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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bach Flower Essences for Children

We can get pretty caught up in our fast-paced, multi-tasked adult lives. We accept the concept of stress, perhaps even expect and embrace it a bit. We understand that part of that stress means a host of emotions and issues that can sometimes become overwhelming.

We don't always consider that children may share that overwhelming level of emotions. In my opinion, we sometimes trivialize the emotions of children, thinking they should just "buck up", "get over it", "wait until you have real problems". Perhaps we believe that, because that's what we heard as children. So that brings to mind the saying I heard a lot as a kid, "Just because every one's doing it, doesn't make it right".  Maybe it's time to reconsider the lives of our children and acknowledge their emotions as part of their overall well-being.

Children bring change to the world. The shift of consciousness, power structures, and belief systems is in no small part due to the new generation. Many people believe that Indigo Children, Crystal Children, and others, come into this world with advanced ways of thinking, being, and feeling, that help to raise our levels of understanding. I think anyone that hasn't felt their core values challenged and shift with the experience of parenting, or exposure to children, has missed part of the process. Children know things we have forgotten. They feel things we are hardened to. They see things we have become blind to.

For some, if not most, children, being a more open person in a world of closed adults is perhaps a challenging, but still pleasurable, experience. I believe children feel our loving intentions even when we are a little "off the mark" in our expression and understand the value of "lessons learned" to adapt to the physical world we exist in. But that isn't always easy.

Children of all ages experience the same range and intensity of emotions that adults do. Sometimes, just like adults, their systems become out of balance and they experience the negative aspects of emotions; anger, fear, anxiety, overwhelmed, guilt, loss of control, etc. etc.  I (and Dr. Bach agrees with me on this) don't believe there are "kid emotions" and "adult emotions" we all experience the same range. It's just that the situation that causes the emotion may be different, and therefore, sometimes hard to understand.

The good news is that Bach Flower essences work the same for children as they do for adults.  You don't have to learn another set of definitions, figure out different dosages, or do anything differently. One of the differences is that children often respond quicker to the essences that adults do. That may in part be because children have had less time to "pile on the layers of the onion" when it comes to emotions, so what you see expressed is pretty close to their core.

Some people believe you have to experience the negative side of life, and go through tough emotions to build up a layer of resistance I guess, or adapt to the world.  This is the "buck up and deal with it" approach. I don't judge any one's parenting skills.  If I come out of the experience intact myself, I still won't judge any one's approach! I think parents and children are individuals and that approach may be right for some. But, if you don't buy into that approach, you might want to consider Bach Flower essences for times when the going seems tough for your child.  Bach flowers won't prevent them from experiencing emotions or from learning the lessons of life.  But the essences may help balance the the swings and ease transitions.

Like adults, children don't become "addicted" to the essences.  They don't experience side effects or allergies to them,  and the essences won't negatively interfere with other medications or treatments. In other words, "They can't hurt and they might help!"

Judy Howard has written a good guide for choosing Bach Flower essences for children, called Growing Up With Bach Flower Remedies. She discusses the challenges faced by everyone as you move through birth to adulthood. She  includes the birth process itself and infant concerns like colic,sleeping, and  teething. She includes information from potty training to puberty and includes, physical and social concerns. Howard even includes a chapter on special needs. This book is an excellent read, and a great reference for any parent. You can purchase it directly from the Bach Center at or through most books stores.

Howards' book will give you a good place to start if you feel your child can benefit from Bach. It can be difficult to diagnose your own child, particularly when you are caught to some degree in the cycle, and therefore don't see things objectively, or from a detached point of view. It might be helpful to enlist an outside opinion- lend the book  to a friend, or talk it out with someone you trust that is detached from the child. Most clients I see that request Bach for their children end up taking Bach themselves. The same thing happens for people that request Bach for their pets by the way! The parent-child relationship is complicated and interwoven and that's the type of thing Bach Flower essences can really help with. If you need help sorting it out, visit my website and sign up for a consultation.

Perelandra essences are also very helpful for children and can make a big difference for physical and emotional issues. Just like adults, children have electrical systems that can sometimes get "out of whack" and they respond well to the adjustments that Perelandra essences can achieve. Perelandra has a specific protocol for the birthing process  that would be valuable for any new parent and child.  For more information check out the Perelandra website 

Children are magical creatures and should be respected as such. Perhaps that's why the magic and subtle nature of Bach Flower essences is such a good match.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Calm After the Storm

I realize for a lot of people, today is a day of damage assessment, clean up, and perhaps some heart break in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. If that's the case, I'm sorry for your loss.  But in my part of the world, Hurricane Irene blew through here with some wind and rain, but today we are enjoying the "calm after the storm".  A lot of people talk about the "calm before the storm". That's the sense of foreboding that something is about to happen and a feeling that often occurs before a big event.  But, in my opinion, there is a much more pleasing sense of calmness and peace after a storm has past- the type of day we are having today.

If you did your "pre-storm" preparation, and you didn't end up getting hit too hard anyway, this sensation of "post storm calm" is particularly delicious and is reason enough to prepare the next time- just to experience the sensation.

In anticipation of power outages, I did a lot of "chores" like laundry and cleaning. We picked up things lying around the yard, and got a few days worth of "easy meals" from the grocery store. I made Ginger cookies- to satisfy the root chakra during storms so we still have them to enjoy today as well.  For some reason, part of my storm prep usually involves a need to clean the floors- no idea why- but today even my floors are clean- a nice feeling in itself. Perhaps because, around here, a clean house is a pretty unusual treat!  I don't have to go to the grocery store, I don't have to go to the gas station, I have not need to tidy up or clean. I can just enjoy the fact that things have been down in advance and I can relax and enjoy this free time that early preparations afford me now.

We did have a lot of wind and some dark gloomy skies and downpours.  That means that today I really fully appreciate the sun in full force and a light gentle breeze . In Mary Poppin tradition, I believe that storm winds are "winds of change". It seems like after a storm has unleashed it's power, and blown through, there is a "newness" to the world that is meant to be enjoyed. It's a chance to start fresh with nature.

The storm winds seem to have blown away the heavy muggy, humid atmosphere that was hanging around prior to the storm.  And it that's not enough to change the atmosphere, we have also entered into a new moon cycle.  That means time to bring new things to you and improve your situation or enjoy exactly where you are right now.

Another change to the atmosphere occurred on Friday, August 26th or thereabout, when mercury moved out of it's retrograde position. That means we should now start to enjoy communications without the mis-direction and chance for error that mercury in retrograde can bring people.

We are just days away from entering a new month.  September often brings changes for people and is the start of something new- a new school year, new occupational pursuits, the start of new projects, and a shift in our thinking somehow. It seems like this week, we start to shift out of lazy hazy days of summer into new energy and opportunities.

If such change is uncomfortable, you might want to consider the Bach Flower Walnut. You also might want to consider just getting out in nature and allowing the flow of "newness" to permeate you.  Forget yourself and your "human-made" issues, problems, and schedules for a minute.  Since you spent some time preparing yourself, and now have some free time- use it.  Smell the fresh scents that the rain and wind brings- inhale the scent of apples ripening, and late flowers blooming. 
And in the spirit of "the new", check out my website  Thanks to Jodie's preparation and extra effort in the dead of night, because she anticipated loosing power in the storm that wasn't, it has a newness as well- a couple of updates!

Above all, breathe in, breathe out, and feel confident that the storm energy has released something for you and  new opportunities are coming your way.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Preparedness vs. Panic

We are in preparedness mode today as Hurricane Irene starts to make her way up the East Coast. Certainly in parts of the U.S., the urgency to be prepared is increased. Parts of the coastline that aren't used to getting that much in the way of hurricane activity are in the path of this pretty big storm.

I have spent the day in emergency manager role, and it seems for the most part people are on one of two ends of the scale. There are those that refuse to believe weather will affect them.  The "tough guy" approach. They laugh off preparedness plans and go about their day to day activities. They pack their tent in the truck and head out to the campground. Days later they be the same ones that are crying for rescue and putting others in danger to get them out, surprised that their pup tent was hurricane proof!

