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Ebb and Flow

After a month and a half of silence since my last post, I believe I am back. It has been an oddly difficult year leading up to my 60th birthday last Sunday. For the most part I felt like I was sloughing through waist-high molasses to get the smallest thing done. Thank god for the consistency of Nature, and the inevitable ebb and flow of all things. If you can’t fight it, wait it out.  As soon as my birth day was behind me, I felt like a heavy fog lifted from me. Still a little cautious, but optimistic, and taking every opportunity I can to build on it.

I returned from Ethiopia in April a bit shell-shocked. Having gained an intimate and first hand understanding of the state of Civet farming, (See the attached WSPA report), I felt disheartened. Effecting improvements in ethics and practices that were deeply ingrained culturally, in a society that was so slow to embrace change, felt daunting and unrealistic. Even their own government had seemed to have given up trying to modernize the cruel practices, what could one foreigner hope to accomplish on his own?

I have slowly regained some composure since my return, spoken with natural perfumers over the past month, and am selling some of the Civet paste I brought back with a message. Can you help?  So it’s not just a product, but a call that I hope will be passed on. The treatment of Civets for perfume in Africa, and Kopi Luwak Coffee in Asia is truly barbaric. Boycotting the producers has had the reverse effect intended, these people a frighteningly poor already. They will find a way to survive and I don’t blame them. Removing the little income they have, and turning our backs on them indignantly, did absolutely nothing for the Civets. All we have done is increase the poverty and hardship of people who already suffer from lack, created black markets and back doors for the perfume companies to avoid negative publicity. There must be a better way. Even if it means going in there and getting our hands dirty.

If you want to learn more about Civet culture and farming, have a look at my post- Ethical Civet, a glimpse from the mountaintop. If you would like to buy authentic Ethiopian Civet paste at a very reasonable price that includes a call for your support to help change the current farming practices, contact me or leave me a comment. I will get it in the store shortly.

Ethiopian Civet paste 2014
Ethiopian Civet paste 2014

Ok. On a more positive note, I have 3 new apothecary products and have started working with bone, stone, wood, horn and antler again. Hurray for me! I laid down my tools 2 years ago when I started this blog, part of my second Saturn return and 60th birthday evolution no doubt. Three gorgeous large chunks of Jet, (about 20 Kg.), have kept vigilant watch over me  ever since, sitting in my study, whispering all the wonderful things I could carve and turn from them. Not letting me forget they were waiting for me and there was no way I could get them out of my life until I made something spectacular from them. I wonder if Jet is ruled by Saturn astrologically? Likely so.

So my lathe is now set up and turning lovely little incense/moustache wax spoons out of recycled Ebony piano keys. They aren’t finished yet, but looking promising.

Incense/Moustache wax spoons waiting for carving and details. Recycled Ebony piano keys
Incense/Moustache wax spoon blanks, waiting for carving and details. Recycled Ebony piano keys

I formulated a great new summer moustache wax. “Abyssinian Twirling Wax”. Made with oleoresins of Frankincense Frereana from Somaliland and Frankincense Rivae from Ethiopia. Not only does it keep its hold through hot and humid weather, smells great, but it trains and “perms” moustache hairs even better than my old “Solid moustache wax recipe”.

Abyssinian Twirling Wax. A Frankincense based Moustache wax.
Abyssinian Twirling Wax. A Frankincense based Moustache wax.

 

I now have the very rare co-op harvested “Maydi” or Frankincense Frereana from Somaliland for sale and will do a post introducing it very soon.

Will be posting “Pet Medic” to the Etsy store this week, a safe, natural skin healing ointment for most domestic animals and pets. Made “Astrodynamically” using a triple extraction of fresh Calendula petals, it was originally intended for baby’s butts, but so many people were thrilled it worked so well on their pets, I figured I would go with the flow.

"Maydi" Frankincense Frereana-Co-op harvested Somaliland 2013.
“Maydi” Frankincense Frereana. Co-op harvested Somaliland 2013.

I now have an all-purpose bdsm crème. If you don’t know what that is then just skip to the next item….

One fulfills the needs of the community. Whatever that community might be.

I think my 60th birthday gift from my Self, is a vision of bringing together all the seemingly disparate parts of my long life, my incarnations, into a cohesive whole. That’s really all I wanted to say for now.

Oh, and I will be at the Apothecary’s Garden most Saturday mornings until further notice, so if you have any gardening, herbal or apothecary questions, and if you would like to help grow the Teaching Gardens with us, you know where to find me.

Warm regards

Dan

 

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An Introduction to Planetary Rulerships and Medical Astrology with Michele Burklund

 Re-blogged from Healthy Fashionista.

I really enjoy  and her blog, “Healthy Fashionista”. I still can’t put my finger on exactly what it is she does, that I find so intriguing.

In the post below, “Science in the Stars”, Michele has published a concise and easy to understand introduction to medical astrology and what I like to call “Astrodynamics”. One I will link to my introduction to planetary rulerships and Medical astrology-“Astrodynamics 101”.

As always, Michele has done an exceptional job crafting a tasteful, informative and easy to understand post. She has done so on a subject that even the alternative community considers alternative.  Whatever it is that Michele Burklund does, that constantly impresses me, she just did it again.

Michele publishes well crafted, interesting, informative, and beautiful posts on anything she considers a “modality” of naturopathic medicine. She will complete her 5th and last year of naturopathic studies this year, and from what I understand, specializes in mental health and neurology.  As implied by the name, “Healthy Fashionista”, Michele does indeed have a great sense of fashion, but, more than that, she manages to balance appearance and content, inner and outer lives, wisdom and beauty with flair and style.

I believe that as individuals and as a group, we are an innate and integral part of the cosmos.  We are a factor in every solution, and in every problem. We are affected by, and we affect everything around us. As above, so below. More than a philosophy, this phrase can give us a deeper understanding of the mechanics of the world.

The only way we can judge the validity of any theory, is by studying it. I hope the information presented here on the connection between astrology and our health, will provide a stepping stone for a deeper understanding of self, life and the world around us.

Dan

Science In The Stars

By , February 1, 2014

stars

Medical astrology is actually an ancient science that predates both psychology and astronomy! This ancient medical system associates various parts of the body, diseases, and drugs as under the influence of the sun, moon, and planets along with the twelve astrological signs.

It’s been used for thousands of years dating back as far as 410 BC and traced to locations across the globe including Egypt and Mexico.  It’s popularity has waxed and waned over the centuries but it has always managed to keep a presence.  As a scientist by nature, I always try to keep an open mind to all types of modalities and entertain the validity while waiting for more evidence-based research to come about.

