Healthy Herbal Drinks for the Summer
We trust that the Palero will be interested to note that many of the herbs that we use are also utilized for spiritual purposes in our Traditions!
Above in the 3 jars fresh herbs are collected.
On the left:
Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey Tea Shrub)
In the Center:
Hibiscus flowers (large scarlet flower and smaller pink flowers)*
(Raw local honey)
On the right:
* The Hibiscus that we use is our local shrub hibiscus and herbaceous hibiscus. Our children are especially excited about the hibiscus in the drinks because of the flamboyant flowers and bright colors. They are delighted to discover that something so beautiful is also edible.
In particular the Hibiscus-Mint combination is very cooling for this hot season. Great with ice or just chilled from the fridge.
The recipe is simple. Add boiling water, let cool, add honey if desired, chill. (We leave them overnight, but it only takes a few hours). Then enjoy. It can be fun and educational to watch the color changes that occur as the hot water pulls the magic and spirit from the plants! The children love to see this alchemical process manifesting in front of their eyes.
It is no secret that our Ancestors had a more varied diet that the modern diet. The bulk of their plant food was perennial- such as shrubs, trees, herbaceous plants or self seeding annuals. The modern plant diet is primarily annuals grown on highly chemicalized and devitalized soils. Because of their long term stability, trees and shrub food tends to be very mineral and vitamin rich. Their roots stretch deep into and around the Earth, pulling a specific set of nutrients depending on what tree or shrub we are talking about. So called weeds (especially those with tap roots) also do this. What is truly magical and deeply spiritual is that two plants, growing next to each other can pull vastly different nutrients from the Earth, Sky and Sun! At the Heart of Ancestral Traditions is the wisdom of the Ancestors who were able to understand this magic and bring it into practical uses of healing and creation.
It is concerning that contemporary spiritual practitioners, whether they be Paleros or Tainos (or of any other tradition that is directly tied to the Ancestors and is not a so called "new age" abstraction), are apparently estranged from the direct and daily relationship with the world of the Mysterious and Magical Plants. There are those "medicine people"(beikes, shamans, boitu etc.) out there who know only to rely on drugs for even the most simplest ailment. It is the proverbial issue of being thirsty at the edge of a river, hungry in front of a lush garden. Their spiritual deprivation leads them to sickness and dependence, all the while, Mother Earth and Ancestral Wisdom are offering vitality and empowerment. Many have the audacity to talk about "medicine" but resort to the quick and easy fix (which is not a fix but a tratado for debilitation) of Frankenstein's laboratory. Others use the popular god ($) as the reason to choose chemicals and perversions (GMOs) over the plants that Mother Earth freely gives us. Caring not that this choice ensures the destruction of Mother Earth, yet the next minute they are singing a song to her, with feather and drum in hand! What hypocrisy and how could the Ancestors give their blessing for this?
Compared to the Ancient (and even not so ancient) Ancestors, we are children, with much more ignorance concerning plants than wisdom, however, there is no shame in humbling oneself to seek out some basic spiritual wisdom concerning the most common plants. Many powerful plant medicines can be found at the corners of gardens, parks, along roads, abandoned lots, in hedgerows, and riverbanks. Most of them we overlook everyday, sometimes even aggressively attacking them as a "weed". Viciously spraying out powerhouses of nutrients such as the dandelion and violet from the lawn. Trampling over the pile of weeded out plantain to get to a drug to deal with the bee sting we got weeding, not realizing all we need to do is chew a leaf of plantain and apply it to the sting!
Many prayers are made for divine intervention, ironically, this Sacred Intervention that is required, is right in front of so many of us. Mother Earth herself is in the process of requiring us to once again respect her and her Sacred Medicine. The Earth Changes we are experiencing, which are sure to become more intense, require that we do so. The overblown egos, and delusions cannot survive her Sacred Response to the vicious and greedy attack that has so undermined the vitality of the Web of Life.