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This post is sponsored by my fiends at Mountain Rose Herbs

Dreams are half of our lives. Our most personal and private lives. Tucked away between the twilight hours of dusk and dawn, the possibilities of dreams are limitless and never confined to the self imposed restrictions of waking life. I sometimes feel like if I didn't have any biological needs to be awake, I would stay in dreams indefinitely. For as long as I can remember, my dreams have been remarkably vivid, adventurous, and deeply emotional. My first dream journal entry is dated October 12, 1995. I was nine years old, and that night I went on a mysterious swamp venture through dark and murky channels, heavy hanging Spanish moss all around. Everything was green and gray, and there were castle ruins sunk to the bottoms of the swamp with a maze of broken walls jutting out of the bottomless black water. I was looking for a friend that was lost in the swamp without a raft, likely holed up in the bigger castle ruins that seemed so far away I'd never make it. I kept making wrong turns, hitting dead ends and would erupt in these surges of anger and frustration that I couldn't do anything right...I'd never make it no matter how hard I tried. My little raft was falling apart in little pieces every time I got angry. I remember having the feeling that if I didn't keep it together, I'd get lost in that swamp forever too, and no one would come looking for me. When I woke up from that dream riddled with failure, I wrote it all down. I read over it now and it's all just as vivid as the night it first happened. At the end of the entry, I noted that all I wanted to do now was continue going back to keep trying. I couldn't just leave my friend in that dark, abysmal subconscious swamp. And who was that friend anyway? I fell asleep every night for months afterwards trying to have the same dream, but it didn't happen again until February of the following year. 

In between, I wrote down all of the my dreams. I dreamt of carnivals, a cancelled Christmas, endless seas of white sand dunes I had to keep climbing, having to take a math test for a class I'd never been to, sailing in a green sea with Prince Caspian, being killed in a huge battle, flying kites at the beach, planting a tree on my own planet (shortly after I read The Little Prince, I imagine), and making a river out of crunchy fallen leaves. There were dozens of others, and I have them all written down. Hundreds of hours of my childhood are all document and I would never remember it otherwise. My dream life then (and now) was way more adventurous than my waking life ever seemed, and it was all mine. I never had to tell anyone what I was up to. Every now and then, I'd have the most amazing lucid dream. In the middle of some weird part of my adventure, I'd realize I was dreaming and immediately try to fly and it worked every time. I hoped I could do that if I ever got back to the swamp.

My cousin taught me a trick during that span of time to recognize when I was dreaming. Everyday, at least 10 times a day, I should stop what I was doing, look at my hands and ask myself, "Am I dreaming? How did I get here". I'd get into the habit so much  in waking life that I would eventually do it while I was dreaming, and soon enough I could do that every night in my dreams. I repeated this hand practice all the time at school, as practice of course, but also to remind myself that life wasn't always this boring. Around January, I would go to sleep at night knowing I'd figure out I was dreaming and be able to do anything I like. Finally, one night in February, I ended up back in the swamp on the same raft in the same murky maze looking for the same person. I was in the dream a long time before I remembered the trick. I had lost my temper so many times before then that I barely had a raft left to float on. Once I realized I was dreaming, I just took off flying towards that larger castle ruins (made good time, too) and abandoned my emotionally frail raft. I made it to the ruins and started looking around, through all of the corridors and empty abandoned rooms...the place was silent except for the sound of bullfrogs that echoed everywhere like a song. I looked and looked. There was nothing. Empty. The feeling of having something or someone to find completely left, and I was overwhelmed with disappointment. All that for nothing. Just wake up. You failure

.... 

....... but I did make progress. 

My cedar chest is full of old dream journals. I've kept them since that first swamp trip. They're packed with every spectrum of emotion, all of the highs and lows. Failure. Anger. Lust. Love. Fear. Elation. Longing. Hope. Hopelessness. Despair. Excitement. Dread. They are all just as real as waking life. I've just paid attention to thousands more hours of them. They're my stories. My whole life. Now that I'm older, though, that hand trick doesn't always work for me anymore. I'll just forget, or be so consumed by a dream I won't even consider it an option. But I still want those lucid dreams sometimes...and I eventually (and accidentally) found a new trick with a lucid dreaming herb - Mugwort.  

For the past few years as I've gotten to intimately know herbs, I've been crafting a dreaming tea blend that I drink before bed to encourage lucid dreams (although it doesn't always do the trick). It's a combination of mugwort, chamomile, passionflower, spearmintoatstraw and orange peel. The chamomile and passionflower help to relax my mind, calm my body and slow me down from the fast pace of a busy day. The oatstraw replenishes my body with it's building nervine quality and gentle nutrients. The orange peel is a hint of zingy aromatic flavor and the spearmint just smells like a dream. And the star of this celestial blend is the mugwort itself. Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) has a mystical history as one of the most magical herbs - used for protection mostly, and named for the Greek goddess Artemisia, the goddess of the hunt and the forest and the hills. I've found that mugwort sometimes helps me to slip into lucid dreaming more easily...perhaps because as an adult, I'm more far removed from my ethereal imagination than I was was a child. This autumnal dreaming blend is one of my favorites to create. I blend up a large batch and use it up for several weeks. The addition of the celestial tea strainer is particularly fitting. 

