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Celebrating Valentine’s Day with Mugwort for Dreaming

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Mugwort (Artemisia douglasiana) is our plant for celebrating Valentine’s Day. The plant is known as “dream sage” because it promotes good dreams, which helps to heal the spirit. Sewn into a small pillow or stuffed into a drawstring bag, Mugwort makes a wonderful gift to a lover, a symbol that you care about their dreams (and therefore their health and happiness.)

“Dreams are an essential part of health. Dreams help the spirit remember to be normal, to be happy. Dreams help heal the spirit. Many patients have trouble dreaming because they are under too much stress. They cannot relax their minds at night and simply dream. Many patients use drugs to help them sleep. These drugs usually prevent dreaming and may cause patients to wake up with some lingering depression, hung over. Patients who are addicted to drugs or alcohol may have trouble dreaming. Patients with heart disease may also find it hard to dream and sleep.

Dream sage is used by Healers to promote good dreams. Dream sage is also called mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana. It is called molush in Chumash. To use dream sage, collect the stalks, leaves and seeds, dry them and sew them into a small pillow…Place the small pillow under the normal pillow to promote dreaming…The pleasant, sage smell of the dream sage induces aromatherapy that will help promote dreaming. This helps heal the spirit. When the spirit remembers to be normal, the body can heal.

One of the most romantic things a young man can do for his girlfriend is to make her a small pillow of dream sage. This shows her that he cares about her and her dreams. Hopefully, she will dream pleasant dreams about him.”

-Cecilia Garcia and James D. Adams, Jr, The Advantages of Traditional Chumash Healing

I can’t imagine anything more romantic than expressing an interest in your loved one’s dreams: offering them a gift which has the potential to enhance their inner life, their sleepy soft subliminal self, and their sacred essence. Plus, a few wonderful-smelling leaves tucked into a special bag is a simple (and maybe close to free!) present that honors love and Valentine’s Day in an uncomplicated way.

The scent of Mugwort is hard to describe but I would liken it closely to sage, although more complex. It manages, to my nose, to smell of both the desert and the forest at the same time. It is definitely earthy, and maybe slightly lemon-y. I tried a Dream Sage pillow myself, five leaves stuffed into a muslin bag, which was then placed on the underside of my regular sleeping pillow. Personally, I had a little bit of an allergic reaction to it: slightly itchy eyes. But once I removed it from my pillow and placed it by my bedstand instead, the allergy went away. The dream pillow was still close enough that I could catch the occassional whiff, but not so strong as to aggravate my eyes. (Just in case your honey has averse reactions or sensitivity to some plants, I thought I should share.)

If you have sewing skills, you could make a little pillow from extra fabric, or maybe even buy a special cloth for your honey. I used a muslin bag with a drawstring, commonly used in the kitchen for bouquet garnis, and this worked fine.

Wishing you a relaxed and romantic Valentine’s Day with the ones you love and cherish. And wishing you, of course, sweet sweet dreams.

2012: The Year of the Dragon

“The real dragon is in you.” –Joseph Campbell

The Year of the Dragon is considered both auspicious and lucky in Chinese culture. In Chinese astrology and mythology, the dragon is a powerful symbol of authority and nobility. As the only mythical creature amongst the animals of this zodiac, the dragon represents the magical energy necessary to manifest miracles and achieve spiritual and physical goals.

Under the watchful eye of the dragon, 2012 has the opportunity to be a transformative year, not just for those born under this sign, but for everyone. The dragon breathes fire, scorching the past so that a new future can be created. Harness the dragon’s energy to birth your ideas from the realm of thought into the realm of physical reality. To fly with the dragon means to cast aside restrictive fears and self-imposed limitations in order make great strides.

In medieval folklore, dragons were greedy beasts living in caves, hoarding gold and jewels which, of course, being dragons they couldn’t even use. Let us learn from the dragon and ask ourselves, are there physical or spiritual riches within us that we are holding tightly to our chests? Are we hoarding riches that should be released into the world? Are we accumulating for a purpose or are we stockpiling needlessly?

2012 is the year of the Water Dragon, which signals us to pay special attention to the watery currents of the unconscious, particularly our dreams. Specific messages, hunches, and insights may be delivered to us through our dreaming mind. It is also a good time to make pilgrimages to waterfalls, oceans, and rivers in order to gain spiritual insight and clarity.

The power of the dragon is truly inside us and waiting to be used. May we make the most of the energy provided to us by this mythical beast in the coming year.

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