Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dowsing Ancient Egyptian Sites

A slide presentation and talk with Adhi Two Owls
Sunday afternoon, January 24, 2010, 2-4pm
Radiance, 9 W Grant St., Lancaster

Join us for this fascinating afternoon. This past October, Adhi spent three weeks teaching and traveling in Egypt at the invitation of Dr. Dalia Basiouny. Adhi was teaching some of the ancient dowsing techniques which originated in Egypt more than 1000 years ago. The Ancient Egyptians were experimenting with shape-caused waves, the waves that are emitted from a shape as it sits in space. The Pyramid designs are progression of this and Adhi will be discussing these insights during the slide lecture.
This same form of Dowsing was renamed "Radiesthesia" in France when it was re-discovered in the 1930's. The French Radiesthesists developed pendulums and other devices for killing bacterium, viruses and conducted other interesting experiments.
In addition to teaching this dowsing technique, Adhi visited many ancient sites and dowsed them herself. She will be sharing some of her observations and insights with us during the slide presentation, and will answer our questions afterward.

When: Sunday, January 24, 2010, 2-4pm
Where: Radiance, 9 W Grant St, Lancaster
Cost: by donation.

Adhi is contributing all of the monies raised at this event to support Dr Basiouny’s work in Egypt. She is a native Egyptian and teaches theater at one of the smaller universities, writes a critical revue of theater for the Daily News Egypt; she works to enrich the lives of young minds and women in Egypt. Because the dollar is strong against the Egyptian pound a little bit of fundraising can go a very long way. The idea is to purchase 6 computers, set up DSL internet and create a place where girls can go to read, learn, discover and see that they have amazing choices out side of their economic circumstances. Recommended contribution is $10.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Starhawk is one of my longtime teachers, as well as being a friend. Her writing has always spoken to my soul. Another friend sent me this quote a few weeks ago. I've re-read it several times since then. It's so beautiful, touches me somewhere deep within.

We are all longing to go home to some place we have never been - a place half-remembered and half-envisioned we can only catch glimpses of from time to time. Community. Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power. Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle of healing. A circle of friends. Someplace where we can be free.

Introduction to Permaculture

A two-evening course with Benjamin Weiss
Thursday January 14th & Thursday January 21st, 2010

Cost: Sliding scale of $35-$50

This 4 hour course will introduce the student to the history of the permaculture movement, offer valuable resources and connections to the community of practitioners, and present the basic framework of ethics and design principles that are the foundation of this system. Each student will have the opportunity to envision a “permaculture remodeling” of a familiar site. Students will also receive a packet of applicable information to help start them off on small permaculture designs and installations.

This is course is often cited as a prerequisite to the 72 hour Permaculture Design Certification Course.

Benjamin Weiss is an organic farmer, environmental activist, and a certified Permaculture Designer and Teacher. He has studied at The Farm Ecovillage Training Center in Tennessee, Growing Power in Wisconsin, and The Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute in Colorado.

Permaculture is a sustainable design system. It is based upon a structure of ethics and design principles that have been developed organically through 35 years of experimentation, consultation, and good-natured exchange by practitioners from around the world. As a unique and highly integrated collection of disciplines, permaculture allows the designer to implement a system that supports itself, that yields resources for the surrounding community, that offers healthy alternatives to industrialization, that sustains biodiversity and nourishes the natural environment.
Permaculture can be applied to a garden, a building, a home, an organization, a farm, a city, or an entire civilization. Although the system was originally created for the purpose of designing sustainable agricultural sites, hence the name “permanent agriculture,” the insight of millions of permaculturists has skillfully transformed this system into one capable of building sustainable societies, or “permanent culture.”

Class will be held at Radiance, 9 W Grant St, Lancaster, PA 17603
Call 717-290-1517, or stop by to register.

Monday, December 14, 2009

New Product - Yarrow Mist!

For a couple of years, I've been making a Yarrow Mist as a special order for a regular customer - she says it's the only thing that's ever really helped with her acne. So, I started thinking. I LOVE Yarrow. When I studied with Matthew Wood, he taught us that Yarrow is for healing deep wounds, "cuts to the bone". This works on the physical level, and also on the spiritual plane.

Yarrow is used for spiritual protection, as well, forming a "shield" around the user. Great for public speakers, and anyone else who works with groups of people. Gives protection from environmental and workplace toxins. Actually, it's wonderful for anyone who is working at maintaining healthy boundaries.

Spray some over your head and let the mist fall around you. Feel it bolstering the strength of your aura's edges and allowing deep healing to occur.

Also a great facial astringent for oily skin. Ingredients are distilled water infused with yarrow and witch hazel, alcohol, Yarrow flower essence and essential oil. 4 oz cobalt mist bottle is only $9.95!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wildcrafted Wreaths!

Last year at about this time, David Hofmann walked into the shop with some handmade wreaths, made with wild grapevine and bittersweet vine that he'd wildcrafted & other fresh greens. They were stunning. I bought one for my house. After the greens dried out, I took them out of the bittersweet vine wreath & added other seasonal decorations all year long. The basic wreath is still going strong.

David lives in the mountains in Virginia & has family in Lancaster. So, when he appeared last week for his annual visit & wondered if we'd be interested in some wreaths, I jumped at the chance. He brought 6 in this morning & will bring some more tomorrow morning. We're selling them for $25 each, so I'm sure they won't be here for long.

