Natural Laundry Part II, Soapnuts

Sapindus mukorossi, aka soapnuts, are now available at Earth Lore. These little guys are part of the lychee family, and also known as soapberries or washnuts. There are several varieties, native to different parts of the world. Ours come from northern India and the Himalayas.

Leathery nuts, or drupes, contain saponins, a key ingredient for soap making. For thousands of years,  Asian natives and native Americans have used them for washing and various aspects of folk-lore. Soapnuts are also used in many ayurvedic preparations, such as cleansers and shampoos. According to ayurveda, cleansers made from the nut are especially beneficial to those suffering from psoriasis or eczema. They are even said to lighten or remove freckles.  There is an insecticidal property to the soap nut, making it popular in repelling lice and bedbugs.

When using them for washing, consider whether your water is hard or soft, size of the washer, size of load,  how soiled the load is,  and the temperature of the load.  For an average load of laundry using warm or hot water,  use three or four nuts.  If using cold water,  hard water, or for heavily soiled loads use one or two extra.  Place nuts in a tied muslin bag  and remove pouch if rinsing in warm water.  If you rinse in cold, just leave them in the drum.  Reuse this pouch for up to four loads of laundry.  When it’s time for a new pouch the nuts will turn gray, mushy, and no longer feel soapy.  Please compost old soapnuts in the garden.  For hard water, you can add 1/4 cup coarse sea salt or baking soda to the wash cycle.

Alternatively, make a liquid soap.  Boil 12-15 nuts with six cups of water for thirty minutes.  When  boiled down you should have four cups of liquid left.  If there’s less than that, add extra water to make it four cups or simply leave it concentrated for use as hand wash or shampoo.  When the solution cools, strain out the nuts and store in an airtight jar.  Use two to three tablespoons per load.  Make small batches,  nature doesn’t make things that last forever.  I saw a wonderful idea online to freeze the cooled solution in ice-cube trays, simply use two or three ice cubes per load! If you decide to freeze, be sure to label the tray so no one gets a surprise in their drink.  Add essential oils like orange, lemon, lavender, or eucalyptus to the rinse cycle for fragrant linens.

Laundry is not the only use for soap nuts.  Use the liquid mixture as mosquito repellent, all-purpose cleaner, steam cleaning spot treatment, pet wash and repellent, or houseplant wash.  I urge all who try soapnuts to experiment and research others experiences. Happy washing!

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Setting Healthy Boundaries

Healthy boundaries are vital to the success of all relationships. From business partners to best friends, parents to romantic partners, healthy boundaries are needed to establish a border between where you end and another person begins. Boundaries are used to establish limits that protect your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. When boundaries are too fluid (or non-existent) you may find yourself drained by giving more of yourself (emotional or financially) than you are able to spare. If you are the type of person who can not say no to others’ requests, or feel terribly guilty when doing so; you may have weak or non-existent boundaries. Similarly, when boundaries are too rigid, you may find yourself closed off from others, unable to establish close and meaningful relationships. If you find yourself unable to trust others, or unwilling to share yourself in a healthy and moderate way; your boundaries may be too rigid.

Loose boundaries are a recipe for drama, and rigid boundaries are a recipe for loneliness. Our goal is to find a middle ground in establishing healthy boundaries that serve our highest good and our greatest wellness. Here are a few things to consider when embarking on a journey to set healthy boundaries for yourself and your life:

  • It is OK to say no to others’ requests. Take time to consider the request before answering. Calculate the risks to yourself and others. If you find the sacrifice is too great, you will know you have the right to say no.
  • Remember to take time out for yourself. There are times when we must give more of ourselves than we think we can. For example, a loved one may fall ill and need your support, or your spouse may be laid off and depend on you to pull the family through hard financial times. Still, it is important that you take at least a few moments out of every day to pamper yourself.  Try a 5 minute morning meditation, or a brisk 10 minute walk in the evening, or take a relaxing 20 minute bath before bed. Find a routine that works for you and stick to it!
  • Seek professional or spiritual counseling, and/or read a few articles or books on creating healthy boundaries. If you feel a lack of healthy boundaries is significantly impacting your life, I highly recommend consulting an expert. It never hurts to seek the guidance of a relationship specialist. Do a Google search for books on boundaries, or for relationship counselors in your area.

Make your own “Boundary Bag” talisman

Directions: Mix two or more of the following stones, and two or more of the following herbs in a small red pouch. Hold the talisman in your hands and speak your intention in creating this “Boundary Bag”. Keep the talisman in your pocket or wear it around your neck whenever you need a boost of confidence, self-love, courage, protection, energy, and power.

