Garlic mustard grilling 

        

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Earth Day: 11 Steps to Make a Difference

Ok friends, its earth day: listen, call it what you want, the earth is going to have upheavals against the humans if we don’t learn to integrate technology into biological systems, reinvent the paradigm with ethics before politics. we as a species have to accelerate our rate of change if we dont want to crash our grandchildren into an unworkable system. We are in a crisis and we have to find our own ways out – Water issues, do you see them in california and all over the world? Earth issues: fracking being linked to causing more earth quakes all around the world. Fish are leaving the planet, the black rhino is extinct now. Its time to release resistance to transformation. Our politicians will not help us, we are on our own. we are a family, and a community, and it is time to gather our resources together to learn to vote with our dollars, empower the most ethical systems you can see, and kickstart the new paradigm through open source development of the best ideas we can come up with to avoid hitting the wall, we dont have to. but its up to us. Vote with your dollar, sink corporations that you dont resonate with, that are doing practices which are causing you and your future generations disastrous harm, We have the potential to now #kickstart fund a new president/leader/organizers/boards grow as much of your own food that you can, join a #csa, learn ethical (not taking only) #foraging practices, learn #permaculture, learn #biodynamic practices, #primitive skills, #meditation #ecology #mycoremediation #bioremediation #prayercircles #vigils #ritesofpassage #makedocumentaries #overgrowthesystem #makeanewparadigm – become a local business or a #nonprofit, #barter #trade #timebank localize the economy, become part of the change today. #lovealways #dandelion The choice is in YOUR (our) HANDS AND HEART! We need all the good ideas we can get. #culturejam it

Here are just few things you can do every day to connect and to help reduce greenhouse gases and make a less harmful impact on the environment. Of course, there are many other ways you can be a responsible citizen of this planet.

  1. Take at least 200 steps per day outside– Sometimes getting out of the house and walking, or riding a bike, not only burns the calories but helps you to connect. We live in a beautiful world. Stepping outside into the nature, we connect to the vibrations of the trees, of the grass, of everything that lives and breathes around us.  Taking those steps each day, cultivate an energy of gratitude and connection to your presence as a being here at this particular time and space.
  2. Reduce plastic waste– Our oceans are polluted with plastic. Our landfills each year are filled with millions of pounds of plastic. It’s time we stop using plastic bags all together. You can help with this cause by investing in cloth bags and bringing them along to the store every time you shop for food. Same goes for using plastic bottles. It’s a huge industrial waste to produce the water bottle and trust me that water is really not that much better than your tap water at home. You can also put a filtering system on your tap. Invest in stainless steel canteen.
  3. Hug a tree– When was the last time you hugged a tree? We recommend that on your next walk to the park you try to hug a tree and feel its energy. The energy of trees changes our state of being. All things have electromagnetic frequencies which effect our mood and state of being.
  4. Walk barefoot– We are so preoccupied in our daily lives, running on the concrete pavement in our boots and shoes that we are completely disconnected from the ‘real ground’. So your next lunch break, go to the park, take off your shoes! Feel the energy of Mother Earth. It will slow you down and will get you to feel and see more with all your multi-senses..Hear the birds…Send love to the Mother Earth through your feet!
  5. Learn to compost food scraps–Think about how much trash you make in a year. Reducing the amount of solid waste you produce in a year means taking up less space. Composing makes a great natural fertilizer. It’s not as difficult as you think. You can compost outside (if you have space) or in bins indoors. Check out more info on composting at Planet Natural.
  6. Plant a tree– “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best time is right now.” Trees clean our air and create oxygen. This is a great way to compensate for the pollution of our environment. Check out your local organizations that have plant a tree events.
  7. Understand the difference between greywater and blackwater– In times of drought, recycled greywater is very useful. The flow of greywater from washing dishes or clothes can even be used to heat water for bathing, reducing energy use.  Blackwater is wastewater from toilets, while greywater is wastewater from sinks, dishwashers, bathtubs, and washing machines. Blackwater can only be recycled as fertilizer for plants, while recycled greywater can be used for irrigation, for flushing toilets, and for cleaning cars and floors.
  8. Increase biomass of plants to grow your own – When it comes to food, we need to be conscious of what we eat but also where the food is coming from. If you have space in your apartment, you can start growing some herbs and smalls veggies like peppers, cucumbers on your windowsills. If possible, choose to buy more local, organic and seasonal food in general. This will reduce unnecessary transportation ways, keep the environment cleaner and your body healthier. Moreover, it’s deeply satisfying to little by little ween yourself off of big corporations and support your local farmers.
  9. Learn to sprout –  Sprouting is a great and fun way to connect to your food. Moreover, sprouts do contain a varied and powerful battery of nutrients, rivaling citrus fruits in vitamin C and beef in protein, and surpassing almost any other known food source in completeness. If you can reach a supply of water twice daily, and if the temperature is within the range of comfort for human habitation there’s no place too small or remote for sprouting! You can spend between $5 and $25 to purchase sprouting apparatus that will successfully sprout most beans, but there are probably a dozen containers in your kitchen that will work equally well…

