Friends of Forest Farming

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

As armies of amateur wildcrafters pluck Appalachian ginseng, goldenseal, and other medicinal herbs to near extinction, a coalition of universities, nonprofits, and “forest farmers” are working on a solution that will not only help preserve these wild herbs but also prevent supplement adulteration.

The Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition includes Virginia Tech, Penn State, and North Carolina State University; the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, and other government organizations; nonprofits like United Plant Savers and the Blue Ridge Woodland Growers; and Appalachian landowners and farmers. Together, these entities are developing a model called “forest farming” for cultivating traditionally wildcrafted herbs, including black cohosh {Actaea racemosa}, goldenseal {Hydrastis canadensis}, bloodroot {Sanguinaria canadensis}, ginseng {Panaxquinquefolius}, blue cohosh {Caulophyllum thalictroides}, stoneroot {Collinsoniacanadensis}, wild yam {Dioscorea villosa}, and wild indigo {Baptisia tinctoria}.

During…

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Crystals for Dealing with Negative People

by Ashley Leavy
Love and Light School of Crystal Therapy

When you’re feeling like there’s some negative energy in your space or you’re surrounded by negative people, your instinct may be to immediately reach for your protective crystals, but this may not be the best remedy.

Energy is just energy. We classify it as “positive” or “negative” but in actuality, there is just energy. There is energy that serves our highest good (positive) and energy that doesn’t (negative).

So how do you deal with “negative” energy in a space? The first step to take is to clear the space of any energy that’s not serving your highest good.  When dealing with a person who leaves you feeling stressed out or drained, protective crystals can help shield you from absorbing the chaotic energy they imprint upon a space. However, using those crystals is only half of the solution.  You need to remedy the root cause of the situation by clearing that energy from your space.

Continue reading Crystals for Dealing with Negative People

Grounding Essentials

Though some people are too grounded (raises hand), there seems to be more that need all the reminders they can get, so … Here’s one.

by Kat Michaels CCT,ACM
katmichaels.net 


Grounding is a foundational yet often overlooked area of spiritual and psychic development. Those who are ungrounded can appear spacy or disconnected from their environments. They may experience dizziness, confusion, and memory trouble. By not taking the appropriate measures to stay connected to the Earth and to reality, ungrounded individuals lose touch with their physical senses and allow their spiritual senses to take over. This becomes a huge issue once leaving meditation or a healing session to return to the physical world. It’s important to remain grounded during meditation and other spiritual work, too, so that one can properly absorb and integrate spiritual information.

Easy ways to ground oneself include drinking water, eating root vegetables, or hugging a tree. Exploring nature, walking barefoot outside, and gardening are other great options. Archangels Michael and Metatron are able to help ground and/or keep one grounded (just remember that one must request their help to receive it!). Visualization and certain crystals also work extremely well for grounding. Whatever grounding method is chosen, it’s best to employ it as a daily practice.

For a grounding visualization, imagine that your feet are connected to the Earth with roots. The roots can be made of any natural material that resonates – they can be cords of light, actual tree roots, or lines of metal or stone. You may wish to do a short meditation to determine the best intuitive “grounding roots” for yourself. Set the intention that all is done in your highest and best interest and in the highest and best interest of all.

Most brown, black, and red stones will ground and will provide a feeling of physical stability and safety. Specific crystals and stones for grounding include the following:

Agate (all types), Black TourmalineBrown Tourmaline (dravite), CopperHematiteJasper (all types), Petrified WoodPyriteRed Tiger EyeShungite and Smokey Quartz.

To work with any of these, place the crystal or stone in your pocket during the day, or hold it in your receptive hand during meditation. Your receptive hand is generally your non-dominant hand, but check, as it varies by individual. You may also choose to wear the stones in jewelry or sleep with one underneath your pillow.

A Druid’s Guide to Connecting with Nature, Part II: Nature Wisdom

The Druid's Garden

One of my favorite mushrooms- the Chicken of the Woods One of my favorite mushrooms- the Chicken of the Woods

As any mushroom hunter knows, mushrooms are tricksy little buggers.  What one looks like in one setting may not necessarily be what one looks like in another, depending on soil conditions, moisture, sun, size of the mushroom, insect damage, and/or regional variation. Mushroom species can vary a lot, even from one small region to another, and that variation can spell trouble for someone who hasn’t yet gained the wisdom to understand such variation.  Mushroom books offer perhaps 1-2 photos of mushrooms, and a good book will also offer a mushroom hunter the “keys” (features that distinguish one mushroom from another, like attached gills, color, etc).  However, only lived and true experience can help you not make a dangerous mistake when it comes to the mycelium kingdom.  The difference here, I think, epitomizes two key things: the different aspects of nature…

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