Happy Lunar New Year- January 2018!

Today is the first day after the first New Moon of the first month of the year 2018. Happy New Year!! January’s first New Moon was yesterday. This day, to many, is the first official day to the start off a new year. Ok. This may not be an altogether popular concept in our a Gregorian dominated culture, but celebrating a new year on a Lunar or Soli-lunar cycle (defined next) is a long-held practice going on today in over 20 countries across Asia, Oceania, and Australia. It marks a means of beginning cycles based on solar- lunar and planetary  events, along with seasons and harvest cycles.

What is a Lunar Year? An entirely Lunar-based calendar is based on monthly cycles, is not linked to solar events, and can vary between 12-14 months long. Countries who followed that system historically included most East Asian countries: Japan before 1873, China, Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia, and Tibet. Their new year demarcation fell between January and February, (i.e. Losar of Tibet this year is on Feb. 16-18.)

A Soli-Lunar calendar (as this post and today is about) is based also on lunar moon cycles. These cycles are synced with the sun, and with the addition of a periodically added additional month.

I’m not sure about you- but how our current mainstream culture celebrates a new year falls far short of what I actually need. Dedicating one day or even a long (hungover?) weekend to celebrating such an important event as a New Year is, well, kinda sad. Why? Because at least in this western culture, we are overlooking so many rich aspects of honoring an annual cycle. A new year is a huge turning point! Or it should be.

The celebration of a New Year should happen several ways over several months, because considering so many aspects of a 12-month cycle should take time. In addition to the celebration aspect of “Woo-hoo! Hey- we made it!”, there are the more thought filled questions: Where we were 1 year ago? Where am I headed?

Lunar time frames offer rich opportunities to cultivate new rituals timed with the moon’s cycles- not only to renew and start fresh, but to Honor what has transpired, consider thoughtfully the difficulties of the previous year, and energetically do something about it to clear and cleanse residual debris from our Mind*Body*Spirit, all with the help of the Lunar phases. Key New moon rituals help us to make space to invite what we wish to create. This is so much! How can any of us fit all of this into a short weekend? For me the answer is easy; I can’t so I don’t. I take my sweet time celebrating a New Year over the Soli-lunar cycle, spanning 2 months usually, with dates anywhere between January 1 through March first.

In 2018, this first 2-3 month period of time spans an unusually powerful time. January alone includes: 2 Full Moons (a Super Moon and a Blue Moon- in January!), and a Lunar eclipse. Celebrating over a 2 moon cycle provides 2 waning moon cycles for ample time for release rituals, and 2 waxing moon cycles for inviting and drawing abundance- all between the most powerful moons of the year. Why not take advantage of this kind of planetary power?  I will cover more of this in the coming weeks.     – Tara Linda

And why January 1st anyway?  Here are some historical bits that make the choice of demarcating a new year on any give day, a bit random:

  • The ancient Mayan calendar, (2000 BC), included 3 calendars, and was based on 17-19 Lunar cycles in relation to the earth and sun, and included planetary transits like Venus, and movements of the Pleiades. Offerings & gratitude practices were said to begin July 25; the New Year on July 26 celebrations spanned weeks.
  • Julius Caesar in 46 BC, instituted January 1st as the first day of the year, largely for tax collecting purposes. Other cultures around Europe chose their own dates. In England, for example, the new year began on March 25, or “Lady Day” near the Vernal Equinox.
  • During the middle ages, countries across Europe began choosing their own dates more relevant for religious dates- like December 25, as the birth of Christ.
  • Pope Gregory the XIII changed the Julian Calendar in 1582 to better mesh with Easter and to account for some missing time; it was also out of snce each year by 11 minutes which accounted for entire days going missing.
  • Egyptians based their calendar cycle on the movements of the star Syrius and 365 days. East Asia, the Middle East (and likely Indigenous Peoples worldwide), for thousands of years (noted as early as 4000 BC) followed a purely lunar calendar system.
  • Soli-lunar years were based on Indian astrology, and included much of India, Burma, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia; their New Year was in late March or April.


As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blog, It feels right, in body and spirit, to give ourselves more time; to let ourselves celebrate the end of one cycle and the start of another over many moons, or at least for several weeks.  Those with purely Pagan leanings often get started early; a new year wheel begins for them on the Winter Solstice of the previous year- in December.

Though we all have to switch out our paper calendars on January 1, starting our New Year celebrations from the first day after the Lunar Moon (1/16) of January, today – through the 2nd Lunar moon of  February (2/17), really makes sense.  It gives us more meaningful time to release and plan. And we have the example of millions of people across Tibet, Nepal, India, Mongolia, and China doing the same!

Let’s relate all this to our Gregorian system; on January 1, it has begun to sink in for all of us: a new cycle is coming. Immediately before this- the holidaze! Maybe you were lucky enough to get in a vacation, some travel, and hopeful much needed downtime. Now you can begin to get more serious about the whole idea of release, planning, inviting, and making full transitions; we are all hopefully better rested in the darkest, coldest time of the year.  I don’t know about you- but it takes me weeks to juggle the holidays, the new year harvest- to journal and ponder about previous year events, mark up a new calendar revamp my business plan, and then to plan personal and abundance rituals around what I want to create?? Eeeeesh!!!  The January 1st date just makes me feel angst: a rushed anxiety. There is never enough time.

And so I don’t try based on the Gregorian system. Now, I gladly give myself more time by honoring a year not only based on a Soli-Lunar calendar, but based on how many cycles of Release (dark moon) and Abundance Attracting (waxing moon) I need.  So this year- I started rituals before, on and after the full moon of January 1- because it was a Super moon. And I will be conducting New Year rituals of many kinds, until March 1. I’ll be talking more about what this all means in the coming posts; how we can all match our rituals to changes in the elements, and lunar and planetary changes – all as they reflect naturally in our lives.

For now– here again, are a few ideas for celebrating Your Lunar New Year generally, starting today, via a few smudging rituals- for Release of the Old, and inviting-in of the New using Sacred sages and plants.

1. Out with the Old: Juniper, Cedar, Cypress are used all over the world to cleanse away old energies; to deep cleanse, and renew. You can burn loose leaf juniper and berries on charcoal, or “smudge” bundles; wands of Cedar or Juniper. The evergreens are strong, so I recommend starting small and burn or offer over several days, especiallyjuniperLoose6602 if there has been long-term illness, negativity, or persistent malaise. You can find individual bundles in my shop webstore or on Etsy, Purify- a 4-pack of evergreens and sages.


2. Refresh with Sweetgrass:  (Sweet Grass or Sweetgrass). Not only is Sweetgrass the great purifier- to clear out old malaise and bad spirits, but it is the epitSweetGrassBraid SLS6431ome of fresh and sweet- inviting joy and good health and abundance. Every year I hang a new braid of fragrant North American Sweet Grass in my car, and another near or at the threshold of my front door. Sweet Grass is such a wonderful Plant Spirit filled with sweet blessings. It has a spicy vanilla-esque scent and does not have to be burned to be enjoyed. Nearly all North American Native Tribes have stories about how the good Spirits cannot resist the scent and will always favor those who offer it. Sweet Grass invites goodness completely, and is my favorite plant spirit to offer in gratitude. Find sweetgrass here.

3. Crumble Old Smudge Bundles outside: If you recharge your bundles energetically, setting new intentions as you need to- then this is an Optional  or even unnecessary practice. But if you have used one bundle all year before (large bundles can last awhile) for one purpose, and if you feel that you are in a different place or situation now, don’t throw it away- crumble up old herb bundles and offer them back to the earth. Earth Mother will appreciate an offering gift, and this is also a symbolic way of ridding of the old and starting fresh. You can also burn old smudge bundles in a fire place or campfire (safely of course ;).

4. Dedicate a Seasonal Smudge Blend or Bundle to the New Year: To mark the New year; you can simply set new intentions for any bundles that you now have. Call aloud during your ritual- all you plan to release. Invite in- all you plan to create and attract.

This year is my first year to sell in my shops- a NEW Seasonal New Year’s Smudge Bundle, blessed by the January Super moon. It is the first time I am able to offer this publicly because the harvest was so good!! I can share now! And I am so happy with it; I hope you will be too.

New Year smudge-Med-IMG_6380

* This Lunar New Year bundle is a special Limited run, Large Smudge bundle made by myself and another California sage grower. It holds wild harvested Blue Shasta sage from the north, mixed with my own grown Black sage and Bee Sages.

I bundle it all with Sweetgrass (excellent for setting New Year’s Intentions). It is made over 2 weeks, with seasonally grown and harvested Plant Spirits, starting with the Super moon!!

There are so many rituals around the world for cleansing, purification, and renewal!  Let me know about your New Year’s rituals with Sacred plants in comments to this post.

Happy New YEAR!! & Happy Smudging!

New Year Smudge-M-IMG_6378-Text


Happy Holidays! Sage Bear Medicine

I hope that all of you are enjoying your holidays; spending time relaxing with friends/family, and enjoying good eats, and Life!  I know the holidays and winter weather affect all of us differently- so I just wish for you a healthy dose of traditional “Bear Medicine”: sleep, rest, and plenty of time for your own healing rituals.

christmas bear_6495

He kind of looks like a bear, right? To be honest, I usually sleep more and work more through most of the holiday season. But the longer nights and cold temps are natural Bear Medicine time;  time to slow down, rest, restore reserves, (hibernate), and spend time in rituals that recharge us and give our bodies strength and our hearts and spirits- hope. The Bear totem is all about healing. Following most interpretations of the Native American Medicine Wheel- the Western direction, is the seasonal place of processing our changes, the dark (black or dark blue colored zone) of introspection, the place of pondering our lessons (welcomed or reluctant), our changes, and our dreams. “Winter Lodge, Dream Downtime” one Cherokee friend calls it.

As a sage grower, I work when the harvest calls. This keeps me literally grounded, in the sun, and happy. As a shop owner, I sometimes work too much trying to do it all for everyone. Staying close to the earth via her plants (and crystals!) feeds my soul and brings me back in balance. Harvest and sages keep me going through even the darkest months. Winter is also time for the last redwood, cedar, and black sage harvests of the year. These are the Plant Spirits, especially the evergreens, that (not coincidentally) remind us of our need to purify through the darkness, and reconnect to our innate strength. This is their medicine when we naturally need it most. And to honor ourselves with the healing we most need in Winter; is Bear Medicine.


