Holistic Spiritual Living Blog
Cheryl 13 March. 19
Bay Leaf harvest
I trim the bay tree / bay bush and save the branches during routine pruning, cutting the leaves off afterwards or I may cut individual leaves both for cooking with, or for preparing for smudge / ritual use.
Either way before beginning with the secateurs I set my intention and focus on the Bay, let it know what I intend, ask permission and give thanks. My whole garden has never had weed killers or pesticides so I feel confident that what I harvest is as natural and chemical free as possible, even though it can’t be certified as organic.
Drying the Bay leaves
Once I have the leaves I wash in clean cool water, again with gratitude, then lay out on fresh tea towels and pat dry. The bay leaves are then placed on another dry tea towel on a flat surface like a tray or a plate, loosely covered and left to completely dry.
If it’s important that the leaves dry flat I may place a light weight on them such as another tray, ensuring they get enough air not to spoil.
Once the bay leaves are completely dry I store them in jars or for short term use maybe in a cotton or velvet draw-string bag, or a wooden box.
Using the Bay Leaves in Ritual or Ceremony
I use bay leaves for many gentle rituals such as prayers, offerings, gratitude, focus of intent, and part of creating sacred space.
The leaves can be written on with a single word or two. I’m increasingly aware of the environmental impact of the chemicals in ink and the plastic and other materials in a pen that cannot be recycled so as an alternative I will whisper or speak the word onto the leaf, or just intend it. I do have some natural ochre powder pigments that I would like to experiment with but haven’t tried to see if I can use them to paint on leaves yet.
Here are some examples and ideas of what to put on the leaves:
- Thank you
Focus of intent
- I am good enough
- I am deserving
- I release the past and welcome the new and good
- I am important, I count
Prayers, offerings, gratitude
To use a bayleaf with prayers or to make an offering using the leaves I might burn a leaf by holding it over a flame in a fire / heat proof dish while speaking aloud or saying silently my thanks or what I’m asking for help with, as well as acknowledging the spirit of Bay tree. If burning isn’t an option then I will take the leaves and bury them outside along with a prayer. With burnt leaves once they are completely cold I will likely bury them. I give thanks to the spirit of Bay, and all plant life, to Mother Earth and Father Sky or Sun, and to Air – for all of these have taken part in my little ritual.
Properties of Bay
The practical side of using bay leaves is that they are a convenient shape and size to handle, write on, and place. They are reminiscent in shape and size to coca leaves traditionally used in ceremonies in South Americas such as Peru.
Cheryl 24. August. 18
I like to cut herbs to dry for culinary use and for smudge on a waxing moon, close to the full moon. When I told a friend I did this I got a strange look and he said something like 'you know witchy things like that don't you?'. I laughed but its not witchy, its practical. The aroma and taste of herbs is stronger on a waxing moon, close to a full moon (also best cut in the morning rather than in the afternoon). Try it if you like and see (or rather taste) - try cutting and drying herbs just before the full moon, compared to just before the new moon, label them so you know which is which and then you can do a taste test side by side to compare. The aroma alone, to me, is obviously much stronger just before the full moon.
So this morning I have cut some bay leaves, chives, lavender, and thyme. I wash the ones I'm going to eat and leave them to dry the water off before hanging them up to dry ready to store.
The lavendar I will leave for a little while to allow the insects to escape and then bind them. I like to use cotton yarn, today I've chosen a lovely purple one to go with the lavender colour.
To tie herbs into a smudge bundle I cut a length of yarn, take a bunch of lavender and tie a tight loop at the bottom to hold them together. Then I wind the yarn tightly in a spiral up the length of the bunch. When I get near the top I begin wrapping down the bunch in a spiral allowing the yarn to cross over evenly to make a nice diamond sort of pattern. At the bottom I just tie the end to the end left from the first tie, leaving a long enough piece to make a loop and hang it up to dry.
I cut branches from the bush that I'd prune off anyway. At this time of the moonth I cut only what I will need for cooking or burning. The plant looses less of its energy and essence when the sap has fallen so pruning just for plant maintenance is best done near a new moon. From the branches I pull off individual leaves, choosing the neatest (un-nibbled by creatures) then when they're all off they're washed and left on a tea towel to dry. When the water has evaporated I put them on a fresh tea towel and cover them loosely to keep the dust off as they dry. When they're completely dry I'll store some in a jar in the kitchen for use in cooking through winter and some in my therapy room for burning for smudge, single prayer offerings, in threes as kintu's, or in a despacho ritual.
