I am writing this to you on Monday, March 21st, which is the Spring Equinox here in North America (I often write on Mondays and post on Wednesdays – in case I need to edit myself!). Like many of you, Spring makes me think of new growth, of breaking through the hard ground and lifting myself up towards the sun- the freedom + play + warmth of Spring and Summer.
Sometimes in this space I feel like a fragile crocus- the first to press its purple-stained petals above the cold earth. Sometimes I feel like a hardy daffodil- full of wild, yellow energy and warmth. Do you feel ready for Spring?
That feeling of newness, of rebirth, is an energy within ourselves that I think is worth following. What does that energy feel like for you? Where do you feel it in your body? What does it want to do? Where does it want to take you? Often, my Spring energy would like to run me to the woods to be near bubbling streams, the dead branches browning again, and the tiny green leaves intermittently popping up everywhere- little promises of what’s to come. To sit with the cold of the shadows while the sun warms my face.
It’s okay to run a little wild in the Spring!
The equinox not only reminds me of Spring but also of the balance of energies- the equinox is the point when the day and the night occupy equal amounts of time in a 24-hour period. In the case of the Spring equinox, it’s also about moving forward into more light- and letting go of what’s dark or no longer needed. This is why we think about a great clean-out when Spring arrives.
I am a big fan of physical space clean-outs. Totally worth the time and effort. As you might imagine, I am also a fan of psychological space clean-outs. If the energy of Spring is to pull us forward into growth and pleasure, the energy of Spring Equinox is to let go of what’s no longer working or needed for us.
Sometimes I think of my heart|mind|spirit as a house inside myself. There are rooms for the people I’m most connected to, rooms for experiences of the past, and rooms for habitual activities. The Spring Equinox is a time to go back through some of those rooms and see if they need cleaning- or if they even need to exist. Maybe it’s time to finally let go of something or someone in our heart- the Spring Equinox is a great time to let the strings of connections unwind themselves.
In thinking about these two Spring energies, I thought it might be nice to have some herbal supports for the increase of energy and the clearing out of old things. Also, these are two of my fave herbs!
[Quick Disclaimer: herbs are not consistent in their function like medications are. They are not tested randomly across the population, like pharmaceuticals are. Herbs are also a product of their environment- so one type of nettle might have more magnesium if it’s grown in Ohio instead of Maine, and therefore have different effects on you. If you want to take herbs, I recommend that you pay close attention to your own body. Only you can know what changes are taking place. And because of the nature of herbs some may have little or no effect, while others may have great effects. Only you can monitor your own body changes, so please take these with caution and attention.]
Nettles (urtica dioica) are full of nutrients that help us with increasing and stabilizing energy. Nettles carry dense concentration of minerals and amino acids, B-complex vitamins, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium, cobalt, trace minerals, and chlorophyll.
Nettles help tone up the kidneys, adrenals, and thyroid. Nettles are well known for build healthy bones, hair, skin, and teeth. They are also a good tonic for menopausal women.
You can eat fresh nettles, but you’ll need to watch out for the ‘stinging’ part! You can also cook them, which renders the ‘stinging’ hairs useless. You can also steep nettle leaves (dried or fresh) for a tea. Nettle is also known to be a digestive tonic.
Dandelion greens are very high in Vitamins A and C, calcium, and potassium. They are also high in iron, phosphorous, the b-complex vitamins, and trace minerals.
Dandelion leaves are bitter, so you may want to pair them with other, sweeter greens. You can also cook them. Beware of eating what’s in your back yard, however! If you use any kind of chemicals on your yard, your dandelion ‘weeds’ are inedible.
Raw and cooked dandelion are known to help increase the production of stomach acid, which also aids digestion. Dandelion also helps the liver produce enzymes, the gallbladder produce bile, and for the intestines to step up peristalsis. The whole process of digestion is supported, and we are able to assimilate more nutrients from our food as a result.
You can take dandelion as a tea, but it may have less digestive impact.
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The energies of Spring are arriving. Find ways to tune into them that suit you, that help you grow and push your self up towards the sunlight and warmth.