The beginning of February marks the mid-point between winter solstice and the spring equinox. We are halfway through winter! That is really something to celebrate! Cultures have been celebrating this midpoint for most of human history, in one way or another. In the United States, where I live, we have a holiday called Groundhog’s Day to herald the coming of spring and the return of light. In Northern Europe, there has long been a holiday called Imbolc to honor this day. In Christian tradition, this is day is called Candlemas and it honors the presentation of Jesus to the temple (symbolically bringing new light to the world). To Catholics, this day honors the purification of the Virgin Mary. Some honor this midway point on the 1st of February and others on the 2nd, but there is no doubt that the start of February has long been a time of excitement and celebration!
In times gone by, these were days that were critical to survival and to releasing the weariness and harshness of winter. Winter was not just a time of bleak, gray days for our ancestors, but of potential starvation and freezing, if they didn’t plan correctly. The start of February signaled that they were nearly through it. Like now, they could see the buds beginning to form on the trees, the first flowers peeking their heads out of the ground and the birds beginning to return. The days were longer. Hope was on the horizon.
This is my Blessing for this Imbolc/Candelmas Day:
Today I feel the stirrings of new life--
It pulses within the soil,
It whispers on the wind,
It chants and sings in the falling rain,
It stomps and claps in the fire of the thunder and lightning.
The unmistakable energy of growth is beginning to emerge.
It is ushering the starkness of winter out.
The stillness is ending.
The dance of colors and planting and birth is near!
I am now offering a few new services as part of my Reiki practice.
Reiki Home or Work Space Blessing
A Reiki Blessing is ideal for when you are selling a home, moving into a new home or apartment, when a new baby is arriving, when adding a new room to the home, or whenever there has been an upset or feeling of disharmony.
Stress, negative emotions and heavy energy build up in our homes and offices over time, just as they do in our bodies. These spaces need occasional energetic cleansing, just as our own physical energy does. You may have noticed a dense feeling in your home at times, or that you feel down, tense or ill in certain areas. You may not be sure what the issue is and only notice that you don't feel as restful in your home, don't sleep as well or feel a sense of being trapped or heavy. Maybe you have more headaches. These can all be signs that the energy of you home has become dense and needs to be cleared.
I will use Reiki and a variety of other energetic tools, such as smudge and/or palo santo and sound, to cleanse old, negative energies out. The area will feel freer, lighter, more open and more peaceful afterwards. I will also show you some simple things you can do to help periodically clear the energy on your own, if you wish. A cleansing blessing will be offered to any household members who wish to receive it. I will bless land, as well. Apartments--$90, Houses--$150-$200, Offices--depends on size, please contact. For travel outside of the Bloomington-Normal area, please add an additional 15 cents/per mile for travel.
Reiki Refresher Courses
I also teach Reiki refresher courses. These are specifically designed for those who have already trained in Reiki, but who need to boost their confidence in their practice or who have been away from Reiki practice for some time and wish to return, but wish to brush up on the basics prior to doing so. This class will refresh your memory and answer any questions you may have. I will also provide a booster attunement to the level you were previously trained. While a refresher is not necessary to continue your practice, it may be just what you need to help you feel more confident, if you are struggling in some area. Class price is $60 an hour and class is typically 1-2 hours in length, depending on individual need. This class can be taken in person or online, via Skype.
I teach Reiki Levels 1, 2 and Master levels, as well. These classes are only taught in person. I teach one to one, for an individualized class experience, though I will occasionally teach 2 or more, depending on the situation and the class level. Classes are typically taught at my office, but I will travel to your home or office, with prior arrangements, in most cases. Level 1--$150, Level 2--$275, Master Level--$800
Level 1 is a short, one day seminar and is ideal for those who wish to use Reiki on themselves, their pets or their family members.
I am returning to the practice of animal Reiki, adding it to my regular services. Our pets benefit from Reiki in the same ways that we do. They feel more relaxed, less anxious and have a reduction of pain. It can work in conjunction with their veterinary care to help reduce the healing time, complications and stress from surgery, cancer treatment or other medical concerns. It can be very helpful in the treatment of separation anxiety and the treatment of past trauma, particularly if the owner of the pet gets trained in the first level of Reiki, as well and offers treatment as needed. Treatment is offered distantly or locally.
