An Incredible Herb Right Under Our Feet…or Above Our Heads

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Katherine Schlosser

For most of us, our garden tools are cleaned and stored, the holidays have passed, and we have a little more time to simply enjoy what we find in meadows, forests, fields, and even in our own backyards. Lichens can fill a part of the void we may be feeling. Their curious forms and means of growing and spreading, with which many of us are unfamiliar, can fill our minds with the wonders of things we normally pass without notice.

There are more than 5,000 species of lichen and lichen-dependent fungi in North America, with colors ranging from blues, lavender, yellow, red, orange, and gray to many beautiful greens. Color in lichens can depend on whether they are wet or dry. A major paint company even created a color they call Lichen to mimic the natural, earthy beauty of the organism. Perfectly described by Ed Yong in…

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Welcoming In The New Year And The New Moon

Mercury enters its first retrograde period of the year on the 14th of January in the sign of Aquarius. Mercury retrograde in Aquarius can have us questioning what areas we are feeling restricted by in our lives. Aquarius is all about freedom and liberation, so this retrograde could have you noticing the areas in your life where you need more expansion and movement.

On the 16th, Sun conjunct Pluto can help you step into your personal power and make decisions from a heightened perspective. There is also a desire and increased ability at discovering mysteries or uncovering secrets. 

The Full Wolf Moon in Cancer takes place on the 17th. The moon is most at home in the sign of Cancer, and you too might find your focus on your home and family.

The Wolf Moon in the nurturing sign of Cancer could shift your attention towards the safety of your pack and your environment. You might feel like cleansing, blessing and protecting your personal space at this time. Listen to your instincts!

Read full article at: Spirit de la Lune ~ Welcoming in the New Year and the New Moon

Where is the World Headed?

secretsoftheserpent

What do you think wealth is? Most think wealth is millions of dollars. No one knows what real wealth truly is. I goto my regular job everyday, coach my soccer team, have a family life, I get out in nature, travel, throw ideas around with anyone willing to listen to my crazy mind, think about what powerful ideas I can put out on my website and at the end of the day I will toast the Goddess. That is being rich!!! That is wealth. I know so many people with a lot of money and they are not wealthy. They are not rich. They have forgotten how to enjoy life. The wealth in life is not the final product, it is the journey. A lot of so called rich people have forgotten that. They really have lost their souls. They are so filthy rich that they don’t continue the journey…

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Viola Species – Herb of the Month, Herb for the Heart

An Approach to Spiritual Retreat and Rejuvenation: Going Dark Week

The Druid's Garden

Perhaps now more than ever, the idea of taking regular retreats is a critical one. Last week, in my post on the Winter Solstice, I shared the deep need for restorative activities that allow us to heal, process, and deepen our practice–particularly in today’s age and as we move further into the age of the Anthropocene. Finding restoration activities are particularly critical because so many of us are languishing, dealing with the real effects of deepening climate change, dealing with the long-term upheaval and separation due to the pandemic, among a host of other issues. Thus, this week, I want to share one practice that I’ve developed over the years that is particularly helpful–I call it “going dark” or “inner life retreat.”

What is a Going Dark Spiritual Retreat?

Going dark to explore the world of the subconscious and dreams Going dark to explore the world of the subconscious and dreams

The principle of going dark is very simple–rather than…

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Sacred Goddess Magic

secretsoftheserpent

Want to introduce yourself to the Goddess?  First thing you need to understand is she will give you no powers or opportunities that you are not ready to receive.  It is all in the life you live.  Life is the test.  You can never gain anything by reading sacred texts.  They are all exoteric.  The Goddess is a spiritual thing and you will only be able to get her attention if you live in harmony with her.  The powers you look for will destroy you unless you are robed in the garments of purity.  To the un-purified the Goddess is a  consuming fire.  Those not ready will have confusion, insanity and death.  


