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Monday, July 30, 2012

Alone vs Abandoned: Bach Flowers for Both

I've had some really interesting conversations lately on seemingly totally different topics, with people I consider to be quite different from each other.  Yet, a theme word seemed to keep creeping in there to the point that I thought I should take a look at it, and therefore, write about it. The word was "alone".

Collins Dictionary describes the word "alone" as an adjective meaning "without anyone or anything else". It would seem that many people, programs, and pursuits strive to find comfort in "being alone". Meditation and other forms of focus teach you to find that sense of "oneness" and that's considered a good place, a goal to be achieved perhaps. Often we can't wait to "be alone". I doubt there's a parent alive that hasn't at one point or another truly craved "just 5 minutes all alone".

But it seems there is also a lot of angst, fear, and discomfort with being described as "alone".  That's the discomfort that so many dating services and on-line sites are making millions on isn't it? We feel compassion for those that are "left alone" when a loved one dies. We often talk about how difficult death is for those that are left alone. We worry about walking, running or being in the woods alone. It seems there is often greater fear about being alone at night or in the dark rather than in the light of day. It seems on some level at least, we feel "alone" makes us more vulnerable. Perhaps that's a carry over from the nervous system that reminds us we could be creatures of prey and that a herd will keep us safer than if we are alone with all those predators lurking about. Hmm...

I started asking people what the word meant to them. At this point, they probably wished I would "leave them alone", but I kept my queries to those within my comfort zone and they tolerate me. It started to sound like maybe the push/pull feeling we have about "alone", might have something to do with choice.  If we choose to be alone we seem happy with that, but if we don't make that choice and instead it happens to us, then we might feel unhappy or fearful about that. We might choose to walk away from the herd to think our own thoughts or keep those really juicy berries to ourselves. But if the herd throws us out because we are unique thinkers or hoarding the good stuff, we're sad, fearful and vulnerable?

I had pretty much group consensus that if we make the choice to be alone, we're happy with the choice, but if we feel as though the choice has been made for us, without our conscious will, we aren't. In fact, it would seem the element of choice is what makes us feel "alone" versus "abandoned".  And while alone can be a very desirable thing, no one seems to feel the same way about abandoned. Abandoned isn't something anyone would "choose". Hmm...

Interesting, because at a great philosophical presentation a few days ago, I heard reinforcement of the idea that we humans "choose" everything we feel. I believe that to be true. I think deep down, most people do.  I remember trying to teach that idea to paramedics in the early 90's.  At that time it was part of conflict resolution training. Emergency Responders that are really good at dealing with emotionally charged situations intuitively understand that concept and work with it. It's a hard thing to teach, but once you've experienced enough of the world, in my opinion, it's pretty hard not to believe it in order to survive.

So if I follow this thread, and I understand if you've lost it by now!, I think that means we sometimes choose to feel alone. Sometimes we even choose to feel abandoned. At the same time even, we actually like to be alone.  Hmm...

Being alone and feeling good about it is a balanced Water Violet state in the world of Bach Flower essences. Today's picture is a Water Violet plant. These plants, and people, are beautiful, gentle, quiet and refined. They lead their lives with precision, clarity and purpose according to Julian Barnard in, Bach Flower Remedies Form and Function. The Water Violet plant grows in pure water, and floats freely without roots. They are submerged for much of their lives. Barnard writes that withdrawal from land to water is a symbol of transition to a higher plane of being, not just a desire for peace and solitude. He writes "these souls are older and wiser than the rest of us".

But we live in the world. Every once in awhile the water gets murky, something jumps into the pond that we weren't expecting, or toxins build up to the point that the water is polluted. It's not all negative. Sometimes the peepers come along and their song sounds like a good party.   The challenge for Water Violet types is to be part of the world and to share their wisdom with others.  When they do feel the need to  be part of the world they often feel alone and lack resources and relationships that make them part of the bigger experience of the journey. A few drops of Water Violet can help you develop warmer relationships with the herd so you can be a part of something if you choose.

If you appreciate and often choose to be alone, but sometimes feel alone, Water Violet would be a good match for you during those unbalanced moments. But if your sense of "aloneness" feels stronger than that and has moved into the feeling of abandoment, Sweet Chestnut might be a better match. If you believe that part of the journey is to experience what it's like to be connected to others and part of something bigger, loosing the sense of connection can be devastating. If your goal is to understand what makes you unique enough to contribute to the collective, and you  loose that feeling of connection, you no doubt will experience true and extreme mental anguish.  It can be really tough to find your herd. If you did think you had a herd and you found yourself leaving or being forced out, it can be a pretty scary experience. That's what Sweet Chestnut can help with.  It can help you lift your head up and realize there is more of a world out there.  It can help you realize you chose to leave, or at least to feel this sensation of abdandoment for a reason and you can move on.

Sweet Chestnut can help you realize that although you might choose to feel alone, you can never really be alone. It helps you connect with your inner power so you can face the world with optimism and peace of mind even though external circumstances may not have changed. Once you can find the intense joy of being alone, you might just find yourself ready to feel your way back to the collective.

Here's to balanced being no matter what you're feeling.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Waxing Moon in Scorpio

It feels like there is a whole lot going on out there in nature today from multiple perspectives. Here's my attempt to pull it all, or at least some of it, together.

First of all, according to We'Moon 2012, today marks the beginnning of a Waxing Moon in Scorpio. I believe the moon is a pretty powerful force so, to me, it makes sense to start with that.

A waxing moon is the beginning of the moon phase turning towards a full moon.  It will be full on August 1st, so between now and then the intensity continues to grow. That alone is strong energy. Lucy Harmer, in Shamanic Astrology, writes about the power of the Waxing Moon.  She explains this moon cycle provides tremendous energy for getting our ideas and projects up and running. . So if you put some thought to a new project during the New Moon phase, you might now be beginning to feel that project gaining speed and momentum. Harmer claims we can sense this energy in everything. During the Waxing Moon,  leaves, fruit and seeds all speed up their development. Harmer also writes that "feelings come more easily to the surface and will need to be expressed or freed". Hmm....

