Friday, April 3, 2009

Ignited in Me Was the Wise Woman

I have been on the spiral path of the wise woman for almost 15 years now. Before that first step onto the path, I was a therapeutic teacher at a school for homeless children in Seattle. It was very stressful and joyful work. My energy was depleted in ways that I didn't realize at that time. I loved my work and yet needed to strongly commit myself to it again and again to continue it.
My husband, Taddeusz, worked in an involuntary psychiatric facility on Capital Hill. A woman came to give an in-service to the staff and shared a healing perspective with him that drew him in. He purchased a book, Healing Wise by Susun S. Weed from the trainer, EagleSong. He came home and showed it to me, and I think attempted to give it to me. I looked through it and found only a few herbs listed. I tossed it aside thinking I might look at it later. Tadd then invited me that next spring to go on a plant walk with EagleSong at Discovery Park. We learned of the wild plants you could eat and utilize medicinally. I enjoyed this and discovered a very sweet place at this park where the energy was magical. Tadd invited me to harvest nettle that spring also, which we did and hung in our basement from the ceiling to dry.
The next year, I attended the Women of Wisdom conference and signed up for EagleSong's class. She came in dressed in a long black dress, hobbling on a walking stick and throwing french fries around the room. (Salt of the earth.) She spoke...I am Black Eagle Woman, daughter of.... granddaughter of ....., great great granddaughter of ..... I began to cry and couldn't stop for a long time. I don't remember anything else about this workshop, only that EagleSong had cracked open a door for me and pushed me through.
I also met Susun Weed at this conference. She overwhelmed me with compassionate wildness in her evening talk. She jumped around on the stage and grabbed her breasts and said things like, "How can milk and eggs be bad for women, we are milk and eggs!!" Another step on the spiral path.
I signed up for The Ultimate Alchemical Circle that spring at Ravencroft, EagleSong's homestead farm in Monroe, and there I met my sisters, my wild companions. And I chose to dance with Stinging Nettle. I began to drink nourishing herbal infusions of nettle often and even brought this brew to school with me.

And then something strange began to happen. Where I once was contented to be a school teacher inside a little room in the Central District of Seattle, I found myself looking outside. I began to dream of spending time outside instead of in the classroom and even took my students on plant walks around the neighborhood where we collected dandelion flowers and plantain leaves for oils and salves.
Then came the crows.
Crows began to come and sit outside the window of my classroom on the fence and look in at me. I was soon discontent to be in the classroom. What was once my passionate calling was now crumbling before me and what was ignited in me was the wise woman.

Stinging Nettle led me further on. I followed. Nettle helped me forget things so that I could re-member other things. Nettle nourished the cellular memory in me of being a shamanic herbalist. Nettle nourished my body, so deeply depleted and changed me. I am a shamanic herbalist because of these wise teachers. And I am so thankful.

Nourishing Herbal Infusion of Stinging Nettle:
It is time to harvest Sister Spinster Stinging Nettle now.
  • Harvest her before she flowers cutting about four inches from the ground, leaving a set of leaves so that she can grow again.
  • Hang her upside down in a warm, dry place until the stems are quite dry.
  • Store the dry nettle in paper bags in a cool, dark place.
  • one ounce of dry stinging nettle in a quart jar, fill to the top with boiling water and let this sit 4-8 hours (overnight is great).
  • Strain her nourishing brew and drink hot or cold.

Listening with Stinging Nettle:
  • Heat the Nettle infusion to just below boiling
  • Pour this into your favorite teacup.
  • With cup in hand, sit wherever you love to sit when drinking tea.
  • Sip the infusion
  • Savor the flavors, the temperature of the infusion and notice her many qualities.
  • Begin to listen to your body’s response to the brew.
  • Take note.
  • Now, ask the question, “What nourishes me?”
  • Listen for a response, notice thoughts and feelings that come into your consciousness.
  • Ask this question at least three times.
  • When you have finished your cup of infusion, rinse the cup and place it on the counter in your kitchen.
  • Give thanks for Stinging Nettle
  • Give thanks for the things that nourish you.
  • Give thanks for the ways you nourish yourself.
May it be in beauty.

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