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My Dream of Hobbit Living…

There’s a reason why I’m called The Bohemian Hobbit.  My love for JRR Tolkien’s Shire lands within Middle Earth, as well as the little beings called Hobbits, brings me endless amounts of inspiration for living the simple life, being free from government control, living organically off the land, and of course, debt free living.

(Hobbit homes in New Zealand as well as Peter Vetsch’s amazing architecture in Switzerland)

Hobbits of the Shire live a lifestyle what many of us call “off the grid”.  Unfortunately, where we live, it is illegal to live off grid.  Since moving here last year, I have been researching ways to get around that. Well, at least learn how to live *a little * off grid.  When you live in a society of convenience and greed, you really have NOT a clue how much we as a people are used to having everything at our beck and call.  Here are some ideas that I am talking about:

  • Flipping a switch and lights go on
  • Water automatically coming from a faucet with the flip of the wrist
  • Opening up a door to a cold and temperature regulated refrigerator
  • Plugging in anything and automatically get a charge

These are just a FEW of the many things we take for granted.  Think about this:  Nothing worse than getting caught in the middle of a storm and losing power.  People feel utterly helpless.  Even myself, who crave white noise in order to sleep, will lose her proverbial mind when everything shuts down.  So when we lose power in the middle of the night, my heart pounds and my chest tightens.  I have become so modernized that I have to admit, the idea of living off grid scares the hell out of me.

Times Square is plunged into darkness as the sun goes down a

UNITED STATES – AUGUST 14: Times Square is plunged into darkness as the sun goes down after a massive power failure caused the largest power outage in the nation’s history, affecting 50 million people in parts of seven states and Canada. (Photo by Robert Rosamilio/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

Living off the grid is not easy.  If anything, it’s an incredibly hard way to live.  But I have learned from people I know, research I’ve done, that once you become acquainted with this way of living, 9 times out of 10, you will NEVER want to go back to a modern way of living.  

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(Emma Orbach from Wales – who left her life to live a more primitive way – though this is a more severe way of off-grid living, it suits her and she is happier than ever)

Why are so many people wanting to walk away from modern living?  Well, money is the biggest issue I’ve learned.  With poverty at an all-time high, people are searching endlessly for more sufficient ways to live, as well as finding ways to “have” things without having the almighty bill that undoubtedly comes with it.  

 Going back as far as the 70’s and 80’s, society labeled these types of people as nomads or new age hobos. But these people were actually pioneers. They alone inspired a current day revolution of self-sustainability.

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(what society thinks people who live off-grid look like)

Now we have hobby farms, organic micro-farms, and real life community CSA’s.  Homesteads and Small-Holdings are popping up all around the world, with people looking for ways to get back to the land.

(modern day off-grid living)

Walking away from the modern way is hard.  I’m not saying it’s impossible, either.  It’s a 24 hour 7 days a week job. It’s hard work, but its also truly inspirational work. I’ve learned that camping is a good way to start to understand, even going as far as bushcrafting, which is a severe and incredibly primitive form if camping. Either one, though, can help a person learn pretty fast what it’s like to not have those modern conveniences at the ready.

(Shameless plug for two of my favorite people in the world, Colette and Jacqui – go visit them at http://www.bealtainecottage.com and http://www.themoonmother.net)

Living off the grid can also get messy for those used to living in a stark clean home. Usually with self-sustainable living, especially in a temperate climate like where we live (Southeastern Pennsylvania), the home and the land need to be constantly kept up and maintained, something that is usually unheard up in the modern world. It’s only modern normalcy to be able to get up in the morning, turn on the bathroom light, go to the bathroom, take a shower, blow your hair dry, get dressed and go down stairs to make yourself a cup a coffee, microwave a quick breakfast sandwich, jump in your car and drive to work. Come home, make dinner through either your microwave or stove, eat and watch TV or play on your computer, until it’s time for bed.  This is precisely what life looks like for millions of people, myself included.  People who live off grid have a different day:

They wake up and turn on their lights that are powered from the solar panels on their property. They sit and do their business on the toilet, but instead of flushing, they pick up some sawdust and throw it into the toilet bowl, because their toilet is a compost toilet, and not hooked up to the sewer. Compost toilet waste goes right into the compost, which is a widely used tool for feeding and fertilizing the soil. They go to wash themselves up, either by a water filtration system hooked up from the rain collected or from the well on their property.  Some of them have gray water systems, meaning all that water doesn’t go down into pipes, but buckets or an output filtration system, that feeds back into the land on the property. They go downstairs and light the fire on their wood burning stove or they at least stoke it, since many people use their stove as a heating system and boiler for hot water. They cook their breakfast over their stove, and they are off to work.  

(Simon Dale’s Welsh Earth Home…Brilliant and completely off grid!)

But here’s where it gets truly revolutionary: Their office is a mere few feet away, since their “job” is working the land.

