Monday, December 31, 2012

The Nature of Fir (Abies species)

In the world of tree mythology, the calendar period between January 1-11th is the time for the Fir tree. If your birthday falls during this time period, the Fir is you birthday tree!
It is considered sacred by many different cultures through out the world. It is connected to the moon and is the tree of hope in the Celtic tradition. It is a tree that is also associated with birth, the needles have been burned to purify the air after a mother gives birth,  and to welcome the baby into the world.

 In Siberia and northern Europe, the Fir tree is revered an an ancient being or the 'King of the Forest' which is believed to be the physical home of the Spirit of the forest.
 It is also considered holy and connected to the energy of women's creativity.
After storms took down trees they were traditionally given to the church rather than being used for commercial purposes because the wood was so revered.
Native American tribes of the Northwest traditionally used branches of Fir for covering the floors of sweat lodges and during ceremony.
The needles of the tree are used for making tea that is very high in vitamin C and prevents scurvy.
A twig of the tree represents long life.

In my practice I use Fir oil to boost Lung Qi, as the sweet and aromatic scent is nourishing to the upper Jiao. I also use it for clearing the lungs, mind and spirit, as it is sweet and uplifting. It is useful in treating upper respiratory ailments and asthma. It is also helpful when there is a difficult cough and bronchitis. I often place a drop of the diluted oil directly on the Lung source point. Evergreen oils are also beneficial for tonifying the kidneys. It can also be used as a disinfectant.
On a psycho-spiritual level, this oil is very good for individuals who are energetically stagnated in their daily lives and who are deeply intrenched in the element of Metal. It supports the individual while he or she may be breaking out of a habit that prevents or inhibits growth.
In perfumery it is used as a top note and has a very crisp, green and sweet scent. It is one of my favorite scents to work with in my blending work. At the moment I am making a perfume that focuses on the sweetness of Fir and the freshness of citrus. When a Fir branch is freshly cut, it has a citrus smell which becomes more green and mellow as the sap oxidizes. I have made several different blends and am waiting to see which one best captures the scent and energy of freshly cut Fir.

I am wishing everyone a new year filled with sweet smells, ease and grace.

With love.

Monday, December 10, 2012

All that Sparkles

As the holidays are upon us, I am making my gift cards with glittery goodness and shimmery sparkles. I am also making essential oil blends, perfumes and creating new pictures for my new on line store!

My recent additions include botanicals that seem to kiss the stars!
The above image is a Camellia and the image below is Digitalis. 

Below are my new pillows and  iPhone covers......they are super sparkly too! 
There are so many new and amazing possibilities! For more images, you can visit my shop.  
The link is:

A special thank you to the super talented Justin Smith who has shared so much of his own magic with me through Photoshop. 
For private lessons he can be reached at

Wishing everyone a very happy and shimmery holiday season.

Sparkle on!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Art of Making Perfume

This week my perfumer's organ came together into a more elegant arrangement as all of my essences are being assorted and placed in their proper categories; top notes, middle notes and base notes. 
I transplanted some of my oils into beautiful bottles that I recently purchased,  and it is exciting to see how the colors of the  shimmer against one another and the gold stripes of the bottles. Each oil has a rich and colorful history and story to tell. This week I fell in love with Cistus, as known as Labdanum. This oil comes from Spain and as I opened it to pour it into a new bottle I was overcome by the richness and beauty of the scent. It is sweet, dark, and like honey. I wondered if my Andalusian family from Spain used it and how they might have known this precious gift from nature. 
This resin comes from the shrubs of cistus ladanifer, it was historically collected from the beards of sheep and goats that grazed on this plant. Special combs were used by shepherds in the Mediterranean countries for removing the resin. Labdanum resin and oil also have many medicinal and cosmetic uses. 
When I am blending custom botanical perfumes, I often see in my mind's eye several  images and I  create a scent  that matches the story. There is a very specific process that takes place that is difficult to describe, its a bit of alchemy; a knowing of the materials and a connection with the person that I am blending for, all of it comes together with grace. One of my favorite parts of making scents for people is asking them what is happening in their lives, how scent may support them, and seeing how I can match the oils to the intentions set with my knowledge of the plants.
I am currently working on a custom solid perfume that is spicy, balsamic and earthy.  Cistus called to me with a whisper, so did Champa. I have built the perfume around these two scents and I am now allowing the melding process to take place before it is set into solid form. 