Then there are people at the other end of the scale. They become glued to the weather station and watch report after report of the high winds and rain that is hitting places quite distant from them. They ask everyone they know whether or not the storm is going to hit. They listen to every different report, concerned over the discrepancies between reporting.  For some people, this heavy vigilance turns into a bit of a panic sensation and they develop a pretty heavy sense of fear and dread. Some of these people go out and  store bread, milk and water in massive quantities  they could never use, "just in case". Others miss the store hours they are so focused on watching the reports.

As with everything in life I guess, preparedness is about finding the balance. Preparedness for storms means you consider the impacts. You can't plan for a hurricane. You plan for high winds, heavy rain and storm surge that might take out your utilities (power, phone, e-gulp! computer & T.V), and cause some property damage.  When you think about those impacts, it's seems logical to take in the lawn chairs- if not to save the chairs, to save your neighbours head when they hurtling across the street!  It makes sense to tie some things down. If you like bread (that isn't toasted because the power might be out) and figure you could live off bread for a few days- it might make sense to stock up.  It definitely could be a good chance to inventory your fridge and cupboards and consider what groceries you  need so that you and your family could eat reasonably for a few days if roads were impassable, stores were closed, and the power was off (that means, no toaster, microwave and oven for most people!). If you're on a well system that requires power to pump it- storing water is essential. If not, and you have a outside source (municipal, town, city etc.) you might not need to store water at all- it will likely still come out your tap.  The point is, the things we do to prepare should be individual and a match for how we might be impacted and what is important to us. Hmm..

Sounds like basic life lessons again.  If you have a sense of fear that "something" might happen to you in the future, you have a couple of options. You can ignore the warnings and just bury your head and decide it won't happen.  That's the "storms never actually turn into anything" approach. If it does happen someone will come and rescue you. Hmm..

Another option is to decide that absolutely this thing is going to happen and be catastrophic.  You can watch what is happening to others and become so fixated on the horrible things happening to others that you cower in a corner just anticipating it's arrival and do nothing tangible to stop it, except panic. Or you can run out and buy everything or do everything that you see other people doing. In life, instead of "bread and milk" I think this often becomes, vitamins, health fads, exercise equipment, security systems, and the "latest and greatest of everything:.

The balanced option is to turn your head away from the T.V., computer, or friend for a moment, and focus  on your fear. Once you face it, you can analyze it a bit. Think about the most likely impacts of the event (measure the threat and probability of it's occurrence).  One you've got it broken down into pieces, you match solutions to the pieces. This is the individual part. If you're okay with the power being out for a bit, you might want to buy a good flashlight some spare batteries, a box of crackers and a good book.  Might be all you need.  If you really need to run your electric fence, generate that report off your computer, have a shower, and power your well to have water, you might invest in a generator.  This is the logical emergency management approach, but I think it works whatever the source of the fear.

If you need some support when facing your fear, there are lots of Bach flowers that might help.  Mimulus, Aspen, Rock Rose, Red Chestnut, or Cherry Plum are all options. Plug in "fear" to the search bar at the top of my blog, and you'll find lots of past blogs that further define your options. If you think you need some help tap into the support systems before there is a "run on" these servcies and you can't get the help you need. If you need some help getting started visit my website

Once you're prepared for storms, if you still have some lingering sense of fear consider this past post.  Weather does affect us in many ways.

Once you're prepared, you don't have to be scared. You can "go with the flow" and enjoy being in the now. Enjoy the wind and rain and curl up with a great book! "Secondhand Spiritis" would be a great one to read in a storm

Stay safe and enjoy your journey!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Quit!: Reasons to take Pine & Elm Bach Flowers

I had a very cathartic experience today I thought I'd share. For the past few days I have been reading a very thick novel that shall remain nameless. It had many good reviews, an interesting subject matter and was one of those "literary works" I felt I should read.  My copy was from the library ,I'm pleased to say, and happened to be in large print but was well over 400 pages. I struggled for over 200 pages, thankful for the large print that allowed me to  feel like I was getting through it quickly. That was also about the point in the book when it started to feel like we were perhaps at least getting in to the subject matter. But I didn't like any of the characters. It wasn't that they weren't well portrayed necessarily- I just didn't like them. The story line was dark and gloomy, nothing was going well,  and there was no way it was going to end well. It was NOT lifting my spirits.

I understand that not all books have happy endings. I appreciate that, in the quest for knowledge and understanding, one has to expose themselves to darker ideas and historical incidents. That's why I kept going to page 258. And then "I QUIT". I closed the book and put in the "to be returned " pile and I won't be able to say I have ever read it. 

Perhaps for some, maybe even most people?, this is not a big deal.  Not me.  I've always felt  (in other words "told") when you started a book you needed to finish it.  I know I'm not totally alone in this. I come from a long line of readers and it was just "what you were supposed to do". Kind of like eating everything on your plate.  It you chose it you are supposed to finish it. Hmm...

Surprisingly nothing bad happened when I decided to quit the book. On the contrary- I felt so much better immediately.  What a relief to let those characters go. In fact, since I didn't read it to the end I can make up my own ending. They will become much nicer and happier, and I think I'll have them move away before the trouble begins. 

I guess it's a sense of guilt that makes me think I have to keep reading something or doing something that isn't making me feel good. If you can't quite break that tie, you might want to consider the Bach flower Pine. Pine is helpful for those that have a sense of guilt or shame that isn't based on any actual wrongdoing.  It's the "good little girl" syndrome for some. Pine can help you accept responsibility realistically.  Put the book down and let someone else enjoy it!

I might also have been in a bit of an "Elm" state while reading the book. Elm is indicated when you are feeling overwhelmed by your workload. No one ever told me I had to read this particular book. I don't think I'll ever have to pass a test about it. (If I do, I'll just pick "C" and bluff my way through it). Much of the sense of responsibility in an Elm state is self imposed. Taking the remedy can help you gain perspective and take only as much as you can cope with.  It helps you pay attention to your own needs. I put the book down and went for a walk. I picked blackberries along the way and the whole world felt brighter.

I won't trash the book, or give it a bad review.  I think it might be the perfect book for other people. Lots of people have proven that they think very differently than I do because it's been a best seller. I think it was quite cathartic for the author and I applaud anyone's ability to put their thoughts out there for others to read. I respect and admire that. I'm not saying it's a bad book. I'm just not going to read it!

So... I quit! I highly recommend the experience at least once in your life!  And by the way, I never eat the peas on my plate either- never!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Exhaustion: Physical, Mental, Electrical?

The other day I overheard an 8 or 9 year old girl tell her mother she "really needed to get home because she was totally exhausted"! It kind of surprised me for a minute, coming from someone so young. But then it got me thinking...

It seems as though everybody these days is feeling something at least close to exhaustion. It's a pretty common phrase. In fact, we now have syndromes such as Chronic Fatigue to put labels on this constant feeling of being overly tired. We talk about physical exhaustion and mental exhaustion a lot. I've written about the sense of exhaustion before. It's often a central theme in our lives

Physical exhaustion is that well known muscle fatigue, just can't work keep going feeling, that your body uses to signal you're "done".  It's the signal that makes you stop lifting at a certain weight, or stop running at a certain distance. Some people really drive themselves past this physical point and keep pushing their bodies. If you're an athlete in training, sometimes that creates increased strength. Sometimes it makes people sick. People that respond well to the Bach Flower essence Oak, often struggle on despite being tired physically. They can't seem to relax until everything is done. Oak can  restore energy and help you realize you do need to pay attention to this sign from your body and take the time to stop and relax.

Our ancestors probably experienced more physical exhaustion than we do in the average day.  Given our modern lifestyles, it's a bit more common to be mentally rather than physically exhausted. Although, mental exhaustion can certainly lead to physical manifestations and illness. Olive is a good Bach Flower essence for that type of mental exhaustion.

We're coming around to the notion in society that we need to pay equal attention to both physical and mental health.  I'm sure there are a lot of people that would argue we are no where equal in our focus to these two aspects of health, but at least they are both "on the radar".

But what if your exhaustion doesn't quite fit within the category of either physical or mental?  What if you feel suddenly tired on some other level. It's not quite a sensation of physical tiredness. Your body doesn't ache, your muscles aren't fatigued, although at the same time you really don't feel like moving. But it's also not quite that mental exhaustion that is characterised by a numb brain that can often in fact be relieved by doing something physical. For many people, this type of tiredness comes on very suddenly, and although people are vague in their description of it, they are quite sure it's somehow different. It's like you have "short circuited" in your body. And any time a main transformer short circuits you loose power- suddenly and completely. Hmm...

