The Crescent moon greeted me as I landed in Greece, her feminine expression was so clear in the night. The heartbeat of the Mother was awakening inside me and I could feel it pulsating my energy through my veins. I came to this land as a direct call to embody the Greek Goddesses and the divine feminine that lives deeply inside all of us. As the weeks went by a sister from the retreat I was attending asked me "which archetype do you feel you are bringing to the retreat?" I looked at her perplexed, a question that threw me off guard as I felt I had not met a specific archetype that I embodied. As the weeks passed upon my return to the states I came across the goddess Hecate that I was unaware was playing out in my being as I traced the steps of ancient mythology. The subtle shift while in Crete brought a deeper will and empowerment to continue carrying the lineage of herbal knowledge and healing to all those I cross paths with. Hecate is depicted as the triple goddess of crossroads, entrance-ways, light, magic and knowledge of herbs. This special wisdom and intuition lives innately in all of us. the real test is trusting your intuition especially during times of fast movement and growth in the world. The archetype is of dreaming, allowing intuition to guide you in life. A wisdom that is born from experience. She is the goddess of all major transitions and is there when there is a birth in life or a creative activity. The crone of wisdom and change. She is a worker from afar in the past, present and future. Linking patterns from past relationships and situations in order to continue healing. She beholds a protective nature over households and families and known for ruling the earth, sky and sea. Hecate has a divinity for the cypress tree and Yew tree a symbol of death and the underworld.
There were several reoccurring patterns of Mullein (Verbascum macrurum) in the foreground displaying their flowers when I was in Crete. When I returned to California it had just begun to flower on our land, I started to witness her pop up all over our land, migrating to areas she did not live last year. Often times the medicine we need will just show up on your land out of no where. With the wisdom and plant knowledge of Hecate I noticed while in Crete mullein would show up in my view when I began to doubt myself and my intuition. There she was standing tall, full of will, embodying a deeper strength of right action. Here is a healing recipe to embody Hecate in your home.
Mullein Ear Oil
Mullein flowers infused in oil treat ear infection, tinnitus, ear pain and ear mites in animals. 1) Harvest mullein flowers and place in a paper bag for twelve hours to reduce moisture content.2) Stuff a pint size jar with the flowers and pour two cups of olive or sesame oil over flowers. 3)Use a chopstick to push out any air bubbles that collect when pouring oil onto flowers. 4)You may need to top off with oil in a few days, so keep an eye on the level of oil. The oil should be above the flowers, fully immersed. 5)Cap tightly and set in sun or in windowsill for one full moon cycle. 6)Strain the oil with cheesecloth into clean bottles.
The mullein leaves can be used in a tea as a expectorant in treating dry coughs by stimulating the cough to loosen phlegm from the walls of the lungs. The flowers and leaves are also used for lymph draining or as a compress for glandular swelling. With all the air pollution and fires in Northern California I see more mullein popping up all over the area, guiding us to use her healing qualities to protect our lungs and lymph. I encourage all of you to embody the goddess Hecate as you use your intuition in creating plant medicine, if there is intention to heal and bring forth wisdom then the medicine will be highly potent.
May the plants guide you,
A beautiful blessing found me five years ago, a plant spirit herbalism program fell into my inbox when I was least expecting it. I remember I was asking for guidance and a huge shift in my life after the death of my German Shepherd, it became clear to me through my dreams why he had picked me to be his mamma when he was a young pup, he was a strong animal guide helping me reconnect with the plants and earth, as I spent most my time experimenting and testing plant remedies on him!
I have not shared with many how the name Osha Maize came about and I feel its perfect time to introduce the birth of a vision at a pivotal time as I leave tomorrow for a potent journey to Crete, Greece, tuning into the land, goddess archetypes and medicinal plants. My first herb teacher would always talk about this mysterious power plant that lived above 7,000 feet. I had never heard of the plant but I was hooked, I started to feel the energy of the plant and it was calling me deeply into the woods. As she continued to paint the picture all throughout winter. I knew I would have to wait until fall to harvest and meet osha (Ligusticum Porteri). Months before our osha camping trip, I sat in a plant ceremony in Crestone, CO on a potent full moon. The light of the moon and the stars will forever be in my visual field of such a beautiful night. Toward the end of the night a voice continued to repeat "osha maize" "osha maize" "osha maize" over and over again until I started to chant it back to myself. I instinctually new this name would eventually be birthed through my being, yet I was not certain if a child wanted to come through with that name or a healing path I had stepped on was speaking to me.
