Shopping Cart
Your Cart is Empty
Quantity:
Subtotal
Taxes
Shipping
Total
There was an error with PayPalClick here to try again
CelebrateThank you for your business!You should be receiving an order confirmation from Paypal shortly.Exit Shopping Cart

     Awen Environments

                                                inspirational living arts

My Blog

Blog

view:  full / summary

The Gift of Sight: The Arrival of Samson

Posted on December 14, 2011 at 10:08 AM Comments comments (1)
 
"The eyes are not responsible when the mind does the seeing."  --Publilius Syrus
 
This story started out as an article about homeopathy and herbs until it evolved into something quite different as I began to realize that the message given to me was an even greater one.  It's the story about how even the greatest of challenges can give us new lessons, insights, and opportunities when we chose to see  them in such a way.  Everything is a matter of perspective. 
 
As life would have it, my cat stories continue with the arrival of a new feral kitten I named Samson, the source of inspiration for this article.  Samson was given his name for the strength of the sun and for his perseverance with everything that he has had to overcome and all he has had to endure.   Samson came around one day for food with severe lacerations to his eye, face and ears due to an attack from another animal.  He was lucky to be alive and even luckier that my brother was able to trap him.  The first time I saw his face up close, I was shocked.  I'd never seen injuries so severe on a live animal.  I really didn't expect to be able to save his eye and at times I questioned whether he would survive. 
 
Ironically, had this unfortunate incident not happened to him, more than likely Samson would have remained homeless throughout the winter and possibly died a painful death.  Now he has a warm place to sleep, food to eat and someone to care for him.  It was a huge price to pay but unfortunately, despite a month of intense treatment and improved nutrition, the wounds to his eye were too severe and his eye will have to be surgically removed tomorrow.  I had so hoped to save his eye, but it was not meant to be and surgery had not seemed to be an option at the outset. 
 
However, sometimes you have to accept the inevitable. While initially the costs associated with such a complex surgery were out of reach, a compassionate, local veterinarian offered his services at a minimal fee, something which was totally unexpected and I am tremendously grateful for.
 
Nevertheless, Samson taught me a tremendous amount about the process of healing eye injuries and the rich symbolism associated with the eye.  It is the eye that detects and collects light from its surrounding environment and regulates the intensity of what it encounters.  The eye is an amazing organ which can sometimes becomes clouded by the mind and dark moments of fear which affect our judgment and outlook on life. 
 
As we approach the Winter Solstice on the 21st of December in the Northern Hemisphere, the day of the longest night, it will be my one year anniversary since I began Awen Environments and my subsequent blog.  So much has occurred not only within my own life, but also in the lives of those close to me and around the world.  I simply cannot look at life in the same manner and I'm grateful for the experiences that have come to pass.  There are so many lessons in adversity and viewing the sometimes seemingly dark moments of life. 
 
The new book  Planet Whispers: Wisdom from Soul Travelers from around the World   was released on December 3rd.  It is a collaboration with writers who have each expressed intimate aspects of their lives and spiritual experiences that have occurred as a result of their relationship with their homes, sacred places, and numerous locations in Nature around the globe.   Each writer has demonstrated their ability to draw from their connection to spirit and the healing powers of the Earth to move beyond personal challenges and even tragedies including the death of a partner, as well as the contemplation of suicide, to the planning and arrival of a newborn child. 
 
Their stories are ones of triumph and grace amidst difficult decisions and sometimes overwhelming obstacles.  Often these writers were traveling to new places to gain a different perspective while learning from the circumstances and experiences of others, as well as cultures different from their own. My own contribution is entitled Lady Muskoka: a Story of Healing and Renewal.   In this chapter I describe some of my mystical experiences at Lake Muskoka in Ontario, Canada where I spent my childhood vacations and I learned to release the ancestral patterns of my family, a place where I found personal challenges and tragedies can be transformed into experiences of learning and rebirth.
 
This blog and my participation in this book began because of a need to write about my experiences, circulate information, as well as discuss my view point about things that I felt to be unjust.   It also began because of the fact I had the time and I decided to make use of a challenging personal situation in a creative way.  There were occasions I questioned what I wrote, but I perservered beyond the self doubts and fears of my own making.  The Universe has interesting ways of pointing you in the right direction.  If you trust your inner guidance, the path will be revealed to you and seeming obstacles can be transformed.  While writing has always been something I enjoy, it eventually became a tool of transformation for me.
 
I have had over 11,000 visitors to my website in less than year with readers from around the world.  To my surprise, my largest supporting group is from the Ukraine and Russia, the lands of my ancestors;  the place where my father was born and my grandparents died due to political atrocities.  I do not believe this to be an accident as I know in my heart, the people of these lands are connecting to my writing in a heartfelt way, resonating with words that go beyond intellectual or rational explanation. I have also had a large following within my hometown of Lancaster, NY where I have come to terms with and learned to utilize, much of my past experiences.  Thank you to all  the many people both locally and from around the globe who have been visiting my site and reading my blog.  I hope that you will continue to read my stories and spread my messages of awakening around this planet.
 
Everywhere I see stories and challenges that people have had to go through, and yet inevitably good appears to come from these seemingly insurmountable obstacles and I believe ultimately to those situations that seem extreme or hopeless. 
 
The Occupy Movement has spread throughout this country and to other lands inspiring people everywhere to speak up for what they believe to be injustices within the status quo.  While many have endured violence, ridicule, and difficult circumstances, people have been inspired globally to stand up for what they believe in. 
 
My own family knows all too well the price of war and speaking up against intolerable circumstances,  and so I honor and support those who have the courage to stand up for the rights of others and for the wellbeing of this planet. Voices have  been given to those who are afraid to speak and people are listening. I have faith that good will eventually come out of all of the chaos and uncertainty of these times. 
 
"Tears are Nature's lotion for the eyes.  The eyes see better for being washed by them."  --Christian Nevel Bovee
 
There are people all around the globe who are currently fighting for a new paradigm, a new way of being that is in harmony with all of Nature and this planet.  Their tools are their words, their actions, and their indomitable will and spirit to bring change to this world.  And watch for the angels, for they are all among us in various guises.
 
This Winter Solstice, be reminded that miracles can come from adverse situations and give thanks for the many blessings you have in your life.  The blessings are there, you just need to look for them and discover the gift of sight
 
Winter Solstice Blessings!
 
For a beautiful perspective on the  Winter Solstice,  please view Minnie Kansman's article on this very yin (feminine) time of year.
 
 
Copyright 2011 Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.
 
 
 
 

Eight Days with Aslan: a Lesson on Nutrition

Posted on November 10, 2011 at 1:50 PM Comments comments (11)
Aslan  (Turkish for lion) came to me in the Fall of 2008.  He was part of a late litter of kittens that had been born during the  Autumnal Equinox to a feral mother that I had been feeding.  I named him Aslan because he looked like a tiny lion and I wanted him to have a strong name like the character in The Chronicles of Narnia  novels by C.S. Lewis.
 
I knew that if I didn't trap these feral kittens soon and take them in, they probably wouldn't stand a chance during the harsh winter in Western New York that was forthcoming (click picture to view video on feral cats).   
 
I had Olivia, Aslan's mother spayed and took in the three kittens which I eventually all neutered through a local program called Feral Cat Focus  which seeks to help these homeless feral cats.  Their focus is on educating the public as to the problems that unneutered animals can create and provide a solution to controlling the numbers of homeless abandoned cats that create feral colonies.  They also want people to recognize that while some may see these cats as a nuisance, these homeless animals are in fact, providing a service to their local areas by keeping down the rodent populations.  Feral cats should also be treated humanely and not cruelly disposed of.  The key to these overpopulation problems lies with the former irresponsible owners, not with the animals themselves who are merely trying to survive given the circumstances they've been dealt.
 