For harvest, I follow the lunar cycle. So basically from Dec.’s New Moon, the Solstice, and all through the Asian New Year- we harvest and formulate blends and oils for the ritual season. Across cultures, this time of  cold and dark is a time of Release, Honoring, and celebrating, for so many. Add to this, that naturally at the end of the season, my black sage bushes can double in size and grow HUGE!  😉


I see this as a sign to actually slow down; harvest in small amounts, and continue to heed the call of the Sleeping Bear of the West: slow to a stop if needed, and get the rest you need.  And so I will continue to enjoy this holiday break and I wish you all the same- a joyful, restful, healing Holiday!!


Cultural Healing: the Power of Smudging Ceremony

It is an honor to help anyone craft their own personal ceremony with Sacred Plants. To be asked by a family who is mourning the loss of a loved one, to put together special plants for their ceremonies, is always an honor beyond words. Where do I begin when putting together this kind of ceremonial care package? Smudging-TinyIn short, with a strong self-clearing smudge, prayers and intention to stay directly and firmly connected to Spirit to guide my hands and heart.


I believe strongly in the power of Source/Creator/Great cedar9450Spirit, the power of the Plant Medicines, and the power of Ceremony to get us all through.  Ceremony is the space where everything comes together; where there are no boundaries or limits to what is possible. Ceremony is also our opportunity to stay connected to each other in this earthly realm as well.  As modern people, we celebrate less and less together. We joke about the proverbial 3: birth, wedding, funeral. We are an increasingly individualized society. Everyone stays busy, we don’t get together so often; our ceremonies too are becoming more personalized.

But when calamity happens to one, it happens to all of us, as a culture.  So too does healing. If we let it. Taking the time to honor what is Sacred in Ceremony, for ourselves and others, is participating in a supreme act of offering our purest aims and highest intentions for healing.  We may not, as individuals, be able to clear debris after a hurricane, rebuild houses in Puerto Rico, or give blood or counseling services in Las Vegas. But we can all engage in ceremony that reaches deep and far, globally.

Ceremony connects us all to forces well beyond ourselves, and well beyond time and space. With Smudging, we set our intentions, sending them out on our breath, trusting that the power of the sacred smoke will magnify and carry them to Creator and to those affected. This is something we can never do enough. Especially right now. I recommend we all keep offering sacred plants in ceremony day and night now, to remove suffering, to send healing- everywhere it is needed. What to offer? Use what you have by resetting new intentions for old bundles. Or, start with fresh ones. Burn Sages (any kind) for gentle blessing; Sweet grass and evergreens to purify and connect to Spirit, especially Cedar and Juniper.

May all beings benefit.


Source: Faerypotter

Plant Medicines~Sacred Smoke: New Fall Course to Enrich your Smudge Ceremony

PlantMedicines-FlierI am beside myself excited to announce that I will be co-teaching a Fall Smudge course on my favorite subjects (SAGE and Ceremony!) with friend and Cree Shaman, Sean “Walking Bear” Mah, beginning in 5 weeks, on Oct. 5th.  This is a dream we both share- to offer our knowledge of Sacred Plants to people everywhere; to see more people confidently adopt ways of Blessing, Purifying, and connecting to Spirit via Sacre Plants via ritual.  The on-line Zoom platform will allow us to do this.

Specifically, this class will be a unique opportunity to combine resources and our varied experiences; my working knowledge of growing and wild-crafting ritual sages for ritual, with Sean’s traditional life-long experience, training, and stories. If there is one thing we both share, it is the passion for ceremonial uses of Sacred Plants as Medicine.  I hope you will join us!

For more details, visit my website Sacred Land Sage.. We may have to limit the course if there is great interest, so I recommend Registering early. Included in class, is a Deluxe Smudge Kit for everyone.

This smudge course, titled “Plant Medicines and their Sacred Smoke” will be 5-class course offered online, from Oct. 5- Nov. 2nd.  You can pay in one single or 2 payments (if you sign up before Sept. 9th).  This timeframe will leave time enough for our overseas students to receive their kits in time for class.

Thank you and hope to see you in class!

Sage and Smudge Rituals for the Total Solar Eclipse Weekend


There’s nothing like a Total Solar Eclipse to bring to the surface polarized views on how to energetically participate in an eclipse event. While the topic of how to watch an eclipse is everywhere covered in the mainstream press (NASA, glasses- protect your eyes!), the energetic aspects of planning ritual or ceremony around an eclipse, is less discussed.  The two articles at the top of my searches, call out the same rituals for any waxing moon, with a bit about “shadow work”, but nothing terribly unique to a Solar Eclipse, or detailing which Sacred Plants make sense for smudge ceremony.  As a sage grower and one who helps others craft personal ritual with Sacred Plants- I am often asked- “what sages are best to offer for smudge ceremony during an eclipse?”

My short answer:  Based on the moon’s phase, offer sages, evergreens, and/or resins that help you; 1) deeply cleanse purify and RELEASE;  2) Set new and powerful intentions for RENEWAL- in 3 days or daily over the next 2 weeks.  See my Lists below for Plant Spirits and ideas for Ritual before and after a Solar Eclipse.


First, let me start by saying that conducting rituals around an eclipse is not supported unanimously by all cultures around the world. Certain North American Native Peoples today vehemently oppose not only viewing an eclipse, and also side against doing any ritual whatsoever during the event (see this article about the Taboo on viewing any eclipse in Navajo and other cultures, by The Indian Country Today.)

