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Corinna's Corner

22 March 2017

Spring equinox greens

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants

Dandelion & nettles are popping up

Are you feeling the stirring of springtime? Sensing the plants calling you? We are now at equinox!

nettle dandy low resIt’s been a challenging winter--recently we've seen nature’s elements freezing back tender plant shoots (or burying them in snow, depending on where you live). The herbs and flowers are looking a bit ruffled, with dead leaves around their shoulders as they are emerging from the underground time of year.

And we may feel the same way, gazing around in wonder at the world beginning to blossom around us. We may also be surprised by our own strength and resilience--like the plants, finding the stamina to survive through challenging times.

Dandelion and nettles are two favorite early spring greens for wise woman herbalists to bring into the kitchen.

13 March 2017

Honoring Girls

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Sisterhood, Women's Wellness

2015.4.3 corinna nettles med cropLike the buds of spring, girls embody vitality, curiosity, strength and resilience. At the same time, our girls are facing serious challenges and traumas in these times. In recent months, women have been calling attention to the concerns for safety and education for women and girls around the world.

Like many mothers, I am deeply concerned about the environment for girls growing up today, starting with the their relationship with food and their own bodies. Media images and messaging suggest there is something wrong with girls’ bodies, or that they have to be a certain way to be accepted. The pressure to fit in or please others teaches girls that it is not safe to be too much, too loud, or too smart.  

Patterns learned during girlhood, often continue into our lives as adult women. In my own journey towards physical health and healing, I am becoming more and more aware of the impact of systemic sexism and emotional trauma on women’s bodies.

The women’s herbal community recognizes that adrenal fatigue is an important issue for women and an underlying source of many common women’s health problems.

I have also come to understand that when trauma happens over a long period of time in an environment where we see no way out, as is often the case for daughters subject to abuse and neglect, it can have lasting impacts on our identity, personality, brain and neurological development, creating false belief systems that undermine our emotional and physical health.

06 February 2017

Winter Herbal Kitchen

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine

In this winter season when we don’t have the fresh herbs handy, like our foremothers, we rely on herbs that we have preserved for the winter. I drink nettle infusion almost every day, covering a cup of the dried herb with a quart of boiling water in the evenings, to steep overnight and heat up the next day for my warm mugs of infusion.

2017.1 newsletter reishi lo resThis week, I’ve also been enjoying brewing three other dried herbs, each in her own water-based form of extraction--depending on which method optimizes the medicinal properties of that particular herb.

I was delighted to find local reishi mushroom at the food coop in Asheville last week. I am adding a handful of the dried slices to each pot of bone broth, for the adaptogenic and deep immune support that reishi offers.

Similar to making stock, a long slow simmering is the most potent way to extract the medicinal properties of reishi, which adds a rich, deeper flavor to the bone broth. As the name suggests, adaptogens support our bodies and hormonal systems to adapt to a wide range of circumstances and changes, both physically and emotionally.

24 January 2017

How are the women of our tribe responding?

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Self Love, Sisterhood, Women's Wellness

2016 snow ballJanuary blessings. We just had our first snow here in North Carolina, a big treat! I've been savoring the sparkling and stunning beauty of Mother Earth blanketed in winter. And getting out for snowball fights, has also been an opportunity to let loose some of the righteous anger that's been up for me these days!

Many of us have been processing a lot internally and with those around us in relation to the recent political turn of events. Racism and misogyny, which have been less apparent to some in recent years, and are now glaring. Perhaps as a result, November exit polls showed a growing feminist majority: voters who now self-identify as feminists have grown to 59% of women, and 33% of men.

Our collective gathering this October was truly a source of deep inspiration and wisdom for all of us, a taste of the world that we want to see. When women gather, in small groups and large, we not only nourish ourselves, but also raise our consciousness and build our capacity as change agents, both personal and planetary.

The focus this year of our October Conference and May Immersion programs is, more than ever, on creating an environment and a knowledge base where all women are valued and celebrated. As we develop our skills and knowledge--and recognize, respect, and validate our unique and varied experiences as women--we overcome both societal and internalized oppression of women and girls. Together, we create empowering and inspiring spaces for women to come home to ourselves.

How are women of our wise woman tribe responding? You're invited to listen to some of our women's conference teachers share in their own words, below. As we continue to weave our web, we draw strength from one another. As Clarissa Pinkola Estes says, "My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times."

Eaglesong Evans GardenerEagleSong Gardener - Gathering with sisters in NC was a well of inspiration and wisdom for me and others with whom I connected. This is the first winter in many moons that I have truly enjoyed the simple natural rhythm of the season. And, this is my theme for the coming year. Simple natural rhythms . . . the ones that lie below the skin, even below the flesh.

