Cedar Ring Mama

Taking My Cues From Mother Earth


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Harmonia

Welcome, old friends and new who may be visiting from the Waldorf Connection Global Expo!  As promised, here is the story, “Harmonia“, which goes along with the “Dynamic Mothering with the Four Humours” talk airing on Saturday, May 16, 2015.

4SeasonsTree

“Harmonia.”

I had been searching the universe, an endless spirit in an endless realm, not knowing what I was looking for.  But I would know it when I found it.  For a while now, I had been catching faint vibrations of an impulse, a calling.  I couldn’t hear it very clearly until this moment.

“Harmonia.”

I listened, and heard the call for someone to bring a very special gift to mankind- a seed that would grow and blossom and produce a fruit that would nourish a part of humanity that was greatly diminished.  I felt the tingle of my inner knowing- I would be this person.

And so, the day came when I crossed the threshold and the whirring, spinning energetic gift I clutched tightly, crossed with me.  When I opened my clenched hand on the other side, now clothed in skin, I held only a tiny, inconspicuous seed.

I looked around me, and saw that I was surrounded by four very different landscapes.  To the north stretched a vast sea, dotted with distant islands. To the south, the sun beat down on what would have been a mostly dry, parched land if not for the exceptionally engineered irrigation systems that fed crop lands and a network of oasis-like cities sprouting up along a wide, winding river.  To the east, all that could be seen was a vast plain where tall grasses continually rippled in the wind with movement like waves. In the west rose hills and mountains with great, cavernous stone mouths.

I planted the seed. I watered it. I waited. But day after day, week after week, nothing happened.  I became discouraged.  Could I have been wrong about accepting this mission?  Would some other spirit have been more capable, more ‘chosen’?

And then, from the windy plains, came the tinkling of a gentle, joyful, breathless laugh.  A child- now running, now skipping, now stopping to smell the the wildflowers, now  stumbling and being whisked up, it seemed, by the breeze itself- arrived like the wind, in bursts and gusts. When she reached me, she smiled and threw her arms around my waist, hugging me. She was neither tall nor short, small or big- and her eyes were what stood out most, they were lively and sparkling. She pressed a light-as-air package wrapped in yellow silk into my hands.

“My people are an energetic, creative, and accepting society who deeply value communication, arts, and entertainment.  We are quick to forgive and have already forgotten what gave rise to the rifts between our neighbors and ourselves, and condemned our people- once sought after merchants and tradespeople- to be unwelcome outside our own borders.  I dreamed you came to help us create peace amongst ourselves, and I have come to help you. Please accept my gift.”

The girl pressed the package into my hands, then ran back along the path from which she came, until finally tall, rippling grasses swallowed her back up.  I removed the cloth and opened the box, and out fluttered a bright yellow butterfly. The butterfly circled around me gently for a few minutes, then it hovered above the ground where I had planted the seed what seemed like ages ago. As the butterfly’s wings flapped and flapped, the air all around warmed and rushed to encircle me.  The discouragement I had felt faded, and I was filled with hope and renewed conviction that I was indeed on the correct path.  I felt very, very alive, and then I felt very, very tired.  When I awoke, the seed’s hard outer coating had softened and allowed a shoot to poke up from the ground.  I cried with joy and relief and told every creature who came near, what happened and showed them the beautiful sprout.

At first I was so attentive- I barely left except to get water for the seedling. But soon the beauty of the world around me and all the other warming, shooting up plants- for my seedling was not the only one to have woken up- distracted me and I returned to my sprout one day to find it drooping and choked with weeds. How could I have been so forgetful and failed to take better care of it?  I began to cry, and my tears watered the soil and the little plant was no longer withered.  I practiced being a faithful caretaker, but my plant’s growth had begun to slow and I wondered if perhaps in my zeal to correct my mistakes, I had overwatered it.  Once again, discouragement seeped in.

