A few weeks after COVID-19 entered Peru, where I am currently living, the borders were closed and the whole country was declared a state of emergency. Meaning we would be on mandatory quarantine for weeks or months. A few days later I was sitting at my computer attending a zoom call for a live despacho ceremony that Maestro Luis Quispe from the Q'ero nation was offering. My friend helped him download the application on his cell phone while he continues to be in quarantine with his family in Cusco. During the online ceremony he shared potent wisdom: " There is a heavy wind or bad wind "mal viento" this heavy wind is the virus. We must make offerings to the wind and feed the wind element, we must feed our own life force, (Kausay) an energy that animates from the universe and feeds our physical and luminous body. Worry and fear drain kausay from our bodies, which depletes our immune system and our spiritual strength. Luis says when your mind wanders choose a focal point to come back too, speak and feed mother earth (Pachamama) feed the good winds of the four directions. Work with the plants and stones to speak to Pachamama. This will build trust"
Are we being asked by nature to grieve? to grieve the weight we have been carrying, our ancestral pain? all the loss we have endured and will continue to endure? In all illnesses there is a physical and emotional aspect that needs to be addressed for the body to be in balance. And as a collective, mother earth is showing us the imbalances in our bodies, because nature lives within us all. As a collective we will continue to grieve the loss of our elders, the ancient wisdom keepers and all those who are loosing their lives from this wind. New light beings are being asked to be born in these times to carry the ancient wisdom of the elders of our ancestors. Now more then ever we must look inward and grieve how we used to live, reshape the lives we want to start living.
One day I took a walk through the corn fields to offer prayers to the waters and mountains, it was the first time I truly felt my energetic cord deeply connected to the earth, the first time I felt the stillness of mother earth, I could feel the lungs of our cosmic mother crying in deep gratitude, breathing deeper and deeper into the roots of the collective. Her nervous system relaxing and healing into the medicine of grief. Her voice whispered "this will take time child but keep connecting to me and hold the fire of the community close"
Why is this wind attacking the lungs? diseases and viruses go to the weak areas in our bodies yet this wind is a collective wind that is going to the same area in everyones body. The lungs and heart are the seat of grief, sadness and depression. The lungs are responsible for letting in the new and letting go of the old, the constant cycle of life. Humanity cannot be separated from nature, we are nature, manifest as people. Are we being asked to release our grief and strengthen our ability to accept? There are herbs and western remedies that can help to some degree but if we cant let go and release the unresolved grief that binds us then how will we move forward as a collective species. Waters from sacred springs, mountains, rivers, lakes and streams will be our medicine in these times, to facilitate the release of tears, she will gladly drink from our nectar of tears. To wash over us and cleanse our hearts, minds and spirits.
As someone who practices Herbalism and being in right relationship with the plants and the elements. I wanted to share from my heart and what has been coming through for many years now as I have lived in diverse areas and studied with elders. This wisdom is not mine, its yours, its in your bones, I am just reminding you to find it again however that looks for you, where ever you find it remember to keep the fire next to you. Last year I spent my time living in Guatemala, when I broke my wrist there it was the most potent medicine I could have ever asked for, the dam of grief was released. Sometimes we need a physical break to release an energy that is no longer serving us. I spent six months crying everyday, walking to the waters edge of Lago Atitlán and asking for help to release layers upon layers of grief. I would immerse my wrist in herbal baths daily, take plant baths, burn incense, attend Mayan fire ceremonies, walk my prayer out and build trust in myself. I was learning to build a relationship with the water and fire simultaneously. The deeper preparation was to learn to share and speak from my heart and my own personal experiences. I spent everyday talking to the waters and waiting for her permission to court me into her salty tears. I was courted into the waters during a water ceremony, with both hands full of white rose petals. I merged with her waters and allowed every tear to be transformed into gratitude. Gratitude for the reciprocity to swim in my own tears that became nourishment and healing energy to the waters of Atitlán.
