A divine memory stands out in my mind from my journey home to Barbados last October, 2012...My sistah/friend Elsiana and I were walking along the beach, doing a little exploring. We were beginning to feel hungry. So, we thought we would leave the beach to look for a market or a place to get some breakfast. On the path to the road, that's the moment when I saw the coral reef figure from the sea sitting in the sand, just a few feet from the edge of the water. I was in total awe of the shape of it. It instantly reminded me of an ancient goddess statue. I stopped to take pictures of it~of course! I wouldn't have been myself if I didn't nudge it a little to see if I could move it. I thought about bringing it back home with me...(imagine the look on their faces as I tried getting through customs with that big piece of coral reef rock...ahahahaa).
After I stared at the water and sand sculpted divinity from the sea for a few more moments, I started noticing a few sacred symbols around her; like the two sticks making the image of a cross close by, then the coconut that sat reverently in front of her, her ample breast, her slender waistline, her wide hips and her opened womb. I also noticed that she sat in lotus position. I knew that these symbols were like gateways into a deeper reality about this coral reef goddess figure. Tuning into the symbols helped me begin to see beyond just the thing that I saw before me.
I was able to see the image of Divine Herself. She rose up out of the waters of the ocean. The sea is the Womb of the Earth Mother. The sea is the symbol of the Mother's sacred and magical blood. It is the primordial womb that gave birth to the universe when there was only the darkness of Chaos. From Her womb, was born night, and water, and eternity. From these were born light, and earth, and time. All life comes from the sea. Life on Earth began in the sea.
When we moved onto land, the sea came with us. It travels in our cells. The sea is the fluid which runs in our veins. The saltwater of the sea lives in our sweat, flows in our tears and bathes our sexuality. Mother sea purifies and rebirths everything that enters her. I felt so blessed to have found this sacredness on the beach that morning. It put a forever smile in my heart and in my womb.
When I was finally able to pull myself physically away from this auspicious find, we continue looking for food. That turned out to be fruitless as the market seemed like it was real far in the distance. The noon sun was starting to really beam down and kiss the island and we were much too hungry to walk any further...lol. So, we decided to head back to the villa to seek nourishment there. Throughout the rest of our few days on the island, I never really stopped thinking about the the coral reef goddess. I think about the statue often and yes, I still wished that I was able to bring her home with me. Hmmm...I did bring her home with me! I'm very happy that I took these photos. The memory of her divinity rests in the depths of my soul. I can always visit her there whenever I feel the need to reconnect.
The 4-hour walking tour in Prospect Park begins at 11:45 AM, Saturday, March 16, at Prospect Park's Grand Army Plaza entrance. Call (914) 835-2153 at least 24 hours ahead to reserve a place.
For more insight visit: http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/
Prospect Park is a great place for foragers to celebrate the approach of spring. Like Central Park, this Olmstead-designed park features a variety of habitats filled with native and exotic plants. Cold-weather greens abound throughout the park. We'll find goutweed, which tastes like parsley, celery, and carrots; andchickweed, which tastes like corn-on-the-cob. Both sweet-sharpdaylily shoots, and chive-like field garlic, will be producing bumper crops in partially sunny areas throughout the park.
Field Garlic (In the photo)
Field garlic leaves are best from September through April, before they get tough and coarse. The bulbs are mild in the winter and early spring, and especially most spicy from mid-spring through summer
We'll also be finding garlic mustard galore. This foreign invasive species produces garlic-flavored leaves and horseradish-flavored taproots. It also contains nutrients that reduce the risk of both heart disease and cancer.
The first tiny leaves of wild parsnips, growing alongside the skating rink, will clue us in to the location of the large, sweet roots. The same species as commercial parsnips, the wild version of this European biennial adds way more flavor to soups and stews than its domestic forerunner.
And the abundant, green, fragrant twigs of sassafras saplings will let us locate roots you can use to make your own wild root beer, or a sweet seasoning.
The first shoots of Japanese knotweed will also be up. This invasive plant tastes sour, like its relative, rhubarb, so it's great to make bland ingredients more exciting, or to contrast sweet fruit.
On the first tour of Prospect Park in 1982, I got lucky and discovered a huge stand of curly (yellow) dock growing along the lake. The same plants are still alive and well in the same location 3 decades later! The sour leaves, full of vitamin A and iron, are delicious raw or cooked, and the root is a major liver detoxifier and tonic. Its relative, bitter dock, grows throughout the park. It's as delicious cooked as it's awful raw!