It was then that a young man came forward from the southern lands.  His body was short and compact, as if he had been formed to precise specifications to meet maximum efficiency, limbs placed exactly where they could, in as short a time as possible, receive the maximum amount of circulation possible. He strode purposefully towards me and extended his hand to offer a firm handshake.

“My society has heard the stories of your coming.  We are a strong, determined, and productive nation who work hard to make the south lands thrive and squeeze every bit of crop capacity from lands that were once almost desert.  We are skilled hunters and we have a strong military full of trained warriors.  My leader has begun to talk of conquering other lands. I am not afraid of war, but my grandfather tells me of a time in our history when all four nations worked together and trade flourished, and we were even stronger then, than we are now.  I dreamed you came to help us create peace amongst ourselves, and I have come to help you. Please accept my gift.”

The man handed me a tightly wrapped, warm-to-the-touch package wrapped in leather with red and black markings on it. As quickly and purposefully as he had come, he left.

I opened the gift, and inside the leather was a metal box which held a single, smoldering coal.  The yellow butterfly returned and began to flutter her wings gently, fanning the coal until it burst into flame. As the flame grew, the hot summer sun lifted high in the sky and heated the soil around the young plant. The plant responded to the heat almost immediately, and began to grow taller and taller at a remarkable rate, basking in the heat and stretching towards the sun, the first evidence of fruits emerging from pollinated blossoms.  I worked steadfastly to keep the flame burning steadily, and as I thought of the south lands from where the flame originated, I decided that I, too would engineer an irrigation channel from the nearby watering pool.

Perhaps I was over-zealous, because soon the flame was burning unbearably hot. My plant leaf tips began to show scorching, and the irrigation channel had diverted so much water that there was not enough left for the animals who frequented the pool. I felt angry that things were not going smoothly, even though I knew it was my own fault for being a little too ambitious. And that is when the woman from the west came.

She was older than the young man from the south, with a hint of gray touching her dark hair. She was very tall like the mountains she hailed from that reached for the heavens, but her shoulders pulled downwards as if she was used to bearing heavy loads. Her footsteps were heavy, but she picked her way through the rocks with conscious expertise.

“My clan have made the hills and mountains our home.  We are a very proficient, structured society with a strong sense of justice.  Our religious leaders, scientists, doctors, and musicians used to be highly regarded in all the lands, and we were known for our charitable aid and humanitarian efforts to anyone in need.  In recent times, however, we have been weighed down by the many rules of our leading council, which dictate how even the smallest of actions must be performed and do not allow for change, keeping our progress stagnant.  We need renewal, and we need to return to helping others instead of being enclosed within our own boundaries. I dreamed you came to help us create peace amongst ourselves, and I have come to help you. Please accept my gift.”

She handed me a package wrapped in green linen which was surprisingly heavy for its small size. I thanked her, and she returned the way she had come.

I opened the cloth and found a beautiful, clear crystal.  Again the butterfly came and flapped its wings gently, and the crystal began to pulse with light.  As it pulsed, it seemed to drink up the flame’s out of control energy until the heat lessened and reduced it to a comfortable glow.  I felt calm, rational, and filled with understanding.  I began to work to restore the habitat I had disrupted earlier, and when order had been restored I worked to create a beautiful garden around the plant, with walkways and paths lined with shrubbery, a gazebo to shelter people and a small chapel- never forgetting to tend to my plant. But as I delved deeply into my new work, little things that never would have bothered me before became intensely upsetting. The crystal cooled and became dark, and I became critical of myself and everything around me.  My plant was now weighed down with heavy, beautiful fruit, but instead of delighting in it, all I could do was worry about if the stalks would hold up or someone would try to steal the fruit before it was ripe to perfection.

Now, from the shore of the northern island-speckled sea came an old man, slowly. For a while, he was silent and I wondered if he was going to speak at all.  When he did, it was as if his mouth had rusted with disuse and he had to put forth great effort into prying his jaw open to form his thoughts into audible words.

