Little Reminders No. 1, paper collage, 2023 poetry is a walking meditation in a word: mayhem being: a laundromat of syllables nonbeing: the …Little Reminders
As a pet owner, there’s nothing worse than watching your furry friend constantly scratching, biting, and licking themselves in discomfort. While occasional scratching is normal for dogs, excessive itching can be a sign of an underlying issue that needs attention.
Why Does Your Dog Itch?
There are many reasons why dogs itch, including allergies, fleas, skin infections, and even boredom or stress. Allergies are one of the most common causes of itching in dogs and can be triggered by a variety of things, including food, pollen, dust, and more. Flea infestations can also cause itching and irritation, leading to hot spots and skin infections.
Leading Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
There are a number of reasons why your dog may start scratching, licking or biting at their fur. Some of the more common dog skin problems include:
Bites from fleas and mites are one of the most common sources of itching in dogs, and one of the easiest to treat. Your vet can prescribe medication to resolve the parasite issue. You can also proactively give your dog medication to avoid fleas, mites, or ticks in the first place.
This is a skin irritation that develops due to contact with certain substances, such as grass, dirt, and plants. Symptoms include itchy/dry or cracked skin, rashes, blisters, redness, or swelling.
Suggested ways to alleviate this condition include antihistamines or oatmeal baths. Your vet may recommend a cortisone cream or other alternative depending on the severity.
This is a relatively uncommon issue for dogs, however, it is possible that they may have an allergic reaction to something in their food. Typically, nutritional dermatitis results in skin irritations and scratching, but digestive issues may happen as well, such as diarrhea or vomiting. If your dog is displaying either type of symptom, it’s best to make an appointment with your vet.
Some dogs are prone to allergies, making this a somewhat common reason to visit the vet. Allergens that cause itching can be found in pollen, dander, plants or insects, among other things.
Aside from itching, some of the symptoms of skin allergies include excessive grooming or licking, watery eyes and sneezing, rashes, and inflamed skin. Your vet may be able to diagnose what is causing the allergy and will recommend treatment as well as ways to prevent future allergic reactions.
Another type of allergic reaction is hives. Hives can be a reaction to many things, from bites or medications. Symptoms show as a raised bump that would cause the dog’s fur to stick out.
In some cases, hives will present with swelling near the eyes. Using a hypoallergenic shampoo for dogs will usually alleviate the condition. A hydrating leave-in conditioner may also help. Ask your vet what they recommend for your pet.
If your dog’s itching persists for more than a few days, you should make an appointment so your vet can diagnose the issue and treat it. Prolonged itching can cause excessive scratching and biting at the itch which can create a self-inflicted injury. This can become serious if left unchecked.
How Can Apoquel Help?
Apoquel is a prescription medication that can help relieve itching in dogs. It works by blocking a specific enzyme in the body that causes inflammation and itching, providing fast relief without the side effects of traditional steroids. Apoquel is safe for long-term use and can help manage itching caused by allergies, flea infestations, and other conditions. Tips for Pet Owners While Apoquel can help relieve itching, there are also things pet owners can do at home to help their dogs feel more comfortable:
- Keep your dog’s coat clean and well-groomed to prevent skin irritation.
- Use a flea preventative to avoid infestations.
- Identify and eliminate potential allergens in your dog’s environment, such as certain foods or plants.
- Provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to reduce stress and boredom.
- Consider a high-quality diet that includes omega-3 fatty acids to promote healthy skin and coat.
Itching can be a frustrating and uncomfortable issue for dogs and their owners, but with the help of medications like Apoquel and a few simple tips, it’s possible to manage and prevent itching. As always, if you’re concerned about your dog’s itching, it’s important to speak with your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and develop an effective treatment plan.
Vet Tech Groomer Girl
Flowers are flavourful food!
Not only for the hummingbirds and bees but for us humans too. The petals of flowers are a kind of modified leaf, and the flowers are actually classified as a vegetable. Except for fruits and seeds, any part of a plant that is eaten by humans is considered a vegetable. While we tend to focus on their beauty and aromatic appeal, we have forgotten that many of them are surprisingly yummy as well as medicinal.
