Generational Birth Story by roxie hunt

My Amazing Little Nephew Sebastien takes his first howl!

My Amazing Little Nephew Sebastien takes his first howl!

Nothing prepares you for childbirth. It is a phenomenon that occurs at the intersection of life and death, where life is chosen. What could possibly prepare you for that?

My mother’s words didn’t prepare me for my first birthing experience. Her birth story of falling peacefully asleep in between contractions while the medical residents at the birth center watched in, only gave me the false assurance that a natural birth was something I could handle.

 I approached giving birth for the first time like ‘stand back,  I got this.’  As is customary with childbirth,  I was mentally and physically unprepared for the reality of the situation,. Once it happenend, I was shocked to my bones at how difficult it actually was and how much I felt like I couldn’t handle the pain.

The second time around , I had a healthy fear of the pains of birthing . While I couldn’t quite drum up the physical sensations of it, I could clearly remember that desperate feeling in the moment of transition between the hours of contractions and the separation of myself and my new child, where I felt to my core ‘I can’t handle this. I can’t do this.’

Just remember to breath' my mother told me when I expressed my fears around my upcoming 2nd birth. ‘Let me tell you a story about your grandmother.

In her day, it was the custom in the small northwestern town she lived in, that a woman in labor would be given twilight sleep. Twilight sleep was an injection of morphine and scopalomine which made woman lose consciousness while they birthed, causing them to have no memory of the pains of childbirth.

Maybe I should consider a Twilight Sleep birth, I thought to myself. Only half serious, I knew my midwives wouldn’t go for it. My mother went on…’Her obstetrician was a kind young man who had delivered many babies, but never once to a conscious woman.

Well your grandmother, she was tough. She felt herself strong and capable of birthing naturally without the use of narcotics, nor anything or anyone else for that matter.’ My mother said.

My grandmother is a tough woman. Strongest woman I know, in fact. ‘She told that doctor she wouldn’t have it. She was the first woman in his practice to birth in consciousness , just the way she wanted it. ‘ My mother went on.  Grandma’s story impressed the hell out of me. But I still had fear of the pains of childbirth.

Peaceful river time with Amy Cox and little Baby Maple Pearly

Peaceful river time with Amy Cox and little Baby Maple Pearly

Towards the end of my second trimester , my sister was in town for a visit. On a sharply sweet autumn evening, we watched a formation of thousands of geese flying high in the starry dark sky. Peacefully, and beautifully they flew.

Watching this, I felt transported……….my body flying free in formation, surrendering to the process, letting go of the fear and trusting my wings to carry me.

I wanted to feel that free in birth, to channel my inner wild woman, wild animal, wild goose, I knew that in order to be that free, I would need to fully surrender. This would be my birth mantra. Surrender.

‘Mom, were you really sleeping in between contractions? ‘  I asked, shortly before giving birth to Selah Sparrow Honey Wilder. ‘No,’ she said. ‘Not really sleeping. I was breathing……… and visualizing.’

What were you visualizing?’ I asked her. I was surrendering the will of my mind to let my body take over and do the work of birthing. My mind went to my safe and peaceful place, to a formation of wild geese flying in the night sky.’

My second birth was faster, more intense. I labored on my knees on the living room floor, wearing kneepads that my perceptive and loving partner Jonny had kindly noticed might make me a little more comfortable, bless him.

I breathed through contractions, surrendering my will and my body to the force of life. I thought of my grandmother laboring alone, confident in her body's ability to birth. I though of my mother, breathing serenely as she labored, trusting her body.

When the time came to transition from contracting and dilating to pushing Selah onto this planet a free being, I closed myself in our tiny bathroom, safe and alone. Pain became merely sensation as I heard myself say ‘you got this’ I closed my eyes and flew into the night sky, arriving in formation beside the woman who birthed me, and the woman who birthed her, sharing a peaceful place with the wild geese. I felt my body take over control and I breathed Selah into this life.

Raising Daughters......Selah and Ruthie Meadow, daughter of soul sister Amy Cox.

Raising Daughters......Selah and Ruthie Meadow, daughter of soul sister Amy Cox.