“My people once came and went with the flow of the ocean, but for many years now we have kept to ourselves and avoided the others.  The stories that were passed down say that conflicts developed between the four lands, and our leader refused be involved decided it would be best to isolate our nation from strife and any potential war.  We are a peace-loving, stable society with rich traditions that we love and follow religiously. Our ranks are filled with farmers, fishermen, skilled craftsmen, and patient teachers.  But without the possibility of trade or interaction with the other lands, we have become unmotivated and unproductive.  It does not feel right to me, and I worry about the future of my grandchildren.  I dreamed you came to help us create peace amongst ourselves, and I have come to help you. Please accept my gift.” He handed me a bundle wrapped in blue wool cloth and, contented to have accomplished his mission, he turned away and shuffled back to the sea as I called out my thanks.

I opened the gift and it contained a vial of liquid, clear as the crystal.  I felt as if I could hear the old man whispering, urging me to pour the water on the crystal.  I opened the vial, poured the water on the crystal, and it transformed from cloudy and dark to clear and bright again.  The butterfly flapped her wings, and the flame grew brighter and evaporated the water into a mist that filled the garden.  The cool mist became cooler and cooler.  Every day, the garden was cooler than it had been before and soon the fruit was perfectly ripe and ready to be picked.

I worked hard to harvest every last bit, and when I had finished, I rested and felt at total peace. The girl of the plains came back, driven by intense curiosity to see how the plant had turned out.  She was delighted when I shared the ripe fruit with her, and I asked her to send messengers to each of the nations to summon them, which she gladly agreed to.  Soon representatives from each land came to me to receive a portion of the delicious fruit.  As they ate and marvelled at the delicious fruit, they began to talk amongst themselves and forge new bonds.

That was the beginning of a new time for humanity. The garden was named after me- Harmonia- and became a center for diplomacy amongst the four nations.  The roots of my plant reached deep and far and extended to the borders of each nation. Harmonia is that place in the center where all people come together to be whole, and where every good fruit is cultivated, shared, and enjoyed.


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Courage For the Task- Mimulus

The flower essences, herbal decoctions or infusions prepared from the flowering parts of a plant and used to facilitate emotional wellness (and impact mental outlook), were pioneered by Dr. Edward Bach to be pro-active responses to the body’s quest for balance (health).  Dr. Bach believed that the roots of disease can begin within the mental/emotional realm and, over time, when a pattern of disharmony develops and becomes pathological, it can amplify and begin to manifest in the realm of the physical body.  This pattern of disharmony, he postulated, originates when a person’s inner and outer worlds- the “I’ one experiences, versus the persona one creates for family, friends, and the outer world- fall out of sync.  I understand this to mean that when I am not true to myself- when my actions contradict what I actually believe, aspire to, and love- a disconnect occurs and I start to lose internal harmony and energy. Eventually this carries over into my physical well being. Bach’s study of flowers was aimed at being able to prevent disease in the body, or- in flower terms- “nip it in the bud”. In comtemplating Dr. Bach’s work, and how others have carried it on, I am fascinated and compelled to learn more.

Mimulus

A friend recently recommended the flower essence mimulus to me, and I have to share what a powerful little punch this flower essence packs!  A superficial study of mimulus yields, likewise, superficial results- it is, according to the “sound byte” summary on Bach’s Flower Essence chart, “Fear of worldly things, illness, pain, accidents, poverty, of dark, of being alone, of misfortune. The fears of everyday life. These people quietly and secretly bear their dread; they do not freely speak of it to others.”

