WILDWISDOM

Sending down our Roots and remembering the Soul


1 Comment

Herb Labyrinth Update 2016

Herb Labyrinth Opening

Sunday 15th May, 2pm, Tuppenny Barn, Main Road, Southbourne, West Sussex, PO10 8EZ.

Join us for the afternoon to celebrate the opening of the Herb Labyrinth. A talk about the project, Tea and cake, good company at the beautiful Tuppenny Barn.

 

Advertisements


12 Comments

Working with the Labyrinth

The Labyrinth as a tool for Re-Wilding.

Unknown

My journey with the Labyrinth has been an unexpected and synchronous one. It started one Summer whist looking after a Permaculture Farm in County Wicklow, Ireland. Myself and a friend had been given the job of replenishing the ‘Herb Spiral’ at Carraig Dulra Permaculture farm. We instinctively used the spiral path as a walking meditation, setting intentions and in sacred ceremony. It wasn’t until two years later that I came across the work of Eve Hogan that I then realised the ‘Herb Spiral’ was also a 3 circuit classical Labyrinth. So two years on I followed the signs and ended up in Scotland doing a Labyrinth Facilitators course with veriditas www.veriditas.org, it deepened my knowledge and understanding for what this ancient archetypal symbol was about. Energy flows in Spirals. From the Spiralling of the Galaxies and planetary bodies to water down the plug hole, in a seed head or the shell on a snails back we see this spiral design throughout nature and it is within us as the spiralling DNA strands and of spinning energetic chackras.

Connecting the dots…Walking the path… At a recent event, ‘Plant Consciousness’, I met Dr David Bruce Leonard, an amazing guy who has studied extensively with Hawaiian Plant teachers. His was the first stall I wandered over to and picked up his book by the name of ‘WildWisdom’! In the middle of the book he has a Labyrinth!! Dumbfounded I asked what the connection was and he tells me its the best thing he’s ever found that connects an individual to the state of consciousness that is required when out collecting medicinal plants!!! The Labyrinth is a great tool for bringing our awareness from the exterior in to the inner realms of feeling, emotion and awareness, also bringing our sight to the peripheral vision that the Hawaiian Healers use in their meditation technique of Hakalau that David Bruce Leonard was taught by his Teachers.

You can practice Hakalau by staring at a fixed point just above your line of sight, as you focus all of your attention on this point after a while you will notice the peripheral field coming in to your awareness, now concentrate more on your peripheral vision than the centre point. The Hawaiian Plant medicine practitioners would use this practice, along with bodily awareness whilst out collecting plants for healing an individual. They would hold the vision of the person they were collecting plants for and in their altered states were able to ‘hear’ which plants were needed and in what way to use them.

Dr David Bruce Leonard found that the Labyrinth bought about this state of consciousness  instantaneously. He has some thoughts on why this was, he says, ”We enter a Labyrinth with reverence, thereby creating sacred space. We quiet our minds and pay attention. This is exactly the same meditative state we create as we prepare to enter the forest to gather plants. In a Labyrinth we spend most of our time moving our bodies in a relaxed way and with compete awareness. This also has a lot of similarities to the way we move in a forest. And lastly when we are in a Labyrinth their are often people around us. We generally do not look at them when passing, but we are very conscious of their movements and we tend to track them out of the corners of our eyes. Tracking what passes by us as we use peripheral vision is exactly what is entailed within the practice of Hakalau and Hakahele=(Hakalau practiced whilst walking)

Below is a picture from ”The Art of building a Healing Labyrinth” course I attended with Geomancer and Master Builder Dominique Susani in Co.Cork. Ireland 2015. The Labyrinth was built using exact measurements and equations worked out by the locations latitude in relation to the Sun and the Moon at Summer Soltice. This gives an equation that can be formulated to give you a harmonised space, Summer Soltice being the highest energetic point in the year. So when you create an object, building or space using those measurements you are creating an energetically harmonious space. The tradition of the European Master builders went back to the Druids who built sacred sites, many sacred sites around the Globe, e.g. certain Pyramids, many European Gothic Cathedrals would have been built using this knowledge but like many things today its something we have lost, our connection to nature, but that is what we are reclaiming!