As a naturalist and ceremonialist, it is always interesting to me to note where exactly these taboo beliefs have come from. My Native American friends all tell stories of grandparents who sternly warned them to stay indoors, fully covered, avoiding windows and averting their eyes, lest harm come to them. Perhaps some of this is due in part to the fear of damage to the eyes– an entirely real and valid concern. For traditions in Mexico, Mayan beliefs refer to the fact that where there is a loss of sun, there is loss of life. This makes sense, of course. In the article noted above, Navajo Rudy Bagay speaks of how merely viewing an eclipse seriously “affects mind and body.” He speaks of the sacredness of the relationship of the earth and moon passing in shadow as an intimate affair- too sacred to gaze upon, supporting the taboo. The article also cites the sky as a place of death to the Navajo, which is a very different view than that held by my Pacific Islander friends and Tsalagi / Cherokee clans, who trace their ancestors directly to the Star People and do not shy away from viewing planetary events or rituals timed with them. But every culture is different.

On an eclipse positive side, from “Your Grandmother’s Cherokee” “Nvdo walosi ugisgo, The literal translation is “Sun/moon frog it-eats-the-round-thing-habitually,” or “The frog eats the sun/moon.” frogeclipse-CharlesEdenshawArtThis refers to the traditional belief that the eclipse is caused by a giant frog swallowing the sun or moon. To scare the frog away, people made loud noises for the duration of the eclipse.” Crazy howling, shouting and dancing outside was the ritual. Loud sounds to scare the ones “eating the Sun” were common practices among certain Scandinavian Peoples as well.

Photo: North Pacific Art by Charles Edenshaw

All of my Nyingma Tibetan Buddhist teachers call eclipses “very auspicious!”  Khandro net summarizes it this way: “In the view of the traditional medicine of Tibet, China, and India, the subtle energies of the body are diminished and so, out of compassion and concern for our world and all other beings, seen and unseen, we do what we can to help sustain them. It is for this reason that the merit of [prayer and] practice is greatly multiplied during an eclipse.”  How much greater? Rinpoche Jigme says that to practice during any lunar or solar eclipse multiplies the blessings generated between 100,000- 1,000,000 times!

As a naturalist and star-gazer, I am always looking to the cosmos for connection;  to see and feel my place in the bigger canvas, tiny as it shrinks me down. Leave it to the natural world– it’s giant redwoods, vast oceans, canyons, immense star filled galaxies, and mysterious planetary relationships, to size us all up. Ha!  (Secretly, I credit the stellar and heavenly cosmos for the first steps in our human evolution.  But that’s another blog post.)

eclipse smudge

As a biologist who grows and harvests California sages, I live by the seasons and celebrate our cycles in every way possible. Like most, I love the stories of the sun and moon, male-female energies across cultures. Without this celestial relationship kept in the balance, our entire existence and all we experience would be unrecognizable. Yes, this is obvious, but I rarely think about this any other time: what if we had eclipses all the time? There would be no day and night, plants, animals (our food!), no cycles as we know them for our sleep, moon, reproductive and birthing, cycles, or the influence on tides and oceans- which would keep our weather tumultuous. In short, the ebb and flow of life night and day as we know it, would be gone.


Whew! So to me, there is much to celebrate by way of ritual right now. At the very least, in the ways of gratitude  practice with sage and evergreens. And now is the perfect time. For this Total Solar Eclipse 2017, here are a few ideas for your smudge ritual, tied with the cycles of Sun and Moon.

Aug 20-21: Waning Moon to Eclipse (New Moon):  *Cleanse * Purify *Release

Plant Spirits: Juniper, White Sage, Silver Sage, Mugwort, Yarrow, Pinion Pine


a) Invite your Spirit Guides and Creator to ceremony; Cleanse yourself with Juniper or Cedar.

b) Set new intentions for Release; identify what you want/need to release, naming each in your smudging ceremony (Sages, Mugwort).

*Excellent Shadow Eclipse ritual*
c) Energetically re-charge any “old” smudge bundles that may be laying idle and unused, partially burned from past smudge ceremonies- by simply re-setting your new intentions aloud to re-program them; then burn them up completely over the next 3 days (or 2 weeks of the waxing moon). If you cannot burn them- then crumble and send back to the earth your old bundles during this weekend.

d) Invite your demons and ghosts to ceremony: offer them smudge (Juniper and Sage) too.  Introduce yourself and ask them to speak. Journal your results.

e) Express Gratitude: Thank your Spirit Guides and Creator for coming to your ceremony and for all the help they give (Cedar, Sweetgrass).

As with any waning moon ritual, lightening up is a common theme. Add the powerful energies of a total solar eclipse; the moon totally blotting out the sun, save for a small crowned rim of light, and we get the “dig deep into your shadow side” motif. Shadow side of what you may ask? Symbolically the Sun is our identity, the Yang side, what we show the world.

Since the entire universe (or our small earthly corner of it anyway) is soon to be eclipsed by the moon and therefore dealing with shadow BIG TIME, we too benefit by having extra ummph and power to delve deep. We may even find strength to throw down a difficult demon or two. I like this scenario that implies: I’m not alone, the Cosmos is dealing with darkness too; I too can mirror strength, and weather shadows.