**Update: David brought in 10 more wreaths! Gorgeous!

Hurry in! They're going fast.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

New Herb-A-Licious Cooking Blend

For the past couple of months, I've been working on a salt-free herbal cooking blend, testing & tweaking. As part of the process, I've given bags of each variation to all sorts of people to test for me. Today, Herb-A-Licious makes its public debut! You can see the display we've put in the corner of the shop, and you can shop for some on the web site. Each packet comes with a stainless steel mini-whisk. The delicious blend includes all organic herbs. Minced garlic, minced onion, parsley, Mediterrean oregano, rosemary, thyme, basil, sage and a pinch of cayenne. It's wonderful as a seasoning for poultry, meats, soups and sauces. It's also incredible in dips and salad dressings. Recipes are on the label. It might just become your new favorite spice blend - it's already mine! All this and no salt!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Cailleach Soup

I go through periods of inspired cooking. Fortunately for everyone around me, I am in one of those spells now. Often a new cookbook is the inspiration for my cooking enthusiasm, and when coupled with the changing of the seasons, well ... the cookbook that has me enthralled at the moment is Witch in the Kitchen by Cait Johnson. It's organized by the 8 seasons of the pre-Celtic year, and is full of good recipes made with healthful, whole ingredients. I recommend it highly!

Earlier this week, I made a soup based on a recipe Cait calls Cailleach Soup, a play on words for Kale Leek Soup. The recipe looked a little thin to me, so I added potatoes, and it was perfect.

First, a little about The Cailleach. Mara Freeman writes:

A Dark Goddess of nature, particularly in Scotland, is the Cailleach, a name that came to mean “Old Wife”, but which is literally, “Veiled One,” an epithet often applied to those who belong to hidden worlds. To this name is often added Bheur: ‘sharp’ or ‘shrill’, for she personifies the cutting winds and harshness of the northern winter. She was also known as the daughter of Grianan, the “little sun” which in the old Scottish calendar shines from Hallowmas to Candlemas, followed by the “big sun” of the summer months.

So, you see the timing for this soup is actually divine. Perhaps a perfect offering soup to the spirits of our ancestors. Now, here's the recipe:

In a heavy soup pot, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil & 1 Tbsp butter.

Add 3 leeks, white parts only, washed well to remove grit, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds.

Next add 2 cloves of garlic, chopped.

Wash and coarsely chop a bunch of kale. I used a ruffled red variety. Add to pot.

Wash & cut into bite-size pieces 5 new potatoes. Add these to the pot, too.

Finally, add a quart of vegetable stock and a quart of water.

Simmer until everything is tender. Season with some nice Celtic sea salt & serve!

Monday, October 19, 2009

New Antiseptic Spray

For years, I made an antiseptic spray to use on my own work surfaces when I was making herbal products. The formula changed a little every time I made it, depending on what was closest at hand in the moment. If someone in my household was ill, I'd use the spray when cleaning the sickroom and bathroom. Then last year, a friend asked me to make something for her to take with her on an airplane. And, recently several teachers asked for something to use in their classrooms. It seems that everyone is more "germ conscious" this year. This spray includes several essential oils well-known as antiseptics, including thyme, sage, and ravensara. It is available in 3 sizes; 4 oz, 2 oz and the 1/2 oz travel size. You can purchase it for yourself on my web site or in the shop!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sarah's Spectacular Oatmeal

I make this extra-healthy oatmeal 3 or 4 times a week from Autumn through Spring. I include lots of cinnamon to support healthy cholesterol levels, and dried fruit for extra anti-oxidants. My grandmother would have said that this breakfast will "stick to your ribs", keeping you satified and warm all morning long. Often, people ask for the recipe, so I thought I'd post it here with photos taken yesterday morning!

In a heavy pot, put:
3 Cups of water
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt (I use Celtic Gray for the high mineral content)
2 Tablespoons of Coconut oil (medium-chain fatty acid)
2 Tablespoons of ground cinnamon (for cholesterol management) and
1 teaspoon of ground Cardamom (supports a healthy colon & protects against cancer)

Yes, that's 2 TABLESPOONS of ground cinnamon! I put the ground herbs into the water so that they are absorbed into the oatmeal as it cooks, allowing much more cinnamon & cardamom into each bowl. Imagine sprinkling a Tablespoon of cinnamon onto your already cooked cereal - yuck,too much powder. This way, you can actually ingest a large enough amount to make a real health difference. Bring this to a low boil, stirring to dissolve the herbs.

Coconut oil boils at a lower temperature than water, so you will be able to begin adding the oats a little earlier than if you were using just water. Stirring constantly, slowly add 3/4 Cup of Scottish Oats, sprinkling and incorporating a little bit at a time so that no lumps form. Reduce heat to medium.

Add 1/2 Cup raisins or other dried fruit. Blueberries, cranberries and cherries are all very nice. You can use apricots, figs or prunes, but you'll need to cut them into smaller pieces first. Core an apple, chop it up and add that to the pot.
Cook at a low boil, stirring occassionally (every minute or so)until all of the liquid is absorbed. This will take about 15 minutes. Once all of the liquid is absorbed, the oatmeal will form a soft ball in the pot. The Coconut oil has the added benefit of encouraging the cereal not to stick to the pot, making clean-up easier! Spoon into bowls, top with walnut pieces, maple syrup and milk. Heavenly! Serves 2-4.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Making Wild Cherry Cough Syrup

It seems that I'm busy making herbal concoctions for the upcoming cold and flu season. Yesterday, I simmered a pot of Wild Cherry Cough Syrup all day. The delightful aroma filled the workroom and wafted out into the shop. Today, I put the finishing touches on the blend & bottled it.

Wild Cherry has been an important healing and sacred herb for Cherokee people for many hundreds of years. I also use Osha root in this syrup, an important "bear medicine" plant, said to eliminate excess moisture in the respiratory tract.

