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Plant Magic, Mysticism and Medicine-the Viridis Genii Symposium 2016

The Viridis Genii Symposium
Plant Magic, Mysticism, and Medicine

June 3rd — June 6th 2016

sympos

As some of you know, I will be presenting the keynote speech and conducting a workshop at the Viridis Genii symposium beginning of June in Portland Oregon.

The premise of this gathering is dear to my heart and indicative of a growing Western culture that is actively weaving spirit and the sacred back into our relationship with nature.

Capitalism and industrialisation have brought us many gifts, but the price we have paid for our progress is a disconnection from nature and spirit. We wake each morning to a  world focused on material goods, devoid of content, meaning, ethics or spirit. We look at our negative impact on the world, how we treat our food animals and forests, we see increasing global environmental degradation, loss of species, rampant new diseases and we wonder what we as individuals can do to change this.

There are facets of nature that we cannot understand through study or external sources.  They represent knowledge that is esoteric, transmitted directly, purely experiential and deeply subjective. I believe the answers to our current disconnectedness are found here through deep, intimate and individual reconnecting with Nature. A path that is available to us all. Anytime. Anywhere.

Carefully veiled around us, is a world of ancestral knowledge and timeless wisdom. Within it we find ancient mysteries, lost sciences and arts, dormant magic and technology both forgotten and yet to be discovered. It is ours to draw from if we so choose.

One need not be a mystic, mage or super-spiritual person to dip into this well of  mysteries, gifts and insights, to be initiated into a deeper understanding of nature, the cosmos and our place in it. There are no titles or certificates needed or given, no special invitations or secret handshakes. Entheogens are not mandatory and there is no age requirement. Come, open and willing as you are. Bring your passion. Nature turns no one away.

What awaits us on this path as plant people, herbalists, healers, apothecaries, alchemists, wizards, witches, wildcrafters and more, is a broadened understanding of  cosmic and planetary intelligence and life, a sense of place and stewardship, a  connectedness to nature and humanity as a whole and an ability to not only hear and understand the language of nature, plants and animals, but to communicate  and forge mutually respectful relationships. Here we directly experience  shamanism, animism, magic, mysticism and the healing arts of our collective ethnocultural pasts. Here we discover stewardship of our future.

When we connect deeply and intimately with nature and its plants, animals and minerals, align ourselves with its cycles and rhythms, we enter into the presence of the “other”, the genius, the intelligence, the spirit, that which speaks directly to us. With us. This is the Viridis Genii, the Spirit of the green, and we learn her secrets through Gnosis, experiential knowledge- Green Gnosis. She invites us each into deep intimacy with her in her world and her temple of mysteries, if we but ask.

Though radically personal and subjective, there is a commonality of experience that lends us a shared understanding and language. That shared language creates a community. A growing community . This growth could be deemed a movement. This movement can be discerned in other fields and human endeavours.
I believe when viewed from afar, this slow radical change in perception through individual personal experience can be seen as an evolution on a global scale.

The Viridis Genii Symposium is a call, a beacon to any and all who have experienced or seek to experience the mysteries, magic and medicine of nature beyond its physical form. All who have ever felt there was more in the forest than meets the eye.

This is your invitation. I hope to see you there.

Dan

 

 

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A fragrant moon over Addis

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First night in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, reclining in a hammock, chewing on some Chaat and gazing at the moon at 2,355 meters above sea level. She feels closer somehow. Supporting a huge halo, I’m comforted by her unchanging presence no matter where in the world i might be.
The blend of fragrances in the air is nothing short of exotic.
Sewage in a small stream that runs through the city provides a complicated base-note that blends in and out with mysterious and foreign florals, the smell of burning cook fires, punctuated by rich hints of Frankincense Papyrifera wafting from homes and the massive, always-busy church up the street. An engaging and ever-changing composition.
All in all, a wonderful way to shake off the claustrophobia and travel fatigue from the day-long journey getting here.
image Vending incense and resins on the street. Boswellia Papyrifera on the upper left.

