Meet Shiva Rose, Earth mother and holistic creatrix, and discover the fashion and beauty finds that rock her Mystical world…
“We escaped Iran when I was ten years old, one cold winter night as the country was in the throes of a bloody revolution. We traveled to Germany, then London and finally to California, where my mother and her family is from. We settled in LA.”
So speaks actress, activist and curator Shiva Rose, whose lifestyle blog and online store The Local Rose celebrates her local community of artisan makers and mystics. And it was going from “a childhood nurtured on imagination and nature to life as a refugee,” that in fact fueled her passion for fashion and paved the way for her current incarnation as a woman dedicated to promoting a holistic, healthy and authentic lifestyle.
“I was a bit shy and awkward, and the trauma of escaping a revolution didn’t help. My refuge and escape from this reality was immersing myself in what I loved best, which was old European/Hollywood films and great books. I fell in love with story telling and being told stories,” she says. “I feel today I do this with each product I create and curate. The story behind the power of the ingredients rules me.”
Shiva Rose currently lives with her two daughters, Colette Blu, 19 and Charlotte Rumi, 10, in the Santa Monica Mountains, where the family is virtually self-sufficient. In itself an important part of her evolution as a woman.
“I feel like I have only become an adult in the last five years. There have been immense challenges and yet I have so much strength now that things that I couldn’t even dream of doing a few years ago are a welcome treat now. Things like fighting off a pack of coyotes that are trying to get my chickens by the light of the moon in my garden!”
The most vital lesson of all on her life path, however; “is that i have finally realized no one is going to make me happy unless I am happy, content and fulfilled on my own.”
Here’s a peek into the Mystical World of Shiva Rose, Earth Mama and Material Girl.
This week, I’ve been mainly bonding with my baby nephew Henry – prompting some way deep realizations about reincarnation…
The epiphany officially occurred six weeks ago at Erin Telford’s Cancer New Moon breathwork circle. It was one of those psychedelic experiences that’s hard to convey in words – but lemme have a go! Fittingly, with the moon in family-orientated Cancer, towards the end of the breathing section of the workshop, which is designed to bring deep seated emotions, memories and fears to the surface to be healed, I experienced a full mind-body-soul understanding that not only am I linked to my family by my DNA – I actually am them.
I just GOT, on a numinous level, the fact that since our physical being is formed of our parents’ cells (and therefore of their parents’, and their parents’, and so on), our ancestors literally LIVE ON through us. Since new strands of DNA are constantly being added to the mix, the bigger realization was that ALL HUMANITY is connected in this way! And all this accompanied by a beautiful visual of atomic rainbows of particles, swirling together to form image resembling my mother, then my brother, and his brand new baby boy. Not bad for a stone, cold sober Friday night in Greenpoint, I think you’ll agree.
It got me thinking a lot about reincarnation, obvs, especially when we fast-forward to this week which I have mainly spent bonding with my new nephew Henry in London. I decided at about age five that I didn’t want kids of my own, and as much as I’m 100% happy with my choice, my recent revelation had left me feeling like perhaps this life is the end of the line for my soul (whoa, deep). And then along comes Henry, who looks so much like me as a baby there’s just no denying that a part of me will live on in HIM.
Reincarnation is the belief that the soul itself leaves the physical body at the end of biological life, to begin a new life in a new body. But my experiences lately have given me a new appreciation of the soul contracts we share with our families – karmic lessons we have for each other, which we continuously reincarnate together in this dimension in order to learn or heal. Clear this karma, the theory goes, and your soul will ascend to a new level of enlightenment when you reincarnate the next time around.
It’s a belief system I’ve chosen to subscribe to, not least because it’s meant making a commitment to nurturing and healing my family relationships NOW – which, in my experience, has been the truest way to find fulfilment, and an authentic, stable, sense of self. in other words, to find happiness – a theory that’s actually backed up by the findings of Shawn Achor, the happiness expert I worked with on my recent project for Buick.
In Shawn’s research, the breadth, depth and meaning of our relationships – beginning with our families – was the biggest predictor of long-term happiness, and can have as much impact on our overall health and longevity as smoking, high blood pressure or obesity. In my (mystical) book, this is all a wake-up call to dig deep into what the soul contracts with YOUR tribe might be – and to prioritise working them out in this life, so that we can all ascend together.