Stones: Lapis Lazuli, Celestite, Aquamarine, Turquoise, Garnet, Blue Tiger Eye, Gold Tiger Eye, Blue Calcite, Labradorite

Herbs: Dragon’s Blood, Rosemary, Coriander Seed, Cardamon, Juniper Berry, Hibiscus

Tip: Add a piece of clear Quartz Crystal, and a leaf of White Sage to the “Boundary Bag” to keep your talisman cleansed and purified.

Natural Laundry Liquid

Have you ever wanted to make your own laundry detergent? It’s easier than you think! In preparation gather up large empty containers from old detergent, or even Juice bottles. All you need to get started is one bar of pure castile soap, washing soda, borax, water, and essential oils. All these items can be purchased at the grocery store with the exception of essential oil. Step one: Grate the bar of castile soap into a sauce pot with a cheese grater, add four cups HOT water and melt it down to liquid. Pour this into a sanitized five gallon bucket. Add 1 cup washing soda and 1/2 c Borax. Stir it up good and fill the rest of the way with water. Allow this bucket to completely cool before adding the essential oils.
Now we have five gallons of double strength detergent. Remember, this recipe makes ten gallons total so when it’s time to package only fill containers half full and top off with water. It’s time to add essential oils.  I strongly warn against using anything but PURE essential oils.  Diluted fragrance oils will stain clothing.

Use oils like  lemon, peppermint, tea tree, and lavender which are antiseptic, will repel moths,  plus aid in the cleansing process.  Eucalyptus essential oil kills dust mites and repels spiders.  To remove grease stains and smells from clothes, use orange oil in the mix.  Use about fifty to seventy drops total added directly to your double strength five gallon bucket, perhaps 10-12 drops each of six or seven oils.  Feel free to use only a combination of two or three just make sure the total added is equal to fifty to seventy drops.  After stirring the bucket thoroughly, use a pitcher to fill containers half way with concentrated soap and top off with water.  Now you have ten gallons of laundry detergent for a fraction of the store-bought price! By cutting costs like this you’ll have more  money to spend at Earth Lore on your essential oils!!! Namaste.

Hiddenite – Exposed!

Hiddenite

Hiddenite (Green Kunzite)

Hiddenite (aka Green Kunzite) is the gemstone form of spodumene, varying in color from a translucent light yellow-green to emerald.

This is an excellent stone for anyone who is faced with indecision or uncertainty.  Hiddenite’s energy is an excellent revealer of that which is concealed, either by accident or design, as it eases transfer of knowledge from outside sources.  This often manifests as conventional knowledge (books, television, other people, etc), but can also facilitate realizations from higher or ‘collective’ knowledge.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little insight into things sometimes?  This month, we’re going to learn how to call for a sign.

A Practice for Calling Insight

1 Blue Candle
1 Piece of Hiddenite
1 Small Candle Holder (or small Dish)

  1. Find a quiet place, with no distractions.
  2. As always, cleanse your area and materials with white sage smoke (or any other method you’re comfortable with)
  3. Turn the lights down, and sit on the floor with your materials.
  4. Visualize the situation you are seeking insight about.  Narrow it down to a single mental image that seems to best sum it up.  Take your time with this – the clearer the image, the better results you will have.
  5. Place your hiddenite in the bottom of the candle holder.
  6. With the image firmly in mind, light the blue candle.  Drip wax from the lit candle into the bottom of the candle holder until the Hiddenite is completely covered.
  7. While the wax is still hot and with the candle lit, push the bottom of the candle down in to the puddle so that it stays upright and in place.
  8. Visualize the blue candle as a beacon, amplifying the hiddenite energy to draw in knowledge of the situation you ‘programmed’ into it.  Burn the candle until it begins to drip, then blow it out.  Do not smother the candle to put it out in this case.
  9. Each night, light the candle for just a few minutes until it begins to drip again, then blow it out.  Do this only once per night.  Each time you do this, you repeat the call for insight.
  10. Watch closely for signs or omens – they can be obvious or cryptic, internal or external, and manifest just about anywhere.  Most importantly, be prepared for the insight when you receive it!

Earth Lore carries hiddenite, as well as all of the other materials mentioned!

