Fire Rx - On Shacking Up In The Heartbreak Hotel

Image ::: @tinnedpineapple

Image ::: @tinnedpineapple

For those whose joy is blocked by heartbreak, or those who’s boundaries have been breached leaching joy hither and thither, this work can be eased on down the road with the help of acupuncture point Heart Protector 8: Lao Gong ‘Palace of Weariness’. 


One of my favorite writers on the Taoist lore of acupuncture points, Debra Kaatz, says this of Pericardium 8:


”Here is the fire point of the heart protector meridian where it is in its home and official residence. It is where our fire can be truly nourished and cared for when the way has been long and hard. When we have enough loving fire then the ashes of old hurts and trouble fade away on their own.  Lao Gong is a palace or temple of the ancestors. It is where we can go and be cared for when there has been weariness, trouble, overwork and when suffering has been long. It is for someone who needs this special care. This point is even more effective in its own time and season where the heightened fire energy of summer can enhance the fire energy of the point. Lao is drawn as a lamp that flames with a gentle fire at night. It means to exert one’s self in an extraordinary manner, work, labour, suffer, weary, make, encourage, give trouble to, reward and consumption. Gong is drawn as several rooms under a roof. It means the Imperial palace, temple of the ancestors, palace rooms, and college. At Lao Gong is all the love, nourishment, and luxuries of a great palace for the weary heart to regain its lost trust, and ease its hurts. Here the Emperor himself gives tender care to the troubles of the heart so its doors can open and fill with the joys and laughter of the world again.”


Located at the point on center of the palm where the tip of the ring finger lands when we make a fist, Lao Gong is the energy center where qi is transmitted in martial arts, qigong, and pan-cultural traditions of energy work. This is an excellent point to ‘seal’ after giving too much of yourself, pushing past your boundaries, performing extensive work with your hands, and not being able to access pleasure on account of exhaustion. Though flower essences and essential oils can be excellent allies on this point, I prefer to use an acupressure magnet as a great condenser and refractor of qi. While applying the magnet or oil, visualize a great seal containing and condensing your precious resources as you direct your energetic flow inward.


Pleasure is a gateway drug; Once you tap into it, you have access to the entire prism of embodied emotion, the well of human experience, the arcanum arcanorum.


R E - M Y T H I F I C A T I O N : An Inner Alchemy Practice for Creating Our Own Cosmogony + Deconditioning the Chaos of Culture

Art by Denis Sheckler

Art by Denis Sheckler

It’s the spring holidays, and as per usual, I'm struggling to find a seat at the table with ol’ patriarch Abraham, his stodgy tribesman, and their subpar wine. As an advocate for women’s health, I witness the myriad ways the central myths of our culture wind their way into our unconscious beliefs about our bodies, poisoning our well and damaging our physical and mental health in ways big and small. Whether it shows up in our sexual health, the prioritization of our needs, the right to advocate for ourselves, our reproductive freedoms, or our gender expressions, these myths are internalized, and as a result, shift how we use, tend to, and conceive of our bodies. My work in the treatment room has as much to do with rewriting the stories of our bodies as it does creating treatment plans for navigating a PCOS diagnosis or an autoimmune condition. This woman’s work (#katebush) includes unkinking the noxious knots of internalized myth so that we free up space in the body for the authentic self to emerge, allowing the authentic self to be seen AND revered, and finding ways to meet its needs and support its unfurling.

One of the ways I encourage women to do this is by identifying the core myths that shape their culture and identity, stripping them down, hoisting their legs up in stirrups, and shining a light into their innermost core. If there is a fundamental discord between your ability to thrive in your body and a foundational myth of your culture, perhaps it’s time for that myth to shapeshift into one that supports and nurtures your expression of womanhood. Or perhaps it's time for a new myth written FOR you and BY you to emerge from its ashes.

Re-mythification can wipe the poison smear of patriarchy off the body temple, and serve as a healing, reparative act of #rewilding for the soul. This is a series of exploratory questions posed by Five Element Acupuncturist + scholar Lonny Jarrett in his transcendent tao-informed tome ‘Nourishing Destiny.' I find them to be the perfect departure into the the practice of mythopoesis, forging myth + meaning in the crucible of your own imagination.

  1. What are the foundational myths of your culture?

  2. What are the meanings you have created in your own life?

  3. Are the meanings you see being created in any way related thematically to the myths of your culture?

  4. To what extent do these myths empower or diminish your mental + physical health?

The next step in this exploration might be writing yourself a creation myth, one that condenses your world view into a narrative that supports and enshrines your unique emanation of the Tao. Yes, of course you could look to the rituals and rites of pre-Abrahamic pagan cultures that worshipped the goddess and revered the witch, but I’m a staunch advocate of creating your own meaning from the stew you’re sitting in (hello, #chaosmagic). It’s innovative, radical, topical, postmodern and ancient all at once. Also, in assuming the role of the myth-maker, you don’t serve religion, religion serves you.

From WomanSpirit Quarterly

From WomanSpirit Quarterly

For inspiration, the photo above is a lesbian creation myth written by elana dykewomon (red it! It’s fierce af!) from the radical feminist quarterly WomanSpirit, Summer Solstice 1976 edition (boundless gratitude to the LA Art Book Fair and @familybooks for this rarified treasure, long-sought and much cherished). This piece is the embodiment of re-mythification, the quintessence of mythopoesis. Moses is quoted in the bible as saying “do not let a sorceress live”. Show Moses a good time! Write a creation myth! Live as if it’s the absolute truth! Create rituals with your sisters that mirror its meaning and intent! Be hungry, be curious, and if your blood sugar is low, eat the mthrfckng apple from the tree of knowledge, and don’t apologize, ever.

Be Your Own Valentine: Three Self-Love Rituals Guided By Chinese Medicine

Photo by Noemi Jimenez

Photo by Noemi Jimenez

Head on over to the resplendent Beyond Yoga Blog for Botanarchy’s seasonal alchemical alembics to awaken the heart on Valentine’s Day.

The soul of ancient Chinese medicine is the concept that the entirety of the cosmos is contained within us, and that we each have our own divine rhythm that is an emanation of the heart of the universe. The seat of this magic is our heart, and the motive force of the heart is what we call the shen spirit, the cosmic light of the universe that brings inspiration, awareness, and compassion to everything we grace.

Our hearts are on a mission to connect us with our divine path, and our self-love nourishes this mission, giving it purpose and movement through a constant barrage of trauma and disappointment. If Valentine’s Day is good at anything, it’s amplifying this disappointment, bringing the familiar pangs of loneliness, longing, and lack, reminding us of all the types of love we could be experiencing and why we aren’t. I’ve often felt that Valentine’s Day should be re-imagined as a holiday of self-love, where we direct the light of the heart inwards to reconnect to our divine path and recognize that we are already whole.

One of the gifts of this medicine is the remembrance that love needs no vessel other than the self, for we are in ecstatic communion with the universe. The infamous ‘yin yang’ symbol – also known as the taijitu or ‘supreme polarity’ – is not just the darling of mall jewelry, but also a symbolic reminder that we don’t need to be in partnership to be whole, that the self is both already complete and ever-evolving. In the yin yang symbol, opposites exist in complete harmony, two swirling teardrop shapes that fit within each other to form a perfect circle that is one, containing all the polarities of the universe- male//female, yin//yang, light//dark, sun//moon, heaven//earth, it’s all there.

Let this be a guiding light for you this Valentine’s Day, along with this smattering of practices guided by the wisdom of Chinese medicine that access the light and wisdom of the heart, and find that center of wholeness + perfection in our untarnished core. We don’t need to be in love, we already ARE love. Take that, Tinder!

Below are 3 Self-Love Rituals guided by Chinese Medicine for you to try this Valentine’s Day.

1. SHEN-GAZING
The shen, our heart spirit, is the light that illuminates the heart, bubbling over from its cauldron to shine out from our eyes. Shen-Gazing is a simple practice you can do anytime you need to connect with your inner luminescence, or meld with the transcendent values of the heart. It cultivates self-love, reminds us of our innate divinity, and helps bridge the connection between the heart and the world at large. There is no proper way to do this, and no correct amount of time to devote; simply allow yourself to witness and explore. This is the perfect opening practice for the two other rituals listed below, and also my favorite way to prepare for a date when the butterflies are abounding and the inner critic is a’yelping.

How to Perform this Ritual:

Light a candle, and sit comfortably in front of a mirror.

Gaze into your own eyes, making contact with the spark that animates you from within, the true self that lies in the depths of your being untouched by the world.

Stay gazing, greeting this spark as if it were divine, feeling the light within your eyes grow as bold as the light of the heavenly cosmos. Don’t break your own gaze – breathe, soften, stay present to the light of the shen. Merge and meld, and merge and meld, until you feel the subtle glow permeate your whole being.

2. INNER SMILE MEDITATION
This is a practice culled from the Taoist tantric arts. It melts the contraction of negative emotional energy, and helps in accepting oneself unconditionally. It is a supreme reminder that happiness and love are a choice, and that we can drop into their slipstream whenever we chose. Hello, freedom.

How to Perform this Ritual:

Sit comfortably with your spine straight, such that you are a poised conduit of energy from the earth below to the heavens above.

Take a few deep, cleansing breaths to release any judgment, stories, or stickiness that may have taken root in the body.

Close your eyes and rest your tongue gently on the roof of your mouth, so that your throat stays relaxed and your breath can flow freely.

Smile gently and honestly, deliciously yet genuinely, beginning with a sly turn-up of the lips and allowing it to blossom as it will. If you are vexed and jaded like the best of us, this may not come easy to you. Fret not! Pluck some grinning memories from the vaults until you have coaxed a suitably sublime smile onto your face.