I went for a walk to think about the waxing moon in Scorpio and everywhere I looked thistles were in bloom.  The close up picture I thought was going to be really great didn't quite work out because the mosquitoes were out in full force too, but you get the idea. Well, it just so happens that thistle, according to Shamanic Astrology is the plant that corresponds to the Spirit Animal Snake, or in Western Astrology, Scorpio. I guess the thistles are feeling the power of that Waxing Moon in their sign and they are making themselves known.

The thistle is considered a symbol of protection in the Shamanic world. It has great curative powers and is believed to cleanse and tone the liver. It symbolizes strenth and durability. It's strong roots remind us of the importance of a solid base. The thistle is also a wee bit prickly. That's also true of the energy of Scorpio. This energy brings a need for privacy. We pull in a bit and our boundaries can become a bit prickly as we feel the need to protect ourselves from external forces.

In The Language of Flowers Victoria claimed the definition for thistle was "misanthrophy".  That word required a trip to Websters Dictionary for me. It means dislike or mistrust of people in general.  I guess Victoria had her reasons for building that prickly boundary but she did work to soften it a bit. And that might be the challenge under the Waxing Scoprio Moon; to choose carefully where you concentrate your attention and focus so that you can balance connection with solitude. Perhaps it's important to  keep an open mind and remain open to opportunities around you.  We'Moon describes the balance as being "curious rather than judgemental".  I like that.

The Waxing Moon phase resonates with both the second and third Chakras.  These Chakras are really about finding self as separate from your "tribe" so you can bring strength and power to that sense of individual power. In second Chakra development you being to understand what motivates your emotions as an individual rather than according to group consensus or peer pressure.  Once you are clear on your uniqueness, in third Chakra development you build on your individuality and bring power and focus to what makes you, you. And that, like the thistle, can require a clear sense of boundaries.

So, in my opinion, nature's presciption for the Waxing Moon in Scorpio, is to use this available energy to propel your self forward in the direction you want to go. There is opportunity now to develop self, as a separate entitiy with a strong sense of power.  In order to do that, you may need to venture outside with a curious, but selective, intent. This is an opportunity to  take a look at the possibilities that exist for growth and the resources that are available to expand deep within ourselves.

Snake, Scorpio, and thistle are all pretty grounded, rooted, energies. The Waxing Moon energy in Scoprio seems to be offering an opportunity to grow that sense of groundedness into something just a bit more expansive. Look to the stars while maintaining your roots. Maintain your prickly boundaries but consider expansion into the soft beauty of nature as well.

Enjoy the opportunity for growth!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Residual Fear: Bach Flowers to Overcome

It's pretty hard not to hear something these days about the horrific shooting in the Colorado Movie theatre these days.  Not only is it in the media everywhere you look, it also seems to be in a lot of peoples' minds. But what strikes me about the coverage and discussions about the incident, is how different the reporting seems to be this time around. And it feels very positive to me.

Usually when events like this happen, a lot of blame gets thrown around. I guess it's a way to deflect our fear and process our grief.  In fact, it's often part of the stages of grief  We're kind of used to hearing response agencies criticized for taking too long, or not doing something right.  None of that seems to be happening with this event. In fact, exactly the opposite is true.  Reporters and the general public alike are praising Police, Fire and EMS for quick response, effective leadership, and heroic actions. That is truly a shift in my opinion.

In another shift, this event doesn't seem to be turned into a "War on Something", not even a "War on Gun Use" or something like that.  I think some agencies have tried to steer it that way a bit, but it doesn't seem to be picking up any real momentum.

It's almost like, this event is turning towards Peace, Harmony and Caring. The political speeches have been about being thankful for what you do have. They mentioned  hugging your children that are unharmed and feeling love for those who have lost loved ones. There has been a definite effort on the part of the media and politicians to make this event more about sending compassion to the victims and their families than it has been to send hatred to those responsible for the act. I have even heard one of the survivors saying he couldn't really hate the gunman- he could only feel sorry for the darkness he must have felt that would drive him to such actions. Everyone I have seen interviewed has been articulate, full of compassion for others involved, thankful for the actions of others, and expressing an eagerness to move on.

In my opinion this is a huge shift.  We often talk about "shifting consciousness" and how the world feels a little different. People question whether 2012 will bring a "shift" or whether or not something, and it seems we don't know what that "something" is, will change, occur, or happen.  I think this recent event is evidence "something" has happened and represents a shift in how we choose to look at the world.

When we recognize our connectedness, feel empathy for others, and share their stories, we connect to their emotions. And some of the emotions that are being expressed, perhaps particularly now, a few days later as people do try to move on, is fear. There have been a few incidents in theatres lately where fear has really been apparent and it would seem a lot of people have a sense of jittery anxiety.

It was that fear that I started  to write today's blog about.  In a search for pictures on google to go with my theme, I found today's picture on the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program (WFLDP) website  I was pretty surprised by that. And again, this seems like a shift to me. It's a shift away from Command and Control, into true leadership and that, believe me, is a culture change in the fire services. That I know for sure, and I applaud WFLDP's efforts.  Plus I really like that turtle!

It seems like the fear a lot of people are talking about is fear of being in a crowd because that's what happened in Colorado.  A fear of who might be lurking around you and what they might be intending to do that is so far from your thought process it's hard to comprehend. That's where Bach Flower essences would be helpful. 

In fact, there are 5 Bach Flower essences within the category of fear, all of which could apply. Rock Rose, Minmulus, Cherry Plum, Aspen and Red Chestnut could all be helpful right now.