Chives are just for cooking with. After they are well rinsed and the dead grass bits picked out these are left on a tea towel to dry off before chopping small using a mezzaluna knife and board. This I've found is the most efficient way to cut chives up small to use or dry but I still don't like doing it much because it makes my eyes stream. If I've cut chives at the new moon time of the moonth it doesn't do this but the flavour is weaker.
I cut little 'branches' of thyme, tap them outside to knock off dead leaves and insects and then rinse each in water. Shaking the water off and leaving to dry off on a tea towel before transferring to a large shallow bowl or tray and covering. When they are completely dry I will just rub them to get the leaves off and store in jars in the kitchen.
For thyme smudge I use the resulting twiggy branches and these can be added to an outside fire or carefully lit over a candle over a fire-proof tray or bowl.
Each time I approach a plant to cut it for my use I feel gratitude for what it will give of itself. Each cut of a twig or branch or leaf I offer my gratitude. The plants have no central nervous system so are not like humans or other animals in the way they feel but they do have an energy and spirit and it is for this I am grateful. In this way I feel the plant gives more than flavour and aroma, it gives fully its 'medicine' - not in a herbal remedy / chemical constituents way but its spirit medicine.
I'm not a herbalist and I do not treat symptoms in people with plant smudge medicine (or anything else). I choose the vibrations of plants / plant smudge (as with crystals or any thing else I have) to influence energy and invite rebalance.
As a Reiki Master Teacher one of the things I’m interested in is raising standards of training and practice. There are many cheap (and sometimes not-so-cheap) courses that sometimes don’t include the attunement ceremony. These are often correspondence courses, which might sound tempting because you can learn at your own pace, but I’m wondering how learning this way is different to reading a book, and then maybe writing a bit about it. Other courses may be in person but don’t include the attunements. It’s important to choose the best way that works for you if you’re sure what you’re getting (and what’s not included).
When you learn in person, you’re right there with the Reiki Master you’ve chosen, it’s interactive; you can ask questions, discuss, spend more time on something you haven’t encountered before and less time on something you already feel comfortable about.
With a good real-life Reiki Teacher you can expect on-going support should you need it so you can ask about any queries that might come up, about how you treat a certain condition (or whether you should treat at all), or about how someone felt receiving reiki.
Here’s my check list of things to consider when choosing a Reiki Master Teacher
Can you talk to the Reiki Master you will be working with beforehand, or even meet them in person or skype so you get an idea of whether they are the right person for you?
Is there anything you need to do before attending a class in preparation?
- Location - logistics of how near they are to you or easy to get to
- Is there parking nearby / good transport links?
- Do you need to book a B&B and stay over?
- Do the course timings and dates fit in with your commitments, can they be flexible?
- Are the classes one to one or a group (check on size – maximum numbers if that bothers you)
- Does the class include practical work or just theory?
- Do they offer progression through the Reiki levels at a steady pace?
- Are you expected to double up on levels, for example doing one and two together may be too overwhelming
- How much will it cost?
- What is provided / what do you need to bring with you?
What is included in the fee?
- Manual (is it printed, a download, or a separate purchase)
- Can you submit case studies for review and to gain valuable feedback to help you develop?
- Are case studies or other home study a requirement?
- Is there on-going support after the course ends?
- Do you get the attunements as part of the course?
- Are the attunements in person (a professional body may not accept you as a member if attunements were ‘distance’)
- Do you receive a certificate of qualification, or just completion, or attendance?
- How long have they been a Reiki Master?
- Can they prove / provide lineage back to Reiki founder Dr Mikau Usui?
- Are further development or refresher classes available?
Cheryl Colpman Reiki Master Teacher
Here is some information about me which answers some of the questions above; please do get in touch with me for a chat to find out anything else you want to know and discuss details of my Reiki classes.
I became a Reiki Master in 2003 and began offering classes a couple of years later, having begun my own healing Reiki journey in the 1990s. All my training and attunements were in person and my full lineage back to Dr Usui is available to see and a copy is provided for you at level two and three. All of my certificates can be seen, and the ‘Verified Reiki Practitioner’ Certificate from the Reiki Association / Reiki Council.
Reiki classes are usually one to one to offer the most flexibility both in regard to the class structure and times. I do teach small groups sometimes as well. A printed manual is provided and ongoing support. Lunch is provided on a complimentary basis (healthy, plentiful and nutritious with special diets catered for) or bring food with you. Snacks, water and herb teas are provided plentifully throughout.
If you have previously been on a reiki course and don’t feel confident I offer tailored refresher classes to go over anything you’re not sure of. For those who want to learn more about Reiki, additional methods and practices that don’t need to be covered in a standard class, I offer Reiki Development classes.
