Two and a half years ago, my good friend Allie and I were called to Mt. Shasta. It was for me a very clear and direct need to be in her presence. Since that experience, I feel quite changed. Making that decision and saying yes to something so spontaneous like a road trip to California in a 10 day stretch, was a brave and crazy thing to do. Not only did we have the most beautiful bluebird day/breathtaking weather for our hike to Panther Meadow, we also camped in the Redwood Forest among the giants. We were not sure how it all would play out, but the entire experience was magical and filled with many moments of knowing we were in the right place at the right time. We visited the ocean as well, it was a full elemental experience with Water, Air, Earth and Fire Ceremony in the Redwood Forest honouring the Giants holding space around us.
I am sharing my love of the majestic Mt. Shasta, one of my source mountains, because I feel so certain that life presents us with opportunities and we have choices to take them or not. These opportunities are often full of magical experiences and moments that remain with us forever. I am truly grateful for my road trip with Allie and I look back on those 10 days in a wistful almost surreal way. To have stood at the base of Mt Shasta was very much like a dream realized, and a reminder for me to follow my intuition, to take chances, to step out of my comfort zone because in my experience, this is when magic truly happens. When opportunities present themselves, having faith and trusting your intuition when spirit nudges you, can be quite incredible and life changing.
I'm pretty excited to be hatching another plan for this summer, which will take me (and Likely Allie and another girlfriend Amanda) to many places to offer workshops in distillation, blending, wildcrafting and medicine making in general. We will likely visit a Festival or two in the AromaBoler and generally soak up the summer doing what I love most, which is connecting, sharing, teaching, growing, relaxing, swimming, wild crafting, creating, blending, distilling, laughing, crying, loving, caring, stretching, breathing and most importantly living! Following my intuition to take a break from my day job for a couple of months to really immerse in what brings me joy. We will spend a lot of time on Denman Island with our sister Heather who has a gorgeous plot of land, chickens and medicine gardens. We will also go to the Cariboo, to 100 Mile House and Horsefly BC with another sister who has a Ranch, a huge teepee and horses. I am bursting with excitement to hitch up the AromaBoler and travel to these communities, immerse in their culture and receive the gift to wild-craft their local plants. I will be taking my two stills with us; my 20L Alembic and my 10L Alquitar for distilling. An important part of wild-crafting for me is about being in reciprocity and gratitude by giving offerings abundantly back to the land and to the plants. We will have Sage, Sweet grass, Cedar, Tobacco, Lavender and Rose to offer at every spot we harvest from, as a thank you to Pachamama. (Mother Earth)
For the moment, I am studying Herbalism with Rosemary Gladstar and soaking up my lessons and reading material in my forest home with the wood stove and a cup of tea while these seeds are under a blanket of snow and cold, awaiting germination until they can burst forth and break through the soil, and become realized dreams that began as tiny seeds residing in my mind, body and spirit.
For more information on my upcoming workshops in the Spring, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bright Blessings, Warm Fire, Cozy Blankets, Sweet Slippers, Hot Tea, Lots of Love
I attended an incredible 3 day Ancient Alchemy Workshop in Spokane Washington at the end of the summer with great thanks to my teacher and friend Jade Shutes. Founder of The School for Aromatic Studies. She offered me her registration and helped me with acccomodation and plane fare. :) We studied with a wonderful and unique group of Artisan Distillers, Master Herbalists, Botanical Perfumers, Clinical Aromatherapists, Scientists and Chemists. Many thanks to my teachers
Ann Harman, Cathy Skipper, Jessica Ring, Marco Valussi, Christa Obuchowski and Jack Chaitman. There were many highlights for me throughout the course of the three days. Learning experientially with 20L and 30L Alembic Stills and a couple of 10L Alquitar Stills and seeing the differences in the two units as well as the many different methods of distillation was fascinating! Alquitars are designed differently than an Alembic. The Alembic has three parts, the pot, the swan neck lid and the condensing unit. The Alquitar has two main parts, the pot and the lid. The inside has a vapour chamber with the condensation area at the top. It is more compact and takes up less space. A sweet bowl at the top holds ice. I quite enjoyed working with the Alquitar, the unit really resonated with me. What resonated even more was learning many unique methods of distillation, I was inspired by the freedom to 'throw it all in the pot!'
What a concept to have an essential oil or an herbal infusion in the receiving vessel to capture and mingle with an emerging distillate of many different plants! Imagine placing Sandalwood in the receiving vessel while distilling rose petals and lavender. This incredible perfume would be referred to as an Attar (Ittar). Imagine the aroma.....
Interestingly in London in 1527, Still Rooms were the place where country-women would distill medicinal plants in a room that was usually adjacent to the kitchen, and use those aromatic waters as well as decoctions, infusions and teas as her families pharmacopeia. This was how she kept her family healthy. In 1527 aromatic waters were in use! Huzzah!
We distilled ourselves over the course of two days. The multi-distillation we did was incredible. Frankincense in the pot, black poplar infused in fractionated coconut oil in the receiving vessel, and an array of garden herbs including Rosemary, Lavender, Sage and Marjoram, which were placed in the pot, with the Frankincense. The same garden herbs were also placed in the tower. (steaming vessel) We waited approximately 45 minutes for our distillate to present. Oh, so aromatic and very medicinal. Such a transformative and ethereal process to witness. It feels as though you are stepping out of time and space with the aroma lingering in the air, while watching the aromatics fuse together in the receiving glass vial. As you may have guessed, I am excited to share that I will obtain a 10L Alquitar Still this month, perfect for distilling resins, gums and flowers. I'm going to create Attars!!!!! I will be able to distill all winter long on my stove top. Stay Tuned!
Sweet Botanical Perfuming here I come!