I knew the timing of these kittens' birth was significant because the equinoxes are times of balance between light and darkness here on Earth, though it would take me 3 years to find out the message behind Aslan's coming into my lifeDespite his name and being feral, Aslan was always more sensitive and on the fragile side.  Because of his soft and particular nature he became very special to me.  He was also incredibly handsome with distinctive slanting eyes that made him look very exotic.  I've noticed this fragile nature quite frequently with the long haired cats.  There must be something in their bloodline that causes them to not be as hardy as other feral cats.  I'm absolutely certain now that Aslan would not have made it through that first winter, had I not taken him in.
 
One week after the tragic Zanesville massacre in Ohio and three days after I posted my  last blog  in which I made references to C.S. Lewis' character Aslan, my own Aslan collapsed suddenly.  There had been no real warning, except that I'd noticed his disinterest in food a few days before.  A trip to the vet confirmed that Aslan was severely anemic and possibly in the throes of feline leukemia.  I was devastated when the vet told me there was nothing that could be done except start him on a program of corticosteroids. 
 
Reluctantly I submitted Aslan to one injection, but after reading later about how harmful these treatments can be, I decided to discontinue the medication learning that it could essentially destroy an already weakened immune system.  I knew I was taking a risk, but I felt he would be better off if I discontinued in the beginning, rather than subjecting him to the daily pills only to find his immune system deteriorating as a result.
 
I've come to realize that conventional medicine's answer to many problems where there don't seem to be solutions, is to use corticosteroids.  They temporarily give a boost to the person or animal's immune system like a jump start and seemingly alleviate problematic symptoms, but in the long run they only further weaken an already compromised body. 
 
Holistic veterinarian Dr. Pitcairn discusses feline leukemia and other illnesses in his book, "Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats."  He proposes improving the diet of your pet and feeding more raw foods including meats and vegetables, along with various nutritional supplements, as well as using cell salts  and homeopathy.  I knew that focusing on Aslan's nutrition was the only way to go which would hopefully strengthen his immune system and help him overcome his illness.
 
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated....I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man." ---Mahatma Gandhi
 
Interestingly, Aslan's collapse coincided with my reading of Jane Goodall's latest book "Harvest for Hope"  which discusses the importance of making better choices regarding the foods that we eat in order to improve our own health, help save the planet, as well as support and demand more humane treatment of farm animals.  I knew that this book was no coincidence. 
 
Many years ago, while attending a retreat at Farm Sanctuary  in Watkins Glen, NY I learned the awful truth about the corporate farm industry.  It's not a pretty sight and it was the reason I became a vegetarian again and have remained so for almost 20 years.  I simply could not eat any more animals that had suffered and endured under deplorable conditions.  The images stayed in my mind. Given what I eventually learned about energy, I came to realize that the consciousness of these abused animals would become my own and I am far too sensitive.  I also knew that all the toxic food (including ground up cattle) that was being fed to farm animals in conjunction with all the antibiotics they were injected with, ultimately was no way to treat my own body.  The same applies to our pets.
 
"The question is not, 'Can they reason?' nor, 'Can they talk?' but rather, 'Can they suffer?'" ---Jeremy Bentham (philosopher and animal rights activist)
 
Despite all that I learned so many years ago, I still was astounded at the truth and insights that Jane presented in her book regarding the food industry.  There was so much I had no idea of regarding GMO's and decisions based purely on profit by corporate interests, despite the devastating effects they would have on the human (and animal) population, as well as the destruction of this planet. 
 
If you read Jane's book, you will see that there are seemingly no limits as to what a corporation will do for the pure sake of profit.  Her book is a huge wake up call for all of us.  If we don't heed her warnings, it may be too late for us all, as life as we know it will cease to exist.  We simply do not have inexhaustible supplies of fresh water and cannot afford to further contaminate this planet with all the chemicals and animal sewage generated from factory farming (click picture above for information regarding your turkey dinner).
 
While I'm certain that Aslan carried inherited blood deficiencies within his body from the feral colony that he originated from, I'm fairly confident that had he been given a better, more healthy diet, he probably would have lived a much longer life.  Despite all I know about the farm and food industry, due to my financial constraints and the amount of animals I have rescued, I have been unable to provide the highest quality of food that I would like. When your responsibilities are high and you're doing what you can to save the animals that no one wants, you're lucky just to provide them with food and care.  
 
Nevertheless, Aslan's message to me was a strong one and I realized that all the commercial dry foods out there are not the best for our animal's health despite their convenience.  Cats and dogs simply aren't designed to eat dry food.  Most are filled with chemicals and offals from the meat industry from animals that have lived miserable lives.  And that carries forth into the bodies of your pets lowering their immune systems and manifesting the myriad of diseases they are afflicted with today.
 
Aslan's collapse, Jane's book and the subsequent things I learned during his last 8 days, taught me a valuable lesson.  It was time for me to change my own diet and that of my animals in whatever way I could manage because if I didn't, more than likely there would be more animal deaths to follow and possibly my own health could suffer. 
 
I immediately immersed myself in all my books about plant medicine, homeopathy and flower essences in order to turn Aslan's health around.  One of my favorite books is Juliette Bairacli de Levy's  "Common Herbs for Natural Health" in which she describes the medicinal uses of many plants found growing wild in our own backyards.  Juliette spent a lifetime working with medicinal plants and creating the holistic veterinary movement during which she wrote many books including a wonderful one for farm animals called "The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable" which is filled with useful information which can also be applied to our domestic pets.
 
I learned that I had many plants (and vegetables) easily accessible that were known to stimulate and purify the blood and counteract anemia including parsley, chives, lambs quarters (local wild plant), nettles, dandelion as well as strawberries and pumpkin.  Chamomile flower, which surprised me, is not only calming but also an anti-inflammatory.  I felt it would be a perfect replacement for the steroids because they would naturally realign the body.  I began making teas of various plants to give Aslan throughout the day.  I also took several of the nutritional plant foods and combined them with liver and fish oil or sardines which I pureed and syringed several times daily. I alternated with various cell salts, flower essences and the homeopathic remedy pulsatilla which I felt was appropriate because of Aslan's sensitive disposition.
 
While Aslan had initially become very cold and lifeless, gradually the warmth returned to his body and life was restored to his eyes.  He was once again able to urinate on his own and he began drinking water again.  He would actually jump up on my bed and sit there looking all regal and pleased as can be.  I became truly hopeful that he might recover fully.  However, despite his miraculous recovery, he still was not eating on his own and on the 7th day he collapsed yet again.  Apparently, his condition had progressed too far to be reversed permanently.  
 
I was devastated at facing his impending loss once again.  Unfortunately, often by the time you notice something wrong with your cat, it's usually too late.  Had I caught his condition earlier, the outcome might have been different.  Though I made several more attempts to feed Aslan, I could tell it was time to let him make his transition.
 
So, on that last day I kept Aslan comfortable and supplied with fluids as I watched his awareness diminish and felt him getting ready to leave his body. I know that I could have had him euthanized the day of the vet's appointment, but I will never regret the decision I made to try and help him recover both for the amount of knowledge that I gained and also the valuable, quality time that I spent with Aslan during the last 8 days of his life.  I know we developed a special heart connection that could only have been established under such extreme circumstances given the many animals in my care.  This last week was for Aslan and I will never forget his will to live, his resilience and the loving companionship that he gave me right until the end.  His passing was peaceful in his own home and on his own terms.
 
Many years ago, an Abysinnian cat I had rescued and named Simba was diagnosed with a heart condition and asthma despite his young age of 3.  I knew nothing at the time of alternative methods of healing and so I followed the vet's recommendation to give him heart medication and corticosteroids.  He took constant daily medication and still was prone to bouts of asthma attacks.  The day he suffered a severe attack, I struggled to get his medication in his mouth and I'll never forget the look on his face-- it was as if to tell me "no more."  I rushed him to the emergency clinic only to have them tell me they had placed him in an oxygen tent and a decision had to be made immediately to end his life. 
 
