Learning from Jasmine

Plant Allies

Plants have a wonderful way of showing up in your life when you least expect it and if you sink down into the deeper meaning of their existence and character, you will find they have much to offer you.

Human Allies

Whilst in Lincoln about to embark on my third and final year of University, studying a BSc in Herbal Medicine, I went for a beer in a pub, named the Green Dragon, (serving the only brew for the brave and true) with a lovely herbalist called Kate, who now runs Elemental Arts. She had just transferred to Lincoln from the Scottish School of Herbal Medicine. I had had quite a turbulent end to my summer break and with much uncertainty I had moved back to Lincoln. Sitting across from Kate, in this wonky, but cosy old pub, our mere presence halving the average age in there, we began to share our stories of who we were. It would appear that we had much in common and lots of plans and experiences we would be able to share over the coming year. We both said to each other, after our evening how much better we felt about the year ahead, I’m sure this had something to do with our new kindled friendship.

Over the course of the year we drank a lot of tea in the Angel Cafe, went on night rambles and day time stomps, howled at the moon on steep hill, danced furiously, joined the local border morris side, put the world to rights and shared many emotions.

Message to the Universe

I recall one evening, we were wandering our way up the hill to morris practice, chatting about the things we were struggling with and the things we were really enjoying about the course. When we both, sub-consciously sent messages to the Universe.

Me: “I’d really like to get to know Jasmine a little better, I don’t feel like I know it and its sort of calling to me. I’m also super nervous about the physical examinations of bodily systems, I’d like to practice that too.”

Kate: “I’d just like to have a new patient, I haven’t had one in a long time and I’m feeling like everyone else has, it must be my turn by now!”

With an afternoon in clinic on the schedule for the next day, we didn’t really say much to each other on the topic after that and carried on, on our way. I remember that evening we had a very ‘energy raising’ practice, the room felt far too small for all the energy and power we were creating and it felt good to step out into the crisp air to make our way back home.

From the Universe with Love

Arriving in clinic after an endless morning of lectures, full from the salad bar, earl grey tea and a cheeky but fair-trade milk chocolate with orange, we plonked ourselves down in the dispensary ready to hear about the schedule for the afternoon. Our teacher Andrew:

“So, we have two new patients booked in today”, Mine and Kate’s eyes met and flashed at each other. “One is a young woman, called Jasmine”

Another wild stare, a smile and then an eruption of giggles. We explained our conversation the night before to Andrew’s bewildered stares and Kate insisted I take this new patient as it was ‘a sign’. I agreed but there was one condition…

“Kate hasn’t had a new patient in a while” I said “I think she should see the other one”

It turned out that my patient also needed a digestive system check – which involves gently palpating, percussing and auscultating the abdominal area and so I was able to practise my examination skills too.

So our message the night before had been heard and we were brought what we needed from the Universe With Love.

Peripheral Awareness

Jasmine, the plant, that is, has lingered in my periphery over the years, I haven’t worked with the plant physically with myself or with any patients. I still don’t feel like I know it all that well. I suppose I have never been called to use it, until….

Jasmine is calling you again….

NIMH conference 2017 took place a few weeks ago and I will be talking about it for a long while as I learned so much in such a small space of time and I am still sieving through it all. Sat in a seminar by Keith Roberts, whose presence it is to be in, is SUCH a treat and a delight, we were passed a few essential oils and a vine of leaves. I was sat quite near the back of the room and as the bottles were passed from front to back, the room gradually filled with sweet, lifting aromas. Energy raising indeed!

One was Rose, my journey with Rose is a completely different story all together and one I will save for another day. Rose has been with me since the conference and I am using it in my daily practise. There was a time, I would not be in the same room as this plant, but as I said, another story, another day. The second, I did not recognise, the smell was so delicious I cannot even begin to describe it…..

I’ll give it a go.

It’s like the moment you arrive at a party, excited for the night ahead and a little nervous with anticipation…..ooooohhh the possibilities! You look, smell and feel amazing, you got it right tonight, on point and looking fiiiiine!

