Aug 12, 2013

Natural Dyes Workshop

Yesterday, I spent the day at Wildcraft Studio School learning about natural dyeing. The workshop was called 'The Color of Place: Natural Dyes from Weeds & Wilds of The Columbia Gorge'. It was so much fun! Can I spend every weekend like this?! Learning the dyeing applications of plants I know from a herbal medicinal background was like learning an old friend has a secret hidden talent. I really appreciated interacting with these plants on this different level and the range of colors achieved was such a surprise. We experimented with Oregon Grape Root,  Horsetail, Walnut, Elderberry, Goldenrod and Queen Anne's Lace. My favorites were the Oregon Grape Root's rich purple/pink and the Walnut's deep shades of brown. We also learned a bit of Shibori techniques, a traditional Japanese dyeing technique of folding and stitching fabric to create patterns, which I hope to practice again soon.
Preparing Elderberry and Queen Anne's Lace dye bath

Lunchtime






Chelsea and Maja

Chelsea's garden is full of food, flowers and dye plants


Aug 8, 2013

Summer Constellations



Summer is such a great time for stargazing, especially here in the Pacific Northwest  (because you can actually see the stars in our dry summer season!!) The Persied meteor showers are culminating this weekend so the starry sky is really in our consciousness right now. To remind us all of our connection to the stars we did a collaboration with Bruce of Fortress Letterpress. We asked our friend Cheryl to write an introduction to these Constellations so we might better understand their importance and meaning. There is so much wisdom in the stars for all of us to access and we hope this collaboration helps begin that inner dialogue and journey. We have a few of these beautiful print sets available in our shop
 
 
THE STORIES IN THE STARS // Cheryl Mulholland



Ah, to not be cut off,

not through the slightest partition

Shut out from the law of the stars.

The inner----what is it?

if not intensified sky,

hurled through with birds and deep

with the winds of homecoming.



                                 Rainer Marie Rilke



In ancient times the language of the stars was understood. There was a different kind of awareness for this earlier humanity. Human beings could still experience the spiritual, energetic dimension of existence. They read in the stars patterns of living streaming forces of energy that affected weather and agriculture, human life and behavior, and revealed human destiny. The ancient star myths and legends seem strange to our modern way of thinking and being.  We have grown distant from seeing the world as animate with a soul. We live as strangers in a strange land. But, we are arriving at a new threshold of awareness. This too was prophesied in the stars. The great Mayan astronomers foretold of this new consciousness as the Fifth Sun. This Fifth Sun is the awakening of our own sun-hearts. Through our awakened hearts we can again speak with the stars. Just like we can commune with a tree, we can commune with the stars. They long for us to hear their stories, which contain the original wisdom, and remind us of our primal origin and star bright heritage. We can follow the sun’s passage through the twelve constellations of the zodiac, listening for their guidance and teachings.



This installment presents four constellations beginning with the sun’s ascending arc to the heights of summer and returning to the fall equinox. May you behold this wondrous journey with open hearts and a deep sense of gratitude. (Please note the dates given for the sun in these constellations accords with the astronomical sidereal zodiac. This differs from tropical astrology which has a different focus.)



GEMINI THE HEAVENLY TWINS

 
Gemini, the Sign of the Twins, is an air sign and rules reason, intelligence, the lungs, and the arms and shoulders. These twin stars depict the beauty of symmetry. The stars that gather in the constellation of Gemini portray the ideals of partnership, and brother and sisterhood.  The task of Gemini is to transform polarity into relationship. In the working together of the two lungs and our two arms, we find a perfect marriage- the exemplary partnership of left and right. This cooperation of polarity, also seen in the two eyes and ears, is an example of  ‘two working as one.’  This harmony is also reflected in our true intelligence. The left and right brain and have different capacities, yet both are needed. When logic and intuition are synchronized we can reason and make reasonable decisions for the well being of all people and for our ailing planet. Our thinking must be nurtured by the wisdom of our heart! The starry script of Gemini tells the tale of two brothers Castor and Pollux.  Though they were born of the same father, they had different mothers. One twin was mortal and the other immortal. When Castor the mortal brother was killed, Pollux, who loved his brother more than his life, begged Zeus that his earthly brother be allowed to share his immortality. Zeus granted this request by placing them together in the heavens as the constellation of Gemini. Contemplate the love of these starry twins to receive inspiration about the inner harmony of feeling and thinking, and about finding harmony with anything or anyone you may name as ‘other’. Gemini teaches that we that we are all of the same origin. The peoples of the earth are called upon to know one another and work together in mutual appreciation and understanding. We must find a way to share the gift of life granted to us from above.