Links :- 

David Bruce Leonard’s website – http://earthmedicineinstitute.com – David’s School in Hawai’i.

Dominique Susani – http://www.sacredgeometryarts.com – Sacred Geometry Products.

Plant Consciousness. Davyd and Emma Farrell – http://www.plantconsciousness.com

2014-03-20 02.01.35


Leave a comment

How to build a Herb Labyrinth

The Herb Labyrinth project was Inspired by a Permaculture Herb Spiral and the ancient symbol of the Labyrinth. The design will utilise the Four directions and the Four elements in correspondence to the healing plants and in relation to the actions the plants have on the human body as well as the effect of walking the Labyrinth has on a persons well being and potential for inner transformation.

The following describes a step by step process of how to create your own. 638px-cretan-labyrinth-round-svg

You may need – >15 sticks/bamboo sticks. > Measuring tape > String > Flour/Sand something to mark out the path. > Spades, wheelbarrows, mulch, helping hands, feet and herbs.

1. Find a piece of land big enough. This area was in amongst an orchard and just about big enough for a Labyrinth about 26 foot across. Any smaller than this and it may take away from the quality of using it for a walking meditation. Labyrinths are walked to slow the mind and centre one self, if the path is too short it may hinder this. 2015-01-08 12.21.28

The Above location is an Apple Orchard at Tuppenny Barn Organic Farm in Hampshire, UK.

2. Measure the area and find the centre point. Once you have the centre spot put a stick in the ground and attach some string this will help you mark out the circumference of you circle, It doesn’t have to be an exact circle. Place sticks around the perimeter of your circle to denote the edge leaving enough space for herb beds around the outside edge if that is what you are going for.2015-03-26 15.55.39

3. Now mark out the beds or the path, I chose sand as I had some bags of it lying around and its not toxic like using a spray on the ground, flour would also suffice. I decided to mark out the beds, it isn’t exact but gives me an idea where things will go. Its quite an organic process and as you work you will decide to change things as you go. IMG_1566

4. You can now begin to dig out the path ways turning over the cut turf on to the beds upside down. The grass will die off adding a layer of nutrients to the soil. You could add further layers of cuttings and mulch to enrich your beds. IMG_1585

Lydia cutting out the path and turning it over to form the bed on her left. IMG_1580

You don’t need to be too accurate with your path and beds, what ever best suits your needs. Bare in mind what your labyrinth/Herb Spiral is being used for? you might need to take in to account the location? materials? what your aims are? who’s going to be using it? what will it be used for? We have made adaptations along the way, for example we decided to create a gentle gradient on the path, reaching a higher perspective as you walk in to the centre. This also has an impact on the planting, creating variant changes to the climate within the Labyrinth. I was unable to work for a month and on return the plants that had grown in specific areas were noticeably different. The South was drier, sparse and smaller plants in comparison to the North end. Plants in the South included: Lots of Fat Hen, small Thistle, Plantain, Dandelion, Fumitory. Interesting that most of the plants have a use for the liver. I wasn’t sure about Fat Hens relation to the liver but just found that it is used in India for liver complaints. North: Plum tree runners from the Orchard,(West to North), a vine with marsh mallow type flowers (pink and white) Not sure of the name? Lots of Yarrow, Clover, Grasses. Much thicker, lush coverage in the North side. IMG_1923

Building up the Gradient in to the centre. DSCF1029

A month after returning you can see the difference here with the South side on the right and North on the left. DSCF1028

Here’s the Labyrinth after I have weeded and strimmed the outer path. I have now weeded and strimmed the whole lot and covered it with tarps held down by tires. Important that you cover it over when not working on it over long periods.