Very often, during a Reiki treatment, I pick up not only information about the energetic health of the animal, but the emotional state and other images that the animal is trying to convey. I will send a detailed reading of any information I pick up about your pet during the session, via email afterwards. These sessions are $40. The length of the session varies, depending on how long the animal is willing to receive Reiki.
Please contact Angie at 309-532-6763 or at email@example.com for more information or to schedule one of these services. You can also book many of my services at: serenityenergyhealing.fullslate.com
I am very happy to announce the publication of my first book, Infinite Reiki, Infinite Healing!
We all have the ability to heal...A true healing comes from within. It's true. While others can support us in our healing and offer us tools to assist us, the real healing can only happen from inside of us. Once we make the inner shift, the illness or pain falls away and our perception changes.
Every one of us is born with life force energy and we are all connected to a much larger Life Force Energy--no matter what name you give that or how you look at it. While we forget that we are energy beings, we can begin to make a conscious effort to explore this and remember. That is what I learned on my own journey out of many years of multiple chronic health issues. I found that when I shifted my awareness and understanding to this energy, I was able to begin healing. It led me to Reiki, which improved my understanding of energy even more.
Infinite Reiki, Infinite Healing is my new book, which has now been released on Kindle and paperback. It offers simple tools and over a dozen energy exercises to help you begin to learn how to access and work with energy in many ways in everyday life. I share how I began to learn about energy, my journey with being ill and the basics of energy medicine, as well.
Available on Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/q7s9tom
Available in paperback: http://tinyurl.com/qh3lrns
This time of year, when the sun isn’t out as much and it is often gray and rainy/snowy, many people have more trouble with feeling very sad, low on energy, even depressed. This can happen when our bodies and brains don’t cope well with the lower levels of light. Our brains produce a chemical that responds to darkness and light called melatonin. This chemical helps our body know when it’s time to shut down for the day and go to sleep. Normally, at the end of the day, when it begins to get dark, our body begins to release serotonin, which triggers the production of more melatonin and we get sleepy. In the mornings, when our brains register that there is sunlight again, the levels of serotonin and melatonin drop and we become more alert and wake up, ready to start our day. These chemicals rely on the nutrients we bring into our bodies to be made properly and in sufficient amounts and they rely on sunlight (and other cues) to trigger their release. We can help our bodies and brains by adjusting how we cope with life during the Fall and Winter months, especially if we have difficulty with seasonal depression, sometimes called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.
-Get as much light as possible and self regulate your light exposure. Open your blinds first thing every morning and close them in the evening. Go outside for a few minutes each day. Use Blues Buster bulb in the room your work in or use a full spectrum UV lamp for a few minutes each day. Don’t be afraid to turn on the lights in your home during the day! Spend the money! This is your health we are talking about!
-Take warm sea salt or Epsom salt baths frequently, even daily. They are very detoxifying and they just feel good. Add Lavender essential oil, if you like.
-Stay on a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and getting up at about the same time each day. This helps the melatonin in your brain become level and balanced and stay that way.
-Eat healthy. Low sugar, low starch. Lots of vegetables, especially those that are in season. Make sure to include plenty of foods that are rich easily accessible omega-3 fatty acids, as these support brain function and overall health. These are things like salmon, sardines, or eggs. Foods high in tryptophan, such as cottage cheese, avocados, bananas, walnuts and turkey are also good as they support the production of serotonin and melatonin. Make occasional DARK chocolate your now and then sugar treat, as it fights depression.
-Use Rescue Remedy to help lift your spirits and ease extra pains. It is homeopathic and non habit forming. It will help balance your entire system, not just relieve your symptoms. It can be taken as often as every 15-30 minutes on very difficult days.
-Get at least 5-10 minutes of exercise every day. Do something you enjoy! Dance or play with the kids or the dog/cat, whatever you like. No need to make it a chore, simply move your lovely body in some way and stretch it, shake it, feel it, enjoy it!
-Keep flowers in your home. Even one or two flowers in a vase helps. They add a wonderful energy, not to mention how beautiful they look and smell. I’ve found that my local grocery store sells small bouquets for $3-$5. Totally worth it. Flowers and plants boost spirits. You’re worth it.