 
 CANCER THE HEAVENLY CRAB



The constellation of Cancer has two spiraling arms and resembles an image of the galaxy. The starry crab is a water sign and rules the breast and rib cage. The bones of the rib cage also spiral, mirroring the heavenly spiral, to create a protective chamber for the heart and lung.  Here we see an example of: “As Above, So Below.” This is what was taught in the ancient mystery schools. Everything on earth originated from the heavens, and mirrors heavenly archetypes. We need only learn to read the languages of the starry script and the book of nature and wonderful secrets are revealed.  The Greeks named this constellation Praesepe, the beehive. The stories of this constellation bear images of movement in and out, like bees who fly forth and bring nectar back to the hive, like the crab who moves between within and without, like the tidal waters and the eddies in a stream, and like the rising and falling of our breast as we breath. The pulse of life is rhythm. Balance is not static, but a rhythmic pulse between opposites. In Gemini we learned to harmony opposites within, and recognize our kinship with our brothers and sisters. Now in the spiraling arms of the sign of Cancer we contemplate the vast ocean of cosmic life in which we live, and connect to the Divine Breathing of Existence that shapes and breathes us. Commune with the stars in the summer sky and feel their pulsing creative forces streaming towards you and within your very breath.





LEO THE HEAVENLY LION



Throughout antiquity, both the lion and the constellation of Leo have been identified with the Sun. The Egyptian astronomers taught that on the first day of creation, the Sun first rose in Leo. Temples along the Nile were adorned with this sign. Strength, energy, and enthusiasm are qualities associated with the both the Heavenly Lion and earthly lions.  The mighty Lion has been a chosen emblem of courage throughout many cultures, including some of the Royal Houses of Europe. The constellation of Leo is a fire sign, and is still considered the House of the Sun, governing the human heart and circulation. The human heart is an inner sun. Just as the Sun radiates life to our solar system in the macrocosm, the heart regulates life and vitality in the human being as the microcosm. This relationship of the heavenly to the earthly was the basis for ancient star wisdom. To guide our earthly actions according to the stars was understood by ancient and indigenous peoples as vital to personal and world harmony. The word consider, stems from siderus, the Latin word for star. To consider is to be with the stars. Contemplate the magnificent aura of the sun radiating life throughout the solar system, and the power of love that shines in your own sun-heart. Commune with the spirit of the rising sun as it moves through the summer constellations to strengthen your heart for deeds of love and service to the world.




VIRGO THE HEAVENLY VIRGIN  



With soft, majestic grace the maiden Virgo is figured holding a sheath of wheat in her right hand. Thus she is associated with the Divine Feminine and life-giving energy that produces the Fruits of the Earth. For the Greeks she was Demeter and for the Romans Ceres- Goddesses of the Harvest. How artful that she rules both the digestion, and the womb.  This constellation is an Earth sign, and relates to the Heart of the Mother. The Egyptians knew her as Holy Isis. The Peruvians called her the Harvest Goddess and in the Euphrates region she was Ishtar.

Contemplate this grouping of stars as the Divine Mother of All Creation. Note how she follows the powerful fire sign of Leo. As the fertile womb she receives the forces of the sun and brings forth the fruits of the earth.  She is the womb. From her we have received our life. In Cancer we discovered ourselves breathing in the rhythms of existence. Gaze out to the Milky Way and feel the nourishment flowing from the Divine Heart of Creation. Celebrate and offer gratitude to the starry beings and rejoice at how living energy currents stream creative into earthly existence.  Remember- all is made from stardust and is birthed in the womb of the Divine Mother.




Cheryl Mulholland is an inspired teacher and devoted student. She studies the Book of Nature by day and the Starry Script by night.  She shares her love of both realms through teaching Cosmic and Sacred Dance, the Mysteries of the Divine Feminine, and biodynamic agriculture. Cheryl is storyteller and a storywriter. The Quest for the Holy Grail keeps her very busy.






Aug 6, 2013

Seasonal Herbalism Class at Wildcraft Studio School

In early July, we taught a workshop on seasonal herbalism in White Salmon, Washington. The class was hosted by the amazing Chelsea Heffner of Wildcraft Studio School. They offer classes on a variety of crafts including weaving, natural dyeing and printmaking- such an inspiring place! We spent the morning hiking the grassy plateaus of the Columbia Gorge identifying the wild medicinal plants. Then in the afternoon, we created a thyme-infused honey, fire cider that we buried in Chelsea's garden, and St. John's wort oil. Kristen and I ended the day picking cherries at a nearby orchard; a perfect summer's day. We enjoyed teaching so much and we hope to offer more workshops in the future!
beautiful looms in the workshop space







beginning our herb walk on the property



all set up for making fire cider

we gathered at the table to have a proper sit-down meal and enjoyed a beautiful lunch of salads, pesto and quiche

Aug 5, 2013

Summer Share Pick Up



We had our Summer share pick up back on the Solstice and it was so nice to get to see our local members both new and old. Thanks for coming out and supporting us! We put so much work into each share and it really is magical to watch it all come together. We hope all these remedies help you have an amazing summer full of adventure.
                                                    

                                                honey cake + whipped cream + plums

Thank you Page and Sahara for letting me snip from your gardens to make these arrangements!