This week, Numi founder Ruby Warrington witnessed the birth of two very special (Leo!) projects and learned all about the Rainbow Warriors…
I went out on the road (to happiness). I was in LA most of this week for the launch of a project I’ve been working on for Buick – the 24 Hours of Happiness Test Drive. And seriously, how progressive of a major corporation like them to focus on wellbeing as one of their core values going forward, the “red thread” that will run through their communications going forward. My role was to help them create content for the campaign – namely this podcast on how happiness is a choice from Harvard happiness researcher Shawn Achor; a custom, mood-elevating in-car scent blended by Moon Juice founder Amanda Chantal Bacon; a 10-minute pre or post-drive guided meditation by Jeff Kober; a pressure point massage technique to ease tension behind the wheel by Dr. Dot (one of the most amazing women I’ve ever met btw); and even an in-car yoga sequence by Maroon 5 and One Direction’s on-tour instructor, Chad Dennis.
We’re talking serious high vibes! And besides this being kind of a groundbreaking concept for the motoring industry (right?!), how amazing to get the opportunity to put these potentially life-changing tools into the hands of mainstream drivers all over America. And my feeling that this was actually some lightwork in action was confirmed 100 per cent at the launch event. Themed around colour therapy, the ACE Museum in Hollywood was transformed into a factual RAINBOW of mood elevating hues for the night (see entrance below), and if you’ve been following our Instagram account, you might have noticed how I’ve been feeling about rainbows recently. If not, read on ‘cos you’re gonna love this…
I learned more about the Rainbow Warriors. A month or so ago, I began seeing rainbows EVERYWHERE. Like everywhere. In the shower, on my yoga mat, while I was doing the dishes. On billboards, and hey, all over Facebook, as everybody rainbow’ed up their profile picture to celebrate #LOVEWINS! When I mentioned this to my friend Aly, she told me about the Rainbow Warriors, a prophecy from Native American tradition that a generation of children would one day be born whose destiny it was to bring in light and love for the healing of planet Earth.
Um, WOW. You can read more about the Rainbow Warrior prophecy here, but as I was chatting to Amanda from Moon Juice about this at the Buick event, we simultaneously broke out in goosebumps over the fact that here was a car company channelling the rainbow message loud and strong. Because you could say, OMG, cars = pollution = BAD. But let’s just get real for a second. Cars are a FACT OF MODERN LIFE, and if you ever drive, use Uber, or even hitch rides places, please climb down from your high horse. (Plus, the motoring industry is not NEARLY as big a polluter as the commercial meat production industry. Something else to think about.) As Amanda and I both agree, real progress always begins with LOVE. And in my eyes, with their happiness campaign Buick are showing some serious love for their drivers, and therefore our planet.
I party-hopped over to Yoho House. A.K.A. the brand, spanking new Wanderlust center in Hollywood. And wow, serious WOW! Housed in the site of the old Golden Bridge, we’re talking four-floors of pimped-to-perfection yogic bliss, from the 200-person studio space, shaded patio and farm-to-table restaurant on the ground floor, up to a custom pine-clad roof terrace, via cosy library hangout, intimate, candlelit workshop spaces…it’s enough to make you wanna move to LA. (Oh, wait, I’m kind of manifesting that one anyway…if you’re listening, Universe.)
I would describe myself as empathic and creative, so in a lot of ways it was natural for me to fall into hairdressing when I was 16. It was never my first choice – I had aspirations of being a fashion journalist – but choosing to pursue it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. Fourteen years later, this seemingly humble path has enabled me to fulfil some of my biggest dreams, mainly because one of the beautiful things about hairdressing is that it’s a portable trade. I can cut hair anywhere in the world, meaning I’ve been able to earn a living in the unlikeliest of places.
The last six years in particular, I have truly followed my wanderlust. Like many on a similar path, I travelled to ‘find’ myself, having experienced a strong disconnection with life in my hometown. Despite having a large group of friends, I’d never really felt as if I fully fit in or belonged, as if I was always holding part of myself back. So I went to work in Ibiza for the summer, in search of adventure and hoping to break free from the things I thought were holding me back. I then bought a round the world ticket to the Southern Hemisphere for a winter in Asia and Australia, bringing me back to Ibiza, and chasing the dream of a never-ending summer.
