Honor the Tree

by L.Cota Nupa Maka

Tuesday, January 15, 2019 5:24 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

The fun your family had picking out the Christmas tree? Has this been tarnished by our total lack of respect for it once we are done with Christmas. What do you do with your Christmas tree once you’re through with the holidays?

How do we honor the Christmas tree after it has shared its beauty and life with us? It saddens me to see the Christmas trees thrown out along the curb for the trash truck to gather. Indigene Art Forms I feel like we are a throwaway society and the lack of honor for a once living thing has been disrespected.

In the days when we use to have a fresh tree, how can I say a live one if it was cut down, we never just threw it on the garbage heap. The kids and I would undecorate it and then drag it out into the back yard. In the deep snow, we put a five-gallon pail and filled it with sand then set the tree in that to stand upright.

Then the fun part began with decorations made of cranberries and dry fruit. We took pine cones and mixed up a bowl of ground suet and bird seeds. Add some honey and peanut butter and you have a spread that can be put on the pine cones. With sticky hands, we packed the mixture in pine cones and hung them from the tree with wire. Old withered apples and carrots went on the tree during the winter months. Even a bagel or donuts found its way to the inner tree branches for the small birds to enjoy. Nothing was wasted and the animals and birds certainly did appreciate the treats.

We even strung grapes and cut oranges for the cardinals who came looking for a juicy bite. Hung among the suet blocks the tree looked just as festive as when it sported lights and shiny ornaments.

The squirrels and other small animals, I am sure in the wee hours of the morning, stopped by to have a nibble of our gourmet selections. Perhaps a deer or two found a treat hanging on that tree during the long cold winter months.

After the winter came to a close and the spring threatened to burst through the frozen ground we held a bond fire. I can recall when the kids were little we would pile up all the branches that had blown down during the winter months for a bond fire. Right on the top of the pile would go the Christmas Tree still dangling some of its tinsel. It was the crown jewel of the fire and in a kind of the ritual way, it was the saying goodbye to the winter and hello to the spring. There was always a great breath of awe when the fire reached the tree and it burst into flame.

The word BOND FIRE is used so often but the meaning of these fires has long been forgotten. In the olden days, the bond fires could be seen for miles up and down the valley as families celebrated the first signs of spring. It was a time for families to gather around the bond fires and talk and share the stories of winters past. In the times we held them in our back yard in Maine we had mostly neighbors and friends over for a weenie roast and some hot chocolate. It was fun sitting on a log and just soaking in the heat of the fire and watching the kids throw sticks into the flames.

For days I would smell the sweet smoke on my clothes it was a great way to honor the little tree that gave us so much joy.


We do not use a fresh tree now but have over the years chosen to use an artificial one. It is better to spare the trees that are so precious to our well being. At first, it was hard to get used to the change, the conflict over the fresh versus the artificial still goes on in our family.

If you do not use a real tree then honor a small bush or tree outside and make it your nature tree. It can become a tree for the small animals and birds in honor of the season of the giveaway. 

Wise Woman Herbal Ezine – January 15, 2019

White Sage

{Salvia apiana}

Also, Known As:

  • Bee Sage
  • Sacred Sage
  • White Ceremonial Sage
  • White Sage

Salvia apiana or white sage is a perennially growing evergreen shrub that is indigenous to the southwestern regions of the United States and the adjoining north-western areas of Mexico. This herb is mostly found growing in the wild in the scrub habitat in the coastal regions of Baja California and Southern California, located on the western peripheries of the Sonoran and Mojave deserts.

White sage possibly derives its name from its ashen evergreen leaves, which contain oils and resins. The leaves of white sage emit a potent aroma when they are rubbed. The white to light lavender hued blooms of this plant attract bees, and this is described in the plant’s specific name – apiana. White sage bears many flower stalks, which measure anything between 1 meter and 1.3 meters (3.3 feet to 4.3 feet) in height. Occasionally, the flower stalks of white sage have a pinkish hue and they grow higher than the foliage, especially in spring.

