Sunday, October 22, 2017

Nourishing our Nervous Systems for the Long Haul: upcoming 2-part workshop

upcoming 2-part workshop:

***Nourishing our Nervous Systems for the Long Haul***
with Dana L Woodruff of Dandelioness Herbals

even busy bees need to rest

Feeling frazzled? Drained? Burnt out? Let’s carve out some time together to replenish and rejuvenate in this 2-part work/playshop. We will explore ways to nourish our nervous systems by drawing on simple self-care practices and medicine-making with common abundant herbs that grow here to support ourselves, our loved ones, and communities. In both sessions we’ll make calming remedies collectively both to bring home and to share with community based organizations.

This is a hands-on class with lots of show (& taste) and tell and learning directly from the plants and each other. We will focus on practical ways that we can integrate relaxing herbs both internally and externally into our everyday lives. While created with caregivers, gardeners, and community organizers in mind, all experience levels and backgrounds are welcome.

This 2-part workshop takes place Friday Oct 27 and Friday Nov 10 5:30-7:30pm in Plainfield, VT.

Space is limited, please reserve your spot soon by emailing

Accessibility: There are 3 steps in front of the building and 4 steps inside, with a rail at both set of stairs. The bathroom is quite small, an accessible bathroom with a ramp is available next door. The event is held in a public space and cannot be assured to be scent-free. Scents: We will be using essential oils (unless someone is not able to be around them, please be in touch if scent is a concern and participants will be contacted and asked to refrain from wearing fragrances). Transportation: Location is in Plainfield along the Route 2 Commuter bus route. Start time accommodates arriving via bus, but misses the last buses both east and west. Carpool encouraged. Ages: To create as relaxing an environment as we can, this workshop is for adults and teens/pre-teens that want to participate. No childcare provided unfortunately. Language: Workshop will be in English, with Spanish clarification throughout if anyone would like. Please be in touch with any accessibility questions or concerns.

The 2-week series is $30-100 sliding scale ($15-50 per class including materials fee, according to what you are able to pay). If you’re interested in participating, but the cost is out of reach, please be in touch.

Facebook event page here.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Support and Collective Healing for US Political Prisoner Herman Bell

Update!:  Herman Bell is now in general population! He was told that the charges will be dropped! Visit Free Herman Bell for more information on how to best support him.

From Herman (written earlier) with many thanks for all of our efforts:

September 27, 2017

My dear brothers and sisters,

Thank you for the outpouring of cards, letters, healing-love and energy that you sent me in response to the unprovoked brutal assault on me by NYS prison guards at Comstock, NY – a vicious slap aside the head from behind and shoved to the ground. I protected myself as best as I could. I sustained multiple kicks, punches to the face and eyes, repeated head slams into concrete, and 2 cracked ribs. They tried to bury me with raining blows, not knowing that I am a seed. But the burning pepper spray sprayed into my eyes and mouth is what did me in – and yet, here I am.

Now I know why visitors bring flowers and candy to the hospital. I was immediately sent, however, not to a hospital but to the Box for “assault on staff,” so the cards and letters and love you sent me were my flowers and candy. You did great!

I was astonished, not by the outpouring of your support, but by the enormity of it.

People are coming together and are standing up. They are finding that they are not entitled to the rights and freedoms they think they have as americans. Instead of the consideration americans – many of them voters – deserve, they are ignored by authoritarian and elected officials.

They lack healthcare, suffer from unrestrained police violence, mass incarceration, lack a living wage, experience poverty and homelessness, and suffer from a toxic environment. People are standing up against these injustices, insisting that their demands be respected and addressed.

The social injustice, jackboot repression, racist attacks, discrimination, wealth disparities, unemployment, lack of affordable housing (the list doesn’t just end there), creates waves of fierce discontent which ls gaining steady momentum, becoming a full-blown cleansing tsunami, the force of which is irresistible.