The job can be looked upon as basic farming: Tending the livestock like the goats, ducks and/or chickens, since these three animals are the main animals used in urban farming today.  Goats provide milk, which provides essentials like cheese, milk, kefir grains, while chickens and ducks provide eggs and for some farmers, meat.

(I admit, I’m obsessed with farm animals)

So here’s the thing. I have been talking to my husband and my son about the possibility of starting small.  When your electric bill is over $200 in a given month, your sewer and trash bill is almost $300/quarter, $250 for cable and internet, you know you need to make changes.  Our carbon footprint is rather deep and it’s important for me to stop that.  Honestly, if I could get rid of my toilets and just have a compost toilet, or get rid of our big refrigerator and just get a mini fridge, I’d do it in a heartbeat, but I also need to consider my loved ones who might not be too keen.  When dealing with family you live with that like the conveniences, I may have to Tai Chi the situation and approach things delicately. Going off grid, or partially off-grid (since it is illegal in my town to go 100%), is not for the faint of heart.  It takes careful consideration and a hell of a lot of patience.  Even as I am typing this, my heart races because the thought of walking away from conveniences terrifies me.  But continuing to live in debt terrifies me more. I know when my boys are out of the house and on their own, it will be easier for my husband and I to live this way, so for now, we are taking baby steps necessary to get to our goals.

Last year when we moved, I made a promise to myself that in ten years, I will be living the life I promised myself. And that it would be happy, healthy, and all around amazing not just for me, but for my family.  I want to teach them about how much we waste and how we have the power to stop it.  We all have the power!  Start out small.

(for me, it will be rain barrels, solar panels and a polytunnel)

Imagine this: the next time you want to throw something plastic in the trash rather than in the recycling bin, remember this: that piece of plastic could take up to 100 years to deteriorate. And there is a very high chance that piece of plastic will be eaten by an animal who will think it’s food, and that animal will die.  Every time we don’t recycle, or just “throw” things away, we are setting up for the future of our children and grandchildren. This is the hard truth we as a society have to face.  No more excuses.  We have become so incredibly lazy that we are killing the only planet we know we live on.  If we kill Mother Earth, where do you think we’re going to go?

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See, this is the stuff I think about when I wake up in the middle of the night.  And knowing that, know that the time is now to make the change.

(Harsh truths of the world. These are recent photos)

It starts with something small.  I’ve been recycling for many years now. I turn off my lights when I am not needing them on. I turn off the TV when it’s not being used.  I garden. I make some of my medicines and teas that I drink. I eat organic food.  I’m TRYING to stop eating meat.

But I can do more.  And now it’s time to do so.  Are you ready to make the change?

Flying in the Face of the Lammas Season…

***Excerpts from my Blog Post “Lammas and the Autumn Season“***

The Feast of Lammas is upon us!

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Wait, what?  What is this silly Hobbit talking about? Last year, I wanted to go into a new series installment called The Wheel of the Year.  I’d like to think I hit every holiday, but I don’t know right now, I have to go back and check on my past blogs!

Lammas (in Christian/Catholic context meaning “Loaf Mass”), is also called Lughnasadh. (pronounced Loo Nah Sah).  It is a Celtic Sabbat/Holiday that begins the first of the 3 major Harvest Festivals.  Oh, by the way, I wanted to educate those who say Celtic wrong.  Celtic is pronounced *KELL-TICK*.  NOT *Sell-Tick*. Okay, I admit, that rubs me the wrong way in so many ways.  It’s like someone called the Amish with the pronunciation *AY-MISH* or Italian like *EYE-TAL-YUN*.  To me, it’s a bit insulting, and it can truly drive many enthusiasts like myself, mental.  For some reason, many sports teams that have the word Celtic pronounce it Sell-tick, but I can assure you, the proper right way to say it is how I mentioned it above.  Okay, moving on….

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Lammas! Ohhhh I how love me some Harvest holidays! It’s probably one of the reasons why Thanksgiving is one of my favorite Holidays!  There is something about the word “comfort” that drives all of us to find our own sense of the word.  For me, comfort means my home.  And it’s going to be extra special since this will be our first FULL autumn in our new home!  It means all the stuff I love around me.  It means listening to music I love, smelling aromatic candles, drinking an amazing tea, reading a good book, a nice casserole in the oven, my husband and children around me.  That’s comfort.  Comfort is a rainy day in the autumn, when you wake up and realize you don’t want to get out of your pajamas.  And you don’t.  Whoever said  you have to get up every morning and get dressed like in your Sunday best everyday is for the birds!  People are going to accept you, whether you have makeup on, or going au natural.

Comfort is taking a nap in the middle of the afternoon on that said rainy day, smelling the rain and feeling the cool air coming in.  I love days like that.  But comfort is different for each person.  What is your form of comfort?  Think about it and write a list out.  When you realize what things make you feel comforting, then do what you can to make it happen!