White sage usually grows up to a height of five feet. The plants bloom during the summer. The petals of white sage pucker back, as the stamens dangle on the sides. The white sage flowers are often troublesome for the bees, as they can neither go inside nor get out with ease. However, bumblebees are more apt at dealing with these flowers, while hummingbirds have no trouble at all in collecting nectar from white sage flowers.

Plant Part Used:

Dried leaves.

Herbal Use:

Native American groups inhabiting the United States’ Pacific coast extensively use white sage or Salvia apiana. The seed of this plant formed the main ingredient of their staple food, locally known as “Pinole”. People belonging to the Cahuilla collected the white sage seeds in large amounts. They pounded the seeds and blended it with wheat flour as well as sugar for preparing biscuits or gruel. Even the leaves and stems of white sage were consumed by members of the Chumash as well as other local tribes.

Many tribes used the seeds of white sage to clear their eyes of foreign objects, much in the same manner as the Europeans used the clary sage seeds. Cahuilla women also used the roots of this plant to prepare a tea, which is reported to provide strength after childbirth, in addition to healing. Several Native American tribes also burnt the leaves of white sage and the smoke was used in various rituals undertaken for purification.

The leaves of this plant were also used to make an infusion, which was employed in the form of a blood tonic as well as to treat colds and coughs. The leaves are also edible. In addition, they are used in the form of a sweat bath and also to treat colds. As aforementioned, the seeds of white sage are used in the form of eye cleaners.



Several native tribes in America, including the Costanoan, Cahuilla, Kawaiisu, Diegeno, and Maidu of California used the seeds of white sage or chia, as known locally, for cleansing as well as healing their eyes. One means of cleaning the eyes was placing a few white sage seeds inside their eyes at bedtime. These seeds became swollen and gelatinous during the night. While the seeds moved around underneath the eyelids during sleep, they pull together foreign substances, if any, on the eyeballs. The seeds were taken out in the morning, cleaning the eyes and also getting rid of all foreign particles.

For centuries, various native groups have been using the leaves of white sage in the form of hair shampoo, hair straightener, and hair dye. They crushed the leaves in water and applied the water to their hair. In addition, freshly crushed leaves were also used to make a poultice, which was applied to the armpits to get rid of foul odors. They also burnt the leaves and used them in the form of incense to fumigate their homes following the outbreak of infectious ailments like measles.

These native tribes collected the seeds in a flat basket or beater basket. Subsequently, the seeds were dried and pounded into a powdered form for use in meals. In southern California, the Cahuillas used one part of the pounded seeds to blend with three parts wheat flour and a small amount of sugar. This blend was consumed dry, mixed with water in the form of gruel. Alternatively, they baked the powdered seeds into biscuits or cakes.

These tribes harvested the seeds in large quantities and kept them in baskets at home after drying. For instance, the tribes inhabiting north of Santa Barbara stored the dried seeds as well as other foods in small baskets on hand. They especially stored some seeds for the winter, when many other foods were not available. In California, the Chumash, as well as other tribes, also consumed white sage leaves and stems.

Women of the Cahuilla drank an infusion prepared from the roots of white sage after childbirth with a view to getting rid of afterbirth problems as well as support internal healing. Cahuilla people also consumed white sage seeds for treating colds. Similarly, the Diegueno employed the white sage to prepare a tea for curing colds.

These native tribes of America used the white sage leaves in various ways – they smoked the leaves, used them to prepare a herbal tea and also employed the leaves in sweat houses for treating colds. Members of the Diegueno tribe used the leaves of white sage in the form of shampoo to cleanse their hair as well as to prevent them from becoming grey untimely. Some tribes also rubbed the leaves against their body or applied the crushed leaves to their body to get rid of any foul smell. In fact, men of the Cahuilla tribe usually did this prior to venturing out for hunting. They also burnt the dry white sage leaves and the smoke was used in the form of incense during purification rituals. Several native Indian tribes in America hold the white sage in high esteem. This herb is also cherished by many other cultures across the world even to this day. White sage is especially valued for its tender feminine attributes.

White sage is an aromatic herb that has been widely used over the centuries in the form of incense as well as in smudge pots during ceremonies. Hence, this herb is commonly also known as the white ceremonial sage.