 

  1. Use environmental friendly cleaning/household products There are so many products for cleaning your house on the market, but many of them filled with toxins. Start paying attention to what you are buying at store, price difference is not significantly higher, or you can make your own products using essential oils and baking soda.
  2. Turn electricity OFF! –Whether those are lights or electronics when they are not being used, and definitely cell phone devices, let’s start be aware of the consumption of electricity and EMF waves they produce. A recent study from Sweden is particularly frightening, suggesting that if you started using a cell phone as a teen, you have a 5 times greater risk of brain cancer than those who started as an adult. And it appears that, more than a century after Thomas Edison switched on his first light bulb, the health consequences of that continual overlap are just now beginning to be documented.

All Love!

Dan de Lion & Dina Divine

(this article has been co-written by Dina Divine and Dan De Lion)

www.belightliving.com

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Live Herbal Q+A – Wednesday, April 22

Hey friends! This Wednesday, April 22 at 6:30 pm I’ll be giving another live webcast for herbal q+a – Suggested donation 15$ through paypal, all proceeds go to the Return to Nature mission of education and outreach of herbal and foraging life skills for all ages.

Please post your questions on the fb event invite, or email them in to Dan@Returntonature.us –  And let me know if you will be joining.

Much love, Dan

https://www.facebook.com/events/1584594738453901/1593582037555171/

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Fermentation + Kombucha Workshop – Part 5 – Oxidization, Turmeric, and Biological Intelligence

Here is part 5 of the Fermentation and Kombucha class I taught at the NOFA Winter Conference, in Jan, 2015 – In this segment, I discuss the benefits of using whole spices vs powders which help us avoid oxidization, or rapid breakdown of the chemistry in plants that help us heal. Also discussed are some of the many benefits of turmeric, such as its importance in reduction of systemic inflammation. Any disease ending in “itis” is caused by years of systemic inflammation that goes unchecked in the modern (SAD) diet.

I also answer a very commonly asked question: do “antibiotic herbs” deplete gut bacteria? A whole plant creates intelligent mechanisms against that, because it needs bacteria and even virus for co-evolutionary reasons. Yet, when humans use modern extraction methods there are often side-effects due to isolating “active constituents”. To develop holistic understanding, we must reclaim the intelligence of the body which then makes food choices that benefit us as a holistic organism; which includes approximately 25% of our body weight in bacteria.

Enjoy,

Dan

www.facebook.com/returntonatureskills

More info about clinical studies with Turmeric against cancer:

http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/herbsvitaminsandminerals/turmeric

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2758121/

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This Weekend – Classes in Howell, NJ

This weekends classes @ Howell, NJ area:

Friday – Family Foraging Class

Saturday – Foraging and Tracking Class

Sunday – Dreaming Techniques Talk and Dream Sharing Circle + Potluck

Details Here

Return to Nature - Foraging and Herbalism School

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Permaculture Podcast Interview

Foraging BurdockRecently, I was a guest on “The Permaculture Podcast with Scott Mann“​.

It was truly a pleasure talking with Scott and we discussed a wide range of aspects in relation to the intersection between foraging and permaculture.

In the write up about the class, Scott Remarks, “One of the points that stuck with me from this conversation is that we are all still members of the natural world, even as much as we feel separated from it at times. We can use foraging and permaculture to reconnect to natural systems and cycles by shifting our time and energy away from commercial production and consumer anesthetics to nourishing traditions of food and community.”