Rock Rose addresses the type of fear that has you frozen in place. A lot of survivors of the theatre event talked about having those moments or seconds when they just froze and had no idea what to do. It's such a shock to our system that the body has no idea how to move when the mind is so overwhelmed. Rock Rose is helpful, not only when you are in the moment of terror, it is also helpful after being in an accident, witnessing an event, or having a near escape.  I imagine all the survivors of that night could use a few drops of Rock Rose. And, if you have been identifying or empathizing with that type of fear, Rock Rose might be helpful to restore your courage and presence of mind. It can help you move forward with purpose.

Mimulus is also a helpful essence for overcoming fear. I imagine there are more than a few people out there that are thinking twice about whether or not they want to go into a theatre. If your fear is very specific like that, Mimulus can help you face your fears with confidence. Mimulus helps you get your emotions under control so you can enjoy life without fear. After a few drops of Mimulus, you might be able to consider where the nearest exits are, think about what might shield you in an emergency, and then just sit back and enjoy your popcorn.  Maybe Mimulus should replace butter as a topping for theatre popcorn for awhile.

Cherry Plum is also a remedy to consider if your predominant emotion is fear. It is specific to the fear of loosing control of your behavior.  I guess if anyone had of been able to reach the gunman , before he let loose, with some Cherry Plum the story might have been different. I believe there are people that will identify with the gunman in this story and probably do understand how his mind could have taken him to that place. Cherry Plum can't solve everything  but it might be part of the solution. It can help you calm your mind so you can think and act rationally.

Aspen is the Bach Flower to consider if your fears or worries are of an unknown origin. If you are taking on the fears of others, you may be experiencing a sense of anxiety that comes out of nowhere.  Aspen helps if this fear is unspecific in nature and doesn't seem connected to a particular worry or action.  Often empathic people describe this as "a fear that isn't my own". Aspen can help you shake that fear so that you can get re-connected with your sense of inner peace, security and fearlessness.

Finally, a lot of parents out there might really find a few drops of Red Chestnut helpful right about now. I think a lot of the initial political reactions showed the "parental fear" that Red Chestnut addresses. If you find yourself over concerned or worried about the safety of your loved ones because of recent events, Red Chestnut is the Bach Flower for you. It can help you care with compassion but not anxiety.  It helps you put risk and threat in perspective, particularly where it concerns children or loved ones.

I'm not suggesting that Bach Flowers can fix everything that's not right or solve all concerns, emotions and issues.  But they are one more avenue to try in a world of options out there, yours for the taking. They don't cause side effects, they don't do any harm, and they just might get you over a rough period in your life. They might help you shift, or adjust to the shifting.

I've decided to do a shift of my own in response to what I see as an opening in the world. So... if you're having difficulty getting past some fear, and one of those Bach Flowers I mentioned in this post really strikes a cord for you, send me an email at , write BACH FOR FEAR in the subject line, tell me which of those fear essences is a match for you, and I"ll  send you a remedy bottle with that Bach Flower essence in it. For now at least, I'll cover the shipping and handling costs of getting it you assuming I can get it to you. I guess if I get overwhelmed with requests I might have to rethink that, but for now "that's the deal". Let me know what you need and I'll try to get it to you.

Let's embrace the shift.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Book Review: The Language of Flowers

My Wise Woman friend was reading "The Language of Flowers" by Vanessa Diffenbaugh when we first started talking about moss. I borrowed the book from the library, but I will be buying my own copy.  I loved it!

Victoria, the main character in this novel is a foster child and by all accounts would have been labeled "difficult", at best, throughout her childhood. Having been shuffled from bad to worse situations, Victoria doesn't have strong roots to guide her growth. She builds a pretty tough shell of independence and focuses on basic survival by sealing herself off from others. When we first meet Victoria she has just turned 18, is therefore, no longer "within the system" and is homeless living in the park. None of this particularly bothers her. The glimpse we have of Victoria's soul, is a strong connection with nature- in particular flowers. Something that was developed as the result of the one home where she really did find love and what might have been some initial  "root structure".

This novel is about building a Root Chakra when you have no real model to begin with.  It's about starting from scratch.  That never really occurred to me before, having come from some pretty strong roots and having been nurtured through my childhood. When you have good roots, you take them for granted. By times, you maybe even find them constricting. It can be frustrating to try and branch out in a different direction. But what if you're starting from nothing?  Hmm...

Vanessa Diffenbaugh skillfully takes the reader back and forth between Victoria's present condition and her childhood.  It's through this reminiscing that we understand how Victoria has learned to communicate with self and others through flowers. Flowers have been used to communicate entire messages from love to hate and everything in between.

I guess any time people have had to "start from scratch", one of the first things they do is create a language. And that's what Victoria does.  But in order to be able to communicate with someone else you have to make sure you both understand the same language. Victoria creates a dictionary of flowers to enhance her ability to communicate and to share her gifts. This dictionary is included in the book, and on Vanessa Diffenbaugh's website  as well

Not all Victoria's dictionary definitions are a match for the flower definitions and meanings I've read in other books. They don't really match with the flower definitions from Dr. Bach, although some aren't really far off. But this doesn't really matter. That's part of building your roots. You create what works for you and you don't necessarily copy other people's "stuff".  But if you want any one else to understand, you're going to have to share a bit of yourself and your internal dictionary. Hmm.....

Victoria's life isn't easy and one gets the sense that it's never going to be exactly "easy" or without some angst. But that's what true growth is about. It's about making mistakes, doing things over, letting go of some things, and attaching to others. Victoria really does build herself from the ground up and in doing so she shares her gifts and provides a root structure that others can branch out from. Pretty amazing stuff to acheive in one lifetime.

In my opinion, Vanessa Diffenbaugh is really writing from the heart.  She understands the life that some kids without roots have to go through I think. She's been able to share that world in a way that makes an impression on me. While I can't truly feel it, I have more awareness now, and perhaps I have a better idea of what I don't know. Maybe it will help me listen better to my "rootless friends" without thinking I understand something I can't.