Isn’t is interesting that women have shown peak rates conception and probably ovulation appear to occur at the full moon or the day before.  During the new moon, ovulation and conception rates are decreased overall, and an increased number of women start their menstrual bleeding. Scientific research has documented that the moon rules the flow of fluids (ocean tides as well as individual body fluids) and affects the unconscious mind and dreams. The timing of the menstrual cycle, the fertility cycle, and labor also follows the moon-dominated tides of the ocean. Environmental cues such as light, the moon, and the tides play a documented role in regulating women’s menstrual cycles and fertility (source).  Maybe in our technology dominated culture we are beginning to forget how connected we are to universal forces?

health astrology

Astrological sign and organ affinity:

The planets are also associated with certain portions and functions within the body:

Common imbalances associated with each astrological sign:

Aries: The energies are often in excess of the nervous and mental balance, and most ill-health has its origins in such things as violent exertion and outbursts of anger. The Aries person should seek poise at all costs.

Taurus : Over-indulgence and too much comfort lie at the roots of most disorders, but there is also a tendency to brood over troubles which lends force to any passing ailments.

Gemini : Nervous reactions and restlessness, form the basis.

Cancer : Usually complaints originate in the emotions through some mental irritant, cause nervous reactions and general lessening of vitality. It has been said that nine times out of ten the Cancerian is hurt in health more by others than by himself.

Leo : Nearly all afflictions tend to arise from over-exertion of some kind.

Virgo : There is a tendency to upsets of the digestive organs from nervous causes, producing acidity and other troubles.

Libra : Troubles arise usually from nervous exhaustion of some kind.

Scorpio : Breaking down of the resistance through worrying and interaction of others upon the individual.

Sagittarius : Restlessness often causes the trouble; the folks under this Sign are peculiar to accidents and injuries.

Capricorn : Disease is frequently rooted in inhibitions.

Aquarius : Nervous causes, usually, based on the highly sensitive nature.

Pisces : Over-heating of the mind with possibly fancied injuries from others, plus much sensitiveness physical and mental, form the basis for most complaints.

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Pucker up and cool down with Witch Hazel oil

Witch Hazel Hamilton 2013
Witch Hazel Oil-2014
Witch Hazel Oil-Oleum Hamamelis 2014

 Witch Hazel oil-Oleum Hamamelis

  The summer’s harvest yielded a fantastic Witch Hazel oil. This is a fragrant, cooling and astringent healing oil made from fresh Hamamelis Virginiana leaves, Violet absolute and Vitamin E.. I am very, very pleased with the results. There is an easy harmony and synergy between these two shade loving medicinals. Besides the obvious similarities in colour, fragrance and “temperature” they share a strong astrological affinity.

I feel a bit like an old-time snake oil salesman, ha ha. Combine that with an impaling act and I have my very own travelling sideshow!   Though this oil is not a panacea or cure-all by any stretch, it will most definitely cool and soothe any hot, bothered or irritated external part of your body, while tightening and puckering up the area.

   Though  Oleum Hamamelis, or Witch Hazel oil is  more emollient and soothing than the better know Witch Hazel Extract and distillate, there are few plants that have such a cooling effect, as Witch Hazel, (Violet is #2). Razor burns, hot irritated skin, boils, hemorrhoids and piles, sunburn, chafing, minor burns and achy varicose veins. Witch Hazel oil reduces pain and irritation, cools and relieves excessive heat, and does so quickly. Witch Hazel is also also used traditionally to reduce the swelling  and pain of varicose veins.

Witch Hazel , Ontario, 2013
Witch Hazel , Ontario, 2013

Sometimes a single  2″ diameter trunk/stalk will grow to over 15 feet, reaching from the ground, up and out, gracefully arching and positioning itself strategically to catch stray beams of sunshine that slip by the taller trees. Low enough to jockey for second-hand light, but just high enough the deer can’t gobble up its leaves.  Tough, resilient and enduring, this lovely lady of the dark woods will contort in zigs and zags at every leaf juncture to grab a missed beam of sunlight.

There is something stoic and enduring about Witch Hazel. Her wood is tough and stringy, almost impossible to break, dead or alive. Very difficult to propagate from cuttings or from seed, she spits her  projectile seeds up to 30 feet away, and though germination rate is very low, she is so tenacious and hardy that when her seedlings do sprout, they somehow manage to survive the harsh life of the forest floor till they are tall enough to avoid being eaten.

   If, as I have said in the past,  Myrrh represents  the flavor of bitter, then Witch Hazel is the paragon of astringent in the vegetable kingdom. She is a gum-sucking puckerer, as if drawing the molecules of moisture from the tissues of your mouth.

Witch Hazel Branch
Witch Hazel Branch (Photo credit: Michael Hodge)

From the bark of her elegantly arching branches, through the green of her crisp, paper-thin leaves, to the scrawny straggly yellow petals of her fall and  winter blooming  flowers, Witch Hazel has a distinct, lovely, and almost astringent fragrance. A perfume that endures through gentle distillations and  light handed percolations in oil.  Not only is she beautiful to behold, and a medicinal wonder, but she smells lovely too. What more could one ask from a  woodland lady?

With her cold astringent nature, it is obvious why Witch Hazel is under the planetary rulership of Saturn. Though in my opinion, beautiful, earthy Taurus is her ruling sign, and is just as important an influence on her personality, and medicinal applications. This dovetails perfectly with the lovely Violet, who is born under Venus.

  This oil of Hamamelis is beautifully complemented by Violet absolute, (A Co2 extraction of the fragrance and healing properties of the Violet leaf ),  and Vitamin E. The mutual support of these two herbs is obvious in their easy union with each other in fragrance, colour, rulerships, temperature and medicinal effects.  Witch Hazel oil is a simplebut powerful healer for those tender, painful hotspots, inflammations and flareups when they happen.

Witch Hazel Oil-2014
Witch Hazel Violet Oil-2014

This oil is now posted and available in my Etsy store, and in Humblepie, for those living in Hamilton. If you have difficulty finding it, or have any questions about it, please drop me a line by phone, email or leave me a comment. I would love to hear from you.

Dan

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The Apothecary’s Apprentice- Hamilton Herbal Workshops

Apothecary's tools-Mortar and Pestle

APOTHECARY’S APPRENTICE

HAMILTON HERBAL WORKSHOPS

Medieval Apothecary and apprentice in the garden- courtesy the Guttenberg Project.
Medieval Apothecary’s Garden- courtesy the Guttenberg Project.

The Apothecary’s Apprentice is a hands-on “how-to” series of workshops in Hamilton that focuses on the practical and applied side of herbalism.  In the style of old fashioned apprenticeships, participants are invited to work with the apothecary on each of the seasons herbal products as the year unfolds. The goal of the series is to teach participants the best methods, both modern and  traditional, of making a variety of high-quality herbal products. This includes an introduction to ethical and sustainable wildcrafting, Astrodynamics and Plant Alchemy.

