Monday, January 31, 2011

Made it to the Etsy Front Page again!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Transformation: A Guest blog from my Apprentice

On the eve of the anniversary of her apprenticeship, I asked my now journeywoman to write up something about her experience so far. Hopefully I can get her to contribute more to the blog in future. Hint, hint...

"Looking back on myself one year ago I am surprised to see a girl that is totally unfamiliar to me now. She resembles me slightly and has my shape, but her presence is that of a shadow. Today is the one year anniversary of my meeting with Trey, commencing my path and taking the first step away from that shadow of me. The difference between my former self and my current self is daunting to me at times and I have to pinch myself every once in a while! Taking on this traditional apprenticeship had provided me with much more than I had anticipated for: it has taught me unexpected skills and transformed me into an empowered woman. I had not only been able to change the direction of my life, but have unburied lost parts of me, and have defined, organized and prioritized myself and my future. Before never feeling that it was proper to call myself a woman, now I have that power and surety: I have arrived.

The old me, like most of my peers, was lost within the world trying to find my spot, not really sure where to put our efforts and energy. Usually my job choices ended up between other zombies on cooking lines following patterns designed by a superior. For many reasons I had decided that life in the kitchen was not for me, and walked away short some of my thumb, and bearing many scars. I had attempted to purse my happiness by working at a stable, and being around the horses was enough to satisfy for the time being. This did come at a cost, as most mindless tasks do, for I was running on a schedule not of my own and treating horses in a way I did not agree with. Never mind having to cross the large city of Edmonton in a mad rush every morning. Followed with the mad rush home to continue the endless jobs of cooking, cleaning and some quality mother-son time and that was never enough. Missing my little one was the worst. Oh, and I had an evening job too. This was my life and I was content with the choices I made but still it was just not good enough; I had craved for something more. I was really starting to feel trapped, more like I didn’t belong and was considering a move out of country. Then I saw the ad. A woman was looking for an apprentice in traditional healing which had my attention quickly. In the past when I was shown opportunities like these I rarely follow up on them, mostly because I was unmotivated, but I was propelled to respond as if by some guided force, and got to meet with Trey.

Since I was already in search for something greater it was really easy to adapt to all the new things I was being shown. One might say: I was easily programmable. Eventually I had quit the job at the stable and my night job and devoted my time to this work. Because I had the devotion and determination my transformation had happened much quicker than it could have. I went from being an unsure adolescent, to a competent businesswoman, aware of her own abilities, always looking to improve and radiating with confidence! Well I’ll be honest; I’m still working on my confidence but it has much improved. Not only did I re-write my persona but working with a traditional healer entails all sorts of great health benefits! I am in fantastic health now both physically and mentally. I have been able to sort through the mess that is inside my head. More importantly I’ve learnt to identify some of the things causing those messes, and stopped putting crap inside of my body and mind. Since I’ve done this my brain has been much more efficient, and my senses have all been heightened.

This improvement on myself as a whole, and the skills I have learnt made me realize that I have more worth than I have previously given myself credit for. And this lesson is the most important one that Trey has taught me. I haven’t even mentioned the history lessons, religious studies and people skills I’ve learnt!

One thing that didn’t change as drastically was my aspirations. I have always wanted the same thing and still do, but the scene has changed slightly. Now I envision myself not only fulfilling my desires but I see the purpose of my actions to have so much more meaning now. I’m making a difference in the world. Me. My voice is being heard and I can make things happen. I’ve realized the importance of protecting our Earth and how loud our voices can be. It isn’t a surprise that I have developed an appreciation for all that is handmade! It’s hard bloody work to make gloves, soaps, candy and chocolate contrary to popular belief, and this impression that such our goods should come cheap upsets me greatly now. Now I feel empowered and can put my empathy in the proper places to use it effectively.

My skills have increased a great deal and the priorities of which skills I want to learn first have shifted around a lot. I always have had the interest to acquire certain abilities, such as sewing, baking, wood working and leather working, but now they are much higher on my list of things to do. This is because I know that these skills will take me much closer to my visions and goals than any of my previous ambitions.

I have also taken steps to achieve all that I want much quicker than what I would have done without this change in my life. I have just bought a house, launched my career in the Green Party and started my own business; I should mention that I’m twenty two years old. And I was able to make this happen. A feat that I had never believed I could do, especially when Trey had first mentioned it. When she had mentioned it the second and third time I still refused to believe it. Even now I still am having difficulties believing it - shock perhaps?

My life has been completely and irrevocably changed in the past year, and I’ve never felt better! The possibilities are endless and I can spend many lifetimes learning all that I want to, I’m still discovering how to be selective. My old self could never have dreamt of a future like the one I’m building, and I most definitely would not have thought to stand up before. It is now much more difficult to sit down and not say or do anything than it was. I am equipped with the tools to make my living doing what I want to do: to live in abundance like I have never imagined and to make a difference in the world. I have endless gratitude towards the woman who had guided me this far, for I could not have done this within a year without Trey, and I can only hope to be as good to my apprentices as she has been to me."

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How to Brew your Medicinal Tea: A Quick Refresher!

I include these instructions with every herb purchase from my shop.  It's the quick version to get the most benefit out of herbs for those who are just starting out.

Suggested dosage: Begin with one teaspoon of herb per cup of water, then adjust for taste and effect desired. As some herbs do not fall to the bottom, we recommend using a tea baller or cheesecloth.

To get the most out of your medicinal tea, use fresh and cold, spring or distilled water.

To change the flavor, herbs may be blended with other herbal teas, such as peppermint, fennel, lemon balm, etc. without loss of potency. Any unprocessed sweetener can also be used in your tea, such as honey, maple sugar, stevia, etc. For maximum benefit, we do not recommend white or brown sugar.

Herbs, Leaves, and Flowers (Infusion or Tisane)

Measure out herb into cup or pot. Heat water in kettle. Pour into teapot or cup as soon as it begins to boil. Place saucer or lid over tea for 5 to 10 minutes for proper infusion. Drink immediately.

Hard Barks, Roots, and Berries (Decoction)

We recommend dedicating a small saucepan as your herb pot. It must be non-metallic, as metal will react with your brewing herb. A glass or enamel pan is best. Bring water to a boil, then drop in your herb. Turn down heat. Let simmer for 10-20 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the herb. Drink immediately. For the quicker version, add herbs to pot, bring to boil, then immediately turn off burner and let cool.  Works best if you are brewing a bigger batch and are going to finish the rest of the concoction over a day or two and can therefore afford to let it sit.

To make enough for several days:

Use the same amount of water as for a single serving but double or triple the amount of herb and brew as usual. Place in glass or ceramic container, never metal or plastic, and refrigerate. It will keep for about 3 days. To use, do not reheat but add several teaspoons as desired to juice, herbal teas, and other natural beverages.
One can be very creative with herbs, and many forms of ingestion exist. I know many who eat both fresh and dried herbs for the medicinal benefits, sometimes as food, infused in oils, make into candies and treats, brewed into alcohol, or just straight out of a bag! Sometimes it's easier to incorporate herbs in your lifestyle by making only a very few changes. For example, putting the fresh, dried, or ground herbs in your espresso maker or your French press coffee machine gets a significant amount of the herbs' water-soluble components in your ordinary daily brew! (I currently have Horsetail and Ginseng in my special blend. If you come to my house for coffee, ask for regular grind.) It doesn't work so well in the drip kinds, of course.

Herbs have been our primary form of medicine for thousands of years, and humans have gotten very creative with them. They can be so easy to use, and can provide such great benefits! It requires so very little effort; you simply have no excuse not to discover how easily herb use can integrate into your lifestyle!