The journey to face my ancestry, to forgive and let go of old grief that lived in the lungs and heart of my family lineage continues to reveal so much beauty and grace in my own life. My lungs also have been an area in my body I have had to take extra care of. In order to look at it deeper I observed my Mother from a young age, times when she was gasping for air, in complete panic, constant phlegm that lived in her lungs and a heart condition that was acquired in her thirties. I became curious following the patterns and threads of my Mothers weaknesses so I could start my healing process around unresolved grief, grief of the women and men who have come before me. Shedding light on my Mothers lungs, the lungs that breathed me into being, the lungs that gave me oxygen for nine months. By owning my own process and releasing old grief my Mothers grief is healed alongside mine. The great mother who brings us to the light, who washes our tears, who gives us life. She hears us calling and is here to wash us with her sacred waters. In these times of the collective shift I offer you some self care tips and resources that can be used not just in these times we are in but as a daily practice to connect to the elements within your beautiful sacred vessel of existence.
BANOS: (PLANT BATHS)
These baths were introduced to me from a teacher Estela Román who helped birth me into my light. This specific bath and plants are used for releasing grief and sadness. If you don't have access to a bath tub fill a big pot with water and steep the below plants for 20 minutes. Then pour over your body starting from the head down. You can choose to go outside and face the direction of the North, ask to let go of fear, sadness and anger. Repeating the whole time: away negativity, away obstacles, away negativity, away obstacles. The north direction of the wind is were the Aztec lord of rest and gentleness sits, the place of transformation. You can make a bath with: Hibiscus (jamaica), Tulips (tulipanes), Linden (tilo) and Red Roses (rosa). In Peru the flowers of two plants called Roq'ue and Lupine can be used for bad winds "mal viento" or negative energies that have entered the body.
"Crying is an art form, we can't cry when we are disconnected from the mother" -Estela Román-
LOOSE INCENSE: (Incienso)
Fragrant smoke offerings can be used for clearing homes and spaces energetically and remove physical pathogens from the environment. Repair negative relations with elemental spirits and bring the warmth of love into the home. Plants that can be used are: Palma Dulce, Rue, Roses, Wiraqoya, Lavender, Neem, Eucalyptus, Copal, Frankincense, Myrrh, White Sage, Cedar, Pine Resin, Elecampane root, Osha root, Angelica root, Guggul Gum, Mugwort (moxa).
There are lots of Herbalist who have written about plants you can use for viruses and respiratory imbalances. I will give my top ten plants with a brief description of how to use them. If you have access to five of these plants then you can start building your home apothecary, then you will be in good hands.
Cleavers/Rata Rata/Galium aparine/above part plant used
Dandelion/Diente de Lion/ Taraxacum officinale/ root, flower, leaf
These two plants support the livers efficient processing of toxins. In change of seasons is when the lymph can get stagnant and congestion of the liver can occur, causing toxins to back up in the body and the immune system will become low. Encouraging lymph flow is very important. Calendula can also be used as a Lymph tonic. "Calendula brings light to the dark places in the body."
Mullein/Gordolobo/Verbascum thapsus/use leaf for respiratory
Elecampane/Helenio/ Inula helenium/ use root
Osha/Oshala/ Chuchupate/Ligusticum porteri/use root
Panti Panti/Cosmos peucedanifolius/ use flower
Mullein: acts as an expectorant to expel mucus from the lungs, the dried leaves can be smoked to relax the lungs when respiratory coughing is uncontrollable or breathing becomes difficult.
Elecampane root: will ease inflammation and expel excess heat, the essential oils in the root support and sooth the respiratory tract it also helps support normal mucous secretions. Can tonify the mucous tissues of the respiratory, G.I. tract and Urinary tract.
Osha: Osha is a power plant and should not be used everyday, power plants are specific for when really needed and Osha is one of those powerful forces that can heal if used properly. If you have a dry cough and are internally dry you have to mix the root with Licorice root or Marshmallow (a demulcent) or it will make your cough worse as it is more heating and drying to the system. If your cough is productive and damp then osha can be taken alone to break up stagnation in the lungs. Osha root is also antimicrobial!
Panti Panti: In Peru they use the flowers in a tea for a cough and bronchitis. Treats bronchial congestion, calms asthma, acts as an expectorant to the lungs.