Apothecary's Garden-Teaching Gardens at Churchill Park, Hamilton
Our modern-day, volunteer run Apothecary’s Garden-Located at the Teaching Gardens at Churchill Park, Hamilton

Practical Herbal Workshop series in Hamilton

The first workshop takes place at:

Humblepie

142 James St. North 

2nd February 2014 from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

 

The workshops follow a full year of herbal work, including projects traditionally reserved for winter such as making The Great Northern Cough and Chest Rub. Participants will learn, among other things, how to identify, when and how to properly harvest and preserve wild herbs, how to prepare nutritious and healing food from the wild, how to make wild wines, salves, essential oils, tinctures, preserves, and other traditional natural products.

*****

The old-time apothecary had a role, similar to our modern-day pharmacist, except that the apothecary was often involved directly in growing and harvesting herbs, and would prepare crèmes, salves, tinctures and balms from raw materials. This gave the apothecary,  the dispenser of medicine, full control over quality. Though today they are mainly stylized and formal (more for show than practical use), apothecaries’ gardens functioned historically as reliable, controlled environments for production of the highest quality materia medica.

*****

The first workshop, making The Great Northern Cough & Chest Rub, will take place Sunday, 2nd February 2014, at Humblepie, 142 James St. North, between 2:00 and 5:00 pm.

Great Northern Cough & Chest Balm-Spruce-Pine & Fir sap salve
Great Northern Cough & Chest Balm-Spruce-Pine & Fir sap salve

This session will guide participants through the process of making an effective winter chest rub from local evergreen saps.   From how and when to harvest from nature, to how to make the best products, participants will learn the best practices of making their own herbal salves from scratch. They will leave this workshop with a fragrant, winter medicine that they can share with others and duplicate in the future. Notebooks are mandatory.

Dandelion Wine at Work-Primary Fermentation- 2013
Dandelion Wine at Work-Primary fermentation 2013

As the season of 2014 unfolds, the sessions will cover topics such as:

  •  Identifying medicinal and culinary wild plants & mushrooms:
  • Wildcrafting: ethical and sustainable practices for harvesting in the wild.
  • Plant energetics:  the hidden worlds of nature
  • Planetary rulerships and Astrodynamics.
  • Gardening by the Moon.
  • How to make herbal, wild berry and flower wines.
  • How to make medicinal oils, cremes and salves.
  • How to prepare medicinal tinctures from fresh and dry materials.
  • Making herbal teas, infusions and decoctions.
  • The art of distillation.
  • How to build and use an essential oil still.
  • How to make perfume ingredients from wild and garden plants.
  • Plant alchemy: making spagyric tinctures.

*****

  •  Children are invited and  welcome. They are free to attend all outdoor workshops at no extra cost. Talk to me ahead of time for indoor sessions since children’s participation depends on safety, space, and cost of materials.

*****

The cost for this first workshop is $60.00.  Materials are included. You will go home with  a wonderful winter chest rub, richer in knowledge and experience.  If possible please reserve a spot, either with me- 905-541-2956, or with Susan@ Humblepie- 289-389-7208.

  Payment can be made here through Etsy, or at the time of the workshop.

I hope to see you there.

Dan

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Culpeper”s Complete Herbal & English Physician

Anatomical_Man

Nicholas Culpeper‘s  books and “herbals” have been considered classic and well-respected references for hundreds of years now.  Packed with recipes, plant profiles and lore, Culpeper sets out the proper way to identify plants, diagnose and treat patients based on astrological rulerships, “The doctrine of signatures” and Galen’s philosophy of humors.

English: "In Effigiam Nicholai Culpeper E...
English: “In Effigiam Nicholai Culpeper Equitis,” portrait of Nicholas Culpeper, etching, by printmaker Richard Gaywood. 126 mm x 90 mm. Courtesy of the British Museum, London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not only do they give us a peek at medical and herbal practices of his times, but woven between the lines, one finds a wealth of information on traditional plant alchemy and medical  astrology. Some of this more esoteric information is in the open and presented as a matter of fact, some lies a little deeper for those who have the eyes to see. His books are a “must read” for anyone who has an interest in plant alchemy, traditional European herbalism and medical astrology . This particular volume contains some of his most important writings. I will transfer the book to it’s own page in a few days so it can be easily referenced. Enjoy!

Dan

culpepper planetary rulerships
View of celestial influences on the body of woman-Planetary Rulerships
culpeppersenglis Planetary rulerships
View of celestial influences on the body of man-Planetary Rulerships

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Surfing the Solstice Dark

The-Earths-Shadow_

 

Every year, from the Winter Solstice

 

till Spring or so, many of us struggle with our inner darkness. The long  nights and lack of sunlight resonate with our own shadows, drawing them to the surface.  Like clockwork, yearly, we experience the ebb of light and the rise of darkness within. Just as the oceans, we respond to the rhythm of  Nature.

 

The-Earths-Shadow_
The-Earths-Shadow_

How do we relate to darkness? In ourselves, in others, in the world, ?

 Personally, I usually just fumble along. We are not taught how to navigate through our internal darkness, our fears and negativity, our despair, resentment, anxieties, our skewed perceptions of self and reality.  We have a label for it now, Seasonal affective disorder, S.A.D., which at least gives us a little bit of comfort knowing we are not alone, nor completely bonkers, but, beyond firing up our happy lights every morning for what seems like a longer period each year, digging up our therapists number from the bottom of the pile, reconsidering  antidepressants, (which seem ineffective for most of us), we pretty much have no effective tools for coping with this annual shift in perspective other than hunkering down in our metaphoric bomb shelters till the wave of darkness subsides on its own.  This is possibly the only instance procrastination works in our favour.

Winter solstice
Winter solstice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eventually the darkness does pass on its’ own. Nothing sophisticated about this approach to maintaining our sanity and equilibrium.  It is, in essence, reactive, an instinctual response to threat which just adds to our feelings of vulnerability and helplessness.  There must be a better way to navigate through life and our winters, right?  How do we heal childhood wounds, pain and  grief?  Loss? How do we contend with defeating  feelings and thoughts that can drive us to drink, escapism, self loathing?  How do we eliminate or heal those destructive thought patterns and dark feelings that keep us from being the most we can be?  Can we do more than just hang in there and resist being swept away,? More than just get by?  We are taught by example to be afraid of the dark within us, ashamed of our “flaws” and “imperfections” . We deny them, avoid and escape them, hide and repress them, project them on others, or express them with self-destructive behaviour. There must be a healthier, more productive and useful approach!

English: 2010 Mavericks surfing competition. T...
English: 2010 Mavericks surfing competition. The image was taken from a boat. (Photo credit: Wikipedi

2010 US Open of Surfing 2

Fellow gardener and blogger Steve, at Naked Nerves, pointed out, in a simple and elegant post, (well worth reading!) “Going within at Sun’s return” that if we attune to the current cycle of Nature and the Winter Solstice,  we will find  a unique opportunity, and the  perfect time to work with our shadows.  They are surfacing  now for good reason. If we can embrace and accept these dark parts of our selves at natures’ peak of darkness, work in harmony with Her rhythm,  we can ride this waning wave of dark, supported by Natures own yearly movement  from darkness towards light and renewal.  Now, with greater ease than ever, we can work with our fears, our shadows, the monsters under our beds, our shadow selves, and transform them. Acting now, and not resisting the dark winter wave, means we can surf  it, propelled forward by the natural crest, of diminishing dark and increasing light.  If we can shift away from fearing,  fighting, denying or repressing our dark shadows. If we can, befriend the dark inside us, we could ride this wave of darkness, all the way to its’ inevitable destination of  light and Spring renewal. A journey, both symbolic  and practical, on which there is potential for great personal growth and an increase in our light and happiness. A much more elegant and dignified way to deal with darkness. 

