Sunday, August 17, 2014

Veganism, Plant Sentience and the Sacredness of Life

I read somewhere recently about reasons to become a vegan.  The reason that stood out for me, “Plants are not sentient.”  This brought all kinds of emotion for me, and started me thinking and thinking about the debate about eating animals. 

I started to investigate and research the meaning of sentience and found out all kinds of interesting things. 

First, I offer a bit of background on my perspective on plants and what I am teaching in my shamanic herbalism programs. I have been practicing and teaching shamanic herbalism for almost twenty years.   I am connected with a spirit teacher who shares an ancient shamanic herbal perspective from the British Isles.  Very very old teaching.  In this perspective, the plants are the wisdom teachers.  They are in our ordinary reality and in a reality of expanded consciousness as well.

Before I began my apprenticeship with this teacher, I had some intense experiences with the plants where they spoke to me and gave me songs.  The first experience was while I was still a school teacher and the second was just after I had completed an apprenticeship with Susun Weed.  These experiences were life changing for me and   because it was early on in my path as a shamanic herbalist, I was a little discombobulated by what I was experiencing. 

When I met my teacher and she began to teach me about this ancient healing tradition of the plants, I started to see more fully what I had experienced back then.  With her guidance, trees spoke wisdom, small blades of grass offered reverence, roses taught everything.  The earth became a place of magic and wonder for me and I was nourished completely by it.

One of the definitions of sentience is that it is a being possessing consciousness. Another definition is that it is a living being subject to illusion, suffering and rebirth. (A buddhist definition) My experience with plants is that they possess expanded consciousness and that they have the ability to transcend illusion and suffering. So perhaps they are not sentient but enlightened beings.

This is all in relationship to an Eastern perspective in which I am not strongly versed.  What I do know is that plant consciousness is unique and vast.  What I have experienced is that plants are teachers.  They can see what is within us and mirror that.  They can offer wisdom for us through a variety of channels.

So then back to this idea of veganism.  That we should not eat meat, kill animals for food because it is cruel.  And that it is okay to eat plants, kill plants for food and one might extrapolate, be cruel to plants because they don’t feel anything or know what is happening to them.
Here is my experience with food related to all of this. 

Animals are protectors and companions,  they are beautiful creatures and deserve to be treated with utmost respect.  The food industry’s treatment of animals has been horrible at times.  And then there are the people that care for and love their animals and give death to them and eat them.  All done compassionately. 

Plants are wisdom teachers.  They nourish and they heal.  Plants are compassionate beyond what I have ever experienced with any other beings.  Plants have been treated horribly by the food industry.  They are grown in large monocrops, they are ripped from the earth, they are sprayed and killed with poisons.  And there are those that grow and care for plants with love and blessing. 

I know it is so much more complex than I describe.  But I feel a simple look at food and what we are eating from a consciousness perspective doesn’t require a great deal of intellectual and political rhetoric. 

When we eat animals, we give death.  When we dig a plant up by the roots, we give death.  The more connected we are with the life of our food, the more life force and energy it will provide.  When you have given death to an animal that you love and eat it, it is an intimacy that allows the animal to become a part of you.  It is the same with plants.  When you cut a few kale leaves off the plant and cook them and eat them,  the ones you grew and tended from seeds, when you have communicated with this kale and you know what it has for you, well, all I can say is that you become one with these beings and there is no longer a separation of harm. 

I have some beautiful dandelions in my garden and I will harvest the roots this fall for vinegar and tincture. I will talk to them and receive wisdom from them and I will ask their permission to gather so I know which ones are for me.  And I will offer gratitude for their nourishment.  We have done the same with our goats. 

There is beauty in eating food from the land.  There is no separation between the animals and plants and us. 

When we eat like this we begin to see the sacredness of all of life.  And the food of which we partake completely nourishes us.

May it be in Beauty. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Destiny We Cannot Understand

I have been reading about depression since Robin Williams died.  The best article I read so far describes it as an energy, a tension that is stuck and appears to be immovable.  The Buddhist teacher speaking about it says to merge with the depression, to become it, because it is so full of energy. 

This seems like a big risk, doesn’t it?  Instead of thinking of depression as something outside of us and afflicting us, we see it as an energy within us that has a lot of energy for us.  When I think of this for myself, because I have dealt with depression on and off in the last six months, I feel a tremendous surge of energy that feels like anger well up     inside me.  Perhaps though it is not just anger, perhaps it is my power to heal, my power to create.  Perhaps it is the divinity within me that has been bottled up and requires an outlet.  A full expression of who I am. 

I have been working with teachers and friends who are holding me accountable for being my most powerful self right now.  In order to fulfill this destiny, I have to change, to be bigger and more fully realized.  It feels so hard sometimes because I am not being      supported to be my old small self anymore.  Sometimes I feel abandoned because I am so addicted to that self that is needy and likes to be taken care of.  That self is not really me.  It is just an illusion of a kind of thinking that I let my mind do to get a kind of attention that feels comfortable. 

The illusion of our thinking is so important in all this talk about Robin Williams.  We don’t really know what his “mind chatter” was telling him.  We don’t really know what his soul was calling for.  We only know what we are told. 

What if we accepted his death as what needed to happen for him?