Teaching takes place in Coalville*, Leicestershire; there’s easy access from the M1 junction 22 and the A42. Train stations are Loughborough (Leicestershire), Leicester, Polesworth (Tamworth), and Willington (South Derbyshire). Buses run along the Main A511 and the nearest stop is about 8 minutes’ walk away. If you’re travelling far and need to stay over I will provide a list of local B&B’s and hotels.
I welcome prospective students to meet with me beforehand, you will after all, be spending between 1 and a half and 3 days with me so it’s important to know if we can work together. If that’s not possible due to time or distance then a chat on the phone is a good idea.
*Coalville is in North West Leicestershire, almost in the centre of the country - The Midlands, in the United Kingdom. We are lucky to be located within the National Forest and have plenty of lovely wooded and natural areas within a very short drive. Sometimes we go out on a field trip to practice some Reiki out in nature surrounded by trees, rocky outcrops, gentle hills and the sound of birdsong.
Please see the Contact page for a Google map showing the exact location.
A selection of organic and wild-crafted essential oils applied in combined with a deeply relaxing meditation, aromatherapy diffusion, and soothing application to the hands and feet of quality aromatherapy oils.
I'm developing a real treat of a treatment combining a number of therapies designed to be really soul soothing. Watch this space or follow my Facebook page to be one of the first to experience it.
Aromatherapy is often (usually) received with a massage but this is aromatherapy for the soul and essential oils are well absorbed through the skin of the hands and feet, as well as through the olfactory centre (breathing them in through the nose as a pleasant diffused aroma). Experience a taste of how to 'journey' to ask for helpful information and then enjoy all the benefits of aromatherapy, without having to disrobe, along with a deeply relaxing meditation.
A beautiful blend of aromatherapy, essential oils, plant spirit wisdom, anointing, meditation, shamanic journey, and deep relaxation in one easy therapy. Enjoy the almost ritual like bliss in the comfort and sanctuary of my therapy room here in Leicestershire.
Case Study opportunity ‘Illuminations’
The luminous energy field ‘informs’ us how to process energy, experiences, events, and what and how we intake – such as information, food. Having stuck, old, dense energy imprints is a bit like having old programming on your computer, or an outdated app; things won’t run smoothly, work properly, and will keep doing the old thing, rather than being fresh and new, and working well for you.
Indications that you may benefit from an Illumination include
- Feeling tired despite rest or un-restlessness
- Anxiety, fear, sorrow
- Feeling too ‘heady’ yet unable to think clearly
- Unable to ‘get over’ something
- Feeling ‘stuck’ in life
- Unable to break old habits
- Having a feeling of dense energy
- Feeling ‘heavy’ but maybe ungrounded
- Dis-ease or pain that hasn’t responded to treatment
For my next segment of Shamanka training I’m looking for people who would like to be a case study. For these sessions the work is clearing heavy and dark energy from your energy field and chakras, followed by an ‘illumination’ to replenish the energy field and chakra with healing light energy.
When the energy body and chakras are clogged with heavy energy this may eventually impact the health of other levels; mental stress, emotional discomfort, or physical symptoms.
A case study appointment is an hour and 15 minutes for the treatment and your feedback; how you feel before and afterwards, and summarise your experience of the process / healing session; please also let me know how you’re getting on later after a few days - a week. Payment is by donation, suggested amount £20.
All case studies will be written up and submitted in an anonymous way to ensure absolute confidentiality. There are a limited number of places so please let me know soon if you would like be a case study.
I will give feedback to you and advise if there is any further work to be done (which could be as a further case study).
During the Illumination process we work with the breath and our intention to clear dense, heavy or dark energy that is imprinted within your energy body. This is followed by bringing in new light energy.
Shamanic Acupressure Case studies
Acupressure uses the same points along energy lines called meridians as acupuncture but without needles of any kind. Acupressure is much gentler and invites change and rebalance.
I’ve just begun my training and at the moment I simply need to practice running through a sequence of meridian points, and by tuning into the energy of each I will sensitively feel where balance is needed and then rebalanced before moving to the next point or set of points. The rebalancing sequence feels calming and refreshing and a couple of people have said how it made vague symptoms disappear. There is also a neck release treatment, again using a sequence of acupressure points and rebalancing through them.
For anyone volunteering to be a case study for me to practice this balancing Shamanic Acupressure at this stage, there will be further opportunity to receive discount treatments as my training progresses.
Each appointment is an hour and 15 minutes and will involve a simple consultation where you’ll have the opportunity to report any current health issues before receiving either a rebalancing treatment or a Neck release sequence.
These sessions by donation, suggested amount £20 and I just ask for feedback about how you felt during the session and in the days afterwards.
Sessions take place in my therapy room in Coalville, Leicestershire, in the Midlands.