Diffenbaugh didn't stop at the end of the book.  She has created a network called the Camellia Network.  In Victoria's Dictionary, Camellia means "my destiny is in your hands". This network is designed to provide support for youth transitioning from foster care to independence.

Even if we don't share common roots, it seems we all are connected through the soil we are planted in and we owe it to each other to help provide structure and encourage growth. 

Here's to independent growth!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

New Moon in Cancer: Emotional Energy

According to my We'Moon 2012 book, today marks a New Moon in Cancer cycle.  Maybe that explains the focus on emotions that a lot of people have been noticing the past couple of days. People have been telling me they just sort of "feel more" without really being able to attach those feelings to a clear description, or to any particular event.  Maybe that's just Vagus nerve stuff showing up again?

Lucy Harmer, in Shamanic Astrology, writes this about the new moon phase:
"It brings inspiration and intuition, enabling us to develop our perceptions and discover our hidden potential. The new moon stabilizes incoming energies represented by the spirit animal for that month Its energy and potential promise opportunity; it is the best time to start new projects, to make decisions and resolutions, and to put our intentions into words."

Hmm.. sounds like pretty powerful stuff, a real chance to put our emotions into action. Assuming I'm figuring this out correctly, the spirit animal for this month and this new moon would be Woodpecker, the Spirit attached to the Western Astrology sign of Cancer. I've written about the Woodpecker before, and it's been a pretty popular post. that was before I had the benefit of Lucy Harmer's insights and writings.

In Shamanic Astrology, this is the season of long hot days, and in my part of the world that most certainly seems to be true. We have passed out of spring, into the time where much of nature is in full bloom and at it's peak. The energy is settled a bit more, perhaps even heavier than the upbeat, rush of new spring growth and renewal. Harmer writes that during this time Nature concentrates on the richness it has created.

Woodpecker, like the rest of the Frog clan, resonates with the water element, and that provides a link to emotions. As I wrote earlier, Woodpecker energy is about nurturing emotions, family ties, and social networks. Projects undertaken under this New Moon will be influenced by strong emotions. This is a time of following your heart, perhaps more than your head.

I've also written about the Full Moon in Cancer. A full moon is a good time to let go of things you no longer need, so the idea of letting go of emotional baggage works under this influence.  But a New Moon is about beginnings, so this is a good time to use the intuition, and emotional energy to fuel new ideas, creative ventures and projects. This is a time to pull your sense of nurturing in and consider how you can use your emotions to propel you towards what you want to create.

There seems to be a strong case for group projects under the influence of this New Moon. In my opinion, it's about beginning a new project, idea, or venture with close friends or those you consider to be family. It's a time for choosing a few select, like-minded, individuals to work towards a common goal or a chosen path. Using that group nurturing energy, anything is possible.

Woodpecker people are sensitive and empathic in nature. Perhaps during the influence of this type of energy, we all feel that increase in emotional connection. During this influence it's important to let the emotions flow, to be channeled into a project or idea. It is about continuing to cycle the energy rather than taking it to heart and holding it in so that we carry other people's problems around . Vagus nerve flow again...

In Shamanic Astrology, the plant that corresponds to this season and moon influence is the Wild Rose. I knew that Wild Rose was around for some reason! 

If I put it all together, I figure this New Moon phase is a time to get moving on what feels right and is fueled by emotions, intuition, and family harmony. I figure it's time to consider initiating that project that will nurture your family, your friends, and Nature. I think it's about acknowledging the force of emotions and keeping them flowing towards a common goal.

In Native American tradition, the Woodpecker drumming is the heartbeat of Mother Earth and Shamans are said to use this sound to travel to other dimensions. I guess it's a good time to allow the power of collective emotions to take us on journeys we have only dreamed of.

Happy travels!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Alternative Help for Heat Exhaustion

In an effort to be pretty grounded and practical today I thought I'd go with a blog posting that suited the weather patterns.  In much of the world  it is hot. It has been hot, and it would seem it may continue to be, hot for at least few days.  Part of  Climate Change predictions for my part of the world is an increase in hot days in the summer. For most people, that part of the equation is actually fairly welcome news. But maybe it will take some getting used to and a bit of common sense. People around here usually complain about cold and wet more than hot and dry. We had some really hot weather on the weekend which I experienced first hand.  I didn't take my own advice of staying out of the sun during the peak hours, or modifying behavior and work activities because of the extreme temperatures, especially when our bodies aren't used to it. I ended up with a booming headache, a really hot and red face, lots of dizziness, and a touch of nausea. Hmm...

In first aid courses from basic to advanced, lifeguard training, and paramedic school, there are rules about the difference between heat illness, exhaustion, and stroke. The parameters that distinguish these levels are the stuff that tests are made of and they provide multiple choice angst. The bottom line is; too much concentrated sun exposure and heat makes us sick and the greater the exposure or the more intense the sun, the worse we get. The treatment options for heat illness are pretty common sense. It's about getting out of the sun, cooling off and getting lots of fluids.

 I wrote about Heat Illness last year- right around this time. Seems like we were experiencing similar conditions. All the same information still applies. I wrote last year about some homeopathic remedies that can be really valuable tools if you find yourself with any degree of heat illness. They include Causticum, Cantharis, Glonoine and Belledona.  Since I had occasion to try some of them out on the weekend I can speak with direct authority!

I tried Causticum and Cantharis without finding any real relief.  That doesn't mean it wouldn't work for someone else- just not quite the right match for me at that time. I didn't have any Glonoine on hand so I went right to Belladonna.  The Belladonna was amazing and most welcome relief. Ahhh..... made my whole world look and feel better.