When we can see through these eyes, we see that although sad, there is a kind of destiny here that we can not understand.  And this mystery is what can open us to more expansive thinking. 

To be supported to be bigger and to leave behind ways that no longer serve that goal, is the most powerful kind of support.  It calls us into the realm of the mystery.  This destiny for us into the unknown of so much beauty. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

My Garden is a Healthy and Holy Place

Yesterday, I was out in the garden with an apprentice graduate who was there to tend and weed.  The vibrancy of plant life was magnificent.  The lavender is budding and about to bloom. The Artemesia has spread herself out so wide that the path beside her has disappeared.  The Rosa officianalis, with its electric pink flowers, is fragrant and amazing. 

There is fireweed down near the bottom of the garden.  And the grasses in the garden are the holiest ones of all.  Some grasses stand much taller than me and you sometimes get the impression of being swallowed up by their vastness.

In amongst the grasses are buttercup, nettle, horsetail and also a bit of motherwort.

This picture I am painting is of the wild garden that we have here.  

Last year, a rewilding happened. I let the plant world in the garden be.  I surrendered my tiny little will of wanting a perfectly manicured garden and allowed the authentic being of the garden to emerge. 

Now this year, we are cultivating very slowly.  We planted oatstraw, a fig tree and from a bed that was weeded, borage is growing.   The raspberry patch is newly covered in goat manure and mulch. 

This process of rewilding and now cultivating from a deeper sense of who I am and who the garden is are leading me on to examine my motives for cultivation.  In the past, I worried about what others thought.  I worried about how it looked.  I yanked plants out because I thought they were damaging my garden and our earth.  I thought negative things while I gardened and became very anxious at times. 

Now I am seeing through new eyes.  It is a practice to do this.  The tangle of weeds and planned plants sometimes still worries me.  But then I allow the in breath of the plants to nourish me and I expand my vision.   My garden is a healthy and holy place.  Not only do the plants sing their songs rejoicing in their lives but also celebrating my choices to learn from them. 

The insects, the bees, the wasps, the caterpillars have become messengers now. Swatting them away has been replaced with “What wisdom have you to share?”

Listening has replaced working hard.  Conversations have replaced worry.  And now the garden is our teacher, our companion, our beauty. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

I am a Shamanic Herbalist

About two weeks ago I was sharing with my coach about my enrollment for Herbal    Wisdom Circle~13 Month Program.  I was surprised I didn’t have anyone signed up yet. I felt like something needed to change to fill the program but I wasn’t sure what it was.

My coach is highly intuitive and can read me, often when I am too hyped up to read    myself.  He suggested I reschedule the program for a couple of months.  He knows me and also suggested I talk to the land, the trees, my natural surroundings to receive     wisdom about what to do.  And then he suggested I do something else.  That I keep a log and let people on my email list in on the messages I am receiving.  This felt a little too vulnerable at first, I would have to divulge things that I don’t usually share with my entire list of contacts. 

Well I did just that.  I kept a log for seven days and reported the messages three times during the week.  Yesterday, I took all the messages out on the land and I read them over and over in a loud voice so my nature helpers could really hear me. 

As I read these messages several times, something subtle started to emerge from underneath the words.  A message for me as an herbalist.  These messages spoke about the kind of herbalism that I teach to my apprentices and students.  They spoke of a deeper wisdom that is available for us outside of what this herb and that herb do. 

I am a shamanic herbalist.  I have been a shamanic herbalist for almost twenty years.  I have studied with many teachers, read many books and spent time outside with the plants in all kinds of weather and seasons.  I have been taught the wise woman way.  I have been given a body of shamanic herbalism practices by my spirit teacher.  I have been encouraged, coaxed and loved deeply by the plants.  I am so thankful. 

But there has been an ever present nagging by my small mind that my training isn’t enough.  That I should take more clinical herbal classes, get a degree, get an AHG certificate etc. etc. to really be an herbalist.  What I heard from these messages given to me over the course of a week, when I called them out to our beautiful valley was that right there in front of me was my work.  Teaching shamanic herbalism, the expansive relationship with the plants, the invisible tradition of herbalism is what is mine to do. 

Even now when writing this so that I may share it, I feel vulnerable and scared about sharing.  What is so potent for me about this right now is that I see that the vulnerability is the openness to share exactly what is mine to share.   It is exciting to me that the land spoke to me in phrases, slowly over a week’s time with the synthesis being a potent    program in shamanic herbalism and also the full reclamation of my path in this lifetime.

Twenty years before becoming an herbalist, I became a school teacher.  That too was a calling for me and prepared me to be a teacher of shamanic herbalism.  There are many possibilities for us when we are wondering what our sacred path is.   There are not so many paths that are true for us though.  It is good to find ours. 

May it be in Beauty.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

NEW FREE Teleclass-Recording Link

Hello Everyone,
We just completed another FREE Teleclass, Shamanic Herbalism-Crafting a Practice. 
Here is a link to that class.  I would love to hear your reflections. 
Peace and Abundant Green Blessings, Julie

Monday, August 19, 2013

FREE Teleclass Recording~Compassionate Wisdom of the Plants

Hello Everyone,
I just offered a FREE teleclass, 
The Compassionate Wisdom of the Plants, 
tonight and I recorded it. 
Here is a link to that recording...