Flora and fauna have been used in a wide variety of cuisines around the world for thousands of years. At local restaurants, coffee shops, and teahouses, you might notice the pretty floral additions to the menus such as; rose macarons, lavender lemonades, hibiscus tea, or geranium sherbert.
Ancient Roman, Greek, Indian, and Chinese herbalists and Ayurvedic practitioners had plenty to say about the health benefits of eating flowers. The Incas, Aztecs, and Hindus also chose to include edible flowers in their sacred religious rituals. Some cultures chewed echinacea flowers in ceremonies, chrysanthemums were used in ceremonial beverages and cooking in ancient China, while lotus flowers have played an important role in Indian cuisine since the beginning of time. Records show that the cultivation of flowers as food dates back some 600 years, playing an important role in international food culture and cuisine.
Edible flowers include citrus blossom, clover, daisies, dandelions, hibiscus, honeysuckle, lavender, lilac, mums, nasturtium, pansies, roses, sunflowers, violets, and many more.
If you don’t have the luxury of growing edible flowers in your own garden, always remember when buying edible flowers to get only organically grown flowers, as they won’t be full of pesticides that are toxic when ingested. Always read the labels on the package to make sure that these flowers are indeed grown for human consumption and approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
With their velvety petals and sharp thorns, roses have historically been the perfect symbol of the sweet and bitter aspects of Amore. The rose’s duality, beauty, and fragrance have garnered its use as a cultural symbol across the world. The fruit of the rose plant (rosehips ) is an excellent source of vitamin C, and its oil is used in beauty products to this day. Rose petals steeped in water make a lovely aromatic, sweet tea. The stems and leaves of rose plants are just as edible as the petals and can be used to add a subtle sweet delicate flavor to baked goods, cocktails, chocolates, and desserts. Try this refreshingly spicy rosewater and cardamon coffee. Roses can also be candied, made into a simple syrup, and infused with honey. For a special and exotic treat, try something daring like the traditional Arabic-style milk pudding infused with a touch of rose and orange blossom waters (Rose Mehalabya), adorned with rose syrup topping and garnished with caramelized pistachios. Amazeballs! Truly a beautiful feast for the eyes, tastebuds, and all the senses.
Violet petals can and should be used in just about all the same way rose petals can. Their petals are sweet and their leaves taste like spinach, with twice the vitamin A of spinach and twice the vitamin C of oranges. Wild violets come in over 100 different varieties. Although they all are edible, some are tastier than others. The common blue violet is the most harvested. Violet petals make a delicious vinaigrette, a superb jelly.
Native to the Mediterranean and parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe, lavender thrives in more temperate climates. A little-known fact is that lavender is actually part of the mint family, Lamiaceae (previously Labiatae). In fact, there are many other plants in the mint familia that would surprise you including; bergamot, holy basil, sage, etc. For the most part, lavender is used to infuse and season oils and syrups, as a refresher to teas, lattes, or lemonades, to flavor ice cream, and to add a frilly floral sweetness to desserts and other baked goods. Lavender is not only yummy as taste-bud therapy but also beneficial as aromatherapy. For dogs, Lavender also serves as a natural flea repellent. DO NOT USE IT ON CATS.
4. Calendula (not Marigolds)
Let’s first differentiate between marigolds and calendula flowers. Calendulas feature long petals and round, wide leaves. While Marigolds (Tagetes spp.) have shorter, compact petals and thinner leaves. Although both plants are part of the daisy family, calendulas look more like daisies. Calendulas add a peppery pop to salads, salsas, scrambled eggs, quiche, and frittatas pasta, bread, and iced teas. Calendula blossoms can also be added to soups, rice, risotto, or creamy cheese dip to add a dash of that sexy gold color and a mild peppery, saffron-ish flavour.
