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Women's Wellness

08 October 2017

Sister Love at the Herbal Conference

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

As the Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference has grown, our Unity Village, has become the heart of the conference, which includes a gathering place for women of color as well as opportunities for all women to build bridges of understanding.

por 2013 10 smiling croppedThe conference focuses on women’s health, from a perspective of empowerment and self love, including overcoming internalized oppression for all women. For women of color, day-to-day experiences of systemic racism, micro-aggressions, and internalized oppression add up to health risk factors. Therefore, we consider dynamics of racism an important component of women’s health to address, individually and communally.

To provide a special sacred space for women of color attending the Herbal Conference, the Sister Love Deck within Unity Village was founded in 2010 by Olatakumboh Obasi. At the Sister Love Deck, women of color are welcomed to gather to honor the healing legacy of our black and brown grandmothers and ancestors . . . For many centuries the suppressed earth-based practices of People of Color went underground in order to protect and preserve knowledge for future generations. In honor of our grandmothers, we join to reclaim our ancient wisdom.

28 August 2017

Women's Professional Training Course with Dr. Aviva Romm

Written by Flora, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Women's Wellness

As you may know, we are very proud to bring Dr. Aviva Romm to the herbal conference this year.  Throughout our mothering years, our staff have personally relied on Aviva’s work, including classics such as The Natural Pregnancy Book and Naturally Healthy Babies & Children. She is also the author of one of the leading natural medicine textbooks for women, Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health.

Aviva ad for newsletter smallAfter over two decades as a herbalist and home birth midwife, Aviva was called to go to Yale medical school to build upon that Wise Woman foundation.  Now, after years in medical practice, she is equipped to change the way women’s health is being approached in modern medicine. 

If you are a practitioner of women’s health, you may be interested in a new extensive professional training that Aviva is offering.  She has created an in-depth program for health professionals that synthesizes traditional women’s healing wisdom with the best of what conventional medicine has to offer.  This professional training presents her wealth of knowledge and experience to us as health practitioners who want to also help women take back their health - wisely, effectively, safely - and transformationally.

17 July 2017

Becoming Health Rebels

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Do It Yourself, Sisterhood, Women's Wellness

Corinna Wood interviews Dr. Aviva Romm

In preparation for the annual fall Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference, Corinna Wood interviews Aviva Romm about her work with supporting women in "overcoming overwhelm" and getting out of S.O.S. (Survival Overdrive Syndrome), as well as some of the root causes of trauma and oppression that contribute to these health issues in the first place. Aviva Romm is a midwife, herbalist, and Yale-trained MD, bridging the best of traditional medicine with good science for over three decades.

Corinna: Aviva, what is SOS, and how does it impact women you see in your practice?

Aviva Romm 400x400Aviva: SOS is a term I coined which means Survival Overdrive Syndrome, and it's based on a few things: one, it started because so many of my patients were coming in and saying things like, "Aviva, Dr. Aviva, I feel like I'm constantly in overdrive. I feel like I'm always stuck in survival mode. I feel like I'm going from one thing to the next, and I can't turn off the stress. I'm constantly overwhelmed." I started to pay attention to the words women were using and at the same time started looking at the impact of various contributors to health and imbalance on what symptoms that they were exhibiting, for example brain fog, forgetfulness, poor concentration, weight gain, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, hormonal problems, insulin resistance, anxiety, depression, fertility challenges, mood challenges.

Corinna: You seem to view sleep as a form of medicine. I love that. How has your perspective on that developed, and would you share some of your personal and/or professional experience regarding benefits of sleep for women's health?

Aviva: Sleep actually is medicine, and it's particularly important medicine for SOS because much as we like to think of ourselves as modern human creatures, and much as science likes to tell us that nature is unimportant and science can always win over nature, the reality is that as human beings we are hardwired to be in harmony and relationship with our planet, including the 24-hour cycle of the Earth around the sun. That's called our circadian rhythm. Cortisol is released on what's called a diurnal rhythm, which means it's got two 12-hour cycles. Those 12-hour cycles together make up that circadian rhythm. Cortisol should be high in the morning, decrease throughout the day and be much lower at night to where it reaches its lowest point about midnight or 1:00 AM or so and then it starts to go up again.

30 May 2017

The 9 Elements of a Sexually Empowered Life

Written by Flora, Posted in Self Love, Women's Wellness

From Amy Jo Goddard

Amy Jo Goddard taught Turning Up and Turning On Your On Fire Sexuality at the 2016 Herbal Conference. Here are some of her insightful suggestions for sexual healing and empowerment.

land 2013 10 lake eden night square 600x600Element 1. VOICE

Excavate & Rewrite Your Sexual Story
You have an internal and external sexual voice. Rewriting your sexual story means looking clearly at your sexual experiences – the painful ones as well as the exciting and pleasurable ones. Examining the beliefs you carry around your sexuality, what it means to be a sexual person and the messages that you may have internalized without realizing it helps you to reorganize your beliefs about sexuality so you can claim your true voice. When you work on this step, you give yourself the gift of releasing the parts of it that no longer serve you or do not embody the sexual person you are becoming.