And that force is you, the People, coming together and taking a stand. My flowers and candy is your outpouring of support for me, our political prisoners, the mass incarcerated and the voiceless.

To write each of you (I’ve literally received hundreds of letters) a personal “thank you” at this time would be impossible. So, I send this “thank you!” instead.

Thank you! I thank you deeply one and all for the empathy, outrage, love and support you’ve expressed in the face of the assault on me. May our resolve to produce social change remain unshakeable.

Herman Bell
​Shawangunk Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 700
Wallkill, New York 12589
(most updated addresses for U.S. Political Prisoners, with birthdays, posted here)

Some of you may know Herman Bell, who is a US Political Prisoner, former Black Panther, movement elder, Victory Gardens Project co-founder, Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar co-creator, father, grandfather, husband, and mentor to many both on the inside and the outside.  How is Herman connected with herbs and herbal justice?  In the 15 years since I was a volunteer at the Victory Gardens Project, near my hometown in Maine, Herman and I have corresponded.  He is a friend and mentor to me.  The Radherb Collective, which I was a part of for many years, took inspiration from the Victory Gardens Project.  Over the years, though our letters and face-to-face visits, Herman has helped shape who I am as an herbalist, how I make remedies, and my understanding of the the way herbs and social justice are completely entwined.  

Herman is 69 years old, has been incarcerated for 43 years and has been denied parole 7 times.  On Sept 5th Herman was assaulted by a group of officers at Great Meadow Correctional Facility.  He was singled out, brought to an area away from all the other inmates to where there is no video surveillance, and guards began beating him.  The account is personally really difficult for me to read, and the thought that he could have died in the attack is beyond upsetting.  He did survive the attack.  He was then taken to the infirmary where he waited for hours and did not receive adequate medical care for the beating he had just endured.  He had the medical staff note that there were no abrasions on his hands or any other indication that he assaulted a guard.  He was transferred to another facility hours away where he has been held in solitary, continues to be denied medical care for the head trauma and other injuries inflicted on him by the guards, and he is also facing the serious charge of assaulting an officer.  He continues to experience headaches, his vision is affected from being maced at close range, and two ribs were broken in the attack.

Anyone who knows Herman knows he did not assault an officer.  Herman is an elder who has not had an infraction for over 20 years (when he participated in a strike over inmate conditions), he was only days away from finally having a family visit (which he'd been denied without justification for over two and half years), and he has been preparing for his next parole hearing in early 2018.

Immediate action is needed

1.  We need to flood the Commissioner with messages of support demanding that Herman receive medical attention, be removed from solitary, have the charges against him dropped, have access to family visits, and that the officers who attacked him be fired.  You can simply cut and past the sample letter here, or add your own personal message.  Here is a pdf of the letter that you can print out, sign/address/date, and send.  If you are able, please print out extra copies for friends and family to also sign and send in.  Also, if you are able, please send this same letter to: Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of New York State, NYS State Capitol Building, Albany, NY 12224.

2.  Please take a few minutes to send an email to the Commissioner and Governor.  (Sample email below)

3.  People are also encouraged to write to Herman to show support.  (Address below)

4.  Please spread the word!!!  If you have other organizations that you are connected with, please share this message with them and encourage friends and family to send letters as well.  This information can be found online here.

Here is a sample email that you can simply cut and paste:


Anthony Annucci
Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
(518) 457-8134

Cc: Governor Andrew Cuomo
(212) 257-6405

Dear Commissioner Annucci (Governor Cuomo):

I am writing in concern and outrage over the unprovoked beating by Great Meadow C.F. correctional officers of Herman Bell, #79C0262.
On September 5th, with no provocation, five or six correctional officers assaulted this widely respected elder. These guards punched and kicked Mr. Bell all over his body while he was on the ground. He was kneed in the chest and stomach, breaking two of his ribs. One guard then grabbed his head and slammed it into the ground three times, at which point Mr. Bell thought his life would be ending. He was excessively maced at close range all over his face and eyes, causing temporarily blindness and inability to breathe.