My daughters are 4 and 8 now, and delighted to be alive. They are practically bursting with life, love, and curiousity.  In the fall, we watch the wild geese fly together at the lake near our house. I watch them and remember the stories of my mother and her mother, and my own birth story, one of surrendering to the wild, which I will pass on to my daughters.

Side note, and moral : I am no longer afraid of the reality of my spirit animal actually being a goose and not something totally fierce and badass like a panther.


Walking With Our Shadows by roxie hunt

 

“To confront a person with his shadow is to show him his own light.” –Jung

 

 

Imagine that we walk through life with 2 suitcases. One is filled with all of our positive attributes…. character traits, thoughts, emotions and experiences that are conscious to us, and cast a positive reflection of us in the eyes of other people.

 

This suitcase can be opened, sorted through, and shared easily with others without shame or fear. We hide nothing in this suitcase that we wouldn’t want someone else to find. This is our conscious self.

 

Our second suitcase is filled with things we want to keep hidden from others, locked with a padlock and stashed out of site. It represents the parts of us that we would rather not see or acknowledge, the parts we don’t want to share, our deepest fears, shame, and insecurities… The contents of this second suitcase represent our shadow self.

 

This metaphorical luggage represents us as whole beings of both dark and light, split into two entities which travel with us everywhere we go. Physically, our body rests between these two selves.

 

As we move through life, it becomes more burdensome to try to hide our shadows because whether we like it or not, they have a very strong will to be acknowledged and we cannot run away from them. We start to see signs that we need to face them, and to make changes, we see where we are stuck in unconscious negative patterns, where we carry burdens passed through family lines.

 

 

We begin to understand the theory of inclusion, that many opposing forces can exist in one place, and that is okay. That is human. We acknowledge what multi-dimensional beings we are.

 

 

We begin to accept our dark places, and forgive ourselves for them. We begin to accept other people’s dark places, and forgive them as well.  We begin to see truths about ourselves where we once believed otherwise, and we begin to shed the weight of our past life and early life traumas.

 

This is the process of metaphorically unpacking both suitcases, and thoughtfully looking at each item, weighing it’s importance and validity in our lives, leaving behind what we consciously choose to.

 

Through this process of re-adjustment, we reveal our vulnerability, our greatest power and most sacred self.  We experience a re-birth of the spirit. We dress ourselves in all of our truths, and walk un-apologetically forward through life. 

 

Our journey towards a more conscious spiritual life starts when we begin to own our shadows and walk with them. When we are in synthesis with all sides of ourselves, our third eyes open, our consciousness begins to shift, and our spirits are set free.

I want to thank Sarah, ceremonial artist at My Enthios for the beautiful reading that inspired this post.

The Sacred Mandala by roxie hunt

Making mandalas from nature is an activity that I have enjoyed since I was a kid, bored, on some small island or on top of a mountain with my adventurous mother who dragged us all over goddess's country in search of freedom and the great outdoors.

Boredom, as it turns out, has been a major motivator of my creative life.......And another reason I don't over-plan my kids lives. This Summer, plenty of unplanned time will surely bore them half to death, and allow them to develop their creativity out of necessity and desire. This is the Summer of the Sacred Mandala.

Here is what I love about making Mandalas.

  • I get to sit and focus on a project without any attachment or idea of what the outcome will be. It is fully about the process.
  • I get to connect with my surroundings by studying the landscape and plants in search of building material. It really helps me identify and root down with the elements, which brings me a deep and profound peace.
  • I take time to marvel in the sheer beauty of the natural world, and to notice the beauty in otherwise over-looked things like twigs, rocks, plants, and animal bones.
  • I get to interact with the natural world in an intimate and sensual way, which makes me feel both very human and very vital.
  • They help me practice pure love with complete un-attachment, two things that are both dearly important but quite hard to practice together.
  • They help me practice taking measured risks in life, which is good for someone like me who is quite compelled by risk-taking. These days, as a mother, I have to be more thoughtful about risks I take in my personal and professional life. By building a Mandala with feathers on a windy afternoon, I risk a lot of work and creative energy disappearing before my eyes in a gust of wind.
  • It allows me to appreciate the process of aging and decay, if I have a chance to stick around for a few days and watch the mandala shift, wither, and change over time.

This is all a part of the process of building a mandala, and it can represent larger parts of my life. I have learned so much about myself and about life through this wonderful practice!