Lammas is the beginning of the Harvest.  The first seeds planted in Spring are now ready to be picked of their ripened fruit.  Many will start to see the hay barrels in the fields from farmers picking their crops.  This is a good time to start thinking about what you are going to plant in the Autumn for next year!  Spring bulbs may be on sale in grocery stores or produce markets, so this is a great time to make a list of what you want to see pop up in Spring of next year!  Sadly, my garden has taken an INCREDIBLE beating this year with the heat and humidity of the Summer.  So much has died and withered, and I just wasn’t home enough to tend to them, OR I was home and the heat was too hard to bare, I couldn’t even get outside or my lungs would have flared up tremendously from how weak they get during this time of year.  So, I stay indoors and work on my dried herbs I already was able to harvest, as well as work with my tinctures and teas, and even today, I baked Soda Bread!!!!  YUM!

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August 1st is the Feast Day of the Celtic deity, Lugh (hence the name Lughnasadh).  Lugh was revered by many as the man who sacrificed himself to give people the comfort of a good harvest.  He was in ancient times known as the Corn God.  Understandably why corn is usually harvested this time of year.  Nevertheless, this is a time of turning inward.  Just the beginning of it, though.  We are still in the throes of hot and humid weather, with lots of sunny days and warm nights ahead of us.  But the air is changing, and many can feel it right now.  Some associate it with the beginning of school, and whatever you need to do to understand why we are in the process of a season change, go with what feels good.

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Right now, in my home, we are continuing our path to organization by preparing ourselves for what we hope to be an annual yard sale!  I promised myself come hell or high water we were going to get this house situated for living, and although we’ve been here for 9 months, we still have boxes to go through (yeah, I know).  Living with people who have a hard time purging old things, rooms can get pretty crowded in here quickly.  So, my daily talks about how good we feel when we are uncluttered I am hoping are getting into their heads!  I hope to be starting the autumn season with lighting some fall candles, and I don’t know about you, but it just feels right to do this now.  I love going to places like AC Moore and looking at all the Autumn/Halloween goodies that are already out on display.  I love planning on how I’m going to decorate this year.  I think its good to change it up every year.  It always gives off a fresh energy when you change things around, even with decor that only stays up a few weeks.

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If you are interested in learning more about this upcoming season and how you can incorporate rituals in your life to make yourself more spiritually grounded with our Earth, keep coming back here, as I will have different ideas you can do to make this next season inspiring and fun!  Autumn is always easy, because there is SO much to do!  But remember: do what makes YOU feel good, instead of what everyone else is telling you how things should be.  You will be surprised how good it feels when you walk into this next Season doing things YOU love to do!

Next Saturday, my beloved Circle is getting together to celebrate this wonderful Season with great food and great drink, campfire and swimming, and crafts galore, and we continue as we always do, in perfect love and perfect trust.

As above so below, as within so without.

As the Universe, so the soul.  Blessings to you all!

Love, Peace and Macaroni and Cheese,

Bridget

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Trying To Move Forward in a Backwards World…

 

Ahhh, today is Memorial Day.  An important time to remember the citizens of my country who paid a price for our freedom.  I know for me, Memorial Day should not just be a United States Holiday.  It should be a Universal holiday.  Religious zealots, political prowess, bigotry, and all-around hatred has caused our little world to continually be turned upside down.  Thankfully, we are at the threshold of a new era – an era of peace.  Those who believe in prophecy (not religious, but universal), know that usually after generations of war always follows with generations of peace.  And we are coming down from the climax of war.  Yes, even though there is still hate and war out there, we have to admit to ourselves we are moving towards a turning point.  Think about this – 100 years ago…what was NOT allowed to be?  Being public with homosexuality, transgenderism, women’s rights, freedom from slavery, child labor laws…just to name a few.  To me, as I see it, it’s an insult on the people who died so that we may live, by living with hate, anger and resentment.  Sure, we have the freedom to do that, but think about it…is it REALLY freedom?

I look at the world today, and see so much growth happening.  And although I still get disgusted at the hate and bigotry that is STILL out there, it IS decreasing.  People are beginning to wake up!  They are witnessing the innate and absolute awe of loving unconditionally one another.  Leaving behind the uneducated, misled and arrogant stances of how other people live.  When we STOP worrying about how other people are living, we begin to love ourselves a little bit more.  And when we love ourselves more, that love begins to radiate out to the masses.  This has always been part of my journey, as I learned long ago that the continuous judgement where I am on the receiving end of that judgement, will only create more anger in those throwing that anger toward me.  I choose love.  That doesn’t mean I’m going to be a walking mat, no, it just means I choose love.  Jesus once talked about walking away from the Old Testament “Eye for an Eye” way of life, and instead, choose to turn the other cheek.

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Matthew 5:38-40 — “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for an eye, and tooth for a tooth’. But I tell you, do not resist an evil person.  If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.”