Allow the smiling energy to spread multi-directionally, bringing the energy to the spot between your eyebrows – the third eye – the energetic locus that allows us to cut through illusion, access deeper truths, and see beyond the limitations of ego and language. Let your forehead relax, and allow the smiling energy to accumulate at the third eye point, bubbling over like an over-poured glass of champagne.

Allow the smiling energy to overflow down your face, relaxing the cheeks, nose, mouth, and all the facial muscles. Let it flow downwards through your neck, into the chambers of your heart.

Smile into your heart, filling it with compassion and joy, its cosmic companions and original bedfellows. From here, you can direct the smiling energy to each of your internal organs, or any crawl space or crevasse in your body that has wilted or waned. Allow the glowing tumescence of the smile to dissolve all stagnation and constraint, giving special attention to any spot in your body in need of healing.

Finally, direct your smiling energy to the point about 2 inches below your navel; This is your life gate, the internal alchemical furnace where we store and churn our energy and magic.

In closing, you can open your eyes, release your smile, keep it, give it away… whatever feels juicy and good. You’re on a date with yourself, after all.

3. SELF-LOVE ACUPRESSURE
Acupressure is needle-less acupuncture by the mojo and moxie of one’s own hands, a simple yet comprehensive self-care system for radiant health, balance, and well-being. Through the practice of stimulating acupuncture points on specific organ meridians, we can cultivate and harness life force energy, revitalizing the internal organs, glands, nervous system, and the bones. This foundational practice of gentle self-massage increases our capacity to skillfully cultivate, circulate, and sublimate energy throughout the body.

One can access the boundless love contained within the heart by activating points on the body that awaken and enliven the heart spirit, or shen. I will walk you through how to locate these points below. Finding an acupuncture points is a lot like finding the reflex point on your knee that gives that quintessential kick. You want to sink your fingers into the skin until you find that sweet spot, sliding your finger over that valley or mountain peak until it elicits an emotional or physical AHA! If the point you discover feels at all tender and stagnant, you will massage the point in a counter-clockwise direction, breaking up the stasis and freeing up the qi. If the acupuncture point feels lithe and empty, draw energy into the body by massaging in a clockwise motion.

Your hands are instruments of magic- put some devotion potion in there. I like to use a dab of Rose Geranium essential oil in tandem with these points, as it is a heart-opening ally with a sexy Venusian flair that brings luminous awareness of our spiritual gifts. Floracopeia is my most cherished purveyor of high vibration, high integrity oils.

How to Access 3 Heart-Activating Points:

Ren 17 “Center of Chest” 膻中

Location: Midway between the nipples in the center of the breastbone. Locate the point by drawing a straight line between the two nipples, stopping at the cleft in the center of the breastbone, massaging and stimulating the area in 4-5 second intervals.

Ren 17 rests on the body’s central axis right in the center of our being, and as such, it opens the chest helping us to love and breathe deeply. As yogis, we are well aware that breath is life, and this point helps reinforce the connection between our Lungs and our Heart. When palpated, Ren 17 can provide a deep emotional release, and if you feel frantic and scattered like a box of lightning and chaos, this point helps resolve anxiety and panic attacks, quell heart palpitations, and regulate erratic breathing.

Heart 7 “Spirit Gate” 神門

Location: On the wrist wrinkle of the inner crease of the wrist, just below the palm, at on the pinky-finger end beside the ropey tendon. Locate the point by turning your hand over so the palm is facing up, then apply downward pressure to the spot at the pinky corner of the wrist, just next to the tendon, massaging and stimulating the area in 4-5 second intervals.

Heart 7 can help merge the divide between the heart and the mind, center us in our heart, and access the wisdom of the shen. I love using this point when I need to think and act with my heart, come home to roost in the infinite wisdom inside me, and tap into freedom of expression as governed by my true purpose. This point is also great for nourishing a weary heart in those of us suffering from burn-out.

Pericardium 6 “Inner Barrier” 內關

Location: Three finger breaths above the wrist on the inner forearm in the space between the two tendons. Locate the point by turning your hand over so the palm is facing up, then apply downward pressure between the two tendons, massaging and stimulating the area in 4-5 second intervals.

The Pericardium is the ‘Heart Protector’ meridian, and as such, is likened to the keeper of the castle gate who discerns who orwhat is allowed to enter or leave the inner domain of the heart. Acupressure on Pericardium 6 helps inspire healthy boundaries in relationships and beyond, and like a spry acupuncture adaptogen, it can be used to open our hearts when they have closed in reaction to past pains, and to shore up our heart’s castle walls when we are the walking wounded. It is an excellent point to calm a restless heart and quiet the mind.
— Beyond Yoga

Etheric Vitality ///// Immense Grace @ Ra Ma Institute

Etheric Vitality

Sisters,

I will be in humble service to grace and radiance this weekend, teaching the Taoist mystery traditions of female qi cultivation at RA MA Institute’s Immense Grace Weekend with Guru Jagat & Friends. Come get the yin nectars a’flowing and bask in your birthright as an eternal enchantress!

ETHERIC VITALITY

Yogic Secrets to Deep Radiance

An Immense Grace Weekend with Guru Jagat & Friends

January 12-13, 2018.

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FRIDAY JANUARY 12, 2018

7:00pm - 10:00pm

An Immense Grace Special Evening with Harjiwan, Guru Jagat, & Gurujas

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SATURDAY JANUARY 13, 2018

9:00am - 6:00pm

An Immense Grace Full Day with Guru Jagat - Kundalini Yoga, Meditation & Women’s Practice with Guru Jagat

-Yogic Nutrition Demos with @harmonjotkaur . .

-Anti-Inflammatory Cortisol Release & Self-Massage with @shabadpreet11 . .

-Jade Guasha Facial Fascia Lifts and Group Radiance Adjustment with Carolyn Barron of @botanarchy . .

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Friday Drop In $70 Advance / $75 Day Of * In-Person or Online RA MA TV PPV*

Full Weekend $225 Advance / $250 Day Of *In-Person Only*

//

Tickets in @ramainstitute

Winter Solstice: There's A Darkness on the Edge of Town

Winter Solstice

Despite the whitewashed glitz of tinsel, Bing Crosby, and the ever elusive ‘getting what you want’, the winter solstice holidays are really all about the discomfort of a precipice, the disorientation of decomposition, and the exploration of the liminal boondocks between darkness and light. Liminal means “relating to a transitional stage” or “occupying a position at both sides of a boundary,” and the shadowy magic of liminal states lie in their ability to be brazenly nebulous, threatening the sense of equilibrium and unambiguousness that our binary-bound, homeostatic fleshsuits crave. Our ancestors turned the distress and unease of lying in wait under the shadow of a darkened sun into ribald celebrations of death and rebirth, where social hierarchies were reversed or temporarily dissolved (here’s looking at you, Saturnalia!), and bloodied sacrifices were made to hasten the return of the sun. 

’Tis the season of nigredo, the alchemical Darkness On The Edge of Town, the first stage of the Great Work where the fixed gets dissolved by the volatile. Nigredo - sometimes translated as ‘blacker than the blackest black’ - is a liminal phase shift that putrefies the shadowy morass of the ‘dark night of the soul,’ and through discomfort and decomposition, condenses it into light. It’s the alchemical version of Christmas- the return of the Sun King that only the tenebrous coupling of chaos and the unknown can provide. Perhaps I’m no more than an aging goth with a penchant for Jung and fifty shades of black, but this to me is the true spirit of Christmas. 

A few ideas for exploring the divine discomfort of transition & liminality this holiday season: Prostrate yourself in front of the dying sun on the edge of a precipice, a border between the here and there… where the sand meets the sea, an ominous crossroads worthy of a Robert Johnson yarn, a lawless bordertown at the terminus of a highway, the 8th stair in a 16-stair stairwell. When you are positioned on a hinge between the density of the past and an amorphous future, where do you lean? When there is ambiguity and disorientation, what sort of things come up? Find a waiting room in which you have no set appointment and sit in it until you become wildly uncomfortable with anticipation. Incant Yeats’ ‘Rosa Alchemica’ at the mouth of the La Brea tar pits whilst a rogue street pigeon is disentangling itself from the tarry mire. Have someone tie you to a tree in the middle of the woods and trust that the knots will find their way loose. Let a stranger blindfold you and walk you home. Go ahead, tell them your address. Ride an elevator for an entire day. Light one white candle under the cloak of darkness in a coyote den on the outskirts of Elysian Park, and sing Springsteen’s ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ at the top of your lungs like it is holy writ. When you come to the part that goes - “Everybody’s got a secret, Sonny, something that they just can’t face. Some folks spend their whole lives trying to keep it, they carry it with them every step that they take” - blow out the candle. Make like the Hanged Man of the major arcana and suspend yourself upside down for a distressing duration of time, unwinding into the discomfort of the upended, yielding to surrender. What condenses in the darkness and discomfort? Can you attune to sensation without assigning it roles? Can you keep it opaque? Is the waiting the hardest part?

Whatever emerges from this explorations of enigma, let’s lean into the darkness together. 

Holy Rolling! Facial Gua Sha for Gettin' the Glow

Facial Gua Sha

Ahhhh, the cerulean splendor of a cool slab o' seagreen jade swept sultrily across the face during a sweltery summer heatwave to soothe those lock-jawed, teeth-clenching, fever dream-drunk, heat-vexed blues. Call it what you will - beauty qigong, facial rejuvenation, holy rolling - this resplendent routine of face-melting mirth culled from the annals of traditional Chinese medicine is most certainly the manna of immortal Taoist poetry.