I would love to know what your experience of this class is.  I am very happy to support a pathway for others to discover the wisdom teachings of the plants. 

May the vibrant expression of Summer's end nourish you. 

May it be in Beauty. 

Peace and Abundant Green Blessings, Julie

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Holding My Wise Blood~Magic Moon Writer Emerges

I have been going through a lot of my books and things to give away.  This has always been a challenging task for me, emotional and kinda wierd.   I found my old "We'Moons" from as far back as 1993.  I had them all on my shelf.  
I decided to recycle the black and white ones and keep the colored ones for collage.  
There was one "We'Moon" that I remember writing in like a journal several times and I was hoping to find that.  I did.  
Here are some of the entries: 
January 2. 1999...feeling extremely creative, juices flowing, inspiration about writing about anger. 
March 10, 1999...bled 2 drops of blood this morning, first sign of blood since end of October-Mid-November, when I bled 1 drop of blood. 
August 11, 1999...bled, flowing blood from my beautiful wild womb.  
This time that I bled...was the end of my moon.  
I had begun menopause around the age of 37 or 38.  I didn't know it at the time
but looking back I am sure of it.  
I had spent six weeks at the Wise Woman Center in Woodstock, NY at Susun Weed's farm.  
I had returned to live in the quiet of the woods in Southwest Washington, where the wild violet grew around me, for a short time and then moved to Arlington, WA to an old farmhouse next to 2600 acres of forest.  
These entries were written at that farmhouse.  
The year Tadd and I lived there, I spent most of my time walking in the woods and gardening, gathering herbs and listening.  It was a difficult time for me emotionally, I was changing and I didn't know what the hell I was changing into.  It seemed that I was falling apart, I just wanted to be alone with the forest, the trees, the nettle, the flowing creek. 
At the Wise Woman Center, Susun Weed insisted that all women take a moon day, when they were bleeding.  I wasn't bleeding but she insisted I take one anyway.  She said, when a woman stops bleeding, she is holding her wise blood within her.  
I grew to accept that this was so for me.  
I hadn't given birth to a child like I wanted.  
What was being created within me?  Who was I?  What was I?  
Another bit of wisdom that Susun Weed offered was to retreat to the menopausal cave for one year.  
I certainly did that in this old farmstead in Arlington.  
Tadd worked in Seattle and I was alone.  I had wild dreams.  
More entries: 
October 22, 1999...dreamed last night of ritual, dancing and my school dreams of old were transformed into wild dancing, "She changes everything she touches" was sung.  
November 2, 1999...soul retrieval returned my 18 year old and 4 year old parts, the dancer and the magic moon writer.  
I began my shamanic herbal teaching at this time, after studying with the Foundation for Shamanic Studies and meeting my shamanic herbal spirit teacher.   I began to write about the plants. 
Last night when I found this book, I felt a sadness looking back at this time in my life.  I also felt a type of quiet celebration that though it was a difficult time for me,  I was led to do the work that is passionate for me.
Poem from "We'Moon" 1999 © Laurel D. Sager 1997 (
"I dreamed I bled snakes.  Silver gray and slippery, hissing and with tongues darting, they fell from me and touched the earth.  Some went underground.  Others became trees heavy with fruit.  They were my children.  They became the world. "
There is a vulnerability in claiming our wild old selves, in being present for all of life as we grow old.  Our wise blood held within, we circulate energy, we contain it, so that we may be the wise woman teachers of our world.  
May it be in Beauty. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Ten Best Weeds to Have in Your Garden

A couple of years ago, I saw an article in the Mother Earth News Magazine titled, "The Ten Worst Weeds to Have in Your Garden."  To be perfectly honest, I didn't read the article.  I think I felt somehow it would just infuriate me to read about weeds and how bad they are.  
But then I got inspired and I told myself I would write a piece on "The Ten Best Weeds to Have in Your Garden."  This is it.  
This is a good year to praise the weeds, since my garden is rewilding and and so am I.  I have always loved the marginalized ones, the one who somehow because of who they are, are just not normal enough to be talked well about.  
I realize that many of you reading this article love the weeds as much as I do.  I just felt it was time to boast about those wonderful plants that don't like so much to be cultivated.  

Self Heal, Prunella vulgaris
I actually planted the self heal in my garden.  And we do have some native to Western Washington that grows around Whidbey Island in the grasses.  Strange and wonderful thing about this plant is that it isn't growing at all where I planted it.  It is growing in the path and around the post that holds the garden gate.  Self Heal is written about in many herbals, long descriptions of the incredible healing benefits of this plants.  And...I don't hear of many people using it.  I am told it has more anti-oxidants that any other plants.  I read that it will cure herpes.  Absent of taste or smell for most senses, self heal is a power plant.  It is related to the root chakra, a connection with the source of who we are.  
I like to think of it as the grandmother of lavender.  In our garden, its stalks come up around where the Lavender Provence is.  People have often mistaken it for lavender.  We harvest the leaves for salad and in the early summer the flowers as well.  This plant's wisdom is a welcome member in my garden.  

Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale:
Oh, the dandelion.  What a precious plant.  Years ago, Tadd and I were living in Burien, WA near the sea.  Our landlord was determined to poison the Dandelion.  He sprayed the lawn with some kind of toxic something.  One morning I woke up and look out the window to see the dandelion had returned and was blooming all over the place.   This is one of the things about this plant that makes it a vital part of any garden, its tenacity.  It blooms all year, with the most blossoms in late March through April.  The tender leaves in spring are welcome additions to our salads and now, in late summer, the leaves are thick and very bitter.  This is when I make tincture with dandelion leaves for a bitter tonic.  And in early autumn, the inulin (the starchy substance) in the root is abundant.  Dandelion Root vinegar makes a wonderful tonic for enhancing your gut flora.  Dandelion is here in our country because wise women, leaving Europe, put the seeds in their pockets so that they would not be without this plant.  So grateful for the abundance of Dandelion.  

Plantain, Plantago lanceolata and major: 
I dreamed long ago that plantain can heal anything, that it is the only plant we need.  Well, I love this plant.  The smell reminds me of my childhood.  It is the bee sting plant.  Take some leaf, choose it up and put it on a bee sting and the pain goes away instantly.  It works for insect bites of all kinds too.  It will draw out what is not needed and help to heal wounds very quickly.  It is a vital addition to any salve for diaper rash and chronic skin conditions.  We also cut the plantain leaves in early summer and add them to our salads.  I have heard that you can stall an allergic reaction with plantain tea or tincture, and that it is a remedy for excess mucous in colds and will help to heal connective tissue.  The seeds are full of protein and can be gathered and sprinkled on your salad, soups and breakfast cereal.  Plantain is a plant that grows on the edge.  It won't grow in a garden bed for long, it has to grow in the paths and it loves to be stepped on. I welcome plantain to my garden path. 

Chickweed, Stellaria media:
In the heat of summer, chickweed is pretty scarce in our garden.  This plant loves cool and wet climate and thrives in the spring when it rains all the time.  We love this plant in our salads and eat as much as possible.  One of the things that chickweed has helped me with time and time again, is to heal my eyes.  Sometimes, I get a little scratch in one of my eyes or have some kind of irritation and I pick some chickweed, wash it and squeeze it to release the juices and I use it as a poultice on my eyes.  Healing happens very quickly.  Also, chickweed has been known to reduce ovarian cysts.  This is such a beautiful thing about this plant, that it is a nourishing salad green and it can heal a challenge that is very strong.  This star lady is a wonderful addition to our garden. 

Sheep Sorrel, Rumex acetosella:
We love this plant because it is sour.  The children who come here have been known to kneel in the grass and eat and eat of it.  The sour indicates that it has vitamin C in it.  It does have oxalic acid in it, but this can be neutrilized with vinegar.   I have heard that this plant is one of the ingredients in Essiac Tea.  That would be a good research project.  Sheep Sorrel, we love you in the garden.  

Burdock, Arctium lappa:
Right now I have a bouquet of burdock leaves and flowers on my table.  The purple flowers are beautiful in the summer time.  The way we use this plant in salads is to make an herbal vinegar from the root in early autumn.  Like dandelion, burdock is rich in inulin, especially in early autumn.  Called the most yang of all plants,  burdock connects us with the deep, dark mystery.  Healing for liver and skin, it acts slowly, making sure healing is substantial.  

Sow Thistle, Sonchus oleracea:
About six years ago, I chose sow thistle as my ally for the year.  I let this plant grow all over my garden.  Well, there were times that I wasn't sure it was a good idea.  Sow thistle was everywhere.   And when it began to go to seed, I had my reward, goldfinches were everywhere too.  Sow thistle leaves are rich in minerals.  If you have the variety that has smooth-sided leaves, you can use them in your salad and also in your soups.  The flowers are tasty, looking like a dandelion. (Make sure you don't mix it up with hawkweed, which has very bitter, nasty-tasting flowers.) Because of the mineral content,  Sow thistle is a wonderful plant to choose to infuse in vinegar.   I love to see this plant amongst the cultivated plants.  

Lamb's Quarters,  Chenopodium album:
The first time I heard about this plant, I learned that it grows well with zinnias and enhances their growth.  I was living in Seattle at the time and so I let my lamb quarters go for it.  Later I learned that it is a wonderful salad plant. But the best news that I have gotten about this weed is that you can steam it and eat it as a cooked green with vinegar.  I would say that lamb's quarters is the best cooked green I have ever eaten.  Harvest it while you have a chance, as it will starts to flower soon after the days start warming up.  The seeds can then be added to your mixes for grinding flour.  Another good plant for vinegar because it is so rich in minerals.  Lamb's Quarters. I look for you every year and am so satisfied when I find you in my garden.  

Violas, Pansies and Violets:
Once you have violets, violas and pansies in your garden, you are so blessed because they will return year after year.  The mineral-rich leaves of violet are so good in salad and can be dried for a protein-rich tea.  We love the violas and pansies in our salads.  These plants are blessings, pure and simple.  