Maybe we need to start paying attention to "electrical health" as well as physical and mental health.  Dr. Bjorn Nordenstrom believed in what he called a closed electrical system in the human body and did extensive research in this area. His techniques have been attributed to successful cancer treatment for some "incurable cases". In 1983, he published "Biologically Closed Electrical Circuits", to describe his theory. It's well over 300 pages in length and perhaps just too big for most people to "get their heads around". Perhaps it's mentally exhausting!  But maybe it's also groundbreaking...

Michaelle Small Wright , of Perelandra,agrees with Dr. Nordenstrom's theories and refers to his research often in her books and articles. She too believes the body has an electrical system and she believes treating that system first can allow the body to resist disease and fix itself. Michaelle Small Wright describes the electrical type exhaustion that occurs in some people, if not everyone. Her solution is to test for essences that will repair the system and allow your body to move on. I can attest to the effectiveness of these essences for that suddenly exhausted feeling, both personally and through client experiences.

Perhaps there are other ways to treat this system as well. Maybe meditation would help. Yoga might be a fix. Maybe spending time in nature, away from electronic circuitry would help.  But first it would seem, we have to acknowledge it's existence and pay attention to it's presence.  That means listening to your body, and considering how you really feel. Maybe it's about feeling your body before you throw sugar, caffeine or some other stimulate at it to counteract the sensations. Imagine the first pioneer woman that said she was just "tired in the head" not physically tired. She was probably tried as witch. Today, we might tell her to "take a mental health day" to relieve her stress.  We've come a long way.  But maybe, just maybe, we've got a long way to go...

Sick days, mental health/stress leaves, and electrical stabilization days...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Secondhand Spirits: Book Review

Wise Woman lent me a library copy of Secondhand Spirits  the other day. This first book  in the "Witchcraft Mystery Series", is written  under the pseudonym Juliet Blackwell.  If I was Juliet, I would be proud to put my real name on the cover. 

This is a fun, for the most part, pretty lighhearted, read. Lily Ivory, the main character, owns a vintage clothing store in the Haight region of San Franciso. Lily also just happens to be a witch with some pretty potent spell-casting powers.  Lily is, to the witch world, a bit like what the Stephanie Plum character in Janet Evanovich's series is to the bounty hunter world. Lily somewhat reluctantly ends up brewing spells to combat some pretty evil forces. Lily is good at her craft, not so good perhaps at managing her social life.

Although this doesn't read like a serious book in any way, the subject matter is pretty dark and well researched. References are even provided as sources for the particular spells that are used. The particulalry evil demon named La Llorna  that Lily takes on has legandary roots as well.

La Llorna is the name for the weeping woman in Mexican forklore.  She is said to have drowned her own children to be with the man she loved. When the man rejects her, La Llorona kills herself.  As the legand goes, La Llorna is not admitted to the afterlife because she has killed her children. So she haunts the "inbetween", kidnapping children and wailing on certain full-moon nights.

I finished the book, all is well, and yet I find myself reflecting a bit on the title "Secondhand Spirits". When I read this novel it was stormy, windy and raining.  The air was oppressive with humidity.  It seemed as though many of the real- life humans in my part of the world were matching the weather. The news was full of death and destruction. The headlines were of tornadoes, air-plane crashes, and the somewhat sudden death of a prominent polititcian from cancer. It seemed that everyone was a bit drawn into a negative energy cycle. Chaos and tears seemed to match the wind and the rain.

Today, is a picture perfect day.  It's sunny, warm but not hot, calm and clear out- beautiful. And yet, it seems we humans, don't change our energy quite as quickly as the weather. Perhaps we carry around those "Secondhand Spirits" a bit.

The spirits in Blackwell's book are not happy.  Then again, it would seem that, aside from Casper the Friendly Ghost, most aren't.  La Llorona is particularly tortured, and it would seem she strives to bring others down to the depts of the sea with her.  Hmm...

Lily brews protective spells to counteract the negativity.  Now that sounds like a good idea.  I admit I considered some of her recipes. I even looked up the plant mandrake and for a brief moment considered trying my hand at creating a mandragora like the one described in the book. I decided the care and feeding  of such a creature might be more responsibility than I could handle.

The witch's coven, the cauldron, the protective potions, all sounded good in the wind and the rain.  Now that the sun is out, I think a bit of Bach Flower essences might be an easier way to go. The Bach Flower essence  Aspen is a good remedy to consider if you find yourself a bit drawn into the negative world of others.  It provides some protection from that type of thing. The Violet Flame is also a good source of protection from the negativity of others  It seems much easier to get pulled into chaos and disorder than peace and calm and sometimes a bit of protection is required.

I think Lily Ivory could use some Aspen and Larch.  She seems to need the type of protection Aspen provides and Larch might help her feel more self-confident to pursue her craft. Walnut might help with all the change going on around her as well.  La Llorona just needs a really hefty dose of Pine to get rid of all that guilt, Star of Bethlehem to ease the shock of rejection, and definatly Sweet Chestnut for the angst. Perhaps some Cherry Plum could have prevented the breakdown in the first place, and a bit of Centuary might have helped her realize she probably didn't need that guy in the first place!!

Then again, you can just read the book and enjoy it for the lighthearted mystery it is meant to be. Perhaps it's better to read it on a sunny day. But if you want the full effect- pick a "dark and stormy night". I'm off to the bookmobile to pick up the next two in the series!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Spider Senses are Tingling: Animal Signs

According to the Marvel comic series ,Spider Man, AKA  Peter Parker, was just an ordinary fledgling young writer until he was bitten by a lethally irradiated spider. The  radioactive "stuff" in the spider's venom quickly caused numerous body-wide changes and immediately elevated Peter Parker to hero status with superhuman strength, reflexes and balance. He also had a precognitive sense of danger which he called "spider-sense".  Prior to be "called into action" he would get a tingling sensation in the base of his skull- the activation of his spider sense.

Whether it's the superpowers of Spider Man, or the lovable characteristics of Charlotte in "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White , and the Disney movie version of the story, we seem to have a fascination with spiders. Or, if not fascination, perhaps a guarded respect. Spiders seem to have a certain amount of power that we don't quite attribute to all "bugs". I'm not a bug fan that is for sure, but for some reason, I don't put spiders in that same category.  I figure anyone that can weave such a delicate and yet lethal web over and over again, deserves just a bit of awe.

Daniel Mapel includes the Spider in his line of Wild Earth Animal Essences. In his book, Into the Heart of the Wild,  he writes that the spider facilitates inner connection and integration. He suggests the spider is a vehicle of interconnectedness, and helps us tie together aspects of self that we feel separated from.

Having spiders come into your life may be a sign that you could use some help bringing together different aspects of your inner and outer life. It may be a sign that you are, or could use help with, bringing what has appeared to be separate or disconnected emotions, activities, and pieces of yourself together into an integrated whole.

I think modern life requires most people to take on multiple roles. Most people have "work lives",and "family lives"  and we take on many different, and often disconnected , responsibilities within those aspects. The frequent "costume changes" and switching back and forth between aspects of your personality can become a bit overwhelming. There are a number of Bach Flower essences that might help with that sense of imbalance. Elm can help if the switching is leaving you feeling overwhelmed with responsibility. Hornbeam may be helpful if you could use some focus and ability to balance work and play. Scleranthus may help if you need help to find balance.

But for some, I think the spider might be signifying something a bit deeper than the obvious disconnection of busy lives. Back to that "spidy senses are tingling" phrase. If you are feeling that sense of precognition that may even be manifesting itself in some physical tingling or electrical way, it's time to pay attention. Perhaps you are opening up to a level of understanding you have previously denied or ignored. It can be difficult to bring that sense of knowing into the physical world so you can use it in tangible ways. Perhaps that's the ability of the spider. The spider has this amazing ability to weave a web of intricate design. But the spider web is not just a "work of art" for the sake of being beautiful. It has a very tangible purpose on earth- it's the way the spider catches food, and a means of transportation all in one. Hmm..