5. Pansies (the happiest flower EVER!)
The pansy is not just another pretty face! Some varieties of pansies have a mildly sweet flavor, and some have a more wintergreen flavor with the intensity growing the more you consume. For example, a whole flower tastes stronger than consuming a few petals at a time. You can eat the pansy flowers in salads and sandwiches, or as garnishes on top of petits fours, cupcakes, frosted cakes, or parfaits. Dress up your cocktails with cute little ice cubes frozen with pansies and blueberries inside or make an elegant ice mold with an entire bouquet frozen inside that will delight your guests! Try these adorable mini lemon-pansy tartlets.
These golden lovelies make an appearance in nearly every ancient culture. Records show that its cultivation goes back some 600 years, playing an important role in French and English culture. These bright orange and yellow flowers have a slightly spicy, peppery flavor similar to watercress. They pair well with salty or pickled snacks and salads. Their seeds can also be soaked in vinegar and used as a caper substitute. Nasturtium is also a natural antibacterial agent. For this reason, some use it to sanitize wounds and help treat respiratory issues, such as bronchitis and congestion, in addition to urinary tract infections while.
7. Hibiscus (Jamaica)
ALOHA hibiscus! The savory flowers of tart tropical hibiscus flowers are most often used to make a dark pink tea, frozen treats, cocktails, chutney, cider and anything that you want to add an earthy-cranberry-like-taste to, made even more delicious when you add a fresh lime. Pairs well with lavender, mint, rosemary and thyme. These hibiscus glazed chicken wings will give you a spicy little kick.
These super-food “weeds” have roots and leaves and the flowers are not only happy and pretty but also tasty and nutritious. Every part of the dandelion plant is edible and packed with nutrients such as vitamins A, C and K, folate, calcium, and potassium. In addition, they contain several different types of antioxidants throughout the roots, leaves and flowers.
The Celts drank dandelion flower wine as a digestive aid. The flowers are colorful toppers to salads, especially dandelion green salads. They can also be fried, made into fritters or used in desserts. Dandelion greens are the red and green leaves that grow from the hollow stem of a dandelion plant. The leaves have an earthy, pleasantly bitter flavor that is easily mellowed after they’ve been cooked, and you cook them as you would cook kale, chard, mustard greens, or spinach.
The flowers are especially treasured for their mild analgesic (pain-relieving) properties, making them an excellent addition to products designed for sore muscles or other external aches and pains.
While not as commonly used in food as roses and lavender, use geranium as a flavor additive in ice creams, lemonades, and pastries, if you want to achieve a light citrusy flavor. The tanginess and fragrant aroma of the geranium leaves make them distinct from the sweeter flavors of other flowers and the savory flavors of some herbs. There are many varieties of scented geraniums and the leaves and flowers have a taste reminiscent of each variety; for example, the lemon geraniums have a citrusy flavor, rose geraniums taste perfumey like a tea rose, nutmeg geraniums, and ginger geraniums taste like those spices.
IMPORTANT NOTE! An important thing to note is that while humans can consume edible geraniums, this type of plant is toxic to dogs, cats, and horses.
10. Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris is the only variety the FDA approves for human consumption)
If you’ve ever enjoyed the intoxicating scent of lilac, you can imagine how sweet they taste. A perfect sweet treat to add to summery drinks, frozen yogurt, or hot tea. SHOCKER ALERT! Lilacs are part of the olive family. Yes, I did say olive family. These shrubs belong to the Oleaceae family, which includes over 20 different plant species, including olives, ash, and jasmine.
These angelic, fluffy pink, purple-blue blooms can be harvested, and each flower individually hand-plucked off its stem and soaked in a bath of cream to let the flowers infuse to make the most creamy dreamy ethereal out-of-this-world gelato or ice cream. The simplest way to capture lilac essence (since it has no oil in it naturally) is to make lilac-infused sugar syrup. Once you have enough syrup you can then use it to make decadent retro cocktails, frosting, beautiful and delicious candied flowers for decoration or garnish, cupcakes, and beautiful fancy petits fours.
Not all flowers are edible, and some are pretty toxic (like daffodils) so be sure to identify and research before you taste! You should only eat flowers that are grown organically, without chemical pesticides, which rules out almost everything from florists to garden centers and nurseries.