Being totally honest with ourselves in a total solar eclipse kind-of-way, to me means asking ourselves: Am I hiding behind anything? Is there any artifice or illusion that’s keeping me from being my ultra real, my authentic self?

And what is this talk of “demons” you may ask. What demons?!  Ha!! Shadow work means looking at anything potentially demon-like, or havoc-wreaking that we may be keeping safely buried in the sub-basement below our sunny faced identities to deal with later on “a rainy day”. Or like, NEVER!  I am no therapist, but can speak from experience in recommending ritual as a good  place to begin asking yourself the tough questions. If (or when) our demons rise up and hurt ourselves or  others- ritual is the gentlest way I know of to begin conversing with the dark side: Ritual  invites demons ‘up for tea’, or sage ceremony. The territory may not stay gentle forever, but it can be both lightening and enlightening.

Spirit never brings to the surface more than our bodies and minds can handle.                       Angeles Arrien

For Smudge ceremonies of Release before an eclipse, set intentions to be honest with yourself going forward; to see clearly. Offer up with the Sacred Smoke anything that is difficult. Go ahead, offer up your ghosts too.

Aug. 21:  The Eclipse:  *Mediation * Stillness *

Plants: none

Rituals:  1) Meditation. 2) Study Shadows on the ground. 3) Star Gazing.

Meditate: During the actual eclipse (2-4 minutes): I am a fan of stillness practice using any type of meditation technique you favor. An “energy soak up” as it were. Meditation is especially good when we want to feel the experience in the most present way possible; unplug, turn off our phones and just feel what one giant celestial body hiding another actually feels like to your small subtle energy body. Choose the background Sun or the timely positioned Moon. Can you feel something inside? They say our pets will be going crazy. Mine will be close. Extra rest is always good when doing shadow work anyway.

Eclipse Viewing: If I do view this year, personally, who-what-where_image2I prefer the old-fashioned way- through a paper with a pin hole held to the ground. OR, as husband recommends, staring at shadows on the ground- as under a tree and through leaves. I absolutely love the play of light anyway, and so may take my camera out for the last minute of the eclipse- to capture shape and shadow on the ground. (photo: Jet Propulsion Lab-Nasa)

Star Gazing: The Moon will rise and seteclipseSky-Sat-4631 with the Sun on this eclipse night, and won’t be visible in the night sky for awhile. New Moon blackness. Scientists tell us to expect a very dark night, making it a great time to stare at the sky (after dark only!) to your heart’s content. The night of the Eclipse- I will be outside, lying down; seeing which stars speak to me. (I use app Sky Guide to identify stars and planets in my night sky- shown on the right. This shot was taken this evening before sunset). Look “your star” up and see what the Greeks had to say about them.  More chance to revel in the cosmic mythos.

 Aug. 21 – 22: New Moon- Waxing Moon.

*Healing * Blessing *Inviting* Renewal*

Plants: Cedar, Sweet Grass, Lavender, Bee sage, Copal, Frank n’ Myrrh


a) Setting intentions for self-love, healing and growth.

b) Invite goodness and blessings to come and expand in your life over the next 2 weeks with the waxing moon, invite in the Sacred Smoke (Bee or Silver sage, lavender, etc).

c) Gratitude practice (Sweetgrass, Palo Santo wood) after the eclipse is gone, thank your guides, the elements, Creator.  Star gaze and send out your blessings to the cosmos to include everyone.

d) Pay special attention to dreams this weekend.  You will know best what they mean; journal to explore.

New Moon is its usual intention-setting time, but amplified by the power of a Total Solar Eclipse. Consider this a mega, über augmented new moon, when our lovely Moon positions herself just right and fills nearly the entire spotlight in darkness before bowing out. This is a great time in this post eclipse, New Moon smudge ceremony- to invite the blessings you wish to draw, related to the passing of shadow and darkness in your own life.  Follow this ritual up with a day or 2 of gratitude smudging-– the best you have to offer- with the stongest intentions for balance; the greatest hope, prayer, and gratitude your heart can hold. I like to offer to the 4-Directions or elements too. But this is optional and personal.

Enjoy! And leave me feedback about your ceremony. What rituals and plants worked best for you? What were your rituals?  The great thing about crafting rituals for ourselves, is that we are all: learning, borrowing, trying, adjusting, and adopting. Mindful practice is key. Always follow what you believe. If you don’t know; meditate on it, ask your Spirit Guides, and respecting the power of the Cosmos and celestial bodies- follow your own truth.



PS: Will you be adding Crystals to your smudge bowl for this solar eclipse? Instructor and Crystal therapist Tana Schott says “if you are working with an “illusion-busting” crystal like Black Obsidian- which brings illusions to the mind’s surface quickly- be sure to balance this with a stone of self–love and healing, such as Rose Quartz or Rhodochrosite.”  This balance of minerals is always critical for deep shadow work, but especially for a full solar eclipse.  Another great combination is Bronzite (excellent for crisis work) combined with Dumortierite.

PSS:  I suggest working with the Sages you already have on hand (not all listed here): You don’t have to go buy new Sages or plants. The important point is setting your intentions and refreshing the plant spirits you have with these strong intentions. Simply recharge your existing plants, sages, woods, or bundles that you have on hand is perfect, using the power of your thoughts, words, breath, and, oh yah- a lil’ solar power from the eclipse!! If you do want new sages/woods/resins- you can find them at your local botanical store, or next week from my shop- Sacred Land Sage also on Etsy-SlS.