This has been an awkward project in that I live 2 hours away so sometimes it has been a few weeks until work commences giving nature a chance to re-establish. We were originally going for a material membrane to keep weeds under control but while attempting to lay it down we realised it wasn’t going to work in relation to the contours of the beds/paths, it wouldn’t have sat evenly and would have risen up being exposed (Not a good look) and wouldn’t have worked in prevention of growth. We have now decided upon mulching with wood chip that we access to on the land.

The next step will be to mulch the paths and beds, possibly plant some over wintering herbs? and cover for the winter ready for a Spring planting. Thanks for reading if you got this far and any feedback is much appreciated. I’ll be posting up more from our upcoming sessions in August/September.


Leave a comment

Turkey Tail Mushroom

Medicinal Mushrooms like Reishi and Chaga have got a lot of attention in recent years for their herculean medicinal qualities. All medicinal mushrooms have huge health benefits; anti cancer properties, anti oxidants, massive mineral density, adaptogenic, immune system boosting/ modulating. In Eastern traditions these powerful anti ageing herbs would have been considered sacred. Reishi Mushroom was at one time only allowed for the Chinese elite and you could have been killed if found in possession. I’m a big fan of the Daoist herbal tradition, which focused its attention on spiritual attainment; energy cultivation and longevity. The teachings revolved around the subject of the Three Treasures; Chi, Jing and Shen. We’ve all heard of Chi in the Western World thanks to the spread of martial arts practices and Bruce Lee but lesser known are the concepts of Jing and Shen. Jing is kind of a bigger deal according to Daoist philosophy as it is seen as the battery pack, bank account or reserve of energy that is not used but creates a foundation in a sense. It creates a sense of stability, a feeling of being nourished, vital and full, ready for anything, adaptive to whatever life throws at us. With the hectic pace of the modern world we see ourselves dipping in to this reserve far too much, people are running on empty close to burn out keeping themselves going on stimulates which further the problem. Jing is inherited through our parents when we are born, healthy parents = healthy baby. We dip in to Jing through too much stress, over eating, chi leakage, over consumption of alcohol, drugs, child birth, excessive seamen distribution.Shen is deemed as having a Spiritual awareness an awareness of more than ones self, an awareness of one’s purpose, qualities of humility, humbleness, reliability and wisdom. What the Daoist sages were implementing essentially was acquiring or cultivating Jing as the basis for strong Chi and Shen. The analogy of the candle see’s Jing as the wax, Chi as the Flame and Shen as the light. So the Daoists worked with Tonic herbs that fortified the Three Treasures, often these tonifying herbs are related to the kidneys and adrenals as that is where we leak energy from when running on empty, adrenal fatigue is rife in the modern world and medicinal mushrooms are one way to give yourself the necessary juice we need to thrive in this day and age … Phew! …Now finally for some Turkey Tail. 2015-01-04 12.49.55 If you’ve made it thus far then well done. I felt it necessary to ramble on about the reason I first got in to medicinal mushrooms and tonic herbs and now why I’m so chuffed to have stumbled across Turkey tail, (Tremetes Versicolour), Turkey Tail is a native medicinal Mushroom to the UK and is quite prolific. One reason I’m so excited about said mushroom is because I am aware when consuming some of the foreign herbs that it may not be so environmentally sound for me to do so. I am also very much in to the idea of building yourself from the environment around you, as part of the natural eco system you would be eating the plants that were native to the area and in season. There is also the idea that the plants that you most need for your health grow close by to you, this may sound outlandish to some but when you start to see your self as a part of the natural web this then becomes clearer. photo Identification; I don’t pick mushrooms regularly as a food source, its an area of foraging that requires a lot of knowledge and experience. I do however feel confident in learning as I come across different varieties and become more familiar as I see them around, Turkey Tail has been one of those that I have come across a lot and this is the first year it felt right to harvest some, I’d taken photographs and took some samples home to identify and found out that there aren’t many you can confuse it with once you identify its distinguishing features. Turkey Tail grow in clusters and look like their name suggests, they range from 1cm to 4 inches are thin and flexible and have a corky flesh. Its underside has pores ( like smallraised dots or bumps) not Gills! (lines). It is quite a beautiful specimen, colours do vary but generally found to be brown with each zone a little different in colour, the top is smooth and velvety, it grows on the deadwood of hardwood trees and in clusters not singular. Remember be sensible, Mushrooms can be extremely poisonous anyone consuming mushrooms from the wild does so at their own risk, take to it slowly, buy some good identification books, do your research, go on some guided walks with experts. When in doubt throw it out.  Always harvest responsibly leaving enough behind for the mushroom / plant to regenerate which ensures a healthy system and enough for other people, animals or yourself in the future. There is a great  identification test you can do here, http://www.mushroomexpert.com/trametes_versicolor.html   i Below; 1st pic. Drying Turkey Tail to use as Tea Decoction or Tincture.  2nd pic. Underside of Turkey Tail. 2015-01-05 14.21.35 2015-01-05 14.22.48 Medicinal uses: Turkey tail has been used to treat many chronic illnesses including many cancers, it has been shown to regenerate damaged bone marrow. As well as Human cancers it has been used in veterinary practice for canine cancers. It is a very strong anti oxidant, anti inflammatory, immune system stimulant and modulator, anti viral, anti fungal, pain relief with no side effects, reduces phlegm, respiratory conditions, poor digestion, Urinary conditions, liver problems and Hep B. This is an overview of the actions and uses, as with most medicinal plants, mushrooms, natural substances it never ceases to amaze me the list of healing benefits and properties that one organism has. Disclaimer: The information here is for educational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose or treat disease. Always consult a competent health practitioner of your choice when dealing with any health issues.