This morning the burnt, rich scent of fresh roasting coffee beans leads the parade up my nose. Most everyone buys them green and roasts their own over a charcoal burner. A signature smell of Addis.
My Airbnb host Henok, is an artist, radical and kindred spirit. His home feels like many of my own over the years. Life is good.
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The always busy Piazza.

The morning was perfected with a coffee with my good friend Ermias, AKA
professor emeritus Dagne, who relishes the campus coffee even more because it is the cheapest in town. A perfect place for us to meet and to catch up on projects, future and past.
Though officially retired from teaching, professor Dagne is still very active in the university of Addis Ababa and there is usually a flock of grad students not too far from him.
He is one of those warm, authentic, magnetic, energetic people that walks with a slight tilt forward as if constantly on his way somewhere. Always busy. Always inspired, he is as much an artist as a scientist, and as much an apothecary and medicine maker as a distiller of essential oils. I’m honored to call him my friend.

Professor Dagne has offered his support with the upcoming Samburu project in neighboring Kenya.
One of the critical issues in marketing the resins the Samburu women collect is properly identifying which species they are.
While the Myrrh they gather  is generally accepted as Molmol, Myrrh or Commiphorah Myrrha, and the other as Hagar, or Opoponax, AKA C. Holtzii, the Frankincense types they bring back from their nomadic travels, are simply called “Light” and Dark” incense.

The global academic community has decided that only Boswellia Neglecta is to be found in North Eastern Kenya and neither of these fragrant oleoresins matches the description of B. Neglecta oleoresin as we know it. One is a clear golden yellow, often in tear form, and the other arrives in dull grey/white lumps.
So, a mystery awaits. And some work.
Professor Dagne will receive both plant pressings and their paired resins, and perform Gas Chromatography tests on the resin samples to help us identify them.

Over the past 100 or so years, 7 distinct species of Boswellia were registered in this area of East Africa. Over the past few decades they were all relegated to the species B. Neglecta S. Moore. I don’t know if this was based on similarity of leaf and flower and reasonably safe guesswork, but if the resins of these trees differ from each other so radically, it is worth a close look. And smell. Likely a taste too. Having access to sophisticated equipment that has not been available till recently could be the determinating factor in answering these important questions.
I will try to keep everyone updated as these projects unfold.
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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A Mustachio twirl to save the world

 

A Mustachio Twirl

A mustacio twirl-Silicone Mustache Wax Trays from the Dollar store
A mustachio twirl-Silicone Mustache Wax Trays from the Dollar store

Casting Mustache Wax in Silicone trays.

In my posts, I keep referring to “silicone trays” from the Dollar store”, as perfect moulds for casting home-made mustache wax. I have meant to post pictures for a few months now. So I will get this off the job list. They really are perfect! Though bright Neon, they shape the wax well, and release it easily.

One dome of mustache wax = one months worth of twirling for a modest mustachio.

I usually store them in a nice glass apothecary jar. I put a new dome in one of the stainless steel tins, as soon as I start scraping the last sticky shreds out of it. The tins are a great help keeping the dust and dirt from mixing in to the wax and finding their way to my mustache, which can lead to embarrassing situations.

Mustache Wax "Domes" cast in silicone tray
Mustache Wax “Domes” cast in silicone tray

Dollar store Silicone Trays for Mustache Wax
Silicone Mustache Wax Trays from the Dollar store

I haven’t tried the rectangular shapes yet, butthey look promising.

OK that’s it for silicone. On to petroleum. A Mustachio Twirl to save the world.

I am making a new version of a “classic” 2 part mustache wax that has been online forever. A “classic” because anyone who has ever looked for a mustache wax recipe online must have seen it posted in numerous places. I’m pretty sure it is reproduced from an old, turn of the century, formulary or recipe book. It calls for Beeswax and, (Ugh), Vaseline.

At the time it was published, Vaseline was being touted, (by its inventor), as a cure-all and miracle product. A miracle drug!. Really.