Thank you for reading!!

The Metaphysician’s Day Planner- Best Ever

For business planning, I use several tools, from standard to stellar, most of them ideal for personal planning and small art enterprises (my jewelry and music). But this year, I knew that my sage business would be changing and challenging. Logically, I expected to be ahead of those changes; having a solid planner to help me navigate through is a no brainer, right?

Ha! So here I am, in the first biz quarter- in a bit of a scramble; extra pages crammed into my old (unnamed but beautiful) planner, trying to figure out a new tracking system where the old one didn’t quite work, giving myself more space for quarterly stuff, but looking past entire sections of blank pages in said planner (urgh!!)  And it’s tax time. And spring cleaning time. And life is extra challenging with exceptional family needs all of a sudden, of course. I find myself craving just one tiny corner of my life that can be in some kind of peaceful place, a happy order, a navigational safe haven of sorts.

To the rescue Benebell Wen and her Metaphysician’s Day Planner!! I squeeled aloud the day I discovered this planner on her website a coupla weeks ago (I was actually researching something linked to her book that day…) when I saw this: planner7

I juggle a full-time day job in corporate law with writing and publishing books, doing interviews and talks for the book tours, part-time professional tarot reader and astrologer, blogger, avid home cook, and pro bono legal work on the side, all while being a metaphysician and keeping myself buried in metaphysical studies, so I do get asked a lot about how I organize my day. How do I make sure I am on top of my schedule of court appearances, hearings, and conferences for work, my client reading list for tarot and astrology, food prep for the week and menu planning, domestic chores, personal health and fitness, and everything in between?

With a day planner, of course….a 2017 day planner and organizer for the metaphysician.

It’s part day planner–annual, quarterly, monthly, and daily. And it’s part grimoire. Carrying around metaphysical correspondences and quick reference sheets …It’s my approach to broadening and deepening my esoteric knowledge.

Double Squeeeee!!   Wait. A planner that combines my business and metaphysical worlds?!  A place to map together my lists with personal plans/goals next to my annual plan, astrology chart, and monthly tarot readings?  For reals??!!

Yup. Its true, and my style exactly. Ms. Wen is exceptionally generous in providing- along with the “basic” planner- power, health, and blessing sigils, varied cool covers and graphics to choose from, and resources from her website to add into it, all ON TOP of a very full and well-designed planner. Best part, you get to download it, and customize the planner to your heart’s content. I added the extra pages where I needed them (assesment spots to evaluate and tweek goals I made and didn’t- monthly/ quarterly), colored pages/dividers, extra power sigils, etc.) Ms. Wen has also given us a crazy amount of lunar and solar detail in the daily/weekly sections.

And this is all just a measly $25.

Seriously people, its Spring cleaning time, end of March; if you aren’t where you want to be now with your planner or life- POUNCE  HERE right this second and get yourselves happily and metaphysically, back in stellar alignment!


The planner downloads economically in black and white (except for your natal and solar charts which are included in the cost). In mine above, the mandalas and colored parts and pages are strictly my additions. You can tailor yours as you wish too.

Oh, and Ms. Wen has amazing free downloads, some of which I included in my planner, like a brilliant business plan (designed for tarot pros) than turns out to be way better than my current biz plan template. It is not in pdf, so you can change it up to fit your business, as I’m doing this second. So check out these added resources as well (I just had to give her a donation for those…).  Benebell’s website is a wealth pot of resources. And then there is her wonderful book The Tao of Craft   (swoon). That is another post another day soon, with a soothing cup of tea.

Thank you, Thank you Benebell Wen!!  I am deeply grateful for all of your work and generosity! Please do this forever. 😉



Garden as Offering: Growing Native Sages

One main reason I wanted to plant sage in my yard and all around my neighborhood three years ago, was to increase blessings to the area. My first Native mentor always said where sage grows, the land is sacred. But there was another reason too.

Things were changing in our area; crime was on the rise, car thefts were up, taggers were getting aggressive. Each day that I walked my dog, I found myself carrying a can of spray paint to cover the inevitable ugly, offensive, and meaningless marks made by ghosts of the night. It was getting old. I wanted to meet their destruction with something equally strong, more powerful. I wanted to make my own statement–in Beauty. Something to benefit my surroundings while simultaneously making an offering. To whom? you might ask. To the local land spirits, of course; the ones who were here long before we were.

I grew up accustomed to spirits from my desert childhood; everything felt alive. So to acknowledge spirits everywhere in the natural world, is well, natural to me, and not a distant shamanistic belief. I wanted to plant an offering garden that might awaken the sleeping spirits of the land to help protect us. So, I began by researching plants that were native to the area, and possibly native to our historic Temescal Tribes indigenous to the area.


The word Temescal  derives from the Nahuatl word temazcali, meaning house of heat, a ceremonial place to be purified by sacred plants and smoke for spiritual and health reasons. This was common practice for ancient First Peoples across meso-America and North America (Photo: Codex Magliabecchi). The Spanish were the first to report that Temescal structures found in our local area were permanent structures, not temporary as sweat lodges are today. After studying up, I decided that a garden yard filled with sages would be a good offering; aromatics native to Northern California to draw hummingbirds (warrior spirits) and bees.