Anyway, as I became enveloped in this scent, I glanced at the bottle…….Jasmine! And I wrote in the open page of my Bullet Journal – ‘Jasmine is calling you again’

So, on my return I looked it up, finally!

You can use the essential oil, or the flowers as a tea, it is also used in the form of a tincture. I have asked a few of my fellow herbalists about their experience of the plant and with their permission, I will share with you.

Firstly, the amazing image at the top of this post was taken by a herbalist called Amy Dadachanji of The Wild Apothecary. Ames was my roommate at the conference and it would appear that Jasmine is also calling to her at the moment too! She recently posted it on her Instagram (definitely one to follow, such beauty consistently captured), mentioning she’d like to make a flower remedy out of it soon.

Jonathan Woodall of Jonnys’s Apothecary said:
“I always associated it with feminine/womb related issues, particularly if its related to a woman hurt by male actions or influences. I’ve suggested it to numerous patients as an essential oil …… Everyone so far has loved it for the bath, a womb massage or just wearing it during their period.”
Sometimes when herbalists describe herbs, we like to picture them as a person, what would they look like? Who would they be?
Natasha said: “It tastes like sexy women” – which is spot on! It really does! Natasha Richardson of Forage Botanicals also said “It’s a liver herb, very feminine, comforting, uplifting and an aphrodisiac.”
So physiologically I will use this plant for patients experiencing, among other things:
– menstrual cramps
– mild depression
– lowered libido
or simply for those that need a little lift and their energy raised.
Emotionally, I will use it in the same way it has helped me over the years….

There are times in my life, when I sometimes feel things aren’t moving in the direction or at the speed they should be. In reality, these are my expectations, my ‘wants’, but not necessarily ‘needs’. I really feel that Jasmine is a conduit to commune with the universe. Or at least, she turns up to remind you, its all good and that the universe has it covered.

Everything you need, presents itself to you in the moment you need it.

Every time I open my Bullet Journal now, to plan my week, book patients in or even write my next blog, the scent of Jasmine lifts off the page and envelops me in her energy. What a treat! After having an emotionally challenging week recently, I jumped in my car and headed to the north Oxfordshire countryside for the rest of the afternoon and evening. My mum had journeyed south and was staying with a friend, helping her prune apple trees in the orchard and having a general autumn tidy up on her land. I parked in the village hall car park and as I emerged back onto the path, there she was. My Mamma, my creator, a source of strength, love and relentless support. All was well again, I had made the right decision to leave town for a bit.

As we walked along the path, I saw a plant growing up the side of the house….

“What’s that?” I said, pointing to it. And before my Mamma responded, a little voice deep inside me replied to my own question “Jasmine”

“It’s Winter Jasmine” Mamma said.

Of course it is!

So there she is, Jasmine, leading the way in my life at the moment, I wonder what else I will learn from her…..

 

 

 

#MeToo: A Journey of ReWilding and Stepping out of the Dark and into the Light.

I have a huge pit in my stomach writing this, but it needs to be said and you need to hear it. Where to begin, I think I’d first like to say to the family, friends and colleagues who I haven’t spoken openly to, about this, it is in no way personal. I am an empath, so I feel everyone else’s emotions as strongly as my own, I sometimes struggle to separate them out. Sometimes, when talking about my experiences with you, I end up feeling worse, I end up feeling responsible for your emotional reaction, when I am still trying to deal with my own. It’s not your fault, we haven’t been taught about holding space or witnessing someone’s story. This has to change and it starts here and now.

The #MeToo campaign and the response to it, has shaken the world. So it should. The magnitude, the enormity of how prolific sexual harassment and sexual abuse is, is being unearthed. It has been buried deep. So here I am, grabbing my spade and digging this one up. That deep box, on the high shelf. It’s being unpacked.

In a recent conversation, I mentioned I was prepared to write about this on my personal social media pages but not on my professional page. However, I cannot see any tangible reason why I shouldn’t.

#MeToo

It has happened far more times than my memory has the capacity to recall or my emotional and physical body is equipped to remember. It is not necessary for me to go into detail in this piece of writing.

I wish the last time it happened will be

The Last Time

But sadly, I don’t know this or indeed, what is to come. What I do know is that the last time it happened to me, will be the last time I am silent about it.