Leave a comment >

 

Creative Intentions.

Unlocking our Creative Potential…

We are all inherently Creative. Creativity is not restricted to the few who are able to draw, paint, sing, dance or play an instrument (deemed ‘creative’ by the academic mind set). In a sense creativity is what we are, or rather we are in a constant state of creating. The Imagination is key, as well as our senses. Becoming immersed and aware of our bodies helps us to delve deeply in to our creative flow, as well as nourishing our overall well being. Further still, we can direct this focused energy in to any endeavour we feel passionate about.

Creativity;

”The ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships or the like and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods and interpretations.”

The Imagination is key to the creative process. Ideas are like the building blocks or blueprints to a creation before it becomes manifest. Creation can of course be seen in the beauty of the living planet as well as in material man-made structures.

Everything in Creation is made up from atoms- you, me and the chair you are sat on, are just infinitesimally small parts of matter.

According to Quantum physics, our electrons and the electrons in the environment around us repel one another, a bit like when you have two magnets pole to pole. And so the sensation of touch is purely the brains interpretation of the interactions of our electrons and the electro magnetic field around us.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Natures Wisdom

 

Welcome to NaturesWisdom.

This blog will serve as a point for sharing my ramblings, herbal medicines, projects, workshops and news.

Nature is in constant communication and we are a part of this conversation, when we are able to still our minds and listen to our bodies we can ‘hear’ the subtle voice all around us. Synchronicity, life force trying to get your attention is often disregarded as coincidence but become aware of this fact and watch it cascade in to your life with an explosion. It is our feeling awareness not the logical mind that perceives of this all encompassing intelligence. We are taught that the imagination is not grounded in the real world and are labelled a ‘Dreamer’ when it is the Imagination that is key to problem solving, figuring things out, the blueprint of our thoughts are the basis for what becomes manifest. Creation… We are a part of… accompanying to… and assisting with. So the Universe is not a thing that is happening out there but rather through us when we become consciously aware.

This may all sound like hocus pocus”?/! but it is now being rediscovered by Science in the exploration of the Quantum. The double slit experiment demonstrates that the observers expectation of the results have an effect on the outcome, the atoms respond according to the conscious observation of them. Although Science is indeed fascinating and gives clarification to our logical left brains it is in the marriage of both the left and right hemisphere’s of the brain and the whole body ”thinking” awareness that we start to perceive of our natural place within the whole.

Continue reading