The last time I saw Simba, he was struggling to breathe with a forlorn look of fear in his eyes for the unfamiliar surroundings.  I always regretted my choices and wished I had known then what I know now because I would have done things very differently.  And while the final outcome would have been the same, I know the quality of Simba's life (and death) would have been significantly better.  This time I had the opportunity to make the right choice for Aslan.  Different cats, but the similarities between their personalities and the situations were there.
 
At the time of this writing, Olivia (Aslan's mother) and his brother and sister, Indigo and Violet, remain in good health.  In memory of Aslan born feral September 22, 2008 died a member of our family November 2, 2011.  You are in our hearts... 
 
Thanksgiving Blessings to All!
 
2011 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.

Animals: Our Divine Companions and Co-Creators

Posted on October 22, 2011 at 10:42 AM Comments comments (2)
I seem to always be inspired to write when something tragic happens whether in my own life or something I've heard about.  This article is no exception.  As I write these words the tears well up again as I recall the tragedy that occurred this week.  I feel a tremendous sense of loss concerning the  massacre of exotic wild animals  that happened in Zanesville, Ohio, something that goes beyond anything personal that I can attribute it too. 
 
We may never know what possessed Terry Thompson to release the animals in his care or take his own life, but I would like to believe that, overwhelmed with his responsibilities both financial and physical, he could only give these animals one last chance at freedom.  I believe the burden of caring for so many exotic animals became too much and he could see no way out of his dilemma.  I'm certain that he made mistakes, but I can only hope that a greater good can come out of all of this and that some have chosen to die so that others may live. For now the hearts and spirits of these animals are free from the mental, physical and emotional constraints that man had put on them for so much of their lives.
 
I am reminded of these words from one of my favorite children's movie:
 
"When a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards." 
-- Aslan from the movie The Chronicles of Narnia
 
The traitors are those who profit from animal misery in any industry.  I think that events like the story in Zanesville are perhaps the only thing that will wake up humanity to the suffering and plight of animals in captivity.  This story is tragic in so many ways because these animals were either bred in captivity or taken from their homes in the wild in order to be someone's playthings.  Terry had apparently found most of these exotic animals at auctions and was willing to give them a home.  It was a daunting task that should be required of no man.  People had tired of their responsibilities and so left them to another.  It's a familiar story whether its a wild lion or a domestic cat. In the end, the last caretaker of these magnificent animals freed them into an unfamiliar world and took his own life out of desperation. 
 
Though believed to be based on public safety, no doubt the decisions made during the 18th and 19th of October were based on fear, control and a lack of understanding of the value of creatures of this magnitude. Of course there was danger to the public at large, but couldn't the town have been issued warnings to stay inside until these animals had been properly tranquilized and transferred to other centers?
 
To senselessly kill a majestic lion or rare bengal tiger or a beautiful wolf is unfathomable to me.  The fact that those who shot these creatures appeared to sense no remorse and did not question authority is so alien to my own philosophy of life and the respect that I hold for these creatures.  This event is truly a sad statement of the lack of emotions and apathy found within our society with regard to animals in general. Or perhaps some of those who so willingly shot these magnificent beings were filled with excitement similar to those who mercilessly kill lions and other animals in canned hunting situations.  What thrill could there possibly be in taking down such a magnificent being?  I will never understand. 
 
While there's no question that there are many, many people who truly honor and value animal life, still so many animals are held in tortuous captivity around the world for entertainment at the whim of man, as well as kept in unhealthy and inhumane conditions to supply our countries with food, not to mention all the domestic animals that get abandoned on a daily basis around the world when they become a burden.  A perfect example are the streets of the Ukraine where a culling is now being done of homeless cats and dogs that are being hoarded into  traveling crematoriums  where the animals are burned alive in order to clean the streets and prepare for a 2012 soccer tournament.  I can only imagine that the general population does not agree with this government action and is appalled at what is taking place.
 
This weeks tragedy came right after I had completed an amazing book called  Mystery of the White Lions, Children of the Sun God  by Linda Tucker who lives in South Africa and has created the Global White Lions Protection Trust to protect and restore these majestic rare beings to their sacred homelands in Timbavati.  The book is filled with insights into the origins of man, geomancy relating to the sacredness of the land along the Nile River reaching from Timbavati to Egypt, and the lessons that the sacred white lions have come to teach us as messengers of a time and a knowledge long forgotten.  After reading this book and hearing of the tragedy in Ohio, I was even more profoundly affected by this senseless loss and the necessity for all of us to change our relationship with the Animal Kingdom before it is too late.
 
I truly believe that if we all knew what took place within animal shelters, factory farms, circuses, etc. and within other countries we would all make different choices in our lives with regard to the food that we eat, what we chose as entertainment and whether or not we'll carelessly drop off those kittens and puppies that were so cute when they were born, but we unfortunately could not find a home for.  I have written before of the plight of domestic cats left to their own demise who eventually create overpopulated feral colonies.  It is truly a sad sight to see with countless exhausted females constantly breeding and many late born kittens faced with a brutal winters in areas like Western New York.
 
For many of us, animals are our companions.  They comfort us during times of stress or sorrow and they also take on many of the emotional issues we are challenged with, often taking on the illnesses or diseases that their human companions have acquired.  Cats, for example, experience all the diseases that humans do.  I am told that one local holistic veterinarian in our area is overwhelmed with the sick animals that are brought to her and simply cannot keep up with the demand.  What are these animals telling us?  The Earth is sick, our animals are sick and so is much of mankind.  Animals have been put on this Earth to be our companions, to help us and guide us through so many things.  They are not put here to solely be our food, our toys or our beasts of burden. 
 
There have been many references to seemingly unusual relationships that humans have had with animals both recent and throughout history.  Is the archetypal feral child of the story Tarzan who was raised by apes so implausible?  There have been many true stories about abandoned children that have been raised by animals in the wild.  Perhaps it's time we give animals a different perspective and not see them as creatures over whom we have dominion and are inferior to us, but as beings with similar emotions, instincts and wisdom to that of humans.  I believe we have much to learn from all of them.  Kevin Richardson's groundbreaking work as  The Lion Whisperer  in South Africa is a perfect example of the possibilities that exist when man collaborates with animals.  His work with families of lions goes beyond what we as humans have thought to be possible.  His love for animals began with the tiniest of creatures when he was a child.
 
This relationship that we have with the animals starts at the ground up from the tiniest of creatures in our own backyard to the king of the beasts, the lion in the wild lands of Africa.  It also includes the food that we eat.  If everyone were to see the many forms of animal suffering, perhaps they would think twice about where they buy their food or using rat poison or spraying their lawn with chemicals. Secondary poisoning  is a significant cause of health problems and/or death of cats and dogs who have come into contact with poisoned mice, birds and other animals.  Not to mention the birds of prey and other predators it can kill.  I have witnessed one of my cats go through an agonizing death due to what I suspected was poisoning from a neighboring property and believe me it is heartbreaking to watch.  No animal should have to die that way.
 
Over the summer I had the opportunity to witness the suffering of a mouse that had found its way in my gardens.  It kept running in circles around my flowers and never strayed far from me so I knew it had somehow come into contact with some form of poison, probably pesticides from a neighboring property.  I decided to catch him so that he wouldn't be eaten by other wildlife, thereby creating secondary poisoning. 
 
I never thought I would witness what I did during the last 6 days of this creature's life.  Because I value the life of all creatures and do not kill anything, I gave this mouse a remedy for poisoning hoping it might turn the situation around.  Although initially I was hopeful, eventually the poison ran its full course and the little mouse went through convulsions arching its head and neck and falling over constantly.  It was truly a heartbreaking sight to see because I knew this little guy was trying to live.  In the end all I could do was give him a safe place to die and some kindness, which most people wouldn't have done.  As a wildlife rehabilitator for many years, I do not make judgments as to what animal life has more value.
 