Stinging Nettle, Urtica dioica:
I am fortunate to have nettle as a weed in my garden.  It likes to live over in the corner near the barn.  Though a powerful plant, nettle doesn't take over spaces so much.  In the spring, we harvest the nettle leaves to make vinegar, and we harvest lots of nettle leaves and stalks to hang and dry.  We also, harvest nettle for soups, stews, quiches, lasagne and whatever else we can think of.  This plant is the reason I am an herbalist.  I have written many things about nettle and the transformation she offered me.  Nettle is the plant of change.  Long ago, nettle awakened a cellular memory in me that I am an herbalist.  I would not be here writing and teaching and living and loving the plants without nettle.  Blessed Be!

Time to go outside and see what weeds you have in your garden.  Make sure to identify well so you know each on is edible.  

There are so many other weeds too, so many.  What are your favorite garden weeds?

May it be in Beauty.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Being in the Presence of the Wild

This summer I am letting the garden go. I have a bit of cultivated space.  We planted oatstraw.
Right now within the fenced in spaces of our garden, there is wildness. 

There seems to be a way that a garden is supposed to be.  Here are the garden beds, here is the path through the garden.  I have had such a garden here and I loved it.  I worked very hard to remove the grasses, and to give room for the medicinal herbs, the vegetables and the flowers to grow. It was sweet and hard work and I loved it.

This year I am challenged physically to do all of this work.  I have enlisted my apprentices and hired folks to help me cultivate the space.  And because of various circumstances, it has not worked out to
cultivate, to give death to weeds and plant garden beds.

I still long for a cultivated garden, have visions of what it will be, dream of medicinal plants like Angelica and Meadowsweet, Mahonia and Mugwort, who will grace me with their presence.

There seems to be some friction within me.  A stopping place, where the cultivator in me starts to rebel and want to just be in the garden, to listen to what is there naturally, to see if a song will be given from an invisible place for the garden's rewilding.

Today I sat amongst the very tall grass, and looked out in all directions at my wild garden.  I saw grasses of so many varieties, I saw borage and lavender, cronewort and agrimony.  I saw goldenrod and motherwort, raspberries and cherries.  I saw an abundance of little apples. I saw blackberry vines.

The diversity of plant life in my sweet little garden is immense.  Everything is growing there because it wishes to do so.  Some things seems to be lacking it would seem.  Calendula can't be found, chamomile is gone I think, Chinese pinks have disappeared.  Chickweed?  Have you gone too?

As I sat in my chair, in the presence of happy wild plants, I started to sense that underneath my anxiety about the garden being so wild, not being weeded, what will people think?, who am I as an herbalist if I just let everything go?..........underneath this was a peaceful feeling of being in the presence of the wild.

I am wondering now where else I feel anxious because I am not what I "should" be and that what I am is calling me from under the layers of domesticated life. I am wondering what it would be like to rewild my life, to dance the dance I am given, to let my grasses grow, to allow the wasps into my spaces, to bow down to the wisdom that is being spoken to me in an unknown language from the tiny little plants that I step on in the garden path.

When I think of rewilding myself,  my muscles relax and I feel open to what will come next for me.

I send a blessing to our world that we may allow the true nature of our lives to be expressed, that we take time to listen to the little quiet voice that sings to us, underneath all the chatteriness of our minds.

I sing a blessing of rewilding for all of us looking more deeply for who we are.  

May it be in Beauty. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Toward a Better Life

Haiku #12

Peace is here
Holy union between earth and sky, wisdom voices heard
Night becomes day

Haiku #13

Toward a better life
Simple peaceful presence, every breath
Tree talk

Happy Solstice 2012!

May it be in Beauty. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hardness Dissolves into Love

Haiku #11

Hardness dissolves into love
There is but one motive
Listen for it

May it be in Beauty.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ground Swell

Haiku #10

Ground swell
Rebirth of spirit, sap rising early
See through

May it be in Beauty. 

Song of the Night

Haiku #9

Song of the night
Nocturnal blessing be
Laughter let out

May it be in beauty. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Colors of the Night

Haiku #8

Colors of the night
a palette of deep treasure
trees whisper

May it be in beauty.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Night is Long

Haiku #7

The night is long
Close to the ground, close to the earth, there is a vibration
Holy, holy, holy

May it be in Beauty.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

NIght Full of Stars

Haiku #6

Night full of stars
Vast inside as well as out
Golden preparation

May it be in Beauty.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Compassion is a Small Voice

Haiku #5

Compassion is a small voice
Look deeply into the eyes of the night
Wisdom invisible

May it be in beauty.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Love's Eternal Mind Kindles

Haiku #4

Love's eternal mind kindles
In the dark cave of mystery, in the seed on the cold earth
She calls, she sings

May it be in beauty. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Laughing out loud

Haiku #3

Laughing out loud
What's been is gone
Smiling at what is

May it be in beauty. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Haiku #2~Winter Solstice 2012

Quiet Earth speaks of winter
Words are felt not seen in a wind-swept dialect
Stillness come eventually

Monday, December 10, 2012

Haiku #1 for the Transformation of the World

Swiftly Moving Wind
What is not needed blows away
Deeply rooted like trees

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Rose Mysteries ~ FREE Teleclass Recording

Greetings, Lovers of the Green,

In celebration of the wild rose hips ripening, I am sharing a link here for a FREE Teleclass
I offered last October 2011 called Rose Mysteries. 

