Thursday, February 20, 2014

Global Food Toxicity: Myth or Fact?

I received this disturbing email today, and while I don't agree with everything that is stated, what bothers me the most is that many people will just shrug it off:

Health-conscious people have known for a long time that fast-food, prepared-food and processed foods are neither nutritious nor health-giving.  Monsanto and Big AG are NOT your friends, and round-up ready 'anything' doesn't belong anywhere near your plate, let alone your yard for your pets and kids to play on.

This blog post is not meant to instill fear, but to create anger - healthy anger - so that people wake up and take responsibility for their own health.  Medicinal botanicals, local wild edibles and growing our own fresh fruit and vegetables is one place to start.  The 'medicine of the people' is a vanishing reality:  100 years ago, most families knew at least 300-400 herbs, weeds, leaves, roots, seeds, shrubs and trees    ...and their medicinal and food uses in order to stay healthy.

Even in spite of 24"+ of chemical snow (also myth or fact?) on the ground, I INTEND to plant a garden again this year, and make it larger, if possible.  Use heirloom, heritage and organic seeds and plants ONLY!  Spring will be here in 4-1/2 weeks to northwest NJ, and wild edible greens begin appearing by early April. 

In April/May, we begin our outdoor Wild Edibles workshops.  Check our website and blog for a program near you in NJ/Northeast PA, or contact us directly for a personal or private weed-walk/herb-walk on your property or for your group, organization or club.  Email:

Knowledge is power, my friends.  And applied Knowledge is FREEDOM!
KNOW your wild edibles from their toxic look-alikes.

Namaste and Green Blessings!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Celebrating Imbolc!

Celebrating Imbolc/Candlemas!

Welcome to our seasonal newsletter! 

The northeast is again experiencing a rather snowy winter:  we are digging out from winter storm Maximus and the next one, Nika, is expected to arrive within 24 hours potentially adding an additional 6-8" to the 8.5" that we received Monday.   (I don't even want to mention the 24-30"+ that is forecast for this coming Sunday/Monday...)  As I put the finishing touches on this issue, the gorgeous new crescent moon is hovering in the western sky after a truly beautiful snowy day! 

Since October, we have been regularly visiting with our stone medicine wheel which is nestled at the entrance to one of the teaching gardens.  Our winter goal is to build a stronger relationship with the elemental realms.  At the end of October, it was the suggestion of Ilona Hress of Growing Consciousness that earth stewards created a stone medicine wheel outside in our yards to lend an air of calm since the last two October's each brought a severe, violent storm to the northeast.    At the request of the crystal realm, we left it in place for the winter months and now understand the needed support having just come through two of the most bitter cold spells in recent memory.    When we remember that we are all connected, and that what effects one aspect of nature impacts the whole fabric of our collective Oneness, we begin to see and understand our interrelatedness with new eyes.  

In this issue, we re-introduce the earth holiday of Imbolc/Candlemas:  (pronounced im-bolk) or Candlemas, Imbolg, Bride's day, Oimelc, and Brid's day is the second holiday on the wheel of the year occurring around February 1st or 2nd -- in the deepest, coldest heart of the winter.
  It is not a coincidence that Groundhog Day is placed over the top of this ancient Celtic feast, which is also known in the modern christian world at St. Brigid's Day.

The Feast of Brigid, a goddess associated with the fruit of the earth and the fire of the hearth.  A shrine to her was located in Kildare, where a holy well and eternal healing fire was kept by priestesses of this goddess.  Because country folk were slow to change their customs of worship, the Celtic Brigid was slowly subsumed into the church's canon of saints as Christianity spread throughout Europe.  Additionally, the life of a human Bridget was entwined with the mythos of the mother goddess, Brigit.  The mortal Bridget lived in the 5th century and consecrated her life to religion.  Bridget's emphasis on education, teaching, charity, creativity, poetry, smithcraft and healing were also the hallmarks of the mother goddess worshipped by the earlier Celts, thereby making the local country peasants more receptive to Christianity.

However you choose to celebrate this holiday remember to be gentle with the earth and mindful of her limited resources.

Green Blessings!
Donna at Willow Moon Herbals

In this issue:

Celebrating Imbolc/Candlemas!

Imbolc/Candlemas"In a season of dark and cold, let the Imbolg candles glow
Spark our hopes and warm the hearth,
and welcome light's return to Earth.

Beyond the darkness of winter, there is an oasis of light and warmth on the journey from solstice to spring.  Known as Candlemas, Imbolg, Brigantia, or Lupercalia, it is a hope-filled celebration held in early February to welcome the returning light and the promise of spring.  Candlemas sheds light on the origins, lore, and customs of this ancient holy day."  (from the back cover)

This is a wonderful book that can introduce you to the Feast of Flames.  By February 1st, the daylight has increased noticeably from the Winter Solstice which was only six weeks prior.   No matter what the groundhog says, Spring is only a mere six weeks from now.  Even though the festivities, lights and pagentry of the Yule Holidays is past, the winter doesn't have to look so bleak because the sun is strengthening, the days are lengthening and it is even a little easier to withstand the snowy-ness of February knowing that fairer weather IS only six weeks away.