~ Returning From the Land ~

The following reflections were written on return from the Walking with the Land Retreat, organised by the Rabbani Project (Green Deen Tribe). My immense thanks goes to them, for the work they do to create meaningful connections between women, the land and Allah.

Of all the plants that speak to me of the careful balance of life, blackberry is the strongest. She appears at the Lammas portal of the year and shows in her life cycle what it looks like to gracefully bloom, fruit and die. Like this time of year, she celebrates glorious full bodied abundance, whilst signalling the inevitable comfort of its slow decline into winter.

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~ Love Notes from the Summer Solstice ~

Dear ones,

We enter the solstice with the striving energy of Spring growth behind us, and reaching its high peaks, ask ourselves the questions “Who am I?” and “How did I get here?”. Like the flower buds that break at the tips of the herb branches, we are suddenly awakened in a new and intoxicating space that feels enticing and terrifying all at once. Dive deep – and you will meet the waves of joy, gratitude and comfort you have been seeking.

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Lessons from Orange Blossom and Rose

Dear ones, I write from the mists of orange blossom and rose. These two friends have walked with me the strange pathways of my adult years, from my early days in Morocco as a young woman, to motherhood, and through many changes. Their medicines are of the heart, of ease and of a special feminine power and magic.

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Lemon Balm: A Translation from the Garden of Blossoms

Description:

From the genus of fragrant herbs, and there are many types of it. With a fresh scent, it is found in gardens. It is formed of many creeping branches that spread widely across the soil. It has a white blossom and the leaves are similar to that of marjoram.

There are two main types: one with a small leaf, known to the people of Fes as clove herb, and one with a larger leaf, known as the barbaris herb. Its name in Farsi means that of royal scent, and it is known as the one that brings joy to the sad-hearted.

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Nettle: A Translation from the Garden of Blossoms

Description:

From the baql genus of perennial plants, known to the layman as the “stinger” and “Qurays”. There are two types: rough and smooth, and both with their aerial parts and seeds are used by doctors.

It appears on rough, untended wasteland, and the rough variety stings the skin of those who touch it.

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On The Luteal Side of the Year

I am here to share a little of what is occurring for me right now, and a few themes that emerge whenever this phase of the year comes.

The summer, particularly after midsummer, feels to me like a restless time of conflicting energies. Perhaps triggered by the years I have spent in education, the thought of September approaching often fills me with questions: “Am I ready?” “What will the next chapter bring?” and sometimes the answers to these questions are difficult.

We are now also entering a new Islamic year, and the blessed month of Muharram. The energy is mixed, between the waning of the meteorological year post-midsummer and the rising of a new, spiritual year. What both of these energies bring to me, however, is the need to shed what is no longer good for me, and all the grief that comes along with that.

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Distilling Lemon Balm

It was my first distillation for months, and the most welcome return to heart. The day started early with our journey to Phytology, a magical nature reserve in the heart of urban London. After a reluctant start, as if I were waking up my herbalist bones after a long sleep, I tingled with excitement as I carried my smallest alembic across central London on a clear, cold spring morning.

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Spring Equinox Practices

When in doubt, I try to learn from my toddler. He manages to live and breath a kind of freedom and embodiment that I spend more time thinking about than really being. Today, we walked to a local old growth forest we visit most weekends. It is a place that is slowly becoming very special to us. I knew today was different though, with the spring turning in the air and the sense that a portal was open for us because of it, but also that something in me was opening too. Coming back to life – setting intentions.

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