CAST IRON COUTURE
Cast iron cookware has been a staple in European and American homes for 500 years. Appearing au courant on the cooking scene in China during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. to 220 A.D.), and first used for salt evaporation, cast iron cooking pots soon became fashionable hot couture for their durability and ability to retain heat evenly, which improved the quality, flavor, and presentation of meals cooked in them.
Cast iron is affordable, virtually indestructible, naturally nonstick, and has amazing heat retention for cooking and baking. Not to mention, it is available in a wide range of sizes and styles, including fry pans, woks, grill pans, pots, skillets, waffle irons, and Dutch ovens. Lastly, professional restauranteurs and home cooks are switching to cast iron as a healthy alternative to aluminum and traditional nonstick pans.
Teflon-coated aluminum pans (Yuck!) became the new craze in the 1950s. They were lighter weight, heated up and cooled down faster, and best of all, they had some slick mystery coating on them that kept food from sticking and made cleanup faster and easier.
Unfortunately, like many modern conveniences invented, these non-stick pans (aka Teflon) belong to a highly toxic class of “forever chemicals” called perfluoroalkyl chemicals, or PFAs, that slowly leak into our water, especially at high temperatures. In fact, researchers found that at least 610 drinking water sources over 43 states contain potentially unsafe PFAS levels, and estimate that more than 19 million people are exposed to these man-made chemicals. Yes, this magical stuff that makes your Frittata slide off the pan, contains chemicals that can cause birth defects, reduce testosterone, and even contribute to infertility. But, that’s another article for another time!
Cast iron poses none of these health risks, and can be heated to extremely high temperatures, on any surface, without any negative effects.
How is Cast Iron Cookware Made?
Englishman Abraham Darby is credited with revolutionizing cast iron cookware; in 1707, he patented a method for casting iron into relatively thin pots and kettles, a process that made them cheaper to produce. Cast iron cookware is made by melting blocks of iron and steel together in a factory. Then chemicals are added to the mixture in order to raise its carbon levels. Next, the molten metal is poured into a mold made of sand, water, and powdered clay. When the cast iron pot or pan is cool, the sand mold is broken and the cookware is released. Workers then smooth each piece before it’s ready to be sold.
Why Should You Switch Cast Iron?
- It’s Non-toxic. Iron is actually a necessary nutrient in our diets. Cooking in a seasoned cast iron skillet can add only trace amounts of iron to your food and therefore into your body. In addition to eating more iron-rich foods like meats, beans, and spinach, cooking in a cast iron pot is an easy way to boost your iron intake. Iron is an essential nutrient for all the cells in our body.
2. It’s PRETTY! Face it, nothing beats cooking with and serving in a cast iron skillet or platter! Whether you are baking spicy Gingerbread, frying up a sizzling Filet Mignon with mushrooms and onions, or making a skillet pizza for your Bestie, cast iron serves up a romantic, rustic charm to the presentation. Hungry yet?
3. It’s Ancient. There’s nothing like the test of time to see if a product is not only efficiently useful, but safe as well. Cast iron has lasted hundreds of years and is even a special part of family tradition and culture being passed down from generation to generation, with its seasoning only getting better over time. Just imagine all of the family secrets and wisdom these forged friends hold! I myself have many fragrant memories and sweet nostalgia for generations of heirloom dessert recipes wafting down through my family.
4. Non-stick and easy to clean. As long as you season your pan well with cooking oil and get it piping hot before use, food should not stick to it like other coated stainless steel pans. Cleaning is super easy. After you’ve used your skillet, use a brillo pad and a pinch of sea salt to scrub it with warm water. TIP! Never let it soak in water, as this can cause rusting AND you should always dry your pan by heating it up on the stove before putting it away.