At the time, the petroleum industry was just taking flight, and the future looked bright for Fossil Fuels. And for us!…. Oops

Now that we have a hole in the Ozone layer, greenhouse gasses galore, have polluted ourselves with carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide from the fossil fuels we are burning, not to mention the rest of the problems we face globally due to our passionate pursuit of petroleum products and our accelerated “Fracking” of Fossil Fuels”. We really should be looking at alternatives.

I know it’s “only” Vaseline”, and it’s already in millions of households, but if we use it without a thought, how will things ever change? The Big things? Couldn’t we at least stop for a second, and give things a consideration? Even if it’s just a little one. It wouldn’t hurt, Right? It’s got to be better than racing ahead to global oblivion, and sucking the planet dry , while we make a toxic mess on the planet’s surface. I’m sure the Planet must have some need of the petroleum or She wouldn’t have so much of it in her belly. Right?

Maybe it keeps her gears lubricated? Has a purpose?? I don’t know. Does anyone though?Maybe she is going to start heating up from internal friction now that her oil level is down. Hmmm.?!? Global warming?!

And, doesn’t “non renewable resource” mean we can’t replace it? Personally, I always, like to at least try, to replace whatever I use or borrow. I know I like it when others do the same for me. I think that is important. Individually, Universally.

I don’t know about you all, but I think, if there ever was, a moment that deserved our deepest thought and consideration, a true Mustachio twirling moment, this is it. Could there be a better cause? So, Men, at your leisure,,, it’s the thought that counts, I expect to hear a gentle hummmm vibrating around the world. Put your wrists into it, and give it a spin for Beautiful Mother Nature, the Goddess, and the Planet. Now is the time to think deep of how fix this mess we have made. We are more than just a handsome mustache, right? (Girls you are all included too. Don’t think I haven’t noticed all the women who stroke their chins when thinking).

OK, I know, it’s just a bit of Vaseline in a recipe online. Not a big deal. But,, I was just thinking,, if every one of us does something small that only they can do, then things could really change, quickly, and globally. Right? If every person corrected what only they could see, or do, or correct, in the world, on an individual basis, we could go a long way in a short time. Globally. I like it.

So I am going to post an alternative to an outdated recipe. It’s not a big thing, but, it’s something. Give everyone a choice to not use Vaseline, but something “greener” and better, something good that Vaseline has replaced and displaced in the world. An equally simple, 2 ingredient recipe for a mustache wax, one that suits our lives and times. Perhaps our ethics too. That’s something I can do right now.
. You will have to wait, (not too long), to find out what that is. :-).

So stayed tuned.
Dan.

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Apothecary’s Garden has Moved to a new Address!!

After 9 months of gestation, learning WordPress under the gentle and thoughtful tutelage of WordPress dot com and 3 months of trial and error exploring alternatives, I have finally moved forward to hosting Apothecary’s Garden on my own WordPress dot org site.

As most know, WordPress.com is like a gentle parent, supporting our blogging efforts every way possible, worrying about, and taking care of all the little details for us, while setting safe, but sometimes frustrating boundaries and limitations on our creative expression.

In my case, I needed to share not only my thoughts and words, but the tangible products  I have perfected and the rare  gifts of Nature I have discovered on my path.

The new site is up and running. I managed to migrate most of this site to it, however, it is far from finished or perfect. The learning curve has no end it seems. I was not able to migrate my followers, (sorry folks!!), and there have been some problems with broken links and photos not showing up. But, I am still learning and have no doubt I will iron out the glitches, with time, I hope you can bear with me, and please let me know if you encounter any problems or bugs when you visit the new site.

The new website address is, apothecarysgarden.com.If you are not there already, feel free to bookmark it or put it in your browser. This is where you will find me from here on, and, I hope within a few weeks , you will also find a store woven into the blog, offering for purchase or barter, those things that I have been inspired to create and perfect over the years. I would love to share them with you.
I believe that there are no coincidences in the world, that those who need exactly those items I have created, will find themselves here. That like-minded people will be drawn here regardless of where they are in the world. And that this will be a place where I can interact with, and fulfill the needs of others, while filling my own well.