It's a delicious and soothing syrup, perfect for quieting a cough.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Off to the Ocean!

Late each summer, my sister, my daughter, their 2 daughers and I all take a girl trip to the beach. I'm getting ready for this year's upcoming trip & have just decided which novel-to-get-lost-in I am taking. I love Louise Erdrich's writing - this will be the 5th of her books I've read.

The Painted Drum: A Novel (P.S.) The Painted Drum: A Novel by Louise Erdrich

Taking this book to the beach!

View all my reviews >>

Friday, August 21, 2009

Dragon's Breath

Late each summer, I make several batches of my Dragon's Breath. It's a tonic vinegar and a cold remedy all in one bottle. Many herbalists make some version of this tasty treat. This morning I started the first batch for this year. I start with locally grown organic vegetables and herbs. Here's a photo of most of what went into the jar. What a lovely arrangement! Looks delicious!

So I chopped lots of onions, garlic, jalepeno, cayenne and banana peppers, a couple of chunks of fresh ginger root, a dozen shitake mushrooms & put it all in this large 1-1/2 gallon jar. I added a cup of freshly ground horseradish root which I got at the farmer's market right across the cobblestones from my shop. Several tablespoons of turmeric root powder goes in the jar & finally, I filled it with raw apple cider vinegar & put the lid on. This photo is about an hour later. You can see that the horseradish and turmeric are settling to the bottom. I'll gently shake the jar every day for the next 6 or 8 weeks & then strain the liquid out & bottle it.

Once I've bottled this golden liquid, it can be used all year as a daily tonic vinegar, or in your salad dressings. It makes a wonderful cold remedy, which is how I tend to use it. I put a couple of teaspoons of the vinegar in a mug with a little bit of honey & fill with hot water. This magical concoction will fight off colds & open your sinuses if you do have one. I think it's a perfect thing to drink before bed if you're feeling stuffy. It opens up your breathing passages, making it much easier to sleep.

By the way, I love the horseradish stand - Mr Long turns a small oscillating fan on while he grinds the root, so that the odor wafts around the market!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Herb-infused Organic Honey

Wondering what we did in the garden this morning? It rained last night, so we had to wait a bit for things to dry out before we could do any harvesting. After weeding and pruning to clear an area for transplanting more Apothecary Roses in the back corner of the garden, we headed over to the Hyssop patch. It's covered in lovely purple flowers, and the bees are busy working there.

When we had several armfuls of Hyssop, we headed inside to the kitchen, where we stripped the leaves and flowers into wooden bowls, then chopped them with my antique ulu knife.

On Wednesday, I'd brought home a 60 pound bucket of organic honey, and my plan is to make a variety of herb-infused honeys over the next few weeks. The honey will extract some of the healing properties of each plant, so in addition to being delicious additions for teas, these honeys will be even more healthful. I expect we'll try Lemon balm, Anise hyssop (a totally different plant), Motherwort and a few others. Today, it was Hyssop.

We filled each of 24 jars about 1/3 full with fresh chopped leaves & flowers, then poured on the honey. We gently stirred each jar with chop sticks to distribute the plant material all through the honey & then topped off the jars. Aren't they beautiful?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Flower Essences from the Labyrinth

Most Monday mornings, you will find me in the garden with my helpers, Eli & Suzanne. Part of the work we did today way to begin three new flower essences. Here they are gently collecting Hyssop blossoms and floating them on the surface of pure water in a small crystal bowl. We don't touch the flowers with our hands, but carefully collect them one by one using a leaf from the same plant to gently grasp the blossoms. Here is the bowl of tiny Hyssop blossoms sitting in the sunlight. The sunlight helps the flowers to release their soul vibrations into the water. The other essences we prepared today are Vitex and Monkshood.
This photo is of Monkshood flowers. You probably won't see this plant often. It's so exquisitely beautiful, isn't it? And, it's extremely poisonous! If you've ever read any Brother Cadfeal mysteries, you've read about the deadly monkshood.

Reiki on Lammas

Essential Reiki Teaching Manual: An Instructional Guide for Reiki Healers Essential Reiki Teaching Manual: An Instructional Guide for Reiki Healers by Diane Stein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was just attuned to Reiki level III this weekend, and this is the book we received as part of the class. I've had Diane Stein's Essential Reiki for many years & find it to be a wonderful book. So far, this book is meeting all of my expectations!

View all my reviews >>
Being attuned to the third level of Reiki means that I am now able to teach Reiki to others and to pass the attunements. For many years I thought I might not want to take this step, so I just waited to see if the feeling might change. Last autumn, I knew that I wanted the third attunement, and then I just had to wait for the opportunity to present itself. I felt strongly that I wouldn't "push", but would wait in a state of alert patience for the right time.

And so it came on Lughnasad, also called Lammas, which is the day at the precise mid-point between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox. Lughnasad honors the Celtic God, Lugh, and is the festival of the first grain harvests. Here in Pennsylvania, it is when the first of the sweet corn comes in. We eat corn, peaches, blueberries, cantelope and tomatoes ripe from the garden on a daily basis! You might have noticed that this early harvest season offers us tender fruits, juicy and full of sensual eating pleasure. This joyful ripening is what we celebrate now, mindful that these are not the harvests that will sustain us through the coming winter.

I am still integrating the experience of the Reiki attunement, and look forward to a deeper healing, for myself, in my herbal practice and for others.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Where the Lilies Bloom

Where the Lilies Bloom Where the Lilies Bloom by Vera Cleaver

How did I miss reading this book when it came out around 1970? A wonderful "young-adult" novel about a family of wildcrafters in the mountains of western North Carolina.