Gentle, upward strokes along the facial meridians performed with a jade guasha tool can help move lymphatic fluids, drain puffiness, relax tight facial muscles and fascia, and boost blood and qi flow to the skin. It also improves the skins hydration and circulation, which can glamor you with a youthful glow that betrays the reality of moon-drunk all nighters spent knocking back body shots of Reishi and bumps of cordyceps. One of the myriad things I love about the medicine I practice is the DIY ethos that permeates through it. There is so much hot tech that doesn't require the prowess of a doctor or the savvy of years spent in clinical practice. In fact, the most refined medicines are those which you can give to yourself, in heavy rotation, on the daily... gigoing, nutrition, meditation, guasha, healthy sex. For anyone interested in how to perform DIY facial guasha, I will be hosting a workshop on Taoist women's self care later this summer. Details coming soon!

Community Acupuncture 🌑 Healing Circle

Community Acupuncture

Join Carolyn Barron L.Ac of Botanarchy Herbs and Acupuncture for a community acupuncture healing circle using the power of acupuncture and the wisdom of herbs to shift minds and bodies. In this healing circle, you will receive group acupuncture tailored toward your individual needs and constitution, in a nurturing and supportive environment. We will sip healing elixirs and talk shop about how to support and empower the body using the numinous dynamism of herbalism and traditional Chinese medicine. This is an excellent opportunity to try a new healing modality, receive low-cost holistic healthcare, and to engage with community in a healing and proactive way. Please sign up in advance through the BE Hive at www.thebehive.us, and email carolyn@botanarchy.com to schedule your time slot. Let's get (meta)physical!

Community Acupuncture Healing Circle 

6/7/17 from 6:30-8:30 pm

The BE Hive

6427 W. Sunset Blvd.

Hollywood, CA 90028

$40 pre-sale, $50 at the door

Spring Clearing + Manifestation Workshop with Hypnosis + Esoteric Acupuncture

Our Spring Clearing and Manifestation Workshop at @wmn_space was featured in @gardencollage magazine!

🌷

This Sunday 3/26 from 4p-6p

Link in bio for sign ups and more details. Hope to see you there, dear ones!

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This two-hour workshop will offer deep active meditation and sacred geometry acupuncture (an esoteric acupuncture pattern) to “support an energetic reset and prepare for the spring season” to “assist you in recognizing your personal life path, and in doing so… bring clarity to setting goals and making life decisions”.

Sacred Geometry Acupuncture, for those new to the craft, is a very special, bespoke form of healing. From the event listing: “This pattern and active meditation was designed to open doors that previously seemed closed, allowing you to unlock and release that which is ‘stuck’ in your energetic body, psyche, and spirit. This treatment helps you change the core programming that is affecting your life and your body, allowing you to manifest a new sense of self. This group workshop is designed to help anyone who wants to create change and be in the flow of their daily life. The active meditation tools provided will support you in creating a sense of serenity. When you flow with transformation, you can genuinely feel empowered, stronger, and authentically happier. All issues are welcome!”

Spring Equinox Yoni Egg Meditation

My most cherished qigong ritual you can use to bro down with the nascent magic of your Ovarian Palace and align with the potent gestational power of the shifting spring season. Throw a yoni egg in the mix to add a hefty dose of fertile spring mojo and cosmic egg medicine!

1. Sit quietly with the eyes closed in a comfortable seated position, with the hands in Yoni Mudra, forming a downward triangle over the ovaries. 

2. Begin by doing a few rounds of Ujjayi ‘throat breathing’, rasping the breath over the throat, making an ocean-like sound with your tongue resting on your palate, mouth closed and lips soft.

3. Focus your loving attention on the ovaries until you feel their energy expand and become warm. 

4. As you breathe in, gently contract the opening to the yoni using your kegel muscles, and as you breathe out relax the muscles. Use your mind, breath, and muscles to do this gently. This motion draws qi and energy into the Ovarian Palace (the Taoist name for the womb, essentially the mid-point between ovaries), allowing more and more qi to gather here with each out breath.

5. Continue pumping qi into the Ovarian Palace using your yoni muscles, and begin to collect the warm energy in your ovaries like a vessel filling with honey.

6. As this energy builds, you can start to allow the Ovarian Qi to flow down to the perineum, and then gently pump this qi up the back of the body to the brain. 

7. Spiral this potent qi inside the brain to allow it to charge up all the master glands. Spiral 9 times counter clockwise and then 9 times clockwise, breathing normally. Don’t feel the need to be too exact about this. Experiment with the energy in a way that feels natural and organic.

8. When you feel the energy potently spiraling in the brain, on an out-breath, allow the qi to flow back down the front midline, and either send it around the orbit again, or finish by gathering and storing the qi into the womb.

9. Breathe deeply, smiling unconditional love into the Ovarian Palace.

🌷

A Botanarchy Independence Day Rite of Re-Wilding

Botanarchy

“I am afraid of cities. But you musn’t leave them. If you go too far, you come up against the vegetation belt. Vegetation has crawled for miles toward the cities. It is waiting. Once the city is dead, the vegetation will cover it, will climb over the stones, grip them, search them, make them burst with its long black pincers; it will blind the holes and let its green paws hang over everything.”
-Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea

As a reclamation of the spirit of Independence Day, we should get randy and riled, and exercise our right to overthrow power systems that do not value our personhood and the rights of the planet. We can harness the martial melee of the red-blooded fireworks exploding around us and imagine systems of oppression falling to ruins. We can invoke the wrath and ire of rampant over-industrialization & capitalist greed, in order to topple them by the force of will.

I offer up this ritual as a tool for self-sovereignty and empowerment, as an exploration of earth-based consciousness, or a magical weapon to target structures destroying human liberty and the planet. It has been performed on a number of occasions with much aplomb, to target the military-industrial complex, corporate plutocracy, rampant consumerism, the prison-industrial complex, destructive industry, and big pharma.

Background    

The witch has been created by the land to speak and act for it.”
-Peter Gray, Apocalyptic Witchcraft

Botanarchy marks the end of the repression and exploitation of natural and human resources at the hands of hierarchical structures, patriarchal paradigms, and opportunistic, parasitic industry. It is the crack in the concrete where the Dandelion crawls through, the stone wall of the cathedral choked in moss, the anima mundi of Swamp Thing. It is the reckoning of vegetative consciousness, of emancipated, green chaos dancing upon the ruins of a toppled society. Botanarchists are agents of rewilding, the biological conservation movement based on re-introducing predatory, carnivorous species back into the wilderness to restore and protect the environment. An homage to the cabalistic power of plants, Botanarchists bow down before their profound provocations of healing and gnosis. The work we engage in is the marriage of traditional witchcraft, indigenous herbal medicine, and anarcha-feminist collectives from the 1960’s and 1970’s.

The purpose of Botanarchy is to support oppressed & enslaved populations (women, the poor, the sick, those poisoned by noxious philosophies and tyrannical religions, those enslaved by autocratic structures that do not value their personhood, any structure that exploits people and the planet for profit), and bring about changes that allow ALL sentient beings to live and thrive. The core of my work is based on Ecofeminist theory, and doesn’t advocate the fire and brimstone destruction of the world marked by apocalypse, but instead advocates replacing despotic power systems with a feminized, earth-based system valuing collectivity and connectivity, representing a shift in PARADIGMS. It hearkens to what Terrence McKenna deemed ’the archaic revival.’ It acknowledges a relationship between patriarchal oppression and the destruction of nature in the name of progress and profit, and looks towards how we can counter the violence inherent in these processes.

“It’s clearly a crisis of two things: of consciousness and conditioning. We have the technological power, the engineering skills to save our planet, to cure disease, to feed the hungry, to end war; But we lack the intellectual vision, the ability to change our minds. We must decondition ourselves from 10,000 years of bad behavior. And, it’s not easy.” 
– Terence McKenna


STATEMENT OF INTENT

It is our will to liberate the natural world from its parasitic relationship with destructive technology by invoking Botanarchy, and unleash it as a predatory species to re-wild the ecosystem and reinstate the reign of earth-based consciousness.

MATERIALS


Soundtrack: Phillip Glass’ Koyaanisqatsi. This is the score to Glass’ film of the same name, a rumination on the Hopi concept of ‘Life Out of Balance’ or ‘Life Disintegrating.’ Koyaanisqatsi is also the mantra of Botanarchy. It is the battle cry of the forest, alluding to three Hopi prophecies harkening to the destruction and disintegration of the natural world at the behest of ‘progress.’ It calls upon the need for a reckoning to bring balance back to the earth in the wake of the wreckage. The tracks ‘Prophecies’ and ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ work exceptionally well back to back for the duration of the rite, followed by a ribald dance party to Blue Oyster Cult’s Dancin’ In The Ruins.’


Supplies: Foraged plant material & forest debris used to restrain, choke, batter, whip, assault, and beat parasitic industry into submission. An expedition of Botanarchists can be dispatched prior to the rite to collect vines, cactus paddles, leaf whips, switches, bark, and dirt for this purpose.

PROCEDURE
The ritual should be performed in the evening, in a temple in the Witchwood. It is also entirely suitable to perform this in public, or in a gussied-up living room of your choice.

Invocants will arrange themselves into two separate camps: Those who will invoke unrestrained industrialization, and those who will invoke Botanarchy. Industrialists will begin naked, standing, in the center of the temple. Botanarchists will begin nude, on their knees, in the periphery, armed with their arsenal of vegetation. 

A Priestess of Botanarchy will fumigate the temple with Incense and cue Phillip Glass’ Koyaanisqatsi

Industrialists will invoke the oppressive sprawl of noxious industry, summoning it forth in spews of caustic aggression. If they choose to, Industrialists can invoke a particular archetype, godform, or agent of industry that resonates with them personally, representing the unfettered dominance of patriarchal hegemony. They many choose to invoke a structure they want to see destroyed, i.e. a coal plant, Monsanto, the Northwest Pipeline, etc.

In the vegetation belt, Botanarchists will invoke Botanarchy, crawling, twining, and sprouting forth vegetative consciousness. They can chant the mantra Koyaanisqatsi (‘Life Disintegrating’) silently or lightly, if the spirit moves them.