When I imbibe in this dreaming tea, it usually always takes me to the forest with a swift stream and large, towering trees. It's become one of my favorite dreamscapes to visit. It's calm and beautiful and always autumn. I like it most because when I'm here, the only emotions I feel are happy and safe and calm. There are no tasks or expectations or fear or uncertainty. It's just my magical place. With mugwort, each person has their own experience, and I'm always curious where this dream blend will take you, too. 

Autumnal Lucid Dreaming Tea

2 tsp mugwort
1/2 tsp chamomile
1/2 tsp passionflower
1/2 tsp orange peel
1/2 tsp spearmint
1/2 tsp oatstraw
Serves 1

Add dried herbs into a tea strainer in your favorite mug and cover with 2.5 cups hot water. Let steep for 10 minutes, covered. Strain and sip consciously 1 hour before bedtime in a quiet and calm space, letting the aroma fill your senses and ease your mind. 

 

This post is sponsored by my friends at Mountain Rose Herbs. All thoughts and opinions are my own. It is my goal to use and recommend only the highest quality herbal products from companies that I wholly trust and fully support. Industry standards including sustainable harvestingquality controlorganic / fair trade standards and responsible sourcing are all things I care deeply about when working with herbs and herbal companies. I have been using Mountain Rose Herbal products for almost a decade, and have always been so impressed with their commitment to environmental stewardship. Thank you for supporting the brands that help to make this blog possible. 

Photography by moon sister Renee Byrd

This post is sponsored by my friends at Numi Organic Tea

Early mornings, that's when the quiet is the most appreciated and, to me, the most intentional. Everything wakes in their own time and has their own rhythm and pleasantries in the morning hours. In October, the morning light seems to come through the east facing windows later and later, and morning time feels like it extends far later into the day (so deceptively luxurious!). At the beginning of each month, I try to allow some quiet space in the earliest parts of the day to set a vision for how I want each month to manifest. It's my visual of setting some personal goals, boundaries and deadlines that I can realistically stick to and sets my mind at so much ease...

 

October is a time of great transition, both seasonally and energetically. I always feel a strong inward draw when October comes around, with that subtle chill in the air and darker mornings and shorter days and that kind of witchy vibe that accompanies the first full month of autumn. When I make my vision lists for this month while sipping on a warming blend the Numi Vision Teasan blend, clarity and creativity come from the first true flavors of warming gingery spices that truly reflect the seasonal change. Ginger, rosemary, nutmeg and cinnamon are very welcome seasonal companions for this month, and they warm me right through to my core with a stimulating peripheral vigor. The added hints of cooling spearmint, hibiscus and lemon verbena add an etherial sweetness that get my creative juices flowing as I sip on this hour after hour as the sun is rising. My pen barely leaves the page while I feverishly transfer thoughts onto paper...visions into reality. This is truly a perfect morning blend to imbibe for just a subtle hint of caffeine with added guayusa for mental stimulation and to get into that early morning creative flow. 

I blend up a full pot (for long, slow mornings) or a single mug of Numi Vision Tea while I work on my monthly vision journal or morning meditations and sip thoughtfully as the reality of my morning turns into mentally attainable daydreams. With the first chill of autumn, endless cups of warm, woodsy, stimulating tea basically become part of my wardrobe. Finding a blend that is so perfectly attuned to my morning ritual is an incredible gift, and sometimes when I sip on another herbalists' or another company's herbal tea, I feel completely tended to and taken care of. Like they made it just for me. Herbs are like that. Like little long lost best friends...turning up at just the most serendipitous moments. 

With such a gift given to me, one of my visions this month is to pay it forward. I'll be stocking a supply of Holistic Numi Teasans in my office to share with my co-workers and fellow practitioners, and making sure that I take at least 10 minutes every morning for a grounding and centering practice to put me in the best mental, physical, emotional and spiritual place to tend to my clients. It makes such a huge difference to a whole day - or even just a single conversation! - to share a space wth someone while being calm, compassionate and attentive. It feels good to receive that, and it feels good to offer that. 