I hope to see you there. If you were following me, and would like to continue doing so, please go to the new site and re-subscribe to the blog. (“Subscribe by email” button). I would be very happy to continue our relationship.

Apothecary's Garden- New Dawn Herbal Apothecary
Apothecary’s Garden- New Dawn Herbal Apothecary

Dan Riegler
apothecarysgarden.com
New Dawn Herbal Apothecary

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Wild Ginger, Flavorful, Fragrant Northern Treasure

Wild-Ginger-Ontario- Hidden medicine and gourmet spice14-06-2013-

Wild Ginger- Asarum Canadense

Not many people are familiar with Wild Ginger.
It is one of those unique, well hidden treasures of the deep woods that some Canadians or Northeastern Americans might come across, but most would not recognize. This may be a good thing. I believe it is on the protected list in Maine as a threatened plant, and I wouldn’t want to see a trend.

Wild Ginger, HiddenTreasure of our Northern Woods
Wild Ginger, Asarum Canadense.  Hidden treasure of our Northern Woods. Used in the Medicinal, Culinary and  Fragrant “Arts”. Photo courtesy of Chris S. Packard

Shade loving and often found on north facing slopes under mixed hardwoods, It clings to humus, wends around rocks, clutching at the surface of the soil and more often than not does a good job stopping soil erosion.

Sleeping Wild Ginger, Asarum Canadense Ancaster Ontatio. Like the rest of us, patiently waiting for Spring. April 2013
Sleeping Wild Ginger Ancaster Ontatio. Like the rest of us, patiently waiting for Spring. April 2013

I would put it in a similar category of useful and highly valuable native plants as our Lady Slipper Orchid , which is almost extinct from encroachment of  roads and cities and from over-harvesting.

Wild Ginger
Wild Ginger (Photo credit: BlueRidgeKitties)

Beautiful large green heart-shaped leaves glow & glimmer with an almost iridescent depth. In the spring they shyly hide beautiful purplish flowers, making them almost invisible. As if they were doing everything they could to not be found or recognized, to hide themselves from prying eyes and greedy hands. Leaves are similar in size, shape, colour and height to the Coltsfoot that grows almost everywhere here. Making it even harder to make a first acquaintance. It took me almost 2  years of false starts,  impulsive roadside pullovers, dashes across  fields, into woods, across streams, being so sure I had, finally, found it, …… and each time, catching myself a little sooner,  my initial excitement tempered with a little more skepticism, as I sought out the telltale’s of those impostors,  Coltsfoot and Wild Violets, blatantly impersonating Wild Ginger. Finally, I assume because the time was right, I was granted a personal audience. Deep in the woods, one on one, while hunting wild Mushrooms. I wasn’t even looking for it at the time!! 

 It’s Latin name is Asarum Canadense. Distinguishing it from its European cousin Asarum Europeaum, which has a little to no aroma and a general resemblance only on the surface. I believe the European version is in general toxic and medicinally acts as an  emetic and Cathartic so beware. Also an abortifacient if I am not mistaken. Though it makes a pretty good shade loving ground cover in Northern climates if anyone.

A dense colony of European wild ginger (Asarum...
A dense colony of European wild ginger (Asarum europaeum) at the Botanical Gardens in Münster, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ahhhh Wild Ginger what can I say? You really have to smell it, taste it to know what I’m talking about. Scientifically it does not belong to the ginger family at all, But once you meet it you’ll know immediately why it got its name. Not quite as “hot” as Asian Ginger, but more than makes up for bite in its complex spicy flavour. It has an aroma and taste that gives it extensive possibilities in an infinite number of dishes

In the field of Natural Perfumery, its essential oil is exquisite! There’s nothing like it. I use it  in perfumes, colognes, aftershaves and room sprays. Basically wherever I can. It blends well with Citrus, Woody and Balsamic essential oils, made easily into a  perfume tincture.  It has a high percent of volatile oils so it is worth the effort of distilling the essential oil, and I would love to extract a resinoid or concrete someday soon. I have a feeling it would add even more potential to its use in perfumery.