Discover Your Animal Totems

Totem Animals

Totem Animals

There is much that can be learned from our companions in the animal kingdom. Every animal has strengths and weaknesses, talents and habits that help us to learn more about ourselves by studying their example. You’ll be happy to know that just as every person has a multitude of personality traits, they also have many animal totems. There are those animals that stay with us for just a short time, while we overcome an obstacle in our lives. There are also who will walk (fly, crawl or swim) with us through life. How do you know which animals are calling to you? This article is just a short description on how to discover some of  your totems. There are not only many, many books written on this subject but also oral traditions that vary from tribe to tribe across the world. Most of the information I’ve compiled comes from Ted Andrews book, “Animal Speak.” It is a great resource for anyone interested in learning more on the subject of Animal Totems.

Totem Discovery Meditation

Enter a space where you will not be interrupted, a secluded spot somewhere in nature would be best but is not mandatory. Relax by taking several deep breaths. Clear your mind.  Begin by lighting a white “Spirit” votive or pillar with the focus of finding one of your animal totems in the forethought of your mind. You may even want to ask Great Spirit or God to bless you and oversee the meditation with divine guidance.

Sitting comfortably, begin to visualize a landscape. Some people will see themselves in a forest; others the desert or sea. It’s okay. Don’t worry that you are “making things up.” Imagination is a gift and a tool. Whatever comes to you is has entered your mind for a reason. Trust this guidance. However it is important to not have any preconceived totems in mind. Let your animal choose you. As you wander your landscape, note the time of day or night. Is it chilly or  can you feel the warm sun shining on you? What do you smell? What do you hear? As you continue your  walk  allow yourself to be open to whatever creatures come to you. Don’t discount the tiny creatures like ants and spiders. Don’t forget to look in the trees or sky. If you feel compelled to turn over a leaf or crawl in a cave, do so.

You will come upon an living creature. This is one of your totems.  Introduce yourself. Do not force interaction, simply let the moment settle in. Thank this totem for making its self known to you. When you are ready begin to come back to a state of consciousness and open your eyes.

Now that you know one of your animal totems, begin your research! Animals can teach us so much about ourselves and how we react to others if we would simply listen. Some things to ponder: Where does this animal live, what does it eat, what eats it? What kind of shelter does it seek? The more you learn about your animal the better. It is important to establish a link to your totem not just through learning about its habits but also learning about its place in mythological lore. To gain a stronger link to this animal you should also have small talismans (like a found feather or bone… however if that isn’t possible at the time being, hanging pictures of it or small carved stones work too). You can keep these on your person or in the areas of your home or work that seem most appropriate. Earth Lore carries small carved stones of many different animals starting at $3.95. We also have a selection of larger statues available for altar use. Having reminders of your totems will greatly increase your connection to these animals. Also, be sure to check out our new and used books about totems, shamanism and animal lore.

Snowflake Obsidian: The Warrior Stone

Are you a Paranormal Investigator, or a parent with young children to protect? Do you have a competitive profession,  or feel as though negativity has taken over your workplace or home? At some point in our lives we will be faced with adversity, negativity, or evil of some form. In any case, be sure you are prepared with the right protection talisman. My number one suggestion is Snowflake Obsidian.

Snowflake Obsidian is a Black Obsidian stone with inclusions of Phenocryst, a white-gray mineral. This mineral resembles a snowflake pattern when the stone is polished, hence the name Snowflake Obsidian. Obsidian is formed volcanically when lava rich in silicic acid rapidly cools. The lava hardens so quickly that no crystalline structures are able to form. The result is an amorphous molten mass containing large amounts of solidified minerals, water, and gas inclusions. This explains why Obsidian is also known as Volcanic Glass.

Because of its volcanic origins, Obsidian is often associated with the Hawaiian volcano goddess, Pele. Pele is a fierce, wrathful warrior who is believed to have the power of turning her enemies to stone. It is the warrior aspect of Pele that concerns us with respect to Snowflake Obsidian and its protective powers. Like Pele, Snowflake Obsidian has the strong energy of a warrior prepared to ward off all evil and negative influences from the wearer. Simply holding a piece of Snowflake Obsidian in your auric field wil create a powerful shield between you and any undesirable energies or negative forces. However, a powerful warrior needs more than just a protective shield. To that end, Snowflake Obsidian aids in maintaining clear mental focus, and emotional well-being. It is a stone of pure intention as a good warrior always has a pure heart and works for the highest good of the universe. Snowflake Obsidian is also an excellent grounding stone, aiding the wearer in maintaining balance and moderation at all times.