In an area of loose, recently overturned soil dwells a wonderful stand of burdock, with roots that taste like a combination of potatoes and artichokes. Usually very difficult to weed, the deep taproots grow in unusually soft, rock-free soil here.
Many of you may already be familiar with Lush Curls Hair Box! This company was founded by a Canadian natural who is obsessed with her curly mane and the abundance of product that is now offered to natural girls across the globe! Lush Curls Hair Box is an affordable monthly product subscription service for the Naturally Curly Girls! Launch Coming Soon! The goal at Lush Curls is to take my product line Ancient Blends Naturals...to the next level! With them I will be able to tap into the Canadian natural hair care market and the masses of natural girls south of the border. While most curl box services do not cater to Canadian naturals their box will! They are Canadian and American friendly!
With Lush Curls Hair Box, I will also be able to tap into a huge natural hair following in Canada and get my products known to Canadian naturals! As a Lush Curls Hair Box Affiliate, I plan to provide them with my products so that I may be featured as well as marketed by them. Their future goal is to launch this spring! So be sure to lookout for my product line Ancient Blends Naturals as affiliate partners of Lush Curl HairBox! They will also be providing a SHOP section to their website where you all can buy my products that you have already tried in their hair box. This will be a fantastic venture and a great opportunity for our Canadian Naturalistas to be introduced to my products- Ancient Blends Naturals!!
My products are plant-based and homemade. My mission in creating this product line was to really provide a natural alternative to today's harsh, commercially driven products which contain so many toxic chemicals and preservatives. I definitely wanted to supply and maintain the health of kinky, coily and other hair types/textures in between with a moisturizing, nutritious and revitalizing hair care system to meet their personal needs. My products have been used, loved and approved by my clientele and many other customers internationally for almost three decades.
My company has grown from humble beginnings and I still create these products in my kitchen. These days, my passion for creating and sharing these special products with others, who can truly appreciate them and benefit from using them- is still as strong as the first time I blended my very first hair and scalp oil!
Ancient Blends Naturals are available here on my website: www.cowrieshell.com
I'm so grateful, thank you all kindly for your loving support.
Fall started today and it's going to be a weekend of Mabon celebration! This is my favorite time of the year, although I do love all of the seasons. It is a time to honor the bounty of our harvest and also the cycle of life. There's something really special about this time of the year. Maybe, it's because I can really appreciate 'going in,' reflecting and then manifesting what I've received in the quiet creative womb space of my soul...
Tomorrow, I plan to put on my prettiest fall fashions, moccasin boots, colorful scarf and a huge smile to go to the farmers market. I have to gather some healthy treats for my kitchen pantry and my autumn altar. Hopefully I can find a friend to share the early morning experience with me ;-)
Carcinogenic ingredients are no joke and triclosan is no exception. This antibacterial compound chemical is commonly found in cleansers and deodorants and has been has been linked to cancer, developmental defects and is even very toxic to inhale. To keep triclosan out of your home as well as out of your body Use only plant-based organic sand home-made soaps. Ancient Blends Naturals offers you five scent-sational, natural soap choices...made from scratch and infuse it with natural oils, essence and vitamins. http://www.cowrieshell.com/shop.html
Of all the amazing plants in the herbal kingdom, only a few hold such a great place of reverence in our gardens as lavender. It's graceful beauty, spicy-peppery aroma, and potent healing properties have made this herb one of my favorites and quite a staple in our homes; especially in the kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms.
Lavender has to be the most widely known and most used of the essential oils. It’s flowerly, light aroma is so pleasant and uplifting. Lavender is also a cool color, not so much in popularity but in tone. The ying-yang balance of lavender points to the feminine side, being very supporting of our ability to turn inward and increase our awareness. Take a look at the spiritual qualities lavender is known for... spiritual healing, tranquility, higher consciousness, releasing energy blockages, easing tension, promoting a sense of calm and is also highly recommended for purification. Lavender essential oils are harvested from the flowers of the lavender plant. You can use lavender in a bath, diffuser, or mist.
Benefits of Lavender Oil for Hair
Of course, for me lavender essential oil as well as the lavender flowers play a major role in my Ancient Blends hair and body care product line (see ancient-blends-sacred-hair-and-scalp). Lavender oil is among the most commonly used aromatherapy oils, which is extremely effective in treating hair loss. Regular usage is helpful in controlling thinning hair and improving hair growth. Alopecia areata, a condition where you lose excessive hair, especially in patches has been known to be treated with lavender essential oil. As a natural hair expert, I recommend daily scalp massaging with warmed lavender oil in olive oil, which will definitely ensure significant hair re-growth in a few months. You can use lavender oil for hair growth and get rid of problems like itchy scalp and dandruff as well. It is a powerful antiseptic and it is very useful for disinfecting the scalp, treating dry scalp, lice, lice eggs or nits. It also fights fungi, viruses and other microbes.