As the industrial tumult boils to a crescendo, Botanarchists will crawl towards the city armed with their pincers, vines, paddles, switches, and stumps. The plants will strip, restrain, batter, whip and overtake Industrialists with their vegetative weapons. Botanarchists should whip the Industrialists into submission, silencing them with any and everything at their disposal. Chanting of Koyaanisqatsi may become audibly louder at this point. Eventually, the Botanarchists will bring the Industrialists to their knees, enshrining them in plant matter. 

With the city now in dust, Botanarchists entwine themselves over the wreckage, covering it with their mossy debris. All will chant Koyaanisqatsi along with the score until the temple falls silent.

Banish with an ecstatic naked dance party to Blue Oyster Cult’s ‘Dancin’ In The Ruins’.

Remember, magic is a weapon. It is the end of complacency, a vector of will shooting in an infinite trajectory toward what you envision. It is a skillful adjunct to radical activism, a hand-forged sword to brandish in the face of oppression along with its bedfellows collectivity, education, and mobilization. Use it well.


“Nature is not our enemy, to be raped and conquered. Nature is ourselves, to be cherished and explored.”

– Terence McKenna

A Magical Bath Ritual for the Spring Equinox

Spring Equinox

Amongst the ancient Orphic cults of Hellenistic Greece, Protogonos was a beautiful, golden-winged, hermaphroditic deity, the Primordial Being hatched from the serpent-entwined Cosmic Egg. This proverbial ‘Orphic Egg’ was the source of the entirety of the universe, and Protogonos was the uroboric lightbringer, emerging from Chaos bursting with golden life. His name means “bring to light,” “manifest,” and "make appear,” the seed of all magic. To Carl Jung, he represented the generative force of all nature: 

“He is the magnificence of all renewed suns. / He is the joy at every birth. / He is the blooming flowers. / He is the velvety butterfly’s wing. / He is the scent of blooming gardens that fills the nights.’ First-Born and Eros (Love) — being the seed of gods and men.”

The Vernal Equinox, dank with the scent of its own blooming gardens, is rearing its leafy, crowned head this year on March 20th. This is traditionally a time to mark the coming of Spring and the bursting feracity of the land through ritualistic rebirth and the honoring of fertility gods & goddesses. Beyond the orphic thaumaturgy of the Hellenists, the ancients en masse would celebrate the fruitfulness & fecundity of this time of year through the worship of a talismanic egg, decorated and offered as gifts to bring blessings of abundance in the coming year. Easter is the progeny of all this pagan gaiety, albeit an impossibly wan re-appropriation of ancient fertility worship that is conspicuously lacking in the sex and sorcery of its progenitors. Eggs, ribald rabbits, jubilant parades, and resurrection are all aflutter this time of year, without the context of what these archetypes conjured for their worshipers. 

One popular tale of the Germanic origins of Easter eggs centers around the goddess Ostara, from which Easter takes its name. Ostara is said to have found a wounded bird upon the ground late in winter. To save its life, she transformed it into a hare, but, as legend states, “the transformation was not a complete one. The bird took the appearance of a hare but retained the ability to lay eggs…the hare would decorate these eggs and leave them as gifts to Ostara.”Cosmic eggs laid by an amalgamated winged hare?! Don’t mind if I do!

In the Christianized version of Easter, Jesus is the only one that gets to resurrect, and we are all left slaving on the hamster wheel of our respective pedestrian prisons. Here’s a seasonal magical ritual you can use to resurrect qualities lacking from your present state of existence, and bro-down with your inner hermaphroditic, golden-winged Protogonos. This year, the equinox aligns with a total solar eclipse (!!!) and new moon in Pisces, the PERFECT time to tap into generative powers and hatch your own cosmic egg. Using a bathtub, some eggs, and a little moxie, you can launch into a shamanic exploration of emerging from Chaos re-born, dissolving into primordial nothingness and re-constellating inside a Cosmic Egg containing the raw DNA of a new, intentional universe. Because how the heck else would you herald the coming of Spring?  

Materials

Bathtub, Jacuzzi, or Hot Springs: If you opt for Hot Springs, I am swooning at your feet. 

Six Black Eggs: Symbolic of cosmogenesis from deep within the black void of Chaos, these six eggs hearken to the creation of the universe. In Buddhist cosmology, the universe is represented by the number six. Six is the sum of the four cardinal directions, plus the top and bottom, containing all matter within its orbit. The black eggs are also emblematic of the opening stanza of the Orphic Hymn to Protogonos:

O mighty Protogonos (First-Begotten), hear my prayer, twofold, egg-born, and wandering through the air; bull-roarer, glorying in thy golden wings, from whom the race of Gods and mortal springs.

In advance of your equinox bath, have a crafting day and dye a few ‘equinox eggs’ with dark Easter egg dye or chalkboard paint. Take some time to meditate upon the qualities you wish to call forth from the honeysuckled breezes blowing forth from Springtime’s lair. Upon each egg, use a piece of chalk to draw a different symbol or sigil, encoding a desire you wish to manifest in your newly conjugated universe. Dream big- Spring is on your side with an epic eclipse, and lusty joie de vivre for miles! 

Six White Candles: The six white candles correspond with the six black eggs, and glow with the formative seed of creation, conjuring Protogonos as the personification of light:

‘Tis thine from darksome mists to pure the sight, all-spreading splendour, pure and holy light.

Matches: To light the six white candles, obvi.

Myrrh: The sacred fumigant burnt by Orphic cults to honor and invoke Protogonos. You can use this to smudge and purify your space.

Procedure

1.     Prepare your temple space in the bathing chamber. Arrange your eggs upon a makeshift altar, and draw yourself a scolding hot bath, to which you can add any florid & fancy accoutrements you see fit. The bath should mimic the primordial waters of Earth from which the Orphic Egg was hatched, a cosmic slop of crude energy in a vast, untethered nothingness. So maybe ditch the rosy bath beads for some Dead Sea salts or volcanic clay.      

2.     Find yourself a suitable soundtrack of swampy, nebulous depth, and broadcast it loudly in the bathroom temple. I love Ph'nglui Mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'Lyeh Wgah'nagl Fhtagn by the artist Cthulhu {Biomechanical}. You can find this online here. It’s a tremendously lovely amorphous drone that invokes a sense of vast, primeval murk, and a palpable sense of terror & possibility permeates any space into which it’s blared.

3.     Consecrate your bathroom & body temple by smudging a censer of Myrrh, the sacred fumigant of Protogonos. Envision the tendrils of the etheric smoke blurring the lines of your current reality.

4.    Before submerging yourself in the primordial waters, kneel in reverence at the foot of the bath, and incant The Orphic Hymn to Protogonos, invoking him with spontaneous ecstatic movement:

To Protogonos

{Fumigation from Myrrh}

O mighty Protogonos (First-Begotten), hear my prayer, twofold, egg-born, and wandering through the air; bull-roarer, glorying in thy golden wings, from whom the race of Gods and mortal springs. 

Erikapaios, celebrated power, ineffable, occult, all-shining flower!

‘Tis thine from darksome mists to pure the sight, all-spreading splendour, pure and holy light; hence, Phanes, called the glory of the sky, on waving pinions through the world you fly. 

Priepos, dark-eyed splendour, thee I sing, genial, all-prudent, ever blessed king. With joyful aspect on these rites divine and holy consecration propitious shine!

5.     Immersing yourself in the black waters of Chaos, use all the meditative powers your can muster to coax forth a deep trance. The most powerful trance states spontaneously devolve into an exploration of body without form, trudging through the ethereal molasses of the waters as unconjugated debris. Let chaos inhabit your form, and evoke itself through you with ecstatic contortions that defy reality, obliterating this world and its prohibitive natural laws. 

6.    From this emptiness, begin to imagine your body morphing into an egg… the egg form ensconcing your body in nebulous tendrils, suspending you as an embryo in dark, chthonic solution. Allow yourself to become strangely buoyant, and bob in the water as if taken hostage by the undulations beneath you. Imagine yourself taking shape for the very first time, the billowing tumult of your soundtrack chanting you into form. 

7.     When you feel complete, break through your egg, feeling through the blackness for the matchbook on your altar. Light each candle one by one, the explosion of light jolting you into form, like Protogonos breaking through the Orphic Egg as an all-shining flower with golden wings. 

8.     One by one, take each egg into your hands, exploring the sacred symbols scrawled upon them in deep trance, until they dance off of the egg and impregnate themselves deep within your consciousness. At the apex of communion, drop the egg into the cosmic slop, the waters washing over the symbols and bathing the egg in newness (like reverse Easter egg dyeing!). The rite should take on a quality of levity, with shining radiance breaking through the thick mud. 

9.    When you feel fully present and thoroughly new, step out of the waters and bask in the glow of your sparkling newness. The world is your oyster- Happy Equinox, radiant beings!   

Ritual Medicine: Magically Charged Immune Tonic

If one cannot obtain medicines 

One can live still to several hundred years of age,

If one fully grasps the principles

Of cultivating Qi and practices daily.

Indeed, humans exist within the Qi

And Qi exists within humans.

From Heaven and Earth to the myriad things,

Qi is pervasive.

There is nothing that does not rely on Qi for life.

-Master Ge Hong, The Book Of The Master Who Embraces Simplicity, 4thCentury C.E

Qi Gong Immune Tonic

Ritual and Medicine were once entwined in a caduceus of consanguinity, an ouroboros of serpentine synergy. Mutually engendering one another, they coaxed forth each other’s latent powers and filled in the gaps in their respective repertoires. Most traditional medical systems still honor this alchemical marriage, but our current hegemonic medical paradigm has been ripping up the paperwork and denying them rights. As a healthcare provider, it’s fashionable and expected that I shirk away from this brouhaha and peddle the antiseptic certitude of allopathic care with sophistry & absolutism. However, indigenous medicine places the physician as a mender of chasms, honoring the prosaic prowess of each paradigm and fusing ritual and remedy as one. 

