyone read this blog. New readers take note, I still feel this way - if anything more strongly than ever.

In the Native traditions, the plants, trees and sometimes even the mountains are referred to as the Standing People. The animals, too, are spoken of as Peoples. To speak this way about Creation is not anthropomorphism, not "elevating" non-humans to human status. These traditions acknowledge that Creation is alive and sentient in a thousand ways, some similar to, some different from ours, but all of them legitimate. "All our relations" is a newly popularized, yet ancient saying that expresses this traditional belief that we and Creation are family.

When we honour these standing people we honour their Creator, and ours.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

A test of the system - and a lesson in vulnerability


Well it was a heck of a storm. Everything that could have fallen from the sky, did. Snow, in rather large amounts, alternating with freezing rain, rain and ice pellets. So it was not a surprise when from off in the distance, came the BUZZ/flash of transformers blowing. At first, brown-outs, but just after I went to bed down everything went.

It's remarkable how not dark it was. Not a bulb was lit anywhere for miles and miles, but it's as though snow stores light. It glows in the dark.

So next morning, Paul brought out the little camp stove (butane) and we managed to have coffee just fine. Midmorning, the power came back on, so we fixed breakfast and went to do our monthly big shop in Pembroke. It's a longish trip, so we didn't get back until around 2 p.m. Again, no power.

Well, shit.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Reprising an old post - You gotta get in to get out

Brother Ed Hurst and I have been chatting by email about something called the Heart Math Institute. The folks there had some interesting research several years back about the heart as an organ of perception. But in recent years, they've decided to cash in, and because everyone likes apps, they've created apps whereby you can see if you're meditating 'correctly', or if your positive thoughts are positive enough to affect your heart rhythms. Etc. 

It's abominable, as far as I am concerned, to further divorce people from their bodies in this way, to make them reliant on a piece of technology for feedback when the senses we're born with can serve us just fine in that department.

This is the beginning of the age of the Borg, my friends, don't be fooled.  

Anyhow, it reminded me of this post I did a couple of years ago ..  

Why do I preach so much about our relationships with our bodies? In the long run, to make it easier for us to leave them behind.