5. Handles high heat. Among the benefits of cast iron, particularly when used in cooking, are its awesome thermal properties. The thermal properties of cast iron allow it to evenly distribute and retain heat over a long period of time, making it a popular option for frying pans and stock pots. Its high melting point makes it useful for more extreme industrial conditions. You can put a cast iron skillet on the burner, in the oven and broiler, and even right over an open fire. It can be used on any cooking surface, even the grill or firepit. You can also use any utensils you like on it, even metal, as there is no chemical coating to chip or damage.
6. Bakes and cooks evenly. Many chefs prefer cast iron because of its superior heat distribution.
7. Browns food beautifully. Because it gets so hot, cast iron puts a nice crispy crust on your burgers, bacon, and fried chicken, and toasts those marshmallows on your holiday sweet potato casserole nicely!
8. Usable as a grill. Like I mentioned previously above, if you’re going camping in the wilderness or trying a little primitive living in your backyard, you can stick your iron skillet right over the fire in your firepit and get that yummy tangy char-broiled smokey flavor. Nothing says LOVE like a warm cast iron skillet, buttered, layered with chocolate chips and mini marshmallows, drizzled over graham crackers, and served with a glass of cold Moo Juice under a full moon, wrapped in a blanket of stars. Skillet S’mores Dip, baby!
9. They’re cheap. Compared to all the new-fangled varieties of PFA-free, non-stick pots, and pans, you can actually buy more durable cast iron for less moolah. Prices range from $30.00 to $250.00 and I highly recommend getting a pre-seasoned product. Top tested, tried, and true brands include Lodge, LeCreuset, Cuisinart (best grill skillet), and Tramontina.
10. They last forever. You won’t have to worry about scratching, chipping, or handles breaking… cast iron is as Mr. Muscles, heavy-duty, hardcore as it gets. Plan on putting your cast iron culinary kid in your will! Cast iron pans, skillets, and dutch ovens are passed down from generation to generation with pride. The more love you give them and the more you cook and season them, the more the seasoning layer builds up, and the better they perform.
Because…Who Doesn’t Love a Good Skillet Pun!
My favorite restaurant started serving a superhero-themed skillet breakfast.
Turns out it was just The Flash in a pan
I was watching a new cooking show where you only get to pick one pan to use the whole time…
It’s called, “Do You Have The Skillet Takes?!”
The moral of the story is that cast iron ROCKS and isn’t just a group of pots and pans to cook with…it is a lifestyle. Your family will love you (and your cast iron skillet) literally, FOREVER. You’re Welcome.
The message here is: stop before you chop! If you live in an area that experiences storms with winds that may fell trees, take a moment to check for wildlife within by checking knot-holes, hollows, and cavities in downed trees for wildlife, before cutting them up. These owlets were lucky! https://www.thedodo.com/daily-dodo/rescuers-x-ray-suspicious-log-and-find-orphaned-babies-inside
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Magical Eggshell Tea Therapy For Your Plants
Don’t even think about throwing away your eggshells! Sometimes, you just need to let Humpty-Dumpty crumble and fertilize your garden! Eggshells are chock full of trace elements of calcium and potassium. Specifically, the shell of the egg has 0.3% phosphorus, magnesium, and traces of sodium, potassium, zinc, manganese, iron, and copper. They do not provide all the nutrients your plant needs; however, they are an EGGcellent supplement to your regular fertilizing regime.
Crushed Eggshells For Plants Is Hard To Beat!
Why Use Eggshell Water?
As a much better organic alternative to traditional fertilizers, you could make your own eggshell water (tea) and mix it right into the soil. This organic approach is quick and will deliver rich benefits for both plants and animals living in the microbiome as well.
- Environmentally friendly source of mineral fertilizer for plants
- Allows you to compost material from the kitchen.
- Saves you the cost of fertilizer and prevents chemical burns attributed to using inorganic fertilizer .
How Does It Work?