Perhaps that tingling notion, the sense of intuition when you "know" you should pay attention, isn't just an interesting "work of art" either. Perhaps you really need to pay attention and consider bringing that energy into the world. Use your sense of intuition, your precognition, your "spidy sense" to change your life, provide direction, and set your course. Integrate the outside world into your everyday actions, your higher self into your body. The Bach Flower essence Cerato might help you integrate your knowing. Cerato helps you trust yourself and allows you to believe and trust yourself so you can take appropriate action.

The ability to integrate nature, a higher power, or your inner knowing into your body and everyday life, is where the Perelandra Soul Ray essences may really be helpful. These essences can help you stabilize the changes that may be occurring within you. If you are experiencing physical sensations of the "spidy sense", ETS Plus for humans may be of immediate help.

Peter Parker's spider injected him with radioactive materials. Although it worked for him, I personally recommend much more subtle essences to help you find your super powers!  You don't need anyone else to tell you how to integrate your knowing into your life.  But if you want moral support or a push start- visit my website or email me for a consultation.

Enjoy the journey!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Root Chakra Lessons From the Potato Patch

If you've been following along with my blog, you'll realize I seem to have a bit of a relationship with my potato patch. It is one of my few gardening attempts but I find I'm learning an awful lot from this experience,. Some of it is not unlike some of the Perelandra Gardening experiences Michaelle Small-Wright talks about in her books and on her website

My particular patch has been a very enjoyable experience.  It started out with multiple wheelbarrows of horse manure.  To this we added a pile of seaweed. Last year I planted a few potatoes. This year we added more manure, hauled way more seaweed from the beach (on a very cold and rainy day),  and planted a lot of potatoes!  The potatoes this year were carefully chosen.  I bought organic seed potatoes in a number of different varieties and planted with intention.  I planted "late" potatoes at the back and "early" potatoes in the front and even drew a map for myself so I would know which kind was where.

Unlike some other things in life, it seems once I had planted my potatoes with intention, I was really good at "letting it go".  I admired my potatoes every day- don't get me wrong. And I talked to the potato plants as they grew.  I didn't weed them, hoe the rows, or do anything else to them.  It just didn't feel right, and to be honest I wasn't really sure what was potato plant and what was weed, so I decided not to got there. Plus, when you've planted them in seaweed you get some pretty freaky looking pieces of seaweed here and there that are definitely best left alone! The potato patch has lots of visitors and a few residents.  A Chipmunk seemed to call it home for the first while.  I embraced the snake that suns herself on the rocks beside the peonie that grows in the middle There are often toads in there. I let the deer graze the outside edge of the patch. I didn't put up any fences, scarecrows or borders. I never watered the patch. I didn't put any fertilizer down (unless you consider multiple wheelbarrows of horse manure fertilizer), and I never removed a bug.

I loved watching them grow.  But now it's almost the end of summer and I can see a potato or two poking up to the surface, and I realize I'm going to have to dig those potatoes.  This, I have a problem with.  It just never really seems like the right time. What if I pulled them before they were ready.  Maybe they would go rotten before spring if I put them in storage already. But the biggest thing that was holding me back from harvesting, was the thought that maybe if I left them just a bit longer, they would grow bigger or there would be more of them.  Happy to put in the labor to plant, I was afraid of reaping the rewards, or at least of reaping the rewards too soon.  Hmm...

I didn't think about it today. It just seemed right and I pretty much "found" myself out there in the potato patch digging up the first row of early potatoes. They are incredible!  They are called "All Red" and are true to their word.  They are the most beautiful color of red imaginable and the reddish color extends into the core- not just on the outside. Almost all of them are pretty big potatoes and from that first row alone I probably have enough potatoes to feed our family for the winter! The patch looks better since I dug up that row. Now there is a nice layer of sandy rich soil in the front.   The peonie almost sighed her contentment to have a bit more room to catch the sun, and I discovered a very healthy wild rose bush growing in there.

Interestingly,  the first row of early potatoes were red. Red is the color that resonates with the Root or First Chakra. Not only that, the first chakra deals with survival issues and a sense of security.  That strikes me as pretty appropriate.  Maybe now that I have enough red potatoes to get through the winter, I can feel more safe and secure about the rest of that potato patch! 

Perhaps in a past life I went through the potato famine or something!  Maybe that experience is planted in my genetic code, but whatever the reason, it feels really good to me to have a supply of potatoes and it seems to satisfy my root chakra.  One of the Bach Flower essences that resonates with the Root Chakra is Sweet Chestnut. It's indicated for that mental anguish that comes with really having a shattered sense of security or home base. The positive aspect of Sweet Chestnut is a restoration in the faith of a higher power and a sense of inner support. It's about trusting that what you need will be provided to you.

There is a lot of talk, books, and advice out there on creating abundance.  Some of it strikes a bad cord in me because, I think in many circles, abundance has come to  mean money, fortune, and get rich marketing schemes. True abundance, to me, is the experience of  having a bunch of red potatoes offered to me after putting in just a bit of intention. The lesson for me, and perhaps for others, is to accept this abundance. It's about digging your potatoes when they are ready, instead of hoping that they will become bigger or more will grow. It's about recognizing when you have been given a gift you should accept, trusting that there are three more rows of equally awesome potatoes that will be ready when you need them.

In the meantime, if anyone has 101 Recipes for Potatoes, I could probably use them. I've got a lot of abundance!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Christmas in August: Pre-Order my Book!

I know, I know, it's only August and not time to be thinking of Christmas and yet.... Haven, a T.V. series that focuses on paranormal activity films close to my part of the world and they have the streets in town decorated in Christmas theme for the latest episode. Not only that, the other day we received the Christmas Wish Book coupon/card in the mail. You know, the little postcard you take in to the store to actually receive a copy of the catalogue? It makes you feel special somehow to have that coupon in your hand so you can exchange it for the real thing.

As kids, somewhat heathen in our approach to Christmas, the arrival of the Wish Book, heralded Christmas much more than the Advent candles. We used to pour over each page and make our letters to Santa, revised several times before finally mailed.

I can't believe the catalogue always came out this early, but maybe it did.  I remember getting the little card for it in the mailbox.  My sister used to latch onto that vital piece of paper. I wasn't allowed to actually hold the coupon, just gaze at it while she held on. Impatiently, we waited outside on the steps until Dad came home from work so we could try and convince him to immediately turn around, go back to town, and redeem the coupon for the book. Sometimes I think he even did! Are you sensing the theme here in my blog posts? I guess I could have used a dose of the Bach Flower essence Impatiens way back then...

When my daughter was little she carried on the Wish Book tradition except that, as is her way, she added a new twist. She cut out the picture of what she wanted Santa to bring and pasted it onto a letter rather than waste all that effort to try and write the description! Luckily, Santa must have had his own version of an "uncut" Wish Book and seemed capable of  matching her pictures to the item description. She usually got what she wanted, but I wonder if Santa had some late nights pouring over the catalogue trying to match the picture to the description?

Part of my recent holding pattern/impatience theme is because I have a new book in the process of being published.  It feels a bit like waiting for the catalogue to come, having already seen the coupon. And, like the Wish Book, "Sweet Shack & Bach Bar" will be out in time for Christmas.

"Sweet Shack & Bach Bar" fits into the genre of "creative non-fiction".  It's novella in length -a quick and easy read with recipes to try at home.  Today's picture is a copy of the front cover. The book is about food, chakras, Bach Flower essences, and emotional healing. And there is a Wise Woman, a bit of magic, and some dimension hopping in there as well. You'll see some similarities to some of my blog posts.

Unlike the Wish Book, you don't need a coupon to get your own copy.  Like the Wish Book, it is being printed in limited copies with a small print run. So to ensure you get yours, pre-order now and it will come in the mail to you well before Christmas.  You can pre-order online, directly from the publisher

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Animal Signs: Deer

I share my outside living space with a lot of deer.  They are around all the time, whatever the season, but sometimes they seem to really want to make themselves known to me. I wondered why they sometimes appear and other times seem to fade into the background. It doesn't seem to be related to seasons or weather, or time of the day. Over the past couple of days they have become very "in my face". I figure maybe they just want me to pay attention and write about them on my blog!