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Such a brilliant way to look at life.  When people choose to live their lives in hatred, judgement, bigotry, and an overall victim-hood mentality, walk away.  But walk away with love.  You can forgive those who hate you, spit at you and judge you, but doing it back to them only shows that you are just as bad as they.  Choose to walk away.  Now, 5-10 years ago, I would have lost my nerve and screamed and cried and made sure they knew how much they hurt me.  No more.  I listen, and tell them I’m so sorry they feel this way.  I’ve learned to know that I am an amazing woman who has flaws just like everyone else.  But I choose now to not use my flaws as ways to get out of things, or make excuses as to why I need to be “different”. Not my style.

Today my husband and I took a walk through our gardens.  We have been experiencing some really hot and humid weather, to the point that even my deep garden bedding experienced some tough challenges.  We talked about idea to make things better, and how to support the even living creatures and plants that now dwell back there.  Last week I put together a little bird bath made out of a ceramic potting base and an iron plant stand.  The robins and blue jays that have come to play back there now brings such a smile on my face.  I want the creatures to know that I not only build these sacred gardens for myself and those I love, but for them as well.  They need to eat too, you know!

Also, in my continuing lessons of humility, I started back up on my Celtic Devotional written by my dear friend, Cailtin Matthews.  Split into the four major Earth Holidays, each Sabbat/Season has a daily prayer for morning AND at night.  Solar and Lunar meditations, as well as additional blessings and prayers for everything under the sun.  I lost it during the move, so you could only imagine how happy to have it back on my person.

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I also realized some other things.  I’m not cut out for certain things in my life.  It’s a quite profound moment when you realize this.  When you are in an environment that is not healthy, everything around you will go down with you.  I realized this when I came to the conclusion of my failing health.  It’s funny how it began when it did, and how it is continuing to this day.  I continue to find ways to get better, and always try to look at the positive side of things.  It’s not good when you know of people who seem to think the worst of things, the worst of you, or just make assumptions that are clearly not true.

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I get it.  I don’t run with the “normal” crowd.  I don’t understand why it bothers people so much in what I believe in.  Apparently if you go to church but you are an unmitigated asshole, you’re still in better shape than me, a non-church goer who believes in doing good and being good. Apparently because I believe in things like angels and fairies, astrology and magical intentions, I’m doomed to eternal hell.  Does it make me sad?  Yes, I’m heartbroken that even at 42 I still get phone calls telling me that people I love are spreading assumptions about me because of their own fear or lack of understanding.  Should I resist?  No.  I’m not going to fight anymore.  I am simply turning the other cheek, because I know at the end of the day, I do it with love, and no one can take that away from me.

We need to work together.  All of us.  We need to STOP assuming the worst in everyone.  We need to STOP being so angry and resentful because your life may not be as happy as someone else. Make the most of your life.  The tiny things in this world can sometimes make the biggest impact.  To never give up hope even on the darkest of days.

Today my husband and my boys went for a walk through Blackrock Sanctuary.  Needed to be outside even on this hot day.  Being out in nature gives me a time, even for a moment, to realize what we have right in front of us.  And that to be grateful for these things will only give us more ability to move forward positively.  Be light.  Be love. Be magic.  Because all three is all around us.  But you’re only going to see it if you walk away from your chains of darkness.

Nursing the Possibilities…

The last several weekends have been incredibly busy, which has left me doing all sorts of gardening prep and maintenance on the week nights after work, which only provides me with a couple hours of sunlight.

(Potted a little over 70 seed pots, cannot wait to see what comes up! Each side is some Fennel and Calendula)

So, Sunday, I had promised myself that after all was said and done, this day would be the day to continue working with my seedlings, mow the lawn, and even shock the pool. Alas, it doesn’t look like much was going to happen yesterday, as the rain clouds, although not in one big clump, are sparse throughout the area, which is going to result in passing rain showers like every 20 minutes! But, Scott and I were busy-busy at keeping up with Mum Gaia as she spread her light showers. And we were totally okay with that, really. Mother Nature has a job she needs to do, and I firmly believe that we need to let her do it. She can most certainly live without us, however WE cannot live without HER!

(Excited to finally see my Roses and Morning Glories coming in to bloom, and that mystery daisy-looking plant finally flowered, and it’s Fleabane!  How exciting!)

So, the grass was mowed, and I got about 70+ seedlings planted in their starter pots. When I was finished, I stood in front of my little greenhouse, like a hovering new mother looking into the nursery. Maybe that’s why gardens and hospitals call these places “nursery”. We are nursing the things in that room to grow and thrive.


On another note, I’ve been keeping up with what’s going on astrologically. Mercury will be thankfully going out of retrograde status on May 22. But that still leaves 3 others in the retrograde phase. Mars, Saturn and Pluto.