On a forced sabbatical recuperating from the pernicious three-week flu that recently swept Los Angeles, I was reminded of how important it is to fuse ritual & medicine, particularly when you’re wilted and supine, struggling to find your mojo in a disempowered mire. There’s nothing more humbling then being banished to your bed by a gruesome malady, a victim of capricious circumstance failed by your own flailing biology. It is in these ashen hours that a call to arms is ever so crucial, so that we may remind ourselves of our ferocious latent powers and re-connect with the seeds of our quieted magic. This is a simple, homespun ritual that I like to do at the advent of cold & flu season, when I feel an itchy tingle beckoning in the back of my throat, or when I’ve got tendrils of pestilence bristling within my body. The purpose of this rite is to strengthen the body’s energetic shield and first line of defense, and allow its innate curative alchemy to expel any lingering pathogens. As magic is best when it’s a prosy pastiche of incongruent passions, this ritual draws upon Traditional Chinese Medicine, kitchen witchery, and the ancient Taoist art of qigong. This can also be done as a protection rite in a circle of priests & priestesses, should you be lucky enough to have a slew of fellow witches and warlocks to bro-down with. 

BACKGROUND

Qigong is the ancient Taoist art of cultivating qi from the abundant environment, and circulating its healing helices of gossamer elixir throughout the body. Through qigong, we can tap directly into the diaphanous motive power that operates the universe, and sycophantically siphon it into our own body cauldron. Qi is everywhere…within, without, above, below, giving life to all things. Its nature is to move and change, and the root of all health problems, be it injury, illness, or aging, involve the stagnation and circulation of qi and blood. Its harmonious flow is the basis of all ancient Asian medicinal and magical practices. 

This simple equation, culled from the magnificent book The Healing Promise of Qi by Roger Jahnke, appeases both the science nerd and wizard in me, and distills the myriad mysteries of qigong into a basic formula: 

Practice + Intention = Inner Harmony = Qi Flow = Health and Longevity

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the lungs are inextricably linked to qi. Doctor Shen’s Compendium of Honoring Life (Shen Shi Zunsheng Shu), a Chinese medical text from1773, states that “the lung is the master of qi. Above, it connects to the throat; below, it connects to the orifices of the heart and the liver. It is in charge of inhalation and exhalation, and, in more general terms, the flux of coming in and going out.” The optimal functioning of the lungs ensures vitality and fortitude for the body en masse. The Statutes of Medicine (Yimen Falü), another Chinese medical text from 1658, illuminates this relationship, stating that “all bodily qi has its physical origin in the lung. If the lung’s qi is clear and straightforward, then there is not a single type of qi in the body that will not obey and flow along smoothly. However, if the lung qi becomes obstructed and turns murky, then the qi dynamics of the entire body will start to go against their natural flow and start to move upwards instead of downwards.”

The lung also has the unique distinction of being the uppermost organ in the body, an envoy between the external evils and the internal sanctum, uniquely susceptible to pathogenic factors like wind and cold. The lungs control the strength and circulation of Wei Qi, the ancient Chinese medical term for the body’s defensive energy and proverbial force field. Wei Qi warms the body and protects one’s self from the rigors of the outside environment. If you catch colds easily, have low energy or require a long time recuperating from an illness, your Wei Qi may be deficient. This ritual uses qigong and kitchen alchemy to strengthen the lung energy, boost Wei Qi, and ensure the harmonious flow of qi throughout the body.

GROCERY LIST

Your ritual libation will be a magically-charged ‘Wei Qi Tonic,’ comprised of horseradish root, white onions, hot peppers, garlic, ginger root, and apple cider vinegar. In some circles, this is called ‘Fire Cider,’ though amongst my kinfolk it is lovingly referred to as ‘Plague Tonic.’ Plague Tonic is white and pungent to support the lungs, as this combination of color and taste resonates with the element metal in five element correspondences within Traditional Chinese Medicine. You can find directions on how the Botanarchy test kitchen makes this infernal brew here. Priests & Priestesses could also use an immunity alembic of their choice in lieu of the Plague Tonic. A strong hot toddy, a shot of fresh pressed garlic juice, oil of oregano, cayenne & lemon water, whatever tickles your pickle. Ideally, your libation will be zesty, fiery, and entirely NOT sip-worthy. But with a dash of magical zeal, anything radiating with the harmonics of healing will do.

PROCEDURE

When you fall ill, first regulate the breath,

Ingest the Qi, and fix your attention on the afflicted area.

Practice holding the breath, 

And by means of conscious attention

Visualize the breath concentrating in the afflicted part.

Visualize the Qi attacking the illness.

When you can no longer comfortably hold the breath,

Exhale very slowly.

-The Immortal Master’s Treatise on the Absorption of Primordial Energy

1.    Prepare the space with a banishing ritual that you vibe with, and an incense or smudge wand of your choice. Ai Ye, Mugwort, would be an excellent fumigant for this rite, as it is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to purify pathogens, and ‘warm’ deficient conditions within the body. 

2.    Sit your Priests & Priestesses in a circle in a comfortable seated position, each with a chalice of Wei Qi Tonic. If you are rolling solo, just plop down and have at it.

3.    Call upon a pathogenic factor you wish to expel. This could be an ‘emotional pathogen’ plaguing the body, such as lingering bad habit or traumatic event, or it could be a physical ailment, such as a runny nose or sinus headache. Attune to the physical locus of the pathogen within the body, and fix your attention on the afflicted area. Where does it linger? Is it heavy, oppressive, constricting? Does it feel hot? Sticky? Smokey? Summon it forth, feel its viscerality, and let it grow. Connect with its noxious character and feel it licking the walls of your viscera. 

4.    When the pathogen has been effectively summoned, slowly imbibe the Wei Qi Tonic, and feel its vigorous heat burning away the putrid evil of the pathogen. Sip slowly and with fierce intention until a visceral response is elicited. This could be anything from a hearty sweat, to a cough, tearing eyes, digestive noises, cathartic breath, or a sensation of lightness within the body. When you feel you have expelled your pathogen, push your ritual chalice to the center of the circle.  If you are working with a group, this will signal to the other Priests & Priestesses that it is time to move on to the Wei Qi cultivation portion of the rite.

5.    Now that you have purified your body, gather the Heavenly Qi of the universe and store it within you. Begin by standing comfortably in Horse Pose. Circle your arms over your head as you inhale Heavenly Qi through the lungs, drawing the qi down through your arms as you rest them in a circle over your umbilicus, exhaling Evil Qi out of your lungs. Visualize spirals of healing qi descending into the lungs, and disseminating protective Wei Qi over the surface of the body. Repeat at least 5 times.

6.    Electrify the Wei Qi, and increase the diameter of its energetic field by relaxing and shaking the body vigorously for at least one minute. Imagine golden white light enshrouding you with protective mojo that no ills can permeate.

7.    Give yourself a Wei Qi bath, by rubbing your hands lightly over the entire surface of the body, starting with the head and face, moving down the outer legs, and back up through the inner legs, dousing the body in energized, electric Wei Qi. 

8.    Once thoroughly exulted, close the rite by taking a few deep breaths to honor your inner physician. Whenever you feel persnickety, pestilent, or fatigued, know that qi is bounteous, free, and omnipresent, the marrow of the universe ripe for the suckling. Enjoy in robust health~! 

Full Moon Fever: Raw Cacao + Coconut Cream Moon Cakes

Moon Cakes

Entertaining a cabal of discriminating raw vegan occultists this full moon? Perhaps you’ve a coven of rogue astronomers to impress, and don’t fancy making the same old edible space diorama out of cocktail weenies and day-glo jello planets. Or do you have a hankering to sequester yourself in your homestead for a Cosmos marathon this full moon weekend, and haven’t the foggiest notion what to serve amongst bong rips and tumblers of gypsy wine?! Fret not, kitchen witches! All of the full moon fabulousness you can stuff into one raw dessert is contained HEREIN:

Mooncakes

These moon cakes are marvels of opulent coconut cashew cream and diabolical chocolate enchantment. Surely to please raw foodists and opinionated omnivores alike, they can be served up as a mundane dessert OR consecrated for ritual, adding a sympathetic zing to your full moon sabbat. They freeze majestically if sealed in glass Tupperware and gingerly defrosted. For an elaborate rite, you can enchant each cookie phase with a particular intention that you wish to cultivate over the course of a moon cycle, and ingest each by each as she waxes and wanes in the sky. I always add bits and bobbles of mojo to my kitchen witchery, and sympathetic potions and herbs could easily be sprinkled in the cake batter. A brew of magically enchanted tea could even be used in lieu of the coconut water, if you don’t mind capricious results. Otherwise, stick faithfully to the following:

FULL MOON FROSTING

  • 2 Cups Cashews, raw and unsalted. You’ll want to soak them for a few hours in purified water until soft, discarding the soaking water before adding to the blender.

  • 1 Coconut, including ¼ cup of the coconut water and all of the meat scooped.

  • ¾ Cup Coconut Butter. We’re sweet on Artisana Raw Coconut Butter at our homestead, but any will do.

  • ½ Cup Agave Nectar or Raw Coconut Nectar

  • 1 Vanilla Bean, split and scraped like a boss.

Daintily pile your assemblage into a Vitamix, or suitable blender with Beast Mode settings (heads up- this will MURDER a regular blender). You’ll have to put in some austere elbow grease to get a smooth consistency, comprised of plunging and stirring on the regular. Be patient- it will come! Once you’ve finessed a felicitous blender of frosting, refrigerate to set until your cookies are ready to frost.