On my travels I met many kindred spirits, and collected experiences and memories like treasure. Island hopping and hitchhiking around Hawaii, sleeping under the stars in Australia, and making friends with liberated souls as we took sanctuary from the dust storms on the Playa at Burning Man. Living like this, I could be who I wanted without any attachment to my past. I was free from old thought processes that had held me back, and I found friends who seemed to be on a similar path, all in search of ‘something more’. My loved ones back home all seemed to want different things in life to me, and I think a lot of my anxieties came from trying to fit in.
But beyond the hedonism, I never felt any closer to finding myself. No matter how far I travelled or how long I stayed away, my shadow self was never far behind, and I realised I was trying to run away from rather than towards my true self. My epiphany came when I was recovering from a break up that had seemed to consume me. The experience led me to turn inward, and I realised that I needed learn to be happy in myself, wherever I was in the world. Home or away.
People would describe me as bubbly and outgoing, but I have actually suffered from anxiety and depression most of my adult life. Until I connected with my spiritual path, that is. When I went to see my doctor about my epiphany (a.k.a break down) it was recommended I go on antidepressants. Of course, this didn’t resonate with me, and so began my mission to heal myself holistically. It began with yoga, and practising meditation regularly, finding tiny glimpses of inner peace that over time became a lasting sense of calm and clarity.
In my meditations, animals kept showing up for me, regularly enough that I began looking up the meanings of these beasts. A Wolf appeared most frequently in my visions, the message being that I was in the process of spiritual development, and developing my self-esteem and inner knowing. The Wolf was there (and still is today) to remind me that I was being protected. I discovered that the animals were my spirit guides, and their messages were so relevant that I couldn’t ignore their calling. So I began using these messages to guide me on my healing path – my first indication that I had an affinity with Shamanism.
The deeper into my spiritual journey I went, I experienced a conflict between my work commitments and my spiritual life. I was eager to learn more about healing, which manifested in a desire to help others with what I was learning, but I also needed to support myself financially. In the end, I decided to take the plunge and booked a two-month sabbatical from the salon I was working in at the time and travel to Bali. Being half Indonesian, it was one pilgrimage that I had always wanted to take. Now it was really happening, and for the right reasons.
I began to research my trip, my main priority to find a way to fully immerse myself in my spiritual development. I looked up retreats, workshops, yoga centres and healers, and emailed different leads to find out what my options were. A few websites caught my eye, but after quite a few unanswered enquiries, the search engines kept drawing me back to a Shaman called White Star. I took this as another sign, and connected with her on email – which resulted in her offering me a place on her apprenticeship programme. I was going to be a Shaman’s apprentice!
I arrived in Bali two months later, and noticed that my energy instantly felt lighter, as if some kind of a shift had already occurred in me. I spent my first few days exploring my new surroundings, acquainting myself with the local customs, and trying to prepare myself for my first meeting with White Star. But how do you prepare to meet a Shaman? And one who is going to teach you her secrets?
When we finally did meet, I was full of excitement and anticipation. I had a preconceived idea that my new teacher would have an air of authority about her but when I met White Star, I was in awe. With all of her power and wisdom she is a humble woman with an unassuming presence. But it was also as if she had an ethereal radiance about her. I remember thinking she was at least 10 years younger than what she said she was – apparently there’s a healer in Bali who specialises in ‘spiritual Botox’, but I also think she’s living proof that living magically keeps you younger.
I had booked 40 hours of one-to-one lessons with White Star that were stretched out over 4 weeks, and I felt so blessed to have the time to immerse myself so deeply in my new education. I had expected to pay up front, but she was trusting and happy for me to pay cash as we went along. Our lessons took place at her home in the jungle, and were filled with practical experiences of Shamanic healing techniques, spiritual development exercises, meditations, wisdom and musings. White Star also taught me how to expand my consciousness using Shamanic journeying to tune into the spirit realms and earth elements.
Most magically of all, the more time I spent with White Star, I found that not only was I learning how to heal others, I was healing myself. I gained new insights into my past, which helped me make sense of what I always thought had been holding me back. I believe you need to learn how to understand your past and its purpose so that you can fully release it, allow you to move forward and heal. I gained a new sense of confidence and purpose, and felt myself surrendered to being my authentic self, releasing my attachment to needing to fit in.