-Reiki or other energy work can help keep your energy moving or relieve energy blockages. If you know you have this problem each year, consider making a regular appointment each month during the Fall and Winter months to help support your well being. If you are having difficulties or begin to, a Reiki session can help restore calm and peace of mind, body and spirit.
-Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you are experiencing a sadness that doesn’t lift. Counseling or medication may be helpful in getting your system back on track and helping you feel better again.
Here’s a couple recipes to help support you when your energy is low, but you have cravings. They are healthy, easy and satisfying.
Quick Green Smoothie
1 cup of milk of choice
4 Tablespoons yogurt
2 leaves any type green (kale, collard, mustard, turnip–your favorite)
handful raspberries, handful blueberries
teaspoon raw honey
1 inch peeled fresh ginger
Add all ingredients to food processor or blender and run for about a minute on high, until smooth.
Cacao (Dark Chocolate) Sauce
All measurements are estimates–adjust for amount and consistency you wish to make
1/4 cup coconut oil (butter can be substituted)
2-3 Tablespoons raw cacao powder (much higher health benefits than cocoa powder)
2-3 Tablespoons raw honey
dash of sea salt or Himalayan salt
Heat in small saucepan over low heat while stirring. Once coconut oil is melted and all is stirred together, add a small drizzle of milk at a time until you have the consistency you would like for a sauce. A splash of vanilla is nice to add. You can also stir in shredded coconut or walnuts. If you leave out the milk and spread this over a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and then refrigerate it for several hours, it makes a nice candy.
If I can help support you with a Reiki session, feel free to contact me at www.facebook.com/HolisticSpirituality.
Be well and Blessings,
A favorite way to quench thirst in the summer that serves double duty as an anti-inflammatory for over-used sore muscles is ginger lemonade. I like to keep some made up and in the fridge most of the year because we love it so much, but it’s so popular here in the summer, I have switched to a gallon jug in order to keep up with demand!
The lemon juice is a great detoxifier, which cleanses your liver and kidneys and is full of vitamin C. It also has a nice alkalinizing effect on the body, despite it being a citrus fruit and being acidic. It is very good for your digestion and will help to flush toxins in this way as well, stimulating the natural flow of normal digestive juices and enzymes which our bodies can often get sluggish in producing, leading to poor digestion.
Ginger root is an amazing natural anti-inflammatory, which works better than ibuprofen and other over the counter non steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (and better than many prescription ones as well, in my opinion!) The bonus is it is safe and without side effects. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties and is an excellent way to boost your immune system and ward off any potential or current infections. I try to include ginger in my diet every single day. (Garlic too, for similar reasons, but that’s another post!)
Ginger soothes the stomach (including morning sickness) and digestive tract and is fantastic to take/drink when you have an upset stomach or other tummy issue. It will significantly shorten the duration of a stomach virus and lessen the symptoms. (Though if you take it daily, you may rarely or never get one at all!) It helps reduce and relieve the severity and duration of migraines, menstrual cramps, arthritis, gout and fibromyalgia pain (any pain really). It can help reduce sinus pressure, allowing them to drain. Whew!! Lots of benefits from ginger! And the truth is, I am restraining myself to keep the post short and get to the recipe! I could really go on! It’s good stuff!
To make 1 gallon of Ginger Lemonade:
4-6 inches fresh ginger root (found in most produce sections), grated or run through a food processor
5-6 lemons, juiced (NOT processed, bottled lemon juice–real lemons!)
1/2 teaspoon stevia, 1/2 cup raw honey, or other sweetener (to taste)
1.Using a funnel, pour the juice from the lemons into the jug or container you are using for the ginger lemonade. This may be the point you wish to add the amount of sweetener you are starting with. Start on the low side! You can always add more after all the other ingredients are added in. 2.Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil while you grate your ginger root. I use my tea pot for this as it is exactly the right size and it doesn’t take very long. 3. Put the grated ginger in a mesh wire strainer set atop a small bowl so that the ginger is cradled in the bowl. 4. Pour the boiling water into the bowl, over the mesh wire strainer with the ginger in it and allow it to steep for about 20 minutes. The idea is to make a hot ginger water that is a bit strong. 5. After about 20 minutes, pour the ginger water into the gallon jug (use the funnel). Let it cool before doing this, if you need to. Discard the grated ginger. 6. Cap and shake the jug, or mix with a spoon, if using an open container. Then fill to the top with cool water, shake again, taste and if sweet enough for you, refrigerate.