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Mother Holle Cloud Tart w/ Cranberry & Hawthorn Berry Curd — Gather Victoria

Happy Winter Solstice! I’m sharing this recipe from the Gather Victoria Winter Magic ECookbook because it encapsulates the archetypal drama of the season – the rebirth of the light. And that meant plenty of cakes, cookies, and confections for the old winter witches like Frau Holle! Their symbols are very much alive in our holiday…

Mother Holle Cloud Tart w/ Cranberry & Hawthorn Berry Curd — Gather Victoria

A 21st Century Wheel of the Year: Restoration at the Winter Solstice

The Druid's Garden

The time of the greatest darkness is upon us at the winter solstice. Each morning, the sun seems to struggle to rise and hangs low in the sky. The world is covered in frost, cold, and snow, and the darkness of winter sets in. This is a hard time for many, perhaps more so now than before, given the cultural darkness and challenges that so many of us are facing globally and locally. So facing the darkness, in this very challenging time, takes something extra.

Winter Solstice Snow Winter Solstice Snow

In my first post on this series (Receptivity at the Fall Equinox), I made the case that the traditional Wheel of the Year was developed and enacted under very different conditions than our present age. We now live in the Anthropocene, a period of human-driven climate change and cultural unrest which is very different than the Holocene, the period of…

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American Chestnut — Questioning Its Former Status As A Dominant Tree

What did the land look like before you were born?

This is a good question to ponder, but it’s a difficult question to answer unless clarification is provided.

How much land are we talking about?  And what is the time frame in question?

Even with such clarification, answers do not come easy.  The original question often persists and we are prompted to further refine our inquiry.

What did the eastern forests look like 300 years ago?  Which trees were present, and what was the composition of the trees in these earlier forests?

American chestnut, it turns out, can help us answer those questions. 

American chestnut (Castanea dentata) is a tree whose numbers have dwindled over the past 100 years.  A fungal disease known as chestnut blight has been the major culprit, but other factors have contributed to the decline of mature American chestnut trees in eastern forests.

When we study accounts of American chestnut, we routinely hear the same thing:  “American chestnut was a dominant tree in eastern North America prior to the introduction of chestnut blight.” 

We also hear this: “One in every four hardwood trees in eastern North America was an American chestnut.”

Believing both statements to be true, we might imagine an unbroken expanse of chestnut trees in eastern North America.  The proverbial squirrel might have been able to travel from Maine to Florida on chestnut tree limbs without ever touching the ground.

But was that ever the case?  Was American chestnut really the most dominant tree in eastern North America? 

Or, have the claims been exaggerated?  Could it be possible that American chestnut was not so dominant of a tree in these earlier forests?

That’s the topic of this week’s brand new video.  If you are interested in learning what the land might have looked like in the not too distant past, check it out!

Most maples are leafless this time of year in eastern North America. Fortunately, bark features are still available and very useful for proper identification. Check out these side-by-side images of 8 different maple trees to assist you with your winter identification skills.Click to view post

If you are eager to pursue educational opportunities during the winter months, check out Foraging Wild Mushrooms.  This 4-season online course is designed to help you safely, successfully, and confidently forage wild mushrooms from the forest, from the field, and from your own backyard.Click to learn more

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

Sacred Trees in the Americas: American Holly (Ilex Opaca) – Magic, Meanings, Ecology, and Divination

The Druid's Garden

American Holly is one of the most wonderful trees for getting us through dark times.  And as the season of darkness is upon us once more, it is a good time to consider the magic, meanings, and mystery of this incredible holly tree!

American Holly has many names including white holly, prickly holly, Christmas Holly, Yule Holly and Evergreen Holly.  It is quite similar to European Holly (Illex Aquifolium) with similar leaves, berries, and an overall growth habit. The American Holly has larger, brighter leaves and berries, but the trees are otherwise quite similar. While I often argue against importing meanings and uses of European trees into American contexts (with Ash being a great case in point), in this case, I think that the myths and old-world understandings of Holly apply!

This post is part of my Sacred Trees of Eastern North America series–here you can learn about the…

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