I have a Voice and I will Use it.

There is of course, the other side of the #MeToo campaign which has been written far better than I ever could, by John Pavlovitz and there are people saying #IDidThat and #IWillDoBetter. Hopefully this will change the way harassment, assault and rape is reported as Jackson Katz speaks out about in this TED Talk.

Recently I have met, been in the presence of and held space with some truly amazing people, mostly women but men too. To the men rising up, speaking out, supporting us and who are also saying #MeToo. I see you, my brothers, you are here by our side creating a better world.

Every time I make a connection with someone, I feel a golden thread has appeared. We are all here, craving these types of connections, to know we are not alone in the world. This allows for global healing to occur. Yes, it can be painful for some of us, it may be bringing up all sorts of buried emotion. Have Heart…..

“Like the lotus flower that is born out of mud, we must honor the darkest parts of ourselves and the most painful of our life’s experiences, because they are what allow us to birth our most beautiful self.” ~Debbie Ford~

 

“Look, boo. Healing is fucking messy. It’s alienation. It’s detachment. It’s bat shit crazy. It’s jet black inky darkness. It makes you ache for the void and mundane. You want to quit everything, but you can’t. You won’t. Not now. No baby, not ever. Because even though it aches the mother of all aches, you’ve changed. Underneath that bullshit, there you are. Brand new. Born again. An angel of earth who’s woken up to their cosmic mission. And you ain’t ever going back. And there’s more like you out there. We’re waking up right next to you in the dark, wild one. So don’t worry about fixing any part of you and let your wicked shambles raise the goddam roof on this whole thing.” ~ Tanya Markul

Recently, at NIMH Conference 2017, whilst surrounded by fellow herbalists. I was in a seminar by Hananja Brice-Ytsma and she showed us a video of the late Christopher Hedley speaking about one of my favourite plants. We were sat with a little pot of it, sipping, smiling at his insights and suddenly I became overwhelmed with grief. The loss of him. I felt the grief of the whole community.  I have never met Christopher Hedley and maybe part of my emotional response was at the idea I will never meet him and see, see the wonders he imparts on others. I would like to share with you this plant, as he did with me, it has been by my side whilst writing this, alongside a few others I will also share with you.

May we keep this conversation forever open, so we also allow it to change form. If you have at all been affected by #MeToo, whether from personal experience or because you too feel the weight of the world,  do be in touch, I am here, I am present.

1d0a997c0ef74c9ae2ded6b45c84def4.jpgAlchemilla vulgaris – Lady’s Mantle

Much of my understanding of this plant comes from the teachings of Elisabeth Brooke in her book “A Woman’s Book of Herbs”. She writes:

“It is strengthening and helps women prepare for acts of courage, for the way of the warrior…..On a deeper level, there is a connection with the rage and despair that is woman, to the primal scream of fury and anguish at the cruelty, pain and suffering in the world. The herb is for any woman who has suffered at the hands of patriarchy.”

439962.jpgRosa damascena – Damask Rose

For Self- love, Self-Care, Self-Worth and Self-Esteem.

 

thome00379-angelica-archangelica.jpgAngelica archangelica spagyric – Angelica

The Archangel, to protect the aura. Whilst stepping out, it’s always good to cloak yourself in a layer of soft, but strong protection.

 

With Love, Light and Healing Space and Time

Sarah

Mabon ~ Autumn Equinox

For those of you that know me, I live very closely to the Earth and the Season’s change. Growing up, I was always described as being sensitive. It’s true, I am. There are days when the wind blows a certain way and it makes me think “there’s something going on out there” and there will be, or there will be a pressure in the air that gives me a storming headache, which only clears when it rains.

I was sat with some friends in the kitchen yesterday talking about my recent achievements and tears of pride rose in my eyes, we then continued to speak about how I ‘well up’ at some pretty strange things. For example, I pulled some carrots from the ground the other day and the smell of them brought back such strong memories of when, at age 19, I volunteered on Organic farms in the UK. I travelled around by train with a pretty heavy backpack, covering a lot of distance. Such fond memories and how far I’ve come since then – I couldn’t stop the tears rising! I know, I know, carrots?! We all had a good giggle, you totally can too.

