Cloves – A Holiday Spice and Herb of the Month

The Herb Society of America Blog

Botanical print of cloveThe spice that we call cloves comes from the clove tree, Syzygium aromaticum. This evergreen herbal tree is in the Myrtle (Myrtaceae) family and is native to the Molucca Islands in the Pacific Ocean. These islands were once called the Spice Islands and now are a part of Indonesia. 

The tree needs a warm, humid climate, and deep, loamy soil to grow well. It is said that it also needs to see the sea in order to thrive. It does indeed grow well near the coasts of tropical islands. The clove tree can reach a height of 26 – 40 feet and begins to flower when it is about five years old. At 20 years, it is ready to begin harvesting the cloves, which are the unopened flower buds, growing in clusters of 10 – 15 buds. The tree continues to produce cloves for more than 80 years…

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Druid Tree Workings: Witnessing the Death of an Old Tree

The Druid's Garden

Oak friend - one of my first interactions with this incredible friend Oak friend – one of my first interactions with this incredible friend and mentor

Many of us on the path of nature spirituality grow close to trees–so very close.  What happens when a tree that you love dearly, who is a good friend and mentor–tells you that it is time to go?  In this post, I share the story and passing of one of my dear tree friends, a White Oak with a giant burl. After I share the story, I offer some general thoughts about how we, as humans, can support and honor the natural lifespan of our tree friends. This post is meant to be a compliment to my earlier post: Holding Space and Helping Tree Spirits Pass.  My earlier post talked about trees who were cut before their time–while this post honors those who have the privilege of living a full life and dying naturally.

The…

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Solar Eclipse Portal | Entering the Cold Moon Cycle Moonthly Lunar Report

Are you feeling the intensity behind this total Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius right now? This last New Moon of 2021 is a big one that helps us close out and learn lessons that began almost 2 years ago.

Eclipses are powerful portals that we can intentionally use when it comes to our life lessons and soul progress.

They are known for their intense energies, and they often bring with them major life lessons. While this one is no different, it carries a much more optimistic and friendly tone thanks to Sagittarius.

This new cycle is our final cycle of the year and with it comes opportunities to create and refine the life we are wanting to bring into 2022.

Read original article at: Spirit de la Lune ~ Solar Eclipse Portal | Entering the Cold Moon Cycle

Critical Thinking

secretsoftheserpent

I teach my daughter and the girls I train in soccer to think for themselves. Just because the news says it, a politician says it or a teacher says it does not mean it’s true. As a society though it is easier to tell our kids “no” instead of teaching them how to think. When you let them think for themselves they might think differently. This is why when children become teenagers and they have not been taught how to think they just go against what their parents think. This is also why you have people that go against the establishment just to go against it. You can give them any insane narrative that is not mainstream and they will believe it just to go against the establishment. All because they feel so deceived.

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A Unique View of an Esteemed Native Plant: Hydrastis canadensis (Goldenseal)

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Katherine Schlosser

“I may here observe, that the disease of cancer is not confined to civilized nations. It is known among our Indians. I am informed that the Cheerake cure it with a plant which is thought to be the Hydrastis Canadensis, one of our fine native dies [dyes].”

                                                                   – Benjamin Smith Barton, 1766-1815

Goldenseal, Hydrastis canadensis, has been known for centuries for its medicinal uses ranging from a gastrointestinal aid, stimulant, tonic, emetic, and febrifuge, to helping with ear and eye complaints, heart problems, liver issues, pulmonary complaints, and more.  

Europeans learned of goldenseal’s value as a medicinal plant not long after arriving in North America. The initial knowledge of its use is often credited…

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Creativity, Mental Health, and Well Being: A Case for the Bardic Arts

The Druid's Garden

Creativity is the birthright of all people. When humans are young, play and creativity are central to our own development. Children don’t worry about it being ‘good’; they just make things, play with crayons, laugh, dance, and sing. They play. As children get older, school and society often discourage individual creativity and play, particularly in a culture that values economic growth above all else. The result of this has been a stifling sense of creativity, with many adults believing in the myth of talent (that you have to be good at something immediately to practice it creatively) or insisting they have no creativity.

The bardic arts are those in the druid tradition that focuses on creative works: storytelling, creative writing, fine arts, fine crafts, and any other endeavor where you are building in your creativity. The ancient bards were part of the druid community and were the storytellers and historians…

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What is Beauty?

secretsoftheserpent

How can we define beauty?  Beauty is a force in this world whether you know it or not.  How do we define that which is not beautiful?  What is the effect upon us when we see something as beautiful or not beautiful?  The dictionary defines beauty as something that gives pleasure to our senses.  To be considered beautiful a thing must have artistic value.  A value that can be detected by everyone not just those who have knowledge about beauty.  Something that is asymmetrical can not be regarded as beautiful.  


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Herbs for Holiday Baking

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Peggy Riccio

Pumpkin pie with sage leaves and marigold flowersWhen I think of herbs for Christmas, I always think of the Simon and Garfunkel “Scarborough Fair” song:  “Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.” Sure, there is peppermint and plenty of spices, but these herbs seem to be the most popular during the holidays. I think that is because these plants are still green in the garden. In my USDA Hardiness Zone 7 Virginia garden, I can still pick these plants in December to use in the kitchen. My mint plants, always in containers, overwinter well, and I can harvest spearmint and peppermint.

When using these herbs, don’t just think of flavor and cooking. Think of the plant itself, the structure, size, weight, and texture of the branches and leaves. Think of how the stem or leaf can be used to decorate the dish and your table. 

Parsley

Parsley is a biennial…

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Putting the Garden to Sleep: End of Season Activities and Rituals

The Druid's Garden

Garden bed with scarecrow

The day before the first hard frost. Our garden is still bountiful as the Butzemann watches over all….As the darkness continues to grow deeper on the landscape, it is high time to consider how to put the garden to rest for the winter and honor the garden that has offered you so much bounty and joy for the season. I actually find this one of my favorite gardening activities of the year, both on a metaphysical and physical level. There’s something special about “tucking” your garden in after a productive growing season and knowing that the land will go fallow and rest as the cold and ice come. Here are both the physical activities and sacred activities that you can do to help put your garden to rest.

Do note that my timings are based on the temperate climate in Western Pennsylvania, USDA Zone 6A.  You can adapt appropriately based…

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The Shift

secretsoftheserpent

There is a huge shift right now in the conditioning of the world.  The past few decades were about taking responsibility for yourself and not being a victim.  Even marketers targeted individualism.  Here lately the conditioning has shifted to a more collective conditioning.   It’s all about accepting yourself and the needs of the many are more important than the needs of the few.  In reality only individualism and only collectivism are very toxic. What’s going on tells me the world does not understand Magic.    


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