You may click this link below to listen to the teleclass. 

In celebration of Autumn and the mystery traditions that are expressed so amazingly
during the fall and winter.  I am offering special prices on my programs from now
until, September 30, 2012. 

20% off our Crow's Laughter Mystery School Programs until September 30, 2012. 

To register for these programs, reply to this email and I will send you a paypal money request, or call me, 360-579-2319, to pay with debit/credit card over the phone, or mail a check to Julie Charette Nunn, Crow's Daughter, 6560 Maxwelton Road, Clinton, WA 98236

Crow's Laughter Mystery School Programs 2012

Rose Mysteries ~ Immersion in Shamanic Herbalism ~ Oct. 20-21
Our Farm on Whidbey Island ~ $300 ~ (Full price is $375)
The wild rose hips will be plump and ready for harvest, offering deeply nourishing medicine. We will spend time in the wild rose thickets listening, connecting deeply in earth and acquainting ourselves with the lore of roses. A taste of Rose Mysteries: Shamanic Listening in the wild rose thickets ~ Herbal Crafting with wild rose hips Tantric Dance, Sacred Movement Meditation ~ Divination ~ Ceremony

 Finding Nourishment at Your Doorstep
13 Month Home Study Course in Shamanic Herbalism
$300~Includes 7 phone sessions or 4 in-person sessions. (Regular price, $375)
RECOMMENDED: $540~Includes 13 phone sessions or 8 in-person sessions. (Regular price, $675)

Have You Asked the Trees?
7 Week, Home Study Course in Shamanic Herbalism
$60 ~ ($75 full price) This is an independant study course.
Weekly Themes include:*Stepping out under the trees,*The breath of life,*Wisdom to hold ground *Guardian Tree, *Ancestral Roots, *The True Nature of the Universe. *Council of Elders
Includes: 2 phone sessions or 1 in-person session.

Full Moon Plant Mysteries ~ Calendula Moon, September 29
$135 (Regular price, $169) ~ 13 Moons ~ 4 individual phone sessions 
$36 (Regular price, $45) ~ 3 Moons ~ 1 individual phone session
$14 (Regular price, $17) ~ 1 Moon

Individual Sessions ~ Finding the Treasures Within
Working with the 7 medicines approach to healing, you will be able to go underneath what appears to be happening and find the gift in the "problem".  Issues resolves.  Wisdom is discovered.
Seven Medicines: Serenity Medicine, Story Medicine, Energy Medicine, Lifestyle Medicine (Nourish & Tonify) Herbal Medicine, Pharmaceutical Medicine, High Tech Medicine.  We put our focus on the first four medicines. 
This work is deeply transformational.
4 Phone Sessions ~ $93 (Regular price-$116)
4 Sessions at our Farm ~ $200 (Regular price-$250)
4 Sessions in North Seattle or Edmonds ~ $252 (Regular price-$315)

Prosperity Coaching
4 sessions for $93 (Regular price, $116)
Sessions are 1/2 hour in length and on the phone. This is a working relationship.  We will talk and share and then come up with creative tasks that you will do to start and/or expand your prosperity practice. If you are an entrepreneur and wish to create a successful, sustainable body of work that really makes a difference in the world.  This work is for you.

To register, reply to this email or call me, 360-579-2319, and I will send you a paypal money request, you can pay with debit/credit card over the phone or mail a check to Julie Charette Nunn, Crow's Daughter, 6560 Maxwelton Road, Clinton, WA 98236

This work that I offer is so simple really.  And yet has supported people not only to learn about the plants and their wisdom, how to prepare them and how to utilize them for healing....this shamanic herbalism work with the plant supports people to find a deep and true sense of themselves, with the earth and plants as teachers.

Peace and Abundant Green Blessings, Julie

"This kind of experience is not in a book, it is in the tending of the garden, walking on your land, gathering the salad greens and passing the talking stick.  Your program brings herbalism into daily life.  I didn't have to 'check my life at the door'  In fact it was necessary that I bring it in and let the plants have a look at it." Denise Paulette, completed our Women & Plants ~ Shamanic Herbal  Apprenticeship Program

Julie Charette Nunn, Crow's Daughter
Sharing the Compassionate Wisdom of the Plants and Cultivating Seeds of Possibility, Shamanic Herbalism Programs ~ Prosperity Coaching ~ Nourishing Herbal Creations, 360-579-2319 ~

Friday, August 31, 2012

Compassionate Wisdom and the Plants in their Fullness

Last night, I offered a FREE teleclass, "Compassionate Wisdom and the Plants in their Fullness, about my work as a shamanic herbalist." 

I feel such an incredible synergy in sharing the practices related to the plants in their fullness, in expanded consciousness.  

So simple, so close to home and so powerful are the shamanic herbalism practices I have learned from my teacher.  

Here is a link so that you may listen to this class.  

At the end of the class I offer a gift, Apple Moon-Full Moon Plant Mysteries and also extra special prices on our programs until the end of tonight, the BLUE MOON-FULL MOON, August 31 , 2012. Follow this link,,  and look on the left side of my website for a list of all programs.

You may email me to receive this gift and you may sign up for one of our programs with these extra special prices.  