The homeopathic remedy Belladonna comes from the plant Atropa belladonna (today's picture) which means beautiful lady apparently.  It's commonly known as deadly nightshade or witches' berry and it is poisonous. In fact, poisonous preparations have been used throughout history as have medicinal versions. Miranda Castro in "The Complete Homeopathy Handbook", ( a great reference text), writes that Belladonna was at its height of usage in witchcraft and magic in the Middle Ages in Europe. It was used as a hallucinogenic and in ritualistic practices.

In homeopathy, "like cures like", so the poisoning symptoms of dry mouth, fever, constricted throat with difficulty swallowing, nausea, red face, dilated pupils, dim vision, difficulty thinking, giddiness and delirium, can all be reversed with a much diluted form of belladonna in remedy form.

A Belladonna illness usually comes on suddenly and strongly. Violent, throbbing pains are intensified by moving or being moved or touched. It is a remedy to consider if one part of the body becomes inflamed or infected and that part reddens, throbs painfully and radiates heat. Belladonna is included in the homeopathic first aid kit and guide you can download free from my website

Perelandra ETS is also very helpful for sun exposure.  The protocol can be found on the website I did use ETS. I kept taking it while I was out working in the sun and it immediately made me feel better. It worked so well I forgot about Step # 5 where the assumption is made that you "stopped what you were doing and got out of the sun"! Dah... It would seem common sense is still required!

Next time the sun is out in such force, perhaps before I cook my brain, I'll have the presence of mind and the common sense to go find a nice shady spot of moss to just "be".

Enjoy the sun but bask in the shade!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Growing Without Roots

Wise Woman mentioned to me the other day that moss is one of the few plants that  grows without roots.  I don't think that was as casual an observation as it first appeared.  It got me thinking....

We had been talking a lot about roots. In Sweet Shack & Bach Bar Samantha has Root Chakra issues when she drops into the counsel of Wise Woman and Merlin.  Samantha has lost her sense of safety and security- the major challenges of this first Chakra. When the Root Chakra is developed and balanced, you know you "belong" and you feel you have a "tribe" or a place of security from which you can branch out. In order to be able to move through the chakras finding balance, growth and development, you need to have a secure base. Issues that occur in childhood to disrupt your sense of security can interfere with the balance of this chakra, sometimes affecting you later in life.

We spend a lot of time "tracing our roots" it seems.  The Internet has increased the ability to perform extensive genealogy searches to trace your "family tree" and get connected with your ancestors.  Some people find this helps them understand themselves. They like to know where they "came from". Some mental health counselling is based on examining your early childhood and repairing that root chakra so you can move forward.

But here is all this moss growing in the woods, providing a base, a cushion, and doing so without any significant root structure.  It seems vibrant and most definitely alive. In fact, it's one of my favorite things about the woods.  There isn't anything much better than digging your bare feet deep into a soft cool patch of moss.  Hmm...

So I turned to books, as I always do, and tried to find what others had said about moss.  I wondered if it had been made into essences, like most plants, for the vibrational properties it might contain.  I couldn't find it anywhere. No one mentioned it. Maybe I just don't have the right books. Hmm...

Then I wondered if maybe it wasn't a plant and perhaps moss is considered a fungus.  It seems I'm not the only one that has asked that question.  A quick search on google gave me a zillion hits to answer that question. It appears it is a bit of a debate, but the majority seem to say it is a plant because it makes it own food by photosynthesis. So it isn't scrounging off someone else.  We are not talking about a take over the world parasite type action.  Hmm...

So I'm going to go way out there on a mossy limb and figure out what I think the vibrational energy of moss might contain.

First of all moss likes to grow in the shade.  A lot of people think it only grows on the North side of trees , but if you're using that myth to try and find your way out of the woods, you might find yourself going in circles right about now. It's happy to grow on either side of the tree, or anything else, as long as there is shade. In fact, today's picture is moss growing on the south side of a tree; just for the record. The point, perhaps, is that it isn't reaching for the sun, needing that kind of warmth or relationship.  It is just quietly growing in areas others might not even choose to grow. It's kind of smart like that- less competition I think. It would seem moss doesn't need to "follow the crowd" either in that regard.

In my opinion, moss seems an equal balance between hard and soft.  If you pick a piece up it feels pretty dry, almost scratchy, but leave it alone and it's soft, cool, and  provides a wonderful resting spot, a velvety carpet. But that softness is kind of deceiving.  You don't crush moss by walking on it or sitting down on it.  Once you're gone, it bounces right back again, seemingly undisturbed by outside intervention or interference. I guess I'll have to watch closely through the winter season, but it seems to me that the moss doesn't really die in the winter even. It's "just quietly there", through all the seasons, and whatever the conditions.

Maybe the lack of a root structure isn't a lack at all for the moss plant.  Maybe it  provides a sense of freedom for growth. Maybe moss is a bit of a rebel in nature. Part way between a fungi and a plant, it maintains the positive qualities of both. It has learned the ability to allow growth to occur in new ways without relying old structures and deep rooted traditions.

So here's what I think a "moss person" would be like. I figure they are the quiet rebels that "fly under the radar".  They aren't looking for a lot of flash, they don't generate a mass of color, or stand out in the crowd really.  They "do their own thing", getting what they need from the world, surviving in situations others wouldn't even bother to compete for, or in areas others have given up on. They provide a cushion for growth.  They are the stable people in the world upon which others flourish. Other people gravitate to "moss people" because they provide cool, soft comfort in what can be a rough and scratchy world . They are pretty close to "mother earth" and maintain that nurturing like quality, but they continue to grow themselves.  They don't exist just for others. They give of themselves to others,  but they balance taking with giving and maintain their own structure at the same time. Moss people don't really need roots to cover new ground and change the appearance of the old. They have learned that it's not nearly as important where you came from as it is where you're going. And that's what they are focusing on this time around.

Wise Woman gave Samantha Rock Rose, Sweet Chestnut, and Clematis to help her balance her Root Chakra.  Under Merlin's careful observation, Wise Woman also made Ginger Cookies for Samantha because ginger root resonates with the Root Chakra and our sense of being grounded. I wonder if Wise Woman might give Samantha Moss essence next time around? 