 

Winged Sun Return and Regeneration
Winged Sun-Symbol of Return and Regeneration

Shadow is just as important as light. Nothing to be ashamed of, we are all made of the same stuff, but, some of us cope better, or hide our dark stuff better. It is there in us all. Darkness, in this context, is just as real, and just as much of an illusion as light. We have within us, all the light and joy in the world, and all the darkness and despair. Neither of these is who we are. We are but the observers and experiencers.

 

staff of hermes-janeadamsart
staff of hermes courtesy of Jane Adams. janeadamsart.wordpress.com

Neither is good or bad, and darkness is simply half the duality of life. There would be no bright Full Moon without a dark new moon, no long Summer days, without short winter hours, no lush fertile valleys without bleak frigid mountain peaks. There would be no light or growth, no emancipation or victory within us, if there was no darkness, no challenge,  fear or shadow within us.  And this, the darkest part of the year outside, is the prime time and opportunity to consciously work with, and grow through, our shadows and darkness. We can ride this natural wave of dark, if we can get past our fears, and our instinctive, reactive responses, and our resistence. We can surf  this wave of  Solstice dark.

 

Astrologer working by the stars
Astrologer working with the stars

This is one of the great secrets of traditional Alchemy.  Timing our actions.  Studying Natures rhythms and cycles, so we can harmonize our processes with them, not work against them.

 

There are obvious correlations here to the ocean, tides, Sun/Moon, the emotions, concious, subconcious, and the element of water. I leave these for you to contemplate and plumb, at your leisure.

 

Wishing you all an inspired  and productive transition to the light. (Winter).

 

 

Dan

 

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Wild Ginger Essential Oil-Distillations and Mistillations

Distilling essential oil of Wild Ginger

Distilling Wild Ginger Essential Oil

Distillations, mistillations and musings

Essential oil of wild ginger-Wild Ginger in woods - Ontario
Summertime with Wild Ginger in the woods – Ontario

No matter how much experience and knowledge we have, how much care and control we exercise, we will still, on occasion, make critical mistakes.
We are quick to record and share our successes, but usually, slow to share our failures. However, if we adhere to a philosophy that  there are no right or wrong, good or bad experiences, just living, learning and growing, then in theory, we shouldn’t hesitate to share our failures just as openly as our successes. Who knows, perhaps by reading this someone will avoid mistakes I have made.

   So,,,, I burnt the last Wild Ginger essential oil distillation :-(.   Well, I burnt the pot, whether any of the contaminated burnt vapours reached the already distilled essential oil, is left to be seen. After hours of carefully harvesting, drying, building a cool new distillation table, and setting up tools and equipment. I may have blown it…

New distillation table. Look Ma, no legs! Keeps the small work area uncrowded.
New distillation table. Look Ma, no legs! Keeps the small work area uncrowded. Condenser water supply and return, from above.

As Lao Tsu says in the “I Ching“, “Foresight leads to folly”. Overconfidence can undermine us at any time. In fact, now it feels like it will do so, just out of spite. Just because. Some existential law of balance and counterbalance in the cosmos. Reminding us we will always have much more to learn, and we will always be less than perfect, because if we were perfect, there would be no point to us being here.

The old Alchemist’s caution, to practice humility, comes to mind.

Measuring exactly how much water I put in the pot still, was my clever gauge to know when the distillation was reaching its end. The height of distillate in my receiver would warn me when I was getting close to the end of the distillation, and time to take it off the heat. Great idea in concept…

Distillation of Wild Ginger essential oil with homemade pot still
Distillation of Wild Ginger essential oil with homemade pot still. This is the measure of water going into the still. Wrong assumption that this is the measure that will come out when distillation is done. DOHHH.

Working blind, with an aluminum pot-still that is not transparent, it seemed a clever way to get around the bother of installing an external glass tube that would be a window to the height of the water in the still, (Like those institutional coffee percolators). My cleverness, and laziness betrayed me!

The dried Wild Ginger of course, absorbed a large amount of the water in the still, leaving me a third short in my estimate of when the still would run dry. Hindsight says “Duhhh”.

A sudden, puzzling decrease in distillate coming out of the condenser was my alarm, but by the time i caught on to why things had stopped flowing, the hot plate had burned the sludge, and the bottom of the pot.  Even though I whipped the receiving flask away from the contaminated stream as quickly as I could, only time will tell if this batch is toast.

The generic odor of burnt seems attached to everything in the room, making it hard to tell if the oil, or my perception is contaminated. I think we all share a traumatic, deeply ingrained association in our racial or genetic memory of  the odor of  “burnt”. In fact, the phrase “Burned into our memory” could just as well refer to the penetrating permanence of the smell of burnt, rather than a metaphor of branding in our brain. Triggered from something as harmless as leaving the broccoli to steam too long, chiseling blackened rice from a pitted pot bottom, or the loss of possessions, countless nights sleep and nightmares after a house fire. “Burnt” never bodes well for us humans. Nothing good about it. I don’t mean that campfire wood smoke burnt fragrance, or “fireplace burnt” , both which trigger communal genetic memories of safety from predators, winter cold, and promises of roasted meats and marshmallows for our tummies, but “BURNT”, that triggers feelings of melancholy and loss.

Burnt, stays with you for a long, long time. It gets lodged in your nose, and no amount of scrubbing ever seems to rid one of the impression on your cells. Burnt is appropriately associated with hell and not heaven, ( as, of course essential oils usually are). I suppose if we accept that smells can uplift and inspire us, even heal us, then we must accept that they can also depress us,  crush us emotionally and cause us discomfort, if not real harm. Yin and Yang. The perfect symmetry of the duality we live in.

Transferring the last of the distilled Wild Ginger essential oil from the receiver to a separatory funnel.
Transferring the last of the distilled Wild Ginger essential oil from the receiver to a separatory funnel.

Ahhhh. Wild Ginger essential oil

Washed, and air drying prior to distilling essential oil, I think  that from now on, Wild Ginger should be called Canada Salamander root, instead of Canada Snake root. the new shoots always stagger out from their sides as if they are trying to scurry away and hide under a stone.
Washed, and air drying prior to distilling essential oil, I think  that from now on, Wild Ginger should be called Canada Salamander root, instead of Canada Snake root. the new shoots always stagger out from their sides as if they are trying to scurry away and hide under a stone.

