Seasonal Rhythms

From Seed to Renewal (Winter to Spring)

“Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly.”

                                                   Mae West


The best seeds of the new year are always planted in the dark.  It is in the winter, the dark of the earth and the night, where we learn to trust the most.  We need trust, and courage to surrender our seeds and dreams to uncertain futures, and allow the benevolent forces of the universe to prevail.  In nature, light will always follows the dark, the sun will always rise, the moon is never the same, and change is the only constant.  Darkness in winter serves us, not simply to balance the light, expansiveness of summer, but to reel our focus back inward, to our core, to contract us, refine us – so that we may carefully choose to plant the seeds of our most “worthy dreams”, and prepare to do the work necessary to manifest them in the coming year. Within the deep earth, the most beautiful crystals form best in magma which cools very slowly, and in the dark.  If magma cools too fast, the minerals become “amorphous”, without structure or form; without true “character”.  So, for best results, we too must crystallize slowly, and in the the dark.

The  spiritual beginnings of spring season are marked by two midwinter festivals Imbolc (February 1) and Candlemas (February 2), which are times for spiritual purification from the dark forces of winter, and represent a rekindling of the inner fire, as the light of the sun and rebirth grows stronger.  Both festivals are times to light candles, set intentions, create a sacred fire for purification, or delight yourself with new poetry or music.  The “inner” fire of inspiration and purification can be sparked by a symbolic “outer” flame.

Early spring beckons in our hearts with a welcome theme of courtship and the celebration of love on February 14th. Valentine’s Day has origins in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a love festival to guarantee the fertility of flocks, fields and people which celebrated the coming of spring.  In honor of St. Valentine, let love “notes” be spoken, sung, written and passed between those you love, and hold dear.  What better way to stoke the flame of inspiration, and the heart, than by expressing your desire for love and friendship!

candlesAs darkness continues to yield to the light, the flame of the sun continues to burn brighter, and the earth finally shrugs off the sleep of winter at Spring Equinox (March 20th, this year). ☯ Equinox is when the forces of day and night, light and dark, are equal and in perfect balance.  Occurring just twice a year, Spring Equinox in the northern hemisphere heralds new life and fresh beginnings.  Hope and faith sustained through the winter turns to certainty as our seeds begin to sprout with the promise of new rewards.   Our hearts and minds warm from promise to reality, as the trees unfurl their leaves, flowers begin to bud, and songbirds return to sing. With nature’s renewal, the earth’s fertility is both prayed for and celebrated in the Pagan festival of Ostara, which honors the Saxon goddess of the dawn, Eostre.  The eggs of Ostara represents the cosmic egg of creation and rebirth, and this festival eventually transformed into the ritual celebration we now know as Easter (March 31st, this year).

Springtime now calls for a deeper purification of our bodies, to match our awakening hearts and minds.  The following herbs and WILD SAGE teas are recommended for spring purification and renewal –  to release the built-up energy stored for winter, and strengthen our body, mind and spirit for fuller blooms yet to come.  All are traditionally drank as tea “infusions”, although dandelion and nettles are also excellent as foods, served in salads and soups.

4 Key Herbs and WILD SAGE TEAS for Spring Renewal

mini-stonehengeDandelion (Taraxacum officinalis)  is a deep-acting blood and tissue cleanser and digestive aid.  Nature’s great medicine, rich in vitamins and minerals, the leaves are a powerful diuretic, whose rich potassium content replaces that which the body loses.  The root is a mildly, laxative bitter tonic, which stimulates the liver and gallbladder, increasing the flow of bile.   Dandelion leaf and root are useful in the treatment of all skin and liver diseases.  Collect the young spring leaves and add them to salads, or soups, for a boost of nutrition! Wild Sage Teas with Dandelion Leaf and Root – Daily Puritea

Nettles (Urtica dioca)  are rich in easily assimilable vitamins and minerals, especially iron and vitamin C.  A food as well as an energy-building, blood tonic, nettles are nourishing and cleansing, an excellent source of chlorophyll, and great for anemia.  Blood-invigorating, yet astringent, nettles is beneficial for “convalescence” and “shrugging off the sleep of winter”. Nettles also contain natural histamines, making it effective for the prevention of allergies, and also increases the excretion of uric acid, making it useful for arthritis and gout. Wild Sage Teas with Nettles – Daily Puritea, Essential Tonic, Tai Chi

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) is a deep-acting, blood cleanser, or “alterative”.  Like dandelion, red clover stimulates the liver and gallbladder to secrete bile, cleanses as a diuretic, and has a mild laxative effect.  Often used in deep-seated chronic conditions of toxicity, red clover thins and purifies the blood and is good for skin problems, especially eczema and psoriasis.  Mildly relaxant for the nervous system, relieving stress, tension and anxiety, red clover also balances the female reproductive system, with a phytoestrogenic action, and relieves many symptoms of hormone imbalance. Wild Sage Teas with Red Clover – Daily Puritea, Elderberry Wisdom, Essential Tonic, Goddess Chi, Tai Chi

Sage (Salvia officinalis) has been highly celebrated since “olden times” as a medicinal herb with a wide reputation as a rejuvenating tonic.  A major ingredient in prescriptions for longevity and elixirs of life, the Ancients Greeks believed that sage could render man immortal and it became known as the herb of immortality because it could not only cure so many ills, but because it had the power to enhance inner wisdom. Ancient Arabic and Chinese herbalists believed drinking sage tea enhanced mental and spiritual clarity.  Sage is beneficial to the liver, blood and nerves, and was once commonly prescribed for depression, anxiety, nervousness, migraine, insomnia and exhaustion. Sage is also a remedy for colds, flus, sinusitis, sore throat and coughing.  A blood purifying herb with phytoestrogenic properties, sage is also useful for menopause symptoms, especially hot flashes, and is calming and cleansing for the female reproductive system.  Caution: Generally avoid in pregnancy and while nursing. Wild Sage Teas with Sage – Calm Unitea, Soul Mother Sage 

Spring is here!  Plant worthy seeds, Seek inspiration and Embrace Renewal!

Solenne Claire Walker is geologist/herbalist/alchemist of Wild Sage.