Some people also burnt the white sage leaves to fumigate their houses or dwellings following any contagious disease and also for purifying the air during ailments. When drunk in the form of an infusion or tea, white sage offers potent anti-inflammatory properties. White sage tea may also aid in reducing the symptoms of an ulcer.



White sage seeds are used for culinary purposes, either raw or after cooking. Native American tribes also mixed the seeds with cereals like wheat or oats, toasted them and subsequently ground them into a fine powder for consuming it dry. Alternatively, they also soaked the white sage seeds in water or fruit juice for the night and drunk the liquid or consumed it along with cereals. Sometimes, the seeds were also used in the form of spice. On the other hand, white sage leaves are consumed after cooking. The leaves are also used to add flavor to seed mushes. Often, people also consume the young stalks of white sage raw. The tops of ripened or mature stems are peeled and consumed raw.

Habitat Of White Sage:

Salvia apiana (white sage) is indigenous to a very small region in southern California as well as the northwestern areas of Mexico. This plant has a preference for the conditions found in this dry, coastal region, which has a sloping milieu on the fringe of the desert. The plants need deep watering only once in two weeks, especially when grown in a sandy soil having proper drainage and a sunny location. Although white sage can endure cool climatic conditions, the performance of the plant will be poor when grown in shade and humid conditions and if they are watered excessively. If you are living in areas where frosting is common, you can grow white sage in pots and keep them indoors. It is best to grow the white sage as annual plants in such areas.

White sage hybridizes very easily with other species belonging to the Salvia genus, especially Salvia clevelandii and Salvia leucophylla.

The ideal conditions for growing white sage include a dry climate. In fact, these plants may be killed if the winter months are too wet. Salvia apiana is unable to endure colder climates and, hence, they die. Plants of this species can only tolerate low temperatures in the range of -5°C and -10°C. White sage seeds are available in health food stores and are usually used to prepare beverages – infusion or tea. White sage is an excellent bee plant. Plants belonging to this genus are seldom disturbed by browsing deer.

For commercial purposes, white sage is usually propagated by its seeds, which are ideally sown in a greenhouse during the March-April period. Normally, it takes about two weeks for the seeds to germinate. When the seedlings have grown sufficiently big to be handled, prick them out and plant them in separate pots. You may transfer the young white sage plants to their permanent positions outdoors during the onset of summer next year. In places where the temperatures hover around the endurance levels of white sage, it is advisable that you grow them in a greenhouse throughout their first winter. You may plant them outdoors during the end of spring in the subsequent year.

White sage can also be propagated from semi-mature wood cuttings. These cuttings can be done at any time during the growing season, as they are generally very successful.


In 1991, scientists at the University of Arizona undertook a study which showed that white sage (Salvia apiana) possesses potential antibacterial qualities, especially against Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus, Candida brassicae and Klebsiella pneumoniae.


White sage contains triterpenes and diterpenes, including oleanolic acid, carnosic acid, and ursolic acid.

Possible Side effects and Precautions:

Although white sage is safe for consumption by most people, this herb should be avoided by women during pregnancy.

Harvesting White Sage:

While harvesting white sage (Salvia apiana) by cutting the stems one needs to be careful to discriminate between the fleshy and woody parts of the stem. Cutting the fleshy top of the white sage stem will produce two stems in the following year. On the other hand, cutting the woody base of the plant will not promote the growth of new leaves or stem. After cutting the stems, hang them upturned to desiccate them and subsequently bundle them in the form of smudge sticks (dried herbs). You may preserve the dry leaves of the herb for preparing tea or, if you prefer, even use them in your food. The seeds can be collected for sowing in the next year. For this, you need to save the brownish fruits, which are akin to nuts, prior to the release of the seeds.