Mr. Bell is accused of assaulting one of the officers. This charge is absurd. The assault on Herman Bell is part of an epidemic of violence by NYS prison guards against the incarcerated population--an epidemic documented by the New York Times and other journalists, as well as by criminal justice agencies.

The idea that this 69-year-old man would have hit an officer is ludicrous, as he was about to have a family visit (the first in two and a half years) and was beginning preparations for an appearance at the Board of Parole this coming February. Mr. Bell was looking forward to the family visit with great anticipation, and he is optimistic about his chances at the Board, given recent changes in parole regulations and the appointment of new commissioners. There is absolutely no doubt that he did not commit any infraction on September 5th; he also has not had a ticket in the past 20 years. Mr. Bell has been imprisoned in the NY State system for over 38 years and has never been accused of assaulting staff.

This brutal assault by Great Meadow guards constitutes not only staff abuse but also elder abuse. Mr. Bell will be 70 years of age in four months. He was badly injured in the beating. Mr. Bell requires both a CT scan of his head and an ophthalmology examination.
I write to demand that you take these actions:

That Herman Bell be immediately given adequate medical screening and attention at an outside hospital;

That CO J. Saunders and the other officers responsible for the beating be fired;

That the ridiculous charges brought against Herman Bell be dropped immediately and that he be returned at least to general population (he 
had been on the Honor Block at Great Meadow and despite his request was never given a reason for being moved to general population);

That Mr. Bell’s family visits be reinstated;

That Mr. Bell be moved to a facility where his family visiting can take place and be rescheduled at the earliest possible date.


More info about the assault and a longer sample letter (which points out that the attack is a form of elder abuse) to print out and send to the Commissioner available here.


Herman's new address:::

Herman Bell
​Shawangunk Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 700
Wallkill, New York 12589

(most updated addresses for U.S. Political Prisoners, with birthdays, posted here)


For anyone reading this during the weekend of Sept 23-24, feel free to join us in the Collective Healing for Herman Bell from wherever you are.  People are gathering together from across Turtle Island/the US, Lebanon, Ireland, and possibly beyond to send Herman healing energy to heal and strengthen his body and spirit. Emails and letters to the Commissioner and Governor are vital.  Sending Herman our love in this collective way is another that we can manifest our support and solidarity.

For those in Central Vermont, there will be a Letter Writing Event to Support Herman Bell on Sunday Oct 29, 2017 from 2-4pm at the Christ Episcopal Church, 64 State St, Montpelier, VT.  More info to come.

at the park sitting with the oak trees to draw strength to send to herman. 
with protective and healing herbs. yarrow, calendula, & plantain. and healing waters.

For more information and updates:

Denied Family Visits: Bell’s daughter-in-law, kihana miraya ross, reflects on how vital visits are for both Bell and their family

The Scourge of Racial Bias in New York State’s Prisons: A New York Times investigation draws on nearly 60,000 disciplinary cases from state prisons and interviews with inmates to explore the system’s inequities and the ripple effect they can have. 

Video of Herman and his family here

Jericho Movement working for the freedom of all political prisoners

The Freedom Archives 12,000 hours of audio and video recordings and thousands of documents about social justice movements locally, nationally, and internationally from the 1960s to the present. The Archives features speeches of movement leaders and community activists, protests and demonstrations, cultural currents of rebellion and resistance.

Video of Herman and his family here

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Roses petal medicine

ROSES!!!    🌹🌸🌹🌸🌹🌸🌹

Sorry for yelling.  But ROSES!!!!

A friend asked me today what can be done with roses that are in full bloom right now and I thought let's make a collective list!   What are your favorite rose recipes and potions??

