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Cleopatra's Forest

In my mind I sail
the moody waves
towards a tangerine horizon
where my lover waits
My clothes drenched in rosewater
My pulse anointed, sweet with resins
the breeze smells like hope
and my mind feels like honey

Slowly in time
the waves drum me home
to the ruby studded boulders
where my forest waits
where the needles tattoo my soul
and warm moss receives my oil soaked body

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Sacred Beech Tree

My First Advice

for anyone feeling blue in January is to go outside. Bundle up and visit the trees. Watch the birds foraging, listen to the sounds of Gaia.

Winter is alive. It may be sleeping in some ways, but there's a pregnant pause in the landscape. It's white shawls, muscular tree trunks, and sparkling evergreens are striking and beautiful in their own right.

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Juniper Ridge Sit Spot

Yet When We Are Stuck

Indoors - perhaps for work, or family obligations, or are busy with creative projects, (like writing romance poems :) we still long to feel connected to nature.

We long to smell the pines, feel the comfort of warm waters and fragrant gardens.

Our nose can be the magic link between our spirits and nature.

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Elderberry Marc

Smell Your Way Home

Households traditionally saved everything. "Waste not want not" being the slogan of feeling plentiful. Many saved items were fragrant and useful - even re-useful.

Orange peels, lemon peels, Christmas tree clippings, ginger skins, and berries from meads and wines.

For many of us herbalists and homesteaders, we can save our marc from various potions and give them a new life.

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Apple & Cherry Cider ~ last year's post

Marc For Me!

OH what to do with these beautiful wild berries? These fragrant fir needles, and mushy ginger wonderfulness??

Sometimes I feel like I strain an herbal and it talks back to me: "Please don't throw me away!!! Use me!!!" And so I do my best to waste not, want not.


Elderberries, black cherries, or various fruits left from making elixir (alcohol/honey) or tincture can be added to apple cider as it ferments into hard cider. It's incredibly delicious.

Citrus rinds from making extracts can also be added to your cider, but do especially well as a marinade for ham, flavor bits for desserts, or crazy fun garnishes for herbal cocktails.

Conifers can be used for all of the above - but my favorite thing to do with confer needle marc is make TEA. I place the marc in a teapot and cover it with boiled water, steep about 15 minutes, and thoroughly enjoy.

Baths are a wonderful way to use marc which is more medicinal and less tasty, like willow, yarrow, or mugwort. Simply stuff the marc into a muslin baggie and let infuse as the tub fills.


Can also be used for a lovely bathing experience:

Stuff a muslin baggie with your oil/herb marc halfway, and fill the rest of the way with dead sea salt, or Epsom salts, and a wee squirt of castile liquid soap. Voila! You've got your self a lovely pre-shower salt&oil treatment. Just sit on the edge of your bath (it can make the floor slippery), moisten the bag a little, and scrub away. Then just let the bag hang out in your tub or shower with you while you breathe in the lovely subtle herb aroma.

If your oil based marc is more of an edible - you can re-infuse it using VINEGAR.
Such might be the case with nettle, violet, dandelions, mugwort, or birch. It will look strange as the oil and vinegar dance in the jar, but yummy and useful for dressings.

If it's less tasty, consider this method for creating facial tonics, hair rinses, or liniments! Such might be the case with willow, alder, echinacea, or bitter tasting pine needles.


This one's easy - just place your fragrant marc in a pot, (be it sage, lavender, rosemary, chamomile, what have you) cover with water, and turn in on the lowest setting. Alternatively, you can use a crock pot on low with the cover off, or a pot on the wood stove. Feel free to enhance it with a few drops of your favorite essential oils.


Marc can be frozen. I almost always freeze the remains of my St/ Johnswort oil (that kind of pattie you get at the bottom, you know?) because is makes an amazing first aid ice.
I love to freeze all the marc I can for the above purposes, and find it adds to my sense of abundance and respect for the plants I harvest immensely.

I love that I can grab some elderberry elixir marc from the freezer if I want to make a fun salad dressing, or if I've run out of cherry blossom honey, I'm thankful for the extra blossom tincture marc I remembered to freeze.

It's a practical luxury.


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St Johnswort oil marc


Indeed, there may be marc you wish not to keep, in which case composting it or returning it to your garden is a loving option. I have one rose of sharon tree that I love to give offerings to, so she frequently receives attention and herbal mulch.

How do you use your marc, dear reader? Join me on facebook and share your plant journeys!


Stay warm and cozy, wherever you may be - but try to get out and hug a tree, too :)


Ananda Lakshmi Wilson

Plant Journeys

Amrita Apothecary on Poppy Swap

My Gratitude Gift to you:

Pleas accept my gift of 10% off anything in my shop for the next week. I'm eternally grateful to all of you on this Plant Journey together, and for all of the support you've given me over the years, and for the herbal inspirations you are all experiencing as well.

Your special code is: JANUARYTHANKS and you can get to the store by clicking on the picture below.

Thank you from the bottom of my resinous heart.

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Cicatrix Tattoo Care


CICATRIX New Tattoo Herbal Care set now available at Poppy Swap! Hand made with Love <3

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Plant Healer Magazine

Plant Healer Magazine ~ The Best Grassroots Publication about Plants and Herbalism

The next issue will feature my article on making Herbal Infused Oils - make sure you're subscribed!!

~ Blessed Be ~

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