I suspect Wise Woman has a mossy spot in the woods that she considers a sacred space. I bet she takes off her shoes and grounds her feet in the moss and feels the soothing comfort of a true friend and real power. No roots required. Ahh...

Happy growth!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Animal Signs : Owl

So the other day the Shamanic Astrology book jumped out at me and followed me home. Yesterday I wrote about it on the blog.   Last night I  jumped ahead in the book and read about the Spirit Animal Owl, because sometimes it's "all about me" and Owl just happens to be my Spirit Animal according to the Shamanic Astrology charts.  Last night I heard an Owl just outside my window. Now that's a sign not even I can ignore and when I can't ignore a thing, it shows up on my blog. So here goes...

I've written about owls before on this blog. It was a very early post a couple of years ago just because it's one of my favorite animals and I love to hear their sound. Then in a later posting I made the connection of Owl energy with a full moon in Aries. But according to Lucy Harmer, in Shamanic Astrology, Owl is the spirit animal for those born in the Northern Hemisphere between November 22 and December 21; the Western Astrology sign of Sagitarious.  It is also the Spirit Animal for those born in the Southern Hemisphere between May 21 and June 20; the Western Astrology sign of Gemini.

Owls are revered in a lot of cultures. They are seen as being the "holders of wisdom", like "Wise Ole Owl" in A.A. Milne's,  Winnie ther Pooh. Owls are a symbol of protection, healing, and the type of sage advice or mystical, intuitive, knowledge that comes from having lived many lives.  For the Native Americans, Owl is considered a messenger that  brings knowledge and healing powers.

If Owl is your Spirit Animal, according to Harmer, you most likely resonate with the season of hibernation and long nights. You relate to the North Wind from a North-northwest direction and your element is Fire. The Owl Spirit belongs to the Falcon clan as do Falcons and Salmons.  The stone for this sign is the Obsidian which is a protective stone. It cleanses negative energy and elements and wards off psychic attack even as it bestows the powers of clairvoyance. The plant for this sign is Mistletoe.

Owl people often have strengths of fairness, honesty, wisdom, and intelligence. They can be philosophical and idealistic in nature. Their weakness includes a tendency to be restless. They like a challenge and may jump from project to project. They can be intolerant, proud, irresponsible and tactless. Just think of that Wise Ole Owl and you get the picture.

Lucy Harmer doesn't connect the Spirit Animals to Bach flowers, but the traits of the Owl personality, in my opinion, point to the essences of Cerato, Impatiens, Beech, Hornbeam and perhaps a bit of Aspen if that clairvoyance isn't clearly understood or developed.  You don't have to be "Owl" in personality to benefit from these essences, and the Owl personality can also benefit from any of the other essences, but these would be good ones to consider if unsure where to start.

Harmer writes that the life path for the Owl is
" learning to be more tolerant of others; sharing your wisdom and knowledge with others"

The sharing part isn't always easy. "Wise Ole Owl" is pretty comfortable with his bifocals on, sitting in his library, with a cup of tea, reading and getting even wiser. He seems pretty comfortable to share information when some of the critters from the Hundred Acre Wood have a specific question, but he doesn't often get out there and volunteer it. He's too busy trying to get wiser. Hmm...

If that's the case, then I'm going to share the wisdom that we can learn a lot from, and by listening to, nature. And " Shamanic Astrology", might be yet another tool to consider in the journey. Now when I hear the Owls I'll know why I feel a strong connection and a soothing in my soul. And maybe I'll tell others about it!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Book Review: Shamanic Astrology

I'm kind of cheating today and am recommending a book before I've even read through it all myself, but I just know this is going to become a good reference text for me, will likely appear on the blog at various times, and is worth sharing.

The book by Lucy Harmer is called, "Shamanic Astrology: Understanding Your Spirit Animal Sign".  It jumped out at me in the bookstore yesterday so I took it home.

Shamanic Astrology is a whole new concept for me. According to Harmer, it has been practiced by Native Americans, and the Toltecs for centuries.  Like Western Astrology, Shamanic Astrology is based on the study of the movement of the sun and moon during different seasons of the year. The theory is that the billions of cells that make up our brains and bodies are infused with the influence of the sun and moon cycles at the exact moment of our birth. Harmer describes it like programming a computer.

The difference between Western and Shamanic Astrology as explained by Harmer, is that shamanic astrology is "adapted to the energy of the seasons and the elements surrounding us at the moment of our birth". This includes differences according to whether we were born in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere.

Furthermore, the qualities and personality traits that tend to be predominant in persons born under certain sun and moon cycles, can be represented by a particular spirit animal.  So, as this book explains, there are 12 spirit animals, each one corresponding to one of the Western Astrological Signs. For example, if you were born in the Northern Hemisphere between June 21 and July 21, you would be considered to have the Astrological sign Cancer.  You would have, as a spirit animal, the Woodpecker.  In the Southern Hemisphere, if you were born between June 21 and July 21, your Western Astrological Sign would still be Cancer, but your Shamanic Spirit Animal would be a Snow Goose, an animal more consistent with the environment of winter.

There are a lot of connections throughout this book with environmental influences.  Each Spirit Animal Sign also has a corresponding plant, color, and clan.  Your spirit animal connection may also explain why you feel differently according to the time of the year or seasons. Personality strengths, weaknesses and tendencies are also revealed.

I really found the concept fun and perhaps a bit easier to understand than the depths of Western Astrology. I think it's important to be connected to nature and this book helps explain some of the natural rhythms that we may perhaps be ignoring, or at least, trying to understand.