*ROSE TIME ~ First of all, I highly encourage sharing time with roses.  Stop to smell the roses, sit with them, listen to them.  Last week I did this on the summer solstice and the deep pink rosa rugosa bush felt *very* different than the white one.  Totally different energy.  You can also draw it, photograph it, noticing who's gathering its pollen and who's growing nearby.  Notice the soft, gentle petals and the strong, fierce thorns and feel free to reflect on opening and protection and how this plant embodies both.  And so can we.

*ROSE BATH SALTS ~ Layer rose petals in a jar with sea salt to make lovely bath salts.  Simply pour in some salt, then scatter a very thin layer of rose petals {fresh or left for a few hours or overnight to wilt and dry a bit}, more salt, and on and on. i like to use plastic or glass lids, as metal ones can corrode from the salt.   Add these salts to your (foot)bath water for a special treat.

*ROSE OIL ~ Wilt or dry the rose petals and infuse them in oil.  You can use this as a soothing massage oil or create a salve or balm with it.  Instructions on making herb-infused oils, balms, and salves here::: (Im)migration and Lip Balms for Social Justice?!

*ROSE ELIXIR ~ Infuse fresh rose petals in brandy or vodka to capture fresh rose petal heart-medicine for all year round.   I like to add local honey or maple syrup to this.  If using honey, I pour it over the rose petals and stir it so that the petals begin to release their moisture and medicine right away into the honey.  This also helps incorporate all the ingredients, so they don't separate out {as much}.  Then I pour brandy in, stir or shake it up, and let it all infuse for an entire mo(o)nth cycle. {proportions-wise, probably add about 1-1.5 cups of honey to a quart jar that's half-full or full  - but not packed tight - with rose petals and then fill it to the top with brandy.  You just want to keep the total alcohol content about 20-25%}  If i'm adding maple syrup, I infuse the rose petals in the brandy or vodka for a month, and then add the maple syrup when I'm pouring it up into individual bottles.  This remedy can be taken by the drop or dropper full when needing some heart-support, such as grieving a loss, opening your heart, mending a broken heart, or exploring personal or ancestral trauma.

*DRYING ROSES ~  Having a jar of dried rose petals is amazing medicine, just looking at it, opening the jar and smelling it.   You can add these dried petals to tea blends, baths, as edible decoration for fancy cakes or to freeze into ice cubes, and for craft projects like adding to collages and dioramas or placing in tiny vials to wear as jewelry {just know that they will fade with time}.   Dried roses can also be added to local honey {with cinnamon or other herbs} to stir into tea or spread onto treats, or added to bath fizzies. instructions for making bath fizzies here: The People's Spa: Reclaiming Relaxation and Cultivating Collective-Care!

*HARVESTING ~  If you're gathering roses to make remedies for internal use, harvest them away from roads, railroad tracks, and other areas that can be sprayed with chemicals.   If there is a special rose bush you want to gather from that is right on the road, you can use those to place on your altar, to add to a footbath, etc. ///   I like to gather roses by gently plucking their petals, leaving the centers to grow and ripen into rosehips come autumn.

*OTHER IDEAS? ~  Please feel free to add your recipes, comments, and questions below...

And if you love ROSES feel free to visit my online Dandelioness Herbals shop and check out the ROSY REMEDIES there such as *Love It Up! breast and chest massage balm, LionHearted, Heart Elixir, Calm the Rage, Crampease, Restorative Moons, I Kant Slep, Replenish, Thorn Essence, Protective Ocean Essence, Heart Centering Blend (aromatherapy roll-on), Global Citizen herbal salve, Relaxation Rose Bath Fizzies (in the Self-Care Kit: for emotional first aid), and Calendula Violet Eye Serum*

Please click here for the Rose petal medicine slideshow or press play in image below:

Thursday, June 08, 2017

*St. John's wort Harvest and Remedy Making* with Dandelioness Herbals + Wake Robin Botanicals

Presenting the first of hopefully many video collaborations between Dana of Dandelioness Herbals and Atalanta of Wake Robin Botanicals!!! For those of us living in places where spring has been slow coming, we thought we'd share this video that we made at the height of summer on a super sunny day. 

