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3 Ways to Greet Winter

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” 
― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

As the sun sets and the longest night of the year begins,  take a quiet moment to greet the darkness not with trepidation but with acceptance and gratitude. Allow the early nighttime to envelop you in warm, dark arms, and permit yourself the space to rest, to conserve, to nourish and to prepare for growth. 

In Chinese medicine, winter is the season to root down and to store. The growth that comes with the springtime requires a lot of energy and focused attention. By resting and nourishing our bodies throughout the dark and cold winter months, we will have the energy to blossom in the spring.

During the time of the druids, the Winter Solstice was marked by celebration. Here are three ways to greet the winter gracefully and without fear of the dark or cold. 

  1. Light candles or a fire: As the sun sets, light a candle or a fire and turn down the electric lighting. Pull your favorite book off of the shelf or simply sit in silence, letting the warm light wash over you. 
  2. Permit yourself to rest: Tonight, put away the cell phone and computer and treat yourself to a nourishing ritual, like taking a ginger bath or a bubble bath with calming essential oils. Then, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” Or, at least for 8 solid hours!
  3. Make an altar: It might feel nice to make an altar in honor of the Winter Solstice. This can be as simple as putting some winter greens in a vase and lighting a white candle. Let yourself sit for awhile in front of the altar, reflecting on the year and feeling the warmth that surrounds you. 
A simple Winter Solstice altar

Treating the Flu with Western Herbs

Tis’ high-season for the flu right now, and I happen to have a heightened awareness of this particular flu’s nastiness since I got it. Waaaaaaaaaahhhh!

Okay, whining over. Now… what to do?

A couple of days ago, I was doing some research into how to treat the terrible cough (persistent, hacking, unproductive) that I’d developed and  I came across a post on Methow Valley Herbs, and was reminded of the utter awesomeness of Rosalee de la Forȇt. Rosalee is a clinical herbalist and herbal educator who trained under a few reputable herbalists, including another of my favorites – Michael Tierra. Her website is one of my favorite places to visit when I need information on a herb that’s not included in my Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica, or when I simply want to read more about the art of herbalism (which I basically always want to read about).

Natural medicine, herbs, mortar

If you’re sick, or someone you love is sick, or you just want to do what you can to support your immunity in order to avoid this nasty bug, here is a thorough 5-part piece on everything you need to know when using herbs to treat/prevent a cold or flu.

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