Also, a relaxing head massage with lavender oil is also helpful in curing insomnia and improving sleep quality. One of the lavender oil benefits is that it relaxes you and helps you get rid of anxiety and depression. The calming and soothing effect of this essential oil is beneficial for relieving stress. This in turn helps control hair loss, as insomnia, stress, depression are among the common and probable causes of this problem. Sufficient sleep and mental peace ensures that hair loss is in control. It also increases blood circulation under the roots of the hair follicles. Aside from all of this, you can regularly use one of the following hair masks for improving the texture of your hair and controlling hair loss problem.
Ways to Use Lavender Oil for Hair
You can use lavender oil in combination with other essential oils that are beneficial for hair growth to make an effective hair mask. Here are some that I for you try...
For Hair Growth...
You need to take 10 drops of lavender oil, 10 drops of rosemary oil, 5 drops of basil oil and 4 oz. of jojoba oil. Mix all these oils well and store them in a dark bottle. Use it regularly for scalp and hair massage. This is very effective in smoothing your hair and boosting hair growth Make sure that you shake the bottle well, before each use.
For Dry Scalp...
Take ¼th cup of oatmeal and soak it in water for 20 minutes. Take 7 drops of lavender oil and 5 drops of rosemary oil and mix all these ingredients properly and then apply the paste on your scalp. You can wash off this mask after an hour with warm water. This mask is good solution for getting rid of itching and dry scalp.
While using lavender oil for hair growth or other problems, you will start noticing its benefits within a few weeks or months. You need to keep using it regularly as the results will not be seen immediately. So include this essential oil in your hair care routine and take the first step towards healthy hair. Always use precautions when working with any essential oil. Avoid your eye area and other sensitive parts of your body.
You may use lavender essential oil for calming and rest, promoting peaceful sleep and a feeling of happiness. Lavender may help alleviate migraine headaches.
There are many levels of quality to be aware of when shopping for any essential oil. The trick is to preserve the delicate life of the plant, the essential oils. One of the best methods to extract the powerful healing properties of lavender is the method “steam distilled” to ensure high concentrations of the essential oils of lavender or Lavandula officinalis.
Lavender and Love
Lavender does have special magical properties... it has been used for centuries in the area of love, used to scent love letters, also used as a perfume to attract the opposite sex. Back in the Renaissance days lavender would be combined with rosemary and used to secure the chastity of a woman.
Feng Shui and Lavender
Feng Shui focuses mainly on the flow of energy, whether we are talking about the architecture or how our home is decorated. It is advised to use lavender or any purple color sparingly. In Feng Shui and health it is thought that the color purple could trigger blood disease, but it is fine as an accent. The lighter purple shades like lavender is popular for meditation rooms.
Crown Chakra and Lavender
The color purple is associated with the crown chakra, the energy center associated with higher purpose and spiritual connectivity. The crown chakra, also known as our 7th chakra is located at the very top of our head and the vibration of the crown is the highest vibration in our physical body. I recommend anointing your crown chakra with lavender essential oil before mediating.
When we look into the world of gemstones and crystals a popular crystal is Amethyst (one of my favorites), which is available in pink or lavender, and is a very powerful healing crystal.
Amethysts are recommended to those who deal with stress a lot, such as people with an excessive work ethic who are unable to enjoy relaxation. This quality is also believed useful when treating insomnia too. Amethysts also help those who are prone to depression and an overall melancholy feeling. Many also believe that amethysts are useful for those working to transcend chemical dependence. The stones may work as talismans to provide inner strength when battling dependency. Amethyst is believed to target the pituitary gland, which directs the endocrine system, the pineal gland, where altered states of consciousness and psychic skills are thought to be triggered, and the entire cerebral cortex in the brain. It is therefore felt to be a tonic for headaches, mental illness, anxiety, concussions, and depression.
Amethysts are also used for natural healing. It is a stone steeped in ancient magic and is as popular today as it was two thousand years ago. If placed under a pillow or worn to bed, it supposedly drives off insomnia and nightmares. It also produces a restful sleep with pleasant, healing, and prophetic dreams. It will also make sure that you don't oversleep. It is a spiritual stone, with no negative side effects or associations with violence, anger or passion. It is a stone of peace. It calms fears, raises hopes, lifts the spirits, and promotes thoughts of the spiritual reality behind our lives. It wards off guilt and self deception, curbs overindulgence, and bestows good judgment. It calms emotional storms and in situations of potential danger, it will come to your aid. It also lends courage and is a powerful amulet for travelers. When worn, it protects against thieves, harm, sickness, and danger.
