Category Archives: Mint

Spirituality Without Fanfare

Once you have been on your spiritual path for a while you will start to realise that it is best to not take yourself too seriously.

There are two types of people who practise spirituality, in my experience. Those who tell others how powerful they are or how enlightened they are or how good their expensive courses are…and those who just get on with it, quietly and without fanfare. Do a course for fun if you think you will get something out of it but do realise that the only thing really worth spending is time itself. Time to learn, time to experiment, time to let things simmer.

Unfortunately being bombarded with all these enlightenment sellers can put some potential newcomers off discovering more about themselves and their possibilities and that’s a shame as there is nothing to be nervous about. Don’t be scared by the hype, don’t be put off by those who dress themselves up as mystical beings who need to be adored. They are selling a service which is the spiritual equivalent of getting your nails painted…it’s fun but it isn’t an essential life choice. You can do what you need to do with a little online research, free resources, reading books and, most importantly, living the life and gaining the experience.

Those who are quietly spiritual know that everyone is an individual who will be spending years on their unique path, no expensive course is going to get anyone there quicker. Sorry. Sometimes it can even slow progress down as you are following someone else’s path not your own. Their way of doing things might not be yours.

Your path is your own and you don’t have to be doing A, B or C to qualify for any award. There is no award. There’s a reward for taking a spiritual path though. Several of them.

If you can successfully meditate you can make your daily life calmer and happier. This can take the edge off the hardest situation. YouTube has some really good meditations. Try Michael Sealey or Jason Stephenson.

Practising mindfulness will give you a better outlook on life and will make those challenges easier to deal with because you stay in the moment, at least long enough to have a break from your mind chatter. Here is a 8 week free course, run by Dave Potter a fully certified MBSR instructor.

Being able to work with the energies to heal yourself and others for free is your way to give back and to do your bit to help change one small part of the world which is suffering…whether that be an individual or a situation.  Learn how to give reiki to yourself with this previous article of mine Reiki For Self Love.  Where you go with it afterwards when it comes to helping others is for you to decide.

Ritual is a way to bring order to chaos as well as engaging in aged practices – whether you just count your morning ritual of shower, tea and toast before work or rituals used with your deity of choice, such as prayers. A good morning ritual sets you up for the day and most of us have several rituals which we enjoy. Perhaps yours is a candlelit bath or a cup of chamomile tea last thing before bed. A ritual is simply something you do at a certain time and, sometimes, for a certain reason. Getting a few rituals of your own in place will bring structure and certainty to your day and you will find you look forward to doing them. They will bring a comfort and a smile, a sense of well-being.

Learning how to work with herbs is another way that you can help yourself. Again there are many online courses out there for the basics but a good book will do you just as well too if money is tight. The work of Susun Weed is a good start if you are in the USA or Herbcraft by Anna Franklin and Susan Lavender is an excellent choice for those in the UK and Europe. Herbcraft gives a broad use for plants including medicinal and magickal as well as a bit of history for interest.

Learning which plants are edible is very important so do take care as there are some deadly ones out there too. 

Knowledge is essential when using herbs in whatever form you choose them. Several good books for cross referencing are essential and you should never rely on just one photo in a book to decide which plant is in front of you in the wild. Several good, clear close up photos are needed. Of course, the company of someone who already knows is ideal but few of us have that and so we must take things gradually and be careful with our choices by being sensible.

Here is a fun video done by someone just starting out using herbs. We all have to start somewhere…

Many of us enjoy a cup of chamomile tea or peppermint tea so why not take it a step further and start learning how to work with the energies of the plants in your vicinity, growing your own or even just in their essential oil form. Pure oils can be used for cleaning and sanitising your home, refreshing the aroma, getting rid of garden pests, used to heal yourself and pets and in a multitude of ways.

I have had no training in essential oils but taught myself gradually over many years and now use them in every part of my life. They are surprisingly versatile, useful and helpful and, of course, chemical free if chosen wisely. There are many articles online which will help you choose a starter arsenal of essential oils. My first three choices would be roman chamomile, lavender and peppermint. I have linked to an article for each to get you started if you are new to essential oils.

If you are starting off on your path and follow the signposts above and in my previous nine articles then together they should give you your first few footsteps. You will be on your way to a spiritual life which allows you to grow, gain confidence, deal with challenges, heal your everyday niggles and give love and strength to those around you. There will be days when it all seems too much and you will want a break. Be kind to yourself on those days and do whatever you need to do. Everyone has a spiritual crisis at some point in their lives…sometimes more than one…but this is good because this is where the biggest shifts happen.

My final suggestions are to enjoy life, love who you are and do what you have to do to make your life your own. Never be dictated by those who surround you or even those in your area of choice spiritually. Always trust your instincts and if you aren’t sure what they are saying then meditate and wait. The answer is there.

This article is part of Your Spiritual Life series. Other articles in the series can be found in the top menu.

Getting Rid Of Black Aphids/Black Flies – Essential Oil Recipe

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My herbs in pots, namely most of my mint family, were all put in the greenhouse a couple of weekends ago ready for the colder months. I thought they would be nice and safe there but some late visitors, (probably left over from an insect 18-30 (day) holiday jaunt by the looks of them…rabble!) decided to drop in unannounced at what was obviously the equivalent of an insect Little Chef. Whatever the reason there was a brand new menu at The Little Black Aphid and diners were aplenty.