In the video we harvest St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) flowers and buds and make blood-red herbal infused oil.  This oil can be used as a massage oil or transformed into a first aid salve, lip balm, sore muscle rub, salve for nerve damage and burns (including sunburn), sunscreen, and more.  Because it has not only physically soothing and healing properties, but also energetically protective ones, I commonly include it in remedies that I send to No More Deaths/No Más Muertes (en Español here) and other humanitarian aid organizations supporting those crossing the desert from Mexico into the U.S. 

For more information about making infused oils, salves, and lip balms are posted here:::
(Im)migration and Lip Balms for Social Justice?!

If you'd like some remedies that capture summer vitality in a bottle, check out DH + WRH remedies with Lemon Balm, St. Johns wort, Rose, and other medicinal herbs. We have tinctures, elixirs, salves, balms, and more...

Lemon Balm Elixir, Fabulousness In A Bottle, Milky Oat Elixir, Protective Ocean Essence, Love It Up! Breast and Chest Massage Balm, and more from Dandelioness Herbals here.

St. Johns Wort oil, Lemon Balm glycerite, Sacred Basil elixir, Luscious Lemon Cream, Rose Elixir, Don't Bug Me Spray, Teatime tea, and A Pause in the Day tea, and more from Wake Robin Botanicals here.

And you can help reunite Atalanta's family by donating and/or sharing here.

Here's the video:::

St. Johns wort lip balms and sore muscle rub
for No More Deaths/No Más Muertes

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Dandelioness Herbals on Moccasin Tracks radio program with Linda Black Elk

In late May I joined Deb Reger as co-host on her radio program Moccasin Tracks on WRUV/University of Vermont to discuss plants, healing, and justice with Linda Black Elk.

Linda Black Elk was coordinator of the Oceti Sakowin Prayer Camps' Medic and Healers Council at Standing Rock. She is an ethno-botanist, healer, herbalist, teacher, mother, Water Protector and so much more. During our conversation she talks about the ongoing Water Protector Camps and support that has been building for the Mni Wiconi Clinic which will be a free wholistic clinic at Standing Rock. She also shares about restoration ecology work being organized for the area of the former camps in N. Dakota.

Later during the program, I speak with Deb about my recent visit to the Arizona/Sonora border, doing humanitarian aid work supporting those crossing the desert with No More Deaths/No Más Muertes, People Helping People, and Kino Border Initiative/Iniciative Kino para la Frontera We also talk about ancestry, herbs for emotional support, mutual aid, rural organizing, and give a shout out to Migrant Justice/Justicia Migrante and their Milk With Dignity campaign.

The theme of the program and our time together was reciprocity and relationship.  May we continue to cultivate relationships with each other and create reciprocity with the plants that nourish us and our movements for justice.

Our conversation with Linda Black Elk here:::

My conversation with Deb Reger here:::

The conversation felt like a tea party, the station felt like an electric garden!  I brought along  Restorative Moons at the station.  This remedy is burnout prevention/repair in a bottle, with rose, milky oats,  a collaboration by Dandelioness Herbals and Wake Robin Botanicals

Friday, December 02, 2016

Fundraiser::: Remedies to the Border! And me with them!

The time has come for me to physically visit the Arizona/Sonora border, where I’ve been sending remedies to a humanitarian aid organization since 2009.  I want to connect directly with the people, projects, plants, and land there in order to make more relevant and healing medicine.  In order to do this, I’m fundraising to cover the expenses of the trip as with a significant portion of the funds going towards supplies to continue making remedies.

