Welcome to our seasonal newsletter!
On February 1, Imbolc, also known as St. Brigid's day, is the first chilly harbinger of the season. The Irish climate is more mild than ours, so for the ancient Celts, February 1 was their first day of spring. Calling it "Imbolc" (from the words for 'ewe's milk' or 'in the belly', depending on your source) because pregnant sheep and cows began to lactate at this time. In the US, our Groundhog Day (Feb 2) celebrations with the anticipation of spring is a leftover from the Celtic belief that magical animals come out of hibernation at this time.
Even in the cold northeast, Imbolc begins to show the early signs of approaching spring: the daylight is noticeably longer and there is a new, vibrant energy in the air. Have you noticed that more birds are singing in the early morning? And even a few hardy plants sometimes begin to show their first shoots. However, most of the activity is still underground. Imbolc celebrates the strengthening sun and also the waking of seeds that are beginning to stir in their cold winter beds.
Donna at Willow Moon Herbals
We're living in powerful times. 2013 ushers in the long-awaited dawning of the age of the divine feminine!
The stirrings of early spring have traditionally been celebrated at Imbolc, February 1, at the halfway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. In the many early February holidays celebrated around the world, we give gratitude--tending our sacred spaces, blessing our tools, lighting our candles for the return of the spring.
This year, on the early February tradition of Valentine's Day, many of you are connecting with the V-Day One Billion Women Rising Movement. This global activist movement calls for an end to violence against women and girls, and is inspired by Eve Ensler, writer of the Vagina Monologues. To learn more about the movement and events in your area, visit www.VDay.org
In this issue:
In addition to the celebrations and definitions I mentioned above, Imbolc is also devoted to Brigid, a fiery, independent ancient Celtic goddess of poetry, smithcraft and healing. Brigid is all about the transformative power of fire, which we need right now as an antidote or balm for the drudgery of endless gray days, seemingly endless cold, ice and dirty snow. Fire's transformative power is also about fire in the forge/hearth, fire in the poet's mind, and of course, fire in the healer's hands. The Celebration of Imbolc is the perfect time to reflect and write a poem, or to take the time to make a special craft (weaving of Brigid's Crosses out of wheat or rushes is traditional, as is candle-making) or to perform hands-on healing for someone you love!
Brigid's Broth of Inspiration (from Cait Johnson's book, listed below)
2 Tabs olive oil
3 leeks, white parts only, washed well and cut into 1/2" rounds
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1/4 teasp cayenne
6 cups vegetable broth or water
sea salt to taste
handful of garlic-mustard greens, coarsely chopped
1-2 cups croutons
4-6 dollops sour cream
sprouts for garnish
In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the leeks, red pepper and carrot and heat, stirring occasionally, until barely tender. Sprinkle vegetables with paprika and cayenne to taste. As you sprinkle, visualize Brigid's fiery energy filling the pot; the cheery orange-red color is a warming reminder of her vivid hair and of the sun that is slowly bringing the frozen earth back to life.
Cover the vegetables with the vegetable broth or water and sea salt to taste. Bring to a boil and cook, covered, for 15 mins. Add the handful of garlic-mustard greens. If garlic mustard is unavailable in your area, you can substitute parsley or watercress. As you stir these into the broth, think of the green of the new plants just beginning to sprout and grow outdoors. This same green vitality is now a part of your soup. Continue cooking for 2 or 3 minutes.
Place several croutons into individual bowls, ladle soup into the bowls, and top each serving with a dollop of sour cream. Arrange two or three of the sprouts on the sour cream. There you have it: a broth as fiery as Brigid's hair, topped with sprouts emerging from the snow - a warming and reviving homage to spring's return!
(Sources: "Herbal Rituals" by Judith Berger; "Witch in the Kitchen: Magical Cooking for All Seasons" by Cait Johnson)
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.
"The Red Tent Movie: Things We Don't Talk About" There's a deep recognition among us as women about how the Red Tent Movement can meet a hunger we have to connect with our sisters in sacred space. The Red Tent Movie DVD's are now available and can be ordered online, so you can curl up at home and learn all about the Red Tent Movement~ Click here to use our referral link and order yours!
(Note: We are coordinating with two local holistic centers to organize a mini-screening - check our website and FB page for more details coming soon!)
Holistic Consciousness of One!
A new Holistic Practitioners support and Community networking group in Chester, NJ!
Finding a home within the historic business district of Chester enables the Holistic Consciousness of One to reach out to and provide a central meeting place for holistic practitioners and folks interested in learning more about holistic modalities within the surrounding communities. Meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month from 7:00PM - 8:45 PM.
So spread the word! Come and join us as we support each other and work collectively to promote all holistic healing modalities and build our Holistic Community. Visit their website for updates, community events and speaker schedules: www.hcoo.org
RSVP to Sue at The Art of the Heart, 908/879-3937 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Currently Scheduled Classes
Unless noted otherwise, RSVP by email to: email@example.com 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 the receipt with you.
Classes at The Art of the Heart in Chester! http://www.theartoftheheart-chester.com. Be sure to check out the other wonderful holistic classes on their website calendar. They also have a new Healer's Co-op!
Classes at The Room Above! 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 their website calendar: www.theroomabove.com or The Room Above on Facebook
Saturday, February 16, 2013
Class: "Therapeutic Herbal Elixirs and Cordials"
Who said herbal medicine has to taste bad? Using everyday ingredients - and a few exotic ones - can help make your herbal remedies taste delicious and you can have fun with herbal elixirs and cordials. In this class you will learn about therapeutic tonics and herbal blends for vitality and energy, calm and relaxation, and even how to spice things up! Using some of nature's most luxurious and luscious ingredients, we'll make elixirs and cordials that you can adapt and make yourself at home or to give as gifts. Come prepared to sample a variety of medicinal elixirs and cordials.
(Note: Contains alcohol! Students must be 21 years old to sample and participate.)
Saturday March 23, 2013
Class: "Your Apothecary Kitchen"
Time: 1:30-3:30PM (2 hours)
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.
Other Classes by Date:
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Location: Garden Club of Hunterdon Hills
Class: "Your Medicinal Backyard"
This class is presented in a powerpoint format, and introduces folks to the medicinal side of common weeds that can and do grow in almost everyone's yard. Students will learn the latin binomial name, the common name, common growing conditions, medicinal actions, and common illnesses that can benefit from each herb.
About 40 common herbs/weeds are covered in the core class. Additional classes cover trees, spices and even Italian herbs/weeds. This class can be tailored to include any or all of the above listed herbs/weeds.
Note: This class is tailored to the requests of the Garden Club of Hunterdon Hills. We can customize a class to fit your group, garden club, classroom, scout troop, church group, senior center, arboretum or other organization. Contact us today!
More classes are pending, so be sure to check our website for updates: