About Airports and Plastic Water Bottles

April, 2018


I am writing this piece at Gatwick airport where my flight to Reykjavik is delayed by three hours. I treated myself to a chai latte but that made me thirsty.

I visited the ladies room where I found a plastic bottle someone had abandoned (half full). I decided to do the unfashionable thing: I took off the plastic top and rinsed it for several minutes under extremely hot water before wiping it down. Then I filled it up for my flights (destination Newark aiport in New York via Kevlavik in Iceland).

On the Friday evening just before Christmas I was flying from Stansted Airport to Stockholm with my youngest son. I decided to bring my own (long-life metallic) water flask for the trip. This turned into an adventure: the train to Stansted was so packed that we couldn’t even get the bottle up from my backpack.

Then we had to drink all the water really fast because you can’t take water through security. Fortunately there were two of us!

We found some chairs and inevitably got thirsty again. There were plastic bottles of water for sale absolutely everywhere (it is an industry!) but we were determined to use our long-life bottle. I sent my son on a mission to find a drinking fountain – he couldn’t find one. I asked him to guard the bags and took a hike myself: I didn’t find one either.

I asked a member of staff who directed me to the rest rooms. There were only very futuristic taps designed for hand washing. I asked another member of staff who said: go to one of the cafes – they will fill your bottle up for you! I know this because I work there. Right….

People were all queuing for their Friday night beer or glass of wine. The staff looked harassed and worn out, the queues were ten people deep.

I took my flask back to the rest rooms and managed to fill it under one of the very low taps (spilling lots of water). My son was relieved to see me. He had started to wonder if the The Airport Monster had perhaps eaten me.

Some people try to bring their own plastic bottles to the airport but in the stress and collective stripping at security – it is easy to forget there is water in your bottle – so they confiscate it and throw it out. I know that this is for good reason. I also know that we all pay a price for the shadow that 21st century terrorist attacks cast.

We have all seen photographs of beaches awash in plastic bottles and whales which died after eating plastic. How can this collective dystopian dream (trance?), that it is somehow OK to buy water in a plastic bottle every time we travel, continue?!

Do we need to start a campaign to have water fountains and flask filling stations made available at airports?

Access to drinking water is a core human right – is what has always been drilled into me.

And yes, I am well aware that flying too carries a huge carbon footprint. When your job is international – as mine is, it cannot always be avoided or replaced by on-line seminars and classes. As a teacher I know very well that when students or participants are not in the room with you – you can only take them so far. Therefore there is a weighing of costs and benefits when it comes to flying out to teach life changing material. (I am a teacher of shamanism, sacred art and mystery school work).

I know that I carry karmic consequences for the air travel I do but the water bottle situation is inexcusable because there are alternatives. Just as shops don’t automatically provide bags any more (we make a habit of carrying a fold-up long-life bag on our person) I suggest that airports stop selling water bottles but arrange flask filling stations near ( but for reasons of hygiene not in) the public toilets.

Oh and one more thing: instead of receiving a disposable cup every time we buy a hot drink (I stand accused of buying myself a chai latte!!), what about carrying a long-life cup with a lid on our person (same as the long-life bag – it is just a habit really!) so we can rinse out the cup and use it thousands of times?

Just saying…..

Imelda Almqvist, 2 February 2018


About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. Her second book SACRED ART, A Hollow Bone for Spirit – Where ART Meets Shamanism will be published in December 2018.

Click Image for Amazon Information

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk  (website)

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/  (blog)


(Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

Imelda is a presenter on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True


And she presented on the Shamanism Global Summit with The Shift Network in both 2016 and 2017




Book Review: Sacred Plant Initiations – Communicating with Plants for Healing and Higher Consciousness by Carole Guyett

January, 2018

This is a very sincere and beautiful book, about ceremonial work in a magical place. It is based on decades of personal experience working closely with plants and their spirits.

The author uses her own unique method, (that is to say: I had not heard of it before!), called plant dieting. Essentially this involves making an elixir from parts or extracts of the physical plant and then drinking this ceremonially as well as (intentionally and intensely!) connecting with the spirit of the plant for a certain amount of time. Generally speaking this is done ceremonially as a group while people are fasting during that time. That fact alone will bring up memories and life-long issues, of course.

You can also do it on your own and make adaptations to suit your health or medical needs. – the author offers guidelines for this and does not impose her way as the only way. The most important thing is a sincere willingness to embrace the plant as a teacher on your life’s journey. Once you have that and honour your own boundaries, the rest falls into place.

The book includes many first had accounts from participants in courses run by the author and what becomes clear is that many people gain an ally for life – meaning an ally they will return to and continue to work with, even once the “diet” is over.

I work with plant spirits as much as I can during the summers I spend in Sweden. I find it harder to keep this up when I am working more than full time in London during term time. What I can say is that this book brought a beautiful expansion of certain plant spirits I had already connected with on my own. It was a pleasure to meet these “old friends” and here how the author (and her students/participants) perceive those plants and trees. Examples of those are Primrose, Elder, St John’s Wort and Dandelion.

The author also links the plants to folklore and identifies especially good days on the “hedgerow calendar” for connecting with certain plant spirits. She works blends the Celtic tradition with the teachings of The Beauty Way. A lot of the word is done at Derrynagittah in Ireland, where her family was guided to move and settle.

I have read many books about plants and about plant spirit medicine but this book still adds something new: a personal take and unique way of working, information I not come across in other sources. So even if you are “fluent in the language of plant spirits” you may still find something fresh in this book.

It would make a beautiful present for gardeners, herbalists who work in different traditions and people keen to step beyond our everyday perception of plants!

For Amazon Information Click Image


Imelda Almqvist, 14 December 2017, London UK


About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. She is currently working on her second book Sacred .