Feeling fairly put out, I put the cauldron on the fire and added a couple of toad eyes, three stag beetle antennae and a handful of vervain. Once this hearty family supper was on I decided to tackle the aphid problem.

The completely natural method is to hand pick them off one by one. I thought about this option for a few seconds but discarded the idea when I realised I had a life. However, it may have also been because I just didn’t fancy it 😀

Here is my essential oil recipe for tackling the beasties –

200ml of water

6 drops of thyme

5 drops of peppermint

5 drops of clove

6 drops of rosemary

1 spray bottle

At this time of year you can probably afford to cut your herbs back a little anyway but for those leaves left I suggest a liberal spray of the above concoction. It only took one application and a few choice words and my aphid invasion ceased production. Of course I am not a qualified aromatherapist so it may have been my few choice words which made the aphids drop down stone dead. I can’t say. If in doubt then I urge you to try reasoning with them first…and if that doesn’t work then do try the essential oils  😉

Do be careful not to spray any loitering spiders. I accidently caught two right in their eyes and they were not happy! It’s the peppermint, they hate it apparently. When I went back later they had moved out and left the place in quite a state. I don’t recommend it.

I suggest always washing leaves you intend to consume very well before eating, especially after spraying with the above recipe.

Always consult a qualified aromatherapist and your medical provider before trying any of my recipes. Do not use essential oils if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Please note: I can’t be held responsible for the demise of any pet aphids, this mixture will probably kill them whether you have given them pet names or not. Thank you  😉

Autumn Gardening

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As autumn approaches it is time to start thinking about pruning things back and tidying up ready for the colder months. We only have a small patch of soil but there is still plenty to do.

There are several shrubs which need a prune and a particularly hardy creeper plant that takes over the gardens hereabouts (but whose name escapes me!) needs taming before we disappear under it. It does go a beautiful red and copper shade so I confess I am really waiting for that but it is nearly its time.

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The herb garden is coming along nicely and has provided me with a big jar of dried lavender and many daily herbal tea infusions this year using the lemon balm, catnip, peppermint et al. It’s been very generous.

I decided not to take any more of the herbs to dry as I feel they need to get established before we take too much from them. The roman chamomile has started to trail across and the bergamot has come back after getting a little sickly. The first lemon balm we bought and planted (in the top right of the photo above) is doing really rather nicely and, I think, will be strong next year.

I have decided to put a crystal grid in the herb garden next year and I am in the process of designing it. We had to cut a few branches off a tree and I hope to use some of those sliced up in with the design.

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The pinapple mint is loving the spot it is in as are the second lemon balm, the catnip and the lemon verbena. I am going to put these four in the greenhouse over winter along with the moroccan mint and a few of the others. I am not sure if the lemon verbena will survive in our unheated greenhouse but we shall keep an eye on her and see how she goes.

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So during winter this year it looks as if I shall have to buy some dried catnip, lemon balm and some others if I am to carry on with my various potions but this time next year I have a feeling I am going to be drying out plenty to keep me going over the winter of 2017 and I am hopeful I won’t have to buy many herbs in at all! How satisfying!

It has been a very successful year in the garden with my partner having a good stock of potatoes, onions, fennel, tomatoes, peas, asparagus and all sorts to offer to the table. He is hoping to have some potatoes ready for Yule dinner too. I’m very grateful and proud of his work in the garden this year in particular. He doesn’t have a lot of spare time but what he does have gets used to provide extra food for our family from our small patch and he also builds things from scratch such as wooden wall units for my jars and crystals – my hero – couldn’t ask for more!

I know he reads this blog of mine so just going to say a big Thank You!

 

Peppermint Tea and Other Boosters

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This morning I picked some of the young leaves from the garden mint and made myself a pot of peppermint tea. I added a touch of honey and it was delicious. Why didn’t I do this regularly years ago?!

I am really enjoying experimenting with these teas straight from the garden. All the herbs are getting very well established out there and, so far, the slugs have behaved themselves. This could possibly be because they are far too lazy to tramp up the side of the railway sleepers to reach the raised bed or it could be because the bird table is nearby and they don’t want to risk becoming dinner themselves to an incoming bird. I hope I haven’t spoken too soon!

Talking of birds, our rescued pigeon from a few weeks back is surprisingly still about and raiding the bird table on a regular basis. I have seen him go and peck elsewhere so I am confident he isn’t relying on us completely for his supper. I am pretty sure it is him because he doesn’t seem to mind our presence mid-raid whereas the other pigeons all clear off sharpish when the dog starts his garden wanderings.

Tomorrow the hound goes for his booster injections after which he doesn’t usually speak to me in pleasant tones until he next wants feeding. I guess I would feel the same if I had sat there minding my own business, wagging my behind at an apparently friendly stranger, only to find I had been betrayed when I felt a sharp…well, yes, quite, you can see his point.

Still, as I said to the children when they were younger and were due for their health injections, it does stop you getting anything nastier. I don’t think that convinced them much at the time either.