Osha, great bear medicine, protector of the aspen tree, wound healer, altitude medicine and so much more. Bears eat osha root before and after hibernation to renew their strength and use the root as a poultice to pack their wounds. The Zuni word of osha is Anshe, which means "bear", chuchupate is a another name for osha in the Nahuatl language meaning bitter root. Osha was used for ceremonial smudge and protection from rattlesnakes when placed in moccasins or a medicine pouch. I have had many powerful experiences with osha and continue to be humbled and grateful to embody the energy of osha root in my herbalist practice. The natives of North and South America are often known as the "corn people" because their civilization depended on corn. Their are so many creation stories of corn, but one I really resonate with is the Corn Maidens who were created in the palm of the right hand of Great Spirit as guides for the people of the Earth. People were not always able to determine from among the many plants and animals on the Earth what was good for them to eat—what would nourish them vs. what would harm them. So the Corn Maidens were sent to give each clan a single seed of corn that, if properly cared for, would feed and sustain them. The people took their seeds of corn and planted them in the ground, making a small mound around them. Slowly the corn grew breaking through the earth. Their is so much folklore and stories around these two plants, which continues to shed light on the birth of Osha Maize, and the strength behind a name. I am committed to continue passing the seeds of wisdom and healing for those who seek nourishment and trust from Mother Earth.
Almonds are a lovely food that are building to the ojas (vigor) in Ayurveda, they are heavy, oily, cold and sweet. They are great for pitta and vata but can be too heavy for kapha in large amounts. Our ancestors once feasted on nuts which provided strength for the body and building muscle mass. This ancestral food is one of the best ways to strengthen the body on all levels. Almonds contain the most protein out of any nut and nourish a deep, slow burning metabolic fire. Every nerve in our body is coated in fats, called the myelin sheath, that insulates, guides and protects the electric impulses of your neurons. Nourishing this fatty layer of the nervous system is key to calming the mind.
Almonds are rich in oils and fats that can build the nervous system. In order to bring balance to the body almonds should always be blanched to remove the skins, they contain high tannic acid, which can provoke pitta dosha and bring imbalances.
Blanching almonds is super easy and a meditative process. First buy organic whole almonds. Boil a pot of water and then add almonds to the boiling water. Boil for 1-2 minutes and remove from flame. Strain the almonds and begin to peel by pinching the butt of the almond and the nut will pop out of the skin. Spread the almonds out on a cloth and allow to dry. Once dry store in a glass jar in the fridge. Now you have almonds ready for blending into a nut milk or cooking with veggies.
Oja balls are a great alternative to the processed energy bars that usually contain excess sugars and fillers. Unfortunately these bars contain very little energy or viable nutrients due to the packaging and time spent on the shelf in stores. The longer the bars hang out on the store shelves the more likely the nuts and oils have gone rancid, leading to lack of prana.
The following energy balls provide a fresh, simple, and nutrient-rich alternative to build ojas, our vitality that lives in our body. Ojas can be depleted very quickly over a span of time due to stress, and not eating properly. This recipe is nut free, dairy free and gluten free, as well as easy on the agni (digestive fire).
A blender or coffee grinder is needed for grinding seeds. Purchase seeds in their raw form, unsalted and unroasted. Buy dried fruits that are sulfur free and sugar free. I love to make these balls for long flights or when I go on hikes!
soak fruit in water 5-10min before chopping
1/2c dried figs
1/2c dried apricots
1/2c sunflower seeds
1/2c white sesame seeds
1/2c pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted in a dry pan
1 Tsp. ground cardamom
1 pinch mineral salt
1 Tbs. spirulina powder
2 Tbs. chicory powder
1/8-1/4 cup ghee or (coconut oil if dairy-free)
1/3 cup coconut flakes
optional: flax or hemp seeds
Lightly toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry skillet without oil. Allow to cool and transfer to a bowl. Meanwhile grind the sesame and sunflower seeds into a coarse powder. Grind the pumpkin seeds once they have cooled . Add the salt, cardamom, spirulina, and chicory powder and mix well in a bowl.
Drain the dried fruits, chop into smaller pieces and add to mixture, now add the melted ghee until you obtain a thick paste-like dough.
Use your hands and roll the mixture into a walnut size ball in the palm of your hands. If the mixture does not easily stick together add more oil, if too wet add more ground seeds. Roll the balls in ground flax seeds, hemp seeds, or coconut flakes. Place the balls on a plate or cutting board and place inside fridge to harden, once hardened store balls in a glass jar. This recipe is a great foundation, but feel free to be creative and add additional items. Dates are a crucial part in the recipe as they build ojas and ghee is another healing remedy for building ojas.