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Violets & the hidden, wild rivers of the body~


The Violets are in full bloom over here at the Barn! And every three or so days, I spend about two hours among them, tenderly harvesting the brightest blooms and healthiest heart-shaped leaves for this year's elixir and teas. Being sure that when I look back at the sprawling patch after harvest, it looks mostly untouched, as if I haven't disturbed them at all.

A little about the medicine of Violets ~

Viola sororia grow in clusters of luminous purple flowers with white wooly throats and green heart-shaped leaves. Also called meadow violet, wooly blue violet, hooded violet, wood violet, and (thanks to Sappho, my favorite) the lesbian flower. Native to so-called North America, they spread rhizomically, grow in communities, and have secret second flowers, which grow hidden underground never opening their petals to the sunlight.

These pale white, almost otherworldly looking subterranean flowers develop fully below the surface of the soil and have no need of a pollinator. They produce viable seeds on their own and self-sow directly into the dark underground they live within. Those vibrant purple above-ground blooms are not used for reproduction, only pleasure, beauty, canopy for the unrevealed, but very much alive and flourishing, below.

These subterranean flowers are called Cleistogamous flowers. I've seen them, with their oval, almost-pink faces pointed down as if in a posture of prayer, but I've never photographed them. They fill me with reverence and to protect that feeling, and the kind of ceremonial privacy I feel in their presence, I won't share a found image, instead, I'll leave it up to you to search for an image or, maybe, you'd like to simply reach out through your senses, your imagination, to their underground world and leave them in their soft darkness as I've chosen to do.

When sitting with Violets, what I sense most are those subterranean flowers. A cool fluidity meets me. Something unlocks in the underground and I am met with a calm, cooling breeze. A kind of easeful power. An underworld magnetism. I feel as if I’ve just gained access to a hidden wild stream.

Violets help to ease the emotional and sensual hearts in times of acute grief, invite in calm discernment, open the portal to underworld energy, and nourish the shadow self. They help move the waters of the body as they work to soften and clear lymphatic, hepatic, and emotional blockages of all kinds. Violet has long been a remedy to treat headaches, especially those due to tension, sadness, constitutional dryness, or lack of sleep. And have also been helpful in the treatment of sore, swollen lymph glands during acute viral infections such as the flu.

Our lymphatic systems, which I think of as the rivers and tributaries of the body, need our support to circulate and flow. Unlike our cardiovascular system, our lymphatic tributaries have no central pump (like the heart), so anything we can do to help these waters circulate is so important. Movement, massage, staying hydrated, and integrating gentle, nutrient-dense herbs who have an affinity for the lymphatic system—like Violet, Cleavers (Galium aparine), Cickweed (Stellaria media), and Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)—are deeply important for lymphatic and immune health. I turn to Violets in the spring, summer, and early fall especially. Sipping infusions of fresh leaves and flowers, eating the blossoms on cakes, in salads and soups, as a double-infused massage herbal oil (that I sadly never have enough of to share), and also as a potent elixir that I work with ritually across these months.

with/in's Violet elixir is a blend of Violet blossom and leaf tincture and Violet blossom flower essence gently sweetened with organic vegetable glycerin. A special combination-formula designed to create a potent and multilayered plant medicine that amplifies Violet’s healing magic across the body-mind-spirit complex. This elixir supports us in the transmutation of stagnating grief, worry, trauma, and rage into nourishment and vitality. Violet also helps us access underworld energy and find calm, comfort, sexual sovereignty, pleasure in fluidity, and empowerment through the underground of our emotional bodies.

Last year's Violet Elixir sold out quickly and this year's is infusing right now. The Violets were so generous that I was able to make a double batch this year! It will be pressed in late May and sent out right away to those who have pre-ordered.

Maybe you'd like to pre-order a bottle? You can read more about Violets, dosing for the spiritual and physical bodies, and pre-order your own elixir here.

And, finally, Some Summer News —

I'll be closing the apothecary in mid-May until early July, during which time I'll return to Sicily for a month of pilgrimage, ceremony, medicine making, and writing. This visit completes a year of ceremonial research with my ancestral island. I have been nourished (spiritually and physically!) through these visits. I have been filled with awe, enchantment, reverence. I've been restored and reconfigured. I've made friends who feel like family. And I've mostly been made speechless in the island's presence, but within this speechlessness I've (re)gained access to something that is slowly being transmuted into a new book (tentatively) titled, Water Oracles.

If you'd like to stock up on anything before I leave, you have the next couple of weeks to do so. A reminder that I've added Coven of 3 to the apothecary, which has been very popular. Some of the essences I've made with Sicilian plants and places are in the apothecary labeled with a "New" ribbon to make them easy to find. And that Ashwagandha, Milky Oats, and Motherwort make a gloriously grounded and nourishing triad of tinctures for almost all bodily constitutions. They have been my guardians for years.

Wishing you a beautiful & healthy late spring and early summer season. Thank you for being here with me.


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