Calendula/Caléndula/ Calendula officinalis/ use flower
Licorice/Glycyrrhiza glabra/ use root
Elderberry/ Saúco/ Sambucus nigra/ flower and fruit
Triphala/3 fruits from 3 plants/ use fruit
Calendula: this flower of sunshine is antimicrobial which deters pathogenic bacteria, fungi, viruses and protozoans. Calendula brings light to the lymph where dark heavy energies can be stored. Calendula is an immune tonic and is an antimicrobial herb, appropriate for the common cold, flu and mild to moderate infections. Can be used longterm as an immune tonic.
Licorice: used for the respiratory tract and antiviral properties. If the cough or lungs are dry, the root of this plant has been used to treat the virus and prevent the spread of virus. Herbal immunomodulators can be taken daily to prevent viral infections during change of seasons.
Elderberry: the flowers and fruit are used as an immune tonic, I make a syrup from both parts to have on hand over the winter. Incredibly rich in vitamins and antioxidants, lessens the severity of cold and flu symptoms. Taking 2tsp. three times a day can provide adequate protection during cold and flu season. Elder is also antimicrobial!
Triphala: a combination of three plants from India that are called Amalaki, Terminalia, Bellerica. Help purify the blood and reduce inflammation. Can help cleanse the system of pathogens and purify the blood. It can also boost immune function.
Here you will find resources for supporting us through the turbulent "winds" (virus). I hope this finds you in an empowered state of awareness and take the time to nourish your vessel. This too shall pass.
Since the age of fifteen years old when I started my first menses it was always irregular, skipping months and years with no bleeding. I went to Western Doctors and received test to find my hormones were all at the proper level. They told me I would have to be on birth control the rest of my life to regulate my cycles. I took the birth control for a few weeks and had so many side effects. This is when I chose to seek out alternative methods to nourish and transform the root of the problem. It was a twenty one year journey of looking at the physical, emotional and ancestral layers that were causing the imbalance, peeling away one layer at a time.
One and a half years ago I went to India, listening to my innate wisdom to bring my cycles into harmony with my higher wisdom. I embarked upon a thirty day Panchakarma, which is a series of therapies specific to your constitution that incorporate all aspects of healing spiritual, cellular, karmic, physical and strengthening the life force. The second day upon my arrival I started my moon cycle out of the blue, during this time we had to stop therapies until I was done bleeding. At this time my Ayurvedic Doctor informed me that for three days I was not allowed to do anything except just be in the beauty of my moon time. In parts of India the woman do not cook or work during the first three days of their moon time. I knew this would be my biggest challenge as I explained to him that "I usually feel so much energy when I start bleeding and tend to work harder during this time of the month. He looked at me with a grin and said "its good to look at how much of this story is in your mind?" I was quiet and reflected on his statement for three days. And he was correct! the conditioning and stories I created around my cycle were deeply embedded in how I perceived women and I was able to see how It was another way I repressed my femininity and by working harder I could mask my creative wisdom that would come through during this time, I always felt it was a sense of weakness in my body to not be able to show up and perform, so my masculine energy would be on overdrive creating a false energy so I could power through. This was creating a fierce, aggressive, masculine energy in my womb. There has been lifetimes of unraveling these stories but by sharing my story I hope to help and shed light to the process of birth we go through every month. Since I left India I have been having 25-28 day cycles every month and I love when the sacred window opens, the light becomes clear and the softness washes over me, but we must allow it.