You can listen to the Podcast here: http://www.thepermaculturepodcast.com/2015/dan-de-lion

Or check out the Youtube video with a picture slideshow here.

 And while you’re there, check out their other great interviews and get your permaculture and foraging education on at http://www.thepermaculturepodcast.com and if you have facebook check out their page at The Permaculture Podcast

More podcast interviews with Dan can be heard here.

permaculture logo

 

 

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Developing Set and Setting in Plant Ritual – Audio Recording

Dan Plant Ritual

Here’s the recording of my online talk with Sphinx Mystery School on Feb, 3, 2015.

This class was entitled, “Developing Set and Setting in Plant Ritual.” In this talk I shared aspects and practices to engage plants with simple ceremonies and rituals within the many aspects of working and symbiotizing with the Gaian eco-system. We explored from from allies of the back yard, to the more well-known esoteric beings, ways of deepening our connection to the earth as well as our own healing process and work with others.

From smudging with different plants, to plant sits, smoking and dreaming herbs, herbal medicinals and seeking guidance from the visionary teachers. It was an honor to share in the inspired aspects of communion with our revered plant teachers in such a council. A great question answer session follows the talk.

Check out www.sphinxmysteryschool.com for more teachings and group dream work.

The previous class I shared at Sphinx Mystery School:

The Yoga of the Natural World” Audio Recording

Click Here for more Podcast recordings and interviews

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The Rabbit vision – Observing a Rabbit Up Close

Rabbit TotemDuring a winter sit spot next to a rabbit hole I was lucky enough to be graced by its presence.

After a few minutes sitting still, he came bounding out, and it was then my work to practice invisibility. In order to get close to animals one must be in a state of utter non-intimidation.

Practices ranging from bodily stillness, careful and calm breathing, graceful non-intimidating eye movement, to even the intensity of thoughts will all effect an animal in an instant; as their life depends on determining if we are honing in our senses upon them and therefore a potential predator. By not setting off these triggers, which becomes a meditation, each animal encounter becomes our teacher of deepening our awareness of how we hold ourselves in the world. It is also a teacher of reminding us how the chaos of our inner lives broadcasts ripples outward and effect others around us. Animals, being so attuned, show us this in a more subtle way than people can.

Deeper still, If we pay attention to what we are feeling and thinking at the moment an animal graces us with its presence, we can learn a great deal about our lives. By comparing our internal state with the symbolism and meaning of each animal, like in a dream, this is the practice of working with animal totems which native people worked with. Rabbit totem is a special messenger. This was the closest I have been to a wild rabbit.

More videos at Return to Nature Youtube
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Rabbit

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Gathering Winter Rose Hips

rosamult_frGathering Winter rose hips:

Nature offers an incredible abundance of medicinal plants, if one knows where to look. It takes deep work to abandon the dross of our modern culture, and re-tune our senses to have deep and clear perception of the natural world again. In this article, I’ll be discussing an easily available, and abundant wild plant that you can go out and look for as soon as you finish reading this article.

As I always share through my plant walks, once one learns to navigate through the wall of green that most may see, a mysterious world is revealed. This world, when respected, is one that can, through practice and repetition, gradually become more and more familiar. Within this wall of green, or in this case, white, snow covered area, we will travel to the brambles (thorny places), where there are clusters of beautiful and small little red berries. And in fact, one of them is a wild rose hip.

multiflora rose

Multiflora rose, similar to other roses, develops a hip with many small seeds within itself. In fact, most rose hips can be used, but some are better than others. All rose hips contain Vitamin C;  an antioxidant that shows a large scale action against colds and flu. Remember, the plant itself has engineered these antioxidants, such as vitamin c, within its own body to ensure its protection and survival.

Antioxidants work against free radicals. A free radical cell contains an electron, which goes out of orbit, and eventually explodes through the cell wall, causing a mutation. A mutated cell that reproduces itself is essentially what cancer builds from.