My entire family is like this, maybe not crying at the smell of carrots, but get us together after any length of time apart and we will be laughing so hard we cry and sometimes crying so hard we laugh. Something, it would appear I do a lot in other people’s kitchens! Either way, emotions flow freely in my family!

So at this time of year, when daylight hours equal the hours of darkness, we are in a space of balance. This time of year has often been called Harvest Home. Now, not all of you will be working the land and reaping an agricultural harvest, but you do have your own landscape. The landscape of your life and your journey, as you move through the year. So, take this time to pause and potentially adjust a little, pretty soon you’ll be making plans and preparations, now that, dare I say it, ‘winter is coming’. Look over all your achievements and everything you have learned so far ~ your harvest. Give thanks for all that you have. From all of this, new projects will grow in the future, if you just plant those little seeds!

If you view emotions as I do as ‘energy in motion’, you will see that everything you feel, has the potential to influence your journey ahead. What emotions are rising in you at the moment and where might they carry you? Glennie Kindred writes, in her book “Elements of Change” that you should “Let your feelings flow. The energy of release  brings clarity and opens the way for a new part of your journey.” 

For me, I will go back and look at the intentions I set at the end of July, give thanks for my achievements and potentially re-evaluate all that didn’t quite get completed. I will have a think about how to move forward from here. I will also be carving out some time to rest, times of balance are perfect opportunities to do just that!

Rest Well Dear Earthlings

Sarah

x

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

The Return Journey

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

It would appear that until now, I have only felt the need or desire to write blog posts in March. I missed my annual opportunity this year.

Much has happened since I last sat down to write, I have so much to tell you! How exciting. As always, I’d recommend sticking the kettle on so we can begin!

In February 2016 I embarked on a Fertility Massage Practitioner Training course with Clare Blake, as I felt it would really compliment using Herbal Medicine for Fertility and Women’s Health. Here, I met Charlotte, who invited me to join her team in Norwich.  So, with my Atlas in my hand I set my sails and began working with the Norwich Natural Fertility Partnership (NNFP) in May 2016, offering Herbal Medicine Consultations and Pregnancy Massage. Since then I have helped many women empower themselves, have seen 2 babies grow and arrive Earthside, with 3 more on their way!

In March 2016 I rather adventurously took on a second course – Red Tent Doula Preparation with Nicola Goodall, and after much self-reflection, inner work and a stack of reading, I have emerged with another certificate! I am now a Red Tent Doula, but it doesn’t stop there! No this is just the beginning! In October of this year I will enrol on the Doula UK course and alongside my mentor Callie, I will continue my journey learning this craft and art.

In October 2016 I had a bit of a change of direction in my personal life, it’s taken a while for me to move through this, but what I can tell you, is that it has fuelled my professional life and my work forwards, in the direction it should always be moving in. I am now and forever, on the return journey home to myself and to my craft.

This term came about from reading a truly wonderful book called “52 Flowers That Shook My World” by Charlotte Du Cann. You really must read it!

Opening this book and reading the first few lines made me immediately snuggle down into myself. What a treat! I’m savouring this one for as long as possible! “The Return Journey” is a concept that has had a hold of me for over 2 years now, potentially, sometimes without me realising it. As Charlotte writes: “Everything on earth is about to return”. We wait for the sun to return after long winters or for the cool autumn breeze to return after endless summers. We move in circles, in cycles, in spirals. Always coming back to ourselves, to the Earth.

I remember a time when I was so busy during the day and into the evening, when I’d collapse into bed and immediately fall asleep. My dreams would be just as active as my days. I wouldn’t, I couldn’t rest! And yet, always searching, always asking the questions of how to be different, who, what was I waiting for? That moment when you climb into bed, exhale deeply – there! That is the moment! That is my daily return journey. Every evening now, I return back to myself, I am the person I have been waiting for. I have made a home within myself. This, as with many things present in my life at the moment is not something I’ve learnt, it is a remembering.

