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Journal

Embodied Rituals for Skin + Soul

Filtering by Tag: wild medicine bundle

Yarrow: Magic of Blood + Spirit

Katie Gordon

Have you noticed there's been a lot of talk recently about boundaries?

It seems like everywhere I turn, sometimes subtly, sometimes not, I've been seeing books, articles, products, Facebook posts, newsletters, and conversations around boundaries. When I start recognizing patterns like that, I know it's something to pay attention to. And it makes sense! With all the seeming chaos happening in the world right now, setting strong boundaries is ESSENTIAL. 

Photo from herbwisdom.com

Photo from herbwisdom.com

Mabon begins the third cycle of Wild Medicine Bundles.

Two years ago, I began crafting these bundles to provide soul + body nourishment, simple rituals, and an invitation to explore the connection between the bodysoul and Earth's cycles. With each turn of the wheel of the year, I've fleshed out my ideas a bit more and trusted myself and the plants to speak in ways that feel approachable. In ways that look like: ritual skincare, teas, baths, anointing oils, and room sprays. 

For the upcoming Mabon Wild Medicine Bundle, Yarrow came forward as a plant ally in setting + holding boundaries, but it felt like there was another reason to feature Yarrow, a reason that was just hiding under the surface. After sitting with it for a bit, I realized what that reason was:

Yarrow affects and moves blood, and blood symbolizes spirit. 

What does that mean and what does it have to do with boundaries?

In traditional healing modalities, blood nourishes Spirit. So if there's stagnation, irritation, heat, or depletion of blood, it'll affect the person's Spirit, which often looks like anxiety, insomnia, depression, and issues around boundaries. Yarrow moves stagnation so that the blood can nourish a depleted, starved Spirit. But as a cooling plant, it can balance overheat in the Spirit, helping one to feel calm and grounded. For me, Yarrow brings me back to my center, reminds me who I am, what I stand for, and where my boundaries need to be in order to be of service in the world. 

Sounds pretty necessary right now, yes?

In each bundle, I've been including a specific meditation or guided journey to connect with the spirit of the plant, but also with an aspect of yourself for which this plant might serve as a mirror. Within your Mabon Wild Medicine Bundle, you'll find a spell. A boundary spell. I'll be guiding you through it, but you'll have lots of space to actually be guided by Yarrow and the other plants featured in the bundle to learn how to set boundaries for yourself. Because boundaries are loving, not just for yourself, but for the people in your life.

Yarrow teaches us about shifting out of being the Wounded Healer and into the Whole-d Healer*. Grab your Mabon Wild Medicine Bundle before September 13 to get the discounted rate of $50, the e-book with product descriptions, uses, and extra recipes, and the guided Boundary Spell. PLUS you get a chance to win the Samhain Wild Medicine Bundle for free! Get yours here.

*Whole-d is a term created by my friends Lola + Tigre at Wild Playground

Wild Rose: At the Heart of Wholeness

Katie Gordon

This Spring has been a time of big growth and profound synchronicities. It seems as soon as I wonder how something is going to work, an answer makes itself known. I hold the same trust for our human tribe. That while we're wondering how we'll get to the other side of the mess we find ourselves in, we know there is another side. 

At the same time, we all experience this incredibly deep and at times pervasive emotion: fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being hurt (physically or emotionally). Fear of unlived potential. Fear that we're doing it wrong. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of our darkness. Fear of our light. And that's okay. It's just one of the many beautifully complex things that makes us all human and able to relate to one another. 

Sometimes, though, that fear causes us to close off ourselves and our hearts. We put up walls to protect ourselves from being seen because that fear makes us vulnerable. At one point in your life, and maybe still, it was necessary to protect yourself. Our bodies & psyches have an amazing ability to advocate for and protect us. But sometimes, what was once necessary to keep us safe on one level or another gets ingrained in us as a pattern that doesn't serve us anymore. 

This fear response is a pattern I've been working with a lot. The impulse to close off and shut down, especially when my heart is involved, can be so strong sometimes. When I feel that impulse, Rose is my medicine to soften around the edges and tap into my deeper, wiser, inner fire.

Photo by Adarsh Ik

Photo by Adarsh Ik

I've heard Rose referred to as "heart healing," but I think it's not so much about healing, our hearts are always whole after all, as it is about reminding us of our nature. Rose is a heart salve. It calms as it brings us back to our truth and back to ourselves in moments when we forget that we're already whole. Rose teaches us about discernment. About when it's necessary to protect ourselves and when that sense of contraction is coming from an old wound and is an opportunity to re-member a part of ourselves. 

This year, the Midsummer Wild Medicine Bundle features Wild Rose and Hibiscus: herbs to calm, cool, and soothe {heart} heat, as well as an overheated, overstimulated body and nervous system. With touches of Sandalwood, Vanilla, Amber, and Ginger. As Summer Solstice is a fire festival, the bundle will explore fire magic and the medicine that the element of fire brings. In Chinese medicine, fire is associated with the heart, so we'll explore the physical and energetic heart, what it means to "heal" the heart, and what role plants have in the process of re-membering ourselves.