View all my reviews >>

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Short Guide to Base Oils

I use quite a few different oils in making various herbal products & have been meaning to put together a list of their individual properties for easy reference. I've put it on my web site & thought I'd post it here as well. Hopefully, you'll find it helpful, too!

Apricot Kernal Oil – Medium weight oil, easily absorbed by the skin.  Good for sensitive or prematurely-aged skin.

Avocado Oil – thick, heavy, easily absorbed.  Soothes and softens dehydrated skin.  Revitalizes and regenerates mature skin.

Castor Oil – Very thick, shiny oil.  Acts as a barrier.  Protects skin from harsh environmental conditions.  Very soothing.

Coconut Oil – Solid below 76 degrees F.  Emollient.  Soothes sensitive or irritated skin.

Grapeseed Oil – very light and non-greasy, easily absorbed.  Slightly astringent.

Hazelnut Oil – light, easily absorbed.  Slightly astringent.

Jojoba Oil – thick, light, easily absorbed.  Richly moisturizing for all skin types.  Thickens and beautifies hair.  Technically a liquid wax, not an oil.

Olive Oil – thick, slightly sticky, easily absorbed.    Soothes and moisturizes dry, dehydrated skin.  Thickens and beautifies hair.

Sweet Almond Oil – Easily absorbed, has a good “slip”.  Softens and soothes the skin.  Heals rough skin, strengthens nails.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Let's Make Soap!

Sisters Maryanne Schwartz and Tina Sams have been making vegetable-based cold process soap together for nearly 20 years. Join them at Radiance to learn all you need to know to go home and make it yourself, including tips and some of the things that have tripped them up along the way. Leave with a bar of soap & an instructional handout. All-inclusive kits are available for purchase in the shop at Radiance.

Saturday, August 8, from 2 – 3:30pm
Class will be held at Radiance, 9 W Grant St (across from Central Market).
Stop in, or call 290-1517 to register.
$35 for the class.

Cool it, Hot Mama!

Sometimes putting together a new tea blend is a serious and deeply meditative matter. Sometimes a new tea almost seems to blend itself. This tea was something of a combination of those two processes. I spent a couple of days thinking about it, and then when I finally put pen to paper, it rushed out & felt perfect immediately!

Cool it, Hot Mama! tea is formulated to help deal with hot flashes and night sweats, one of the most common complaints of menopausal women. And a few men, actually. Contains Motherwort, Raspberry, Sage, Violet leaf, Blue Vervain and Elder flower.

Look for it on my web site! (And we made a hydrosol Mist, too!)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Introduction to Shamanism with Adhi Moonien Two Owls

Saturday, July 11, 2009 from 2 to 6pm, at Radiance in Lancaster

The purpose of the class is to give participants an overview of the tradition called "Shamanism". This class will be the introduction to a longer series of deeper study for those who may wish to further their interest in Shamanism.

Shamanism is found all over the world and takes on many cultural/social forms relating to its function within these communities. A Shaman in it most basic definition is some who has mastery of communication with spirits. The first spirit they work with is their own and this requires training and guidance from a teacher and the commitment of the student to be guided and supported by the unseen or spirit world. This ability to navigate the seen and unseen worlds gives the Shaman the tools to bring about balance in the world around them.

Each culture has its own spin on how this works with in their social structures, and there are many different types of Shamans. They are usually divided into three groups:

1. Mundane/Lower world Shamans - or those who work primarily in this world, with the ancestors, and nature spirits as healers and spiritual guides.

2. Middle world Shamans - who work with the Elementals and higher beings as diplomats to negotiate things such as the weather, balancing the elements of a region, and fighting evil forces. These types of work to keep the "Matrix" of this reality whole.

3. Upper world Shamans - are rare and they communicate only to the very upper beings. They are in a constant state of ecstatic trance.

And, of course, there are crossovers and combinations among the three.

In this class participants will have the opportunity to see a traditional "Mesa" or sacred bundle, experience the use of the frame drum and rattle for trance meditation, as well as learning the traditional and contemporary place of the shaman in society.

Bring a journal to class.

Class will be held at Radiance, 9 W Grant St, Lancaster, PA, across the cobblestones from Central Market. Stop in or phone 717-290-1517 to register. Cost is $45.00 in advance.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Let's Make Lavender Wands this Thursday!

Let’s Make Lavender Wands!

Learn to weave lavender wands from fresh stems of lavender. Perfect to scent delicates in your dresser drawers, or in an arrangement in the bathroom. Lavender is calming, and these wands are a wonderful way to preserve the scent for years to come! Each participant will weave a wand to take home.

Sarah Campbell, owner of Herbs from the Labyrinth, and Tina Sams, editor of The Essential Herbal Magazine, will facilitate this fun class, which will be held on Thursday, June 25, from 11am – 1pm
Class will be held at Radiance, 9 W Grant St (across from Central Market). Stop in, or call 290-1517 to register. $10 for the class includes all materials.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Catbirds in the Vitex

I ran outside with the camera a few minutes ago to take a photo of the Valerian. It just started flowering today and the sunlight is on it in a perfect way. I thought it would make a wonderful blog photo. So, I made my way around the back of the labyrinth to get just the right angle. The plants are lush, so I was watching my step, not wanting to tromp on Wood Asters. When I got to just the right spot I stopped & looked up, finding myself face-to-face with a pair of Catbirds! I said hello & took their picture! I don't have a zoom lens, so I hope they're visible in the photo.