The story:::

In 2008 I learned about No More Deaths/ No Más Muertes, a humanitarian aid organization in Arizona providing water, food, and first aid care to those crossing from Mexico into the U.S. through the Sonoran Desert.  I was teaching community herbal medicine-making workshops and after reviewing their needs list I got in touch with them to see if the herbal salves and lip balms we were making would be useful.  They said yes and I sent the first shipment of remedies in 2009.  The project has evolved over the years, now including teas, foot powder, various salves, and elixirs and sprays for emotional support and energetic protection.  I’ve received really positive feedback about how the remedies have supported those crossing the desert during extremely intense, difficult, and traumatic journeys as well as those providing desert aid work and community organizing in the borderlands.  The remedies are made with much care – from planting calendula and other seeds in the spring, tending and harvesting the plants, transforming them into remedies, creating labels in Spanish with images of healing herbs, bottling and labeling them all, and packing and sending them off to Arizona.  Remedies have been made collectively at a college and local high schools, herbal gatherings and community workshops, and with friends - both youth and grownups.  Sometimes we do a mapping activity together where we trace our ancestry, grounding the remedies in a heart-centered place of solidarity.  In 2015 I received a grant from Herbal Aide.  Having the grant money meant I could buy salve containers in bulk, we could purchase proper, more durable labels, and we were able to send a lot more remedies. 

Over the past year it has become clear that the time has come for me to physically visit the border.  I want to become better acquainted with the people, projects, plants, and land there.  Though I appreciate the years of email and phone communication, there are certain conversations that need to happen face to face, specifically around remedies to heal sexual trauma.  Being able to visit the camp and offices, I will be able to see how the remedies are being used, how they may be improved, and what other remedies may be needed.  Over the past year I've connected with the Kino Border Initiative/Iniciative Kino para la Frontera in Nogales, Sonora and would like to connect with them in person.  I also want to be there this January, during Trump’s inauguration, to support those that have been dealing with the emotionally and physically draining work of providing services and organizing for justice in a climate of constant crisis.  I want to support the caregivers and community members who have been forced to live with checkpoints, racial profiling, and a militarized border.

My fundraising goal is to raise $2000, with a significant amount of this money going towards getting more remedies to the border.  I need to buy a plane ticket and cover food and travel costs for my trip, and I want to have money for this coming year to replenish the stock of containers and other supplies.  Any amount is much appreciated.  Feel free to share this link with others who love herbs, im/migrant justice, collective liberation, and healing justice. Thank you so much!

DONATIONS can be made 4 ways:::  
1. My Remedies to the Border!  And me with them! YouCaring fundraising page
2. PayPal to  Please include a note that the money is for “remedies for the border”
3. Check made out to Dana L Woodruff (please email for mailing address)
4. Cash given in person at the Holiday Trunk Sale 12/11 or by arrangement 

Please be in touch if you would like to receive a gift and the mailing address of where to send it (shipping w/in the US is free, the difference for international shipping can be added to the donation).  Gift?!  Yes, see below.   

GIFTS!!!  (see photos):::

Thanks to some super generous and crafty people, there are fabulous gifts as part of this fundraiser: 
-Botanical/uterine art print by Gloria.  Available to anyone who gives a donation of $25 or more
-Hand-stamped silver spoons that say “SWEETIE” by Emily of ReBlooming Arts
Available to the first 8 people who give a donation of $35 or more
-Hand-knit hats (3 cream colored wool hats, 1 striped rainbow wool hat, and 3 mermaid-y colored wool/acrylic blend hats.  In various sizes) by my mother who recently sent 40 hand-knit hats to support the water protectors at Standing Rock!  Available to the first 7 people who give a donation of $50 or more 
-Ocean Protection Essence by me, Dandelioness Herbals.  An elixir made with Rose petals and Rose hips hand-harvested at the ocean, infused in brandy and local honey, with flower essence of Rose, St. Johns wort, Motherwort, Meadowsweet, and Yarrow.  1oz.  Available to the first 20 people who give a donation of $75 or more

Feel free to share this link with others who love herbs, im/migrant justice, collective liberation, and healing justice.  Thank you so much!  I will continue to post updates to the Remedies to the Border! And me with them! fundraising page.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thanksgiving, Day of Mourning, Ferguson, Black Friday, and supporting ourselves through these times

I've been thinking ahead to next week and the events taking place.  This time of harvest, feasts, and grief.  Here in Vermont, US the leaves have turned their fiery autumn colors and fallen.  Now it's the snow's turn to fall.  Halloween, Samhain, and Dia de los Muertos have passed and though we may have taken down our personal and community altars, we may be holding our ancestors and other loved ones who have passed a little closer to us than at other times of the year. 