 


VISION PRACTICE (10 minutes daily)
Find a quiet space and time to sit in ease. Relax your body, gently close your eyes and slow your breathing, paying attention to the rise and fall of your belly as you inhale and exhale. Bring forth an intention of creativity – a project, idea or vision you want to initiate. Like a daydream, allow whatever feelings, thoughts or sensations come to flow across your mind’s eye. Non-judgmentally and without attachment, allow your mind to travel. Enjoy the ride. Once complete (or even if still in fragments), write it all down and work towards manifesting your story. 




This post is sponsored by my friends at Numi Organic Tea. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  It is my goal to use and recommend only the highest quality herbal products from companies that I wholly trust and fully support. Industry standards including sustainable harvesting, quality control, organic/fair trade standards and responsible sourcing are all things I care deeply about when working with herbs and herbal companies. Thank you for supporting the brands that help to make this blog possible.

September, you're a little bizarre and special. Always the start of a new beginning, Septembers past have been the start of new schools, new semesters, new apartments, new jobs, new seasons...new opportunities. This has never been a month of maintaining the same old rhyme and rhythm of steadfast summer. I feel the most open to change and challenges in September, and in my adult life it has never failed to deliver just that. Reflecting back on a September ten years ago, I was living in Galway, Ireland, settling into a new (yet very old) apartment, gushing over my new University syllabi, developing an addiction to earl gray tea and getting a crash course in UK city biking. One of the things I loved most about living in Ireland was their fondness and skill at beverage making (not coffee, alas), but crafty teas and otherwise caffeinated mid-afternoon beverages. Early in September of that year, by some happy accident I stumbled upon a magical form of hot chocolate marshmallowy milky heaven in a cafe not far from my apartment and it routinely became my weekly indulgence every Sunday afternoon. It was smooth and salty with a subtle sweetness but savory too...energizing but relaxing...decadent but rustic....oh it was an incredible liquid contradiction in the best way. I've never had anything quite like it since living there...until I discovered Four Sigmatic Mushroom Elixirs.

I picked up a little packet of Reishi Mushroom Elixir several months ago from Boketto (as I can't resist a creative way to take medicinal mushrooms). As soon as I came home, I dropped the contents into some piping hot water and added a pinch of sea salt and experienced an intensely real time transport back to that little Irish cafe with my beloved imbibed Sunday contradiction. It was just a faint reminder of that liquid heaven I had in Galway - enough so that I subsequently bought a sample of every mushroom elixir available and started playing around with recipes to try and recreate it just as I had remembered. "What luck, too!", I thought, "that it's mushroom based!" I love mushrooms and any excuse to take them excited me to no end. All this time I'd been taking mushroom tinctures almost daily...and those are fine and all, but certainly don't taste as good as these little packets of nostalgia. 

I eventually struck upon a combination that was blissful and true to what my tastebuds remembered with the addition of homemade almond milk, a pinch of pink salt and a dollop of intensely delicious coconut butter infused with building and invigorating Shatavari from Laka (another incredible find from Boketto). This midday elixir has everything I've been craving lately with a texture that's absolutely transporting and as creamy as freshly melted chocolate. 

The addition of mushrooms into my daily health regimen has been steadfast over the past several years and I'm a huge proponent of incorporating medicinal mushrooms into our medicine cabinets and our kitchens! I'm fascinated with mushrooms and their eclectic and diverse use as a tonic and supportive remedy of the immune system plus about a hundred other potential uses currently being researched. Medicinal mushrooms like Reishi, Chaga and Cordyceps are some of the few natural medicines being thoroughly researched in specific health conditions, giving them some major clout and potential to be accepted and utilized by the western medical community (it's all about evidence based, evidence based, evidence based and mushrooms are starting to prove themselves in that niche way too, despite their hundreds of years of medicinal use...). Mushrooms are something that I would consider a food source of tonic health, and I often think that's the best way to take medicine - in our daily diet. 

Use any milk base you'd prefer. I like to use freshly made almond milk, lightly sweetened with dates. My favorite mushroom elixir to use in this recipe is the Chaga blend but honestly all of their mushroom blends are decadent and delicious in this recipe. I add in a bit of ashwagandha root for added adaptogenic support. Top with fancy flora of your choosing if you're feeling like some mid-afternoon decadence. 

Mushroom Elixir with Infused Coconut Butter

1 cup Almond Milk
1 tsp Ashwagandha Root
1 Packet Four Sigmatic Mushroom Elixir
1 tsp (Infused) Coconut Butter
1 tsp Raw honey
Serves 1

Heat one cup of almond milk with 1 tsp ashwagandha root on low heat for 7 minutes. Add to a high speed blender along with the mushroom elixir, coconut butter and honey. Blend for about 60 seconds until smooth and frothy. Serve warm, toped with a bit of cinnamon or rose petals. 



HELLO, I’M LINDSAY.
Herbal medicine and nutrition is my expertise. Understanding plants, their properties, and their powers is my passion.

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