RAW CACAO MOON CAKES

  • 3 Cups Almond Flour

  • ½ Cup Coconut Oil

  • ½ Cup Agave Nectar or Coconut Nectar

  • ½ Cup Raw Cacao Powder

  • Dash of Sea Salt

Corral your cake constituents in a food professor, and pulse until dough-like. Roll out your dough on a sheath of wax paper, until you finesse an orb of chocolatey goodness from your fingers. Procure a rolling pin (or make one out of an empty beer bottle turned on its side), and roll out the dough until it is roughly ¼ inch thick. If you find the dough is sticking like crazy to the wax paper, you can grease a lil’ coconut oil over your surface and fingers. Cut out your moons carefully with a circular cookie cutter, shiv, or the mouth of a suitably shaped cup. Set for a spell in the fridge, and then frost your best gibbous’ and crescents using cumulus clouds of lush coconut cream. Serve immediately, or freeze in glass Tupperware to enjoy periodically along with the phases of the moon. ☾⚫☽

Vaginal Steaming: DIY Healthcare for Body Autonomy + Reproductive Health

Yoni Steam

Be it by hook, crook, Depo-Provera, or deodorized douche, the all-pervasive monotheistic religious hegemony has spent the last 2000 years convincing women that life sprang from Adam’s Rib, selling us on the lie that the vagina is a bothersome vessel for pain, shame, stench, bewilderment, male pleasure, and vulnerability. Scared silly by the sacred sorcery of the womb, our topsy-turvy culture has tried to stifle its innate ecstatic capabilities, obstructing its shamanic power by handing our health over to doctors, pharmaceutical companies, advertising agencies, corporations, and various trained henchmen of the uninformed patriarchy. Before the culture of the yearly Pap smear, women had a slew of secrets for protecting and enshrining our palaces. We communed with the moon, and tracked our cycle in the ebbs and flows of its shadow. We listened to the language of our sacred secretions, knowing which herbs to take to fight infection, stop bleeding, treat infection, and prevent or promote pregnancy. We tethered our circadian rhythms to ritual, using ecstatic rites to harness the guttural and sacred power of our cycles, evoking power and transformation for both ourselves and our kinfolk. As the sole gatekeepers of ancient medical arcana, we were self-governing gynecologists in our own right.

Throwing brevity out the window, I could wax poetic for miles on the suppression of shamanistic ecstasy and the rise of the patriarchal hegemony (if that gets you all weak in the knees, do consult the Oracle Of Terence McKenna, stat), but I’ll let you fall down that rabbit hole on your own accord. Rather than lamenting the loss of the sacred feminine, I’ll offer up my most hallowed rite for celebrating body autonomy, an old school ritual of reclaiming and rejoicing in your womb.

Vaginal steaming, known as Chai-Yok in traditional Korean medicine, has been used for centuries to cleanse, strengthen, fortify, and sanctify the Palace of Blood. I use it frequently, to stave off a lifetime of reliance upon institutionalized healthcare and gynecological practices that shut down the body’s innate intelligence. A staple of midwifery and folk medicine in regions as diverse as Asia, Egypt, and South America, V-Steaming is now offered for $40-$120 a pop at MILF-y spas in most metropolitan locales. The perfect anecdote to wily gynecological issues that hover in the periphery, both persnickety and pernicious, steaming brings oxygenation and heat to the womb, dispelling cold and stagnation in the body whilst cleansing, nourishing, and healing the oft-ignored tissues of the reproductive system. Squatting over a steaming cauldron of herbs has benefits both meditative AND medicinal. Practical and primordial, the bewitching vapors bring energy and exaltation to the dark, sibylline corridors of our body and our nature, places where patterns get stuck and troubles tend to stagnate. Steaming is an effective pain reliever that moves blood, aids in tissue repair, strengthens the female sexual organs, ignites sex drive, prevents and heals infection, and reduces inflammation. The ritual itself is a high falutin’ heathen hootenanny, fit for both guttural goddesses and citified gentility alike. If you are curious about how to address urogenital health at home along with your current healthcare regime, steaming could inject a hearty dose of joie de vivre into your Blood Palace and aid in the following conditions:
• Infertility
• Postpartum Health
• Uterine Fibroids
• PMS
• Menstrual Cramps
• Irregular Menstruation (long, short, or absent monthly menses)
• Blood Clots (or dark, brown, scanty blood during menses) 
• Pain During Intercourse
• Uterine/Bladder Weakness and Prolapse
• Miscarriage
• Ovarian Cysts
• PCOS
• Constipation
• Vaginal Dryness
• Endometriosis
• Hemorrhoids
• Bladder and Yeast Infections
• Ingrown hairs on the bikini line
• Scarring and adhesion from childbirth, hysterectomies, and laparoscopies
• Sensation of cold in the abdomen
• Sexual Trauma

Though gentle and painless, steaming should be avoided if you are pregnant (or after ovulation if you are currently engaged in conceiving), bleeding heavily, use an IUD, have an acute infection (systemic or local), or have vaginal sores, blisters, or open wounds. If your current state of health & robustness is ever in question, DO consult with a suitable health care purveyor before engaging in any shenanigans. Body awareness is tantamount to body autonomy, so always be mindful and well informed. Keeping with the times, I must incant the following mantra, making it loud and clear to the powers that be that everything I offer here is for educational purposes only:
This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult a qualified health care professional if you think you may have a medical condition.

The benefit to steaming at home outside of the confines of a bougie spa, is that you can get down & dirty with the purely ritualistic aspect of cleansing your nethers atop a makeshift throne of chairs and blankets. Liberated from an infinite loop of stodgy spa jamz, you can undulate to black metal or Brian Eno, and shake, scream, chant, trance, and seidr to your little heart’s content. You can anoint yourself as Priestess of the Blood Palace, and consecrate your sex organs through a shamanic journey into your own womb. Use the steam to track sensation in your nebulous sexual matter. What arrows and wounds can you remove and heal? What would you like to plant in your sanguine shrine to gestate and grow? V-Steaming nearly BEGS you to invoke your favorite fertility goddess. Perhaps honor Coatlicue, the Aztec goddess who gave birth to the moon and stars. You can give birth to your own moon and stars, dissolving into primordial nothingness and re-constellating inside a Cosmic Egg containing the raw DNA of your new, intentional universe. Sitting regal atop your throne, you can chose to worship your womb and release old trauma, imagining the steam is the magic milk of the goddess Isis, imparting divinity and healing like it did for the witch cults of ancient Egypt. Perhaps invoke the priestess physician Sekhmet in a purification rite to drive out and destroy malignant forces. Or, adorn yourself in feathers fit for shamanic flight, retrieving information from the netherworlds about a womb-related health quandary that you long to address. Maybe you’d like to turn this into a protective rite, to ensure that various institutional ignoramuses keep their grubby paws off of your vagina (here’s lookin’ at you, SCOTUS!), and stop treating your body as the property of their dubious enterprises. The possibilities are as infinite as your own sense of adventure. In my experience, ‘magic is effective together with medicine, medicine is effective together with magic.’ That’s real talk pulled straight from an ancient Egyptian papyrus on healing, a culture revered for their sophisticated, efficacious, and nuanced medical care. Whatever you fancy for your nethers, throw in a flourish of intention and will, deepening the medicine by allowing the steam to impregnate you with the seeds of your desired self.

HERBAL ALLIES

Traditionally, herbs were chosen by village folk healers and midwives based on their magical and medicinal properties, taking into account what was in season and the specific needs of their patient. The basic recipe calls for 1 cup of dried herbs to 8 cups of purified water, and if you fancy a forage, do make sure the herbs haven’t been sprayed with any god-awful malarkey. In my practice, I specifically tailor my herbal formula to what condition I am working with (pregnancy? cramping? pain?), adding my mojo to a base of mostly Mugwort and Wormwood. My favorite recipe includes equal parts of the following constituents:


Mugwort: Sacred to both Hecate, patroness of herbalists and midwives, and Artemis, the moon huntress who presides over women in labor, Mugwort is a uterine stimulant that can restore a woman’s natural moon cycle with a wave of her weedy wand. Bar none for regulating the menses, she simultaneously eases menstrual bleeding in cases of excessive blood loss, whilst stimulating menstrual discharge in cases of scanty flow and amenorrhea. A natural antibiotic & antifungal, Mugwort protects the uterus from ulcers and tumors, eases painful menstruation, prevents miscarriage, and expels cold and stagnation from the womb. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we light bundles of dried Mugwort over acupuncture points to expel cold and warm the meridians, healing a myriad of conditions by leading to a smoother flow of blood and qi.

Wormwood: Antifungal and antibacterial, this cherished herb of Poets and Priestesses alike rids the body of toxins, cools the blood, heals wounds, relieves spasms, and strengthens sexual desire.

Rosemary: A tonic, astringent, diaphoretic, and stimulant, Rosemary increases circulation to the reproductive organs, relaxes nerves, eases muscular pain, stimulates the immune system, purifies the reproductive tract, and prevents infection.


Lavender: Known as the Swiss Army Knife of Herbs, Lavender cools inflammation, is antiseptic, aromatic, and antispasmodic, and particularly shines for chronic infections, relieving muscle spasms & cramping, regenerating cells, preventing scarring, and lifting the spirits.


Rose Petals: Sacred to Aphrodite, this female tonic is an anti-inflammatory and aphrodisiac. Cooling, gentle and astringent to the tissues of the genitals, Rose increases menstruation, heals skin, balances hormones, and calms tension.

Marshmallow Root: Not necessary for all V-steamers, but excellent to sprinkle in if you’re having a bout of vaginal dryness. Marshmallow relieves irritation by coating skin surfaces, and is a gem for those that experience a sensation of ‘rawness’ in the nethers, or burning with urination.

Yoni Steam

SUPPLIES

1 cup of dried herbs, or 1 quart of fresh herbs. Though I love the dickens outta them, essential oils should NOT be used for steaming, as they could easily irritate sensitive genital tissues.

8 cups of purified water, boiled.