Animals seem to be making their presence clearly known these days. Some of this presence is explained away by saying that we are encroaching in their space, they are adapting to ours, or we are just more conscious of it all.  I don't really believe that's the "whole story".  I think they have messages for us that we really should, or at least could, pay attention to. So for that reason alone, I like this book. I like the idea of being linked in some way, not only to far away planets, but to a few critters much closer to the ground. I write a lot about animals and animal signs on this blog, and now I have another source of reference to include.

I think most people enjoy looking at themselves from a different perspective and perhaps finding confirmation of why you feel or behave the way you do.  It's also fun to consider the reactions of those close to you in light of their spirit animals I think.  Explains some things in my part of the world I feel!

Enjoy the read!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Applying "Lessons Learned"

I sat through yet another "lessons learned" presentation the other day.  Within the emergency management world  this is very common practice.  Every time there is a major emergency or disaster, the impact and response is examined from every angle.  Reports and inquires are written up. Somewhere along the line, someone usually makes a speaking career out of having been there observing the event at the time of the emergency. You don't really have to have done anything heroic at the time (and usually you haven't), you just have to have been there and observed it to then "go on the road" to other emergency managers and first responders explaining what went right and what went wrong and what "lessons were learned". Those of us who weren't at the event flock to hear about it.  We listen to the presentation evaluating what our own response would be like and imagining what we might do differently, or should do differently. And then we go home. Hmm...

The thing is, the "lessons learned" haven't changed much since I first starting hearing these presentations over 20 years ago. It would seem that despite all the examination and talking about it, we haven't really learned the lessons.  Which is to say, we haven't applied the concepts very much.  We haven't changed behavior because of what others have experienced. I don't think we have really learned some of the lessons,.We are more aware of the problems I think. We have progressed in planning and preparation and response, but it really isn't fair to say we have learned the lessons.  At least not all of them.

As I was sitting there, my mind wandered a bit.  Which is perhaps the reason why I haven't applied some of the "lessons learned".  But that's a different post.... What occurred to me and my wandering mind, was that we do the same thing with our personal lives and the challenges we are faced with in our journeys.

We are pretty good at examining our issues.  We sometimes step back and try to access the situation once the dust has settled and think about what we did and what we could have/should have/might have done differently. We might not have acted very heroically, but we were there at the ground level. We gather up our "lessons learned" into a neat package, ready for presentation.  We invite our friends for coffee, or a good stiff drink, or both, and we present our lessons learned. 

Most friends are more than happy to attend the presentation. We will even pay a price for admission in the form of coffee, comfort foods, or a bottle of wine. If you have really good friends, they listen to your presentation without interruption, until you have opened the floor for questions. There are usually questions in the form of "Did you think about doing _____"; "Did you have any problems with __________"  "Did you consider trying __________"  "How did you handle ____""What did you do about __________" etc. The question is rarely asked is; "So what changes have you implemented?".  That's the crucial question and the one that is usually, if asked at all, answered by glossing over it with future plans, unfinished to-do lists, distracting side-bar thoughts, waiting for other organizations to change, and "waiting for budget approvals".  Hmm....

Anne Cameron in "Daughters of Copper Woman", wrote that the Secret Society of Women had a policy on this.  You came to the healing circle, which I interpret as coffee with friends, with your problem, challenges and issues.  You did this because you were looking for outside suggestions. You were allowed to make your presentation without interruption.  But... if you came to the healing circle more than four times with the same problem, and had made no changes in between those presentations, the other members of the circle turned their backs on you- literally.  Wow... Four strikes and you're out!

When I first read that policy I thought it was pretty harsh and not in the flavour of true friendship, but as I continued to read, I understood it differently.  The women weren't turning their backs on the friend, they were turning their backs on blockage of the issue, forcing the woman  to make some changes before bringing it back to the group again.  They were forcing implementation of the lessons learned.  That's true learning and that allows the person to come back to the circle the next time with a different issue. That's progress. And that's allows for collective learning in my opinion.

I'm not sure I could turn my back like that, but I do have a Bach Flower essence that could help. Chestnut Bud is indicated for people when failure to learn by experience is leading to an inability to make progress in life.  It's helpful when you keep going back to the circle with the same issue, the same concern, the same sense of lack, or discontent. It can even be helpful when you find yourself with reoccurring health issues like constant colds, stomach ulcers, migraines, or acne flare-ups. Chestnut Bud is helpful when you are not dealing with the root cause of your discontent.  It can help you see your mistakes from that "distant observation point" so you can really gain the wisdom required to make a change. A few drops of Chestnut Bud can also enhance your ability to observe the lessons of others and to apply that knowledge to change your own life.

Challenges, dramas, traumas and emergencies occur in our lives so we can allow transformation to occur.  It's how we humans learn, in my opinion. It's how we grow. But sometimes it involves getting to the root of the issue, pulling up that root, and transplanting it to a more accommodating spot. At some point we need to stop being observes and analyzers and just do something different to allow the growth.

It's never about changing others. It's always about changing ourselves. So, I think next time I go to the "healing circle", I'll take a few drops of Chestnut Bud before I go.  Maybe I'll bring a bottle of it as my admission fee. And maybe I'll turn my back on myself when I find myself circling the same thing over and over again. I think if I turn around I'll pull up some roots, see a different opportunity, and really make a difference.

Here's to the application process...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Animal Signs: Goat

"Lighten Up People"
 It feels like we are still a bit under the influence of the Capricorn moon, at least in my part of the world.  The air is charged with a thick heavy energy, there is lots of solar storm activity, and people seem rather intense, yet tired at the same time. Lots of people are complaining about dizzy spells and feeling off balance.  It feels like a thunder storm is brewing that just might change the air- literally as well as figuratively.

Capricorn is symbolized by the goat. Someone sent me today's picture of a happy goat a long time ago, and today felt like a good day to share it.

In "Animal Spirit Guides", Steven Farmer writes you should:
"call on goat energy when you feel out of balance emotionally, physically, psychologically, or spiritually and you want to regain your equilibrium".
Exactly!! Now that's what I'm talking about.  Calling all goats in the area... please respond immediately....