Enjoy whenever you would like a refreshment or anytime you need a boost of some of those lovely benefits from ginger or lemon. I suggest at least one glass a day. If you want to increase the health benefits, especially as an anti-inflammatory agent, try adding a teaspoon of raw, organic apple cider vinegar to your glass of ginger lemonade! I recommend Bragg’s, for taste and the benefits I see, but there are others as well.
It’s very easy to make salves, balms and ointments for everyday first aid uses and sore muscles. These inexpensive homemade salves can replace many over the counter remedies for everyday family needs.
Anti-infection/Healing Salve–Mix 1 Tablespoon coconut oil with a pinch of ground comfrey root and about 1/4 teaspoon or so of goldenseal root (or empty one capsule full into the mixture). Add 2 drops tea tree oil, if desired, for added anti-infection benefits. Mix well and store in sealed container, out of the light. Apply to cuts, scrapes or other minor injuries after washing with soap and water. Can also help speed healing of minor burns, after initial burn has cooled.
Muscle Soothing Salve–Mix 3 Tablespoons coconut oil with 5 drops peppermint oil, 2-3 drops lavender (optional, but it adds to the benefits), 1/2 teaspoon crushed comfrey root. Store in sealed container, out of the light. Rub into sore joints, muscles and feet. Feels especially good right after a bath or right before bed, but good any time. Comfrey is very good for healing, so if you injure a bone or a muscle, this salve can help generate new cell growth.
Cuticle Soothing/Healing Salve–Mix 1 Tablespoon coconut oil with 3 drops lavender, 2 drops tea tree oil, and a pinch of crushed calendula flowers. Store in sealed container, away from light.
Burn Treatment–Aloe gel is by far the best treatment for a burn. If you have a place in your kitchen for a live plant, that is the way to go. Cut or break a fleshy leaf off and squeeze the gel right onto the burn for immediate cooling relief. If this isn’t an option, get a bottle of natural aloe gel, with little or no additives in it (no colorings!) and keep it in your refrigerator so it will be nice and cool. This is good for after sun care and sunburns as well.
These salves will melt very easily, as coconut oil has a low melting point. If you want to make them more portable, so they don’t melt as easily, you can melt a bit of beeswax or candelilla wax and add it to them. This is most easily done by getting wax in small beads or shaved wax (cutting or shaving it yourself is VERY hard) and melting it in a small slow cooker or double boiler, along with the coconut oil on low heat. Then add the other ingredients and pour into your container. I usually don’t bother with the wax, unless it’s summer and even then I sometimes just keep the salve in the fridge.
Happy salve making, good luck and good health!
We tend to rely heavily on our doctors or the local drugstore to provide the items in our medicine cabinet. Of course there’s nothing wrong with taking medicine prescribed by your doctor or with taking the occasional over the counter medication. However, it is possible to use foods and herbs for more of your basic needs. In doing so, you may find that you need to rely on the doctor and the drugstore far less, which translates into more money and fewer side effects.
You can find many herbs and teas in bulk in the spice aisle of the natural foods store very inexpensively. Many of the other items on this list can be found in the produce department. Shopping this way allows you to buy only what you need at the time, or to stock up, as you budget allows. Many of the items on this list are also available in ready-made capsules, but this is more expensive than buying in bulk to use as tea or to make your own capsules. I am also very pleased with the strength and effectiveness of the bulk herbs. Do be careful if you have allergies or sensitivities! Make sure your local stores doesn’t stock the bulk herbs with or near open bins of product you’re allergic to!
Catnip–Use as a tea to reduce fever, calm anxiety, reduce pain, ease muscle tension, aid sleeplessness. Can be made into capsules. Also available in ready-made capsules, but this is more expensive. Caution: I suggest using organic catnip, not the cheap bags of catnip in the pet aisle.
Valerian Root–Use as a tea to calming anxiety, reduce pain, headaches, ease muscular tension, aid sleeplessness. Can be made into capsules.