May the Fullness of the Year and the Abundant Harvest nourish and inspire you.  

Peace and Abundant Green Blessings, Julie

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Very Rich Space of Healing

Today, I hit a bit of a snag, in the flowing river of healing.  

I got depressed and the 'bad advice' from my mind chatter got very loud and took over and I started believing it.  

I really just wanted to lay on my bed and feel sorry for myself.  Poor me, my hip hurts when I walk so I require the aid of a walking stick.  Poor me, I have financial commitments that seem too big right now to take of.  Poor me....blah, blah, blah. 

Well, I got up and decided to read a mind treatment I had written for healing.  I read it four times. 

I read affirmations about healing.  I spoke prayers about who I trully am, not a hurt hip, not a sad, pathetic old woman.  I am the divine expression of the rich, radiant, substance of the universe. And it is my divine right to express this with each breath.  Really?  YES!

The  space of healing this challenge with my hip is a very rich space.  It is filled with mystery and new ways to see everything.  A teacher once told me that if I think I know the answers then I won't be open to learn things I never thought of.  

Here are some things I have been doing to heal: 
  • I wrote a mind treatment for healing.
  • I created a covenant with the Goddess, a type of contract that in exchange for healing I will do these things.  I chose a whole bunch of things which I must do everyday until the Full Moon, no shit, even if I don't want to do them.  
  • I am drinking two cups of nourishing herbal infusion everyday. 
  • I am eating nourishing food everyday which includes, fermented foods, soups with bone broth, food made from scratch, raw goat milk, healthy protein.  I am minimizing junk.  
  • I am doing 20 minutes of exercise and body connections daily. 
  • I am connecting with my Sami ancestry which this experience in my hip is related to. 
  • I am spending time outside everyday listening and thanking the earth. 
Today when I got wise to my mind attitude, I wrote to my teacher Toni Stone who had just sent an email, so pertinent to my situation which included the words: "every victorious way out of a challenge involves one in some way, being what they have never been before...this i know for sure.  what else i know for sure, is that transformation of some sort  is the background of any miracle...and many sad, unsatisfied people want only the miracle without the work of transforming something about themselves.... " And shared with her to help myself see what I was in. 

I called my colleague and dear friend and told her what was happening with me and during our conversation I remembered a dream I had about creating a new program with people that would really activate the work I am doing.  She reminded me that I was none of those things my mind was telling me, that I am light.  

In order to live in possibility, we must be honest about who we are in the moment.  Pretending we have it together doesn't really cut it.  Being honest, speaking with "others of spirit" and allow ourselves to be penetrated.  This allows the path of possibility to open up. 

I am continuing on.  The earth beckons me right now to stand barefoot and listen. 

Peace and Gratitude for Abundant Green Blessings, Julie

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Patient and Present

Today as I looked over my wild and weedy garden of abundance, I realized that I have been creating an herbalist's garden.
I am moving away from a farm garden, a garden where everything grows in rows.   I have been casting off from within my psyche the notion of neat and tidy as being the goal.
As the seasons turn to the time of the harvest, my energies are turning toward the reaping of what has been cultivated this this year.  This year I planted the vision of a cultivated garden, a garden created in the vision of my life.
My life as an herbalist is coming on twenty years.  This seems like such a short time in relation to the plants.  Susun Weed once told me that it takes seven lifetimes to become an herbalist.  I am seeing more and more wisdom in this.  To live with the plants, to be in relationship with them, to consider them everyday as part of my community is a joyful learning.   Learning to be an herbalist takes patience and presence. 
Right where I planted the squash and sunflowers, a clover began to grow.  I let it stay there as I want to encourage red clover to be all over the place.  I didn't know until it began to bloom that it was indeed red clover.  So thankful.
I knew when I looked into the beauty of my garden this morning that my vision of cultivation has come to its peek for this season.  That this year my work is to truly appreciate the space that I have, to know it, to be intimate with it.  

I am discovering who I am from this garden vision.  More and more of what I am supposed to be doing, fully and truly is coming through in my garden.
Each plant is teaching me its wisdom. 
This has been one of the most challenging of transformations.  I feel sometimes like I am disintegrating, emotionally and spiritually.  My brain goes haywire sometimes and I can't seem to focus on what I "should" do.  And when I step out into the garden and really look and listen, the plants are teaching me to be patience and present.
I leave this writing with questions.....what is next?  who am I?
May it be in Beauty. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Journey of a Garden

I have written many things about my garden. 
how it mirrors my consciousness
its transformation
my transformation 
I am still writing its story
growth and change are 

the story of a garden
there will always be a story to share
something new discovered
I spent the last two years
letting my garden go to the weeds and grasses  

there are those special places
in the garden that I tended 
the Goddess Garden is planted
with oatstraw every year


the raspberry patch produces all summer 
the lavender, the lady’s mantle, the little veggie beds
the tomato garden, the comfrey
the motherwort are steadfast friends
the grasses have grown sturdy
the dandelion established permanency 

last year I listened in the garden
a different listening 
I sensed the garden was speaking to me 
relinquish what a garden should look like
allow my wild and free nature
to take over the space
I moved deeper into the uniqueness of my garden 
the garden told me to cultivate  


I am to plant roses
and medicinal herbs
vegetables plots
a fig tree and ginkgo tree 

blueberries and dahlias and zinnia 
would grow there 
she told me
my garden embodies  

wild and free nature
a life fully lived
and the nourishing 

and healing possible 
at our doorsteps  

I am listening
I am following
I am beginning
the journey of a garden
the journey of a lifetime  

may it be in beauty

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Summer Day

The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down,
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
~ Mary Oliver ~

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Just a minute," said a voice...