How I Make My Mandalas

When I go to make a Mandala, I know that I will need at least 30 minutes, so I make sure to carve out the time and space for myself to work. This often happens on a river or beach day with my children, when I am certain that they are safe and will be entertained.

I look for things like sticks, rocks, flowers, creatures, plants, seaweed, grass etc. Anything with color ant texture that catches my eye.

Almost all of my mandalas start with 5 elements of one kind.......5 pine cones, rosebuds etc. I lay them out in a circle, and start designing around them, always working my way out from the center. For a 5 point mandala, I look for either 5, 10, or 15 of each element. Smaller elements used for borders will be gathered in much larger quantities.

Do you need open, free inspiration, or elemental, focused grounding?

I believe that the odd-numbered nature of a 5 point mandala helps me feel free, loose, and open while I'm designing. They help develop the left-brain.

My 4 point mandalas are more grounding, elemental, symmetrical, organized, and geared towards the right side of the brain.

I sometimes make a mandala that turns into a different sort of design, like this eyeball, which got ruined by a dog that startled me and trampled my work. I punched it in the face, which was a strange reaction.

I also occasionally just do a little nature designing like this........Just a progression of colored stones.

Floral Mandalas are a fantastic way to honor and interact with quickly wilting bouquet of beautiful flowers.

It is always sad to watch cut flowers slowly die, and I often feel the need to celebrate them by using their petals and leaves to make a mandala.......I recommend having a little pair of scissors on hand to assist you:) And, don't be afraid to make a mess. That is an essential part of the process.


With Sacred Mandala making, we let nature be our inspiration, our source of healing, and our crafting kit......no matter where we are in the world. There is always beauty (and filth!)  around somewhere to notice and appreciate. Take a minute, or 30 minutes, and see what you can come up with.

Need a mandala made for an event? Contact me and we can talk:)

xo, Roxie Jane Hunt



My Kimchi Recipe by roxie hunt

You will need....

2 heads of chinese cabbage

1 purple cabbage

3 carrots

1 daikon radish

1 head of garlic

red chile flakes

1 chunk of ginger

1/4 cup of sea salt

1/2 cup of water

1 large bowl

1 blender

1 large jar

1 small narrow jar

1 dishtowel

Directions

Chop cabbage as finely as you can.

Grate the carrots and radish into a pile.

Put everything in a huge bowl. Hugest one you have. Toss with your hands to blend.

In the blender, blend up 5 cloves of garlic, one nice small handful sized chunk of ginger, and 2 tablespoons of red chile flakes with 1/2 cup of water till smooth. Set aside.

Prepare

Slowly stir in 1/4 of sea salt with your veggies. Make sure it is evenly distributed.

Stir in your blended sauce with your veggies using a spoon ( It will burn your skin a little so do use a spoon.)

Now, stuff your large jar with veggies. Tamp it down and really pack it tight. If there is extra veggies, pack the rest into a smaller jar.

Fill your small narrow jar with water and place it inside your big jar, directly on top of Kimchi.

Push the jar down as far as you can to crush that Kimchi further down. The Kimchi should be almost totally submerged in its own brine. This is how it ferments. In the next couple of days, the brine will increase.

Cover the Kimchi with a cloth and put a rubber band around it to seal it.

Place it in your back room, somewhere where the smell of fermenting cabbage won't offend:) IT does smell super strong, folks. That is part of the magic.

Let your Kimchi ferment for a week on the counter. Then, refrigerate. Enjoy a scoop of Kimchi on basically anything. Sometimes I eat a bowl of it on it's own and then I feel like superwoman.


Blackberries, Fennel and Rose: PacNorDub Cobbler by roxie hunt

Thanks to Nikki Jacoby's lovely grandma Lucille, mother of the legendary activist Bob Barnes, we have gotten our hands on the perfect, easy cobbler recipe.

I confess, I am a shitty baker. I cut corners, and I don't follow directions very well. But I am striving to get better. So please bear with me. The first time I made this cobbler, I tried to use half gluten free flour and it didn't work so........I say use white or whole wheat flour and real butter in this one:)

What I am pretty good at though, is innovating flavor combinations......And for this delicious cobbler, I had to look no further than my mothers alley which is currently abundant with blackberries, roses, and fennel.