Incoming Lunar Eclipse Energetics & Saturn-Pluto

We welcome the Sun’s entry into Aquarius, a total eclipse of the Leo Full Moon and the emergence of the Cancer/Capricorn eclipse cycle. With all the excitement of the new and the possible comes a certain dragging on our vitality. This week contains contradictory energies of breakthrough versus holding back, easeful flow versus striking every obstacle, depth of vision versus a caution that hampers action. Our sense of self and trajectory may feel ready to head out into new territory but inner or outer workings want to bring complications, doubts, and frustrations. It may feel hard to commit to the slow and steady work required to make the break, so we must look out for sabotaging our goals just because it doesn’t come as easy as flipping a light switch. In fact “making the break” is a good phrase for this week as it will be our commitment to working for what we desire which creates the “the lucky break” and opportunity.

While the Jan. 5 solar eclipses marked the emergence of the Cancer/Capricorn cycle that runs all the way through July 2020, the total lunar eclipse on Jan. 20 is the closing of the Leo/Aquarius cycle which began Feb. 2017. People with significant placements in Leo or Aquarius have been most impacted, but one of the general tenors of this nodal axis is a concern with how we present ourselves to the world—or our way of being in the world (Leo) versus standing outside of it and observing (Aquarius). Leo is perhaps more concerned with being seen clearly, while Aquarius wants to see others as they really are. This final eclipse which happens at 9:12pm US/Pacific right after the Sun enters Aquarius on Jan. 20 asks us to reflect on where we may be hiding behind a false image. Are we driven by the desire to be liked or to otherwise have social approval no matter the cost to ourselves? Is there a bully, either inside of us or outside of us, who would like us to remain in a compromising position?

This eclipse suggests we can move into a different way of projecting our personality into the world by turning a courageous heart towards any bullies and fears of what a movement towards more personal integrity represents. And while it takes courage to face our obstacles, that doesn’t mean becoming bullies ourselves! Unnecessary aggression will just add to the fear and misunderstanding. Watch how you speak to yourself, and others, like your soul, is listening carefully. Such a movement could also coincide with healing our relationship to belief itself, and our faith in our Soul’s own deeper dreaming. We could reflect on how our understanding and practice of virtue and generosity supports or undermines our dreams and ideals. And we might pay attention to our dreams to learn about the wounded ones inside of us as well as to hear our Soul’s longings for expression in this world. The closing eclipse of the Leo/Aquarius cycle may also provide a summation of everything which has been opened, closed and potentiated over the past 2½ years. It may not be neat and clean, but rather show what work remains to be done.

With the incoming Cancer/Capricorn eclipse cycle, we will now be moving towards digging into the secret garden of our Soul and what we don’t (yet) know about ourselves. The time and awareness we invest in caring, nurturing and nesting will become more relevant than ever to our social roles and goals, as will the interweaving of our work into our personal lives. This eclipse series coincides with Saturn’s and Pluto’s time in Capricorn, indicating that these eclipses carry significant impact and not only to those of us with important placements in the signs of Cancer and Capricorn. The more challenging dimensions of Saturn-Pluto—limitations, scarcity, overwhelming and impersonal forces of history—will be emphasized so we will need to focus on our strengths and invest in the power of committed collaboration. Saturn and Pluto’sactivation beckons us to clear and make space in our lives before so can actually receive the monumental transformation that is in store for us and the world.

We will need to sharpen our tools for managing the difficult, which includes identifying, appreciating and celebrating what is working—instead of being sucked into an overly negative or critical outlook. The Cancerian aspect of nurturing ourselves, our bodies and our communities points to an important piece of growing with Saturn-Pluto’s immense pressure—accessing and expanding the mutual support systems we all need.

anima mundi tea 2019


A Vitamin Crich  + Mineralizing + Aphrodisiac + Dopamine Tonic Tea

1/2tsp Mucuna Pruriens 
1Tbsp Rose Petals
1tsp Hibiscus Powder (or a handful of whole flowers)

Directions: Add ingredients to a medium sized teapot. Pour almost boiling water to the herbs and allow it to steep for 5minutes. Add sweetener of choice if need be. Enjoy in the evening and/or in the AM to feel sensational!

Making the Break: Astrology of the week of Jan. 14 – Jan. 21, 2019.
Once a month we take the peak weak of astrological happenings to attune you to what’s going on in the sky.