Asarum Canadense, or Wild Ginger essential oil is a “local exotic”, one of those well-kept secrets and a true treasure for perfumers and aromatherapists. It is just as versatile for herbalists, naturopaths , formulators of herbal products, culinary artists and confectioners. With a sweet creaminess,  a feminine kind of spicy, a hint of the forest and woods, and a smooth, warm uplifting character full of subtle nuances. Wild Ginger essential oil is heart warming in the kind of way that makes your heart flutter when you get a whiff of it. It is one of those natural fragrances that is almost a complete perfume on its own. It falls into the category of beautiful. O.K., There should definitely be such a category.  There is no official planetary rulership for it as yet, because it has never been a well-known or mainstream plant, but, I have no doubt, luscious earthy Venus, ruler of esthetics, art, beauty, sex and love harbours this fragrance exclusively and closely to her lovely bosom. Warming, stimulating, grounding, Wild Ginger plant or essential oil is soothing to sore throats and tummies, excellent for colds and chills, the flu and coughs, and soothing to tired achy muscles. Wild Ginger most definitely falls under Venus’s rule and her Taurus dominion.

Wild Ginger, as a perfume element, reaches up to blend seamlessly with top notes like Pettigrain and citrus, dances with other spice notes, and weaves itself smoothly into base notes like the Frankincense family, Spruce, Fir, Oak moss and other  forest neighbors. It has a stimulating hint of spicy tropical ginger in its makeup, which makes it perfect for invigorating or sensuous massage oils. A well-rounded middle note, Wild Ginger is a complex fragrance that requires little else.

If you would like to distilled this oil yourself, or plan on doing so someday, please read the post”Wild Ginger Flavorful Fragrant  Northern Treasure”, and give some quiet thought to making ethical harvesting, if not outright stewardship, part of your essential oil, or herbal practices.

Wild Ginger, when distilled, has some unique idiosyncrasies. It usually needs a little tweaking after distilling. Sometimes this means just leaving the cap or stopper off, and carefully airing it for a few days. So if you do feel disappointed when it first comes over in your receiver, worried, a little stressed that it does not smell right, or wonder if you made a mistake, relax, you are likely doing just fine.

"Washing" essential oil of Asarum Canadense, Wild Ginger with distilled water.
“Washing” essential oil of Asarum Canadense, Wild Ginger with distilled water.

Wild Ginger, Asarum Canadense freshly distilled essential oil needs a little time to catch its breath, or to breathe after distillation. Usually, it comes over with a bit of green sharpness, or sharp greenness that mellows with time and airing. In fact sometimes it comes over literally Emerald green, and only with the passage of time, transforms to its true and permanent colour of warm amber.  Often the freshly distilled oil also has an unpleasant “sulfur” note to it, so don’t panic.  If the Sulphurous note does not dissipate on its own after a few days of airing, shaking it regularly while it “Cohabitates” with distilled water seems to help. I have read that others have passed it through salt, to extract traces of water and/or unwanted notes. I will add a link if I can find that post again.

Musings

If there is indeed a burnt note to this batch of essential oil, it will only be after the process of airing and maturing the oil that I will know.
I feel a responsibility to the plant and feel bad I may have wasted such a fragrant, promising harvest. It is important that the relationships we have are mutually beneficial. Especially our relationship with Nature. I believe one of the secrets to producing truly refined and exceptional products, is understanding we are part of the process and equation, which means having an exceptional relationship with Nature,  a philosophy and way of life based on giving, not on getting and honouring all life.  This is one of the principals we abandoned when we severed chemistry from Alchemy a few hundred years ago. Though Nature is incredibly forgiving and accommodating with our one-sided, self-serving, inconsiderate  relationship with her, our poor treatment of the planet, her systems and citizens, she is also impartial, and gives back to us exactly that which we give her, or invest in our relationship with her.

Our world culture is dominated by a model of taking, not giving.  Not only is this our paradigm for relating to the planet, Nature and her resources, but this is how we treat each other, as individuals and as countries. We seek to nourish and enrich ourselves. First. What would happen if we all changed just this one little thing in our attitudes and approach to life? If instead, our first thought was how could we benefit others and the world around us?  Where is there a need that I can fulfill? A lack to which I can offer my surplus? If we all did this, we would very quickly end world hunger,  poverty and many other of our societal ills, on a global scale. Immediately, almost like magic. POOF.  Pretty cool.   All we need to do, to see this happen, is actively seek opportunities to give, and give only the best we can muster. To each other, to the planet and Nature around us.  Everything else will take care of itself.

Back to work now. I have a few kilograms of Wild Ginger from fall 2012. If I don’t go out in the next couple of weeks to harvest fresh material, (With numb cold fingers), this will be my last distillation of Wild Ginger for the year. So, bottom line, regardless of experiences, mistakes, failures, life goes on. If there were no lows there could be no heights, no valleys if there were no mountains, there would be no shadows if there was no light, and yes, would there even be successes if there were no failures?  Probably not. We might as well enjoy the ride.

Wild Ginger Harvest-Fall 2012 ready to be distilled for essential oil
Wild Ginger Harvest-Fall 2012 ready to be distilled

If you are not drawn to make your own essential oil of Wild Ginger, but would like to make its acquaintance, find someone local who does so painstakingly well. Someone who really cares. If possible, someone with a small and personal operation, not a large national or international company. We can start changing the world by supporting people and companies that are healing the planet, treating it well, nurturing a healthy relationship with it, even if on a small scale. It all makes a difference. If the mega companies, with their mass production needs, receive no funds from us, they will cease to exist. We can “vote them off the island” if we so choose. Problem solved. It may be the only way to reclaim the power we have given to the huge corporations. We don’t want to just sit around and complain about the mess in the world, blame others while we perpetuate it, do we? We, through our daily little choices have created, and maintain all of this, and we are equally capable of changing it for the better.  I don’t see anyone else around except us who can do this.

 

 

Dan

Posted on 6 Comments

Candied wild ginger- a Recipe “from fresh”

Candied Wild Ginger 2013-Apothecary's Garden
Wild Ginger - Asarum Canadense,Ontario
Wild Ginger – Asarum Canadense,Ontario

Since I posted my recipe for candied wild Ginger made from dry wild Ginger, I have been itching to make the “from fresh” version.

I had to be patient, waiting till it had finished flowering and seeding itself, it seemed the polite, considerate thing to do. No one likes to be disturbed while procreating. So Friday I went out and spent three hours on my hands and knees harvesting fresh wild Ginger for our recipe. Did I mention I turned 59 last Saturday?!! I know it’s just a number, but allow me a little moaning and groaning. I have earned at least that for being in this body for so long. Harvesting, visiting my old friends was a lovely and of course fragrant experience, but after a winter in front of the computer, blogging, I am paying the price the past couple of days. My body aches, my butt hurts, my legs & lower back feel tender. A sudden, and extended sprint of, down on your knees bent over and reaching using both hands to cut and collect roots with the occasional elbow for support, has left me a little tender and sore days later. Thank God for St. John’s Wort Oil.