Every day, I would walk past waterfalls on my way to my meetings with White Star, feeling that I needed to pinch myself, to check it wasn’t all a dream. It was as if my soul had found its home, and that all the life choices I’d made (including the ones I thought I regretted) had brought me here. This was real.
In my Bali bubble, it felt so natural be fully conscious in the present moment. All my anxieties dissipated, as I learned to simply go with the flow. Time expanded as I took each moment as it came, learning to really trust my intuition. Synchronicities were a regular occurrence in my Bali life, because I took time to notice them. I felt I was constantly surrounded by magic.
Shamanism teaches us that there is a spiritual component in everything; that everything around us has a spirit, and that everything is connected. Flowers, trees, water, stones, animals, and humans. A Shaman walks the path between the seen and the unseen worlds, using altered states of consciousness to connect to what can’t be seen in our ordinary reality.
When we are disconnected from spirit, we fall out of alignment with our highest good. We experience states of negativity which can lead to anxiety, depression and other emotional and physical symptoms of imbalance. With Spiritual healing and Shamanic medicine, we are able to reconnect with our highest self, or soul, bringing us back into balance. Feeling calmer and happier, life becomes easy again. When we are spiritually aligned, we feel are able live from the heart; detaching from our ego, we are confident to follow our life’s purpose. Feeling empowered, there is no room for fear.
I returned from my Bali trip a little over a year ago, with none of the same ‘homecoming anxieties’ I used to feel, because I brought my Bali bubble home with me. Since then, my Shamanic alter ego Wolf Sister has been born, and I have been building my own healing practice, alongside working as a hairdresser. And the two actually go hand-in-hand.
When I am working with my hairdressing clients, I enable them to feel better about themselves on an external level. I still enjoy my work at the salon, but my true passion is to help people heal on a Soul level, helping them empower themselves. I feel that I’m able to do this more effectively through Spiritual healing than I am by styling hair, but still I infuse my Shamanic teachings into every moment of my ‘everyday’ life. Knowing always that my Bali bubble is there to be tuned into when I need it.
They call today Blue Monday – the most depressing day of the year (which, if you’re feeling that way, is really just another reason to enquire after your Dharma, darlings). In the meantime, what better excuse to indulge in some serious soul food. Here, members of the Numinati share the dishes that make us tick…
:: Ruby Warrington :: “It’s all about the oatmeal. I went into denial for a phase back there, when the whole green-smoothie-for-breakfast thing kicked in, but now I’m back on the oats I would say I’m starting the day at least 20% happier. I make mine with half water, half almond milk, a handful of raisins (while it’s heating, to plump them up), a sprinkling of cinnamon, maybe some walnuts, and serve with half a banana sliced on top. It’s essentially baby food, creamy and mushy, and reminiscent somewhere at soul level of my first nourishment I guess. I go to bed at night thinking about it, and after my morning oatmeal, I feel full.”
:: Madeline Giles :: “Baked sweet potato, mashed with melted coconut oil and a bit of pink Himalayan salt. It tastes like salty sweet velvet candy! I love it because it’s super nourishing, easy, energizing, and – something I need the most – grounding. I love sweet things, and while in my mind my favorite food is probably milkshake smoothies from Cafe Gratitude, I’m annoyingly sensitive to even the ‘healthy’ kinds of sugar – so sweet potato has become my go-to.”
:: Dani Katz :: “I tend to walk a rather intense path, which is reflected in my diet – super clean and sparse and vegan – lots of greens and cultured veggies…simple whole foods that multitask for my body and soul. That being said, my soul food is…brown rice. Brown rice, for me, is like an Amma hug, a little bit of warm, yummy, maternal respite from the challenges of the Earth game, and all the rules I set up for myself in playing it ‘right.’
Here’s how rice became my surrogate mother: Over a decade ago, I combined syrian rue (an MAO inhibitor) with a heroic dose of mushrooms, turned out all the lights in my Los Feliz guest house, and buckled up for the ride. During the trip, I was shown a tiny treasure chest. It took me a minute (or an hour or a lifetime – hard to say on psychedelic time) to think to open the treasure chest, and when I did, I couldn’t have been more shocked to see what was inside:
A grain of brown rice.
I know it’s tied in to a past life (or two, or twelve) as a Tibetan monk. There’s something about the size, and the shape, and the feeling I get as it passes through my lips, and down my throat, and into my belly – I think: Wow, I’ve done this for thousands of years.
