I pray at the New Moon and Solstice/Equinox. I spent 2019 developing my writing practice and did not maintain my prayer schedule. I did pray at the Winter Solstice 2019 and now I find New Moon Prayer Day where I spent the day in meditation, letting go of the Establishment, dwelling in the Void. It was sweet release. I felt light and peaceful. I think New Moon Prayer Day is gonna be a thing. By the end of the week it had become New Moon Prayer Week. As the days passed, I found myself asked to stay in meditation. Be not of the world. Scary at first to be sure, but surely, one week a month is almost necessary in these trying times. An important shift in energy. I have studied Yoga for thirty years now and in flipping through magazines for my Vision Board, I came across a magazine called Tantra and it has led me to a deeper practice. Tantra, which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as “any of a class of Hindu or Buddhist mystical and magical writings, dating from the 7th century or earlier; also adherence to the doctrine or principles of the Tantra, involving mantras, meditation, yoga and ritual. In Hinduism, tantric practice may involve indulgence in normally forbidden taboos and is designed to awaken the energy of Sakti. Tantrism is an important element in Tibetan Buddhism.” Now every experience in the world has to be filtered through the Establishment, the West, meaning Europe, the tiniest continuous land mass on the the planet, attached to Asia, I might add, but the most fierce like a cornered animal. It is why I place the definition here, because there is room for us all and it’s high time we got to inclusion. We are all allowed especially and including me, a black woman thoroughly dismissed by the Establishment. I was born in England, so you can imaging my perspective. From the Tantra magazine, which dates back to 1995 “Tantra derived from the Sanskrit words tanoti (to expand) and trayati (to liberate), embodies the expression “expansion of consciousness toward transcendence.” Tantra is a synthesis of art and science that acknowledges the physical and the metaphysical experience of being human.” As one may or may not know Tantra is only associated with sex in the Establishment as the adult site second on Google can attest.
I had a car accident in November, nothing major, but my left side has taken a hit. I have decided to use yoga for physical therapy and here I am in my ninth week and I am experiencing a deepening of my practice. I thought often last year about the spiritual aspect of creativity. To write or produce art seems to me to create its own energy. I felt stress producing a blog weekly but here one year in, the stress has eased and I’m feeling a flow of energy. Creation of energy, flow of ideas, thoughts, emotions, wisdom etc. I know that maturity (I’ll be fifty-three in April) and menopause are also in the mix. I’ve been meditating on surrender for the past two weeks so I lay on my bed in the morning before yoga, letting the bed support me and Spirit breathed me. I had the experience of heightened senses weeks before - food (Indian) especially delicious and the Winter air so refreshing. Something is happening. The Tantra magazine touches on health, mandalas, Ayurveda and Taoism. There are issues of Tantra magazine available on Amazon, but I only find tantramag.com now and no information about the creators of Tantra magazine. I have often picked up old publications and found them relevant today.
I lived on 13th street in Manhattan back in the nineties. Integral Yoga was across town and East West books was around the corner. I took my first book about yoga from the library when I was sixteen years old in Miami, Florida. Classes weren’t even readily available back then. A television addict to this day, I must have seen a yoga show on television when I was a child. I stumbled upon Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda in Beacon Reads bookstore and I think it is where my study will begin. I have read the Upanishads and a book on Ayurveda. I grew up on curry because Indians along with the Chinese were imported to the Caribbean directly after slavery. It is thought that yoga originated with the Brahmins in India, perhaps an indigenous people with an oral tradition because to find any written evidence is difficult. I love origins because they help me to find the truth. I am prone to fantasy so gathering facts grounds me.
Perhaps creativity has opened my space, time and energy for me - expanded my universe. The right energy to lead me into my experimental phase in the herb garden. 2012 was my best greenhouse experience to date. It wasn’t actually a greenhouse, but a sun room off the back of the house I was renting, I managed to germinate Teasel and then lost the plants in a heatwave.
Teasel, Dipsacus fullonum, subs. sativas, Dipsicaceae, Biennial, West Asia, Europe
I believe I was told Teasel was a cure for Lyme and upon searching online I came across Lady Barbara who had cured herself over fifteen years so I bought seed to try it out. Lady B as she was also known, lived here in Beacon and Cold Spring until she moved to Oregon in 2005. I moved to Beacon in 2006, just missing her. She passed on from colon cancer in 2013.
Pipsissewa, Chimifila umbellata, Ericaceae, Northern hemisphere, Perennial
I was asked to grow Pipsissewa as well, for a health condition. Pipsissewa tea is astringent, diuretic and diaphoretic and can be used internally and externally. I had the seed but didn’t get germination.
Bee Balm, Monarda didymium, Labiatae, Perennial, Turtle Island
More upright and not as shrubby as M. fistulosa, I got one plant from seed but was one of the plants that got mowed in 2016. I have found seedlings at Canadian company Richter’s. Like most Mint Family plants, leaves and flowers are good for colds and stomach upset. Natives brewed them as Oswego tea.
Catnip, Nepeta cataria, Labiatae, Perennial, Southwest and Central Asia, Europe
I have grown Catnip from the beginning because it is a good smoke. At SDG she has found a number of different spots to grow in. Of course cats love it, the leaves can be used for Wild Salad and tea. In flower good for colds, stomach issues and can reduce fever.
Pennyroyal, Mentha pulegium, Labiatae Perennial, Africa, Eurasia
In my early twenties, I wanted a natural form of birth control and Pennyroyal holds those properties. I have gotten her from seed. I planted her on the border at Groundwork initially and then transplanted her into a bed. I grew Mentha pulegium, but it seems M. pulegium var. erecta is the correct variety for birth control.
Just some of my experiments over the years. I can grow and manage six new beds a year. Bee Balm is a holdover bed from last season. I had forgotten about Catnip until now. I am challenged by weeds which took the Spring last season to manage. I am going to use straw as weed control this season.
Gardening is a spiritual practice, a meditation. Harmony with the natural world is my practice. Plants, Animals, Insects, Rocks are my family. I cannot enter wanting to be dominant. How would I hear their voices? SDG is ten years old this year. I started three gardens in 2011 and have moved on from the other two. I have not spent ten years doing anything in my lifetime. Short attention span be damned! My Plant Family is my life’s work. Gifts of Spirit have kept me going lo these many years. All I do is just to find my way back outside come April 1. I am a steward. I cannot live without the land. It is as intrinsic as breath without which would be emptiness. A fundamental aspect of being.