And here is the photo of the Valerian, which drew me into the back of the garden i the first place.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Harvest of Sweet Cicely

Monday was the first harvest day for Sweet Cicely from the labyrinth garden. Eli and I bundled many armfuls of it in small bunches and hung it to dry in the garden shed. I might have mentioned that here already. Anyway, my friend Tina, publisher of the Essential Herbal magazine stopped by on Friday morning & took a photo of it, which she sent to me via email.

Yesterday was a long day for me at the Baltimore Herb Festival, and I brought home some Carroll County strawberries and rhubarb. Lancaster County strawberries are not quite ready yet.

So, this morning I'm making a puree of Strawberries and Rhubarb, lightly seasoned with Sweet Cicely! It will be delicious later poured over some plain yogurt!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Baltimore Herb Fair this coming Saturday

Each year, we pack the car full of herbal goodies and drive to Baltimore for the Baltimore Herb Festival, a one-day herb fair. It's held in Leakin Park from 10am until 3pm. A whirlwind of a day for us, and a delight for all of the senses! We never know exactly where we'll be setting up our booth, so if you come to see us, you'll have to wander the entire loop, looking for our banner. It's part of the fun.

In addition to all of my herbal products, and the clothing I dye with plants, we'll be bringing lots of African market baskets, fair-trade from Ghana, and some Swarovski crystal sun catchers for your windows - handmade by Lisa Mercer, the silver-haired gypsy. Also, some gorgeous garden smocks & sun hats handmade by Christine Marie.

Baltimore Herb Festival
May 23, 2009 - 10am-3pm
Held in Leakin Park
1900 Eagle Drive
Baltimore, MD 21207

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Poppies & Cornflowers blooming today!

When I woke up this morning & looked out the window, I saw that the first of the Oriental Poppies had bloomed! These are delicate flowers on tall curved stems, with petals like tissue paper. We're excited each year when they open up. They are so beautiful, it seems almost impossible. So, I threw on my robe & silppers, grabbed the camera & ran outside for this photo.

Oh the far side of the garden shed, where I can't see from inside the house, I saw that the Cornflowers had started to bloom, too. Beautiful, aren't they?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

American Woodcock in the Garden

After a long day yesterday at the Landis Valley Herb Faire, where we had a wonderful time, seeing herb friends and meeting many new ones, Nicki & I came back to my house, where she'd left her bicycle early in the morning. We walked out to the labyrinth garden to relax for a few minutes and received quite a treat. An American Woodcock was pacing back & forth under the Viburnum! It's quite an unusual bird. Most people probably never see one.
This is actually the second time one has spent time in my garden (that I am aware of). Two years ago, I looked out the window and saw an otherworldly creature sitting under the Oak tree. It looked like a cross between a rabbit and a long-beaked bird. I sat & watched it through binoculars for over an hour, and then decided to go find my Petersen's Guide. That's when I learned it was a Woodcock.

They nest on the ground, so I'm wondering if the bird we saw yesterday was looking for nesting sites, or perhaps even guarding a nest. Wouldn't that be exciting?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Tamari Roasted Almonds

We like to have a few healthy, organic snacks available in the shop. Dogoba chocolate bars, crystalized Ginger, and Tamari Almonds. Since we're going to be at Landis Valley Herb Fair this weekend, we'll need an extra supply. So, they're roasting now! What a wonderful aroma is filling the air!

You can always find them at my shop, but if you'd like to make your own, it's a very simple process.

Start with 1/2 pound of raw organic almonds. Put them in a baking dish. Pour 1/8 Cup of Tamari Sauce over them & stir to coat evenly. Put in the oven at 250 degrees F. Bake for about 1/2 hour, then stir to recoat the almonds with Tamari Sauce. Bake another hour, stir again. Bake another hour, or until slightly crispy. don't burn them & don't take them out before they're fully roasted. Cool, store in a jar until eaten!

Landis Valley Herb Fair this Weekend

Each year on the Friday and Saturday of Mother's Day Weekend, we set up a booth at the Landis Valley Herb Fair. This herb fair is held on the grounds of the Landis Valley Farm Museum, just north of Lancaster city. You'll find Herbs from the Labyrinth in the Isaac Landis House, which is just across the path from the Old Hotel. We'll have all sorts of wonderful herbal products, including our array of salves & balms, tinctures, teas and oils, as well as hand-dyed clothing (using plant dyes), African market baskets (Fair Trade), and handmade wire baskets fitted with glass vases for decorating your outdoor spaces. Look for our banner on the Isaac Landis House & come visit us!

Join me, as well, at 11am on Saturday morning at the lecture tent, and we'll wander over to the Landis Valley herb garden to see what they grow in their traditional herb garden. Here's the full schedule of talks for the weekend:


NOON What are Heirloom Seeds? – Heirloom Seed Foundation
1 P.M. Wild Foods – Free, Tasty and Fun by Tina Sams, The Essential Herbal
2 P.M. Herb Gardening Basics – Susanna Reppert, The Rosemary House
3 P.M Barn Stars – A unique look at farming architecture – Fred Will, Sugar Grove Herbs

11 A.M A Look at the Landis Valley Herb Garden with Sarah Campbell of Herbs from the Labyrinth
NOON Creating a Sustainable Back Yard – Homegrown Edible Landscaping Company.
Natasha Herr and Wilson Alvarez
1 P.M Growing Mushrooms - Brushwood Farm – Diane Wiest
2 P.M Medicinal Herbs you can grow – Maureen Rogers, Herbal Net
3 P.M Wild Foods – Free, Tasty and Fun - Tina Sams, The Essential Herbal

Friday, May 1, 2009

Week 10 of the Herbal Blog Giveaway

Torchsong Studio will be hosting the 10th and final week of our blog contest.

Maryanne is offering something a little different to close out the contest.