Brown rice is familiar. It’s family. It’s home.
Brown rice means me giving myself a break. It’s sattvic. It’s grounding. It reminds me that life doesn’t have to be so hard, and so intense, and I can be cozy and still be on my path, and in alignment. I know that in the grand scheme, brown rice isn’t all that unhealthy, but as a super strict ascetic who rarely allows myself grains or carbs, or anything that isn’t totally packed with nutrients, it is – for me – a little vacation from my otherwise ridiculously disciplined daily routine.”
:: Betsy Cohen :: “Fresh coconut water from a coconut. I sort of can’t explain it, but it feels like the perfect fuel for what ever I’m needing at the time. It feels like a meal for my mind, body and soul.”
:: Sarah Durham Wilson :: “My current obsessive soul food is a rich kale salad at night. I have a lot of theories about the powers of green food, mostly that if we want to align with the powers of the Earth, i.e. the powers of self healing, self-regeneration, death, rebirth, cycles and seasons, and infinite wisdom – which is also to say Magic, the forces that govern the universe, then eat as close to the Earth as possible. And if you want to feel alive, eat that which is alive itself. And I’m a vegetarian, so I mean, fruits and vegetables that grow from Mother Earth. Also, green is the color of the heart chakra, which is unconditional love, which is also Source. I feel more ‘sourced’ when I eat rich green foods. I feel more expansive, nourished, and alive. Simply put, food from the ground grounds me.”
:: Jennifer Kass :: “My soul food is dark leafy greens because they are the highest vibration foods, grown in the sun, made of pure LOVE energy! Greens are the anchor of every meal and I love how I can do them raw when I need that, and cooked when I need something more grounding, and that they’re easy to mix with everything else that I love. They literally feed my soul because they keep my energy high and my connection to spirit wide open with their clean, pure energy.”
:: Victoria Keen :: “Bone broth all the way! For winter it feels like the best way to infuse my body with warmth and nourishment at soul level. The alchemical act of making my own broth from bones, roots (like burdock and astragalus), seaweeds (like kombu and kelp) and mushrooms (like chaga and maitake) is love itself. This touches me at soul level, and the strengthening, immune building action of the broth itself nourishes the physical body. Essentially, it’s a gentle and powerful homemade medicine. (And p.s. veggie broths can easily be made with the same love and awareness especially fortifying with sea minerals).”
:: Raquel Griffin :: “Nothing says soul food to me like homemade soup…bone-broth to be exact. Maybe since I cook it myself and get to infuse it with love, herbs and healing magic, it just feels like self-lovin’ in a bowl. And when I’m sick or it’s ridiculously cold out nothing hits the spot quite like it.”
:: Sophie Teakle :: “Coconut – it gets itself into almost everything I eat, starting in the morning with my porridge…I use heavy coconut milk and simmer it with oats, chia and cinnamon for some serious winter nourishment! I use lighter milk in my tea and coffee, oil in everything I cook, coconut butter in my raw chocolate, and coconut flakes as garnish/in my granola. Coconut is one of the world’s miracle foods.”
:: Laurie Di Biagio :: “I am grew up on the Jersey Shore in an Italian American family, and we call Sunday ‘Red Sauce Gravy day’ around these parts. A pot of gravy with meatballs, sausage, and pork chop on the bottom is the classic, but my favorite is to make it with squid and sauteed calamari or blue crabs. Growing up on the water and surrounded by fisherman, the combo of classic Italian comfort and the treasures of the sea bring me home wherever I roam.”
Amber Locke, a.k.a. @rawveganblonde has gained a cut following for her beautiful and unique farmers’ market art. We meet the woman behind the phenomenon, and ask her…what vegetable would you be?
How long have you been a Raw Vegan Blonde, and what drew you to the lifestyle? I’ve always been blonde, but only discovered the concept of raw food about 18 months ago! I first read about it on the blog of Ralph Lauren model Valentina Zelyaeva and decided to try it out as an experiment, but I was so blown away with how amazing it made me feel after just a few days, I carried on.
Eating raw gives me incredible energy, improved mental clarity and a general feeling of calmness, harmony and well-being. I’ve become far more in tune with my body and very aware of how what I eat can dramatically affect how I feel both emotionally and physically.
What makes you so passionate about vegetables? For me it’s the fact that fruit and veg not only taste amazing, they’re visually fascinating and have the power to nourish and heal our bodies too. They really are super foods.
