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Notes from the Apothecary

May, 2019

Notes
from the Apothecary: Ginger

The
spice we call ginger is the root of Zingiber officinale. The
name derives from the Sanskrit for ‘Horn Body’, referring to the
knobbly, ridged shape and texture of the roots. Originating from
Asia, ginger is now found all over the world and is used widely in
cooking, magic, and medicine.

Ginger
was brought to America by Francisco de Mendosa, and it grew so
prolifically that the Spanish-Americans were able to export it in
huge amounts to Europe.

The
Kitchen Garden

Fresh
ginger is usually bought as sections of root. It’s a testament to
how hardy the plant is that with very little encouragement, it will
start growing! Many times I have gone to fetch the ginger only to
find there are little shoots of green ginger coming off the root.
With this in mind, if you wanted to cultivate your own ginger plant,
it’s not too difficult at all.

WikiHow has a step by step guide to growing ginger which is very easy to follow. Ginger is normally grown indoors. Basically, you get as the same number of pieces of ginger root (or rhizome, to give it the correct name) as the number of plants you want. Each ‘eye’ or sprouting piece will grow into a new shoot, in good quality, well-drained potting compost. Avoid frost, try not to shock the roots, and you will have little ginger plants in very little time at all!

So, what do we use ginger for in the kitchen? So many things! Ground ginger is used in baking cakes, buns, muffins, breads, and even savory bakes. The fresh root is sliced or grated and added to curries, often alongside lots of garlic. Marinating meat in a combination of garlic and ginger is delicious. Add red wine vinegar and you are part way to a vindaloo. Ginger is used in a wide variety of Asian cooking. We particularly enjoy thin but wide slices of ginger in a vegetable stir fry with fragrant rice or noodles.

The
Apothecary

Mrs Grieve tells us that ginger is a stimulant- unsurprising given its ‘zingy’ flavour and aroma. She recommends it for alcoholic gastritis (an unusually specific condition) and for aiding in diarrhea and flatulent colic.

Although
ginger is warming, it has anti-inflammatory properties and can settle
an upset stomach. Pregnant women often take ginger biscuits to ease
morning sickness. I found them useful in both my pregnancies,
especially when I was finding it difficult to keep anything more
substantial down. It may also aid in travel sickness and motion
sickness.

Ginger
is used in Ayurvedic medicine for eating disorders, cholera, and
liver problems.

In
Chinese medicine ginger is a respiratory aid and useful for coughs,
colds and flu. It’s also used as a hangover ‘cure’, thanks to
its reputation for expelling poisons from the body. As always, check
with a doctor before taking any substance for medical reasons.

The
Witch’s Kitchen

In
Hoodoo, ginger is sometimes combined with John the Conqueror root and
nutmeg to create a luck powder for gamblers. Sprinkling ginger around
the garden or yard protects from trouble.

Ginger,
probably due to its ‘hot’ nature, is associated with love and
passion, and is often used in attraction or lust spells. Cunningham
recommends using ginger in a love incense, alongside lemon balm,
cardamom, cinnamon, and vanilla. A spell or mojo bag designed to
attract something to you, whether that be love or wealth, can be
enhanced with a bit of ginger root. Ginger can also accelerate the
action of other spells, acting like a catalyst for magical action.

Cunningham’s
Encyclopaedia of Magical Herbs states that ginger is a fire plant (no
surprises there), masculine, and associated with Mars. This
immediately gives associations with power, control, and confidence.
He suggests eating ginger before performing magic to boost the power
of spells.

Home
and Hearth

Sometime
the greatest magic is taking time for yourself and keeping yourself
healthy. Modern, busy lives often make this very difficult! I know I
certainly relish every spare (rare!) moment I can get to simply pause
and do nothing for a while. Here’s a recipe for a ginger tea that
will help you relax, while stimulating and opening your senses for a
moment of mindfulness.

  • An
    inch of ginger root, sliced
  • An
    inch of turmeric root, sliced
  • A
    slice of fresh lime

Place all the ingredients in a teapot in boiling or just off the boil water. Let the flavours infuse for five minutes. Can be drunk warm or left to cool and served with ice. Recipe adapted from Paleo Flourish.

