Another full moon is upon us. Under the night sky, our inner tides are illuminated. For me and many others, this is a time of transition. A lot of changes have been happening in The Great Kosmic Kitchen. Summer left for the California School of Herbal Studies a few weeks ago. She will be there for a year studying where her mentor and friend, Rosemary Gladstary, started the school in the 70’s. So far, she’s been starting fires in her magical yurt, planting medicine gardens and meeting a few characters out in Forestville. It breaks our heart to be away from her but we know her journey as a medicine woman will come into full force in the next few months. We are so proud of you Summer and can’t wait to see all the new ideas you’re brewing up!
Luckily, I wont be too far away this summer. For the next 5 months, I will be apprenticing in the kitchen of the Tassajara Zen Monastery in Monterey, California. Its funny how we are always surprised when our wildest dreams become our reality. Ever since my mom gave me the Tassajara cookbook for Christmas a few years back, I have been enchanted with the photos and recipes. To get the chance to study and live at a sacred place I have admired for years is a deep blessing. Along with the feelings of gratitude and bliss are the feelings of excitement and nerves wheling up in my being. Hence, my inner tides feeling like a freaking monsoon!
In an effort to soothe these choppy waters, I decided a little lunar medicine from the front yard would help. So last night I went out, made an offering of mapacho (Peruvian jungle tobacco) to the plants, sang a few songs and harvested a handful of my allies: yarrow, Florida betony, calendula, and spanish needle. I added them to my jar of water, closed the lid tightly and placed the jar under the leaves of the Datura. Datura, sometimes called “moon flower” is an ancient plant known for its sacred and powerful properties. I have been working with this plant for a few years and over the summer began to deepen this relationship. I asked her to watch over the jar for the night in hopes that her strength would infuse into the tea. In this way, each sip I took served as a reminder of strength during these times of transition.
Lunar infusions are as simple as a preparation can get. Adding herbs to a jar of water and letting it bask in the glow of the moon is a wonderful practice to celebrate the gifts we receive from her each month. For me, I love gathering what is already growing in the yard. It has been said that the medicine we need the most is growing right outside our door. Look a little closer when you step outside. What plants are at your feet? Are there little flowers or sticky seeds? Have you seen this plant before? Plants have a funny way of getting noticed by people, especially when they are trying to help us.
Here is a little more info about the plants growing around our house in Florida and might be growing around yours too!
Spanish Needle (Bidens alba)
– Okay, seriously? What can’t this plant do. This unsuspecting herb with little white daisy flowers is known to treat everything from coughs to malaria! We use it as a tea for colds, as an antimicrobial, to tone and strengthen the urinary mucosa, as a bitter for digestion, and to help detox us from all the pollution in the city. The leaves and flowers can be eaten in salads or cooked up like spinach.
Florida Betony (Stachys floridana)
– Small, low growing member of the mint family that has little light pink flowers. Its well known by foragers for its delicious tuber available in the spring. I love this plant for its ability to treat headaches and as a bitter for digestion. Prepare the fresh plant in a cold or hot infusion.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
– My love affair with this plant began after reading a story by herbalist Matthew Wood. He was helping a client of his who had not menstruated for 3 months, but knew she was not pregnant. She was out in her garden and out of nowhere, started her moon! Then she looked down and realized she was standing over the feather-like leaves of yarrow! And let me tell you, it works! Yarrow is a magical plant because it starts bleeding (menstrual) and stops bleeding (cuts). I use this plant to help with lessening menstrual flow, reducing cramps, to break a fever, for cuts and bruises, as an uterine tonic and a wonderful digestive bitter. Prepare the fresh plant in a cold or hot infusion.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
– These sunny flowers are one of our best medicines for the lymphatic system. Helping to cleanse and strengthen the lyphms, calendula heals wounds, clears skin, soothes gastro problems and promotes cell repair so our bodies can heal. I enjoy making calendula tea, adding the fresh flowers to soups, or topping any dish with a few golden petals.
May this full moon light the way to the truth in our hearts.