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With Mars, we need to remember this is a good time to SLOW down. When we try hard to make things happen, things can backfire if you are not prepared. And especially with Mars AND Saturn being retrograde, you best remember this will most likely happen. Expect to work a little harder for things. (in my case, that’s just a normal day for me hahaha). And then you’ve got little Pluto out there, reminding us that now is the time to cleanse the inner most part of ourselves. To walk away from things and people who no longer serve our greater good. When you are awake, it can be acutely difficult to be around those who are still in a sleep mode. You continue to love them and wish them peace, but their own lack of ascending is only going to hinder your own journey. Take time to seek within. Sometimes we have to make decisions that may hurt others, but will bring YOU peace. And you know what? Sometimes, you HAVE to make that sacrifice. You cannot be 100% for others if you are not 100% for yourself. I’m not giving you the liberty to make decisions based on selfish desires, but more suggesting you take a hard look at the who’s and what’s in your life that are bringing your soul down. And when the soul ain’t happy, nothing else about you will be either. I know people close to me who are suffering, or making decisions just like this. And as hard as it is for them, it is for the best of all concerned. If anything, that is what these retrogrades are teaching us right now. Slow down, think about what is good in your life and stick with it. Think about what’s bad in your life and let it go. It’s really that simple, even if the action itself is difficult to finish.


I myself have had a lot to think about in the last couple weeks. It doesn’t make it easier that the retrogrades have been causing a bit of a riot in my own life. Things not going right, conversations being skewed, plans being rescheduled, etc etc etc….For me, it relates to a bigger picture in my life. What does one do when every part of your beings KNOWS a change needs to be made, and yet, outside forces and even my own brain is telling me, “no no no, it’s too risky”. To say I’m scared is an understatement. But I know the universe has a way of working things out for the betterment of all, and so I have to trust in it. Deep inside I know this is a time of great possibilities. And I just need to have faith, right?
Great possibilities. Like my garden. I look around, and see so much possibility. The potential for growth, harmony, existence, life and so on…like my own personal journey is reflected into what is the Sacred Gardens. Because my life is sacred. Our planet is Sacred. And my soul is the nursery. Tending and caring for its very existence to grow and thrive in this world.

(Where I am nestled tonight in quietude where the rest of my clan in watching Wrestling in the family room…I choose Enya, candlelight and warmth…Maybe time to make a cup of tea???)

Nature Therapy and the First Generation of the Sacred Gardens of Mabon House…

All I want to do is be at home in my gardens. If there was any addiction I wouldn’t mind having, it is the addiction to being outside in nature. Now, before any finger-pointing people start telling me no addiction is good for you – allow me to explain further. Trust me on this – I am an addict…so I know all about addiction.

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Addiction by definition is “An unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something.” Over the years, I have been addicted to food and prescription pain medicine.  And because of that, we all know that when you hear someone who is “addicted” to something, one immediately jumps to the conclusion that something is wrong. I am here to tell you that even as an addict, this is not necessarily the case. Coming from an addictive personality myself, I can totally relate to the feeling of needing to have or want something that I crave.

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But that doesn’t necessarily mean that my feelings for that are malignant in nature. I mean, let’s face it – addiction of all kinds CAN be bad. That’s the truth. When you do one thing too much, it tends to lead to isolation from social interaction and impairs normal ranges of judgement. With things like drugs, alcohol, sex, food, continuously plaguing our world, it’s no wonder the word addiction has such a horrible stigma to the name.

And so, I have tried in earnest, to take my addictive personality, and use it towards something healthier. For me, it’s gardening.

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Years ago I had a dream to build a Goddess Permaculture Paradise Plan (or as I like to call it, the GP3 haha).  I never had a name for it until my friend Colette, who is the magical mistress at Bealtaine Cottage ( http://www.bealtainecottage.com ), coined the phrase “Goddess Permaculture Paradise”.  Unfortunately, in 2007, that dream was put on hold when my life was turned upside down and everything I once had, had been taken away from me. Here I am, 9 years later, and my dream is back on with a vengeance. An involuntary sabbatical that left me depressed but also more motivated than ever to refocus on my dream has presented itself in my new home, appropriately named, Mabon House.  If you are just reading my blogs for the first time, my husband Scott and I purchased this home in October 2015.  Since we follow the 8 Earth Festival holidays, we decided to name our home after the holiday we just celebrated, called Mabon, which means “Gratitude and Thanksgiving”.

(A little slice of our home, Mabon House)

Utilizing my friends Colette and Jacqueline (who are truly some of Gaia’s hand maidens) as my muses, I KNOW NOW, I have found my calling. Yup. Who knew? At 42 years old, I FINALLY found my calling.

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(Some areas of Bealtaine Cottage, one of my favorite places on Earth)

So, riddle me this, Hobbits…HOW do I proceed?

