We have come a full circle around the sun yet again, and find ourselves stepping over the threshold of a new year. As we emerge from the jubilant and chaotic energy of the holidays, and find ourselves in the deep quiet that follows the countdown to midnight, we enter a time of reflection. Often during this time, we may observe ourselves assessing our current status. With another year passing, who have we become, how might we have changed? How might we have stayed the same? . We invite you, as we bid farewell to 2022 and welcome in the new beginning that comes with the start of 2023, to step outside of the pressures of productivity for a moment. While it is of course positive to consider new goals or identify how you might continue working on ones you have previously set, what if instead we reflect on how we can be more deeply inspired or find a renewed sense of creativity in this new turning? As Asia Suler of One Willow Apothecaries and author of Mirrors in the Earth reminds us in her video titled The Forgotten Celtic Omen Days, “the days that follow the Winter Solstice are for many cultures around the world, the most holy days.” Suler describes this period of time as days in which deep magic is possible and that the spirits around us, including those within nature, provide guidance, signs, and symbolism to support our journey in the new year. They are a period of transition and transformation.
Photo by Hernan Sanchez on Unsplash[/caption] As we enter January, perhaps reflect on the period of days following the winter solstice and consider if you had received messages from nature, and particularly, what might serve as sources of inspiration for you in 2023. And, to give you a little boost, we thought we would gather together in this space to explore some areas of inspiration that happened in 2022, before we dream together with the herbs in the remainder of this blog post!
Inspirational Stories from Around the World in 2022
- A Healthy Environment is Declared a Human Right In July of this year, the United Nations General Assembly identified the negative impacts of climate change and the associated environmental degradation as one of the most urgent and critical threats to the future of humanity. Therefore, it was declared that “everyone on the planet has a right to a healthy environment.” While this declaration is not necessarily legally binding for member states, it is a huge step in the right direction, encouraging member states to take further action to protect people and our environment.
- Acres of Redwood Forest Returned to Native American Tribes Another event to celebrate from July of 2022, 523 acres of redwood forest was returned to a group of 10 Native tribes as a result of the work of the Save the Redwoods League. The league stated that, “‘as an act of cultural empowerment and a celebration of Indigenous resilience,’ the forest will be named "Tc'ih-Léh-Dûñ" — which means "fish run place" in the Sinkyone language. This is a story of how truly incredible things can happen when we join together on collective and community-led action!
- Bakery Opens in St. Louis Helps People After Prison At the Laughing Bear Bakery, which is located in St. Louis, to be hired, you have to have a criminal record. The bakery is owned by Kalen McAllister, who recently retired after working as a chaplain in the Farmington Correctional Center. While she offered counseling support inside of the facility, she recognized the need for support outside as well. She stated that, “people would visit her office with a familiar refrain: ‘I don’t even want to get out because I won’t be able to get a job.’” Through her bakery, she is providing a solution to this and helping people who served time get a fresh start.
- People Working Together to Bring Beloved Cat Home to 10-Year-Old Ukrainian Refugee Early in 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. A young 10-year-old girl, Agnessa Bezhenar, fled Ukraine with her family to Romania, but left in such a hurry they could not bring her cat named Arsenii. Eventually ending up in San Diego, Agnessa was missing her cat dearly. In an interview with KRON 4, Agnessa’s mom spoke about this. Thanks to people who worked together in five different countries to rescue the cat, including the US, Moldova, Romania, Greece, and Germany, the cat was returned to Agnessa, where the “pair again now snuggle up together for bed every night.”
Herbalism to Invoke Inspiration and Creativity
The act of being inspired by an idea is described by Elizabeth Gilbert as “Big Magic,” in her book aptly titled so. It is as though the act of being inspired is sort of a divine dance that happens between us and the Universe. We receive, or download inspiration, almost in the same way that we might receive gifts from manifestation - we put our intention out into the world, with the hope that what is for our best and highest purpose might return back to us. In Big Magic, Gilbert describes a sort of agreement happening when we receive inspiration - an idea is presented to us, and it is up to us whether or not we feel this idea is a great fit, whether it is a novel, a painting, or something asking to be invented. If we decide it is not for us, the idea continues on, finding someone else along the way that it may be better suited for. We can call upon the herbs to help us by supporting us to be in a higher state of receiving, and to support our mental clarity and focus, so that we may be better able to co-create when we receive inspiration that deeply resonates with us.