The rhythms running through me this winter are rhythms from the very bones of earth, our ancestors and all of those who have walked before us. And, rhythms from the stars . . . the tiny lights above reminding us of vastness, possibility, navigational guides in times of darkness. Rhythms that dance the future alive . . . Now, the path is clearer! Keeping herbal medicine local and accessible in an earth-centered, woman-honoring context/container. Self-care with community support will grow new coalitions we have never before seen.

 

por 2016 SP lucretiaLucretia VanDyke - Last year was a rebirth period for myself. My focus is shifting more to my sacred purpose of helping others reignite their own light. In 2017, I will be working to build holistic wellness programs within communities of people of color. Focusing on conscious eating, skincare, women's herbal health, and holding deep sacred space for self-healing . . .

Each year when I sit in the beautiful women of color space with my sisters, I feel something so sacred, a passion I have long held within my heart to finally have a healthy space to heal in support of people who understand and will hear and hold me up in my story. It brings magic to our soul and creates a vibrational safe-haven for us long after the conference is over. "I know I'm not my sisters keeper, I am my sister!"

05 December 2016

Harvesting your dream wisdom

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Self Love, Women's Wellness

Winter Maiden Tree smallLike many of you, I have been struggling with staying in my body this last moon. With the help of my dreams, I am beginning to integrate the various layers that have come up for me.

I'm still in process with separating the threads, recognizing that I've been feeling traumatized by the recent events—and re-traumatized around past experiences, especially sexual trauma. I know other women have similar feelings. And I imagine this is compounded for people of color and other groups across the nation and the world.

And here we are at the turn of the wheel. At this time between Halloween and Winter Solstice, we are entering the shortest days and longest nights of the year, a time when our bodies are called to sleep and rest. Even the moon is dark now.

As the veils thin at this time of year, we have increased access to other realms, including dream worlds . . . our intuition . . . our inner guidance.

Dreams are by nature ephemeral; they tend to melt away with morning light. In order to fully engage them and receive their gifts, a bit of discipline is necessary. I have found it well worth the effort. Through remembering our dreams—cultivating them and exercising the muscles of recollection—we are able to link our subconscious and conscious minds. In doing this, we strengthen the connection and dialogue between the two and even have greater access to our intuition during our waking hours.

25 October 2016

Honoring the "root season"

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Local Plants

land 2014 10 gravel road lo res 400 x 600We are six weeks from fall equinox. Over the next six weeks we’ll be moving toward the dark, deep winter solstice. This weekend, we are also at the dark of the moon. Here at Earthaven Ecovillage we will be celebrating Halloween, also known as “Samhain,” and the Day of the Dead. What a potent time of year!

Throughout the world, cultures honor the annual waning of the sun as a powerful marker that the veil between the worlds is thinning… and we have the opportunity to connect with the unseen, our ancestors, and our beloved dead. It is a time we can remember those on whose shoulders we stand by sharing a photograph, poem, story or meaningful objects in their memory.

14 September 2016

We are standing on the shoulders

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Sisterhood

of the women who came before us

2016.6 c stones bio head shoulders smallI have been blessed this year to be involved with several other special women’s events. I actually just returned from the last in the annual International Councils of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers (very powerful . . . more on that later!) One of the treasures has been glimpsing my own foremothers, the women of my mother’s generation who laid the groundwork for the rich opportunities we enjoy today. Many of the gatherings and leaders that have shaped women’s music, culture, and spirituality today, began when I was growing up, in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Eaglesong Evans GardenerThis is true in the herbal community as well. In birthing the Southeast Wise Women’s Herbal Conference, I built on foundations laid by my Wise Woman Tradition mentor, Susun Weed, and by the vision of Gail Ulrich, founder of the New England Women’s Herbal Conference, Eaglesong Gardener (my first herbal teacher, right) in the Northwest, and Karen Aguiar and Terri Jensen in California, among others. Their commitment to women’s issues and natural healing inspired me to explore my personal power and the power of women coming together.

02 August 2016

Savoring the beauty of Lammas

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Local Plants, Self Love

2016.6 c stones bio head shoulders lo resAs the shadows lengthen at on these Lammas days—the mid-point between the Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox—the Earth invites us to savor the beauty, the sweetness, and the richness of our lives.

Where do we find the connection and belonging that our hearts so deeply yearn for? In our society, we are often told that one romantic relationship should meet all our needs—rather than relying on a wide-ranging circle of sources. Lammas season invites us to remember that making a connection with a greater spectrum of resources gives us more access to love! That spectrum includes our friends and loved ones, of course, and also plants, water, wild things . . . the Earth herself.