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(Mother Moon Monastery and Herb Farm, another favorite place I wish to visit – please check her website at http://www.moonmother.net )

When you are living paycheck to paycheck, it’s actually quite impossible to be “living the dream.” Yet, I cannot tell you how many self-help gurus, books, memes and everything else under the sun tell me that it CAN be done! Truth is, I DO believe this. I believe we are magical, spiritual beings that can do ANYTHING if we truly put our mind to it. And if it doesn’t happen, then it wasn’t meant to be AT THAT MOMENT. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen later down on your road of life. I’m living proof this has happened. And that the universe will surely reward for our love of trying and enduring the trials that come with it. I really do believe this. I teach this to people I mentor. Isn’t it funny though, when the teacher sometimes need to be taught?

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On Mother’s Day, the majority of my afternoon and evening was spent in my gardens. I say gardens because I am planning on having little gardens spread throughout the property.  (Please see my previous video blog on my quick tour around the back gardens).  On the following Tuesday, after an incredibly difficult day, I went to my favorite garden nursery (Renninger’s in Royersford, PA), and went on a little shopping spree since they were having a sale. And less than 30 minutes later, I was back in my gardens, tinkering and toiling. It’s my therapy. My NEEDED therapy.

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What’s in my garden, you ask? Oh dear Hobbits….have I got treats for you!

For the veggies, I’ve got String Beans, Sweet Peas, Russian Kale, Hugh’s Cabbage, Green Cabbage, Spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower, 3 types of Tomatoes, 2 types of Onion, Leeks, Red Bell and Sweet Banana Peppers, Scallions, Beets, Nastercians, Eggplant, Blue Kale, Potatoes and Carrots.

In the fruit department, I’ve got Raspberries and Strawberries. And soon to be planting seeds from my organic lemons, because…why the hell not?

In the herbal/flower section, I’ve got Calendula, Italian Parsley, Dill, Basil, Sage, Thyme, Sweet Marjoram, Patchouli, Feverfew, Chamomile, Angelica, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, Lavender, Passion Flower, Comfrey, Valerian Root, Purple Deadnettle, Plantain (not the banana type-the medicinal herb type) and Gladioli.

In the tree department I’ve got Dogwoods, Hawthorn (appropriated named The Fairy Wood), and Crab Apples. My Willow cuttings from Bealtaine Cottage in Ireland sadly didn’t make it over the winter, mainly because Linus pulled them out and ate them. Sigh…a little rascal, indeed.

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(my clever little rascal of a doggie, Linus VanPuggle)

On Thursday, after working half a day and getting some appointments done, I will be exactly where I am most happy – in my gardens. Do you know that every morning, I walk outside before leaving for work, letting my beloved plants know I will be back soon enough, then sit in the meditational nook and speak to my Mother, Gaia. Sometimes I call her Gaia, sometimes I call her Mary, sometimes I call her Lakshmi, but in the end, she is the same, she is One Mother. My Mother. Not to take away my own love for my Mom, Eileen, as my love for her swells past the ages, I don’t think she will ever understand the depth of unconditional love I have for her, even though we both make each other crazy. In the end, she is my Mother. And even though I don’t agree with things she believes in, if there is one thing I have taken from her teachings, it is to unconditionally love. This has been the greatest teaching she and my Father have given me. Something I once took for granted, and never again will question. This is truth buried beneath my very bones.

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The fact that for the next 3 ½ days I will be spending time in my gardens has made me squeal with such excitement. It’s funny how some people absolutely hate the thought of working in the garden or yard. For me, it is therapy. Deep therapy. And Mum Gaia is my therapist.

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I am excited also that you, my readers, will be joining me on this journey I have been talking about for how many years? And now it’s finally here. My heart swells. My cup runneth over.

Come, walk with me…

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(My lavender is beginning to flower)

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(Same as my lemon verbena…flowers=seeds!!!!)
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(Transplant babies. From seed to garden)
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(First flower of my Nastercians!)
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(Tomatoes and Passion Flower galore! )
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(My pretty Hibiscus I had to take home with me…)

Crossroads: Beginnings of a Shamanic Journey…

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For those who know my spiritual path, you know it’s not an easy one.  Growing up Roman Catholic for almost 30 years, it’s incredibly hard to overcome the deeply rooted beliefs that you were taught over and over again, even though your soul was calling you onto a new journey.  After about 8 years of searching, I found my foundation within two belief systems: Celtic Druidism and Native American Shamanism.  Both paths actually resemble each other, so it was very easy for me to fall into this journey with much peace and content.  Yet, something didn’t feel right.  I still felt “called”…As a seeker, I naturally love to dive into research and educate myself on all the cultures and faiths of our world.  And with that came the lessons of sacred healing through the Earth.  Both in which Druidism and Shamanism utilize to its full potential.