Order your Wild Rose + Hibiscus Wild Medicine Bundle by June 8th to be in the Midsummer Wild Medicine Keepers. In addition to getting your bundle for the discounted price of $50, you'll also get:

  • an e-book with a write up of each item, recipes for that I've tested but didn't make for the bundle, and a recorded audio/visual meditation to connect more deeply with the plant spirit medicine of Wild Rose
  • behind-the-scenes communication with pictures and sneak peeks into the medicine bundling process
  • an additional surprise gift to use in your Midsummer celebrations and help you connect with the Fire medicine of the season
  • a chance to win the a spot in the Wild Medicine Keepers for the following Wild Medicine Bundle (Lughnasa)

Curious about what might be included in the bundle? Read more here.

Elder: The Queen of Herbs

Katie Gordon

My life has basically become one giant Wild Medicine Bundle as I've been exploring the energetics and plant medicine of Elderflower. I've been wanting to make magic with these soft, creamy flowers for a long time, but lately, the Elder tree has been calling more loudly than normal. So, I listened. 

Most of us are used to using the berries from the Elder tree for their immune-boosting effects. And while the flowers have some of the same benefits, they felt more mysterious to me. Enigmatic. And so ethereal. 

I first started working with Elder plant medicine last fall when I got an Elderflower essence from Casandra Johns over at House of Hands. She says, "Elderflower opens us to the liminal, crepuscular spaces between waking and dreaming, here and there, life and death." What caught my attention, though, was on the label: A somatic experience of spacious surrender.

Surrender... Something I've been feeling into and trying to understand from deep within my bones to have an embodied sense of it rather than just as an intellectual concept. Surrendering not in the sense of giving up, but in the way of following what you know to be true. Saying yes to your yeses and no to your nos. Acknowledging that when you feel like you're banging your head against the wall, there's probably a better way. Tapping into and being guided by your inner knowing. That kind of surrender.

Elder is strongly associated with the Feminine, which is quite comfortable with surrender, and one with ancient magical symbolism. Many folkloric traditions speak of the Elder tree with fear, with tales of witches, death, and the devil. But if you look deeper, Elder tells the story of beginnings and endings, death and regeneration, and transformation. Elder spirit guards the crossroads, the in-betweens, the thresholds. Death is actually a symbol of rebirth, change, transmutation, and initiation. A shedding of the old to make space for the new. And what a perfect time to invite in the new than at Beltane, when the Elder trees are in flower, when the belfires are burning hot to purge away anything no longer serving who you are at your core. 

What are the herbal energetics of Elderflower?

Elderflower is a relaxing diaphoretic, which means it stimulates persperation and increases peripheral circulation (i.e. circulation throughout your limbs) to not only help cool the body, but also relaxes the exterior. Meaning, if you have a bunch of trapped heat in your center, a relaxing diaphoretic like Elderflower can help release that trapped heat out through your pores. Have you ever noticed that, often, when you're anxious your hands and feet get cold? Me too. Elderflower is one of my favorite herbs for that because rather than simply telling your nervous system to relax, which rarely works for many people, it goes straight to where the tension is held and releases it. Cool, eh?

But one of my favorite ways to work with Elderflower is in skincare. The flowers of the Elder tree are incredibly anti-inflammatory, which leaves us with a BROAD range of medicines to make with it. Infuse it in a carrier oil like Sweet Almond oil for a massage oil for achy, swollen joints or make the oil into a face cream for irritated skin conditions like rosacea or eczema. I've been using Elderflower tea on my scalp and the hydrosol to hydrate my skin (which has a hard time in the in-between of seasonal transitions). 

One thing I emphasize in my work with plants is Right Relationship. Meaning, it's not about what I'm getting from them or what they can do for me. That kind of thinking is short-sighted, and for those of us who are working for a paradigm that is more Whole and holistically healthy, looking to herbs for their health benefits falls flat. Instead, the real medicine comes from spending time with the plants. Listening to their wisdom. Asking questions. Observing how they exist in the world in the most perfect balance, which means ever-evolving. 

Elder has been teaching me about death. About its surrender, its beauty, its space, and about the careful cultivation of life that necessitates death. That the in-between can be (and often is) uncomfortable, sad, frustrating, and confusing. And the waves and contractions that we feel are there to propel us forward and reveal potential. 

If you're curious about working more with Elderflower in all its various facets and forms, the Beltane Wild Medicine Bundle is available until Wednesday, 4/19. After that, it'll go into hibernation until after Beltane. 

If you purchase the bundle by the 19th as a Wild Medicine Keeper, you also get:

  • $10 discount on your bundle
  • E-book with product write-ups, ideas for Beltane rituals, recipes that don't end up being made for bundle products, and a guided journey with Elder
  • Behind-the-scenes emails with photos, bloopers (yes, there are occasionally accidents in the apothecary), and you'll hear from me sharing a bit about my creative process for making the bundles.
  • An opportunity to win a space in the Wild Medicine Keepers for the next Wild Medicine Bundle, a Midsummer celebration!