Until we realize that all of our choices and actions have consequences, many times unseen and unknown, we will continue to have suffering on this planet by those very creatures who are here to help balance the energies of the planet, be our companions and bring beauty and wisdom into this world.
 
"Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again."
--excerpt from "The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe" based on C.S. Lewis' book "The Chronicles of Narnia" 
 
Blessings of Awareness from the Animal Kingdom!
 
This article is dedicated to the 49 animals that lost their lives in Zanesville, Ohio, USA between October 18-19, 2011.  May their deaths not have been in vain and may their spirits roam free once again in their homelands.
 
Copyright 2011 Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.
 
 
 
 

Autumn Whisperings from the Trees

Posted on September 23, 2011 at 9:56 AM Comments comments (1)
 
"The longest journey is the journey inward."  --Dag Hammarskjold
 
Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are now experiencing the incredible beauty of Autumn and the time of balance between light and darkness during the Equinox.  Although I love all the seasons here in Western New York, Autumn is my favorite time of year. 
 
While some see this as a time of flowers dying and dread the inevitable winter that follows, I see it as a time of tremendous vibrancy and inspiration.  The trees are so rich with color, the air is crisp and it is time for the harvest of fresh apples, pumpkins and other nutritious foods.  The harvest is also a time to give thanks for all the blessings that are bestowed upon us each and every day, however small or insignificant they may seem.
 
Autumn always causes me to think of not only the beauty of trees, but also all that they do for us in the unseen realms.  As the Austrian environmentalist and visionary  Viktor Schauberger  once wrote "a society that destroys it's trees, ultimately destroys itself."  Autumn is usually when I see people cutting down their trees because they fear them falling and creating damage to their home or because they cannot be bothered with raking all the leaves.  This always saddens me.  If only they knew that these trees are absorbing much of the contamination from chemical pesticides in the soil, absorbing excessive water and transpiring it for drier periods, as well as purifying the air that we breathe of toxins.  They also help protect the land and provide windbreaks, as well as habitat for animals and birds.
 
Many of you know that I have a passion for trees and several years ago I felt it necessary to be their messenger after we'd experienced a tremendous premature storm in this area which devastated many of them.  While the natural disasters continue around the world, I feel it's extremely important not only to respect and understand the value of our trees, but also spend time planting many more and improving our relationship with them. 
 
The trees are the lungs of the Earth and their leaves hold the imprints and DNA of the trees they originated from. Trees help maintain the Earth grids (channels or meridians of energy) holding the memory of the water and information that flows through them.  When they are lost, the land becomes unbalanced and stress is placed on the remaining landscape.  Some people don't seem to realize that if they are already experiencing health problems and/or imbalances on their property, eliminating their trees will exacerbate the situation (unless of course the trees are, in fact, diseased and dangerous).
 
Those leaves which many dread raking and children love playing in, are also Nature's blankets for the winter which provide nourishment for the surrounding soil and winter homes for the tiny creatures which are so necessary for a balanced ecosystem.  Shredding, rather than raking Autumn leaves can supply a fertile mulch for your gardens and trees.  The vibrant colors that they display also provide the vibrations of red, orange and yellow which activate our lower root and sacral chakras (energy centers in the body), as well as the solar plexus where our emotions are held.  The beauty which we see all around us activates energy within our body to prepare us for the coming months of darkness and more inward times. 
 
The vegetables that we harvest in Autumn also provide us with not only their nutrition, but also the healing vibration of the the earth, the stars and the planets, and the loving care that we have put into growing them.  Although a garden is much more work than a visit to the grocery store, the fruits and vegetables that you grow have much greater value physically and energetically than those which are grown in a factory farm environment and therefore much less is needed to nourish your body, raise your own vibration and improve your health.  Something which is vitally important during times of upheaval and stress.
 
Our modern world has gotten so removed from the natural cycle of things and forgotten so much of what our ancestors once knew as inhabitants of this planet. There is so much that we take for granted because so many of us have lived a life of convenience never seeing where our food comes from.  But live in an impoverished environment where water is scarce and you learn to value the food that sustains you.
 
It is that connection to the Earth that heals us and the care that we put into our daily activities that makes a difference.  In order to heal ourselves, we must first begin with our own bodies and the relationship that we hold with this planet.  Only then can we truly overcome the myriad of diseases that plague our society.  When we change our relationship to the plants and trees on this planet, we heal ourselves because ultimately we cannot live without them. 
 
There are so many things that can be done with leaves in addition to using them to fertilize your soil.  Several years ago knowing that we would eventually be leaving our home which included a special sycamore tree named Gandalf that my son and I had planted, I decided to make an intention box out of the leaves so that we could at least carry the memory and some of the tree's vibration with us to our new home.  Sycamore tree leaves are unusual in that they are quite large.  Some can be almost 10-12" in diameter and they also feel and look quite leathery.  I used sycamore in combination with brightly colored leaves from many different trees.  They all make a beautiful intention or prayer box. 
 
All you have to do is glue the leaves to the outside of an old shoe box with decoupage glue, as well as pictures and words of your dreams or what is important to you on the inside.  When I made my box it was quite an experience of self discovery as I learned to trust the process of creation.  Make sure you use a box with a top that comes off because otherwise the opening and closing will cause the leaves to crack. It's okay if it doesn't turn out perfect.  That in itself is a message because we're all still getting clear about what exactly it is we want out of life and we're learning what not to do the next time around.
 
This special box which I will always cherish became imbued with the energy of our sycamore tree and also the ideas and dreams that I hoped to manifest in the world.  As the tree grows and becomes stronger, so too will the dreams contained within your intention box.  It becomes a very powerful source of inspiration as you continuously fill the box with pictures of your dreams both big and small, as well as your prayers and other special items holding symbolism for you.  Open the box periodically to review the items and pictures to see what has come to pass.  Sonia Chocquette talks more in depth about this process in her book, Your Heart's Desire: Instructions for Creating the Life you Really Want.  Creating an intention box is a very creative inward process of manifesting your dreams into reality for it all starts with your ideas and having clarity of vision.
 
One thing I've learned in this process of focusing your intentions is that things manifest when you least expect it and sometimes in the most unusual ways.  They also occur in universal or cosmic time not our time, so be patient and trust.  Everything always happens at it's appropriate time.  And if it doesn't,
 
"Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck." -- The Dalai Lama
 
Equinox Blessings!
 
Copyright 2011 Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Creating for Self: Honoring Nature and the Creator

Posted on August 28, 2011 at 11:23 AM Comments comments (1)
"We do not see Nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts." -- William Hazlitt
 
For so many years I had been creating my own sacred spaces sometimes gardening to the point of obsession, never completely realizing why I was being guided to do what I was.  That was, until I came upon the  The Ringing Cedars  a very controversial series of books written by the Russian author Vladimir Megre' who tells the profound stories of Anastasia, a young woman now in her 40's who lives as a recluse in the pristine Siberian Taiga. Free from outside influences, she accesses the information of her ancestors through her grand and great grandfathers, Nature and the universal mind. 
 
Although some of what she speaks of, I was familiar with or had experienced, much more is so profound and beyond much of what we have been taught as part of the civilized world.  Being of half Russian/Ukranian descent, the rich traditions and wisdoms of the Rus Vedic culture which Anastasia speaks of, struck a chord with me.  I felt the last 10 years of my life had been an intense re-connection with this ancient core of knowledge passed on to me by my ancestors via my DNA and the realm of spirit, as well as my work with the Earth, and sometimes merely through observation.
 