I am living in Peru writing this three days into my moon cycle, writing from a inward space, writing to send light to those who are needing or wanting support during this sacred time we get to experience in a women's body. If we dont bleed each month then it means we are not healthy and this can lead to early stages of diabetes. PMS is not normal, pain is not normal, all the symptoms we have been told we get during our cycle is not normal. All imbalances can be reversed, it takes time and dedication. What is normal is to take the time to create your own red tent, cave or space to reflect. The two days before you bleed and first three days of bleeding are very sacred and crucial for women. When a women allows her life to flow around her cycles then the time and space will open like a beautiful flower blossom, the sacred window will start flourishing. When I left India I committed to the fire and myself to always take two-three days to rest, by doing this I was able to stop resisting the flow of life, then my schedule naturally became lighter around my moon time. It's a gift to go inward and not be out in the world using energy in a masculine way. This potent energy is needed to access our creativity, to listen to our dreams, sing, be playful, lay in the sun, take flower baths and journal. This creative energy can be the vessel to formulate and write down new ideas or projects. A time to envision what you want in your life. My life has completely changed once I softened into the process of resting and it never came easy, I resisted my inner rhythms for half my life and now I know how crucial the sacred window is for guiding my life and if I don't take the space to listen then the clarity usually does not arrive for me and I feel overwhelmed with simple task.
What a blessing it is to be given a time when the veils are thin, if we allow it then we can all access this potent power that resides in all of us. This is how we can reclaim our power as women to heal the shame, to heal the guilt, to stop apologizing for all the blood we offer every month.
Have you ever observed that your dreams are more vivid and clear before your moon time or during? listen deeply.
Do you feel more open and sensitive to other energies during this time?
This is your intuition giving you messages to listen deeper, your innate wisdom.
What can you shift in your life to allow time for the wisdom to be channeled?
Have you ever thought your sensitivity and wanting to be inward is a weakness? this is your intuition
Listen to the fire within.
Tierra mi cuerpo
Agua mi sangre
Aire mi aliento
Y fuego mi espiritu
I learned this song when the plants guided me to my first plant spirit training. We would sing the song during spiritual plant limpias (cleanings) and when we would harvest plants. It always spoke to me in a deep way. A prayer to the elements called out to my own inner elements, a yearning to deepen my relationship with Mother nature and all her fierce, yet gentle teachings. Over the years I noticed each soul journey I took was bringing up a element that wanted to be integrated. I started with air and ether, balancing the ungrounded winds that would sweep me away. The last element I am integrating is fire and its been the longest journey, that has given me the most potent and hardest challenges but well worth it!
I have always loved fire even at a young age, I remember staring into the camp fires and being sent into a deep trance, as if there was a void all around me, sounds would dissipate and I would become the fire. As I got older starting a fire became a challenge that brought up so much anger, rage, anxiety, nervous tension, a overwhelmed feeling or I would freeze. I was aware that the fire brought up so much for me and I didn't know how to work with the element in a healing way. When I was in Peru I was in charge of starting the fire every morning so I could cook breakfast. I would dread waking up to the tension that people were depending on me to start the flame, as soon as I would get the flame started it would go out and after numerous tries I would give up.
Four years ago I had a deep yearning to learn and understand temazcal ceremonies with a teacher in Mexico. This certainly was the hook to have me face the fire once again and connect to the fire element! When it came time for me to light the fire for the temazcal my teacher looked at me and said I was not ready "you still have too much anger to heal before working with the temazcal, you may be able to light the fire but the wind of anger comes behind and blows the fire out." Her words sat with me for a few more years, I kept attracting situations where I was asked to light the fire. I learned how to do agnihotra ceremonies at my yoga training and worked through alot of layers with the fire. I practiced every morning for a month to make a fire with cow dung and ghee in a copper pyramid. I still found my stomach turning at the thought of lighting a fire, to face what I wanted to transform. I started praying to the fire to help me, so I started rising early to practice making fires in my home, where I could go at my own pace, building trust and confidence with myself.