“Remembering, is like coming home, every time” – Brian Boothby

800px-Prunella_vulgaris_-_harilik_käbihein.jpg
By Ivar Leidus – Own work,

Whilst reading this beautiful book and all throughout the summer, I have been noticing a little plant ally, peeping at me, almost everywhere I go!

Self Heal – Prunella vulgaris. Not knowing much about the plant, other than as it’s name suggests – healing thyself, I asked some fellow herbalists. One remembers Christopher Hedley saying that it brings you back to you, so you can be yourself. Another, even more poignantly said that it can be used for those who have lost their way or wandered from their path often – to help them find their way again. So little Prunella has been by my side this summer on my return journey home, encouraging me when I stray and strengthening me when I falter.

A singer from my childhood – Nanci Griffiths – once introduced her song “The Wing and the Wheel” by saying – “there is no need in life for anyone to become complacent”. She really spoke to me and I feel that in a way, some time ago, I may have started to become complacent and comfortable. When this happens, things start to stagnate. This isn’t good! Time for a change.

After three wonderful years, growing, learning and evolving at The Treatment Rooms, working alongside Jessica, I decided it was time for a brave and bold step forwards.

“All great experiences lie just beyond your comfort zone” as Jessica said to me once, with a glint in her eye.

I have now opened my own treatment room in Newtown House, Henley-on-Thames and it has been the best decision. I have my dispensary, my desk and my treatment table all in one place.

With this move approaching I reached out to Aspen Weatherburn of Hello Henley, to give me some direction about this – blogging – a new website and how best to manage my social media campaigns. I have to say, it’s been difficult at times but I have learned SO much about technology and myself. Thank you, Aspen, for being part of all of this.

So come on down, see my new space, I’ll stick the kettle on…

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the whole earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Just keep coming back to yourself lovely Earthlings, you’re doing just fine!

Sarah x

At the Still Point of the Turning World

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Earth is warming and waking up and I have been craving the outside.

So I put my trusty wellies on and marched down to Bosley Patch.

“Tamsin, I need my hands in the Earth again”

My help was gladly accepted and I asked to barrow manure, a job that although is a lot of hard work is very rewarding! I planted onions and picked salad and spinach and did I ache the next day? Most definitely yes!! I have returned in the following days just to soak up some beautiful dusk sunshine and along with friends we helped skin a polytunnel – a process I am becoming more and more familiar with as Bosley Patch grows!

Soon the hours of daylight will equal the hours of darkness and in that moment, amidst the buzzing activity that Spring always brings, there will be a pause – a stillness.

“At the still point of the turning world…neither from nor towards. There the dance is.” – T.S. Eliot

So if you feel your projects and dreams are flourishing at a pace just beyond your comfort zone, try not to worry, instead call on this stillness, find your space in it and remember, it’s all a dance. For now is the time for Freedom and Courage – take the risk, do the thing that scares you, put the most dreaded task at the top of your to do list, there is only Growth. Just like the new life we can see all around us, never pass up the chance to be Young at Heart.

It’s not just you that will be doing scary but vastly exciting things. In between time spent in treatments with you lovely Earthlings, there are many things Red Earth HQ has in the pipeline.

“I’ve got a plan, I’ve got an atlas in my hand” – B.F. Leftwich

Okay, so maybe not quite an atlas, more of a map of England! Red Earth will be on the road – but where to and for what you ask? Sssshhh! It’s a secret for now, I’m not quite ready to share that Sunbeam with you. I can tell you, however that Doula Training with The Red Tent Doulas is this weekend! New, exciting, open and ready to learn!

Mamma Red Earth is paying me a visit soon, she recently informed me that the grassy bank in her garden is covered in Primroses – she has such an affinity for them! Ahoy there! Such Joy! So this little plant profile is for you Mamma and all my Earthlings that also love this cheerful little flower! See if you can spot some!

Primrose (Primula vulgaris) – Also known as “The Key Flower”, this little plant has a very pure healing energy that washes away extraneous mental activity. Bringing deep peace and instilling a calm, secure sense of connection with the Earth – Carol Guyett.

Until next time my Lovely Earthlings

Sarah

First Stirrings of Spring

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Here we are – the first Stirrings of Spring.   