Deer as a totem animal, or as a sign from nature, encourage us to be gentle and peaceful according to Daniel Mapel in "Into the Heart of the Wild". Mapel suggests deer help us enhance our ability to change directions quickly without loosing our center. They deepen our awareness of the present moment.

Despite their reputation, deer are not "flighty" animals in my opinion. They don't spook at any little sound and take off but they are incredibly aware of everything around them. They are always paying attention, but in a relaxed and open way. When they hear a noise, rather than take off immediately, they stand still and access the situation it seems. That's why you find lots of pictures of deer looking directly into the camera. They check you out while you check them out. Often it seems they wait for you to make the first move. I guess maybe that's the "deer in the headlights" expression as well- they don't run right away, they measure distance and figure out which way they should be heading off to. Although this doesn't always work well with moving cars, it seems to suit situations in nature very well.

Perhaps our fascination with the deer rests in their sense of grace. They are beautiful to watch. They just look so trusting and open with those large clear eyes as they flick their ears and think about you. When they run they are all about grace and agility and can change direction multiple times within a few feet. They bounce through the air and reach great heights without seeming to put in any effort. When they do run, they don't keep running for a long distance. They just move to a safe enough place and then, without any concern for what was left behind ,they dip their heads and eat again, or reach up to the tree leaves, appearing totally relaxed. They don't even seem all that put out to have to move to a new dinner table on short notice. They seem to peacefully accept that although dinner may be interrupted, there's lots more where that came from.

I guess that's the type of attitude we could all use a bit more of. Mapel recommends the deer essence for those that are uptight, angry or stressed. He indicates it can be helpful for those who need to learn to travel their path with awareness and clarity, becoming more conscious to what is happening to them.

So if you're drawn to, or seeing deer in your life lately, perhaps the message they are sending is that it's time to stop and observe your actions for a moment before you leap to one choice or another. It's about slowing down with concentration and awareness so that when you do need to take action, it will be in the right direction and with clear and focused attention. Hmm... pretty sure I've heard that advice before!

The message from the deer seems to point to the Bach Flower essences Impatiens and Scleranthus- both essences that are personally very near and dear to my heart! 

Impatiens is indicated when you feel like nothing is happening quick enough and you want everything to be done instantly. If you've been following my blog, you're likely pretty familiar with Impatiens! If you want more posts on Impatiens type it into the search button and they will be listed. The positive aspects of Impatiens is a relaxed good-humored approach to others and the time it takes to do things right. It can help you cope calmly and diplomatically with perceived problems.

Scleranthus may help bring you that calm poise that deer have. It's about finding that moment to consider the options before heading off in one direction or the other. Scleranthus is recommended for indecision, and perhaps it gets to the real core of the issue. Indecision and uncertainty often arise when we aren't really aware of our feelings and in touch with our authentic self.  Once you take a moment to breathe deep, stop and "feel" versus "think", the choice may be very obvious. The positive aspect of Scleranthus is a calm balanced and poised ability to make good decisions.

Often Bach Flower essences work well in combination with each other. Remedies often contain between 4 to 6, sometimes up to 9 individual essences. Impatiens and Scleranthus together suggests a real slowing down approach in order to make good choices. It's about being focused and centered so you can take in the big picture, rather than using narrowed thought processes that lead to stress and impatience.

So if deer are appearing to you, maybe it really isn't just about them wanting you to plant more tulips our check out your garden. Maybe they are telling you to "chill", breathe in and breathe out.

Even with the help of Scleranthus and Impatiens, it can be difficult to sort out which essences are right for you. If you need some direction to get started, I can help.  Check out my website at or email me for a consultation.

In the meantime may the calm and peaceful nature of the deer be with you, and in you.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bach Flowers for Experiencing Loss

A lot of people I know have been going through a grieving process lately.  I think this may be true world-wide as we experience some pretty big universal shifts.

Sometimes grieving is about losing a loved one and that means both people and pets in my opinion. Sometimes it's about grieving the loss of a job, a situation, moving away from a cherished home, a way of life, a season. Sometimes we grieve and celebrate at the same time. As schools and universities start to open their doors again, and the summer season comes to a close, many people experience a sense of loss.  We just don't always recognize or acknowledge that fact. When children go to school for the first time, or move off to university or jobs, life changes in a pretty big way. Not just for parents, for the children as well.  And even while we may celebrate the moving on and moving forward, we might also be wise to consider the sense of loss we are experiencing as well.

There is a saying that "behind every closed door a window opens".  My scientific mind struggles with that because I don't know why that would really be true given the laws of physics and air exchange, but my creative mind likes the picture that presents. My integrated brain figures perhaps you should gently close the door, put up the closed sign, and then very ceremoniously open a window, breathe the fresh air, and enjoy a new view of the world. But if you don't fully close the door first and put up the sign, when you open the window the door may slam shut and that may even cause the glass to break. Not good!

In order to gently close the door and put up the sign, I think you have to look within and feel the loss. That doesn't mean there has to be tears or great angst, although that's okay too if that's how you feel. It's more about allowing yourself to feel, instead of telling yourself you shouldn't feel sad, have to get over it, celebrate, be happy, or the famous "move on". And whatever causes you to grieve is cause enough to grieve. Everyone seems to think it's okay to grieve a person, but not everyone agrees with the same degree of grief for a pet., a job a changing situation. I disagree. There is no "fixed amount" on your love or your loss. It's also not about the "replacement value". In my opinion, you don't get over the loss of one thing by replacing it with something else. And loss isn't a relative concept. When you're grieving, you're grieving, and I don't know anyone that truly felt better because "it could have been worse".

So once you've really thought about the loss and how you feel and allowed yourself to grieve, you gently pull the door shut on that part of your life and put up the closed sign. Then, when you're ready and your eyes have adjusted to the light, you move over to the window. Sometimes windows are sticky and hard to open. If that's the case, there might be some Bach Flowers to help! (you knew I would through them in there somewhere!)

One could easily argue that each and every one of the 38 Bach Flower essences applies to the process of experiencing loss or grieving a loved one. It depends totally on how you are feeling, what you are missing, and how you are personally reacting. We don't all react the same or feel the same, and we should remember that when talking, or better yet, listening,  to someone in pain. But, a reasonable place to start might include: Star of Bethlehem, Agrimony, White Chestnut, Red Chestnut, Chicory, Sweet Chestnut, Gentian, Larch, Willow and Water Violet.

Star of Bethlehem is the typical remedy to consider for the loss of a loved one or something you greatly value. It helps to balance the shock of the loss. And no matter how much an event is anticipated, it still often comes as a bit of a shock when it actually occurs. This remedy helps with the transformation process associated with loss

Agrimony helps if you're "faking it" through your changing situation. If you find yourself making jokes to ease the tension, putting on a mask of happiness when you feel like crying- this is the remedy for you. Sometimes you need to look pretty deep to see, if in fact, you're covering up in an effort to convince yourself and others that you're "well adjusted". Taking Agrimony won't reduce you to a puddle of tears, but it might help you put your problems and feelings in perspective so you can deal with them rather than cover them up.

White Chestnut is helpful if your loss is keeping you up at night with repetitive thoughts going around and around in your head. If you just can't break through the thoughts to let your mind relax, consider White Chestnut. It may be helpful in combination with some of the others.

Red Chestnut may be particularly helpful if your loss involves changes for other people as well.  For the parent that can't stop worrying if their child is okay in a new situation- this is the remedy of choice. If you've been secretly decorating your child's university dorm room, or thinking about more school supplies to ease the pain for your child, or worrying how others will adapt to your changing job status- this may be the remedy for you!

Chicory is the remedy if you really aren't able to let go and feel quite possessive about things.  This may be very hard to self-diagnose. If you find yourself clinging to the door jam this is for you. If you are holding on desperately to a way of life that is dissolving around you- chicory will help you let go and let be. If  you hear friends repeatedly telling you to, "let it go" you might want to think about Chicory.

Sweet Chestnut is recommended for deep despair and is another one of the 'go to" remedies for bereavement. It may be helpful in combination with or as a follow up to Star of Bethelehem. If you are really feeling destroyed by your grief, Sweet Chestnut can help you face the changes even though the external circumstances may remain the same.

