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Corinna's Corner

22 October 2018

We loved Kanuga Lake!~

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods, Self Love, Sisterhood, Women's Wellness

Herbal Conference 2018

land 2018 KS lake tents loresI'm savoring the herbal conference weekend with the web of women gathering, connecting, and celebrating. Seeing over a thousand women moving about the land, I fell in love with Kanuga even more! As the women arrived on Friday, the sight of the land coming to life with their colorful tents popping up in the grassy field and along the lovely lake shores, brought tears to my eyes.

Women gathered in nooks everywhere, from cottage porches to laying down to soak in the sun on the grass beside the glorious lake. Maple Tree Center was truly the center of the community--some women browsing the teacher resources and scholarship raffle, while others played the piano in the center of the room!

29 September 2018

Rage is a natural and healthy response, sisters

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

Women respond to rape culture


Rape Culture v4This is a hard time, sisters. How are you feeling? Are you grieving, or remembering/reliving old traumas? Feeling confused, or enraged?  

These responses are all healthy and natural. We are standing with and among the survivors. 

Like all of the staff, I am working long days preparing for the conference. In the background, I have been tracking the stories of women in the wake of the senate judiciary committee hearings and the testimony of Christine Basley Ford.  I see rape culture everywhere.

For at least a week,  I have been feeling a low level of rage stirring in my body. At times it intensifies and I pause to allow the emotions to surge through me. A furious bike ride Tuesday morning. Home alone for 15 minutes on Thursday evening, I yell, hitting the bed, and collapse into sobs. Why am I so enraged?

I draw from my needs-based language training, remembering that my feelingsin this case anger and griefpoint me to underlying needs. I ask myself, what needs are not met, by this current display of rape culture? Many needs are not met. Respect. Safety. Valuing. Integrity. Honesty. A shared sense of reality. These are all basic human needs.

09 August 2018

Delicious nutritious coconut oil fudge

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

2018.7 cutting fudge 2 600x450As you may know, nourishment is one of the main tenets of the Wise Woman Tradition, right up there with local plants and self-love.

Unlike the "heroic tradition" which focuses on denial and cleansing (therefore inherently viewing our bodies as dirty), we prefer to nourish our bodies to health and wholeness. For example, rather than doing a liver fast/cleanse, we use herbs like dandelion to support our liver. Because when the liver receives optimum nourishment, it is able to effectively perform its function of filtering the blood!

When I arrived at Susun Weed's home as a young apprentice, I had been very much caught up in the heroic tradition. I fasted regularly and ate a very low-fat vegetarian/vegan diet, unwittingly contributing to nutritional deficiencies that had already begun to manifest in a variety of health issues in my early twenties. Susun helped me recognize that I had been denying myself some of the basic nutrients my body needed—most importantly, the healthy fats.

Around the same time, I discovered Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and the work of the Price Foundation identifying common elements of traditional diets worldwide.

It turns out that across the globe, traditional people received 30-80% of their calories from fats, almost all as saturated fats! This was shocking for me to learn since both mainstream and alternative nutritionists were touting low fat / no fat diets as well as polyunsaturated vegetable oils like canola.

Nowadays, I am relieved to see that more and more people are getting turned on to the healthy fats—including organic butter, olive oil, and coconut oil—as a central food group. And we still have a lot of questions pop up!

03 July 2018

Anise hyssop ~ a family favorite

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

2016.8 annise hyssop planter lo resI wish I could insert a “scratch and sniff” here . . one fragrant whiff, and you would swoon! Outside the Southeast Wise Women offices, the purple double-lipped flowers of anise hyssop are blooming this June. She belongs in the mint family, with the characteristic square stem with opposite leaves. I love to pick a leaf for visitors to taste and wait for their exclamation of surprise that an herb can be so delicious! As the name suggests, her leaves are aromatic, with the sweet flavor of anise.