Element 2. RELEASE

Make Space for the Sexual Self You’ve Been Waiting For
There are many things that get in the way of you having the sexuality you truly want. This element is about making room so your true sexual self can come in. As you identify beliefs about who you need to be, your sexual shame, guilt and trauma, and the many other perspectives that have blocked your own sexual magnificence and expression, you can release what you do not need and move into your ideal sexual self.

10 May 2017

Making Motherwort Tincture

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Women's Wellness

Motherwort goddess 450x600Open up a Wise Woman medicine chest and chances are, you will find motherwort tincture.

Easy to grow in a garden, motherwort often finds her way into the paths and new beds. She is is in the mint family—relax, though, she’s not like peppermint. Motherwort spreads by seed, and not by creeping roots.

Like all plants in the mint family, motherwort has square stems, opposite leaves and double lipped flowers. Motherwort's leaves, though, are maple shaped. And unlike most other mints, Motherwort is not aromatic and is quite bitter to the taste—some say it tastes like chocolate!

Botanically Motherwort is known as Leonurus Cardiaca which translates to lion-hearted! She is well known as an ally for the heart and circulatory system.

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.

31 January 2017

Racial Justice Work

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Sisterhood, Women's Wellness

kifukristenKifu Faruq and Kristin Wilson have been offering their invaluable racial justice dialogue and training at the Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference for several years. We are delighted that they are now offering their combined services to the broader community through Solutionary Apothecary.

Solutionary Apothecary offers a number of services for the important work of supporting people in dismantling white supremacy culture, in their lives, work, and communities.

Their four part video series called "Race Talk" provides the building blocks for racial justice education and community work. 

The last video of the series, What To Do In The Next 100 Days, includes a step by step on how to hold space for yourself and friends/family for healing (to grieve, feel, share vulnerabilities), resources to educate and grow together, reflect and then strategize together post-election. There is a video specifically for White folks by Kristin, and another for People of Color by Kifu. Their Race Talk video series is full of great information including more resources.

Kristin also just taught a class on Dismantling White Supremacy in Amy Jo Goddard's virtual series, "Calling In White Women." And she is now preparing a curriculum for White folks to join her in Dismantling White Supremacy.

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.

09 November 2016

Fave stories from the Herbal Conference

Written by Flora, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Sisterhood, Women's Wellness

2016.10 jk 40 600 x 401The 12th annual women's herbal conference in Black Mountain, NC this October, on “Plants as Medicine, Plants as Healers,” received rave reviews, as a joyful weekend of connection, meaning, education, and celebration. According to the survey results, the conference met or exceeded expectations for 98% of you! We've been savoring the sweet stories and love notes that have been pouring in, from teachers, volunteers, vendors, and participants alike.

The following popular classes topped the charts: "Mugwort and Motherwort", "Stones for Power", "Infinite Orgasm", "Cherokee Household Medicine", and "Herbs, Slavery, and the South". And we are hearing that across the board, participants loved the range and quality of the topics covered.

04 October 2016

The Herbal Conference is almost here

Written by Flora, Posted in Announcements, Herbal Medicine, Sisterhood, Women's Wellness

We hope to see you there!

class 2008 10 under trees EDIT low resWe're on our way 12th annual Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference! On the weekend of October 14-16, we are blessed to have over 50 inspiring and knowledgeable teachers coming to share their wisdom, as well as the hundreds of hardworking volunteers, and all you wonderful women that bring this event to life every year! With over a thousand women registered, we're now in the final stages of preparations, from measuring layouts at the camp, to completing the volunteer schedules.

We hope you'll come join the wise woman tribe that gathers annually in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and see for yourself what the buzz is all about. For up-to-date information on registration and availability, see our FAQ page.

 

02 June 2016

Herbal Oils & Salves

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Women's Wellness

Foundations in Medicine Making - Part 5

calendula salveHerbal constituents can be released into and stored in various solutions such as water, oil, vinegar and alcohol. Some liquids (called menstruums in herbal medicine making) facilitate the release of different compounds and can be more or less effective depending on the plant and it's properties. Below are several different techniques for extracting herbs with oil from Ceara Foley's class at the 2016 Herbal Conference.

Infused Oils

Oils are an effective way to introduce herbs directly on and through the skin. I prefer to use olive oil for medicinal purposes due to its healing properties and long shelf life and almond or apricot oil for massage and skin care.

23 May 2016

Syrups & Elixirs

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Women's Wellness

Foundations in Medicine Making - Part 4

elderberry syrupHerbal constituents can be released into and stored in various solutions such as water, oil, vinegar and alcohol. Some liquids (called menstruums in herbal medicine making) facilitate the release of different compounds and can be more or less effective depending on the plant and it's properties. Below are several different techniques for extracting herbs in syrups from Ceara Foley's class at the 2016 Herbal Conference.

Syrups

Syrups are generally made to help with the flavors of herbs, especially for children. I like syrups just for variety’s sake. There are many methods handed down from our ancestors. I have adapted this first one from Rosemary Gladstar’s teachings to include my own experiences and tastes.

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:

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