 

I harvested about 5 kg per hour or 15 kg of fresh wild Ginger which after drying would be about 4 Kg. Enough for a couple of good shareable batches of confection and syrup, while building up some stock for the extraction of essential oil. I need about 15 Kg. of dry wild ginger to properly charge my essential oil still and do an efficient extraction of this truly amazing and versatile essential oil. I sometimes feel I couldn’t make perfume or mens products without it.

 

I must admit the resulting candied recipe from fresh Wild Ginger is a little different. A little more succulent and tender than the same product from dry. They both have the same level of yumminess, taste and fragrance, but the winter version from dried is a tad, well, drier. Chewier. (I may try changing the recipe a bit and see if I can get it to reconstitute a bit more when cooking.)

 

Candied Wild Ginger 2013-Apothecary's Garden
Candied Wild Ginger 2013-Apothecary’s Garden

If you have already identified Asarum Canadense, know where to find some, or have a proven patch of Wild Ginger and have made its acquaintance, then you are almost ready to harvest. If you are new to this and have not yet identified Wild Ginger, then be aware there are some challenges, mostly along the lines of look-alikes . Luckily, in our area, none are harmful, and the worst experience you might have is mounting frustration from being misdirected by Colt’s foot, Wild Violets, or young Garlic Mustard. Don’t be surprised if you do not find it the first year of seeking. It took me a few years till I finally was granted an audience.

 

So, if you have

 

  • a decent photo,
  • a basic knowledge of where Wild Ginger does and does not grow,
  • and a functioning olfactory member,( nose), then it is only a matter of time before you find Wild Ginger.

Wild Ginger ONLY grows in the woods and forests, often on slopes, NEVER in the open, or on roadsides, stream banks, fields or deserted waste places. Coltsfoot will grow in all these places and will even penetrate somewhat into the woods. Coltsfoot will be your first imposter and will mislead you as long as you let it. They both grow in shaded areas, though Coltsfoot will tolerate sun, they both grow to about 8 inches in height and have 6-12 inch wide heart-shaped leaves. The similarities end there.

 

Coltsfoot has a scalloped edge to its leaf, a fine fur or fuzz on stalk and underside, has a stalk bearing multiple yellow compound flowers in very early spring before the leaf comes out, ( why it is also called son before father), and has an odd smell. Not a bad smell, but not fragrant or reminiscent of Ginger in the slightest way.

Wild Ginger
Wild Ginger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wild Ginger has a smooth-edged leaf, smooth on top and bottom, has almost a reflective sheen to it, as if it was embedded with tiny glass beads that shimmered a bit but only at the right angle. It unfurls its leaves in the spring before it flowers a dark purple, often downward facing flower which is completely hidden unless one lifts a leaf and exposes it. And of course, Wild Ginger is intensely and unmistakably fragrant!

 

Wild Ginger-Asarum Canadense, close up - Ontario
Wild Ginger-Asarum Canadense, close up – Ontario

HARVESTING

 

When you meet a plant for the first time, it is always courteous to greet it, introduce yourself, leave an offering or gift of some sort. Perhaps to state your intent. Many cultures ask permission to harvest. It is at the very least a relationship. What kind, or how rewarding a relationship it becomes often is up to us. I usually find one patch that is separate from the rest and I place an offering. I introduce myself if it’s a new patch that I never been to, or I simply say hello to an old friend and I usually leave something. It doesn’t matter what you give as long as you give something that has meaning to you. It could be some food it could be some tobacco or a symbolic offering. It could be Money or coins, or even something personal like spit or urine that is applied in a reverent and respectful manner. It’s symbolic of giving and taking, balance and harmony, of your intent. As in life in general, we get what we give. Once the introductions and gift exchange is done, I excluded that spot from harvesting.

 

One of the most important things about harvesting in the wild, or “Wildcrafting“, is keeping the well-being of the plants in mind, harvesting in a way that will be beneficial to the plants as well as to yourself. We don’t want to leave the patch struggling for years to recuperate from the effects of our harvesting or over harvesting.

 

For this reason I harvest patches that aren’t too noticeable, will grow in quickly over the course of two or three years and I also try to collect the older roots, the “Nexus” where there is a heavier concentration of older roots and old-growth. This way I collect from a richer area, spend less time harvesting, and facilitate the vigorous growth of younger shoots that will fill in the area quickly. I should point out here, since there have been questions about which part of the plant is used, that I remove all the leaves when I am harvesting, pinching them off with my thumbnail or harvesting tool. The rootlets are not the fragrant or useable part, but since there is so much soil clinging to them, I leave them on till I can wash out all the soil with water. It is the rhizome that is of interest to us.

 

As I mentioned in my earlier post on wild Ginger I enjoy harvesting with bone tools. I find that using metal for harvesting plants just doesn’t feel right. With my background of sculptor and craftsman, specializing in natural materials, I make my own simple bone harvesting tools. If anyone is interested I can probably provide bone “blanks” to carve or shape your own tools, or a ready to use bone or antler harvesting tool. I should have them displayed in my web-shop by July.

 

There is an abundance of information available on traditions and methods of harvesting plants in the wild from cultures all over the world. I could and should write a page on the subject because it is simply too much to add here and so very very important, it deserves its own page. Identifying and finding the plants we are looking for is only a small part of the path. In reality it only leads us to the door. What will you do once you enter Natures door? How will you behave? Will you behave as the best a human can be? And what does that mean? Treat others as you would be treated? What kind of relationship will you have with her? What quality of relationship will you have and what quality of products will you be able to make with Natures bounty? Is there a connection between the two? We are shifting away from quantity based agriculture and mass production. There is only one other and opposing path, and that is the path of the individual, not the masses. The path of depth, not breadth, intuition and not one size fits all generalized solutions . We are at the brink of, and being forced over the cliff into a new way of thinking and behaving in the world. Rethinking. Individual responsibility. Yes, well, perhaps a few pages will be needed to address methods and approach to Wildcrafting and our relationship with nature!

 

There are mixed opinions as far as what planet rules Wild Ginger. Her heart-shaped leaves and delightful fragrance indicate that she is ruled by Venus, her spiciness seems an indication of Mars being her ruler. I lean towards Venus, especially after working with the essential oil of Wild Ginger in perfumery. It adds a beautiful, depth and richness to a perfume. nothing like the sharpness or heat a Martian scent would share. Thus, the hours and days of Venus are when I harvest this fragrant herb.

 

astrological glyphs, planetary rulerships.
Astrological Glyphs- Planets and Asteroids Chaldean. Though Planets and their dynamics with each other and our world are one element at the core of Astrodynamics and Plant Alchemy. Each Plant is associated with an astrological sign, planet or both. They are said to resonate on similar frequencies, to share characteristics. Plants are at their peak energetically when their ruler is well aspected or exalted in the current natal chart

So pay attention to the stars. Some things you have to experience for your self, study yourself, and only you can say if it does or does not make a difference to the end product. Some wisdom cannot be given us, taught to us. Perhaps knowledge can be passed down, but wisdom we must earn from life and personal experience.