Large pot with lid, suitable to hold your steaming herbal brew. A crockpot is excellent to transfer your boiling water into, as it retains heat for longer periods of time.

Two wooden chairs that you will balance your sweet cheeks betwixt. For routine steaming, you can cajole a carpenter friend with a scroll saw into making you a special steaming chair, with a hollowed out center for the steam to rise through. Or, if you’re a fancy pants, you can invest in a right & proper U-shaped medical chair, like this hot little number from Amazon.

Blankets to ensconce yourself in once seated.

Warm clothes to cover your neck and feet. These ensure that the healing ringlets of heat get trapped deep within the body, where they can work their magic and mojo.

Suitable ritual adornments for your magical fête.

A nearby bed to retire to après steaming.

WHEN TO STEAM

Most women will benefit from a hearty steam 1-5 days before their period arrives. For those looking to enhance fertility, I love these V-Steam guidelines from the CNY Fertility Center: 
1. If you are in a natural cycle, steam once within a few days after your period, and then once just before ovulation but before intercourse.
2. If you are taking Clomid, steam once when you first start your Clomid medication, and then once just before ovulation but before intercourse/IUI. A side effect of Clomid may be a decrease in cervical mucous. The steam will help increase this mucous.
3. If you are doing an injectable IUI cycle, steam once when you first begin your stimulation drugs, and then once in the morning before your IUI procedure. Steaming before your IUI procedure helps to liquefy the cervical mucous and creates a lubricated path for the insertion of the catheter through the cervix.
4. If you are doing an IVF cycle, steam once when you first begin your stimulation drugs, and then once in the morning before your transfer. Steaming before your transfer procedure helps to create a lubricated path for the insertion of the catheter through the cervix.
5. If you are doing a donor egg cycle, steam once while your donor is stimulating and then once in the morning before your transfer.

METHOD

Yoni Steam

1. Arrange your steam shrine in a quiet place where you can get down and dirty. Suit up in your ritual garb (keeping your neck and feet covered), being sure to remain pantsless or sans-culottes, as they say in France. Create your throne by placing two wooden chairs far enough apart for the gentle tendrils of steam to penetrate your nethers, with a nice spot between them to place your bowl of herbs (you may want to use a placemat if you have dainty hardwood floors). If you’re using a crockpot, plug it in now so that it’s nice and toasty when it’s time to pour your brew. Kick up the jams, consecrate your herbs with your intention, and work your magic and mojo like a boss.
2. Drape a warm blanket over your chair, so that you don’t have to fuss about once it’s time to steam. 
3. Place your purified water and herbs in a covered pot, and bring to a soft, rolling boil for roughly 5 minutes. This is a stellar time for incantations, or a cathartic Bacchanalian dance party.
4. Turn off the heat, and steep your brew for another five minutes with the lid on. You can wrap the pot in a dishtowel to further hold in the heat if you so desire. When ready, place it next to your steam shrine.
5. Pour half of the water into your bowl or crockpot, waving your hand about 10 inches over the water to ensure the steam is not hot enough to burn your precious ladyparts.
6. Finally, sit atop your throne, tilting your pelvis and posture for maximum steam action. This requires some show-ponying around, and will be different for every pelvis. Ensconce your low body in the blanket, making sure no steam is escaping through the pesky crevasses. Should the steam be too much for you, you can control the temperature by venting the blanket as you so desire. This should be pleasantly intense, but not painful or burn-y in the slightest. Be very mindful, m’dears, especially if you’re in an altered state or meditative trance.
7. Allow yourself to stew in the vexing vapors for about 10-12 minutes, or until the heat wanes to tepid and/or ho-hum.
8. Dispose of your wan waters, and replenish with the remaining herbal infusion from the stewing pot. If need be, reheat the brew until steaming. Then, be a dear and repeat steps 5-7.
9. Retire to the bedchamber, and seal the rite under a pile of warm blankets, relaxing and rejoicing in your resilient, rejuvenated womb. 
10. Be mindful of your vagina in the days and weeks to come, being sure to check in with the state of affairs hither and thither. You should expect changes in your vaginal discharge and menstruation, signaling that cleansing and healing is transpiring.

Many women won’t blink an eye at the ritual of a monthly wax, but rarely ever invest in their vaginas outside of a vajazzle or a finessing. Seeing as our reproductive rights and body autonomy are under savage attack on nearly all fronts these days, it is more important now than ever that we reacquaint ourselves with our biology, and reclaim our unalienable health by shifting to a paradigm of self-care. Your reproductive health is your birthright, learn to lasso it’s capricious curves!

Dream Herbs + Botanical Allies For Dream Divination

Dream Herbs

For those who desire nothing more than to cultivate inner knowing with a coven of the wisest & wiliest plant teachers known to man, the logical place to start is by spelunking the caves of one’s own unconscious. Dream divination, known as Oneiromancy by the ancient Greeks, allows us to peer into the depths, to know ourselves, and to establish a symbolic vocabulary that helps us forage through the morass of daily life with the prophetic poise of a wise crone.

The functional prophetess should be able to navigate the dreamlands by one’s own compass, retrieving useful information for both oneself and others. The requisite accoutrements include traveling with fierce intentionality, a basic understanding of one’s personal mythos, and, of course, a well-maintained dream journal. Dream allies are your fiercest comrades in the Land of Nod, unlocking doors and mediating communion betwixt you and the motley crew of etheric entities that reside in your unconscious. The dream allies listed below are a brief ethnobotanical survey of cherished pan-cultural Oneirogens, and should be treated as such. If anyone wishes to approach the allies, it should be done in good health, only when deemed appropriate by a hearty sign-off from your healthcare provider, and definitely not whilst pregnant or breastfeeding. Each of these plants are unique creatures with wildly variant properties, and a myriad spectrum of moxie from stem to stamen. Therapeutic dosages, though listed below, should be the jurisdiction of your herbal purveyor, as they know the persnickety potency of each herb they grow and peddle. And also, my dears, DO check your state laws, as many of the most prized herbs for healing and gnosis are psychoactive at certain dosages, misunderstood by an ignorant hegemony, and therefore may be illegal for consumption in your state (don’t worry, you are still protected under the law to poison yourself slowly on Diet Coke and factory-farmed meat).


The Dream Herb: Calea Zacatechichi

My most favorite dreaming ally is Calea Zacatechichi, known as the ‘Dream Herb’ by the Chontal people of Oaxaca. Indigenous to Latin America, she is often used by shamans and medicine folk to produce psychotropic benders of prophecy and mirth, producing crystal visions worthy of a witched-out Stevie Nicks divinatory diatribe. Like a liminal Charlie Rose, you can ask her all matter of thorny questions, which she will graciously answer in bouts of epic visions and narrative. This is a journeying herb, and her liminal landscape is one of heroes and villains, mythic motifs, and prodigious peregrinations. Though she’s often symbolic with an astounding archetypal imagination, many times her answers are so literal and linear that you will be re-reading your dream journal months later with slack-jawed astonishment. She’s very forthcoming with her brujeria, and I’ve never had her turn me down. The traditional method of smoking Calea in tandem with a strong infusion of her brew will produce catnaps with bursts of intense visions, whereas an infusion of the herb lends itself well to epic dream recall, intensity, lucidity, and bounteous hypnagogic imagery. My basic method is to brew a strong pot of Calea tea and steep it for 15 minutes, whilst cradling it in my hand and meditating upon my query.  Occasionally, I’ll bundle up my herbs in a homemade teabag, and tie it with a tiny tag upon which my divinatory question has been scrawled. Bitter to the point of near un-drinkability, a few stirs of honey will add an air of gentility to the whole ordeal, though it may still inevitably taste like someone has vomited battery acid in your mouth. Do not let that deter you, dear seekers! In traditional Chinese medicine, bitterness quiets a wily heart spirit, and the quality detracts not from Calea’s lovely, generous spirit. Seeing as she is traditionally used by shamanic healers to solve village health quandaries, I think she is an especially robust guide for clarity in healing work. 

Dosage: Begin with 1-2 grams steeped in hot water for about 10 minutes, strained, and drank before bed. Calea is a relationship, and this dose may need to be adjusted to find your sweet spot. I have come to find that 5 grams works well for me, and I steep her with garden mint and honey to quell some of the bitterness.

Source: Botanical Preservation Corps, Bouncing Bear Botanicals


Mugwort: Artemisia Vulgaris

With fragrant silvery spires that glow incandescent white in the moonlight, Artemisia herself harkens to both the poetic dreamscapes of the moon and the subconscious hinterlands of the mind. A muse to both Old Gods and mere mortals alike, Mugwort is the sacred weed of Artemis (or Diana, if you’re a rapacious, re-appropriating Roman), a humble herb that grows freely (like the wild Botanarchist she is) amongst freeway meridians, sidewalk cracks, and areas of blight, disregard, and disarray. Foraging for her is the delight of urban hunters, left to get their jollies amongst paved-over pastures and sagacious sprawl.

Though herself humble & hoary, Mugwort has the pedigree of a bona fide goddess in disguise. In an appropriately foxy compendium of sex & death meeting myth & medicine, her patron goddess Artemis was said to have bestowed all of her herbal knowledge upon Chiron, a centaur (hot!), who then passed it on to the martyred necromancer Asclepius (even hotter!). Asclepius then compiled the sacred medicinal arcana into the Materia Medicas of Ancient Greece, and taught ancient mortals the art of healing magic before being offed by Zeus for raising folks from the dead for money (even necromancer’s gotta eat!). Primordial seekers used to make holy pilgrimages to the Mugwort-laden Temples of Asclepius to practice dream divination, asking Asclepius for guidance to heal the sick and infirmed. Shall you not find yourself amongst the enshrined elite anytime soon, a clairvoyant cup of Mugwort tea drunk before bed produces visionary dreams, can enhance recall, and is often used by those who practice the art of lucid dreaming. Mugwort achieves this magical melee due to a chemical cocktail of constituents that prevent us from reaching a deep sleep, trapping us instead in the twilight hours of vivid dreamtime purgatory. That said, she may leave you a tad torn and frayed if used on the regular.  With anything, do your legwork before starting any herbal regimen, making sure you are in suitable shape for such dalliances. And never take Mugwort internally if you are pregnant (or any of the dream allies, really), as it may stimulate uterine contractions at certain dosages. I’m partial to a few heaping teaspoons steeped in hot water for a good 10 minutes, then strained and served with a spot of raw honeycomb. She’s also quite divine whence mixed with equal parts Rosehips and Lemon Balm.