Turmeric
is cleansing and helps with digestion. Ginger stimulates the senses,
while the fresh aroma of lime can reduce fatigue and stimulate the
appetite.

I
Never Knew…

Dobu
Islanders have been known to chew up ginger root while sailing, and
spit it at an oncoming storm to halt it in its tracks. (Cunningham,
1985.)

All
images public domain or via Unsplash.

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is
a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors & Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

Crystal Connections

February, 2018

Amazonite

A member of the Feldspar family, it’s said that Amazonite is the stone of truth. By stimulating the throat chakra, this stone assists in clear communication by aligning your speech to higher ideals. Amazonite inspires confidence, hope and enhances creative “true to self” expression. With its soothing green colors, calmness is what this crystalline structure is all about. This stone also works powerfully through the heart chakra by healing past emotional traumas.

(Photo courtesy http://shijewels.etsy.com)

When I worked in the financial industry I would often wear Amazonite jewelry not only because of its abilities described above but also because it’s known to relieve stress and dispel negative energy, and where there’s money, negative energy seems to follow. Thinking back, I remember wearing an Amazonite bead bracelet that I would mindlessly fiddle with when I was dealing with large amounts of money, and calm is exactly what I remember feeling when I did that. Another wonderful aspect that this Feldspar offers is its ability to assist in manifesting. Meditating with Amazonite can help clarify your intentions and affirmations, bringing your souls purpose into alignment.

(Photo courtesy http://shijewels.etsy.com)

To be honest, when I first started collecting crystals, Amazonite wasn’t even on my radar. I was so obsessed with the more common crystals, especially the Quartz family, that this subtle but sweet little gem was passed over many times. It may have taken a bit longer than I’d like to admit, but I can say without a doubt that I’m grateful to have this stone included in my crystal healing arsenal.

***

About the Author:

Shiron (Shi) Eddy hails from the Pacific Northwest and shares a home with her husband, a Great Dane and a cat. Her love for crystals and minerals came from her dad who was an avid rock hound in his younger years. Shi happily shares her knowledge of crystals with anyone who is drawn to them, but especially loves to help people connect with minerals that involves their metaphysical properties. When she’s not networking with other crystal and mineral lovers, Shi can be found making jewelry, painting, crocheting Goddess dolls, selling her wares at shows or spending time with family and friends. You can find her jewelry in her shop ShiJewels or follow her on Instagram.

There Are No Creative Blocks

September, 2017

 

THERE ARE NO CREATIVE BLOCKS

I am a shamanic teacher, painter and author. In this article I am going to explain why, viewed from a shamanic perspective, there is no such thing as a creative block.

This may sound a bit controversial or flippant as creative blocks can feel very real to people who are on deadline for a book, article, film or other creation. For that reason I will start by acknowledging just how soul destroying such times are, when the flow appears to dry up. If you are self-employed this may also mean that your income dries up. In its most severe form it can bring on depression. (I am not a complete monster and I spent years doing shamanic healing sessions with a focus on helping people access their creativity. Before you start sending me hate mail: I DO UNDERSTAND!!)

The thing is that many people love being creative without ever reflecting on where this “flow” originates. Before I undertook intensive training in shamanism I had a vague idea that I had a very lively imagination (I was painting and writing already in childhood) and that the creative flow originated in some mysterious part of my own brain/mind/psyche/imagination.

I have experienced plenty of struggles in my life – due to my “hyperactive imagination” I have a hard time simply falling asleep at night – everything has its downside!! However, one thing I have never experienced is creative block. Full stop. I may have times where painting is not going well but then I switch to writing, poetry, film making or making music.

When shamanism found me and called me, the first few introduction courses made me feel like someone had held a shotgun to my head and blown off the back of my head. Suddenly my imagination was the whole cosmos, stretched across all worlds, including other worlds, the spirit world. The only word for this is revelation! I discovered that the beings I had given form and colour on canvas were not just imaginary, they were spirit allies, otherworld inhabitants, divine beings, who had come forward to work with me and others.