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Over the course of the last several years, I have delved into education and research on sacred plant medicine and the ceremonies that are involved. Although I took many challenging turns in my own life, I have learned to understand that if you want your life to be truly blissful, one must recognize that life is not necessarily all about rules and power, sacrifice and pain, but joy and happiness, compassion and most importantly, respect.  How modern society today has corrupted the mind of the human to take on such anguish and suffering, all for the benefit of someone else’s gain.  Sure, I can easily sound like some crazy conspiracy theorist, but the truth is, I know what my heart, body, mind and soul tells me.  Conspicuous consumption of the world today is sincerely what drives the human race.  This is why there is hate and separation wherever we go.  Black vs. White, Church vs. State, Republican vs. Democrat, Man vs. Woman, Rich vs. Poor, so on and so on.  All we know is separation.  Separating things is easy for us because it gives us some order of substance to how we want to see our life go in a certain direction.  This, in my humble opinion, is why we are so messed up as a people.

But I digress…Let’s get back to what I wanted to talk about – Sacred Plants and the part they play in our lives.

Nestled deep within the jungles, canyons and valleys of some of Earth’s quietest tribal communities, lie the remedies of almost all the ailments in our world.  Most of us living in the “Western” world, we have submerged ourselves with so many chemicals, that our bodies have adjusted to the chaos going on inside each and every one of us.  Which puts many of us in a day-to-day survival mode.  Why in the hell are we doing this?

Let me ask you this: Are you happy?  Like truly, truly happy?  Can you honestly say you wake up every morning and have a euphoric sense of self-worth and purpose? That life is just truly this brilliant gift and you are strong and powerful enough to conquer everything thrown at you?

Of course not!  We don’t live in that kind of world!  Very few of us can say they do live this way.

But would you say if I told you, you COULD???

I totally believe this.  And I believe that one of the many secrets lie within the healing plants and natural medicines scattered over the world. They are out there to help us heal our emotional, psychological, spiritual, and yes, physical ailments that plague our bodies, minds and souls.  You don’t need to be in a religion or spiritual path to understand that our planet is pretty freaking awesome.  And we have yet to truly get into the heart of what our amazing planet can really do.

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Sadly, the powers that be who control the rules and regulations of the Western World truly regulate what the Western World is allowed to utilize in the terms of these “sacred plant medicines”.  Sadly, any plant that could somehow alter the mind’s perception is considered “dangerous”.  Even though these very plants are what heal the very illnesses that plague our world.  So, why are many of these sacred medicines outlawed in the 1st World?

Money.

Power.

Greed.

Sad, isn’t it?  That plants that have been researched to CURE things are not allowed in certain parts of our world, yet it is perfectly acceptable to combine a bunch of chemicals in some lab, feed it to animals for testing, then if it’s a go, allow the human race to consume it.  Yes, I know, it’s near impossible to try to corner a market of something indigenous to 3rd world countries or native tribal communities and make a 1st world profit.  And honestly, why WOULD you?  It’s one thing to accept donations coming from people who want to help keep the traditions going, rather than making a profit off of these sacred plants.  In that case, this can be completely unethical and disrespectful to the communities that make them a part of their daily lives.

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So, what do they do?  The powers that be “create” medicines made out of chemicals created in laboratories, to create similar “effects” of these natural medicines, so they can get a profit.  But, what happens, is that these very “medicines” that the pharmaceutical companies create end up having several times the severe side effects that may be more detrimental to the person’s original path to health and well-being.  And thus the cycle repeats itself until it results in a spiral of madness and chaos of the human body and mind.

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It’s more than just the plant medicines, though.  There are the ceremonies that are part of the consumption of them. As a devout believer in Mum Gaia (aka Mother Earth) and all the plants and flora she creates on this planet, it is with utmost importance we recognize that these plants are indeed, Sacred, and therefore should be given the respect and reverence of how we intake them.  This is why indigenous people of our lands and other communities around the world get so upset with us “white man” who tend to perverse what is Sacred to them by using these plants and ceremonies without the proper respect that needs to be given to those who originated them.  I don’t blame them at all for feeling like this, however, there HAS to be a time to stop the separation.  What the “white man” did to our Natives so long ago can never be rewritten or forgotten.  It’s part of our history and today’s society is proof that the pain still exists, and our privileges are still met before anyone else’s are.

THIS HAS TO STOP.

A few years ago I was introduced to the benefits of Kratom, Kava, and Sacred Blue Lotus.  These plants are part of my everyday life.  Because of their great healing effect, I no longer need depression or anxiety medicines.  Very rarely will I need something medicinally to help me sleep.  The properties of all these plants have the relaxing effect to help me fall asleep.  I suffer from chronic insomnia.  And Kratom, Kava and Blue Lotus help me to achieve going to sleep at night without any aid like Ambien. Every time I take them, I bless my cup, and pray for healing.

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(Me and my cup of Kratom Tea, and a bunch of Red Vein Kratom Leaves)

The frustrating part of this, however, is that many people look at these sacred plants as “drugs” or a”legal” way to get high.

So now this is the part where I’m going to drop some knowledge on the misinformed:

I am a 42 year old woman.  I have a husband, 2 children, a dog, a mortgage, car payments, and an incredibly busy life.  I think it’s an insult to my character if you want to make the assumption I use these beautiful and sacred plants to “get high”.