Farmer also writes that when a goat shows up it means you should consider your relationships and pick carefully who you want to spend time with.  Goats are messengers to tell you to trust your sense and intuition over your rational and logical mind. Seems to me when you fit that sense to trust intuition and try to follow your logical brain, you can end up very disconnected and more than a little dizzy.

Goats are known for butting heads. They have the horns, the bone structure, and the skills to do this.  Humans.. not so much. So, according to Farmer, the appearance of the goat could be a signal to stop butting your head against the wall.  Stop trying to get through to someone that just doesn't "get it". Give up and give your head a rest! That alone, might help dispel the dizziness!

Goats are great climbers.  They maneuver impossible looking mountain slopes with ease.  Goat energy is symbolic of that ability to move forward step by step, moving around and over the obstacles, never slipping as you climb upward.  That step by step focus might be particularly helpful as we feel our way through the heavy energy, the solar flares, and the changing times.

Capricorn energy can be pretty serious. That might be the intensity we're feeling these days.  The lesson is to balance that hard working, reaching for the goal energy with some light hearted time spent in nature. Just look at the goat in today's picture and try to take life seriously!!

There are a couple of Bach Flower essences that can be helpful in this somewhat dizzying times. Scleranthus might be very useful to find that integration required from the right and the left side of the brain that brings balance in the middle.  It can be helpful for motion sickness and dizzy spells.  It also helps when you  are bouncing back and forth between thoughts, ideas, or tasks.

Rock Water might be a Bach Flower to consider if you are feeling the heavy weight of a serious "stuff".  Rock Water can help you find a bit of flexibility to relax and let go if you've become over-conscientious and still not satisfied with your achievements.  Goats don't take the straight path up the mountain. They weave all around and seem flexible as to how they might get to where they want to go. They reach the goal because they focus on exactly where they are minute to minute.

Hornbeam is another Bach Flower essence to consider if you're feeling "goat energy" around you.  Capricorns are particularly good at taking on big projects and working with great determination towards the end point.  But if that project you've agreed to take on is feeling so overwhelming you're not quite sure where to start, a few drops of Hornbeam might get you started  People that can benefit from Hornbeam often suffer from overwork.  So perhaps, again the message, is to relax, allow, and go smell the roses before taking on yet another project.

I guess the phrase for the day, when the world feel so heavy your head is spinning ,is "Lighten up People"!!

Enjoy the light...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Full Moon in Capricorn: Balancing Work and Play

Feeling a little "antsy" today?  Not sure where to start or what to do?  Perhaps it goes a little deeper and it's that struggle between "doing" and "being"? 

It seems like it has been a pretty wild weekend.  Mother Nature seems to be quite a force these days. Wildfires continue to flare, floods in other ends of the country, severe thunderstorms and heat waves in other areas. 

All is calm in my spot in the world- at least externally. But I don't really have to look to the sky or my We'Moon 2012 book to realize it's a full moon.  We enter a full moon in Capricorn phase today. I wrote about this phase last year  I also got a comment from last year's post that the Full Moon Capricorn ritual was to let go of the serious side of things. I like that idea.

According to We'Moon 2012, the Moon in Capricorn energy is about accomplishing things. We want to manage our world, put action into our dreams and feel the joy of accomplishing our ambitions. Under this kind of energy we may find it difficult to be happy unless we feel we are making progress.  It can be a challenge to accept the worth of being as well as doing. Hmm...

I took today's picture last night so the moon isn't totally full in the picture, but from that far away it's pretty hard to tell!  I felt like I had to get a picture of it, but I wasn't quite in tune enough to dig out the camera.  I ended up using my cell phone. I'm sure there is a button there somewhere to zoom in, but I couldn't find it.  I never know what kind of picture I'm really going to get with my phone but this one made me think.

The absence of the zoom meant I couldn't focus on the far way moon anymore than I could hone in on the physical world of fishing boats and pleasure craft. Those three dots right in the middle are actually the moon. One "dot" is the  moon in the sky, the other is the reflection of the moon on the water far away, and the closest and brightest dot is also a reflection of the moon in the water close to my feet. As I look at the picture, I realize those 3 dots form a line that separates the picture in two halves. On one side of the line there are pleasure crafts and the promise of relaxation and a quiet sail under the light of the moon.  On the other side there is a working vessel and the promise of pretty tough physical work, a working wharf, and "no rest for the weary". Hmm...

So I'm thinking what the universe might be telling me, through a pretty blurry picture!, is the need to focus on the bright spot in the middle. I think that represents the integration of all sides, the balance between working and playing, doing and being, dreams and accomplishment.

To me this feels like the Wild Rose summer again, but it also suggests that balancing nature of the Bach Flower essence Scleranthus. Scleranthus can help balance doing and being. It can help you find your place in the middle when you're trying to decide between two things, or find the calm integration of your need to "do" with your need to "be". If the challenge of a Full Moon in Capricorn is to accept the value in ourselves strictly for the individual energy we bring into the world, a few drops of Scleranthus might help us to find that peace.

Maybe there is no decision to be made.  Maybe you don't have to zoom into the material world, and loose site of the bigger picture. At the same time, maybe you don't have to zoom into the spiritual focus and loose the material aspects of living.  Perhaps it's about bringing right and left, near and far, material and spiritual all into a wide angle- all at once. Maybe if we step back a bit, and let go of our need to control the outcome, the picture will develop into exactly what we need for this moment.

The Ritual of letting go of the seriousness, makes sense during a  Full Moon of Capricorn.  If we let go of our serious need to control, produce, accomplish, and organize, maybe we would find the true joy of appreciation for everything that is right in front of our eyes and felt deep within our hearts.

So my prescription for the Full Moon in Capricorn, is to "let go of the need to focus and just enjoy the picture that is created for you".  Now that's progress!!