I discovered that inspiration flows through us but does not necessarily originate with us. The key principle in shamanism is hollowing out, becoming a hollow bone for spirit. Once we do so, we are in flow (if perhaps not the exact flow we were planning without conscious mind, but FLOW!) For me that flow is creativity.

At that point my relationship to my own paintings changed completely. In the “regular art world” artists often judge their worldly success by the number of painting sales. Now I do sell paintings – there is a steady flow of them leaving my studio – but the moment you realise that your paintings are powerful beings given a home/body/physical presence on canvas – you can’t just sell them to anyone who asks. Some tough experiences and wild rides have taught me consult the spirit of the painting about where it wants to live – not just sell it to the first person who expresses interest. This has also meant I am sometimes giving paintings away following a dream or message from spirit that instructs me in no uncertain terms that a specific painting was to help a person in their lives.

Decades of daily encounters with creativity have taught me that the creative flow ultimately originates elsewhere – it ultimately connects to the very Heart of Creation itself. It certainly passes through our imagination and the filter of our own experiences/memories/talents but it is a trans-personal force. The creative force is closely related to Life Force and Spirit. – This also means we need to re-think any egoic attachments to what we create, arrive at a more humble attitude. These days I use phrases like “received from spirit” more often and more comfortably than I CREATE….

When blocks in creativity occur a number of things might be going on:

– We may be too focussed on the “ownership of the creative flow” and it not flowing the way our conscious mind wants. The moment we step back and open ourselves to whatever desires to take form – the block dissolves pretty quickly.

– We do not distinguish between internal and external creativity. Meaning that people easily see the outward expression of creativity: paintings, architecture, book, music, films etc. But there is also internal creativity: some people have an amazing talent for problem-solving, for giving creative legal advice, for turning a very dense and complex text into a lucid summary others can actually absorb Surgeons may display great creativity in the way their operate and sew up wounds (minimizing discomfort recovery time for the patient – and so forth! Rather than saying “I am not creative” ask yourself : “What is my unique area of creativity?!” It could be giving other people relationship advice, it could be having conversation with young children that they will remember long after you yourself die….

– Everything that exists in the human and earthly realm has a beginning, middle and end. We cannot escape death and endings. They give events meaning. We do not have “forever” to do things or get them right – we have only the NOW. Often people get into creative blocks (or even depressive states) when they are not willing to surrender to symbolic death and dark nights of the soul. Sometimes it is Autumn, not Spring, even in our personal or internal lives. Sometimes we need Cave Time and Darkness, not light. Sometimes we need to be calmed so something can gestate. The moment we can surrender to this process it takes on a movement of its own and one day people will move “out of the tunnel”. Fighting and resisting the process can stall it – meaning remaining stuck in the tunnel for prolonged amount of time.

I could go on and on – and then this would turn into a book! (Maybe one day I will write that book – but I am busy writing a book about Sacred Art just now). If you would like to know more and also hear other people (shamans, artists, entrepreneurs and experts in different fields) speaking about harnessing creative power, I invite you all to register for the following

FREE Summit

HARNESS YOUR CREATIVE POWER

with Gunhild Lorenzen

Learn To Cultivate Your Creative Genius, Deepen Your Courage, Find Your Confidence and Blissful Passion!

http://www.gunhildlorenzen.com/harness-your-creative-power-free-online-summit/

I also invite you to check out the following

FREE class

THE HEART OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS

https://www.learnitlive.com/class/9334/The-Heart-of-the-Creative-Process

See you there!

Imelda Almqvist, 23 August 2017, London UK

***

About the author:

Imelda Almqvist’s book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon Books on 26th August 2016.  She is based in London,UK and teaches shamanism and sacred art internationally. 

For her courses in Norse Shamanism (in both Europe and soon coming to the USA as well) please visit the following webpages

FORNSED IN SWEDEN

http://www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk/info2.cfm?info_id=211324

2 YEAR PRACTITIONER OF NORSE SHAMANISM PROGRAM

http://www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk/info2.cfm?info_id=224450

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/

YEAR OF CEREMONY

http://affiliate.soundstrue.com/aff_c?offer_id=124&aff_id=2260&url_id=86