And why do you think they’re so beautiful to you? I love the beauty of natural elements, and I’m constantly amazed and delighted by their different shapes, colours, textures, and character. So my designs aim to showcase their unique qualities and reflect the changing seasons of the year, as well as being a celebration of living a healthy lifestyle.
If you were a fruit or a vegetable, which would you be and why? I think I’d probably be a candy beetroot. They look pretty much like a normal beetroot on the outside, but when you slice them, they reveal their amazing pink and white striped flesh and it never ceases to make me smile.
What’s the most out there plant-based experience you’ve had to date? I’m not sure I’ve had an ‘out there’ experience…but I always get a sense of something greater at work when I’m composing my designs. I sometimes stand back and wonder how I did it.
:: M A T E R I A L G I R L ::
My label I love Hermes and although I only own a few pieces (mainly leather goods and scarves) they all have special memories and are so exquisitely made they will last a lifetime.
My shoes I’m addicted to Belstaff boots as they’re so comfy, look great and fit my narrow shins well! I have several pairs and wear them almost all year round.
My fragrance I’ve worn ‘Un Jardin Sur Le Nil’ by Hermes for years. I think the top notes are green mango but I love it as the smell reminds me of tomato leaves which are one on my favourite fragrances along with orange blossom. I’m still pursuing my quest to find the perfect orange blossom perfume and the closest I’ve come across so far is by Jo Malone and I wear this sometimes in the Summer.
My jewels I don’t wear much jewellery apart from my boyfriend’s old Breitling watch which I love as it’s so big and chunky on my wrist, and an antique silver fob chain given to me by my Mother which I wear as a charm bracelet.
My pampering A trip to the hairdressers! I recently took the plunge and had 10” chopped off by the brilliant team at Richard Ward Salon in London, their colourist David Viner is a legend too!
My home I live in a quirky house in a small countryside village. Its part Tudor, part Georgian, part Victorian and part Medieval so it’s a real mix of architectural styles.
My food I love to eat a mainly raw diet so my kitchen is always full of fresh fruit and vegetables and I eat this way at least 90% of the week. I love green smoothies, as well as my beloved high-speed ‘Blendtec’ blender makes them super smooth, rich and creamy.
:: M Y S T I C A L W O R L D ::
My awakening I have a very simple morning ritual; I drink a large glass of water (warm water and lemon if I have time) then take a walk with my dog before making a big green juice for my boyfriend and I. We’re really into stronger flavoured spicy juices now the weather has turned colder so I use a lot of ginger, lemongrass, whole lemons and sometimes a bit of green chilli for an extra kick.
My sign I’m a Capricorn
My mantra I don’t really have a mantra as such but I love the line in the Baz Luhrmann song ‘Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)’ which goes: ‘Enjoy your body… it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own’. I think so many people live unhappily with their body but if you can learn to love it and feed, nourish and exercise it properly the rewards of such team work can be incredible.
My healer I think a balanced diet of fresh, natural food can be a great healer – physically, medicinally and emotionally.
My reading I’m fascinated by food so for me it’s any book related to the subject (I have hundreds!) and I really love searching out vintage cookbooks and out of print titles.
My transformation Trying out a raw food diet was a big transformation for me as I had no idea eating this way had the ability to make you feel so good. I think it should be renamed the ‘Happiness Diet’ as it’s almost like nature’s happy pill.
My mission I love to share my passion for fruit and vegetables (through my designs and recipes) and if that encourages or inspires others to eat more of them then that makes me very happy!
Calling all New York Numis! This coming Wednesday March 26, Victoria Keen will host green witch Robin Rose Bennett in a special Urban Wellness Workshop on herbs to lift your spirit and enhance your natural beauty. And why not let vanity be your gateway into the magical world of healing herbs?
Ahead of the event, we caught up with Robin for a crash course in herbal enhancements…
WHAT WAS YOUR INTRODUCTION TO WORKING WITH HERBS? I was looking for answers to my own health challenges that no doctor or dentist could solve for me and thus my deepest, most frustrating and painful physical challenges led me to my path and purpose and greatest joy. I always think it’s worth pointing that out. It can help us to focus on the expansions that naturally follow contractions when we’re going through difficult times, and help us to trust life more. And in fact, this is the best beauty treatment there is!