The Jeff Gillman Experiment
Dr. Jeff Gillman, a researcher and horticulture professor at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC, and of The Truth About Garden Remedies uprooted the truth on a few of the many garden myth remedies. He boiled an eggshell in a few cups of distilled water just for kicks to see what would happen. After boiling, the shell remained in the water for twenty-four hours. Afterward, he sent the eggshell water to be tested in a lab. The scientific results were crazy! Three elements that increased in low concentrations were sodium, phosphorous, and magnesium. Two other elements also increased with higher readings: Four mg of calcium and potassium content! You may be saying to yourself right now, “Big woop! Four mg is a very small quantity“, but consider that fact that this amount comes out of just one eggshell. Boiling ten eggs will increase your plant’s concentration in all five of these elements!
One of the most efficient ways to get these trace elements into your soil is with eggshells. There are two methods to extract their EGGcentric goodness: whole, which you can put directly on top of the soil (if you don’t share your garden with Bears and Raccoons because they love eggs!); or finely crushed in a tea for a more compostable effect. Basically, boiling eggshells in hot water is a great way to steep out the potassium, calcium, and nutrients from the shell in a soluble form directly into the water. This eggshell tea can work as a nice calcium-potassium shot for your plants, and these minerals can also help raise the soil pH slightly. This soil pH is essential for plants that grow in alkaline conditions since their ability to absorb calcium does not depend on how high (or low) its pH level may be.
Calcium is the most important mineral in a plant’s root development. It strengthens stems and leaves while providing structural support cell walls, it acts as immunity towards disease, it wards off dehydration, and it optimizes your precious plant’s growth potential! A plant’s ability to withstand water loss, and environmental elements such as heat, cold, and frost is dependent upon the mineral potassium. There is even evidence that it can help your plants grow faster and with higher yields.
The Eggs-quisite Recipe
So next time you are making a delish Frittata, dry the empty eggshells. The more eggs, the richer your tea will be. Boil a gallon of water. Rainwater would be my water of choice because it contains a more soluble form of calcium (calcium carbonate) and is saturated with carbon dioxide. Calcium carbonate is actually a crystalline form of calcium that Mother Nature has designed so beautifully. This nurturing, Motherly calcium egg layer is delicate yet strong enough to protect the growing embryo inside. Rainwater harvesting is of great importance and global relevance as it directly impacts the climate crisis as our world experiences drier and longer droughts, depletion of groundwater, and freshwater pollution from saltwater flooding.
Here’s a cute little link on harvesting rainwater, https://www.watercache.com/education/rainwater-harvesting-101.
But I digress…
Now back to my little egg story! Next, use a mortar and pestle to crush up the dry eggshells. Put the eggshells in the boiling water. Let the concoction sit for twenty-four hours. Since water makes up approximately 85% of a plant’s weight, both bottom and top watering will help carry essential nutrients and minerals from the soil to the cells, making the plant healthier, stronger, and more resilient. In comparison, bottom watering plants keeps the soil evenly moist so that the entire root structure gets watered; however, top watering encourages the presence of fungus and gnats while the water can be channeled out of the soil, not being able to reach the entire root structure. Combining both methods together will eliminate these problems. Make sure to trowel and mulch the eggshell remnants deep down into the soil for maximum efficacy.
Speaking of mulching, here are three other kitchen hacks to help condition your soil:
- Banana peel Water– Promotes a healthy bacteria population within the soil and adds the macronutrient, potassium which strengthens the plant.
- Rice water– (no salt or spices added to water) Used as an Insecticide and promotes a healthy bacteria population in the soil.
- Pasta and/or Potato Water– (no salt or spices added to water) Used as an Insecticide, provides starch, promotes a healthy plant growth
Happy Gardening and have an eggs-tra special day!
What’s an egg’s favorite type of coffee?
Ode to Amore
ODE TO AMORE
LOVE. The L Word. We obsess about it. Sing about it. Scribe about it. Fantasize about. Ache for it. Go to war over it. Dream about it. Loose sleep worrying about it. When we don’t realize that we have it, we idly search for it. When we finally discover it, we don’t know what to do with it. When we have it, we constantly fear losing it. It is a constant source of pleasure and pain. An endless ebb and flow of intense, cleansing emotions.
It is a short word.
It is a passionate word.
It is an orgasmic word.
It is a compassionate word.