    An interesting characteristic, is that when steam distilling the essential oil of Wild Ginger, the oil comes over a beautiful Emerald green, but over the course of a few weeks it changes permanently to a rich Amber colour. I know of no other essential oils that behave this way.

My first Distillation of Wild Ginger essential oil, (2004?)
My first Distillation of Wild Ginger essential oil, (2004?). Gorgeous Green, after a few weeks mellows to a rich Amber colour. Just one more thing that makes it unique.

As a tea, the ground rhizomes  are delicious, help ease a sore throat, mix well with other stimulating and spicy tea herbs, fruit or Citrus peels. It is warming and rejuvenating, lovely in the winter and like regular Ginger it encourages good digestion and discourages flatulence. Native North American tribes have historically used it for medicine and ceremony. In the summer I add it to iced tea and Lemonade. As a base for an alcoholic or non-alcoholic brewed Ginger Ale or beer, there is nothing like it!

Wild Ginger complements rice dishes, wild mushrooms, (and regular ones), fowl, Venison, Beef, Lamb, Chicken etc., etc., anything really!! Roasts and stir frys, Casseroles and pasta dishes. Sauces and Salad Dressings. Coarsely grind some  with Mortar and Pestle and throw it in a pot of rice. It will transform it. Each little piece will turn into a flavorful chewy delicious tidbit by the time your rice is cooked, adding not only fragrance and flavor but a unique texture to your rice pot. Though I would not suggest completely replacing Ginger in the kitchen with Wild Ginger*, it creates delightful results anywhere regular Ginger is called for.

Candies, cakes, cookies and confections are a very exiting area to explore with Wild Ginger.  The rhizomes make a wicked candied treat when boiled in sugar-water, then rolled in sugar, keeping unrefrigerated till it is gone, (which I promise you is never long), and the fragrant syrup from this process is perfect as a pancake or ice cream Syrup. If this Candied Wild Ginger is dipped in chocolate, I know of no other home-made confection that could compare. I add ground wild Ginger to fruit and herbal wines, Fruit cocktails and salads. I Have used it as a flavour component in a distilled liqueur, in Elderberry and Dandelion wines. There might be culinary applications it is not suited to at least experiment with. But honestly, I can’t think of even one! I usually add about 1 1/2 times more Wild Ginger to a recipe than regular dried Ginger.

A treat for the senses, Wild Ginger, Asarum Canadenses offers infinite delights in the kitchen and Perfume studio.
A treat for the senses, Wild Ginger, Asarum Canadenses offers infinite possibilities and delights in the kitchen.

If the dried rhizomes are properly stored, whole, not ground, they can keep for up to 8  years without losing their fragrance and potency. (as has been my experience). When Wild Ginger is ground and properly stored, three years is about the length of time before the flavor starts fading. I dare anyone that reads this to keep Wild Ginger in any amount till such time as the fragrance fades!! If you have it, you will use it till it is all gone!

One of my "secret" plots of Wild Ginger is under the cover of this gorgeous fall scene. Another reason fall harvesting is different than Spring.
One of my “secret” plots of Wild Ginger is under the cover of this gorgeous fall scene. Another reason fall harvesting is different than Spring. I can almost smell it!

For the past 14 years I have taken care of some plots of Wild Ginger growing “untended” in our area. (Locations I keep secret and share with only a handful of trusted friends). I harvest yearly in the fall and sometimes in the spring, experiencing the subtle differences each season lends it as I rotate between plots. After much trial and error I have come up with a couple of good harvesting methods that strike a balance between bringing home a bountiful harvest, and leaving behind happy thriving plants. This allows me to harvest every other year or so, and come back to vibrant vigorous growth that shows barely a sign of my presence. A very satisfying feeling. Win win, like good business we all benefit and do well from our relationship. Give and take. Honesty. A happy relationship. 