Amethyst is cleansing, physically and psychologically. It helps to promotes internal balance and harmony and brings about stability to the individual. Amethysts are capable of raising ones spirits, promoting self assurance and confidence. They brighten the outlook on life and enhances our sense of humor. The virtues of amethyst include beauty, calm, fulfillment, humility, a loving demeanor, perfection, piety, sincerity, spiritual balance, tranquility and wisdom.
Amethyst should be worn during contemplation or placed on simple meditation altars. It is worn during psychic acts and since it is a stone of wisdom, it allows the information received through the psychic mind to be appropriately utilized. The stone also helps sharpen the conscious mind and enhances the mental powers. It is used to improve memory and keeps thoughts in line with life goals. It is a stone of pure, true, emotional love. It is often exchanged between two lovers to strengthen their commitment. It is also one of the few stones specifically prescribed for men to use for attracting women. It supposedly draws “good women” to love him. This stone is also used by those involved in lawsuits to ensure that right is done. It has been long thought to bring success to businesses.
As we move into the fall season, I feel inspired to work with the healing energies of copper, crystals and gemstones. Mostly making copper earrings...
In the early nineties, I used to create jeweled works of art using copper metal. I was inspired by an elder named 'Scrapie...' He was a native of the Island of St. Vincent. He shared his wisdom and experience with me about his struggles with being an artist, a vendor and an entrepreneur while living and creating in his workshop in the basement of a building in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. As our economy flip-flopped over the years and sales began to decline, I decided to put that craft on hold and focus on where the energy was going. My mentor-friend Scrapie apparently left NYC for greener pastures. I continue on my journey, riding the uncertainties of the choices I was making to cultivate my own 'garden' till present day...These days as the cosmic shift becomes increasingly felt by many beings of 'light' the healing medicine of copper (in particular) is becoming a necessity for helping us to recharge and feel more grounded. Archaeologists have been unearthing copper jewelry for over 200 years revealing that jewelry made from this beautiful shiny metal was very common in ancient societies. Did they know that it was more than jewelry, but might also be medicinally beneficial? Copper is an essential trace mineral that facilitates the activity of several enzymes. This mineral provides a role in the development and maintenance of the cardiovascular system, including the heart, arteries, and other blood vessels, the skeletal system, and the structure and function of the nervous system, including the brain and more.
Turquoise Stones are some of the oldest stones to be made into jewelry. They have impressive metaphysical properties... and are powerful healing stones that will filter the fifth element ether, into the etheric body. The natural energy of these stones will help you to communicate with truth. They are a strong stone of spiritual attunement and are very effective to aid communication. They have a strong affect within the throat chakra... and they may aid you to manifest clairvoyant abilities. The distinct vibration of these stones resonate within the throat and third eye chakras... allowing you to access past life knowledge.
This may be helpful if you are aiming to work in psychic employment as they enhance your effectiveness to communicate what comes through from spirit, within your day to day physical life. www.cowrieshell.com
I'm told that the best stones come from Australia, Iran, Afghanistan, Tibet and south-western USA. Turquoise may also be found in France, Britain, Russia, Poland, Arabia, Egypt, China, Peru and Mexico. The chemical name for Turquoise is aluma phosphate. The color of these stones is commonly the classic color we call Turquoise blue, but it is possible to obtain these stones in other colors. This includes this green stones (which I adore working with) from Tibet, White Turquoise stones, some fairly uncommon purple Turquoise stones (would love to work with purple Turquoise) and the lovely lighter colored sleeping beauty Turquoise. All colors of this stone are becoming hard to get in the natural form. Blue Turquoise forms when there is copper present, Green Turquoise forms when there is iron present. Although White Turquoise is known to form when neither of these minerals occur in the stone... white stones are quite rare, although you may sometimes see white areas in the blue or green stones. www.cowrieshell.com
The West Indian Labor Day Parade 2012...A Brooklyn tradition. The first time I ever saw this parade was in 1976 after arriving in this country from Barbados in June of that same year. It has really change a lot since then. Back then, there were no police barricades and it was more family friendly...it still remains the largest, most amazingly creative, super festive party in the country... (Photo By: Mirielle Liong)