I will be taking a short break from the Intuitive Plant Tasting and Meditation Workshops so there is more time to focus on the Fertility Massage and Doula Training courses I adventurously took on at the same time!

I am already learning so much and discovering more about myself which will undoubtedly strengthen and expand how I currently work with all you lovely Earthlings.

There has been some beautiful crisp, clear, blue sky and beaming sun filled days recently. My favourite thing to do on these days is to close my eyes, face the sun and think.

“Welcome Back Golden Sunshine Smile”

The gradually lengthening hours of daylight bring hope and promise to the new season – have a look and see which buds and young plants are pushing though and use them as a reminder that this time of year is all about Growth.

So now is the time to nurture your projects as if they were freshly sprouted seedlings needing care and attention. Believe in them and they will bring light and growth to the world.

Trust in yourself and your projects and look out for signposts directing you to the path that will allow your projects to Flourish.

Here at Red Earth I wish you every success in your plans and projects.

Sarah.

The Beginning

Monday, March 09, 2015

 

I am casting my mind back to my journey here – the still point of the turning world.

So, I have decided to share a small part of it with you.

After many summers, holidays, weekends, pit stops spent with Tamsin and Marc and their beautiful family at Bosley Patch, working the land hard and having lot of fun doing so, I found myself struggling to leave for any length of time, promising I would always come back and with one more backward glance, feeling an emptiness fill my chest.

It was when here felt like real life and there felt strange to me that I decided I needed to make a change. ‘you’re most welcome to make this your real life, any time you like, you know’ was something I heard many times over the years from Tamsin – 2014 was the year I listened.

So I combined this family, who are as close to being my own family as my own is to me, this beautiful place and my ideas and dreams into one and threw them into my forward vision. I did everything I could, worked the hardest I could to get there as quickly and as much in one piece as I could.

Three part time jobs, the weekly 20 hour day, one broken foot and an old Nissan Micra packed to the rafters later and me and my dearest Maman (Mum), hit the open road one sunny day at the end of July and made the journey from North to South. Her companionship and loving help have been the most important thing to me over the years and I am blessed to have such a remarkable woman for a mother.

I settled into a little vintage caravan under the walnut tree in Tamsin’s garden and was swiftly offered a job in the campsite cafe on Swiss Farm ~ who by the way, make excellent coffee! I also found myself back in the garden again, elbows and knees deep in the earth – all was well and I knew I had finally arrived at my starting point.

Coming from a nomadic family renowned for needing to travel and keep moving, it wasn’t always plain sailing. The days when the wind would pick up and warm breezes would roll in were the days when I almost packed up and left again. I don’t know what made me stand my ground this time, but I stayed because this time, leaving wasn’t the right thing to do.

As the long summer days of hard graft, manual labour, aching muscles and satisfying exhaustion started to draw in, I found the space and time to direct my focus to the path ahead. I welcomed the slower, autumn days because sometimes we need to ‘slow down long enough to know where we are going next’. I’m not sure who said that ~ but its true! I put some feelers out, talked to a lot of people and finally got in touch with Jessica at Massage For Everybody, who manage The Treatment Rooms at the Red Lion Hotel.

We had a chat and I was welcomed onto the team, she has since helped me no end with extra training days, evening marketing and planning sessions and the repetitive but therapeutic days out leafletting. I explained that I was happy for things to move forwards slowly as I was still working for Bosley Patch and Coffee @ Swiss Farm. ‘How slow is slow?’ asked Jess, ‘Oh I’d like to be full time by February’, I replied. A fast definition of slow perhaps? I am my mothers daughter after all! So, here I am, full time in February and what a wonderful feeling!

There have, of course been small moments of doubt along the way, but Tamsin has been there telling me to pull myself together because it ‘will all come right in the end’ whilst giving me an enormous hug. Marc has also been there, offering quiet, big brotherly support as only he can. The children have plied me with endless cuddles and trusty kitchen discos, all held together with Pip the dog resting his chin on my knee at precisely the right moment. This family have shown such enormous generosity, love and support towards me. After 5 months of living at the end of their garden, I moved into my own little caravan on Swiss Farm, just round the corner from where it all began.