I have been sick for the past three days, coughing and drinking lots of ginger tea –prepared from fresh ginger root and served with honey.
I have taken this time to watch a lot of Netflix –Cooked is fascinating by the way. Now on day three, restlessness is starting to creep in. I’ve taken up redoing my Etsy SEO from bed, which has been more challenging than I thought. I had no idea SEO was so complicated, let alone creating keywords for both Etsy and Google. I’m curious to see how the changes I have made today will play out in the future of my shop. My plan is to reassess this in a couple of weeks to see if an improvement in my views, favourites, and sales.
In addition to that, I photographed two samples of tarot spreads for my two tarot readings available in my shop. This is inspiring me to learn more about photography and photo editing. However, for now I am happy with my new photos.
The sky is blue, the air feels crisp and cool, but the temperature feels perfect in my anorak and thick work pants. I do not have work today, or at least not in the sense that I must be at a particular place at a particular time to do a specific set of tasks. I do have work today, however it is another kind of labour, one that inspires me to continue learning and making.
I started the day off with coffee and homemade yogurt served with apples and a variety of different nuts. As I drank and ate, I sat peering over into my neighbour’s sprawling garden, which includes a large rosemary bush that I’ve been eyeing for months. Rosemary is among one of my favourite herbs for it’s many useful applications.
After finishing breakfast, I moved outside to rough out the shape of a new spoon I am carving. I tend to do this on the days it isn’t raining. As I was hacking away wood with my small axe, I hear my neighbour call out my name. And finally, I was given the opportunity to ask if I could clip the rosemary bush. I was given the go ahead. I’ve been wanting this rosemary for cooking and baking, tinctures, and tea.
I quickly ran back inside, put my newly roughed out spoon shape and axe aside and picked up my scissors. The mere thought of holding bundles of fresh rosemary was invigorating.
Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean region, but is now found in many other parts of the world, including here in the Pacific Northwest.
I have bound bunches of rosemary with twine, which I intend to burn later. Some could say this is a smudge stick, which I do not because I am not from a southwestern Native American tribe and don’t use the burning stick for cleansing rituals. While I can see the similarity, the smudging ritual comes from cultures I do not. My ancestry is European. I often wonder how can I remain respectful of other cultures particularly in a day and age when so much information is available to me and it can be unclear what to believe. I see so many articles online on how to make your own smudge sticks using white sage (a sacred plant to some southwestern Native tribes, such as the Chumash) for cleansing rituals and many of these articles fail to mention the origin of the ritual or use Native Americans as a blanket term, which fails to acknowledge the diversity of cultures within that scope. I avoid buying/using white sage smudge sticks because the quality ones are often made with wildcrafted white sage, which is depleting the source of white sage in order to keep up with the mostly non-Indigenous demand.
I also believe in using things that are locally available to me.
This is a topic that I want to continue to explore and research because I find it very interesting. I will be adding links to articles and online discussions about the use of smudge sticks.
My intention with the later portion of my post is not to shame anyone who has used white sage smudge sticks, but to provide some food for thought and to promote respectful practices.
A friend recently asked me why I keep a written record of my tarot readings and as I was explaining to her, I thought it would make for a good blog post.
So why do I journal my tarot readings?
First and foremost, it makes me a better tarot reader.
I use it to help me remember my interpretations of the cards. I do rely on a guidebook from time to time, especially for cards I rarely come across or feel uncertain about. That said, the guidebook is a guide and I want to include my own thoughts and reactions to cards and writing them down allows me to keep a helpful record.
I often look online for spreads that people have written and do readings using them. By writing them down in my little book, I’m able to keep track of which spreads I’ve used, which ones I liked, as well as things I liked/disliked about the spread. By the end of the year, I will have a broad collection of spreads to choose from. I only started journaling spreads this year, mostly because I found myself constantly using the three same spreads for everything and I felt it was time to explore other options.
And lastly, it’s a reflection of where I am at. I have recently been doing a lot of research for spreads written with finances in mind. Why? I’m saving money to purchase a small truck and I have set a number of financial milestones for 2016.