Dosage: 1 tbsp steeped in hot water for at least ten minutes. 

Source: Wildcrafted, or Mountain Rose Herbs

Botanarchy

Ubulawu Dream Root: Silene Capensis

Known by her kin as the ‘Herb of the White Path’, Silene Capensis is a South African dream herb famed for bearing gossamer visions heavy on shimmering colors and luminescent white symbolism. Though I haven’t met the White Lady in my dreams as of late, I will give Silene deep respect for increasing dream intensity AND recall, a sibylline cocktail of Orphic bliss. Learning to work with Silene bears infinite rewards for the psychonaut, offering diviners Delphic intimations of their personal arcanum, connecting the dots between personal myth and ancestral legacy. When approached with the proper intentionality (as entheogens always should be), she brings communion with the ancestors, and can deliver you messages from those departed. I did tremendous work with her over the course of a moon cycle, using Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Way of the Tarot as a tactile counterpart to my work in the ethers, the two overlapping to form a deep symbology that I still draw upon often. In addition to her pedigree as a dreamtime ally, she is used prodigiously in ceremony in the South African river valleys for catharsis and ritualistic purging, similar to the ayahuasca rites of Central and South America. Dissimilarly, Silene is not a psychedelic plant, and vomiting only occurs intentionally in behemoth doses during highly nuanced ceremonies. When taken as a dream ally, she is gentle and kind, with nary a disrupt of psyche or stomach in sight. The most astounding facet of Silene’s brouhaha might just be that a frothy brew of her twisted tendrils is ingested upon RISING from slumbers, with absolutely NO impact on waking life- all of the illusory vagaries happen between the sheets! Those with a penchant for Cthulhu and the Lovecraftian Deep Ones will inevitably love Silene, as her spirit form is a magical, alien sea snake that lives in the deepest waters of the river, straddling the boundaries betwixt this world and the next.

When I use this herb, I devote at least a week to her majesty, allowing the alkaloids to build up in my system over time. I drink the foam that rises from a macerated infusion of the herb in hot water on an empty stomach upon rising. I am one to abstain from drinking coffee whilst taking counsel from Silene, and those with more sensitive constitutions may want to follow suit. It is also customary to abstain from eating meat while working with this plant. Some notice enhanced dreaming after one day with her counsel, but I have found that my body responds to her magic a few nights after we have begun communing. 

Inquisitive parties simply MUST read ‘Root, Dream & Myth: The Use of the Oneirongenic Plant Silene Capensis,’ a tremendous exploration of her mystic myth, published in Eleusis: Journal of Psychoactive Plants & Compounds, Vol. 4. Snippets of the perfectly prolix incantation can be found here: http://www.samorini.it/doc1/alt_aut/ek/hirst-xhosa-silene-capensis.pdf

Dosage: Start by mixing 1/2 teaspoon of the powdered root mixed in 1/2 cup water with a wooded spoon until foamy and frothy (depending on how fine your herb is, this could take upwards of a few minutes). I suggest drinking it first thing in the morning, at least an hour before eating. I recommend doing this for about a week until judgement is passed. If dreams are elusive, you can begin increasing the dose steadily. 

Source: Botanical Preservation Corps, Bouncing Bear Botanicals


Egyptian Blue Lotus: Nelumbo Nucifera

If we’re in the business of discarding tombs both real and imagined (which I am), Blue Lotus would be an excellent ferry ‘cross the river Styx. Carrying in its serpentine, cerulean DNA a shamanic cocktail of disintegration (apomorphine) and communion (nuciferine), she truly is Hermetic gnosis manifest- a vehicle for the ecstatic alchemical separation of body and spirit, a botanical simulacrum of simultaneous ‘solve et coagula’. In tandem, the alkaloid Nuciferine serves to ‘strip off the garment’ of the lotus eater, while the euphoric tendrils of apomorphine liberate the akh, the luminous sun of our inner being. The resulting effects are both calming and euphoric, creating a numinous dreamtime space for vivid dreams and tranquil sleep. 

As the sacred flower of the pharaohs, her plant manna was used ritualistically by the ancient Egyptian noblesse to produce shamanic ecstasy and hypnotic trance in magical rites, mostly involving the gruesome twosome of sex and death. Chinese botanists (my favorite kind, this side of Luther Burbank), were convinced the lotus had the ability to transcend the limitations of time, as they believed she flowered and bore fruit simultaneously. Like all flowers of the Philistines, Blue Lotus has her very own God presiding over those bodacious blooms. Nefertum is the Egyptian god of the lotus and perfumery, an archetype of rejuvenation and anointment. As an avatar of Nefertum, ingesting the blue lotus into your temple (lotophagus, as the Greeks say, cause Ancient Greek makes me swoon) is akin to the ribald Dionysian rite of enthusiasmos, a state of being quite literally ‘filled by the gods.’

Though her plant magic is hallowed and divine, the true reason I fell in love with the lotus is the story of how she’s pollinated (truly the hottest piece of erotica this side of Anais Nin). Sacred scarabs are lured into the dark waters by the lotus at dusk, no match for its irresistibly miasmic pineapple musk. They intoxicatedly feast on the central petals, so engorged with lotus liquor they fail to notice when the flower closes over them. The anthers then ripen and shed their pollen over the trapped beetles, whilst the flower descends back into the black waters of the Nile, for a night of Bacchanalian revelry in an underwater boudoir of velvet pollen, beating wings, nectar victuals and ecstatic sex. As Ra rises over the horizon, the enshrined altar re-emerges above the water, and the beetles are set free to do the walk of shame across the banks of the Nile.

Though we may long to morph into a lotus beetle and drink deep the nectar of the lotus straight from the boudoir itself, in this lifetime, ritualistic victuals of lotus wine will have to suffice. You can make your own sacrament with a decent bottle of Rosé, a few ounces of Nelumbo Nucifera, and a few shakes of a lamb’s tail. Simply take 20 grams or so of lotus, crack open your bottle, skim a few chugs off the top, and soak your petals in the juices for three days. You’ll want to re-cork your vessel and store it in the fridge until it’s time to commune. Like most lovely things, she’s a bitter pill, and her unguents may need to be cut with a little raw honey to sweeten the deal. For dreamwork, the blue lotus is typically taken as a tea before bed, with a recommended dose of 5 grams steeped in boiling water and then allowed to cool before drinking it directly. In comparison to the ribald rites of the ancients, when taken in these manifestations the effects are mild, sedative, dreamy and mellow. 

Dosage: 5 grams steeped in boiling water.

Source: Botanical Preservation Corps, Bouncing Bear Botanicals

DIY Love Magic: Body-Cultured Raw Yogurt

Homemade Yogurt

Howsabout this for Valentine’s Day… culture a jar of homemade yogurt by the heat of your own body! Raw milk + yogurt starter + mason jar + snuggling + ecstatic love = romantical and delicious Valentine’s Day breakfast, or sublimely sexy gift for your darlin’!

Before Valentine’s Day was co-opted by squaresville Judeo-Christian materialists with a penchant for stale chocolate and ugly thongs, February 14th was part of Lupercalia, a carnal hootenanny of Ancient Roman proportions, harkening the Great God Pan with all sorts of lascivious melee. Lupercalia, the ‘Wolf Festival’, honored the She-Wolf who suckled the orphaned infants Romulus and Remus, the mythical founders of Rome. Like a regular afternoon in the Baroness Homestead, folks would run through the streets buck naked, whipping each other bawdily with improvised lashes, adorning themselves in goatskins, and petitioning the Gods and Goddesses for love & fertility. Bring a bit of this heathen witchery back to Valentine’s Day this year, and celebrate by making your own She-Wolf yogurt!

Magic Yogurt

METHOD

You will need the following: one quart raw milk, yogurt starter (easily procurable at your local health food store), thermometer, saucepan, clean mason jar with tight-fitting lid (at least one quart), snuggle buddy. For best results, perform the following in the nude, right before bed, on a sympathetic moon:

Gently heat your milk in a saucepan over a low flame until it reaches a balmy 180 degrees. Try your damnedest to maintain this temperature for about five minutes, making sure you DO NOT BOIL (this is important for keeping all of the lusciously lively beneficial bacteria alive & kicking). This would be an excellent time to stir your pot o’ milk, weaving incantations of mojo and magic into your love yogurt. Turn off the heat, and allow the milk to cool to about 108-112 degrees. Add the yogurt starter to your clean mason jar. My starter takes about 1-2 teaspoons per quart of milk, but as these are living beings with varying potency, yours may be a lil’ different. Follow the directions on your packet for best results. Languidly add a few tablespoons of milk, mixing lubriciously to make a smooth paste. Continue adding your milk in a slow stream until the jar is bursting with mirthful milky goodness, and cap tightly once you’ve sealed your intention into the jar. Sequester yourself in bed with your amorous accomplice, and incubate your yogurt overnight by the warmth of your steamy flesh. My Magic Man and I cradled ours between the sheets for a good eight hours, and as the sun crowned over our bedstead, we had a perfectly-cultured jar of ambrosial alchemy, cultured in our curves and imbued with the enchantment of our ecstatic love. Refrigerate as you would ho-hum store bought yogurt, and spoon feed when the mood strikes.