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Summer fills our senses. Wild plants to eat, herbs to put up for medicine, and verdant life all around. Summer is the time to bask in beauty, relax into water, and be still with moments of sweet, warm abundance.

I've been enjoying delicious greens. Lamb's Quarters (pictured right), is an abundant wild green that is easy to identify, harvest, and cook up like spinach for any dish you like. My favorite though is simply sauteed in butter and eaten with cheddar cheese or in an omelet.

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Nettles dripping with seeds

Nettles are still flowering but many are now covered in seeds. Herbalist Darcey Blue French and I collected many of them during our HerbCircle study group.

Nettle seeds are a wondrous kidney tonic, especially helpful for those who are run-down, chronically exhausted, or who have had too many years on coffee. Nettle seeds strengthen the adrenals and help restore even energy levels to the body. Paired with Oat top infusions (and good meals and sleep, of course), the body can come back to strength and vitality.

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Goldenrod, one of my favorite flowers of summer, hums with honeybees and smells like honey too. I love this flower prepared as a sore-muscle remedy oil, hayfever helping elixir, and as a beautiful kitchen bouquet. Don't worry about sneezing - it's the ragweed that does that.

To make an infused oil (soooo good on bruises and sore muscles!), simply harvest the newly opened flower tops and lay them to wilt for a day or two out of sun light. Place them in a jar, fill with your choice of carrier oil (olive, jojoba, or in this warm weather coconut oil does well) so that no plant material is exposed to air. Cover and let infuse for six weeks. I learned this years ago from the wonderful herbalist LadyBarbara. Love you LadyB!

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Rose of Sharon Flowers are also an August ritual for me. She is usually covered in flowers by Lammas, making her a perfect outdoor altar for bee-watching, silent prayer, and libations to the Goddess. For many years I have laid plant marc from tinctures, teas and oils at her feet in gratitude, and upon re-locating I'm delighted to again have a big Rose of Sharon at my doorstep, allowing me to continue my simple rituals.

As a member of the Mallow family, the flowers and leaves contain slippery goodness; a deep tonic to the soft tissues of the body. Although good for cooling off anyone on these hot days, rose of sharon can be used similar to marshmallow root or elm to reduce inflammation and increase moisture both internally and externally, and are especially helpful for those with chronic heat or dryness issues. Combine with a little hibiscus (another cooling mallow!) for a very yummy, beautifully ruby summer drink.

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Rose of Sharon, variety

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Rose of Sharon Elixir

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Heron Flower

I've been talking a lot lately about Blue Vervain, and if you have some near you I highly recommend making some tincture to have for yourself. If you missed my blog post and would like to read more about this magic, medicinal plant, simply click on the photo.

If you're interested in welcoming vervain magic into your life, but don't have the time to harvest.... perhaps you'd like my brand new Incantation Collection!

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INCANTATION ~ Ceremonial Herbal Collection

My Women's Lodge designated yours truly to call in the directions each month. It's been many many circles now, and it's due time for me to share with all of you a little part of my spiritual practices. This is what I will be toting with me to my Red Tent Temple, to my monthly Women's Lodge, and to each of the Sacred Season Holy-days to create sacred space, align my energies with great spirit, and to honor the plants that are my treasured allies.

Earth honoring traditions the world over have always included aspects like these in their rites; ways to mark the time out of time, to consecrate sacred space, and to bring each attendants energies into calm focus.

Incantation comes with a Sacred Smudge blend with local herbs and ancient resins. an Annointing Oil with Rue, Vervain, Birch, and other magical herbs, A Divining Elixir of enchanted herbs, and a loose blend of herbs: Offering - to be sprinkled in gratitude for all that Earth brings to us.

My Directions prayer comes with it, after many requests from my inner circles to "write something down!". It's a simple, easy to read acknowledgement to each of the seven sacred directions that anyone can use as is, or as a starting point for their own personal variation.

And of course...... a free delicious lip balm!

Blessed August to you and yours ~ May your gathering basket and heart be always full ~

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P.S. !......Next weekend I'll be heading off to my 11th (? I think I lost track!) Women's Herbal Conference with my Mama, my Daughter, and my Auntie! I look forward to this feast of the heart all year long. I can't wait to fill my own 'gathering basket' with more wisdom to share and to pollinate. See you soon!

Much Love,

Ananda
Herbalist, Wildcrafter, Writer
Plant Journeys

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