In trying to define this plant’s powers in terms of treating a stereotypical ‘mimulus’ personality, though, I think many who would benefit from mimulus are thrown off the trail of discovery of this little gem.  I am persuaded that many of us, at certain junctures of our lives, can also benefit greatly from mimulus.  The first fascinating fact about mimulus is that, from what I can tell in researching Dr. Bach and flower essences, it was one of the first flowers Dr. Edward Bach studied.  It was the flower that aided his undertaking, his “bridge to destiny”.  Dr. Bach was coming from a traditional medical establishment, and was an expert on vaccination.  He began to have misgivings and see flaws in the medical establishment he was a member of, and left his respected position to accept a post at a Homeopathic Hospital. It is not hard to imagine him being worried and full of misgivings over such a dramatic turning of the table.  How would he be received in trying to create a new health discipline based on “energetic” flower water?! And yet, he began and his ideas became a worldwide phenomenon. He lived a dedicated, fulfilled life and was truly passionate about his work, feeling he had indeed hit upon his destiny and made the most of it. I hope I will be able to say that at the end of my sojourn on this earth!

There are many varieties of the mimulus, or “monkeyflower”, genus, and mimulus guttatus- the type of mimulus Bach worked with- addresses fears associated with the solar plexus- “gut-level” fears that pertain to everyday life (not emergency or crisis-inspired fears). If you are familiar with the law of signatures- one of the ancient methods herbalists used to consider plants and their purpose or therapeutic value based on physical characteristics (such as habitat, color, shape, etc.)- mimulus guttatus is a bright, lively, yellow.  Yellow relates it to the solar plexus chakra- an action chakra, the “seat of the will”; and to the idea of a sunny, cheerful outlook in contrast to the cloudy fears it dismisses. It is like bringing a handful of sunbeams within. If your fears have darkened your inner light and caused you to lose touch with your true self, the light of mimulus may help you find and retrieve what has been temporarily lost. The very word mimulus comes from the latin root word for “mime”.  Mimes wear a painted mask and cannot give audible voice to their story, instead they must convey it with great dramatization. Mimulus invites you to take off the mask and give voice to your drama.  Dr. Bach was very specific that mimulus helps with fears that one holds in and does not wish to, or feel ready to talk about.  But being able to identify and articulate our fears is often what helps us process and deal with them.

Mimulus also prefers to grow near water, especially clean, well-oxygenated moving water.  Its’ flower heads nod vigorously in the wind. This suggests it has a proclivity for forward movement, and I believe, positive acceptance of circumstances.

When my dear friend recommended mimulus to me, she spoke of destiny and “a shift”.  She had been warned, when she first accepted a recommendation for mimulus, that it was powerful stuff. I definitely felt a shift in my life very shortly after taking it, and it did give me courage for the tasks that seemed fearful in my life. I also felt like it set me in forward movement, whereas I had been stuck in a “spiritual park n’ ride”. A path unfolded before me.  I actually dreamt a very specific dream about a bridge, and being prepared to cross it. Dr. Bach once said “We have much to do, but we must not be afraid of the task.” I think this sums up mimulus aptly. If known fears, anxieties, and dread are keeping you stuck, preventing you from reaching your potential, weighing you down- perhaps mimulus can help you shift forward and give you courage for your task.

Courage does not mean our fears disappear.  It means we are able to recognize our fear in a more objective way so that we can act as we will to, in spite of the fear.  If we give our power to fear, it will take mastery of us.  When we hold our power, when we embody our will, we can look past fear and remember it is just one emotional perspective with which to view our circumstances. Sometimes, our fears serve as valid signals that guide us away from danger or from taking “wrong turns” in life. Sometimes, because of past negative or traumatic experiences, ignorance, or a plethora of other invalid associations and ideas, fear manifests in less productive ways. It is part of our soul’s developmental process to deal with such fears and act with courage. Our task is to decide whether our fears are hindering or protecting us, and deal with them in accordance.

Mimulus, as mentioned earlier, has any different varieties and comes in a rainbow of colors.  Work has been done to understand how these different varieties manifest as plant healers, and several have been identified that address fears related to their specific color chakra.  For instance, scarlet monkeyflower is associated with fears related to sense of personal power (first chakra), and the orange sticky monkeyflower is related to fears associated with intimacy/sexuality (second chakra)- more about that here. I look forward to trying those as well!