One of Anastasia's main focuses is the creation of a "family or kin domain" in which individuals create a "space of love" filled with fruit trees and Siberian cedars that they have planted, as well as vegetables and flowers that bestow healing and blessings upon the entire family.  She tells Vladimir that even the pollen from the flowers infuses healing energy as you breathe their fragrance.  As the land matures, this healing energy of the family domain brings blessings for the descendants as the land evolves and the richness and power of the intentions become manifest. The land becomes a source of healing for countless generations and ultimately for this entire planet, as this concept expands affecting neighboring properties.
 
During the end of July I revisited a former home where I had created extensive gardens and a special place of sacredness while we lived on the land.  There had been layers upon layers of flowers growing there surrounded by vast amounts of rocks to raise the vibration of the land. Those who had once visited, told me they could immediately sense the feeling of peace I had strived to create there.
 
I could never have prepared myself for what my son and I both saw after well over a year of having been gone.  It brought such feelings of devastation for me to see gardens that had once brought me peace and joy be so overgrown, pillaged and destroyed-- a mere remnant of what once was.  I felt the spirit of the land had been taken right out as many flowers had simply disappeared due to neglect and much had recently been destroyed by the current residents.  This was the second time this had happened to something I spent several years of my life painstakingly creating.  The previous time it had happened after leaving an unhealthy relationship.  It wasn't any easier to accept the second time around especially when it came as more of a surprise.
 
I was brought to this former home once again by the owner who had asked me if I wanted to salvage anything before things were changed because the current residents had other plans.  I was overwhelmed with the task and part of me didn't even want to return to this place that had been filled with negative events and memories, despite my constant attempts to establish harmony and bring healing to the land.  Nevertheless, I felt it was something I had to do for myself and also the countless numbers of flowers I had left there, in order for me to bring closure to my relationship with this property.  It obviously hadn't happened last year when we left.
 
As it seemed I was endlessly digging up plants and hauling away rocks, I realized that I had created these gardens to help me through a particularly stressful transition time in my son's life and my own, as well as to honor Nature and the Creator.  I also knew the land was in desperate need of balancing.  While I know now I could have done things differently, I had ultimately transformed the landscape for people who did not understand the value of my work or the inherent energies imbedded in this property, nor were they willing to put forth the effort necessary to maintain what I had created after we left. 
 
It is for this reason that the sacredness which I had intended, had also left when I left.  While the imprint of creation and my intentions will forever be imbued in that land, the underlying layers of energies from my predecessors had taken over, as well as those who came after me.  It had been a severely problematic property from the start, despite the last owner having been devoutly religious and living there until she was well over 100 years of age. 
 
In the end I realized that the house should never, in fact, have been built on that location because of the water veins running below it and the inherent energies that came with it.  In essence it was once a very sacred piece of land on an aquifer which had apparently at some point been misused during its history.  Water veins hold very powerful energies that are constantly in flux and affected by neighboring properties.  Only people of the highest of intentions could properly keep such a house balanced and free from problems. A better use would be as a source of prayer and meditation, but not as a private residence involved with everyday living.
 
Many times while living in that home, I had been told by teachers, colleagues and family to leave because the energies were too difficult, but still I persisted until one day I had reached the end of my tolerance when we lost another beloved pet and I knew it was time to go.  I guess I had to learn the lessons the hard way but the process was not an easy one.  Revisiting this place and seeing what had come to pass, was an even greater lesson.  A geomancy teacher had once told me that sometimes there is land that shouldn't be messed with because the negative imprints are too strong.  Now I better understand what he meant.
 
I have the ability to 'create a silk purse out of a sow's ear'.  Sometimes this is a great blessing and sometimes, well, I question why I have this gift at all.  You cannot create for someone who is not at the level of your awareness and expect them to uphold your vision.  And so I realized that in the midst of dismantling some of my life's work, I had in fact created to acknowledge my relationship with Nature and the Creator.  I had created to heal my emotions and honor the divine aspect of my self by fulfilling the needs of my soul-- not to gain awe or acknowledgement from any other human.  I also knew intuitively that I needed to bring the grounding energies of rocks and healing medicinal plants to this land.  It was, however, a huge lesson for me in the end.
 
During those weeks of dismantling the gardens, I was also reminded of when the Dalai Lama came with several monks to the Buffalo, NY region many years ago.  During that visit the monks ceremoniously dismantled a sand mandala  that they had painstakingly created.  The colored sands rich with symbolism were then dispersed in a Western NY creek as part of their healing ceremony so that the prayers and intentions would drift along the creek, into other waterways and ultimately all over the world. 
 
It is hard for a Westerner to understand this sacred act of creating something so beautiful only to ultimately destroy it, but now I do.  It is the intention of the creation that heals people and the Earth and it does not matter if what man has created ceases to exist in one particular form because the energy remains somewhere in the universe.  The creator(s) of this work of art simultaneously receives healing from such a very inward meditative process.  For this reason it is extremely important to be unattached to our creations for we never know the ultimate lesson/plan in store for us and this planet. In the case of the mandala, it is the tiny blessed grains of sand that reach out to eternity going well beyond what one individual painting could possibly touch had the work of art remained intact. 
 
We can never know what will become of our creations whether it is a house that we build, a garden that we plant or a piece of artwork that we envision.  We have no control over what others may do and the lessons they may need to learn or even what Nature has in store for this planet.  What we can control, however, is the intentions of our actions and the love and care that we put into our work for that will forever remain in the records of time and be acknowledged by the Creator.  In essence, we create to heal ourselves because it is through that process of testing our boundaries, exploration and experiencing the beauty and oneness with Nature and all forms of creativity that we become truly alive.  And unless it is Mother Nature, those who have destroyed what another has created will undoubtedly learn their own lessons in time.
 
As I see the neglected flowers and shrubs recovering, my new garden taking form and my butterfly bush once again in bloom, I realize that this was all meant to be-- the lessons of creation and the opportunity to create anew.  These plants will form part of our new sacred space that is slowly evolving.  Who knows how powerful it will be in 5 or 10 years or even generations from now, what healing gifts it will offer and what I will have learned in the process...
 
With Blessings of Creation!
 
2011 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Death and Dying: Hope's Final Chapter

Posted on July 23, 2011 at 12:25 PM Comments comments (6)
Our little cat Hope continued to be my teacher throughout her short time with us.   As I have written in previous  posts, Hope came to us under difficult circumstances and we both faced these hurdles together.  Her strong personality and unusual health challenges presented a new level of learning for me in terms of animal illnesses, as well as how to cope with them.
 
Hope's dying was no different.  Throughout the time she was with us, I made three appointments with our vet to have her put to sleep and all three times I cancelled and was glad I did.  The first two times she bounced back and the last time, I just felt she needed to die in her own time. 
 
In the US and other developed countries, we live in a world that shies away from death.  We really don't want to see the process, particularly with our animals.  In the wild, animals die under a variety of circumstances-- some slowly and some quickly but it's always a natural part of the cycle of life.  In the human world, we have a tendency to put our animal companions to sleep when they start showing signs of aging rather than letting them go through the dying process. 
 
My experiences with both wild and domestic animals has taught me how important it is for an animal to chose its own time to die.  My vegetable garden has also taught me that in the dying of certain plants used as green manure in a garden, other plants live and grow stronger because  they nurture the soil and the system as a whole.  The plants that die and create fertile soil are equally as important as those that eventually bear food.  What's missing sometimes is our understanding of this process of timing and collaboration, combined with our judgment of what death is.  Death is simply transformation into another form of energy and what's often lacking is our understanding as to how it all fits into the overall scheme of things.
 
"Despise not death, but welcome it, Nature wills it like all else." 
   --Marcus Aurelius
 
A friend of mine once said to me "dying is alot of work," as we were discussing the issue of when is it appropriate to euthanize a pet.  Having experienced many of her beloved animals passing, her view was that while it's sometimes stressful to experience, it was nevertheless important not to interfere and to do everything you can to make them comfortable while they're doing their final work.  Despite the fact it's emotionally very difficult for me to view an animal dying and it never gets any easier, I agree with her.  I also don't advocate pain, but I think it's important to go through all the steps of letting go.  Our animal companions need to go through their dying process and we need to go through it with them.  Euthanasia is the simple, relatively painless, way out for both of us.
 