15 May 2018

Spring woodland wildflowers

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

at Joyce Kilmer

trillium squareWhat a treat to visit the Joyce Kilmer old growth forest near the Smoky Mountain National Park recently . . . Seeing the spring wildflowers in bloom among trees hundreds of years old was like stepping into a fairy land!

Walking along the forest paths, we saw trillium emerging, with her signature triple leaf and flower pattern. Also known as “birth root,” trillium has long been valued by indigenous women. An endangered woodland wildflower, she is one that I only admire, rather than harvest . . .

chickweed squareAnd I loved seeing star chickweed, Stellaria pubera. She is the larger cousin to the common garden chickweed we often eat in salads at home. Star chickweed’s flower is more defined, embodying her name, Stellaria: star flower. 

Like her common cousin, she is edible and delicious. While hiking in the forest, I occasionally nibble a bit as a trailside snack.

06 March 2018

Exciting Conference News

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

I am delighted that an amazing opportunity has opened up for our gathering . . . we have been busy this winter working behind the scenes on a major shift for the conference.  And we are eager to share the big news with you . . . 

The Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference has a new home!

2013 SummerScenic Lake1 Edited WEB 600x430

In seeking a site that could better meet our growing needs, we knew that it had to be a very special and sacred place for our wild and wonderful web of women . . . a location steeped in natural beauty and honoring of the land. Truly, it is a tall order for a venue that can welcome our group of a thousand women of the "Wonder Woman Island of Happy Herbalists" (so named by Lucretia VanDyke last year)!

We found that place when we explored Kanuga Conference & Retreat Center—flanked by two youth camps at the pristine 30-acre Kanuga Lake—right here in our mountains near Asheville. 

Amid mountain vistas, crisp streams and towering pines, Kanuga is nestled on 1,400 peaceful acres of biodiverse woodlands. Appreciating our focus on ecological stewardship and empowerment for a diverse group of women and girls, Kanuga is eager to collaborate with our women’s herbal event.

04 September 2017

Standing strong with mullein

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

mullein mountainDriving in the mountains to the Blue Ridge Parkway the other day, my heart jumped at the sight of stand of mullein flowering out of a rocky cliff.

I thought of all you women and of the strength of community when we gather . . . In these times when the problems of patriarchy fill the newscasts, we continue to stand strong as a community of powerful, intelligent women, thriving individually and collectively.

Have you seen mullein, along the fence line or on the roadsides? This is the time we notice her, while in bloom, with her tall yellow flowering stalks. We find her everywhere, from abandoned lots to mountaintops.

07 August 2017

Evergreen Medicine in Summer

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

hemlock 450x600At the height of summer, it seems the whole world is lush and verdant. This is a good time to think about evergreens. Yes, evergreens. We tend to pay attention to them only during the winter, as we decorate our homes for the holidays. But evergreens are year-round allies; they are edible and can be used for medicine.

It may sound odd that you can eat your Christmas tree, but you actually can. The idea of eating evergreens may also sound odd because the hemlock tree is an evergreen, and most of us have heard of “poison hemlock”. This is one of those instances where the common name is misleading; the two are completely unrelated botanically.

28 April 2017

Rich Russian Nettle Tonic

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

nettle tonic on squash 500xI first fell in love with nettles after discovering a lush patch near my house when I was in college studying plants and eating wild greens.

During that time, I cooked nettles in as many ways as I could imagine. One year before apprenticing with Susun Weed, I read her book, Healing Wise, and found my all-time favorite nettle recipe, Rich Russian Nettle Tonic. These days I have a constant supply since it is the peak time of year to harvest nettles.

Is nettles one of your favorites too? Have you felt her sting when reaching for her? If you have nettles near you, it takes just a few minutes (feel free to get your gloves!) to snip a basket of nettle tops. Bring them into the kitchen and then cook down—which removes the sting—for this delicious, nutritious dish . . .

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 resWe 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.

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