A lead-free pewter garden pin with a little glass ladybug charm in the middle and garden tools on either side.

Just comment on this, or any of the other blogs participating for a chance to win one of ten pins to be given away. MAKE SURE YOU LEAVE A CONTACT email.

Remember all of the blogs below are participating, so visit all of them and post to increase your chances of winning.

Aquarian Bath
The Essential Herbal
Herbs from the Labyrinth
Patti's Potions
PrairieLand Herbs
The Rosemary House
Nature's Gift
Torchsong Studio
SunRose Aromatics
Garden Chick
Our final contest - check back on May 8 for the list of winners!

Thanks everyone for participating and for playing!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Week 9 of the Herbal Blog Giveaway!

And it keeps on coming!

Nature's Gift has been pleased and excited about hosting this week's contest. The hard part has been trying to decide what to offer as the prize!

They chose Deluxe Personal Inhalers from their new shipment, filled with the winner's choice of several healing synergies.

They'll ship one of these pretty purse-sized inhalers filled with your choice of their SineEase Synergy, for easing sinus pain and congestion, Happy Morning Synergy, recommended for easing the nausea of morning sickness, but also helpful for motion sickness, etc., or their research based depression fighter "Citrus Smile."

To be entered in the contest, respond to this post, here, and at all the blogs listed below.

And to make the contest even more exciting, ONE lucky entrant, drawn from one of the listed blogs, will receive a signed copy of Marge's Book "Essential Oils and Aromatics". You may check these links for some of the reviews. From the Journal of the Northeast Herbal Association, or from The Massage Therapy Journal.

Remember all of the blogs below are participating, so visit all of them and post to increase your chances of winning.

Aquarian Bath
The Essential Herbal
Herbs from the Labyrinth
Patti's Potions
PrairieLand Herbs
The Rosemary House
Nature's Gift
Torchsong Studio
SunRose Aromatics
Garden Chick

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Week 8 of the Herbal Blog Giveaway

Bertha Reppert (1919-1999) was the founder of The Rosemary House and Susanna & Nancy's mum. She was a Renaissance woman ahead of her time when she opened an herb and spice shop in a conservative East coast town in 1968. Convinced that once everyone learned about herbs they would love these plants as much as she did, she became an avid educator about the secrets of herbs. Lecturing, writing and always promoting herbs, Bertha Reppert became a mentor to many. This weeks prize is a copy of her last herbal and one of our very favorites.

Bertha Reppert's Twelve Month Herbal features 365 herbal essays, one for each day of the year. Written like she is speaking to a friend this book is fun, informative and easy to read. Many folks have told us they reread the book every year and make their own daily notes in the margins. Be sure to leave a comment to this post and at the other participating herbal blogs (see the links below) for your chance to win this clever book (an $18.00 value) filled with herbal lore, recipes and crafts (priceless). Sisters Susanna, the herbalist, and Nancy, the culinary artist, continue to share their Mother's love of all things herbal at The Rosemary House, the herb and spice gift shop, and at Sweet Remembrances tea room.

The following blogs are also participating, so stop over, post a comment on these blogs for additional chances to win this weeks giveaway AND the chance to explore some cool blogs.

Aquarian Bath
The Essential Herbal
Herbs from the Labyrinth
Patti's Potions
PrairieLand Herbs
The Rosemary House
Nature's Gift
Torchsong Studio
SunRose Aromatics
Garden Chick

Check back we have a couple more weeks of give-aways!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tour de Labyrinth

By Steven Kopfinger, Staff Writer, Lancaster Sunday News
Photos Blaine Shahan

It's been likened to a pathway to peace. Or a pilgrimage to a holy place. Or, in Greek mythology, a hideout for the fearsome Minotaur.
Thousands of years after its creation, the mystique of the labyrinth endures. And Sunday, April 26, three spiral paths, which vary in appearance but are united in their beauty, will welcome those in search of contemplation, serenity or just good old-fashioned exercise.

Unitarian Universalist Church of Lancaster, 538 W. Chestnut St., is sponsoring its first "Tour de Labyrinth" from 2-4 p.m. at Lancaster Country Day School, 725 Hamilton Road; the home of Linda and David Dobbins, 6 N. Bausman Drive; and the residence of Sarah Campbell, 1053 Wheatland Ave.

The church itself is known for its own labyrinth, where meditative walks are offered the first Sunday of each month October through June, except for May 3.
The labyrinth tour is part of the church's community outreach, and reflects a Unitarian principle of personal spiritual practice, tour organizer Linda Dobbins noted.
A person enters a labyrinth, follows his or her way to the center, where one is free to stop and pray or meditate, and finds the way out along a clear path. That differs from a maze, which is designed to challenge and confuse.

"There are labyrinths all over the world that testify to their antiquity," Dobbins noted as she strolled around her own private sanctuary, tucked into a rolling yard behind her home. Built of stone and accented with red shale, the labyrinth has graced Dobbins' property for nine years.
"It's meditative. I have a lot of friends who walk it. We have gatherings," Dobbins said.

Labyrinths are found in Greek mythology; one of the most famous is sited at Knossos, on the island of Crete. There, legend has it, the hero Theseus slew the Minotaur, a man-eating creature who was half man, half bull.
Centuries later, labyrinths became established fixtures in the Christian world; a labyrinth on the floor of the great cathedral at Chartres, built around 1200 in France, draws visitors worldwide. One Christian labyrinth concept is that the pathway symbolizes a pilgrimage to the holy city of Jerusalem.

Dobbins calls labyrinths example of "sacred geometry."

Religion-based or not, labyrinths are meant for reflection.

"When you walk this, you go clockwise and counterclockwise," Dobbins noted. "That sets up a balancing aspect."