Natural Body Powders

Body Powder

Body Powder

Body powders have been used for ages to smooth and perfume the skin. Use of herbs in conjunction with absorbent powders help to remove odors by not allowing the formation of bacteria. Body odor is impacted by many outside influences including stress, tension, diet, and even wardrobe.   Meat, in addition to the processed “improved”, or “enriched” foods most Americans eat contribute to bad bacteria build up, aka odor.  Alcohol and vitamin deficiencies also will affect body odor.  Several findings indicate a concern over usage of talc in commercial deodorants and baby powders. Talc, or magnesium silicate,  is a proven lung irritant and often contains arsenic.  Several studies have linked the use of talc in cosmetic preparations to  skin cancer, lung cancer, and ovarian cancer. Particles of talc have even been found in tumors!  This aside, talc is still “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA.

In addition to trying to eat less processed foods and processed meat, try drinking teas with peppermint or sage leaves.  Buy clothing made with fibers that breathe, such as cotton.  An easy, effective body powder can be made with a few simple ingredients.  Here’s the recipes, be creative and substitute different dried herbs, dried fruits and flowers if there is a particular scent you’d like to achieve.  With any herbal preparation, do a patch test on skin. Always use sanitary containers and tools while making recipes.

Lavender is gentle and used externally for skin irritation, making it perfect for babies or sensitive skin types.  Instead of using talc as a base, use arrowroot starch, baking soda, and/or corn starch.  Being a skeptical, and a commercial deodorant user, I was shocked to discover that arrowroot starch alone worked great.  Here are some preparations to try at home:

#1.

  • 1 part Arrowroot
  • 1 part powdered Blue cornflowers
  • 1 part Lavender powder
  • 1 part Violet Leaf

Now, when i say part, it can be any amount, just keep in mind herbal preparations don’t keep fresh forever. I’d suggest making no more than two weeks worth at a time.

#2.

  • 1 part orange peel powder
  • 1 part lemon peel powder
  • 1 part sandalwood powder
  • 1 part orris root powder

#3.

  • 1 part lavender powder
  • 1 part orris root
  • 2 parts arrowroot powder, or corn starch, or one part each

#4. “Sweet Powder”

  • 10 parts orris root
  • 4 parts powdered calamus root
  • 4 parts benzoin
  • 3 parts lavender
  • 1 part clove powder
  • 2 oz parts powder

#5.

Equal powdered parts orris root, orange peel powder, lemon peel powder, and your choice of calamus root or licorice root powder. Sift through and place in a jar or powder canister.

Another fun recipe to try goes like this:

Add flowers or herbs, such as gardenia, sage leaf, etc to an empty pint container, add arrowroot powder and/or cornstarch to fill.  Shake 3-5 times daily and replace the flowers with fresh every other day as well.

Harvest the last herbs from your garden and make some of these fragrant powders to remember summer’s warmth during the cold months.

Un-Crossing

Un-Crossing

Un-Crossing

Do you feel stuck and unable to move forward in your career, love life, or finances? If so, you are not alone. There are many people experiencing this “stuck” feeling, to varying degrees.  Whether you believe it’s a karmic debt you are paying off, a past-life issue, a spell cast upon you, or plain old bad judgment and poor planning on your part…the feeling of being stuck in a rut is the same: You feel tired, hopeless, frustrated with yourself and others, and angry with yourself and others. The feeling is there when you wake up in the morning, it hangs around all day, and is with you when you go to sleep (if you can sleep). For those of you struggling to regain your power and confidence to move forward, I humbly offer this “Un-Crossing Oil” recipe as one small step you can take on your path to freedom.

What is an “Un-Crossing” Oil?

Un-Crossing Oil is a powerful blend of natural herbs and essential oils that promote positive energy and protection, aid in manifesting one’s desires, enhance self-confidence, and help one be the “master” of one’s own destiny. If you are looking to change your luck or break a “spell”, this is the oil to use! This oil can be used as a daily personal fragrance, or burned in an aroma diffuser. You may also add some fragrance to a spray bottle filled with water and use it as a daily ritual mist.

Un-Crossing Oil Recipe

In a 1/2  oz. vial mix the following:

5 drops Bergamot Oil

10 drops Geranium Oil

5 drops Rosemary Oil

5 drops Vetivert Oil

(Note: Essential Oils work best for this blend.)

