Last year I focused each month on the broad strokes of each of my 12 American Lotus that are always available to integrate me and this land and universe I am part of. Throughout 2021 I shared how each lotus is part of my daily life, rituals, routines, comings and goings. This year, 2022, I am diving deeper into each lotus. My plan is to align each lotus to a month, and then to share one story our family focuses on that month, one daily ritual I practice that aligns to the story and the lotus, and something we make as a family that aligns to the story and the lotus.
Lotus 1 is Earth/Nature and January is the perfect month to talk about this lotus. We are putting away all of the decorations from Advent-Christmas-Christmastide. By Sunday night our home will be back in order from all of the festivities. Furniture back in its place. Pine needles swept from the floors. Elves and Tomte in their sleeping spots until next year. Just as that happens so too does a calling to connect with this deep, dark time of the Earth.
We are deep into Winter darkness where we live. But all is not still. While we are snuggling in with even more twinkly lights, candles, and fires, and warming beverages, cozy blankets, and fuzzy socks, the Earth is busy. The Solstice has passed and the dark days are working their way towards increasing light. Our paper whites, that were planted during Advent are beginning to bloom. This time of dark towards light is a time for noticing and listening to what is stirring within me (What new ideas are trying to get my attention right now) and within the Earth (What signs of increasing light and seeds for new growth are emerging?). My focus is: What do I hear and learn if I create space and pay attention to what the Earth is sharing? The story, ritual, and tea that follow support this process.
Our story for January is: The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen (1845). A version can be found online at surlalunefairytales.com and includes annotations, illustrations, and links to modern interpretations. There is so much imagery around the Earth that draws us into this story – roses, river, long winter’s night, ice, flowers that have stories to share, crows, pigeons, reindeer, the Otherworld. It is the ultimate message of the story that has always been most special to us – love conquers all.
My ritual: At least once a day, I walk barefoot outside in the grass or in the garden as a way of grounding and connecting to the Earth. It recharges my spirit as I absorb the energy the Earth and Sky offer. Even in the first few moments I feel the shift, my breathing eases, I feel calm, light. Sometimes it is early in the morning while still dark, and sometimes it is later in the day. Yesterday, it was in the freshly fallen snow. If you are interested in taking a deep dive into how connecting feet to the Earth impacts our autonomic and parasympathetic nervous systems, this is a good starting place: Journal of Environmental and Public Health.
What we make: We integrate herbal knowledge into our daily wellness routines, and a favorite this time of the year is Heart Warming Tea. Each of the ingredients is selected for its warming and heart supporting properties. According to The Herbrarium:
- Hawthorn – a general cardiac tonic that appears to improve the mechanics of the heart and its metabolic processes. Hawthorn is also calming and stress reducing, and is used to heal, open, and protect the heart.
- Rose – to open and fortify the heart.
- Cinnamon – Warming, carminative, anti-inflammatory.
1 teaspoon Hawthorn berry (Crataegus spp.)
1 teaspoon Hawthorn leaf (Crataegus spp.)
1 teaspoon Hibiscus calyces (Hibiscus spp.)
1 teaspoon Rose hips (Rosa spp.)
1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum)
I like to use a quart size canning jar to prepare this tea so that it is easy to strain when it is ready. Combine all of the ingredients in the jar and pour 2 cups of boiling water over the mixture. Let steep covered for 20 minutes. Strain the tea into a favorite mug. Add honey, to taste, if desired.
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