Happy Imbolc Greetings!
Welcome to our seasonal newsletter containing information about classes scheduled for Winter/Spring 2012.
This winter season is significantly different from last year's weekly icy/wintry mix that blanketed our area. Here in northern New Jersey, there are already signs of new life emerging, which is the whole point of this mid-winter, cross-quarter holiday: six weeks have passed since the Winter Solstice, and there are six weeks remaining until the Vernal Equinox. Still quite cold at night, it is a good time to take a moment to relax, sip a nourishing tea, and eagerly flip through all the seed catalogs!
Donna at Willow Moon Herbals
In this issue:
Generally occurring around February 1 and 2, this holiday is known by many names: Candlemas, Imbolc, Brigit's Eve, Oimelc, La Fheile Brid, Lupercalia, St. Brigid's Day and many, many others. This holiday is typically a celebration of Hope and the promise or forecasting of Spring: the darkness of winter is retreating, the light is returning more and more each day, and the promise of spring is in the air. Traditionally, it was a time of forced fasting for indigenous peoples and clans on several continents because food stores were becoming scarce.
It is also a time of purification, of physical and spiritual cleansing in preparation for the challenges as the new year unfolds. In ancient times, the Greeks celebrated the Lesser Eleusian Mysteries at the end of January, commemorating the return of Persephone from the Underworld to her mother, Demeter. In more agricultural Celtic communities, this was also the breeding season when ewes began to swell with new life - not unlike the earth herself will within the next six weeks. The name, Imbolc, means "in the belly" referring specifically to the pregnant sheep. Oimelc means "ewe's milk". For other Celtic peoples of northern Europe, the holiday was sacred to Brigit (who may also be one and the same as St. Brigid in the Catholic tradition): the triple goddess of poetry, inspiration, smithcraft and healing. For the Romans, it was Lupercalia (actually Feb 15) since the month of February was regarded as a time for cleansing and purification. For the Norse clans, it was the Feast of Vali, which is a solar festival celebrating the strengthening of the sun which begins to mark the end winter, and thus the survival of the communities in these northern, frosty lands. For Christians, it became Candlemas - the time when candles were blessed in the churches (note: the feast of St. Blaise on Feb 3rd and the blessing of throats with two crossed candles). For the paparazzi, it is Ground Hog Day - which is still another foreshadowing of whether spring will be "early" or still another six weeks away. A seemingly common 'thread' throughout all of the above mentioned feasts/festivals are the symbols of hope, light, warmth, lambs, fertility and emerging new life as the first spring flowers prepare to push through the snow.
What has all this to do with herbs? Consider the recurring theme above of cleansing and purification. About this time of year, when many folks are beginning to feel cabin fever from being house-bound and long for the warmer days when they can begin spring house and yard cleaning, this is the perfect time to reflect on personal cleansing, such as cleaning up one's diet from recent holiday overindulgences. Reducing sugar intake as well as carbs, and adding dark green leafy vegetables will go a long way in preparing for Spring. Cleansing teas or tonics can also help the body eliminate stored wastes and toxins from holiday overeating.
Consider this simple tea to help support the body systems while gently eliminating stored waste. Always try to use organic ingredients! These dried herbs can usually be found in your local health-food store. A part can be anything from a tablespoon to a cup - depending on how much you want to make.
1 part dandelion leaf (supports the kidneys and bladder)
1 part nettle leaf (builds the blood)
2 parts red clover (supports the lymph system)
1 part milky oats (supports the central nervous system)
2 parts hawthorn berry (nourishes the heart muscle and supports the circulatory system)
1/4 part ginger (is warming and gets the blood circulating)
Combine herbs and mix well. To make tea, use 2 teaspoons herb blend per cup of water. Steep for 5 to 7 minutes and strain. Drink up to 4 cups per day as a spring tonic. Store any unused portion in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Note: Any remedies or information listed on this newsletter are from historical references and used for teaching/educational purposes only. The contents are not meant to diagnose, treat, prescribe, cure or substitute consultation with a licensed health-care professional. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
Currently Scheduled Classes
The following classes are scheduled at The Room Above, located at 2 East Main Street, Brookside, NJ. Be sure to check out the other wonderful holistic services and educational classes offered at The Room Above! Visit The Room Above on Facebook
.RSVP by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 201/650-7500. Checks can be made out to Willow Moon Herbals and mailed to PO Box 147, Schooley’s Mtn, NJ 07870, or visit our website and use PayPal to register. Remember to bring th receipt with you.
Saturday, February 4, 2012
Class: "Your Medicinal Backyard"
Oftentimes when a garden or yard gets a little overgrown, ambitious gardeners will pull up every stray botanical that 'looks' like a weed - wholesale! Whole mats of chickweed, clusters of purslane, groundcovers, sorrel, burdock, dandelions or clumps of plantain are discarded and hundreds of years of traditional and indigenous healing medicine is wasted.
This class is presented in a PowerPoint format, and introduces the medicinal side of common weeds that can and do grow in almost everyone's yard. Learn the Latin binomial name, the common name, common growing conditions, medicinal actions, and the common illnesses that these herbs can provide healing. About 40 common herbs/weeds are covered in this class, including trees, spices and even Italian herbs /weeds. A nourishing tea will be sampled.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Class: “Using Your Spice Rack as a Medicine Cabinet”
This class is an introduction to the medicinal properties of culinary herbs commonly used in food preparation. If you have a scratchy throat, or a lingering cough, or your child can't concentrate on their homework or you are simply looking to improve your health but don't know where to start? In this class, we discuss 'spice/culinary' herbs from a medicinal point of view and also sample a tea. We generally cover about ten common herbs and 5-10 not-so-common spices used throughout world cuisines.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Class: "Your Apothecary Kitchen"
This class is more 'hands-on' as we discuss and demonstrate how to make your own Kitchen remedies. We will sample a nourishing tea as we learn to make an infused oil, a soothing salve and a stimulating liniment for sore muscles. As a bonus, we'll sample a medicinal liqueur – herbal remedies need not be boring! Attendees take home a sample salve and liniment.
Saturday, April 14, 2012 (**Rescheduled due to snow)
Class: "Embracing Menopause "
The transition through peri-menopause, menopause and finally to post-menopause is a natural process, NOT a deficiency disease or syndrome as it is commonly viewed and treated in conventional allopathic medicine. This class does not treat Menopause as an isolated process, but encompasses the entire transition cycle and examines diet, exercise and the medicinal botanicals to support the body systems herbally for a healthier menopause transition. Attendees will sample a nourishing tea during class.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Italian American Heritage Club of Hunterdon County, at Perryville Inn, Perryville, NJ, 7:30PM,
Class: "Using You Spice Rack as a Medicine Cabinet", including Erbe medicinali della Sicilia.
Note: This class is specific to the Italian American Heritage Club. We can tailor a class to fit your group, club, classroom, scout troop, church group or other organization. Contact us today!
The following classes are scheduled at the Essex County Environmental Center, located at 621 Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland, NJ
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Time: 10:30AM - 12:30PM
Class: "Your Apothecary Kitchen"
Link to Class info and Registration with ECEC
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Time: 10:30AM - 12:30PM
Class: "Wetlands Herb Walk"
Link to Herb Walk info and Registration with ECEC
Watch for our new class being coordinated with the Rutgers Holistic Medicine Student Association in New Brunswick later this Spring!