These images came together for me as I am making perfume. The hooked rose piece is a seat cover made by my grandmother Isabelle May. The round piece in the top center photograph is one of my violet glass containers for the solid perfumes. The far right watercolor I painted for my new perfume business card, the Camellia flower and bee picture was taken after the hurricane, my new gold stripped bottles are photographed on my grandmother's crocheted pieces and the print of roses on the green ground came from a quilt that my grandmother also gifted me. As for the roses, one can never have too many!
Below,  is my new card. 


I am now taking orders for custom solid perfumes. These perfumes are made with great care and are lovingly poured into their special violet glass containers that protect the integrity of the botanicals. Please feel free to contact me for more information and pricing. 

Wishing everyone a sparkly week!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bide a Wee

In the entryway of my grandmother's farm house hung a small embroidery piece that invited visitors to 
Bide a Wee. 
In Scotland this is a traditional phrase that is used to invite people to 'stay a while', maybe for a cup of tea or a visit. This piece now hangs on one of my walls.
Since I have recently painted the interior of my home a soft pink, the light shimmers and glows differently than it did before. When I brought the Bell flowers in last week, I realized that the embroidered piece by my grandmother, mirror the design of beautiful cut flowers!

I have since learned that they are also called a Campanula or Platycodon flowers and I learned that these flowers are actually part of a plant that is used in Chinese herbal medicine. While I know the root of the plant, I did not know the flowers until this week. The rhizome of the plant is called Jie Geng. This herb opens the lungs, and guides other herbs to the upper body. This is a very important herb in the Materia Medica! The tastes of this herb are Acrid, Bitter, and Neutral. It is in the category of herbs that warm and transform.

The meaning of this flower in 'the language of flowers' is 'unchanging love and obedience'.
It is also associated with Venus and referred to as the 'Looking Glass Flower'. 

It is my hope that over this holiday week that everyone has the opportunity to Bide a Wee with the people that they care about, maybe over a cup of tea or a Thanksgiving meal. 
Today was a beautiful day as it was warm and the air was still,  I felt incredibly grateful to sit in the sun and count my blessings and gifts of the past year. 

Wishing everyone a lovely Thanksgiving. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Camellia (Theaceae)

The storms have passed and now we are settling into a new energy. So much has been cleared away by the swirly winds. Old wood has fallen, dead leaves are falling like confetti to the ground and the Camellia flowers are blooming in the color of pink. The flowers are hardy and can withstand cooler temperatures. As I was photographing these beauties I was stunned by their delicate essence.  The petals are papery and soft. The leaves are glossy, dark green and strong. 
This shrub is cultivated and highly valued in China and Japan. They are symbolic of devotion between lovers.
These beautiful shrubs grow in woodland settings and the leaves are made into tea. The seeds are pressed into a juice that make an oil used as a seasoning and in cooking in Southern China.

Today I was impressed by the bee that came for a visit and collected pollen with such a soft touch. 
Since the storms have passed, I am observing everything in nature with a different perspective, I am seeing the delicate organization of everything with more grace. When the birds came back, I was so happy to wake up to their song and hear some visitors who are migrating to new seasonal destinations. Nature is coming back into a new balance after so much frenetic movement, something feels different, perhaps everything has been reorganized into a new geometry. I am seeing this in my private practice too,  new experiences are unfolding as we move into the Water Element of Winter.

In Chinese lore, the petals of the flower represent the female energy and the calyx represent the male energy. 

In Pin-yin the Camellia is known as shan-cha, it translates as 'mountain tea'. 