 
One day it became clear to me that, although she was still eating, Hope was beginning to leave.  It was a slow, steady process and although several times I questioned my decision to let her die in her own way, I stayed the course with her.  I remembered my own words written in my last post about the Garden of Life.  I simply couldn't second guess myself because intuitively I felt we both had to go through this process toward completion. What I experienced during those nine days was a wide range of emotions for me and a series of changes within Hope. 
 
Due to her Alzheimer's condition during the last few months, Hope's personality had changed significantly and she would go through her boughts of being disoriented and unfamiliar with me as well as the other cats.  She had also lost her affectionate personality which was so sad.  Her mind was elsewhere and sometimes she would wander aimlessly.  I felt she was already detaching from the confines of her body and she would spend most of her time sleeping.
 
As I saw Hope go through various different phases during the process of her leaving, I too, experienced a wide range of emotions.  I thought of the parallels between our lives.  Although the time Hope had come to live with us was just 11 months, there was such a similarity between our lives.  There was no doubt Hope had been through alot when she came to us and despite that, she was one of the sweetest cats we've had.  It was as though whatever humans had done to her, she still had faith in them.  And whatever challenges she was presented with, she remained resilient-- determined to overcome yet the latest of health issues.  Although I hadn't experienced the health issues she had, I had experienced a tremendous amount of personal and professional challenges over the last 10 years and regardless of what I was hit with, I pressed on determined to live my life authentically by staying true to myself and my beliefs.  And with Hope's passing, I felt a new chapter of my life beginning.
 
I was also reminded of another death I experienced with an injured songbird that had died almost exactly 10 years ago.  The process was the same.  I would see and feel the energy of the bird move through its body, stretching its wings to fly seemingly to pass at that moment and fly one last time.  But to my surprise, the bird would then pull in its wings and continue breathing.  This process went on for many hours until finally it took it's last flight, spreading it's wings and then its spirit was gone.  At the time this happened, I had no idea that a tiny bird could go through such an elaborate process of dying, but each time I could feel the spirit's pull on the body that kept it here on earth.  Hope went through this same process.  I could see her life force moving through the lower chakras of her body which held her grounded on earth and she would move her legs as if to run away.  This process went on for several days alternating with vocalizations and periods of deep sleep despite the fact she had stopped meowing for several months. 
 
Several years ago while talking to a friend about the last few weeks of her father's life in Hospice, she told me that her father relived his memories of WWII during that time.  She was astounded by his ramblings because he had never spoken about much of these experiences during his lifetime.  It had all been held within the confines of his body and mind.  I felt that during the death process he was releasing much of these painful memories and this in effect was releasing imprints held within his body.  I believe animals experience this same thing.
 
There were many nights I thought (and hoped) Hope would pass, but she didn't and I questioned what I had allowed her to go through.  Euthanasia would have been much quicker and yet, I truly believed she needed to complete this part of her journey.  Hope had had such a wide range of health problems.  I was convinced that in going through the death process, she would in essence be bringing to completion all the issues she had been resolving here on Earth during this lifetime. 
 
I had been working with homeopathy to release the imprints held within her body and there had been many.  Vibrational medicine is the key to the lock of that which is held deep inside all of us.  I've never had an animal resonate with and be helped by so many different homeopathic remedies as with Hope, each one releasing a different level of imbalance from her body.  I also used a wide range of flower essences with Hope, particularly in her final moments.  Because Hope did not want to be touched at one point, I gave her a high potency of Arnica (leopard's bane) to help with her transition.  When she shifted again and allowed me to pet her but became restless and no longer ate, I changed over to Arsenicum Album.  Both of these remedies in high potencies can help ease the transition of a dying animal's final moments. 
 
Hope had been unique, both in her living and her dying.  She also had immediately been accepted by the other cats who nurtured her during her stay with us.  It was as if, they had known her all along.  I've never seen a new cat be accepted so easily by others.  All the vibrational essences I had used with Hope-- both homeopathic and flower/mineral essences, had been clearing her energy field throughout the last year of her life right through to the last remedies used for her transition.  Who knows how many lifetimes, these remedies may have cleared?  Hope also affected the imprints held within her family of origin-- the cat clan she had been born into.  Whatever she had inherited from her ancestors had the potential to be cleared by the use of all these vibrational essences.
 
In the end, I was right there during Hope's passing.  Although her eyes had been closed for the last few days, she opened them widely one last time as though seeing the light before her and took one last breath.  And then she died in peace in the comfort of her warm, snugly sleeping bag in the last home that had shown her kindness. 
 
I will always remember Hope for her enthusiam, tremendous affection and love for life.  Despite being blind and deaf during her last months, Hope managed to play like a kitten once more right up until the last few weeks of her life tossing her toy mouse around, much to our amazement.  It was truly inspirational to know that her senses were still so acute that she managed this feat one last time.  Hope died as she had lived-- an inspiration to us all.
 
"Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without words and never stops at all."   -- Emily Dickinson
 
Blessings of Hope!
 
Copyright 2011 Awen Environments.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Garden of Life

Posted on July 2, 2011 at 11:51 AM Comments comments (3)
The other day I realized how much my struggles with my gardens reflected my own path in life.  Boundaries were a big issue.  Having respect for all life and being able to identify most wild plants, I struggle with which ones to pull out when things get out of place or when they grow outside the garden boundaries. 
 
I also have a tendency to put up with alot whether it's within relationships, a job or with my animals until I reach the turning point where the situation has become intolerable or I'm overwhelmed with responsibility.  But I've learned that it doesn't need to be that way as long as you set your boundaries along the way and eliminate that which you don't want within your garden (and your life) and that includes unwanted plants, people and animals that you don't resonate with, as well as any undesirable circumstances.  Being clear about what you want and what you don't want, is sometimes the hardest part of living and making decisions for it sets the groundwork for what will come to pass.
 
I also realized that I absolutely love to create and have a tough time with maintenance.  I just like to let my gardens evolve into what Nature intended and see what comes up.  While this can be a great way to find surprises of incredible beauty and color combinations which only Nature can imagine, it can also make things look unruly while the process is going on.  My job as the creator and maintainer of my gardens, is to decide when to allow and when to control.  When do you act and when do you let things slide?  It's all a question of balance and remaining true to yourself when things don't feel right.
 
Life is the same way.  Sometimes it's easy to start a new relationship, friendship or job with high expectations.  You put everything in to it and everyone is usually on their best behavior, but then as time goes on you realize that the choice you made might not be all that you expected or intended.  As the growing pains occur and the everyday activities and situations evolve (and sometimes not so pretty) suddenly you question what it is that you even saw or intended in the first place.  In the case of your garden, this is when you either start moving your plants all around because they don't look right and perhaps start making a mess of things because it takes a while for things to come together, or you just sit back, give it some time and trust the process by waiting to see what happens. 
 
Whether it's a garden, a job, a relationship or bringing a project to completion, maintaining the course while things get difficult and problems start to arise can sometimes be extremely challenging, particularly during chaotic times on this planet.  While I've always been a free spirit and an independent thinker  and generally only give in to boredom, routine and constant problems for a little while, I have also been known to persist when I shouldn't have.  The key question here is when is it worth it to stick out the turbulent times and know that better times are imminent and when do you just cut your losses and move on?  For me, it's all in the foundation, original intention and the messages you get along the way. 
 