Gentian is indicated for a general sense of pessimism and depression that often follows the grieving process.  If you feel depressed, discouraged, and easily disheartened by small setbacks, Gentian may be indicated for you. Gentian can help you find the balance to realize difficulties will come to an end, and although changed by the experience, you will find happiness again.

Larch is indicated when your self-esteem has taken a bit of a blow due to your loss.  If you are grieving the loss of a job for instance, or entering the job market for the first time, or returning from an absence, Larch can help prepare you. If you wanting to change your loss into a new venture, a dream you've always wanted to pursue, and are afraid to try because of the possibility of failing- consider Larch.

Willow is indicated if the loss you are experiencing has you feeling like a victim. If you think only, and all, bad things happen to you- reach for the Bach Flower Willow.  This is another remedy that may be hard to self-diagnose. If you find yourself rather drawn to negative situations, conversations and friends, Willow may be the remedy to help you break out of the negative pull.

Finally, Water Violet may be helpful if you just want to pull the covers over your head and hide out until the world looks different.  If you find yourself avoiding people, situations and conversations or are considering moving to a cave in the mountains- try Water Violet before you seal yourself in.

The world is changing, of that I am sure. Part of any change involves the loss of things that we hold near and dear to our heart. Find what you are grieving, honor it and let go as you move towards the window.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Echinacea For Revealing True Self

I think it's important to pay attention to what nature presents to you. This summer, I suddenly had this very tall, quite beautiful flower, growing in the pile of horse manure I call a flower garden because it is home to a number of crocus in the spring. I passed this flower every day on my "hay deliver route" to the horses. I admired her and told her how beautiful she was. I had no idea "what" she was. I'm not much of a gardener for several reasons. I know nothing about which plant is which and even if someone tells me at some point, there's a good chance the name won't stick with me. When the older women in my life were planting and tending to gardens and imparting their knowledge, I was helping/hiding out in the barns. So I'm not too bad at milking a cow, great at shoveling manure and cleaning harness, but not very knowledgeable on flower borders and weeding rock gardens. Another reason I'm not a very good gardener is that I don't like to exert that kind of control. To my mind, if you're growing and lush looking with or without a flowering colorful top, it seems you have as much right to that space and soil as the plant that I specifically put there- maybe even more. So I can't pull out weeds. I just can't do it. In fact, most weeds look prettier to me than the flowers that are purposefully planted. So, I let this beautiful pinkish purple "weed" grow. She was all by herself for quite awhile and then just as suddenly as she appeared it seemed, she had a whole lot of friends and I had a beautiful flower patch.

Quite by accident, while trying to find a "wild rose" bush to purposefully plant (doesn't really make sense does it), I found a flower like my weed for sale in a plant store.  Turns out my weed is an echinacea plant. Then I remembered that a couple of years ago, a friend, knowing that I was in to medicinal alternative healing stuff,  had brought me a couple of these plants as small little shoots from the discarded, end of the year, plant sale.  Not really sure what they needed or wanted, I planted them in the manure pile - and forgot about them. Time to pay attention.

Echinacea is one of the more common and popular herbs today. It's been "picked up" by the vitamin/supplement industry and marketed in a variety of forms. It's considered an immune booster and is marketed to treat common colds and flu like symptoms. Many supplement forms of the herb are taken from the root of the plant. The herb contains copper, iron, tannins, protein, fatty acids, Vitamin A, C and E and some large polysaccharides that are believed to increase the production of T-cells- part of the body's natural immune system. There may be antibacterial properties of echinacea as well and it is used, by some, for wound healing or to treat skin conditions. You can find commercially prepared echinacea in tablet/supplement forms, liquid tinctures, and tea preparations.

Echinacea is also used in flower essence therapy. I like the idea of essence therapy because of the subtle action of this type of healing. Essence therapy is not about adding something to your body as much as it is about bringing your body to balance so you can heal yourself. I like that.

Echinacea is also called Purple Coneflower. Tree Frog Farm identifies echinacea as an essence that breaks up whatever is holding you back in a process of redefining your self image. Taking this essence may help you melt away your old self revealing your true inner power. Tree Frog Farm recommends using this essence when your self-image in beginning to change but you have not completely become the "new you".

Echinacea is considered a fundamental remedy for soul illnesses, especially when the individual has experienced shattering and destructive forces. Whole Energy Essences, created their echinacea essence as a response to the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington on September 11th 2001. They created it in order to affirm life and embrace vitality rather than get drawn into panic and terror, or be cut off from life.

This plant is all about vitality and a balance of strength and soft flexibility. It's has rigid inflexible stems with some prickly hairs along the stem. The flowers are vibrant in color and smell and cannot be ignored. But the flower petals droop away from the center and are fragile to touch.  It can live in many altitudes and different weather regions. It is said to be "drought tolerant" and can grow in fairly poor and dry soil.  Apparently it's okay growing in horse manure as well!

The balance of the echinacea flower speaks to the integration of the right and left brain hemispheres  according to the Medicine Garden . Through integration of rational mind (left brain), and instincts and intuition (right brain) ,you can find your true connected, powerful, and complete self. Hmm... 

Maybe I'll find the gardener within me. For now I'm happy I followed my intuition and allowed that weed to grow into the powerful and  beautiful healer that it is.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Full Moon Intensity: Staying True to Self

I think these are pretty intense times right now no matter where you are living and what you are doing.  This intensity seems to be apparent at all levels; personal, universall, and everything in between.

Tomorrow is a  full moon which brings yet another layer of intensity to things. During this full moon we also have an accumulation of meteor showers and the comet Honda is floating around up there as well . It  comes very close to the earth on August 15th. The last time it passed this close was 1975- the same time China experienced a major earthquake according to Mahala Gayle, in her Planet Alert August newsletter

This full moon is in Aquarius. According to my We'Moon book, the moon in Aquarius connects us to each other and our sense of community. It's a time when we are asked to walk our talk.  It is considered to be a good time to integrate your philosophy with your politics.  Hmm..

I say a quote today that recommended you "don't get trapped in dogma because that's the results of someone else's thinking". In Webster's Dictionary, dogma is defined as "a system of doctrines proclaimed by an authority as true." That sounds like politics. So perhaps it's worth taking some time to reflect on what it is you really believe versus what you may be following, or buying into, because it's become dogma.

That sounds pretty easy, but I don't imagine it is. If you start to consider all the powers of authority you have bought into over the years, it can become pretty difficult to really figure out what it is you believe to be true. It might even be a bit painful as you question your beliefs and define your own philosophy of life. But defining your own philosophy is the easiest part.  Once you have it sorted out, living it may become the difficult piece.

It's easier to live by the "dogma of the day". There is comfort in going with the system and not having to consider if your actions make sense or not. It's also giving away your personal power in order to be looked after.  I guess everyone wants to be looked after every now and then, but maybe in these intense times it's appropriate to reconsider that and start claiming back your power and looking after yourself. Really looking after yourself- according to your own philosophy.

The good news is, you don't have to convince anyone other than yourself what it is you believe in. It's better if you don't. Discovering your philosophy is really not a group activity, as much as we would like to believe it is. If you examine your truths in a group, I believe you come up with a revised "dogma". Politics work their way in there again.

It was once dogma that the earth was flat. Everyone that was anyone, believed it. This could be a fearful concept if you think about it. It meant if you sailed too far out there you were going to "drop off". A pretty good method of control. Not too many people will go wondering off to set up their own empires. I wonder how many people never really believed in that concept. Instead, quietly to themselves, they thought the world might have some rounded edges. Perhaps they didn't "do" much about that, but they lived with a whole lot less fear, especially when they were in a sail boat in strong winds. It didn't hurt anyone to have their "rounded" beliefs. They didn't argue the fact, or write books about the concept. They didn't market the concept. They just "had a knowing" that made them feel better about things. I suspect if close friends ever brought up the question of a flat earth, they told them what they believed. Maybe some of their friends considered it, maybe even changed their mind, and felt a little more peaceful themselves. Most friends probably just looked at them sideways and decided they were off on another crazy tangent but it didn't really seem harmful- just nuts. I'll bet they made up stories for their children about magical lands where the earth was round and you could sail all the way around and come back home again. Perhaps those fantasy stories gave their children courage. Perhaps their children built bigger sails for their ships.