There is a belief that the Camellia flower aids in the attraction of the perfect partner or love into our lives. The energy of this flower helps us to be in the essence of who we truly are and express what we truly want to come into our Hearts.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Nature of Wind

Wind is a very elusive Element. 
As I am writing this post we are in the throws of yet another storm, it is dancing with the canopy of my Oak trees,  branches are twirling in different directions and leaves are darting through the air. 
For the past week and a half I have been sitting with the potential energy of wind since it made its presence known here on the East end of Long Island in the form of a hurricane. The day before the storm arrived I went to the ocean and saw the spray of the waves fly through the air while the shore line slowly disappeared. 
I also heard the winds howl, trees crack, break and fall while a full moon appeared in a dry sky. 

This week I revisited the energy of wind and all of its layers from a Chinese medical perspective.
In the medicine, it is said that
"Wind is the chief of the hundred diseases."
Wind can find it's way into our body and disturb the natural flow of Qi.
It often permeates cracks and influences our Wei Qi, or surface Qi, this might manifest as flu like symptoms and headaches. It often attacks the upper body first, the eyes, the nose, the throat and lungs. It may create symptoms such as an aversion to wind, a floating pulse and feverish conditions.
 It is known to be violent, changeable, and unfixed.  In the medicine, tremors, shaking, dizziness are all considered general signs of wind. It can also manifest as  jerky movements, itching of the skin, and migratory aches and pains.
On an internal level, wind may appear as vertigo, strokes or seizures. An internal origin of wind may also come about from an unsettled Yang Qi that stirs and rises to the top of the body, or perhaps a condition of blood deficiency. "Extreme heat stirring wind" may come from heat in the Liver that rises deep from inside and quite quickly.
When we are diagnosing different types of wind, we need to consider if the origin is internal or external. The treatment protocol will vary according to the presentation. Sometimes wind carries other elements from nature such as dampness, heat, cold and dryness. Conditions such as wind stroke, wind numbness, wind papules, wind-fireye, and wind water are additional conditions that may arise from the pathogenic factor of wind.
We can protect ourselves from this element by wearing warm clothes, staying away from a drafty space, covering our spine and lower back and staying sheltered on a windy day or during stormy weather. Specific Chinese herbal formulas also help rid our systems of wind. 

The photograph of the Camellia flower below was taken the night of the hurricane, oddly enough, this flower was intact despite the high winds. 

The feature for 'Comments' has been changed on my blog, so now anyone can leave a note without having to create an account with Google. I welcome your comments, feedback and experiences.
Since the hurricane, I have found a deeper sense of gratitude for all of the blessings and gifts in my daily life, my family, my friends, every one who called or wrote to offer the their hospitality, the greatness of nature,  and the company and strength of community.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pretty Things in Small Packages

I am thrilled to offer my photographs as well as sparkly laptop covers and nifty iPhone covers in my new online shop.
Here are a few of the possibilities!

Thank you for visiting my shop!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Snake Medicine

This little creature crossed my path while I was on a walk with a fellow nature lover along the cliffs of  Montauk. The weather  is cool now and the snakes slow down their movement, so it was easy for me to get it's picture. I often see them in my garden but have not yet had the chance to photograph one so close. To see it's red tongue was truly amazing!
Farther into our walk we encountered a second snake.

In many cultures snakes are considered wise animals and are known to carry medicine, guard sacred temples, and carry powerful symbolic meanings. 
Because the snake sheds its skin, it represents the energy of transformation and transmutation. It also represents fertility, life force, rebirth, immortality, wisdom and initiation. 
Snakes can bridge obstacles with grace so they are powerful totem animals for when we need assistance moving through dense or difficult life situations. 

This particular snake is called an Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Autumn Goodness and the Spirit of the Po

The last of the Monarch butterflies can be seen as the light of the September fades. 
In Chinese medicine, we look at this time as relating to the element of Metal. (We have five elements/  phases also known as Wu Xing, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood). At this time the air is drier and more crisp and so it affects the Lungs and Large Intestine which are partner organs. Lung being the Yin partner while the Large Intestine being the Yang partner. 
The following correspondences relate to the element of Metal; the direction is West, the color is silver or white, the emotions are sadness or grief, the taste is pungent, the body tissues are skin and body part the nose. The animal associated with the Metal element is the horse, and the planet is Venus. When diseases manifest from the this particular element they may be seen on the skin and in relation to the body hair. 
Each element has its own Spirit manifestation. The Spirit associated with the Metal element is the Po. 
The Spirit of the Po, also known as the Corporeal Soul, has the capacity to transmute sadness into preciousness and great beauty. I have been thinking a lot about this specific spirit as we are now in transition, and I like to explore how we can transmute, cleanse and clear grief into beauty. 