Did you spend time getting to know the land first and the light patterns before you started building your gardens and/or your house?  Did you think about what the weaknesses and strengths of the landscape were?  Did you think about what makes you happy whether it's color patterns, combinations and/or textures and what the materials you use and the plants you choose will attract-- birds, butterflies or perhaps nothing?  Does your garden create a peaceful, serene environment or a joyful, energetic feeling?  Do you want your garden to evolve and grow as you do, or do you just want something that is functional, controlled and requires little maintenance?  The results will reflect the choices you have made.
 
"The births of all things are weak and tender; and therefore we should have our eyes intent on beginnings."  --Michel de Montaigne
 
All these questions can be applied to life as well. Does your potential job promise you everything at the outset or immediately hit you with a barrage of corporate do's and don'ts?  Do you get uncomfortable at the interview but overlook things that you initially dislike to tolerate because you need a job?  Or if it's a relationship, does this person remind you of someone you once had a bad experience with or are they too good to be true at the onset?  Trust your intuition and gut instincts.  There's usually a good reason if some image or feeling comes to mind at the beginning.  Really taking time to get to know the company you're intending to work for, the house and land your intending to buy or the person you're planning on spending the rest of your life with takes time and effort to see all facets of the situation clearly.  Once the decision is made, the rest is commitment and riding through the not so easy times.
 
Once you've laid your foundation and you're clear about what you want, stay the course and follow through despite whatever may come up.  Being clear about your intentions and doing the groundwork will inevitably lead to good results.  One of the most important things my gardens have taught me is patience and that good things come to those who wait.  The outcome may not be what you initially expected, but it will be exactly what's needed and will take you to the next level in your life path. 
 
These are unusual times we're experiencing-- times of great turmoil and times of tremendous miracles. The key to riding the waves of energy that are occuring on this planet is to be clear about your intentions, do the work necessary to achieve your desired outcome and be flexible to whatever may happen knowing that all is working out as it should.  The choice is always yours as to how you want to see the situations that present themselves.  It is, after all, your garden and your life. 
 
And if faced with seemingly intolerable circumstances out of your control-- bloom where you are planted. There's always a greater plan that you can't see from your present vantage point.
 
Blessings of Joy!
 
Copyright 2011 Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.
 
 
 

Gardening with Nature: Restoring What Once Was

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 10:08 AM Comments comments (2)
Bull thistle which most tend to eradicate because of their prickly leaves, actually have beautiful fuchsia colored flowers when allowed to bloom and the bees and butterflies love them, not to mention the goldfinches who later use the downy thistle to line their nests and lay more eggs in late summer.  Queen Anne's Lace, a member of the carrot family, cleanses the soil and builds long taproots to aerate and draw nutrients from bottom layers of soil.  Getting a Field Guide to wildflowers helps you to identify what's growing in your yard.  More than likely, it's probably something not only your soil needs, but also your own body, as many wildflowers are highly medicinal and edible (only make sure you know what the plant is before you eat it). 
 
By allowing wildflowers to grow naturally on your property, your soil is getting exactly what it needs because these plants are correcting imbalances that exist in the soil. Daisies, for instance are often an indication of soil that is becoming acidic and if allowed to grow, they add the necessary nutrients to the soil helping to restore balance and create healthy humus.  Many other wildflowers do the same.
 
I find it interesting that most people only find tall grasses and flowers valuable/acceptable when they've paid for the cultivated ones from a nursery.  Take a look at your landscape and see how you can work with it creatively, whether it's creating a meadow area, a hedgerow of wildness between a neighboring property or along the road in sewer drainage areas so the plants can filter out the road dust, cleanse the waters and create a sense of more privacy.  And if you're concerned about how your property may look to neighbors, you can have your property certified as wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation and place a sign announcing your intentions. 
 
"It may be that some little root of the sacred tree of life still lives. Nourish it then so that it may leaf and bloom and fill with singing birds."  --Black Elk
 
You'd be surprised how Nature responds when you look at her with different eyes.  And your own life will change accordingly.
 
Summer Solstice Blessings!
 
Copyright 2011 Awen Environments.
 
 

Gardening with Nature: In Defense of Dandelions

Posted on May 17, 2011 at 12:39 PM Comments comments (6)
Despite this progress, I was extremely disappointed to still see a familiar yellow warning sign displayed in one of  the public flower gardens recently in the town where I currently reside. This particular garden dedicated to world peace with the sign "May Peace Prevail on Earth" in various languages, was created by a girl scout troup project and is located in the center of the Village of Lancaster.  It is a beautiful small garden when in bloom. 
 
Given all the information that's out there concerning how detrimental pesticides are, not only to the environment, but also to people and animals, I would hope that townships (including school districts) within WNY and around the U.S. would start becoming more progressive in their gardening and lawn care approach. Even so called 'natural' lawn care products are just a play on words and their advertising very misleading, as these products still contain chemicals that are harmful to life.  If they didn't, they wouldn't require a yellow warning sign, now would they?  The 24 or 48 hour waiting period may be over, but the chemicals are carried by the air that we breathe and seep into the ground water and they affect all life including butterflies, bees and songbirds.  Couldn't those funds devoted to pesticide and herbicide maintenance be put to better use?
 
I happen to differ from most, as I see the beauty in dandelions and they are welcome guests in my gardens and on my lawn because I know how valuable they are to creating healthy soil and providing nectar for bees and butterflies. I admit, it's hard to be a non-conformist in a suburban area and eventually I have to get my lawn mower out when the grass gets too high, however I do allow them time to bloom.  Allowing the dandelions time to fulfill their destiny is not the sign of someone who is neglectful-- quite the contrary.  I happen to love my yard and all the flowers that grow there.  And I enjoy seeing the mass of yellow color.  As mentioned in a previous post, the bees are in dire need of our help and the more food sources and habitat that we can provide them, the greater their chances of surviving.  Bees have to travel longer and longer distances just to get enough nectar because there aren't may wild spaces left and well manicured lawns provides little nourishment.  After a long winter, the bees are desperate to find sources of nectar and the dandelions are usually the only ones available.
 
The bright golden color of the dandelions is also linked with the third chakra (energy center of the body), the solar plexus which is associated with our emotions, creativity, personal power and instinctual or "gut reactions."  These rays of sunshine are some of the first flowers to bloom in the spring time long before all the cultivated gardens begin to blossom.  Their color and healing gifts are needed by Nature and by man.  Not only do the bees need the nectar, we need the vibration of the color yellow to re-energize our body after the darkness of winter.  Unfortunately, we always destroy that which we do not understand.  It is the habit of human nature.
 
Interestingly, the European colonists brought dandelion seeds with them and planted them in their gardens many centuries ago.  They were used for food sources, medicinal properties and their roots were roasted and ground into coffee. Dandelion tea is used as a blood purifier and is a great tonic to use to cleanse your system in the spring time.  It contains a variety of different minerals including iron, calcium, and magnesium to name a few, as well as various different vitamins such as A, B and D.  Much of this knowledge has long since been forgotten. 
 
With the advent of extensive advertising and chemical companies seeking massive profits, the entire image of dandelions has become that of disdain by most of society.  It is truly unfortunate and saddening because what the dandelion can do for man's body, it also does for the earth.  I'm certain that their proliferation is directly related to the amount of toxins in the soil.  The more we fight them, the greater their need to do their job.  Not only are they aerating the soil, but they are also providing much needed nutrients.  That's why you'll always see them popping up their yellow faces in my gardens.
 
We need to look at generally accepted beliefs with new perspectives and not assume that just because we've been led to believe certain things (mainly by corporations seeking profits) or because we've always been doing something in a particular way, that it's the right way.  Our current mode of thinking is not what will change the current weather patterns or stop the degradation of this planet or improve our health, it is looking at our environment with new eyes and the wonder and open mindedness of a child.  Haven't you ever wondered why young children think dandelions are beautiful and bring them to you to be placed in a vase?  Children see the beauty that is all around them before they are indoctrinated into a certain set of belief patterns based on society's norms at any given time.  Our attitudes and beliefs are learned behaviors largely driven by what is seen in advertising and projected as acceptable at that moment. 
 
