i write to you with the belly of the harvest moon smiling outside of my window, and with mehregan/autumnal equinox slowly dawning from the last dew drops of summer. under and within this charmed light, i'm reflecting and looking back, down the long road that has brought me to this season of astral balance and harvest time. ~june, in the water mostly, growing with the plants, as we held hands and turned our heads to face the returning sun. ~july, a stormy, wild hussey that brought me car accidents, bee stings, & death. a month hungry to reveal the climate crisis on a scale we knew was coming, but feels impossible to face. july was the pac-person who came to gobble up my joy.
~august, a dreamy pause, like the one i felt when i was in labor with my child. there in the thick of it, i met the transition that came to show me that time was really just a construct and that if i wanted to, I could hide within the minutes and seconds, to find my bearings, to reorient.
and now here with september, i take a cautious inhale. september feels like a blanket that promises rest and necessary dormancy. a place where goldenrod sways, rosehips stand juicy and ripe, and the fruits of the vine offer their sweetness in trade for their seeds to be remembered and replanted.
autumn reminds me that my heart is a diary, and on occasion they want to sing and dance and pluck on the sticky and resinous web of life to remember that even if i feel my most cozy in a tiny nest, clutching a hickory nut, it sometimes feels unexplainably important to say ....
hi friend, tiny mouse, fierce owl, slimy toad, creature without a name. thank you for tending your shimmery and unique part of our web. i hope you’re finding the right kind of sweetness for you, in this moment of change. below you’ll find some herbs and a recipe to explore as you find your grounding in the change of seasons.
big love and blessing, mandana.
HERBAL REMEDIES FOR THE CHANGE IN SEASONS With the weather cooling, I find myself in my gardens, harvesting the last of the season’s fruits, planting perennials I will greet come spring, and putting the beds to sleep for the long winter ahead. The growing season can sometimes feel like a flash before my eyes; long days of gardening, to-do lists that feel like they will never be completed, and the deep aches that come with all of that hard work.
For us herbalists, farmers, and gardeners, the signal of fall is a much anticipated time. While there is always work to be done, the colder months undeniably offer us a slowing of pace; a time to reflect on the season, a time to refill our wells, a time to deep dive into creativity and curiosity.
As much as I look forward to slowing down, it can sometimes be difficult to turn off the workaholic in me. Though I intuitively know that the quiet, dark months can offer profound revelations and transformation, it is definitely a process for me to slowly unwind and ground. Luckily, we have the plants to lean on, many of whom we cared for and tended all season long, to support us in the process of transitioning seasons.
Grounding herbs just make so much sense when thinking of summer turning to fall. As we witness plants going downward and settling into the long darkness, we can imagine the earth, soil, and mycelium buzzing underneath the ground. Though most of us have jobs and schedules to be accountable to, we can find moments to reflect on our plant friends, even for a moment, in a cup of tea or sweet spoonful of cordial.
Come the fall, I like to begin to brew herbal decoctions, often centering root medicine. Some of my favorite grounding herbs are bitter roots like dandelion, ginger, and angelica. Though many bitter roots tend to have cooling qualities like dandelion, burdock, yellow dock, you can prioritize weaving in warming bitters like ginger and saffron as the base of decoctions and warming aromatic herbs like cardamom and pine.
Here is an earthy, warming, and delicious herbal decoction I can’t get enough of once the cool days arrive.
Change in Seasons Herbal Decoction
What you’ll need...
1/4 cup peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
10 to 15 cardamom pods, gently crushed in a mortar and pestle to release the aromatics
1 tablespoon dried dandelion root
1 tablespoon dried burdock root
1 cinnamon stick
Handful pine needles
1/2 gallon water
Milk of your choice (optional)
Sweetener like honey or maple syrup (optional)
Place the ginger, cardamom, dandelion, burdock, cinnamon, and pine needles into a stainless steel pot.
Add the water to the pot, and bring the heat up to just below a boil.
Let the decoction simmer for 30 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by half.
Strain the tea, add milk and honey if you desire, and enjoy!
Yield: 4 cups