Bone Harvesting tool for Wild Ginger
Bone Harvesting tool made specifically for Wild Ginger. With a long, very sharp edge, it slides between rhizome and soil, cleanly and quickly slicing it from rootlets. Painless, smooth, and somehow not as obtrusive or discordant as a steel tool. The angled handle and sharpened tip make the design even more functional. It is a joy to work with.

There are many myths, anthropological, cultural and hard to prove theories about not using “Cold Steel” to harvest plants. whether it disturbs the plants energy, or the energies that are exterior to the plant. Mostly theories that are very difficult to prove even with advanced tools. Some things we just have to study or try for ourselves or we will never find out what is fact, what is fiction, what works and what doesn’t.

 I must admit, using bone tools feels like I am working from the inside out, if that makes any sense. As if I am a part of the plant or process, not intruding, disrupting, invading.  Feels more like sharing than taking. Sometimes I can only tell if something really works by how it “feels” to me, or by the results I get, like using Astrodynamics and Astrology to work in harmony with the plants. (As I do with Wild Ginger as well). The resulting products look, smell, and work better, last longer than the mass harvested and processed products I gauge them against. The whole process, in all it’s parts, just “feels” right, so that’s what I do. I also keep a thumbnail or two, extra long, from late Spring into Late fall, specifically for harvesting semi soft stems of flowers and medicinal plants. It’s just what works for me. No one else is obligated to follow suit.

Wild Ginger, Fall 2012 harvest hanging from rafters for essential oil medicinal and culinary applications.
Wild Ginger, Fall 2012 harvest hanging from rafters curing.

I finally took down a few kilograms of fall 2012 harvest Wild Ginger that has hung from my rafters since the fall. I will distill a few Kilograms into essential oil this week, and keep the rest to sell locally and in my online shop.  If anyone is interested in making the acquaintance of my fragrant friend. I’d be happy to grind some up for you, or ship you whole   pieces.

Fall harvest of 2012 is cured, it always seems to mellow in the loveliest way when I make myself wait at least till spring to bring it down and use it

It is ready now to use for all the above mentioned purposes and pleasures, and I will have it set up for sale in my web-store at apothecarysgarden.com  once I get this blog posted and have a break! Here is a link to the Apothecary’s garden shop, Have a look. If you like you can order some for yourself and try it in your own dishes, and please let me know what you think.

Wild Ginger 2012 Harvest. Whole, ground and in pieces. Fresh, fragrant and flavorful, waiting to inspire and share itself.
Wild Ginger 2012 Harvest. Whole, ground and in pieces. Fresh, fragrant and flavorful, waiting to inspire and be shared.

I will post some of my favourite Wild Ginger recipes on my Recipe Page, but please be patient, it may take me a few days to get that organized. So check back if you don’t find anything new. Everything seems to take time!!!

* Wild Ginger belongs to a very large family of plants found around the world. Some of its distant relatives, especially in northern Asia have been found to contain amounts of aristolochic acid which is a carcinogen. As far as I know our Asarum species does not contain these acids in any but trace amounts, if at all. I have not been able to find any information or studies done specifically on our Wild Ginger in this regard, but I do suggest not replacing your use of Ginger completely with Wild Ginger. Everything in moderation.  And educate yourself… Here is a link to the Wikipedia site for Asarum Canadense, if anyone would like to edify themselves further.

Thanks

Dan

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Astrodynamics

 “As above, So below”

Flyer Apothecary's Garden 2012

Astrodynamics is a modern term coined for a method of working with plants and Astrology to refine the energetic and physical qualities of herbs and their products. It is a branch of Herbal Alchemy which seeks to sublimate and potentate plant qualities  by working in harmony with Nature . Its goal is to bring plant life to its fullest potential, or in other words to  transmute what is mundane to a higher form of itself. This is reflected in the well-known pursuit of mineral Alchemy,  transmuting  Lead to Gold.