William Shakespeare wrote" to thy own self be true". I like that quote. It takes the pressure off. You don't need to convince anyone else, you just do what you know to be right for you.

If you need help finding your philosophy and sticking to it, especially during opposing dogma, consider the Bach flower essence Cerato. Cerato is helpful for people that don't trust their own judgement. It can help you find your truths from within, rather than polling your neighbours and  following someone else's advice. Cerato helps you balance all that incoming information so you can distinguish your own inner voice. It helps you find the strength to trust that small voice.

So tonight, under the light of the moon, instead of reading a book, write your own words. Don't write the world's greatest novel, or the next classic textbook. Write something only you need to read. Listen to you inner voice and find your own words.

Create something just for you, by you. Use this intensity to find your power.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Book Review: Etre the Cow

I started hearing  about and reading reviews on the book called "Etre the Cow" by Sean Kenniff. There just seemed to be kind of a "buzz" out there about it. I had really no idea what it was about. I tried a few book stores and didn't find it but everyone said the title sounded kine of familiar. I ended up ordering it on-line. It came in the mail yesterday. Last night I sat down and read it from cover to cover. "Wow"! and "Gulp!"  are single words that come to mind.

This is not some cute little "cow that talks" book. It is not a "feel good" book. It is not for anyone that prefers to stick their head in the sand and ignore the big questions of life. It is disturbing to read. And that's what makes it powerful. This book will stick with you- whether you want it to or not. But in my opinion, every once in awhile you need to go to a bit of a dark place to see how good the light feels and to think about how you feel about the contrast.

Etre is french for the word "to be" or "to exist". (Etre is supposed to have an accent over the  first "e" but I can't make my computer do that. Maybe some day I'll figure out how to make those green characters on my keyboard "come to life". When I do, I'll have entered the 21st Century, but for now, just imagine there to an accent there. )

Etre is a bull living on a big cattle/meat production farm. He is fenced in, forced to follow a lifestyle and set of rules that don't make any sense. He questions his existence and those around him. He is very much alone in his quest for meaning. The cows don't speak to him, no one "gets him", and for most of his life he feels quite alone and insignificant. He is powerless to bring meaning or change to his situation.

Etre the Cow has been compared to George Orwell's "Animal Farm". Like Orwell's classic, Kenniff writes this book as a statement on society, an allegory to critique modern society- in particular, the socio-econmic situation during the 2008/2009 recession in the United States. Some people have interpreted this book as an animal rights book and a statement against production farming. There are some brutal and explicit descriptions in the book that might make you think about your food, but Kenniff doesn't claim to be writing for that purpose as much as to make you consider your own life and the fences that restrict you. Kenniff writes this from the heart- deep in his heart- the place where great works are created because they aren't sugar coated and glossed over.

This book is well written.  I "became" Etre and believe me, that wasn't a comfortable place to be by times! A part of me so much wanted things to change, and a piece of me accepted what was happening as "just is". I found a bit of relief in the very end through something (I won't tell you want- you'll have to read it yourself)  that wouldn't normally give me relief, that's how much I could identify with the character through Kennif's writing.

Like Orwell's Animal Farm, I think Etre the Cow may become classic literary work. I think my first year University English Professor could have used this book for an entire semester to tease out the symbolism and study the meanings, both hidden and obvious. I'm not the only one that thinks this. The book is endorsed by both Dr. Jane Goodall and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. That is some pretty powerful backing and an interesting combination.

The book is a novella that can easily be read in one session.  For me at least, I had to read it that way. Once I started there was no way I was putting it down- but then I'm a "pull the band aid off quickly" person, never a "peel it slowly". I needed to know how it ended and didn't want to put it down halfway through and let my mind wonder over what might be going to happen next.

Throughout the whole book I so badly wanted to give Etre a big dose of Perelandra ETS for Animals. I think it could have eased the journey a lot.  I wanted to give "My Cow" a bottle of Bach Flower essence Centuary to wake her up a bit and prevent her from being so easily led.  At certain times, I wanted to infuse Etre with the Bach Flower Holly because it was all about an inability to find universal love in a way. Other times, I recognized the need for Cerato for poor Etre because he was on the right path it was  just hard to find that trust in self. Of course he could have used some Pine during that particularly disturbing scene in the production shed.  And let's face it, the farmers could have used the whole box of Bach at one time or another- Rescue Remedy and ETS Plus definitely come to mind towards the end!

I don't recommend this book for everyone. I think you need to really "feel" whether or not it's right for you, and whether you are in a "place" that allows you to tackle this. I am glad I read it. It was right for me. If you are going to read it, you might want to brew a strong pot of chamomile tea to sip while you read. Do NOT read this while munching on a hamburger, steak, or any other meat product. Personally, I skipped the tea and went right to red wine and that was a perfect mix.

I followed this book up with a couple of favorites before going to sleep. I re-read "The Story of Ferdinand" by Munro Leaf,  and followed that up with "Click Clack Moo Cows That Type", by Doreen Cronin. Then I read Ferdinand once again. It is all about the balance!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cycles and Rhythms

The days are starting to feel a bit different to me here in my part of the world at least. Intellectually, it should still be summer and yet, it's as though I can feel the universe starting to shift just a bit into a new cycle towards fall.  It isn't the absence of hot temperatures or the sun because we haven't seen a lot of either one of those all summer! It's more just a slight change to the angle of the sun and things just kind of smell different to me. People are talking about heading back to school although it's still, blessedly, weeks away, and the seed catalogs that came out in the spring are being replaced with fall clothes catalogues.

We are heading toward a full moon on August 13th , more evidence of the definable cycles and rhythms of the universe. In her Planet Alert Newsletter, Mahala Gayle, describes a lot of changes to the cycles and rhythms of the planet. She writes that we are now in a new Mayan Dreamspell and this cycle is the year of the White Wizard. A time to "go with the flow" she writes.

In Doreen Virtue's "Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards", Maeve is the goddess of cycles and rhythms- the card is today's picture. Maeve is a Celtic goddess that is considered a symbol of feminine power and a bit of a warrior. Maeve really celebrated her feminine side and didn't shy away from her cycles and rhythms. Legend has it that she invoked labor pains on anyone invading her land. She also demanded the battle cease during her menstrual cycles.  Brings a whole new meaning to "you go girl"!  Maybe as the world shifts into more feminine energy we all need a little bit of Maeve to help us accept the changing cycle.

If you can manage to "go with the flow" and accept changing rhythms and cycles, both within and without, you'll be able to enjoy change from a place of peace. For some people, however, changing rhythms are unsettling and not that comfortable.

Dr. Bach developed four essences within his category of "Oversensitivity". In my opinion, that's the natural category to consider if you're feeling uncomfortable with the changes around you or within you. The essences in this grouping include; Walnut, Agrimony, Centaury, and Holly.

Walnut is the Bach Flower essence most often recommended for change. It is helpful if you feel over-sensitive to ideas, atmospheres and influences. Lots of my past blog posts have talked about Walnut It's a handy essence to have around as it helps you stay flexible but rooted during change- swaying with the wind but not falling over.

Agrimony might be an essence to consider during times of changing cycles. It's an essence to consider if what you feel on the inside doesn't quite match with what you portray on the outside. Agrimony types don't like conflict and go to great lengths to avoid or smooth it over.  If the changing cycles or rhythms are creating an uncomfortable sense of conflict, anxiety or churning, restless thoughts ( or restless nights), Agrimony might be the essence to help ease you through it.

Centaury types sometimes have difficulty keeping true to themselves during changing cycles and rhythms. They pick up on the rhythms of others and often give in rather than expressing themselves, or maintaining their own cycle and flow. Centaury types are easily influenced by dictators or bullies  Changing cycles often means a change in "leadership" and if you are dissatisfied with the new state of affairs, but need a bit of help to keep to your own path, Centaury might be helpful for you.

Dr. Bach also placed the flower essence Holly within the category of "oversensitivity". Sometimes that fact is lost a bit as Holly is considered the essence for anger, envy and jealousy.  But it's much more than that. Holly is often indicated when people are angry, envious or jealous because of an issue of the heart and a sense of disconnection with their source of love. Holly helps people open to universal love.  As we move into a new era of universal energy, we might need some help opening that High Heart Chakra.  I believe Holly might be a good remedy to allow this shift. 