Herbs for Chakra Imbalances
If we are experiencing energetic blockages within our spiritual body, this can make it difficult to feel inspired or to seek inspiration. Three blockages that may be especially impactful are those associated with the heart chakra, the throat chakra, and most importantly, the third eye chakra. If we are experiencing imbalances in our heart chakra, we may find ourselves feeling such emotions as self-doubt or lack of self-love and compassion. This may result in us not feeling worthy of the inspiration that comes to us. Heart-opening herbs that can be supportive include Hawthorn, Holy Basil (also known as Tulsi), or Rose. These herbs work deeply in the heart space, helping it to open and expand, and also aid in feelings of grief or negative self-expression. If we are experiencing imbalances in our throat chakra, we may find difficulty in being able to express ourselves adequately. We may also not ask for what we need to see our idea come to fruition, or may not be able to speak it into being. We may struggle to describe what it is we hope to create and therefore may even feel that we have lost the vision. Herbs that can be supportive to the throat chakra include those that are often soothing for the throat in a physical sense, including Sage, Spearmint, or Thyme. These aromatic herbs often calm the irritations we may feel, and also help to regulate our nervous system so that we may quell anxieties associated with speaking our truth. And last, but most important is the third eye chakra. Energetically speaking, this chakra, when in balance, is not only the portal through which we receive and download not only our deepest inspirations but also where we can connect most intimately with the energy of the Divine. Ensuring that this chakra remains in balance and open will support us in strengthening our communication with the Universe, and be more “ready” to co-create when presented with an idea uniquely suited for us. Herbs that are supportive for the third eye include those that also are supportive for mental clarity and focus and bringing us into a state of meditation. These include Bacopa, Gotu Kola, Lemon Balm, and Rosemary. Additionally, herbs that are often burned as Sacred Smoke are also supportive of the third eye, as they bring us into a sacred space and ritualistic state. If you want to dive deeper into ways in which to support the third eye chakra, including flower essences, gems, aromatherapy, foods, and more, we have a full in-depth blog post on this, which can be found here.
Herbs Associated with NeptuneAnother way to connect with herbs for inspiration and creativity is to work with herbs that energetically resonate with the planet of Neptune. Neptune governs inspiration and also has an affinity for the Pineal Gland, which is the organ whose function is critical for the opening of our Third Eye. Herbs that align with the energy of Neptune include those that are watery and have an affinity for yang energy in nature. This includes herbs that support a state of mysticism or dreaming such as Blue Lotus or Mugwort, herbs that are demulcent and moist such as Marshmallow and Licorice Root, and nervine herbs that are calming to the nervous system including Passionflower and Vervain.
Co-Creating with HerbsA final way we want to offer to work with herbs to support inspiration and creativity is to work with herbs as Muse! In addition to supporting our mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies, the plants have so much to offer, and such a plethora of ways in which to dance with them! An incredibly delightful way to spark inspiration and creativity is to simply be creative in working with the herbs themselves. We invite you as you start this new year, to seek out a way to co-create with the herbs that you have not yet before. This can include creating a salve if you have never done so before, experimenting with aromatherapy, creating a dream pillow and dreaming with the herbs, participating in an herbal meditation, decorating with herbs in a unique way, or even learning how to create botanical dyes with herbs! At Golden Poppy Apothecary, we provide classes and workshops to help support you in your journey (Including a fun class on how to make Herbal Mocktails to kick off the New Year on January 7th!), and don’t forget, we have a beautiful new community space where many of these are offered! Check out our list of upcoming classes and events here! We thank you once again for being here dear readers, and cannot wait to dream into 2023 with you. You are all so beautiful, creative, and capable, and we know that you will all do great things in the months to come! Happy New Year, Golden Poppy Family!
- Andersen, Charlotte Hilton. “The 14 Best Good News Stories from 2022 You Might Have Missed.” MSN. 21 December 2022. Retrieved from: https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/lifestyle-buzz/the-14-best-good-news-stories-from-2022-you-might-have-missed/ar-AAYjuVP
- Anima Mundi Apothecary. “Herbs of Neptune: Third Eye, Kidneys + Psychic Energy.” Anima Mundi Herbals. 26 September 2018. Retrieved from: https://animamundiherbals.com/blogs/blog/herbs-of-neptune-third-eye-kidneys-psychic-energy
- Golden Poppy Herbal Apothecary. “Working with the Third Eye Chakra.” Golden Poppy Herbal Apothecary. 2022. Retrieved from: https://goldenpoppyherbs.com/working-with-the-third-eye-chakra/
- Good Good Good. “The Best Good News Stories from 2022…(So Far). GoodGoodGood. 31 August 2022. Retrieved from: https://www.goodgoodgood.co/articles/good-news-2022
- Greenpeace International. “Good News Stories from around the world in 2022.” Greenpeace. 19 December 2022. Retrieved from: https://www.greenpeace.org/international/story/57612/good-news-stories-from-around-the-world-in-2022/
- Suler, Asia. “The Forgotten Celtic Omen Days.” Youtube. 13 December 2022. Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/HpFB8hqTUo0