Like in years past, next Thursday many families will be gathering from near and far to feast together on local/traditional foods.  Many will be observing this day as the National Day of Mourningorganized by the United American Indians of New England, there at the event in Plymouth, MA, and attending the potluck after, or in spirit from wherever we may be.  The next day, only one day after giving thanks for all that we have and/or for mourning the generations of racism and genocide that have poisoned this land,  hordes will push and shove and grab (but hopefully this year not trample to death and added to the lives lost from the mayhem of previous Black Friday) to buy stuff.  Stuff probably made in sweatshops and sold at stores owned by corporations that refuse to pay their workers a living wage, while making gazillions of dollars and not paying a cent in taxes.  Others will be gathering in front of said stores celebrating Buy Nothing Day, in support of said workers and protesting said corporations  and the vicious cycle of capitalism (devaluing workers, buying elections, destroying the environment, etc).

This year, Ferguson and communities all over the US also await the verdict to see if the police will finally be held accountable, or if yet another white officer walks free after murdering a person of color.  Events are planned all over the country.   In Mexico, our compaNer@s continue the search for their loved ones in Guerrero.  Elsewhere, and all over the world, people are organizing for justice too.  

There's so much to celebrate and so much to grieve.  And it's so important to come together in these times to support and feed one another.  Figuratively and literally.

However we pass this coming week, may it at least in part be a time to remember the foundation of the US - genocide, racism, stolen land, slavery, exploited labor - and to recommit ourselves to working for justice, in solidarity across lines of color, gender, nationality, ability, age, class, etc.  And for those of us born into privilege, may we reflect on how these dynamics still play out and how we contribute to them.  (This time of year is one of retrospection about my ancestry, being a descendant of two who came over on the Mayflower and enslaved the indigenous peoples upon arrival, setting up a precedence for violent racism, land theft, and (Northern!) slavery that white people still benefit from today.  Being at the Day of Mourning at the site of their arrival felt like it was part of healing some ancestral wounds.)  May we take the lead from the communities most impacted by injustice, and recommit ourselves to unlearning the racism, white supremacy, and other forms of oppression that seek to divide us.  May we speak up both during mainstream Thanksgiving white-washing of history and in our daily lives in general when indigenous people are ignored, made silent, made fun of, disrespected, depicted in degrading/cartoonish/dehumanizing ways, and invaded - both literally on their land, like at Black Mesa, and also their sacred cultural practices ~ plant medicine traditions, healing practices, and sacred ceremonial objects.

As we wait, feast, grieve, protest, and organize, may we call on the plants and the ancestors to support us in these times.  Here are some ways that we can practice self-care and collective-care, in solitude or in community.  For clarity: these are not shoulds!  These are suggestions intended to be supportive.  These are notes to myself too, for when I forget.

Take time to make tea with nourishing and relaxing herbs like Milky Oat Tops, Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Tulsi (Holy Basil), Skullcap, and a pinch of Rose petals and Lavender flowers.  Many of these herbs not only calm the body, they also help heal the heart, support digestion, and lift our spirits.   You can get boxed tea, but if possible make your own tea blend where you can see the leaves and flowers and roots.  This is part of the medicine.  Add some honey if you need some sweetness.

Prepare an herbal bath or foot bath ~ sometimes a messy herbal/floral bath is just what we're needing, where every part of our beautiful bodies is bathed with bits of flower petals, leaves, and evergreen needles.  Directions here for an herbal bath in a tub or shower.  Also, a foot bath draws stress and zingy energy that can keep us from sleeping well, and sends it away with the bathwater.  Giving myself a mini-foot massage with cream as I begin and end my day always makes me feel both relaxed and grounded.