Rhythms and cycles are an integral part of  life.  In fact maybe they are the definition of "life". That doesn't mean we accept the rhythms equally. Nor does it mean that we don't feel somewhat "unsettled" during the shifting patterns. I guess the lesson from Maeve is to honor the cycles, feel the emotions and celebrate "going with the flow".  Here's to bringing some Maeve into your life!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Transforming Tension into Creativity; The Power of the Mussel

In my part of the world, Mussels are a pretty common shellfish. When you are beachcombing, the mussel shell is not considered one of the "real treasures" and often gets tossed aside because it is so common. I have however, seen a lot of crafts that used mussel shells and am reminded of a few rainy day camp craft activities that always seemed to involve the mussel shell, glue, and whatever else just happened to be around. Take a mussel shell, a piece of driftwood, two of those rolling eye buttons from craft stores, a couple of pieces of felt, and enough glue and you'll have a treasure that some mother will keep forever!

In season, mussels are one of the cheaper shell fish to buy and most restuarants have their own "house special" variety- often served as an appetizer. All you need is a bit of butter, onion, garlic, and mushrooms in a big pot. Then you pour in a bottle of beer or some white wine and when it's boiling you put in the washed mussels (shell and all). When the shells open up in the steam,  you have a really good feed.

It turns out mussels have a connection to the second chakra, gall bladder, and creativity, according to Sabina Pettitt in "Energy Medicine, Healing from Kingdoms of Nature". 

The outside of the mussel shell is pretty dark- usually black with a bit of dark purple mixed in. It's a rough exterior and it's often covered with dark seaweed. But the inside of the shell is a total contrast. It's quite translucent, almost a pearly white with shades of pink, light blue, and violet. Sabina Pettitt writes that the outside of the shell corresponds to the energy of anger or tension, and the inside is that anger transformed into radiance. When anger, irrititability and frustration  is stored up we "wear it" on the outside, often resulting in stiff neck and shoulders. Hold enough of it in, and you end up with headaches, and dizziness from all that stored tension. Mussels resonate with the gall bladder which, in chinese medicine is responsible for making decisions and wise judgements. Blocked gall bladder energy is tight and controllling, a self destructive, judging type energy. Interestingly, gall baldder problems are often felt in the shoulder area- a meridian connection. According to Pettitt, that type of restriction in the neck and gall bladder meridan also creates an energy blockage between the heart and the mind.

The second chakra is our centre of creativity and sexual expression. Oriah Mountain Dreamer in, "What We Ache For", writes that she believes we need to feel and express our creativity in order to feel fully alive.She defines that sexual expression as a spiritual connection to ourselves. Oriah writes that "Doing creative work allows us to follow the thread of what we ache for into a deeper life, offering a way to cultivate a life of making love to the world." That sounds like second chakra work to me.

So, the lesson from the mussle shell is to transform what you carry on the outside into what you really want to express from the inside. It's about allowing that transformation to be expressed in creative ways. I figure there are a number of ways to do this and you can take your pick.

You can go eat a bowl of mussles and see if you feel more relaxed and more creative. Better yet, you can create your own recipe- measurments don't have to be exact, and if you use wine, there is likely a glass or two left over that might aid your creativity as well.

Sabina Pettitt deals with essence therapy. So if you don't want to eat mussels, you can use the essence to enhance healing and transformation. I haven't used these, so I can't recommend them first hand, but I'll be doing some more research. In the meantime you can check them out for yourself at

Finally, maybe it's just a good day to sit down with a glue gun, some empty mussel shells colllected from the beach, and left over craft supplies. See what you can create. Pretend you're at camp  making a present for your mother or someone that loves you unconditionally.  That way, all judgement is released- whatever you create will be cherished just because you made it.

Have fun being you.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Alternative Healing for Pets: Getting Started with Bach Flowers

One of the many advantages of alternative healing methods is that what works for people also works for pets and vice versa. In many cases you don't even have to change the dosage or learn new protocols, symptoms, or indications.

In fact, some people find their way to alternative therapies having first tried them on their animals. Humans  put so much thinking into things it can be hard to figure out if you've just experienced a relief of symptoms because you "thought" you would see a benefit, or because the remedy actually worked. Most people figure that placebo effect is eliminated when treating animals. If you see symptoms or behavior improve, it's because of the remedy, not because the animal thought the remedy would work. Hmm... I'm not always sure about that. But I do think it doesn't matter why a remedy works- just that it does.

If you're thinking about trying alternative strategies for the animals in your life, the easiest place to start may be with Bach Flower remedies. Bach Flower remedies offer gentle, subtle healing of emotions that can at the same time, produce dramatic results. Animals respond well to Bach Flowers, perhaps because they often carry less baggage or layers of emotions than humans. Which is not to say they experience any less dramatic or less intense emotions- just that the layers can often be lifted quicker.

You choose the remedies for pets the same way you choose them for people. Dogs that are afraid of thunder storms for instance might respond well to Mimulus or Rock Rose. Horses that are demanding at feeding times might benefit from Impatiens. Dogs that are overally agressive might benefit from Vine, Vervain or Holly.  Any animal that attacks might respond to Cherry Plum.

Bach Flower essences are meant to be used in a "try this at home" strategy. You can choose which essences you feel are right for your pet and administer them in food, water or directly in their mouth  (if it's safe for both of you to do this!). Trust me, it's easier to get some drops of liquid in there than it is to try to "encourage" a reluctant animal to swallow that little pill! Many animals in fact, eagerly take the remedies. Maybe they like the brandy in them, but I think they feel the vibrational energy and know this is a good thing for them.  You won't hurt your pet if you have chosen the wrong remedy. You won't see any adverse reactions, you just won't see the benefits you're hoping for. It's safe to experiment. There are a number of books out there to help you sort through which remedies would work best for your pet.  "Bach Flower Remedies for Animals" by Stefan Ball and Judy Howard is a great one and a good place to start. "Emotional Healing for Horses and Ponies" by Stefan Ball, Heather Simpson, and Judy Howard is another good one. You can order these publications and others, directly from the Bach Centre at

The trick to finding the right remedies for your pets is clearing your own perceptions away. Animals often absorb the emotions of their humans and project that back. So when you  look at the pet, you see ourself and your own emotions in there. Then you add a few more interpretations to the mix. You might see fear and interpret it as anger, giving Holly when it fact it's Mimulus that would be more helpful. Sometimes you just can't trust that your interpretations are accurate and you put too much thinking into the choices.

When I do animal consultations don't ask a lot of questions from the owners. I find the less I know the better. I'd rather get the story directly from the source, the animal. As part of the consult, I provide the owner with a "write-up" of why I chose the essences I did. When I first started emailing those write-ups, I braced myself for the reaction, thinking owners would think I had totally "lost it". I've yet to experience that reaction. What I got  was more along the lines of "I knew that, I just couldn't believe it".

Like the woman who had this feeling that her cat was "stalking" her. It was true. He was having a tough time deciding if he wanted to be a domestic cat or a wild tiger. He was practicing both! He was stalking her. Not only did the remedies help but she learned to open the curtains carefully, stopped sneaking up on him, and let him know that she wasn't going to be his next meal in any dimension!

The dog that would suddenly "turn" on her buddies and be agressive, really just needed some Beech. The noises and jumping around and barking of others all the time really "got on her nerves" and sometimes she'd just had enough. The Beech helped. The owner felt the same way. Now they find some "time out" together and go off on quiet walks just the two of them to get away from the madness. They both occasionally take Beech.

Almost every time I do an animal consultation I get the response, "Do you think I could take the remedy too?"  The answer to that is always "Yes". Another benefit for starting out with Bach Flowers. I think this is particularly true when using Rescue Remedy. If you think your pet could use a dose of Rescue Remedy, go ahead and give it, but take some yourself first. Sometimes it's hard to figure out who had the emotions first- you or your pet, but if you are in a close relationship, there's a good chance you're both experiencing some of the same "stuff". It really doesn't matter "who started it first"!

I believe our animals come to us for a reason.  Maybe that reason is to help us heal! Breathe in, breathe out and enjoy the journey!