30 June 2016

Snacking on Summer Sorrel

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods

wood sorrel 2Walking in the woods on a hot afternoon or working in the garden, I often find myself nibbling on wood sorrel for thirst-quenching refreshment. This widespread, wild edible is familiar to many—some call it “sour grass” or refer to the tiny fruits as “sorrel pickles”. Children seem particularly fond of foraging and eating those little “pickles”.

Wood sorrel, or Oxalis spp., is particularly abundant in Appalachia and the lemony flavor of the leaves and fruits make it a wonderful trail-side snack or a tasty addition to your wild salads. Although it resembles clover, the cluster of three, heart-shaped “sweetheart” leaves, five-petal, yellow flowers and tiny, cucumber-like seedpods readily identify wood sorrel.

20 June 2016

St. Johnswort Preparations

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants

Make your own bottled sunshine

st johnswort oilThere is no other medicinal herb that bespeaks more of sunshine than St. Johnswort, or St. J’s, as we fondly call it. It loves sunny open places, blooms at the height of summer solstice, soothes the skin after sunburn, and even brings sunshine into our lives through its mood elevating properties. Establish some of this sunny plant in your garden this spring!

The most well known, most widely used species of St. Johnswort is Hypericum perforatum, studied for its uses against depression—especially helpful for the kind of dark moods that come from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). In fact, it is often said that plants grow where they are needed—and St J’s is a prolific “weed” in the Pacific Northwest, where dark and rainy winters contribute to a high number of SAD cases.

23 February 2016

Peppercress: An early spring edible

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants

Have you seen peppercress yet?

2015.3 darrodils 600 x 450The appearance of daffodils and crocus is certainly one of the lovely heralds of spring. Right around this time, my heart also flutters at my first glimpse of peppercress, poking between the cracks in the pavement or peeking out at the edge of my gardens. In the liminal time between the burrowed, reclusive months of winter and the resurgence of the green, peppercress’ tiny white flowers seem so appropriate: fragile, yet determined. I feel hopeful.

Peppercress is one of the first of the wild edibles to reveal herself to us after the dormant season. She’s a member of a very large and distinguished family—brassicacae, formerly known as cruciferae—that includes distant relatives such as kale, cabbage, broccoli, collards and cauliflower, as well as closer kin, like mustard greens.

10 February 2016

Treating anxiety, depression, and stress

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Nourishing Foods, Self Love, Women's Wellness

the Wise Woman Way

So many people are experiencing mood disturbances these days. While the choice to use anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication is a valid one, the increase in use over the past decade has doubled, along with our stress levels. How can we address this issue in our lives on deeper lifestyle level and create more sustainable solutions? My favorite interpretation of the Wise Woman Tradition, which speaks to the heart of this issue, is to:

Live in your body. Speak your truth. Love yourself.

Butter-curd-yogurt 600 x 402Living in your body is all about nourishment, the foundation of the Wise Woman Tradition. If we’re not deeply nourished, it’s very difficult for us to deal with the situational anxiety and depression that comes our way. Most women suffer from a lack of healthy fats in their diets. Healthy fats, like raw organic butter and coconut oil, contribute to a healthy nervous system unlike anything else. A robust nervous system helps us be less emotionally volatile or prone to extreme bouts of anxiety. Reducing or eliminating stimulants will also help get you off the up and down wheel of anxiety.

21 December 2015

Sleep, Darkness and Slowing Down

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Self Love, Women's Wellness

2015.10 moonmilk sun lower wide 2Our lives are so full of activities and stimulation of all kinds. It can be hard to focus on the healing and rest we need; yet nothing contributes to health more than nourishing food and SLEEP. I’ve heard it said that 90% of our healing happens during sleep. This is also the place of the dreamtime, where we renew our spirits and create new visions for the future.

Winter Solstice is a time of long nights – deep, dark, and rich for healing. Millennia of our ancestors would be in darkness for 14 hours a night or more. Here are some suggestions for self care during this time:

03 December 2015

Harvest Dandelion Root

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods

And Make a Tincture

2015.10 moonmilk sun lower wide 2When we start to see frosty nights, perennial herbs send their medicine below the ground to store in their roots over the winter—so this time of year, the roots are at peak potency. Time to dig for medicines!~

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is an herb that has been used medicinally for many generations, but has become detested as a weed today. Dandelion is highly nourishing for the liver and, in today’s world, everyone’s liver is challenged by environmental toxins. It’s ironic: we have dandelion offering herself in great abundance in yards and lawns and gardens—where she is largely disposed of or ignored—at a time when we all could use some liver support!

27 November 2015

Embracing the Darkness

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Self Love, Women's Wellness

red candleThe time of year stretching from Halloween to Winter Solstice is a dark and often intense time, as the seasons of light turn to seasons of dark. The nights are growing longer, and the dark evenings come early. I so treasure the darkness this time of year and the quiet it brings.

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