In November I had a friend who moved to Antigua, Guatemala, a place that has never been on my radar. But something deep within was calling me, so I went on another soul journey and bought a one way ticket to Guatemala. She was the hook to get me there. I was in search to meet Mayan elders who I could learn from and be involved in earth based ceremonies. I was led to the elders after a fall that resulted in breaking my right wrist. When I was treated by a Doctor in Antigua I knew I had to seek out a traditional bone setter to correct the malpractice. I was led to Nan Chila through a friend who was connected with a Mayan family that led me to the bone setter. It really was pure magic how it happened. The night I arrived to the bone setters house I immediately felt her fire energy and healing energy. She counted on her fingers to determine my Mayan sign and number, so that she could see my soul path and look at why the accident may of happened. I was immediately adopted by two separate families who carry the Mayan lineage of the Ancestors, they have been a stable rock as I continue to heal. They recommended I do a personal fire ceremony to clear any karmas from the past, so that I could move forward on my path and relieve me from any future accidents. This was the first fire ceremony I attended that was personalized and where I felt deeply connected to my ancestors and adopted ancestors. At this moment I knew my connection to my own fire element was being liberated. I stood at the fire and wept, all the anger left me; for the first time I received the fire as a potent ally, where I was ready to transmute all old believes from the past.
The fire was asking me to set down my baggage and be done carrying the heaviness. To be free and ask for strength to receive, a stern message that now is not the time to be giving. I celebrated my 37th year face to face with the fire element. A week later I found myself at my healers house while a fire ceremony was about to happen and then I kept getting invited to more. I showed up and faced every flame, resting on my knees, kissing the earth with so much gratitude. These potent experiences will continue to be a part of my life. I still cry for every flame, seeing all the woman healers who were burned for knowing the wisdom of nature. For all the ancestors that stepped into the fire, carving the path for many woman to bring forth the medicine. For now I lay the battle within to rest and ask for grace and determination to transmute the history of our woman. Yet this time we wont be burned at the stake for communing with mother nature nor the elements. I invite you to meditate on a vision you are trying to birth. Sit with it for 30 days and feed the intention into a candle or fire. See what is transmuted, you may be very surprised at the results. Call in your ancestors or adopted ancestors to stand around you in a circle and receive the gifts with your left hand.
A dove from my heart, Sondra
Art: The Three Sisters by Jackie Traverse
My travels to Peru have always left me with a deep yearning to share more of the Andean wisdom with others, connecting even deeper with all the elements. The seed of envisioning a intimate journey to Peru has been incubating for a while when I was first introduced to Q'ero Andean wisdom. I was drawn to the deep connection the Q'ero have with nature, how they maintain reciprocity and balanced relationships with the cosmic (mother) universe and all the elements. How the simple act of giving offerings to the earth can bring harmony to the mystical and spiritual body.
The 1st seed that awakened in me after my first visit to Peru over 7 years ago was the connection I felt with the medicinal plant world, how every plant was connected to the stones, to the earth, the cosmos and the living energy of the universe. The 2nd seed that awakened after I studied herbalism was 3 years ago when I found a Yoga and Ayurveda training where I lived and went through a very deep spiritual rewiring and shift in consciousness. I was led there at a time when I was abandoning my body and physically exhausted. The program was very much focused on getting in your body through yoga, breathwork and meditation. By using Ayurvedic principles I slowly was able to come into balance and become more earthed in the soil and centered in my spirit. The 3rd seed that awakened in me was when I went to India this summer in 2018. I immersed myself in a 26 day panchakarma in a Ayurvedic hospital away from chatter, internet, responsibilities etc. During this time it was the most nourished I had ever felt, allowing to receive was the hardest lesson. Everyday felt like a profound spiritual and physical ceremony. I could see and feel emotional toxins becoming dislodged from the darkest areas. As a result a force of will power arose from deep within, it took weeks for me to become accustomed to a strong force of creative energy that was flowing through me. It felt as if all the seeds were screaming to be watered and nourished.
I left India with a willpower that took over my whole being, I came back to the states and knew I had to really follow all the dreams I had shot down or told myself I could not do in previous times. Here I am sharing this dream with you and inviting you to sit in sacred space among the mountain spirits of Peru. A place where you can fully earth into the energies in a grounded and supported container, by remembering what seeds may be dormant inside you. Are you walking your soul purpose out? Are you yearning to develop the seeds of wisdom you have planted? Reawaken your seeds for embodiment in a 6 day culture immersion with Q'ero elders or choose to do the full 13 day journey where we will visit two sacred mountains that can create movement and alignment in your life.
Together we will birth a vision.
Birth a dream into fruition.
"Lets make the earth our church and protecting it our religion"