Arnica–a homeopathic remedy which is very effective at relieving pain, particularly the pain of an injury or overwork of a joint or muscle. Dissolve under the tongue.
Ginger Root– Excellent anti-inflammatory and pain relieving tool. Also helpful for nausea, indigestion, heartburn, immunity boosting, easing lung irritation from cough or asthma so that breathing is easier. Most Effective–bulk ginger root from the produce section (often found near garlic and other herbs, mushrooms). This can be sliced thinly (I don’t even peel it), put about 2 inches, sliced, into 4 cups water, bring to a boil. Sweeten (I like using local raw honey, but use what works for you)and drink. Can drink hot or cold. Next most effective–bulk ginger root powder made into capsules. Pre-made capsules in a bottle also work, but get them from a quality company, if you do this. Solgar and Nature’s way are both brand’s I have had good results with.
Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar–Pulls toxins out of the body, good for preventing gout and arthritis flare up and soothing an active flare up, balances stomach acid. Use only a food grade, organic, raw apple cider vinegar, like Bragg’s. The others taste awful and can make you sick. Take 1-3 teaspoons in water or tea, one to three times a day.
Baking Soda–Eases bladder irritation/irritability, calms heartburn/excess stomach acid. Mix 1 teaspoon in 8 ounces of water and drink. Can be taken up to three times a day.
Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice–Removes toxins from the blood and the body, balances the acidity level of the body, boosts immunity. Squeeze a quarter to a half a lemon into a glass of water or tea at least once a day, especially first thing in the morning.
Elderberry–dried berries can be used as a tea or made into a syrup to boost immune system strength and fight viral infections, colds, flu, some bacterial infections. Can also be found in store bought syrup or capsule, but is fairly costly. Can be made very inexpensively at home in about an hour.
Slippery Elm Bark–Soothe sore throat, soothes digestive tract when irritated from things like diarrhea or cramping, soothes lungs from coughing and eases loosening of phlegm, will soothe any mucous membrane. Don’t let the name fool you–It doesn’t make the lining more slippery!! Won’t cause diarrhea or make it worse! It often stops it after one dose.
Burdock Root–Blood and liver detoxifier. Good to take periodically to cleanse the blood and liver of environmental toxins, particularly if you have to take prescription medications as these can be very difficult for the liver and kidneys to clear out of the body completely on their own. Also good to take during and after you have been ill, to help flush the toxins from the illness out of the body.
Dandelion Root and Leaves–Blood and kidney detoxifier. Much the same as above for burdock root, only this helps the kidneys more than the liver. Use both together for a very useful cleanse.
Goldenseal Root and/or Leaves–Very powerful herbal anti-biotic, but without the concern of wiping out healthy gut flora/beneficial bacteria. Of course, you need to use your best judgment and discuss all your options with your doctor, but there are often cases where prescription antibiotics may not be necessary. Goldenseal can be an option. The leaves are milder and can be used for a longer period. The root is very powerful and has worked on strong infections for me in the last several years. Caution: Do not use Goldenseal root for more than 3-7 days (the leaves can be used for up to 14) without taking a break of about 5-7 days. It can build up in the liver of some people, and it can also lose effectiveness. Drink a cup of Burdock root tea daily, if you can, during the time you are taking it, or after stopping, to flush your system out from the toxins of the illness and of the goldenseal root.
*Disclaimer–I am not a medical health care provider. I am providing you with my own experience, based on what I have studied and used in my own life and with my own family over the last 25 years. While I have done my own reading and research, I suggest that you do your own, particularly if you have an questions or concerns about anything I offer as a suggestion.
Useful Household Essential Oils
When discussing essential oils, it is important not to confuse them with "scents". Many things are scented, but they are rarely scented with essential oils. Rather, they are usually scented with chemicals, which can be very harmful to our bodies, our pets and the environment. These scents come from a lab and the ingredients don't resemble anything from nature, despite the fact that they are described as smelling like "lavender" or "rose" or whatever.
Essential oils are made from plants. No ifs, ands or buts about it. They are always made from plants and nothing else. No chemicals are ever added to create an essential oil. This makes them much safer to use in your home. However, you do need to know how to use them, what they are good for and which ones to use for what purposes.