It was a lot of work. Removing the top root-bound soil layer was way tougher than I imagined. The grass root mass was rock hard in most places for 6-8 inches. I got advice from our nearby nursery: remove the top 4-6″ layer, dig another 3-4″ and mix in  a nutrient rich topsoils. Those red ropes in the above shot are roots: part of a network belonging to the old pine tree 20 feet away. I had no idea pine roots could reach so far, and be so hardy! I planted about 10 different kinds of native sages, mostly aromatics.sageHarvestHere it is looking down from the roof.sageGarden0438I planned and planted for drainage or lack of it, in three tiers, with the drought-tolerant plants on the top of the incline, and more water-loving succulents and flowers at the bottom to receive any available drainage.


SageGardenMonth1Native plants grow fast. This is 2 years later. sageGarden_8743This is last spring, before trimming. I always have to trim the bee and black sages back, away from the white sage: Salvia apiana needs full sun. And when the little white planting tag says “grows 4-6”; its true, they do!  Give them space.white sage8716So this is my first sage garden. I learned much, about what sages like and how even a little shade from a nearby pine tree can stunt growth. But more importantly, growing sage replaced the residual fear of being under attack, with a sacred thing of beauty; a garden. And whether by magical intent or synchronicity, the taggers disappeared, crime has gone down, and things are quiet again. This home and hood effort extended from my yard, to all spaces in the neighborhood, to my planting more native sages around in other neighborhoods, near highways, and anywhere a little blessing might benefit an area.

And this is how 15% of all purchases in my shops for Sacred Land Sage are spent; to buy more sage bushes that we plant in both city and open spaces.

I encourage everyone to do this, to plant a sage garden as an offering. Research your area for native sages (local nurseries readily impart this info), and plant your own sacred garden. Sages are ideal plant spirits; most are drought tolerant and deer resistant; they need water only the first year, and infrequently after that (during dry drought years). Most sages in the Saliva genus put out awesome purple and lavender flowers, and the bees and hummingbirds will LOVE you for the time you spent to create something beautiful!







Wishing You Joyous Holidays!

I hope this holiday finds you enjoying some quality chill time with family and friends.

Fall through Winter Solstice have been very busy times at Sacred Land Sage. The months have been filled with holiday prep and unexpected harvests: the rains brought unexpected growth to our Natives garden, especially the Black Sage bushes. They have literally grown crazy abundant with recent storms here in Northern California! No drought to be crying about now ;).  I must keep the Black Hummingbird Salvia bushes trimmed now- so they do not overshadow the White Sage Salvia apiana bushes-that always require full sun.


I’ve also been busy refilling and restocking; formulating new sage blends, bath salts, teas, oil infusions, and tinctures. Stay tuned for more new items coming this week. blend-cedarsage0093

Isn’t this leather bowl gorgeous? It was made by my friend Julie, a master leather craftswoman. I sent her photos of the most incredible rock art stone walls along the Colorado River, Moab, Utah, and she in turn began incorporating the designs into her work.


She said this wall inspired several new pieces. Check out her amazing work on Etsy- on HollyHawk Designs.

There are also 2 holiday promotions in my Etsy shop right now, and one on my Website: Sacredland Sage.  In my Etsy store, spend $40 and pay with Paypal- and get a free smudge bundle. I will also keep active the Solstice coupon through Dec. 31.  Orders over $50 can use Solstice coupon- 12% off (see the shop announcement for details). And Bonus; Etsy is also awarding a $10 coupon if you spend $50 in one shop- so this is a double great deal!


On my Website, enjoy low flat rate shipping in the US. I am slowly stocking this shop with more items, so do check back often this week. And if there is something you are looking for on the website- let me know with a message to this post.

I’ve stocked new natural, locally made incense: Premium Smudge grade incense sticks, all natural, and made with plants, stems, resins, and essential oils. There are several varieties in the incense section of my shop on Etsy, like these Premium 5-Resin blend Smudge Sticks (myrhh, frankincense, white sage, copal, palo santo).


Wishing you all a Joyous Holiday Season! Stay warm, and healthy. I have many Smudge Kits in the shop now for your New Year’s Smudging Ceremonies, which we celebrate through the Tibetan New Year. I’ll post more about those in my next post.

Sage ‘n Joy- Tara



After the Science

I’ve been setting aside one day a week to wake early and study in the wee morning hours. This is bringing pure pleasure~ to peel away from the sleeping household, sip my favorite Root 66 tea, while the sun rises over books on the kitchen table.



Crystals and energy.  Finally. Finally, a chance to study the things I have always wanted to learn about; after the science career- crystals; after pragmatics- chance and the invisible.  (Ha! great band name… 😉

I cannot speak highly enough about this Crystal Certification course;/ Crystal Therapy in Subtle Energy Work Course.   I’ve looked for years for the right class. Instructor Tana is a true educator- trained, impassioned, and focused to present and deliver an in-depth college-level, accredited course that’s practical in the end. Except there’s no trudging off to class with heavy books; it is all taught via computer/phone/pvt.FB group.

The course is self-paced (we can take up to a year) but I don’t want it to end…!  This class has been a sea change for me personally, and most definitely for my business; helping me fine-tune how I factor in minerology in working with crystals for customers/ clients. The class is grounded in geology and mineral chemistry, before traipsing through the latest in energy science theory, with loads of vetted references from varied authors.