According to Astrodynamics, each plants physical, energetic and therapeutic properties resemble and resonate with different astrological and Planetary bodies. Each plant is influenced by, or “Ruled by” a planet and/or Sign of the Zodiac and there is a resonance, a harmony and an affinity between them. These energies are at their peak in plant life when their ruling sign or planet is prominent or well aspected in the sky. When their ruling planets or signs are at an ebb or in conflict with other heavenly bodies, the corresponding qualities in their subjective herbs will also  be at an ebb. There are different influences that are considered in this approach to herbalism.

The symbols used in Western astrology to repre...
The symbols used in Western astrology to represent the astrological signs (Zodiac) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

-The natal chart which shows the Astrological positions, relationships and influences at each given moment.

-The position of the Moon, whether waxing or waning and in which sign of the Zodiac it is passing through.

-The day of the week, each is ruled by a different planet, as is each hour of the day.

-Care is also given to one’s intent and mindfulness in every step of the process. One cannot separate oneself from the equation or not influence the end product. Each species is accorded the respect and care due to a unique individual, not a commodity. Thus Astrodynamics is about the dynamics of relationships, the interconnectedness and interdependence of all things.

-My experience has shown, that growing, harvesting and processing plants, conscientiously while working with their rulerships and Astrological affinities in this manner, yields products of superior medicinal quality, colour, fragrance and extended shelf life.

The second place we utilize this knowledge is when the medicine is made. This is directed by the organ or area of the body the dis-ease is affecting. Each organ is “Governed” by its own astrological and planetary signs.

The body and organs are supported with herbs that have an affinity with them.   The  medicine is produced at a time these energies are at their peak. While the dis-ease is addressed with herbs that are astrologically opposite in their nature and energy.AG Flyer Inside 2013

These are some basic principles of Astrodynamics,Herbal Alchemy and Medicinal Astrology, in a nutshell.

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First Step Full Circle

I haven’t posted anything since the Scorpio New moon. I must admit it has been busy. Not only keeping to my list of items and obligations to “purge” this Scorpio Lunation, but also trying to keep to my goal of establishing a new incarnation of the business before the end of 2012. This meant weeks of collecting my old recipes, copy, labels and logos from the past decade and a half, taking the best of it all and synthesizing a functionality and look that would serve the best and longest.
Saturday I attended the “Crafternoon Delight”.
A small venue, a “popup shop” on Dundurn in Hamilton, occupying the space where Dell drugstore was before it changed to “Shoppers Drugmart” and moved across the street.
I was pleasantly shocked by the ratio of items sold to the number of attendees. Whether the demographics of attendees, the word of mouth nature of the advertizing, or some other factor, I sold much more than I anticipated from such a small venue. So after 16-17 years of refining and improving the effectiveness and quality of the products, it was very satisfying to find a tangible appreciation of my efforts.
My thanks to Lisa, who’s Aries fire helped me push through the challenges and who’s critical Rooster eye gave me the best possible choices in layout and proofing.
Thanks to Michelle and Joey for organizing the show and choosing accomplished and talented vendors, and to Gabriela who passed my name to the organizers.
A first physical manifestation, of a new incarnation, where all my study and practice, exploration and experience from years past come together on a new level. A first step in a new circle. Or more aptly put, a new round in a forward moving spiral.

First Show, sparse but effective.

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Fall is teetering, though not quite fallen

19 September. Sudden drop in temperature after a week or so of rain. Time to check all the appropriate places and “usual suspects” for mushrooms and other yummy fungi.
St.John’swort oil still standing and being stirred a couple of times daily, time to double check the calendar to remember its starting and upcoming extraction dates. Very very red at this point. Beautiful ruby colour.
Two batches of Calendula oil straining now after numerous recharging with fresh flowers., and one new batch waiting to start.
Hops drying along with Mugwort, Wormwood and Hoary Mountain Mint. Guess it’s time to take all the dried herbs down from the rafters before they start

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