Dewdrops and the morning sun,
Weave your garments fair and bright,
And we welcome you to-day
As the children of the light.
 
Children of the earth and sun.
We are slow to understand
All the richness of the gifts
Flowing from our Father's hand.
 
Welcome, early visitants,
With your sun-crowned golden hair

With your message to our hearts
Of our Father's loving care.
   
(Excerpt from Dandelions by Frances Ellen Watkins 1825-1911)
 
In Native American traditions, the earth is considered to be our 'mother' because she is a living being and provides for us in all ways.  Isn't it time we stop the war against this planet and start making peace with all life, including the insect kingdom and seemingly unwanted flowers?  Peace starts right in your own backyard.  Though May 11th (Sierra Club's Dandelion Day) has already passed, why not join the growing number of people in honoring all that grows naturally on your property?  You'll be glad you did.
 
Blessings of Sunshine!
 
 
2011 Copyright Awen Environments.
 
Source:
Green, Emily, Concern Grows in Weed War, What Price Freedom from Dandelions? The EPA is Rethinking a Long-used Herbicide's Cancer Risk to Humans, LA Times, 2002.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Homeopathy and Alzheimer's: Hope's Story Continues

Posted on May 3, 2011 at 9:56 AM Comments comments (10)
As would be expected, my lessons from the little stray  cat Hope that I took in last year have continued, as my journey with her is accompanied by learning, inspiration and yes-- sometimes exasperation.  For those of you who did not read the previous story of how she came into my life,  here   it is.
 
Several weeks ago, Hope gave us another scare.   Just when things were going well, she started meowing incessantly day and night.  This went on for 3 weeks until I was at the point of no return.  I had tried flower essences and they only seemed to work for a few days at best.  It seemed that she was wandering around aimlessly in search of something and often times her meowing was so severe, that you'd think someone was trying to harm her.  The loss of sleep was really starting to get to me. 
 
Despite having recovered from her last episode, a persistent ear infection simply would not go away and this seemed compounded by what did in fact, appear to have been a type of mini stroke which had left a number of after effects.  When the homeopathics did not work, I  took Hope to my vet and she was given antibiotics which eventually resolved the ear problem, however, she had developed a permanent head tilt called torticollis which he felt was due to a stroke.  I usually only resort to antibiotics after I've tried other methods to stimulate the immune system.  In Hope's case, she simply couldn't overcome this ear infection without them. 
 
I had noticed that since her last collapse, Hope also did not seem to be able to see anymore and the vet confirmed that this could also have occured due to the stroke.   Her whole body had changed and it was amazing to think that she was still around.  The meowing seemed to coincide with the restoration of balance in both ears combined with what seemed like hearing loss resulting from the stroke.  What else could go wrong for this little cat?
 
I decided to give Hope another dose of her original remedy Lycopodium which I have used with great results with stray and feral cats who suffer from health problems related to malnutrition and being homeless.   Whether Hope's condition had already deteriorated or the remedy caused her to express underlying symptoms, I will never know, however, what I experienced with her next was truly overwhelming at the time. 
 
Sometimes when you chose a remedy, the animal or person will display new symptoms which will lead you in the direction of the right remedy and/or the cure.  Hope's meowing stopped for several days after giving her Lycopodium, however, what happened next took me by great surprise.  It led me in the direction of another level of understanding of Hope's complex health condition and also the abilities of homeopathy to deal with a wide variety of problems.  Suddenly one day she started drooling excessively and then vomitting bile and even piddled right in front of me on the kitchen floor.  Since I felt she might get worse, I put her in a kennel and monitored her.  Several hours later I heard her howling and found her foaming at the mouth, delerious and her head twisting and contorting around in the air as though spirits or some unseen force was trying to attack her.  I panicked thinking she was in the throws of death.  I didn't know how to alleviate her pain and suffering and since it was late at night, the only option was a trip to the animal ER which I didn't want to do.
 
Once again, I decided to talk to a friend who uses homeopathy with her cats and she suggested I use Aconite which is a remedy for trauma and shock.  Because I was in the middle of the situation and was unable to think clearly, I hadn't thought to consider this.  It is a remedy made from the flower Monkshood and I've used it often for wildlife that have been injured and severely traumatized, so that they become handleable.  It made sense to me, however, the problem was that I couldn't even get near to Hope, as she was in such a state that it seemed that she might attack me.  So, what I decided to do was just get some drops on her skin which would eventually absorb the energetic vibration of the plant. 
 
In the meantime, I went through my homeopathy books again and reviewed one of the remedies I had used previously on Hope during her first collapse.  One was Belladonna, another plant remedy.  The plant itself is toxic and psychotropic if ingested, however, if taken in the form of homeopathy which is just the energetic vibration, it can produce amazing results.  I had seen it with Hope in the past, with my son, and with myself.  It's one of those remedies I just love to use because it is typically used with sudden onset and extreme conditions.  Well, Hope's symptoms were all pointing in the direction of Belladonna so I tried it once again and left her alone.  I checked her later in the night and she seemed to have calmed down.
 
What struck me so severely during this experience was the sudden change in Hope's disposition.  She had gone from a cat that was extremely sweet, clingy and docile to one that was vicious and out of control with glaring eyes.  Then it dawned on me that she felt I was a threat, similar to a wild animal, because she did not recognize me anymore.  The Aconite and Belladonna had worked to calm her, but there was more going on with her.  That's when I realized that Hope was acting like she had Alzeimer's disease and so I did some research and found out that cats, do in fact, experience Alzheimer's just like humans do.  All the patterns which she had been displaying, including the incessant meowing were all related to her diminished mental capacities and her lack of clarity regarding her surroundings.  During my research, I also found homeopathic remedies that have apparently helped in managing this disease in humans.
 
After things quieted down, the next morning I found Hope much less agitated, however, I still could not touch her.  She actually moved away from me, cowering in the back of the kennel and flinching if I even so much as touched her.  She also had develeped a severe nasal discharge.  She looked a wreck and for 2 days she would not eat, but I had begun administering Natrum Sulphuricum which is a type of salt remedy which I had never used before.  Hope was displaying many symptoms relating to this remedy including the alternating between melancholy and periods of mania, all which formed her  constitutional (entire) picture.  Natrum Sulphuricum is one of several remedies suggested for working with Alzheimers disease and it seemed right for her.  I literally didn't have much hope at this point due to the severity of what I'd seen and the fact that Hope wasn't eating, so once again I scheduled an appointment with my vet to put her down if she still hadn't eaten by the 3rd day.  She had improved in that she was once again allowing me to hold her, however, she seemed to have absolutely no interest in eating anything and that is always a pretty strong sign for me.
 
As a last attempt, the morning of Hope's appointment, I decided to syringe her with some baby food and suddenly she walked over to the food bowl and began searching for more to eat.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  It was as if she suddenly remembered what food was.   Not only did she regain her appetite and start grooming herself, but she also began playing with a toy mouse as though she was a kitten again.  It was truly an endearing sight to see and worth just one day of seeing her so happy again, regardless of what lay ahead in her future. 
 
As the days progressed, Hope continued to eat with our other cats and put weight back on.  It has been over two weeks now and although still fragile and at times wandering from room to room seemingly searching, she has continued to improve and is definitely living comfortably now and no longer meowing.  She has some days that are better than others and when she seems to be going downhill, I just redose her and she improves. Due to her diminished hearing and sight, Hope seems to rely more now on the realm of vibration paying attention to what she smells and feels, as her other senses have become more acute.  Overall, I know that Hope is still here to teach me about the resilience of animals, overcoming seemingly hopeless situations, and a deeper understanding of the miraculous powers of homeopathy.
 
Spring Blessings!
 
2011 Copyright Awen Environments.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Rss_feed

0