For Amazon Information Click Image

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk  (website)

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/  (blog)

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist  (Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)


December, 2011

With December being a month that contains so many days of celebration it made me think of recipes for some homemade brandies and liqueurs.  I wish I had had this idea long before now as these recipes are required to sit for a time, with the exception of one, however they would still make unique Yule or Christmas gifts, as well as just being a fun project in general.  I came across these recipes in the 2007 LLewelyn’s herbal almanac, so they are from a trusted source, but they should be used in moderation. I’ve tried to include enough variety in hopes of their being something for just about every taste.  I hope you all enjoy these and wish you the most Blessed of holiday seasons!

Aniseed Liqueur:  2 Tbs. crushed aniseed, 2 inches cinnamon stick crushed, 1 crushed nutmeg (optional), 2 Tbs. honey, 7 oz. good quality brandy, 1 cup spring water.

Put all ingredients in a glass jar, seal, and let the contents macerate for six weeks.  Shake the jar at least once a week.  After six weeks filter it through cheesecloth and seal and bottle.  According to this recipe try 1/4 cup at bedtime as an aphrodisiac!

Honeysuckle Liqueur:  According to the recipe I have honeysuckle is said to produce one of the best and unusual floral liqueurs .  Ingredients include:  6 oz. honeysuckle flowers, 8 oz sugar, 1 cup spring water, 1 pint vodka or other spirit of personal choice.

Lightly bruise the honeysuckle flowers and pack into a jar.  Gently warm the vodka or other spirit on very low heat.  Pour the spirit into the honeysuckle jar, seal it and place it in a warm part of the house for 2 months.  Shake the jar a few times each day.  After 2 months, put sugar in the jug, fill it with 8 oz spring water, and dissolve sugar into syrup.  Strain the alcohol while pressing down firmly on the flowers.  Addd the sugar syrup to the alcohol, mix thoroughly, and pour into a decorative bottle, adding fresh honeysuckle flowers if it’s clear.  Seal and label the bottle

Pineapple Malibu:  Juicy pineapple slices in Malibu rum are a treat whether it’s a cold or warm climate.  Gather the following ingredients:  1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup spring water, 1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and sliced, ( I would use canned slices in natural juice), 1/2 cup Malibu rum.  Combine sugar and spring water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Then let it cook without stirring until it becomes a thin, clear syrup.  Pack slices of pineapple into warm, sterilized jars.  Stir Malibu rum into sugar syrup and pour over pineapple slices.  Seal, cool to room temperature then store in the refrigerator.  This recipe makes no mention of allowing this to sit for an elongated period of time.  If your having quite a few guests, I would use large mason jars, rather that individual small ones, unless you like that as a serving or gift giving idea.  At this time of year it’s not hard to find the cases of mason jars in assorted sizes.

Hazelnut liqueur:  Hazelnuts are not only good when eaten or used in cooking, but they are also fabulous in liqueur form.  This can also be used to drizzle over ice-cream or custard puddings.  A drop or two in your morning cup of coffe can add a nice extra “oomph”!.  To make 1 pint of hazelnut liqueur gather, 6 oz. hazelnuts, 1 vanilla bean (1 inch long), 1tsp. allspice, 1 1/2 cups vodka, 1/3 c sugar syrup.  Combine vodka, vanilla bean, and allspice in a jar.  Finely chop the hazelnuts to release the flavor, add them to the jar and cap tightly.  Let the contents age for 2 weeks, shaking the jar once a day.  After the 2 weeks, have a taste to determine if a stronger flavor is desired.  If so, add more hazelnuts to the jar and re-steep for anothe 10 days.  Strain and filter the mixture.  When it is clear, add sugar syrup and stir well.  Pour liqueur into a dark bottle and let it sit for another 3 weeks before serving.

Blueberry cordial:  This can be made with or without alcohol, such as gin or vodka.  If making it non-alcoholic, substitute spring water for the cups of alcohol in the recipe.  This recipe makes about 1 quart of blueberry cordial.  4 cups blueberries, 3 cups vodka or gin, 1 cup spring water, 8 whole cloves, 1/2 tsp coriander seeds, 2 cups sugar

Wash and drain blueberries before crushing them in a bowl or blender.  When done scrape into a clean wide-mouth 2 quart jar.  Pour in the spring water.   If using alcohol pour it in also.  Add cloves and coriander, then stir the jar’s contents.  Cover the jar and let it stand in a cool dark place, shake the jar once a day. The contents will gradually turn a deep bluish-black color.  After 10 days strain through a paper coffee filter into a large jug.  Add sugar to the jug and stir with a long spoon until dissolved.  Pour the cordial into a bottle and seal.  Store the bottle in a cool dark place for 5 weeksbefore using.  Once opened for consumption, store the bottle in the refrigerator.

Vanilla cordial:  This recipe can also be made with or without alcohol.  Make sure the vanilla beans you use for this are fresh, soft and fragrant.  If making this without alcohol use four cups of spring water rather than the vodka.  5 vanilla beans (5or 6 inches long) 4 cups vodka or spring water, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup spring water, 1 vanilla bean left whole and intact.  Cut the vanilla beans into 5 pieces.  Using a sharp knife, split each piece lengthwise.  Insert the split beans into a clean bottle, add the 4 cups of vodka or spring water, seal the bottle and shake it firmly.  Place the bottle in a cool, dark place for three weeks before removing the seal for a sip.  If the taste is to your liking, filter the cordial into a dry, clean bottle and discard the vanilla pieces.  Combine sugar with half a cup of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil for 2 or 3 minutes.  Let the saucepan cool completely before pouring liquid into the bottle containing the vanilla.  Put 1 whole vanilla bean into the bottle.  Seal tightly and shake well.  Allow it to age another 5 weeks before using or diluting.