Eat nourishing foods as a form of medicine what makes your body feel good, both when you're eating and afterwards.  For me it's chicken and rice noodles and sweet potatoes and greens and baked apples.  My body just says yes! when I eat these.  What does your body say yes too?  What has your body been craving lately?  Also, taking bitters supports our livers which work so dang hard, and help us to digest and absorb the nutrients from all that good, nourishing food.

Massage our bodies with oils to ground and relax us  with olive, grapeseed, coconut, sunflower, sesame oils.  See what kind feels good on your skin.  And there's no need to go buy some expensive body oil.  If you have these unrefined oils in your home for cooking, use 'em on your skin!  Remember, our skin is our largest organ and it's best not to put on our skin anything we wouldn't put in our bodies.  You can add a few drops of essential oils, or infuse your oils with herbs if you like, but just plain oil can feel sooo good too!  My favorite is a blend of coconut and sesame (untoasted, and infused with chamomile flowers!) oils.

Burn candles, herbs, and incense or spray floral waters to shift the energy of our physical space

Participate/Don't  If joining up with others for a Day of Mourning or anti-racism/police violence event will feed your spirit, do it!  If you're feeling a bit (or a lot) burnt out and need some rest and relaxation, do it!  We can't be everywhere all the time and events aren't just about having a body count.  If we're going to be drained from attending, maybe our time would be better passed doing some of the nurturing things on this list.  Or hunting or finger painting or whatever you feel like.  It's about being in it for the long haul, not pushing ourselves to physically be at every event.  That said, it can be really encouraging and inspiring to share space with others who are passionate about social justice, and just feel all the range of emotions we're feeling, with collective witness to the pain of injustice.  You make the call and just know that you made a conscious, self-care-y decision. 

Fill out your In Case of (emotional) Emergency Form a self-care/community-care form to fill out when you’re feeling grounded, supported, calm, inspired, etc. To read when you’re not.  You can find it here.

Unplug while I'm a big fan of the people's media and keeping informed, it's also easy to get overstimulated and overwhelmed in a way that depletes, rather than feeds and inspires, us.  Check in with yourself, are you present in your body and choosing what you let into your space or are you going on auto-pilot and getting bombarded with information and images?  Take some time to unplug.  Turn off the phone, computer, radio, whatever gadget is demanding your attention.  And do some of the practices listed above, if they sound good to you.

sweet, vanilla-like Chamomile tea

Dandelioness Herbals also creates remedies to offer physical and emotional support within a culture of self-care and collective-care.  While you can enjoy these remedies at home, they are also convenient for bringing with you to rallies, gatherings, potlucks, when traveling, and wherever else you may go, when you may not be able to make tea, prepare a footbath, and do other self-care practices .  Relaxation in a Bottle,  Calm the Rage, Heart Elixir,  Relaxing Bitters,  Stay Ready,  Mercury's In Retrograde, Again?!, Yarrow Flower Essence for clear and strong boundaries, and others.  I'm happy to make a custom blend that is especially for you, where you're at, and what you're dealing with and focusing on.

May we transform next week and this season into an opportunity for healing and growth and renewed solidarity.

Photos by Dana L Woodruff/Dandelioness Herbals, from the top:  a wee bowl of Chamomile; Chamomile and Lavender harvest; basket of Lemon Balm; Milky Oat harvest;  Evergreen-Rose foot bath for the People's Spa; Make-it-as-we-go-along personalized Relaxation in a Bottle tincture and flower-infused oils for self-massage before bed/bathing from the Community Self-Care: Nourishing our Nervous Systems for the Long Haul workshop series; bee coming in for a Tulsi/Holy Basil landing; gathering Rose pollen; Yarrow for strong boundaries; and Chamomile tea.