 

On a more mundane level.

 

There really is no way to clean Wild Ginger rhizomes of soil while you’re harvesting. A large quantity of water is necessary anyway you look at it, so I take my harvest home, and I put it in a very large container filled with water.

 

Never try to clean Wild Ginger in the sink in the house. It will eventually if not immediately clog your trap with silt and mud and add a lot of extra labor to your endeavor. Just because you managed to do this once with no apparent consequences, don’t be fooled, ( as I was).

 

It usually takes me two or three good washes in deep water scrubbing and stirring the roots and dumping out the dirty water or removing the clean rhizomes from the dirty water before washing them again.

 

Wild Ginger-Asarum Canadense, scrubbing clean keep changing the water till nothing more can be removed.
Wild Ginger-Asarum Canadense, scrubbing clean and keep changing the water till nothing more can be removed.

A Recipe for making Candied Wild Ginger using fresh rhizomes

-250 Grams, or 1 heaping cup of washed and cleaned Wild Ginger roots cut to 1/2 to 2 inch lengths
-500 Ml. or 2 cups water
-500 Grams or 2 cups white sugar
-extra sugar for coating
-This recipe can be doubled or tripled easily. It yields in its basic form, about 2 cups or 500 grams of candied treats.
—————————————————————-
-Bring water and sugar to a boil
-add cleaned and cut Wild Ginger rhizomes
-bring to a boil
-reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour
-When cooled to room temperature pour syrup mix and Wild Ginger into a glass jar.
-let sit closed for 3 days.
-Pour off syrup and boil till it reaches 125 degrees Celcius.
-Add Wild Ginger and boil for 15 minutes.
-When room temperature, remove Wild Ginger to a rack and allow to drip dry.
-When no more syrup is dripping from the rhizomes roll the pieces in sugar, making sure they are thoroughly coated.
-Let Ginger pieces sit in sugar overnight or for 8 hours.
-Shake off excess sugar and put your candied Wild Ginger in a sealed jar.
– It will keep for years if it does not get consumed first.

Recipe for Wild Ginger Pancake Syrup

Add the sugar from coating the Ginger to the syrup and bring to a boil for 10 minutes. Bottle it in sterile jars or decorative bottles where it should keep for a couple of months in a cool dark place. If not using sterile vessels it will keep in the fridge for an equal length of time.

 

I am almost at the final stage of changing over from wordpress.com to wordpress.org on a self hosted site, incorporating a storefront in the native layout. I will not go into too many details, but the past few weeks have been quite challenging and presented a few steep learning curves with all the expected frustrations and roadblocks. Now for the juggling act, to try to seamlessly transfer everyone over to my new site without anyone,( or googlebots), noticing. Or at least I hope it is not too jarring a transfer. So, sometime over the next few days I hope to do this, be prepared and bear with me while I switch moving vehicles on the highway! I will see you on the other side.

 

Dan

 

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Posted on 4 Comments

Candied Wild Ginger, a Recipe “from Fresh”

Wild Ginger - Asarum Canadense,Ontario

Since I posted my recipe for candied wild Ginger made from dry wild Ginger, I have been itching to make the “from fresh” version.

I had to be patient, waiting till it had finished flowering and seeding itself, it seemed the polite, considerate thing to do. No one likes to be disturbed while procreating. So Friday I went out and spent three hours on my hands and knees harvesting fresh wild Ginger for our recipe. Did I mention I turned 59 last Saturday?!! I know it’s just a number, but allow me a little moaning and groaning. I have earned at least that for being in this body for so long. Harvesting, visiting my old friends was a lovely and of course fragrant experience, but after a winter in front of the computer, blogging, I am paying the price the past couple of days. My body aches, my butt hurts, my legs & lower back feel tender. A sudden, and extended sprint of, down on your knees bent over and reaching using both hands to cut and collect roots with the occasional elbow for support, has left me a little tender and sore days later. Thank God for St. John’s Wort Oil.

I harvested about 5 kg per hour or 15 kg of fresh wild Ginger which after drying would be about 4 Kg. Enough for a couple of good shareable batches of confection and syrup, while building up some stock for the extraction of essential oil. I need about 15 Kg. of dry wild ginger to properly charge my essential oil still and do an efficient extraction of this truly amazing and versatile essential oil. I sometimes feel I couldn’t make perfume or mens products without it.

I must admit the resulting candied recipe from fresh Wild Ginger is a little different. A little more succulent and tender than the same product from dry. They both have the same level of yumminess, taste and fragrance, but the winter version from dried is a tad, well, drier. Chewier. (I may try modifying the recipe a bit and see if I can get it to reconstitute a bit more when cooking.)

Candied Wild Ginger, from dried rhizomes-2013
Candied Wild Ginger, from dried rhizomes-2013

If you have already identified Asarum Canadense, know where to find some, or have a proven patch of Wild Ginger and have made its acquaintance, then you are almost ready to harvest. If you are new to this and have not yet identified Wild Ginger, then be aware there are some challenges, mostly along the lines of look-alikes . Luckily, in our area, none are harmful, and the worst experience you might have is mounting frustration from being misdirected by Colt’s foot, Wild Violets, or young Garlic Mustard. Don’t be surprised if you do not find it the first year of seeking. It took me a few years till I finally was granted an audience.

So, if you have

  • a decent photo,
  • a basic knowledge of where Wild Ginger does and does not grow,
  • and a functioning olfactory member,( nose), then it is only a matter of time before you find Wild Ginger.

Wild Ginger ONLY grows in the woods and forests, often on slopes, NEVER in the open, or on roadsides, stream banks, fields or deserted waste places. Coltsfoot will grow in all these places and will even penetrate somewhat into the woods. Coltsfoot will be your first imposter and will mislead you as long as you let it. They both grow in shaded areas, though Coltsfoot will tolerate sun, they both grow to about 8 inches in height and have 6-12 inch wide heart-shaped leaves. The similarities end there.

Coltsfoot has a scalloped edge to its leaf, a fine fur or fuzz on stalk and underside, has a stalk bearing multiple yellow compound flowers in very early spring before the leaf comes out, ( why it is also called son before father), and has an odd smell. Not a bad smell, but not fragrant or reminiscent of Ginger in the slightest way.

Wild Ginger has a smooth-edged leaf, smooth on top and bottom, has almost a reflective sheen to it, as if it was embedded with tiny glass beads that shimmered a bit but only at the right angle. It unfurls its leaves in the spring before it flowers a dark purple, often downward facing flower which is completely hidden unless one lifts a leaf and exposes it. And of course, Wild Ginger is intensely and unmistakably fragrant!