The labyrinth also serves as a metaphor for life.

"There are twists and turns in life that are symbolized by the labyrinth," Dobbins explained.

The labyrinth at Lancaster Country Day School is more than just a place for kids to explore. It was built as a labor of love.

"The school is so fond of this," said Head of School Steven Lisk of the school's outdoor labyrinth, "that there's a replica on the floor of the dining commons," Country Day's cafeteria.

The labyrinth was inspired by one found in the historic city of Bath, England. John Jarvis, then head of school, traveled to Bath in 1986, and was impressed by that British town's labyrinth.

" 'Wouldn't it be wonderful if we did something like this in Lancaster?' " Jarvis remembers thinking. So he spearheaded a project to have a labyrinth built on the grounds at Country Day. Jarvis treasures a lovingly kept scrapbook of the labyrinth's construction, complete with photographs and carefully rendered drawings. The labyrinth opened in 1989.

Country Day's path, built with volunteer labor, covers a tenth of a mile before reaching "Jerusalem" at its center. Though inspired by Jarvis' trip to England, it's modeled after the one at Chartres and made up of some 10,000 bricks, set in grass.

"It's easy for the kids to run on," said Jarvis on a recent visit to the labyrinth, as several students scampered through on a recent sunny day.

Not far from Country Day, Sarah Campbell's labyrinth connects with nature in a special way: it's created with seasonal herb plants. This labyrinth literally blooms.

It's also functional; Campbell's labyrinth supplies the title of her business, Herbs From the Labyrinth, a Lancaster garden and herbal-products business. It once served as a source of herbs for her shop until business increased.

Campbell's seven-circuit labyrinth, the centerpiece of her garden, is Cretan-style in design. Built eight years ago, "the lines are drawn with a mixture of herbs, river stones and bricks," Campbell said. "The herbs die off in the winter, [but] we can still see the stones and the bricks. ... Unless it gets really deep, it shows up in the snow."

Campbell enjoys her labyrinth by both walking its path and being able to see it from an office on the second floor of her house.

"It helps you to find peace, to calm, and find the quiet place within," she said. "Even looking at it makes a connection in your brain."

Accented with whimsical little animal statues — visitors might find a frog and an elephant, to name two — the center of the labyrinth is an exotic sculpture titled "Omphalos," by Maryland artist Jo Israelson. It was literally rolled into the labyrinth off a truck via planks and rollers — a system not unlike the way stones might have been moved to build the pyramids of Egypt, Campbell speculated.

As the weather warms, the labyrinth grows, with plants as high as 5 or 6 feet. "There's a pretty wide variety," said Campbell, noting hyssop, sweet cicely and tulsi, or "holy basil" among its components. "You can eat almost anything" in the labyrinth, Campbell said, "or make medicine from it."

She has hosted young visitors and said that "children are not that interested in meditation. But they are still more calmed down and focused when they come out."

As for herself, Campbell said the best thing about her labyrinth is "just seeing the beauty of it all the time.

"I have the feeling of being connected to something ancient."

Or as Linda Dobbins put it, "we just trust the path!"

The Tour de Labyrinth is free. Visitors may park at the Hillcrest Road parking area at Lancaster Country Day School; directions to the other labyrinth addresses will be issued at the school. The event will be held rain or shine. Call Unitarian Universalist Church of Lancaster, 393-1733.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Let's Dye with Osage Orange!

A workshop with Linda Kluge-Mansfield of Avalonblue
Sponsored by Herbs from the Labyrinth, LLC
Saturday, May 2, 2009 noon until 4 pm

Join us as Linda shares techniques for traditional dyes, a skill going back at least 6000 years. From the realms of magic and tradition, she’ll fascinate us with lore about the dyers, who were considered skilled alchemists and keepers of secret knowledge.

In the hands-on portion of the workshop, each person will dye items in dye-pots we will set up together using Osage Orange, Chamomile, Calendula & Safflower,, which will give us striking yellows. Additional scarves, silk camisoles and other goodies will be available for purchase & dyeing.

Cost for the workshop is $55, & includes two silk scarves or one silk purse. Register at Radiance, or send your check & registration information to Herbs from the Labyrinth, LLC, 9 W Grant St, Lancaster, PA 17603. Space is limited, so register early!

The workshop will be held at Radiance, 9 W Grant St, across from the Central Market in downtown Lancaster. Phone is 290-1517.

Wear clothes that can get messy, and plan to have fun!

Week 7 of the Herbal Blog Contest!

Welcome to week 7 of the herbal blog contest! This week we are featuring Aquarian Bath. Aquarian Bath's soaps, balms and salves are either unscented or lightly scented with only pure essential oils. This week, enter to win you choice of a Lavender Spearmint Lip balm in a 0.15 oz tube OR a Lemon Lime Lip Balm in a 0.25 oz slide tin, and 20% off on your next order with Aquarian Bath.

The Lavender Spearmint Balm is made with Extra virgin olive oil, Shea butter, Beeswax, Castor oil, Spearmint and Lavender essential oil.

The Lemon Lime lip balm is made with Coconut oil, Shea Butter, Castor oil, Beeswax, Jojoba, Lime and Lemon Essential oils, and Zinc Oxide, a mineral used in sunscreens.

To win one of these lovely balms, enter by posting a comment in response to this blog entry and take a chance at winning! Entrants must include their email address to be eligible to win. US and Canadian residents are eligible. You can receive additional chances to win in the following ways:

* Tweet about this blog contest on twitter.com including @aquarianbath in the tweet. Come back and log your tweet with a comment to receive 1 additional entry.
* Visit and join Aquarian Bath's fan page on Facebook. Leave a comment so we know you joined to receive 1 additional entry.
* Make a comment about your favorite item from Aquarian Bath's etsy or 1000markets stores to receive 1 additional entry.
* Make a purchase with Aquarian bath to on etsy or 1000markets to receive 3 additional entries.