It is a heartbreaking word.
It is a healing word.
It is a peaceful word.
It is a powerful word.
Easy to spell, yet a little bit of a “drama-queen” of a word!
All I know is that the spaces between our fingers were created so that another could fill them in.
So, the word LOVE may be difficult to define, BUT it is IMPOSSIBLE to live without.
"WHEN THE POWER OF LOVE OVERCOMES THE LOVE OF POWER-THE WORLD WILL KNOW PEACE" - Jimi Hendrix
Attraversiamo. Let’s Cross Over!
If you have been feeling a little ‘blue’ over the past few weeks, it’s no wonder as the height of darkness will soon be upon us come December 21st. Yes! Winter IS COMING!
The Winter Solstice (‘solstice’ is Latin for “sun standing still”) and it magically happens at the same time for every creature on Earth. It represents the exact moment when the Northern Hemisphere is tilted at its furthest point away from the sun. It is a time for “rebirth” and is spiritually significant.
This marks a very special day for all ancient traditions and one where we should take a moment, hit the pause button, and catch our breath. Deep cleansing breaths as we all, collectively, shed our 2022 spiritual skin and embrace the winged transformation into 2023. A transformation that is sure to bring profound healing, abundance, and endless possibilities. The Winter Solstice acknowledges a passage of time through seasons and also a profound passage of time through ourselves. It is a moment of contrast – the shortest day, the longest evening – that can serve as a vessel for deeper examination and understanding of our own inner contrasts and journeys. Contrasts such as dark and light, shadow and sunlight.
The Winter Solstice, sometimes celebrated as ‘Yule’ in Pagan and Wiccan traditions, marks the first day of Winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Even though it’s one of the oldest holiday celebrations, the communal rituals around it have remained the same: Spend time with your family, observe and honor the seasonal changes in Nature, and reflect upon what life events have taken place in 2022. Imagine the Winter Solstice as an opportunity to rejuvenate, pray, reset, meditate, hibernate, set personal goals, practice forgiveness, and breathe in a ‘New Year-New You’ frame of mind.
Ancient civilizations in the UK and abroad have marked the solstices as culturally significant events throughout history. For example, these ancient traditions are routinely resurrected and celebrated at Stonehenge during the solstice, when visitors from all over the world trek to the monument to mark the shortest day. Despite being built thousands of years ago, Stonehenge was designed to align with the point of the sunset on the Winter Solstice.
We should take a cue from Mother Nature and the natural world, and respect that darkness, night, and shadow play a critical role in the biological rhythm of our planet and our ecology. Many plants and animals, ecosystems, and organisms depend upon the nighttime for rest, growth, and reproduction. Unfortunately, many of us Humans have lost the connection to this primal and symbiotic relationship with the darkness and the shadow. We have fallen out of balance more often than not because we forget that without one, the other could not exist. We try to “lighten things up”, deny the darkness, or eliminate the shadow. At times we find ways to bypass or distract ourselves from it, and this denial most likely accounts for a lot of the problems such as inhumanity and DIS-ease that we see in the world. We have lost connection to “the whole” and denied “the sacred balance”.
Personally, I want to spend more time outside at night with a blanket of stars and the moon above me. No traffic lights. No car headlamps. No city lights. My desire to connect with shadow is not only psychological, but spiritual as well. I want to deepen and lean into the areas of my life that are perhaps “uncomfortable” because they are a part of me. My shadows make me appreciate my light. Through the respect and understanding of this darkness, my beauty and gifts are transformative and illuminating.
ATTRAVERSIAMO WITH ME! (*)
Give your-SELF time to process the past year and all that we have been through. Pandemic. Isolation. Tears. Smiles. Hardships. Success. Love. Heartbreak. Birth. Death. Pain. Passion. Hasn’t it been an adventure! Each path on this journey we call LIFE (bad or good) has landed us exactly where we are supposed to BE. Right here. Right now.
Celebrate the Winter Solstice and internal illumination with me as we prepare for a remarkable 2023!
(*) Italian. verb. ‘To cross over’
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