"Just a minute," said a voice...
by Mary Oliver

"Just a minute," said a voice in the weeds. 
So I stood still
in the day's exquisite early morning light.
and so I didn't crush with my great feet
any small or unusual thing just happening to pass by
where I was passing by
on my way to the blueberry fields,
and maybe it was the toad
and maybe it was the June beetle
and maybe it was the pink and tender worm
who does his work without limbs or eyes
and does it so well
or maybe it was the walking stick, still frail
and walking humbly by, looking for a tree,
or maybe, like Blake's wondrous meeting, it was
the elves, carrying one of their own
on a rose petal coffin away, away
into the deep grasses, After awhile
the quaintest voice said, "Thank you." And then there was silence
For the rest, I would keep you wondering.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Moving Forward with Intention~September 11

Hello Everyone,
I wrote two poems after the momentous events of September 11, 2001.
The first one I wrote within days of September 11th and the second one about a year later.

May we all move forward with peace in our hearts.

Green Blessings, Julie

It was a morning like any other,

I crouched in front of my heater,
I remember a dream I had right before I woke

Lovers were intertwined in the mud,
In the rubble along a flowing river
It was my mother's call that alerted me to the tragic plane crashes

I was in shock I was afraid and excited
It was, after all, an awakening.

It was a mourning like no other
An incredible sadness lay heavy in my body.

I sought information from the radio internet

I sought my own true nature for wisdom

I felt myself rise up out of my grief
And follow the path of my dreams

The path is filled with possibilities and road blocks.
"Pray for peace" my email message read.
"We must destroy the evil" I heard him say.
"Extend compassion empathy to everyone involved." he wrote
"God Bless America" everywhere I look.
"Love is the answer to every question." She sang.

And a voice sings out in me strong and clear.

"Follow your heart's desire.

Do only what you are called to do.
Nothing more.
Feel everything strongly and thoroughly,

Let despair envelop you until you find possibility.

Let rage propel you to act without hesitation.
Let sadness bring you a last to peace within yourself."

And I cry,
"I love myself."

This poem was published in my column, The Wise Woman's Garden, in
The Beltane Papers, Journal of Women's Mysteries, Spring 2002

In the heart of hopelessness,
I found a new world.
In its sadness,
a river flowed in peace.
And in the center of all grieving,
a flower bloomed
into a joy
beyond all knowing.

May it be in Beauty.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Roses by Mary Oliver

All afternoon I have been walking over the dunes,
hurrying from one thick raft of the wrinkled, salt
roses to another, leaning down close to their dark
or pale petals, red as blood or white as snow.
And now I am beginning to breathe slowly and evenly-
the way a hunted animal breathes, finally, when it has galloped,
and galloped-when it is wrung dry, but, at last, is far away,
so the panic begins to drain from the chest, from the wonderful legs,
and the exhausted mind.

Oh sweetness pure and simple, may I join you?

I lie down next to them, on the sand.
But to tell about what happens next, truly I need help.

Will somebody or something please start to sing?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Weaving the Green

I had a wonderful and quite a dynamic experience with my free teleclass this morning.
As I talked about the potent energy of the earth very close to the ground in the fall and winter
months, the potent wind through the trees blew our electricity out. Then it came back
on. A bit of delay in the class, but powerful display of the transformational energies
that are present during this winter-into-spring time.

Two things I shared on this teleclass this morning:
  • An excerise to connect with the green emerging
  • Seven ways to weave the green into your life right now.
The New Green Way ~ Shamanic Exercise:
  • Go outside on the earth where you live. Look at your feet.
  • Bend your knees slightly and allow your energy to sink into the earth just a bit.
  • Breathe naturally, three breaths.
  • Now breathe with the awareness that you are breathing in the breath of the plants around you and breathe out, offering your breath to the plants.
  • Now become aware that this beautiful earth you are standing on is alive. Breathe in and out with the earth.
  • Bring awareness to the green around you, no matter what the weather or what appearance of the landscape.
  • Breathe in and out with the green.
  • Now connect the green with the green of your inner landscape. And listen.
  • Offer gratitude when this is complete.

Seven Ways to Weave the Green as winter turns into spring:
  1. Spend time outside everyday, listening and breathing with Gaia, our living earth.
  2. Breathe in and out with the green, whether you can see it or not. It is there now.
  3. Before harvesting any plants, ask permission. Wait for an answer.
  4. See all weather patterns of spring as being instrumental in bringing about fertility. Give up complaining about weather and give thanks instead.
  5. Plants seeds as soon as it is possible. Plant your intentions with them.
  6. Drink nourishing herbal infusion to wake up your body.
  7. Notice what nourishes you and what doesn't nourish you.
May it be in Beauty.