Wild Ginger-Asarum Canadense, close up - Ontario
Wild Ginger-Asarum Canadense, close up – Ontario

HARVESTING

When you meet a plant for the first time, it is always courteous to greet it, introduce yourself, leave an offering or gift of some sort. Perhaps to state your intent. Many cultures ask permission to harvest. It is at the very least a relationship. What kind, or how rewarding a relationship it becomes often is up to us. I usually find one patch that is separate from the rest and I place an offering. I introduce myself if it’s a new patch that I never been to, or I simply say hello to an old friend and I usually leave something. It doesn’t matter what you give as long as you give something that has meaning to you. It could be some food it could be some tobacco or a symbolic offering. It could be Money or coins, or even something personal like spit or urine that is applied in a reverent and respectful manner. It’s symbolic of giving and taking, balance and harmony, of your intent. As in life in general, we get what we give. Once the introductions and gift exchange is done, I excluded that spot from harvesting.

One of the most important things about harvesting in the wild, or “Wildcrafting“, is keeping the well-being of the plants in mind, harvesting in a way that will be beneficial to the plants as well as to yourself. We don’t want to leave the patch struggling for years to recuperate from the effects of our harvesting or over harvesting.

For this reason I harvest patches that aren’t too noticeable, will grow in quickly over the course of two or three years and I also try to collect the older roots, the “Nexus” where there is a heavier concentration of older roots and old-growth. This way I collect from a richer area, spend less time harvesting, and facilitate the vigorous growth of younger shoots that will fill in the area quickly. I should point out here, since there have been questions about which part of the plant is used, that I remove all the leaves when I am harvesting, pinching them off with my thumbnail or harvesting tool. The rootlets are not the fragrant or useable part, but since there is so much soil clinging to them, I leave them on till I can wash out all the soil with water. It is the rhizome that is of interest to us.

As I mentioned in my earlier post on wild Ginger I enjoy harvesting with bone tools. I find that using metal for harvesting plants just doesn’t feel right. With my background of sculptor and craftsman, specializing in natural materials, I make my own simple bone harvesting tools. If anyone is interested I can probably provide bone “blanks” to carve or shape your own tools, or a ready to use bone or antler harvesting tool. I should have them displayed in my web-shop by July.

There is an abundance of information available on traditions and methods of harvesting plants in the wild from cultures all over the world. I could and should write a page on the subject because it is simply too much to add here and so very very important, it deserves its own page. Identifying and finding the plants we are looking for is only a small part of the path. In reality it only leads us to the door. What will you do once you enter Natures door? How will you behave? Will you behave as the best a human can be? And what does that mean? Treat others as you would be treated? What kind of relationship will you have with her? What quality of relationship will you have and what quality of products will you be able to make with Natures bounty? Is there a connection between the two? We are shifting away from quantity based agriculture and mass production. There is only one other and opposing path, and that is the path of the individual, not the masses. The path of depth, not breadth, intuition and not one size fits all generalized solutions . We are at the brink of, and being forced over the cliff into a new way of thinking and behaving in the world. Rethinking. Individual responsibility. Yes, well, perhaps a few pages will be needed to address methods and approach to Wildcrafting and our relationship with nature!

There are mixed opinions as far as what planet rules Wild Ginger. Her heart-shaped leaves and delightful fragrance indicate that she is ruled by Venus, her spiciness seems an indication of Mars being her ruler. I lean towards Venus, especially after working with the essential oil of Wild Ginger in perfumery. It adds a beautiful, depth and richness to a perfume. nothing like the sharpness or heat a Martian scent would share. Thus, the hours and days of Venus are when I harvest this fragrant herb.

astrological glyphs, planetary rulerships.
Astrological Glyphs- Planets and Asteroids Chaldean. Though Planets and their dynamics with each other and our world are one element at the core of Astrodynamics and Plant Alchemy. Each Plant is associated with an astrological sign, planet or both. They are said to resonate on similar frequencies, to share characteristics. Plants are at their peak energetically when their ruler is well aspected or exalted in the current natal chart

So pay attention to the stars. Some things you have to experience for your self, study yourself, and only you can say if it does or does not make a difference to the end product. Some wisdom cannot be given us, taught to us. Perhaps knowledge can be passed down, but wisdom we must earn from life and personal experience.

On a more mundane level.

There really is no way to clean Wild Ginger rhizomes of soil while you’re harvesting. A large quantity of water is necessary anyway you look at it, so I take my harvest home, and I put it in a very large container filled with water.

Never try to clean Wild Ginger in the sink in the house. It will eventually if not immediately clog your trap with silt and mud and add a lot of extra labor to your endeavor. Just because you managed to do this once with no apparent consequences, don’t be fooled, ( as I was).

It usually takes me two or three good washes in deep water scrubbing and stirring the roots and dumping out the dirty water or removing the clean rhizomes from the dirty water before washing them again.

Wild Ginger-Asarum Canadense, scrubbing clean keep changing the water till nothing more can be removed.
Wild Ginger-Asarum Canadense, scrubbing clean and keep changing the water till nothing more can be removed.

A Recipe for making Candied Wild Ginger using fresh rhizomes

-250 Grams, or 1 heaping cup of washed and cleaned Wild Ginger roots cut to 1/2 to 2 inch lengths
-500 Ml. or 2 cups water
-500 Grams or 2 cups white sugar
-extra sugar for coating
-This recipe can be doubled or tripled easily. It yields in its basic form, about 2 cups or 500 grams of candied treats.
—————————————————————-
-Bring water and sugar to a boil
-add cleaned and cut Wild Ginger rhizomes
-bring to a boil
-reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour
-When cooled to room temperature pour syrup mix and Wild Ginger into a glass jar.
-let sit closed for 3 days.
-Pour off syrup and boil till it reaches 125 degrees Celcius.
-Add Wild Ginger and boil for 15 minutes.
-When room temperature, remove Wild Ginger to a rack and allow to drip dry.
-When no more syrup is dripping from the rhizomes roll the pieces in sugar, making sure they are thoroughly coated.
-Let Ginger pieces sit in sugar overnight or for 8 hours.
-Shake off excess sugar and put your candied Wild Ginger in a sealed jar.
– It will keep for years if it does not get consumed first.

Recipe for Wild Ginger Pancake Syrup

Add the sugar from coating the Ginger to the syrup and bring to a boil for 10 minutes. Bottle it in sterile jars or decorative bottles where it should keep for a couple of months in a cool dark place. If not using sterile vessels it will keep in the fridge for an equal length of time.

I am almost at the final stage of changing over from wordpress.com to wordpress.org on a self hosted site, incorporating a storefront in the native layout. I will not go into too many details, but the past few weeks have been quite challenging and presented a few steep learning curves with all the expected frustrations and roadblocks. Now for the juggling act, to try to seamlessly transfer everyone over to my new site without anyone,( or googlebots), noticing. Or at least I hope it is not too jarring a transfer. So, sometime over the next few days I hope to do this, be prepared and bear with me while I switch moving vehicles on the highway! I will see you on the other side.

Dan