Plants are not drugs.  Shit that’s created in a laboratory?  Those are drugs.  Know the difference between the two and educate yourself before speaking, because sooner or later, these plants are going to come back full force as more and more people are waking up from the viscous cycle the pharmaceutical companies have us addicted to.

Another ceremony I learned about but never was able to participate in was a Native American Sweat Lodge.  One of the most powerful physical prayers a person can do, Sweat Lodges are also deeply rooted in many traditions outside our Native Americans.  Nordic Vikings and some communities in Africa are also knows to have these.  But it is through the Native American Sweat Lodge do most people come to an understanding with. Sadly, modern day New Age enthusiasts tried to make profits on these “Sweats”, and in 2009, an investigation was made in the wake of a death of a woman who died while in a Sweat Lodge. It was later confirmed that the organizer did not follow the rules of the Sweat Lodge, causing serious health concerns for the individuals who did survive, but who became very ill from that event.  This is why our Indigenous People here are so incredibly protective of their traditions, and become very angry at how they are irreverently used for profit, gain and power.  Many fake or “plastic” shamans, as the Indigenous People call them, are found on every corner preaching how to help you gain “consciousness” and “enlightenment”, all for a price so many people are desperate to pay.  And people don’t understand why are Natives get so insulted when these people give themselves “Indian” names?  These traditions, like the plants, are sacred to the people that have been practicing with for thousands of years.

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(Traditional Native American Sweat Lodge)

Several years ago, I was introduced to Ayahuasca. Ayahuasca is the sacred marriage of two plants.  The Mother Ayahuasca Vine, or Caapi Vine, and the leaves from the Chacruna tree. Now, I have never taken, nor been in ceremony with this beloved plant of South America.  Mainly seen in Peru and Ecuador, retreats from all over these two countries are popping up yearly, in assisting the population with the ongoing spiritual awakening the Earth is currently going through. Sadly, some of the original retreats are rarely seen, as larger, more spacious and luxurious retreats are now in demand, with some weekly retreats ranging from $1500-$4000.  What we find is the wealthier population or 1% having the ability to go on these retreats for their “awakening”, which isn’t bad per se, but leaves out a significant portion of our population unable to go because of the financial burden one must endure in order to participate.

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(Traditional Ayahuasca Ceremony in Iquitos, Peru.  Held at Blue Morpho, and run by Master Shaman Hamilton Sauther and Master Don Alberto Torres Davila – one of the exceptions to these retreats – although this is a very expensive retreat, it is probably the best retreat for Ayahuasca in terms of safety and emotional well being.  It’s not about the money for them – it’s about the respect of the medicine AND the safety of the people who come to take the medicine)

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(The Caapi Vine or Mother Ayahuasca)

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(A forest of Ayahuasca and a pot of the ingredients, Caapi Vine and the leaves of the Chacruna tree)

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(Finished Product – Ayahuasca Brew)

I found out about 11 years ago I had a calling.  A calling of Spirit to heal and to teach.  The very Shamanic energies rising from within get stronger every day.  How does a person like myself, a member of the 1st world, with no financial access, be able to bring these sacred plants to the people of my land, without disrespecting the indigenous people from where the plants originate from?  This is currently my quest to find out.

We all need to survive, but understand, we all will NOT survive.  We are not getting out of this life alive. There is no way around it.  So, how does one follow a calling where there is absolutely no way for me to answer?  These are the very troubles that plague my mind.

I have visions.  I have dreams.  Dreams involving camps and retreats not built to accommodate the person, but to accommodate the journey of the person.  I have this desire to bring the sacred plants and ceremonies to people who truly want to be a part of, with respect and reverence, divinity and compassion.  To help those on their journey to self-awareness.  The Shamanka in me is calling out, and she knows I hear her.  My goal this year is to be in ceremony to ask for aid in the sacred plants, and see what they are telling me to do.

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It is truly the only way I know how to best respect what they are here on Earth to do for us.

Earlier this week I had a dream.  A profound dream.  Involving dream catches and feathers, sage, drums and flutes. And something inside me called out to someone.  A friend I have not seen in over a year.  I felt compelled to tell her my visions, and sure enough, she is leading me to my first Sweat Lodge, which I now believe, is the beginning of my Shamanic Journey. I am at a crossroads once again, and this time my path is telling me to walk towards a specific road that no doubt, will be incredibly difficult, but will provide the necessary healing that I have tried so hard for 36 years to fulfill.

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I know now, this new journey will bring my total healing of all the traumas I faced as a child, a teenager, and as adult. It will also bring the necessary forgiveness I need not just for myself, whom I need to forgive, but for those in my past as well as current life, hurt me to my very core.  My journey has already begun by writing this.  I look forward to sharing with you all how it goes.  Aho.

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(Me – Ready for the Journey)