This time last year my mental health was not good. With the help of Dr. Google, I diagnosed myself with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Aside note, Dr. Google is not a real doctor and if you do have health concerns, it is best not to follow my example. Go see a real medical professional if you can.
I was sad all the time and eventually got to the point where I couldn’t leave my house because I had so much anxiety. I wasn’t doing any of the things I loved, no art, no tarot reading, no exercise, no reading, no socializing, just going to work –the atmosphere there was toxic– and generally feeling bummed out. I eventually saw a counsellor, who ultimately wasn’t the person for me, but she did make a great suggestion.
“Have you thought about colouring?”
At first, the skeptical side of my brain scoffed, then I started hearing people talk about colouring books. I saw them in stores. And suddenly, it seemed like they were everywhere. I didn’t have much spare money at the time, so I took to finding some freebies online. I put on some good music and coloured for hours. I not only lost track of time, but my stress levels decreased and I was starting to feel more positive.
Around that time, I decided to take a few weeks off work to go visit a friend, which was another saving grace.
When I came back, the seasons had changed from a wet and gray Pacific North West winter to a warm and dry spring. I was outside, playing softball, riding my bicycle, and doing all the things I loved again.
I stopped colouring because I had other ways of dealing with stress and other not so great feelings.
This winter has been easier. I have a toolbox now of great ways to be healthy in the winter. I still have moments when I feel low, but I know how to move forward.
This January, I decided to start making my own colouring sheets. Why not? I have a fine arts and design background. Much like colouring them, I really enjoy making the colouring sheets and getting to colour my own designs is an added bonus!
Tisane, or as commonly referred to as herbal tea, is one of my favourite things to drink at night and with a little knowledge of herbs and plants it is not difficult to make your own blends. If you’d rather follow a recipe for tisanes, there are some great resources available online, such as Annie’s Remedy as well as a number of books on the subject.
I often use peppermint as a base, because it is fairly inexpensive and easy to grow where I live. When I mix peppermint with other herbs, leaves and flowers, I start by pouring a heap of peppermint in a small mason jar, then using a small spoon I add the other stuff. I tend to shy away from adding too many other flavours, as peppermint alone can be quite strong. For me, one or two other herbs/flowers is enough.
Currently my late night go-to is peppermint with a little bit of lavender. When I say a little bit, I mean it! I once bought a tea shop made lavender black tea blend and the ratio of lavender to black tea was close to 30/70, which gave the tea an odd floral bitterness. A ratio of 10/90 or maybe even 20/80 would have made for a more subtle and elegant flavour.
The lavender to use is Lavendula angustifolia, also sold under the names Lavendula officianalis, Lavendula vera or True English Lavender.
Lavender has calming effects, whereas peppermint is a bit of an invigorator. When available, I sometimes add a small amount of chamomile to this mix, another flower known for calming. I tend to keep my blends on the calming side because I often drink them at night when I am winding down from a busy day.
If I’m wanting something that is caffeine free, but has a bit of a pick-me up, I enjoy making cup of lemongrass and ginger tisane, which is good served with a little bit of honey. I drink this when I have a sore throat, although I will add quite a bit more ginger.
I use a metal strainer for my tea and tisanes, but tea balls and compostable tea bags are good options too. I always let my boiling water cool down before pouring over my tisanes and tea. Boiling water can damage the flavour of the tisanes.
Today is my province’s Family day, a stat holiday introduced by the Canadian government sometime in the last five years to help break up the lengthy Christian holiday-free period between New Years and Easter.
I drew silly witchy drawings for an hour then made coffee and oatmeal with sliced apple for breakfast and following that, I read my daily tarot card. If this were a common morning ritual, I think many of us would be less stressed out.
The card I pulled from my deck today was the Daughter of Pentacles, which is a card I love and relate to. It’s a supportive and kind card. She’s someone who works diligently, often in the background or away from the spotlight. Others depend on her presence and reliability. She carries great internal strength. I think she might be a witch.
I did not read the tarot today. Sometimes I like to take a day off and today it felt right.
I cleaned in the morning. I spent the afternoon with a friend. I drew late into the evening, sipping home mixed peppermint lavender tea. Then I read, falling through the rabbit hole of the internet, one interesting article to the next. Here are some of the articles I read.