WHICH ARE THE HARDEST WORKING HERBS IN NATURE’S BEAUTY CABINET? Roses. Both the flowers and the berries are rich in skin-healing compounds that increase the circulation in our skin and also smooth out wrinkles. The same is true of elder blossoms. The bio-flavanoids in these flowers are beautifying as they nourish the skin, just as you nourish your body when you are hungry. I believe we should think of our skin as another mouth – and only put onto the skin things we would put in our mouths.
Oats are another favorite, both used externally as smoothing scrubs and internally to build the health and vitality of our skin, hair, nails and bones, not to mention our nervous systems through an abundant array of vital minerals and vitamins. Calmness shows up as glowing vitality, a natural beauty, and so your constitution, whether you run hot or cold, lethargic or have too much energy, will influence the herbs, both internal and external, that will be the best ones for you.
WHY DO OUR EMOTIONAL AILMENTS WREAK SUCH HAVOC ON OUR SKIN? Well, this is a great question that we’ll explore more deeply in the workshop, but one way I look at it is that our skin is the natural “boundary” between us and everything outside of us. When stressed, that boundary often feels violated which will show up on the skin through inflammation that occurs as rashes, pimples and the like.
WHAT ARE THE OTHER ROOT CAUSES OF MOST WOMEN’S SKIN PROBLEMS? Challenges in the body’s other natural filtration systems are the root causes of most skin problems. When the kidneys, liver, or lungs are in need of more support to work optimally, our skin will often do its best to filter out what our body can’t use. So skin challenges are a call to investigate what other systems deeper inside the body and psyche are in need of more nourishment.
Of course, when you put the right substances into the body, you don’t need to be so worried about what to remove. Having said that, sometimes certain foods trigger skin reactions. Also, hormonal system nourishment, particularly through aiding the liver which performs over 500 known tasks for us on a regular basis, will often help clear up and beautify skin and hair.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR OWN HERBAL BEAUTY REGIME? Well, I’d like to quote musician-artist Joni Mitchell. When she was getting older and her mother was challenging her lifestyle choices, she replied; “Mom, happiness is the best face-lift!”
So, it starts with attending to my happiness, which means getting enough physical movement and time outdoors with my feet on the earth, barefoot as often as possible, taking in the plants through my skin, and when that’s not possible, taking in the plants through putting my hands on the trunks of trees. Making time for myself and what feeds me is something I’m learning how to do more than ever before.
I also love oil baths with homemade oils such as pine needle oil, herbal infusion baths with oatstraw and facial masks with homemade herbal honeys infused with roses and violets (see recipe below).
A fresh clay masks is another one of my favorites. I harvest clay from a natural clay bed upstate once every couple of years and keep it covered in a jar with fresh water and it keeps wonderfully well. When you don’t have fresh, mixing dried green clay with water or aloe gel is a good second choice.
Finally, I use olive oil and coconut oil on both my hair and skin.
An herbal beauty regime is another form of nourishment. And nourishing ourselves translates to healing ourselves and healing ourselves translates to owning our gifts and our power, so that we then have vitality and energy to use in service of our Earth family, including all of nature, which, as we all know, is imperative.
The below recipe is from Robin Rose Bennett’s newest book, The Gift of Healing Herbs. With its aphrodisiac zing, she suggests it as the perfect “remedy” for spring fever!
ROSE VANILLA BEAN HONEY
Fresh rose blossoms or buds of any fragrant species – unsprayed 1 dried vanilla bean, as fresh as possible 1 jar wildflower, linden or clover honey
Cut off the ends of the vanilla bean, open it up lengthwise and scrape out the insides. Then cut the pod into small pieces and place every part of thr bean into a pint jar. Fill the rest of the jar with the fresh rose blossoms or buds. (If you are using dried roses use about 1 cup to fill the jar half full). Cover the herbs with honey and stir gently, poking here and there with a chopstick to make sure the honey saturates the herbs completely, and continue filling the jar to the top. Cap it, and wait six weeks or more before decanting. When you’re ready, decant the herbs by gently heating the honey until it pours like water, through a strainer into a fresh bottle.
Meet Robin Rose Bennett in person and get a lesson in creating your own herbal infusions for the skin and the spirit on Wednesday March 26 as part of Victoria Keen’s Urban Wellness Lecture Series. Tickets are $40 and available thought this link.