The more I dig deeper into Curanderismo I start to see so many parallels to Ayurveda. Any practice or lineage that is rooted in nature and the elements will contain similar alignments. It all comes down to the core essence within the teachings of nature. I first started learning about Curanderismo eight years ago, when I met Estela Roman who continues to teach me about spiritual immunity and the nature of the winds. Alongside that time I was just starting to become curious about the practices of Ayurveda. I recently got to spend time with Estela at a healers gathering with fifteen other woman to dig deeper into how we can create resources in movement, and the stages of our growth in the Aztec lineage. She explained the elements and emotional winds that are being cultivated at a specific age.
Age birth-13 is when we are in relationship with the earth element. Laughing, we cry more to build connection, learning to walk upright, we are softer in this phase of life. In Ayurveda birth-20 is the time of the water and earth element kapha dosha.
Age 14-26 is when we are building our connection with the water element. We look deeper into our life, produce more water, tears, develop intellect and heal the Mother relationship. In Ayurveda 20-50 is the pitta years the fire and water element when we transform and create what we desire to generate in or lives.
Age 27-39 is when we are in relationship with the wind element, the growth of who we are, inner voice, resolve repressed intellectual growth, emotional intelligence develops. When we are able to look at our emotional winds that reside in our thirteen joints and allow space for transformation.
Age 40-beyond is when we are in relationship with the ether element, our intuition, trusting our inner voice, following our heart. When the spiritual cosmic connection is made. In Ayurveda 50-beyond is the vata time of life, air and ether element, when we begin to have a deeper understanding of our spiritual path, our intuition is developed and we trust ourselves fully.
The thirteen emotions/aires that reside in the thirteen joints are: trauma, fright, fear, sadness, anxiety, guilt, shame, anger, envy, jealousy, selfishness, lost and resentment. The elements present in each age group are there to support the healing and transmutation of the aires. This is why emphasis is placed on the joints during body work to release emotional and physical pain in the body. In Ayurveda there is a focus on the joints and moving the lymph where old stagnant emotions reside. Massaging oil on the joints in a circular direction assist in secreting fluid from the lymph nodes by releasing emotional toxins and circulating blood flow.
By working with the joints energy can be moved and the client can begin to have a dialog with the winds/aires that are being released from the joints. A simple yet powerful massage technique can provide the client with more space and depth to continue the healing process and become the cosmic basket of their true nature.
I wanted to welcome the new year with a question to ponder, what element do you need to invite deeper into your body for healing or balance?
We have all five elements within us: earth (prithvi), water (apas), air (vayu), fire (tejas), ether (akasha). The elements present in our parents are encoded into our being at the time of conception, creating our unique constitution. There are usually one or two dominant elements that reside in us and play out in different ways that either create harmony or imbalance in our mind and body.
The last five years I have been on a journey balancing all of these elements within my mental and physical body. Ironically I did not see the pattern until a few years ago when I was with a teacher in Mexico and I had this strong pull to learn how to start the fires for the Temazcal ceremonies.....I chuckle now when I retell the story! My teacher looked at me one day with a stern voice and said " You can not build a fire for the Temazcal with all that anger inside of you, the wind of anger will come and blow the fire out." Two months later I went to Hawaii for a Ayurveda and Yoga training where I was fully immersed in the Vedic fire ceremonies and mantra. The first month I observed the fire and imagined all the anger being transformed, at the time I did not know where the anger was coming from, but the fire stirred it up in me to a point where I felt my blood boil in my veins. By the second month they asked me to perform the Tryambakam fire ceremony for fifteen minutes every morning as part of my seva, my heart raced when they asked me to take on such a scary task of connecting with the fire. Trying to manage the fire and keep the mantra repeating aloud seemed so daunting at times and other times I felt completely tuned in with a higher source. I would re-lite the fire numerous times as it would continue to be extinguished no matter how many drops of ghee I would offer or how many fans I would put up to block the ocean breeze. Until one day I surrendered with complete union with the fire and the flame stayed alive, all the nervousness and anxiety I would get around the flame transmuted before my eyes.
The year 2017 was a deep initiation with the water element, when I saw a photo of Apu Ausangate, I knew at that distinct moment I had to go connect with the sacred waters. Days before my birthday I was looking into the eyes of Ausangate, with my body fully immersed under the healing springs having a complete rebirth back into my body. The following months I was lead to more bodies of water and imagined bringing the healing element into my body, hydrating my tissues and ligaments. The earth element will be the focus for 2018, the most solid structure for life to exist in, along with anchoring the energy. It will be a year of allowing my body and mind to be earthed in the hands of the majestic Mother. I am trusting that the Ancestors will guide me to the Lakes, Rivers, Oceans, Mountains and Plants to continue the journey of being earthed. All of these elements will ebb and flow inside me at different rates, but the key is to know how to keep them balanced within our being. The process will get easier as you start to attune your energy.
A starting point would be to observe the picture above of Mullein, what elements do you think reside in each part of the plant? What part of the plant do you need to ingest more of this season? The root contains the earth element, providing nourishment, minerals and carbs. The stem stores water to hydrate the tissues. Air contains the spirit of the plant, the subtle body energy, the invisible. Fire transmutes the energy into a flower and the ether element resides in the seed, existing before and after the material form. If Mullein was lacking in any of these elements there would not be a proper state of balance or attunement in order to produce the healing medicine that is stored in the flowers and leaf. I invite you to go into the woods and explore the elements within nature!
May the plants guide your way home,
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.