*The following blogs are also participating, so stop over to enter with them for additional chances to win AND the chance to explore some cool blogs.
Aquarian Bath
Make a purchase from one of these 9 host blog's online stores to receive 2 additional entries and leave a comment at the host's blog's contest:
The Essential Herbal
Herbs from the Labyrinth
Patti's Potions
PrairieLand Herbs
The Rosemary House
Nature's Gift
Torchsong Studio
SunRose Aromatics
Garden Chick

One lucky winner from one of the 10 host blogs will be contacted to receive 2 free soaps of their choice along with their lip balm and 20% off coupon, so be sure to visit and enter at all 10 blogs.

The winners will be announced at the Aquarian Bath blog when the results are in from all participating blogs. Enjoy.

Keep coming back and keep entering. We have some great prizes coming up, and we'll be having the contests until the middle of May!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Week 6 of the Herbal Blog Giveaways

Welcome to week 6 of the herbal blog contest! This week, enter to win a .15 oz. Healing Wand from Prairieland Herbs! These healing wands contain herbally infused certified organic olive oil, locally produced beeswax, vitamin E, essential oils of tea tree and lavender, and are the perfect size for your pocket, purse, or diaper bag. They work wonders on cuts, scrapes, rashes, burns, dry skin, hangnails, etc.

To win one of these useful and natural healing balms, simply enter by posting a comment in response to this blog entry and take a chance at winning!!! Don’t forget to include your email addy so we can contact the winner! The following blogs are also participating, so stop over to enter with them for additional chances to win AND the chance to explore some cool blogs.

Patti’s Potions
PrairieLand Herbs
Aquarian Bath
The Rosemary House
Natures Gift
Torchsong Studio
The Essential Herbal
Garden Chick
SunRose Aromatics

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Week 5 of the Herbal Blog Giveaway

This is Week 5 of the Herbal Blog Contest. Friday March 27th to Thursday April 2nd.

Featured this week are moisturizing Lip Balms from Patti’s Potions Natural Soaps, Ltd.
Did you know that most lip balms contain petroleum products that are NOT eco-friendly? Patti's lip balms use natural oils, food-grade lip-safe flavorings and essential oils may be used to add flavor to the lip balms. No sweetener is added. Ingredients: calendula infused olive oil, shea butter, natural beeswax, jojoba, castor, & vitamin E

To win TWO of these luscious lip balms, simply enter by posting a comment in response to this blog entry and take a chance at winning!!! Don’t forget to include your email addy so we can contact the winner!

The following blogs are also participating, so stop over to enter with them for additional chances to win AND the chance to explore some cool blogs. Patti is unable to ship out of country at this time.

Patti’s Potions
PrairieLand Herbs
Aquarian Bath
The Rosemary House
Natures Gift
Torchsong Studio
The Essential Herbal
Garden Chick
SunRose Aromatics

Keep coming back and keep entering. We have some great prizes coming up, and we'll be having the contests until the middle of May!

Winners of the Tea Sampler Giveaway

I'm still waiting to hear back from one of the blog owners of the giveaway, & need a bit more info from several of the winners, but here are the winners so far & I'll add the last one as soon as I get it. If you're listed as a winner & I don't have your name & mailing address, please contact me at labyrinthherbs@aol.com with that info! And congratulations!

Torchsong Studios winner is Regina, drflowersales@gmail
Natures Gift winner is Nece, kariteimo@gmail
Essential Herbal winner is Tumbleweed Trails, visionquest220@msn
Patti's Potions winner is Carolyn, carogonza1@yahoo
Aquarian Baths winner is cowgirltazz@yahoo
Sunrose Aromatics winner is Justine Crane, sapobubbles@yahoo
Prairieland Herbs winner is ebersolecattleco@yahoo
Rosemary House winner is fillynn@juno
Garden Chick's winner is ikkinlala@yahoo.com

And the winner from my blog, Herbs from the Labyrinth, is peder3@wi.rr.com

Thursday, March 26, 2009

We're Flipping the Switch for Climate Change!

Herbs From the Labyrinth has signed up for Earth Hour in 2009. This Saturday, March 28, from 8:30 to 9:30pm, we will turn out non-essential lighting and join millions across the globe in sending a strong message to our national and world leaders that we must take action now on global climate change. And what could be more romantic than a fire in the fireplace, a glass of wine and a darkened house?

Join us. Find out how you can turn out and take action on climate change by visiting the EarthHour web site at www.EarthHourUS.org.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Week 4 of the Herb Blog Giveaway

For the week between Friday, March 20 and Thursday, March 26, the swap stops here!

You can enter simply by entering a comment in response to this blog entry and take a chance at winning a sampler of my hand-blended herbal teas, including one each of the following: Moontime Tea, Lover's Tea, Spring in My Step, FemininiTea, Dandy Lion Tea, Hush-A-Bye, Strong As Nails, SereniTea, SmarTea, DigestiviTea, Nursing Mother Tea, Endo-Liver Tea, Love Your Liver Tea, and Mid-Summer Tea.

The following blogs are also participating, so stop over to enter with them for additional chances to win AND the chance to explore some cool blogs.

Patti’s Potions
PrairieLand Herbs
Aquarian Bath
The Rosemary House
Natures Gift
Torchsong Studio
The Essential Herbal
Garden Chick
SunRose Aromatics