Then we move on to popular healing modalities unknown and known (i.e chakra theories; there are several including Tibetan, Tsalagi, and Mayan!)  Above all- we get access to instructor Tana one-on-one.  But warning: this isn’t a class for the casual delver; there is much to read, absorb, think about, and homework! Yup. HW. Ok- back to it.


Source: SacredLandSage


Happy Full Moon and Tibetan New Year

Tonight, it is both a full Snow moon, and also the 15th day of the Tibetan New Year, or Losar. Tibetan traditions of the New year have always appealed to me, in part because of the duration of celebrations marking a new year- several weeks before and after the New Moon. My Tibetan friends tell me that there is a full month of preparation before the actual first round of Losar New Year festivities- which fall on the 3 days of the New Moon in February (Feb 9-11 this year). This preparation time leading up to New Moon Losar is a busy time, filled with cleaning rituals in the home, ridding of the old and outdated, as well as abundant purification rituals that include burning cleansing plants like Juniper and cypress.


On the 3 days of Losar new moon, there is much dancing, sacred and secular activities, hanging new prayer flags, making offerings to Lamas, Protector Spirits of all Directions, consulting oracles, cooking special foods, and making beer. Renewal ceremonies follow this for 15 more days, until the first full moon of the year, today, when everything winds down with the Chunga Choepa, or Butter Lamp Festival.

During Losar, the Tibetan celebration of the new year, we did not drink champagne to celebrate. Instead, we went to the local spring to perform a ritual of gratitude. We made offerings to the nagas, the water spirits who activated the water element in the area. We made smoke offerings to the local spirits associated with the natural world around us.  Tenzin Wangyal

Why we in the west celebrate the dawn of a new year for only a day or 2 is baffling to me. It feels right, in body and spirit, to celebrate the end of one cycle and the start of another over many moons, or at least for several weeks- beginning with the Winter Solstice in December. More than the end of a calendar, it feels more about changes in the earth, elements, and skies as reflected in our lives.

Practically, for me, December and January are my busiest work months, and beginning in January, I feel that only then can I begin to shut down, sleep more, and think of cycles and rituals. Like a bear perhaps, the body craves hibernation, introspection (new creative forays begin in retreat), and a general re-charging of body, mind, and spirit. This is also the time when I crave a seasonal cleanse akin to “Spring Cleaning”, but before true Spring, as so many of us do. Renewal is also making room with hope and anticipation of the new.

So if like me, your celebrations of a New Year are ongoing, or if you haven’t started yet- no worries! Take your time. Take weeks or several moons in fact- to rest, reflect, and renew body and soul before the earth warms up, the skies lighten, and buds begin to sprout.

Here are a few ideas for celebrating a New year via Smudging ritual with Plants, whenever the time feels right for you.

1. Out with the Old: Juniper, Cedar, Cypress are used all over the world to cleanse away old energies; to deep cleanse, and renew. You can burn loose leaf juniper and berries on charcoal, or “smudge” bundles; wands of Cedar or Juniper. The evergreens are strong, so I recommend starting small and burn or offer over several days especially if there has been long term illness, negativity, or persistent malaise. You can find individual bundles in my Sacred Land Sage shop on Etsy, or a variety pack Purify- a 4-pack of evergreens and sages.


2. Refresh with Sweetgrass:  (Sweet Grass or Sweetgrass) to me is the epitome of fresh, inviting joy and good health and abundance. Every year I hang a new braid of fragrant North American Sweet Grass in my car, and another near or at the threshold of my front door. Sweet Grass is such a wonderful Plant Spirit filled with sweet blessings. It has a spicy vanilla-esque scent and does not have to be burned to be enjoyed. Nearly all North American Native Tribes have stories about how the Good Spirits cannot resist the scent and will always favor those who offer it. Sweet Grass invites goodness and is my favorite plant spirit to offer in gratitude. I carry sweetgrass in the shop from 2 areas of Canada right, and have a listing with 2 or 5 braids.

SweetGrassBraid SLS6431

3. Crumble Old Smudge Bundles outside: This is an Optional practice, but if you have used one bundle all year before (large bundles can last awhile) for one purpose, and if you feel that you are in a different place or situation now, don’t throw it away- crumble up old herb bundles and offer them back to the earth. Earth Mother will appreciate an offering gift, and this is also a symbolic way of ridding of the old and starting fresh. You can also burn old smudge bundles in a fire place or campfire (safely of course ;).

4. Offer a special Smudge Blend to mark the New year. Just like Days of the Dead celebrated in Mexico and the Southern US in late Oct, where a incense resin or Copal is burned to mark the days, you can also reserve special plants for your New Year smudging rituals as well. I created smudge blend Abundance Blend just for this purpose; it has cedar, CA white sage, sweet grass, sandalwood, and lots of other sacred ingredients chosen for the type of year it is (i.e. year of the Fire Dragon, Wood Goat, or Water Monkey.) I change it up a little every year with resins, plants, flowers, and essential oils to represent the elements at play and the balance wished for in the coming year. It also comes with a Tibetan Crystal point, from Tibet.


There are many rituals around the world for purification and renewal!  I’d love to hear about your rituals with plants in comments to this post.

Happy Smudging in the New Year!