Most essential oils come undiluted, in no base oil. I highly recommend you don't put the essential oil directly on your skin, especially on a regular basis. It can be put in a base oil, like apricot, jojoba, or even olive oil for use directly on the skin or as a bath oil. Or for baths, it can be put in baking soda or Epsom salts and then distributed through your bath water.
It's not necessary to have hundreds of essential oils in our homes. I keep four on hand all the time--lavender, tea tree, garlic and peppermint. And occasionally I like to bring in frankincense and clove because they are both very useful. The other four will do the trick for most anything, though, as far as basic household uses.
Peppermint--repels insects in and around home or on skin, soothes sores muscles, opens sinus passages (good for steam baths)
Lavender--repels insects and spiders in and around home or on skin, relieves headaches, eases muscular tension, eases stress, aids sleep, calms children
Tea Tree--anti-bacterial/ antifungal/ anti-viral properties (works great in a cleaning spray to kill germs or in salves), repels insects, healing cuts, soothing rashes
Garlic--anti-bacterial/antifungal/antiviral properties--excellent directly on a newly "tingling" cold sore or minor injury or cut, good in salves, repels insects and other vermin, boosts the immune system
If you would like to make a quick bug barrier for your home for the spring, you can mix castile soap (about 1-2 cups) with 15-20 drops of peppermint oil, 10 drops lavender (if you have it) and maybe even toss in a teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of cloves (or a few drops of cinnamon or clove oil). Put in a squeeze bottle, shake and squeeze a line around the outside perimeter of your home, focusing on windows and doors at ground level. It's not necessary to over every inch. Even when the rain washes this away, it washes into the soil, causing no harm and maintaining a scent that bugs don't like to cross.
An indoor spray barrier you can use on your body as well:
16 oz. bottle of witch hazel, 15 drops lavender, 10 drops peppermint, 5 drops tea tree oil. Put in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray on body before going outside and in corners of home as well as around doors and windows. Repeat about once a week or so.
I am busy putting together a recipe e-book, which will be ready in the next couple of months. It will be filled with tips on how to put together healthy meals and snacks, as well as helpful beauty and healing salves, lotions and recipes for you and your family. Most of these will be easy for even a beginner to do and all will be either vegan or have vegan options. My goal is to teach you to make delicious, healthy food for yourself. It’s fun!
Here is a sample recipe:
1 cup pineapple chunks
1 banana, sliced
1 apple, chopped
1 orange or clementine, peeled and chopped
large handful raisins or dried cranberries
2-3 Tablespoons pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
2-3 Tablespoons hemp seeds
small handful walnut pieces
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. As an option, add a glaze made of 1/4 honey or agave and 1 teaspoon cinnamon OR mix in fresh whipped cream (coconut whipped cream is easy and delicious!)
Can be ordered in advance below. All those who order in advance will get preview tips and recipes each week as I finish the book. $10
In April, I will be teaching a class to help you learn to see and improve your animal empathy. This class will help you to learn how to tune in to the intuitive inner connection we all have with the animals and all of nature, so that you may be able the better understand the animals and pets that are in your life.
Animals are an important part of our lives and our growth as humans and as souls. We are all on a spiritual journey, including the animals. Many times, when we tune in, we see that the animals are able to be of assistance in teaching us about the world and about ourselves. All the world is a teacher, we only have to learn to listen.
It isn't so hard to pay attention to the images and emotions that the animals send to us, once we tune in. It is a matter of opening our hearts and our minds. Once we are really willing to make the connection from our hearts to theirs, and understand how the communication works, it happens automatically. I want to be your guide in this process and show you a few steps and exercises that can facilitate the process.
The class will begin on Saturday, April 19 with a teleclass and will meet one to two more times after that, finishing up on Saturday, May 3, 2014.
To enroll, please click below.
Hello! My name is Angie Webster. I am enthusiastic about sharing Reiki healing and teaching with others! It has amazed me how much Reiki, meditation and spiritual practices have helped heal my life and I want to give back now. I am a Reiki Master Teacher and a freelance writer. You can see my writing at serenityenergyhealing.wordpress.com and on www.reikirays.com as well as Rebelle Society, Elephant Journal and Be You Media.