On the borders of the woods, where the lawn meets the hedge, Multiflora rose stands winterweeds_multiflora_rosehips_rsz_diannemachesneyin almost every back yard, hedgerow, and tract of woods. It is so common that most have probably overlooked it as anything utilizable. This particular species, rosa multiflora, which proliferates differently than your more common species of rose bush, gets a bad rap in the biological community, because it is not native to this area, and has a large ability to spread; facilitated by birds and other mammals. However, in a sense, by harvesting, we do our part to keep the “invasive plants” people happy. We become vessels to “eat the weeds” and establish potentials for native biodiversity to spring up.

On your winter walk, when you have found the thick patch of brambles, you first want to look at all the thorny plants, and start to discern. Among them; blackberries, raspberries, wineberries, and smilax, there are clusters of fruits with a small red berry with a crown on it. This is not to be confused with the red berry of oriental bittersweet which divides in four clusters and is a large climbing vine, or Japanese barberry, which has red oblong berries, but are very bitter tasting – yet a good medicinal. Also, both of these plants have their fruits in the spring/summer months. Over the winter only a few plants still produce fruits, multiflora rose being one of the last ones standing. At first, the rose hips start out as a light red colored fruit, but very hard to squeeze, which is an important identification factor. When you can squeeze the berry between your fingers and it smashes, you will have ripe rose hips. Taste them to see if it is a bush that you like the taste of. There is a tremendous variation among each plant. Don’t forget that  some of them can go “bad”, meaning that the sugars within the hip can become fermented. If you eat too many, you might catch a buzz, or get a little nauseous, depending on which comes first…

rose stem with thorns.JPGAfter harvesting and collecting the hips, lay them out to dry on an old screen, or keep them in a paper bag on the dashboard of your car, and shake them up every few hours. After a few days they will be ready for storage. I recommend to use glass ball jars with metal tops and to keep them away from direct sunlight.

You can add these dried rose hips into any tea mix, jam, or desert. Its very easy to work with rose hips in a French press, and they sweeten up other “bitter” yet medicinal herbs. Vitamin C also helps to potentiate other plant phytochemicals, and this is another good reason to add it to a formula. When trying to consume the pulp of the rose hip, it is suggested to first cook and strain out the seeds with a colander. You can also can make jam by adding sugar, honey, or even dates, and recipes are all over the net. Gathering abundant Vitamin C for a winter survival staple is essential, even if you are the biggest meat eater in the world. Apparently, unless you eat goat brains or chinchilla (according to wiki these are the only 2 animal sources of Vit C.), there is no other source of Vitamin C to be had. We know that the lack of Vitamin C was the cause for scurvy, and people died as a result of the inability to get it. How convenient of this humble invasive, yet sweet and delicious rose hip.

gathered-rose-hips

A word to the wise – Some people get allergic reactions from consuming plants within the rose family (Rosaceae), and proper awareness and caution should always be taken. Don’t eat any plant you haven’t properly identified, and always start off with a small amount, like an experimental scientist. Asking questions like, “well, I know this one is supposed to be sweet, but its bitter” usually means you have the wrong plant, or have picked the plant at the wrong stage. If you have any questions or need of verification of pics, feel free to email me at Dan@returntonature.us – Better to ask than to die =) And remember, when you walk in the woods this winter dress warm!!

Happy Foraging,

Dandelion

More articles on Foraging

Videos on foraging here

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New Article in “Be Light Living” Magazine

Here is a new article I shared with Be Light Living magazine. In it I discuss aspects of practicing intuition with earth based naturalist practices like foraging, birding, or tracking.

“We can observe Nature; human and ecological, by learning to pay “intuitive attention” to the subtle cues we see, if we devote awareness to it. For example, it is one thing to hear a sound, or touch a thing, but very different to fully pay attention to what we are experiencing and to be able to recall it a few moments, or a few days later; which is actually a very good practice. This is especially important because in the modern society we live in, we are energetically invested in ignoring and de-sensitizing all of the input that comes into the senses; shielding the input sensors so that we don’t go into overload. Yet, in the natural world this is an animals only survival; an animal without this capacity has a different name; that name is dinner. Those are the signs of weakness or gaps in awareness; this is the exact moment when the predator strikes. The hungry predator has been waiting for this breech in attentiveness.”

View the full article here.

 tracks

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