In this time of year it is natural to feel a sense of loss as the trees are losing their leaves and falling to the ground. The peak time for the Lung is 3-5 am, so if we are waking with a feeling of sadness it may be that we need to focus on nourishing the Lungs. The large Intestine time is between 5-7 am. 
We may nourish this element by allowing the manifestation of precious things, and moments that uplift and bring us joy. According to the Suwen, 'Grief injures the Lungs, but elation overcomes grief'. 

I have been taking my camera on small trips and finding butterflies and dragon flies in abundance.These pictures were taken in Southampton, in a filed that is rich with wildlife and magical flowers.

                                                An iPhone was used to create the nine patch collage below. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Nourishing Yin

 The topic of the month is nourishing Yin. So often in my practice, my patients ask me what is Yin and what is Yang? How do these principles apply to my treatment? How do I work with these aspects of Chinese medicine in my every day life?
These are very big questions with multi-dimensional answers. I am going to answer them from my own personal perspective. Please note that each practitioner of Chinese medicine will have their own definition and application of these theories...
Yin is the passive energy that is defined by contraction.  As the season shifts and we go into the darker days and cooler nights we are entering the Yin cycle within nature. The element is water, the organs are the Kidneys and the Bladder, the colors are black and blue. This is the time where we prosper if we simmer savory soups, make congees, roast root vegetables, drink hot herbal teas with Manuka honey, rest more, go in, sleep longer hours, honor the delicate needs of our bodies,  and nourish our deepest Essence on all levels.
My favorite source of inspiration for recipes and food suggestions for nourishing Yin is Paul Pitchford's  book Healing With Whole Foods. Yin foods tend to be more cooling, salty, descending in energy and by nature build blood and nourish fluids of the body.
Outside of Acupuncture and massage treatments, rest and seasonal diet modifications, creative activities   may also nourish Yin.
The balance between Yin and Yang will manifest as a more balanced Qi, or vital life force.

Yin is the energy that is governed by darkness, creative energy, passiveness, serenity, moisture, the seed, the quiet, cultivation of nutrition, the new beginning, softness, the feminine, our sweetest inner dreams that wake us up in the early morning where we say 'yes' before the day begins. 

Knitting, cooking, embroidery, wood work, meditation, resting by a fire, enjoying the close comfort of a best friend with tea, a nap under a special quilt, a rest in the warmth of the afternoon Autumn sun, the essence of the moon, a rich velvety congee,  a stew simmering  in a crock pot, the sweet smell of the most delicate flowers, the essence of earth, all speak to the energy of Yin. 

For me, the expression of Yin comes when I can take a beautiful picture of an opening flower, or seeing the sparkle of the sun light on water that translates into an opening of my Heart. Also,  being in the vastness of the open sea...with my camera, or experiencing a special moment in nature... touching the earth,
and  knowing that it will nourish me for a long while.

'The closer you can lie against the Earth, melting into the Earth, the better. You become nothing in order to be come something....Touching the Earth, you are able to reabsorb the vital source of energy  bequeathed to you by your ancestors.'

Thich Nhat Hanh

A Strange and Beautiful Visitor

This visitor appeared yesterday in the soft September light. 
The picture was taken as this small moth was resting on a window, it was taken from inside of the glass. I found it rather mysterious to see how the light came through the wings. 

Wishing everyone a sparkly week end.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The End of Summer

As the light and the colors are shifting with the seasons, the spiders are busy weaving their incredible webs and many of the berries are turning the most delicious shades of red and orange.
Before the warmth and the sound of the crickets slip away I want to share my summer snapshots.
All of these pictures were taken with my iPhone.

The anagrams below came from my grandparents farm house. They have been with me since my childhood. Just today I took them all out of the box and began to make words. They remind me of the  precious hours that I spent with my grandmother learning how to spell at the dining room table on summer visits.