A pinch of Myrrh Resin

A pinch of dried Rue Herb

One tiny piece of Clear Quartz Crystal

Directions: Clear yourself and space of negative energy by burning a few leaves of White Sage.  Burn one white candle for purification and one black candle for protection. Focus on your intentions for making this oil blend. Slowly put the ingredients above into your glass vial.  Fill the remaining part of the vial with a Grapeseed or Jojoba base oil. Shake well. Write your full name on the bottle with a permanent marker. Put a small drop of oil on your 3rd Eye Chakra and say a prayer/affirmation of freedom and abundance of your choosing. Your oil is now charged and ready for daily use.

(Recommendation: This is now your personal Un-Crossing Oil with your name on it, infused with YOUR energy and intentions. I do not recommend using it on friends and family. Even if they are experiencing the same feelings and issues as you, I highly recommend they make their own personal oil and infuse it with their own energy for better results.)


Break the chains! Many blessings on your path to freedom, and thank you for sharing our Earth lore newsletter.

Chinese Health Balls

Chinese Health Balls

Chinese Health Balls

HISTORY: Chinese Health Balls are a great (and easy) way to add dexterity and fitness to your current health regimen.  These small metal balls come in pairs and go by many names, including  Therapy Balls, Stress Balls, Harmony or Baoding Balls. (They are believed to have originated in Baoding, China approximately 500 years ago in during the Ming Dynasty.) While they were originally made of solid iron, modern Chinese Health Balls are hollowed out making them easier to use and transport. In fact these days, they contain small chimes which is why they sometimes are referred to as Harmony Balls.

USES: Chinese Health Balls are often used during exercise and meditation. While there are many exercises possible the most common way use them is to place two balls in the palm of one hand. Using balance and gravity, rotate the balls in one hand clockwise and once mastered, work on counter-clockwise. One method suggests not to let the balls touch or chime. More advanced users can work up to larger diameter balls. They then can work up to  exercises involving 3 or more balls. These seemingly easy exercises actually do a great deal to work the muscles in your hands, forearms and shoulders! They provide great benefits to those who desire better muscle control and dexterity, such as musicians, artist and athletes.

OTHER HEALTH BENEFITS: If the benefits for the physical exercise alone aren’t enough to convince you to start practicing your hand cordination, traditional Chinese medicine practitioners  believe that all bodily systems are linked to one another. With regular use, these balls are believed to boost the circulation of the blood while acting to relax joints and muscles. Disorders such as hypertension, arthritis of the fingers and wrists, as well as numbness and trembling of the hands can be prevented and improved through the use of Chinese Health balls. These practices have been around in tradition Chinese culture for hundreds of years, where preventative medicine is considered the key to a long and healthy life.

Prasiolite – Light the Fuse!

by Grant

Prasiolite (aka ‘green amethyst’, ‘amegreen’, and ‘vermarine’) is a fibrous inclusion of magnesium and iron aluminosilicates in quartz.  In simpler terms, it’s very similar to amethyst except that it’s green.  It’s generally found in Brazil, though other deposits have been known to come from Canada and Poland.

This is a stone of prosperity, though not in the sense of winning money or coming upon it unexpectedly.  Prasiolite’s energy is geared strongly toward what really brings us success – wise decision-making, attraction of people and situations that further your goals, and strength to begin new ventures.  If you’re more inclined to work for what you want than to wait or gamble for it, prasiolite’s energy could be for you!

A Practice for Prosperity with Pennies and Prasiolite

  • 1 Piece of prasiolite
  • 1 Small object that symbolizes a new goal or venture
  • 1 Pouch or square of fabric in gold or purple
  • 1 Small dish or bowl
  • Enough pennies to fill the bowl

This simple practice creates building momentum toward your goal, and allows the exchange of prosperous energy between you and the universe around you.

As with all practices, it is recommended that you first cleanse your materials by passing them through white sage smoke (or with any cleansing method you are familiar with).

  1. Take a piece of prasiolite and place it in a gold or purple pouch with the small symbolic object.
  2. Place the pouch in the bowl, laying it as flat as possible against the bottom.
  3. Visualize your goals, and the vast network of people, money and situations that will be necessary to realize them.  With this image firmly fixed in your mind, pour pennies into the dish until they completely cover the pouch.
  4. Place this dish by your bedside.  Each day, re-visualize your goal and take a penny from the dish.  Over the course of the day, spend or donate the penny somewhere.  It doesn’t matter where.  If you lose the penny, or fail to spend it, place three in the dish to replace it at the end of the day.
  5. When all pennies are spent, give the stone away to someone who needs it.  Keep the symbolic object near where you do business.

Earth Lore carries the tumbled prasiolite, pouches, and white sage for this practice.

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