Holiday greetings from my family to yours! I missed my self-imposed deadline this month for putting out my full "Moon Meal" blog (last Saturday 12/22), for good reason. If the holidays aren't enough of a frenzied whirlwind of activity, my 16 month old son got a bad cold and subsequently, a bad ear infection. I've always read about how parasites act up around the full moon (as well as every other creature on Earth), and I've reason to believe the same holds true for bacteria and viruses as well. Don't quote me on it, but it's just a little pattern I've noticed in my children...
Anyway, my faith in food and the powers of the human body were tested once again, as I sprang into action and mixed up some garlic oil and reached for my thyme and tea tree oil to heal William's ear. My love and respect for garlic has increased almost as much as my love and respect for the healing powers of the immune system in the past year, and I don't think it's a coincidence that I chose to plant 100 cloves of garlic this past fall and am awaiting their emergence when they're ready to emerge, in the Spring (my first experience growing it). I think it's beautifully symbolic of my growing faith in utilizing Nature for healing (after all, I DID get antibiotics just in case the salve and his body didn't fight off the infection, so I'm not 100% faithful yet...) I also don't think it's a coincidence that I prepared a healing Apple Cider Vinegar tonic earlier this month at the New Moon, which I gladly cracked open the morning after the Winter Solstice, in lieu of a well-planned meal for the Full Moon (for myself, not my son - because it's just as important to keep my mama self healthy in order to care for my children). I'm including a recipe for the tonic and garlic salve here today, and will soon post a recipe for delicious vegetable broth as an ode to the ever-important veggies getting us through this "sick season" time of year.
So first, the Evergreen Tonic Featuring Eastern Hemlock Tree Needles. I had a few choices of evergreens in our neighborhood, to symbolize the everlasting power of nature as a source of vitamins and minerals even through the dead of winter. White Cedar (Arborvitae), Spruce (we've been making hot tisanes with it all winter so why not?), White Pine, or even Balsam Fir from our Christmas Tree, but I settled on using the needles of some Eastern Hemlock trees in our neighborhood, for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, the connotation of "Hemlock" is, well, not great. For whatever reason, the bold and beautiful evergreen with long, whispy branches and very edible parts shares its name with the completely unrelated and toxic poison hemlock/water hemlock plant, and that intrigues me. This article has an interesting summation of some lore surrounding the completely unrelated poison hemlock plant:
"According to Christian mythology, the hemlock plant became poisonous after growing on the hillside of Jesus’ crucifixion. When his blood touched the plant, it turned forever toxic. However, the most infamous poisoning by hemlock is attributed to the Greek philosopher Socrates, who chose a hemlock drink as his preferred means of death—most sources say that he drank it mixed with water or as a tea. In the Phaedo, Plato claims that Socrates first felt a numbing in his limbs, after which the sensation overtook his entire body. Socrates maintained full awareness throughout his poisoning and even continued to speak to those around who witnessed his death. His last words reportedly were: “Crito, we owe a cock to Asclepius. Please, don’t forget to pay the debt.” Socrates willingly drank the poison after being sentenced to death for his speeches and for his belief in humanistic and democratic principles. When he was ordered to publicly deny his ideas or die, he chose death. However, as a respected gentleman, the court gave him the right to pick the manner in which he wished to have his death sentence carried out. Hemlock tea was his first choice."
The bolded sentence resonates with me. Without getting too much into it, I'll just say that in the past couple of years, I've become very outspoken about certain health-related issues, and it seems like my voice is always met by "mainstream people" with resistance, false accusations, and even mockery. My choosing of the eastern hemlock symbolizes, to me, staying true to my beliefs and convictions that come from a place of well-rounded knowledge and faith in the powers of our God-given bodies, despite living in a paternalistic, money-driven society that utilizes "healing" tactics that are out of balance with nature and shrouded in secrecy and corruption at the very top levels. Also, as I wrote in my IG post about the tonic, "I thought it reflected wintertime nicely, because depending on the way you see winter, it could be either beautifully soothing or poisonous to the soul." Using the Eastern Hemlock confidently and wisely helps me urge myself to keep turning commonly held myths and beliefs about true health and where it comes from on it's head, exposing age-old truths that are generally hidden from the masses by the powers-at-be.
I'm including it here, because it's a tonic you can make any time, utilizing any ingredients you see fit to symbolize your particular situation and goals. Starting each day with a big glass of water mixed with a teaspoon or 2 of an infused ACV tonic and a squeeze of lemon is a great way to start the day with intention and purpose! One of my New Year's Resolutions is to better balance my outspokenness and "unpopular opinions" with listening to others just as much, and to express my opinions more tactfully and less angrily, and more poignantly. I'm hoping that starting each day with this intention will help me focus my energies on this way of being. I'm very curious to see which day the tonic runs out on, and what that day will bring..... :)
Here's the recipe:
Mix together in a sanitized 1 quart mason jar veggies and spices you think may symbolize your intention/goals for the New Year. Many dictionaries on the magical and practical qualities of herbs and plants can help you come to a decision, but listen to your heart on the matter of choosing. What do you have in your house or fridge right now? Does something catch your eye at the market? Etc etc... I mixed:
- 2 tbsp. rinsed EDIBLE evergreen needles. I used Eastern Hemlock Tree (Tsuga canadensis) needles - NOT to be confused with the Poison hemlock/Water hemlock (Conium maculatum) plant. Also BE AWARE of the poisonous Yew Tree when foraging for evergreens. Do your research, please.
- 1 tsp. dried or fresh mint (I used peppermint from my summer garden to draw a little summer into the mixture)
- 1 cup chopped fresh rutabaga or another root vegetable, to help stay grounded through this winter months
Pour raw ACV over sprices and veggies, all the way to the very top of the jar, and remove any air bubbles.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and seal shut with cap ring. Let sit at room temp for about 2 weeks, shaking daily.
Strain and keep in a capped jar. Add 1-2 tsp to a glass of water with lemon to start each morning. Be conscious of the day that the tonic runs out, and the days thereafter.
And for the Healing Garlic Salve:
Super Easy. Just take a couple tablespoons of pure, organic olive oil and warm up in a little pan on the stove. Add 1 clove freshly crushed and chopped garlic (the already crushed kind you buy in a jar won't work) to the pan, stir, and immediately take it off the stove. You don't want the garlic to cook, just infuse with olive oil. Strain the garlic out, let cool a little, and use for ear and other infections. Works like a charm.
Check back in a couple of weeks for my January 2019 Moon Meal - an exploration of the symbolic and practical nature of the Wolf (January is the "Wolf Moon"). Best wishes for great health and happiness until then!