Wishing everyone a happy September. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Small Summer Gift...Amor Flores

I would like to offer a small gift to the fifth person who sends me an email to 
It is a sample of my first liquid perfume! It took over a year to make and is rich with floral notes, the predominate notes are Jasmine, Damask Rose and Honeysuckle. (I only use natural botanicals). There are many other botanical  ingredients but when I made this perfume I wanted the person wearing it to feel like they were in a garden of fragrant flowers. 

In the subject line please write 'Amor'.

Where in the world will it go?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Messenger of the Heart

Maybe there is something in the stars this month, or maybe it is time to pay attention to the voice that speaks from the inner chamber of the Heart. I have recently been inspired by the writings of several sparkly people. They shared their truth as they are seeing and experiencing the events of this very accelerated time. Their topics are centered on the energies of going inward, reviewing our truths and speaking this inner knowing or wisdom from our Hearts. 
In my practice, this has been the theme for several weeks. As I was writing this I decided to chose a card from my deck of orchid essences, each one represents a different virtue or healing capacity. Low and behold...I picked the 'Messenger of the Heart' essence. 
(This orchid essence comes from the Living Tree Orchid Essences from Scotland. Their link is on my home page. This particular orchid is Phragmipedium Grouville.) 
This flower essence 'gives voice to the heart and communicates what you are feeling, without fear of the consequences for speaking your truth. To help become more aware of what is deeply valued within the heart.'
It is profound that I picked this essence because I have been thinking a lot about how our bodies and our health can be deeply affected by holding back our truths. Emotions like anger, grief and the energy of resentment can build within our systems leading to a cascade effect which can effect our immune system. We can also feel out of sorts, tired,  ill at ease in our bodies and know that we are feeling a bit 'off'. 
I feel that when we speak our truth, we must dip into great courage and then many subtle and profound things can happen, ultimately for the good. 

This lovely rose bud has been opening outside my window. Since roses speak to the heart I decided to add these pictures. 
As the light is changing all of the colors seem to be glowing and the last precious moments of summer are being savored.

The truth is always exciting. Speak it, then. Life is dull without it.

Pearl S. Buck

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

It appears to be butterfly week here.....this lovely butterfly has been here several times,  I recognize it because it is missing a part of its left wing. Fortunately it found enough nectar to keep it in the garden so that I could photograph it on the purple flowers. 

According to the language of Chinese symbols, I just learned that a butterfly may symbolize a man in his seventies because 'hu-die' the expression of butterfly phonetically resembles the pronunciation of 'die'... an older gentleman. A butterfly may also be symbolic of a deceased wife who reappears through nature to meet her living husband. Butterflies and plum blossoms together in a picture symbolize long life and immaculate beauty.

Feeding on nectar. 

Wishing everyone a very sparkly August.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Today I had the beautiful experience of photographing a male black swallowtail butterfly. I captured it while it was flying and feeding at the same time. It was such a pleasing sight to watch all of the colors come together and create so much beauty.
I was reminded of how much elegance is around us at all times if we take the time to notice what is before us. 

Females have faded yellow dots on their wings while males have a bolder yellow dots. 
In my research I have learned that this beauty is the state butterfly of Oklahoma!

The flowers in the pictures are of a pink Agastache cana 'Heather Queen' plant, this variety is called the 'pink panther'. 

Butterflies feed on the nectar of flowers.
In many cultures they are symbols of change, growth and joy,  
their medicine is about transformation. As the life cycle of the butterfly is about one month from egg, to larva, to cocoon to butterfly they are powerful symbols of rapid growth and the celebration of transition.  This energy seems to be the theme of the summer. 

 I love how these amazing creatures show up in just the right time to offer their messages and their wisdom. At the time that this particular butterfly appeared I was thinking about a very specific topic. Taking the time out of my day to be with this butterfly gave me the gift of serenity and awe. It was a moment in which I witnessed nature's 'grace' in action. 

Some of my pictures were a bit blurry because the butterfly was moving so quickly. To me they look almost like little fairies, especially this one. 

'Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.' 

Zhuangzi (c. 369 BC- c. 286 BC)
Chinese sage