  • One of my rules for foraging is that if it grows in an alley, it is fair game for picking. I stand firmly in this belief.

Summertime in Seattle is a veritable alley-way feast. If you live in the northwest, and you are craving flavor, go roam the alleys and I promise you wont be disappointed. This week, we harvested peaches, blackberries, fennel, roses, plums, and figs!

With our bounty, we decided to make cobbler following Grandma Lucille's recipe......But instead of blueberries or boysenberries, we used blackberries with a hint of chopped fennel and rose for flavor. It turned out just delicious, with the flavor of a perfect Seattle Summer.

*One small change to the recipe: We first cooked rinsed blackberries and a sprinkle of sugar on medium for 5 minutes, stirring in a tablespoon each of chopped fennel and rose.

J and the girls and I highly recommend serving yours with vanilla icecream!

xoxo, Roxie Jane Hunt

Nettles, Utication, and love for my Spirit Plant by roxie hunt

Nettles, at this point in my life, are my spirit plant. I have always noticed nettles, and found them irresistibly fascinating, with their dainty stems and fuzzy, jagged leaves and potent sting.

A few months ago at the Spiritweavers Gathering, I listened to a woman plant healer from The Gaia School of Healing  speak about nettles, and the profound health benefits that they can provide us. I learned about their potent cleansing ability to the lymphatic system......

"Nettle plants grow wild across the U.S., Europe and around the globe; they are used for both medicinal purposes and as food. Highly nutritious, the prickly plant is often used as a spring tonic. It's a natural cleanse that removes metabolic wastes and is both gentle and stimulating on the lymph system, promoting easy excretion through the kidneys. All parts of the nettle plant are used; and it's available in a wide variety of medicines ranging from dried leaf, to ointments, tinctures, homeopathic remedies and herbal extracts." -NaturalNews

I learned about the mineral and vitamin support that they provide, especially for women....

"Nettle is high in iron making it excellent for combating anemia and fatigue. It supports the liver and the female hormonal system. Pregnant women benefit from stinging nettle as it protects against bleeding and strengthens the fetus. Known as a galactagogue, it promotes milk production in nursing mothers. Stinging nettles reduces PMS symptoms, processes estrogen to relieve menopausal symptoms and curbs excess menstrual flow. It's often used in herbal tonics to remove fibroids and regulate the menstrual flow." - NaturalNews

 I learned about how the personality of the nettle is to be nurturing, but to set firm boundaries. This is the lesson we get to take from the nettles healing power and potent sting. And I don't know about you, but as a mother of young children I can use all the support in being nurturing and setting firm boundaries that I can possibly get!

Have you been stung by a nettle before? If the answer is yes, than you are familiar with the feel of a nettle sting. As I write, my thumb feels the shooting electricity of a nettle sting, a feeling which registers as a mix of mild pain and itch. This sensation is a reaction to contact with an acidic compound on the nettles surface, concentrated in the underside of the leaf. And this sting, miraculously, can be instantly halted and soothed by the nettles sister plant, dock, which is always growing along side it.

The dock plant contains an alkaline compound that nuetralizes the sting of it's sister. So cool, right?




Radical Love in Charleston, SC by roxie hunt

My mother, Ann Vander Stoep, is a scientist, teacher, and author on the topic of public mental health. Over dinner last week, we discussed the horrific shootings in SC, and how the paradigm of Love vs Hate seems to be at the core of so many pressing issues that affect the mental and physical health of our nation.

Our consensus was this....There is absolutely no disease or virus more dangerous to our collective health than fear turned to hatred…and no remedy more monumentally simple and effective than love.

I invited her to elaborate on this message by writing an article.  She indulged my desire to add a few flourishes. Here is what she wrote.....

 

A lot happened in our country in June.  Arguably, the biggest game-changer was when survivors of the slain members of Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston, SC looked into the eyes of the dispassionate assailant, described their unspeakable grief, and offered their forgiveness.  If you haven’t seen it on video, you must. Why?  Because this event was living testimony to the power of hate and the power of love. We learned that in a hand-to-hand battle, love has bigger balls and stronger biceps.

Inspired by these Americans, we can set our sights as a nation on the good fight in which we must engage….to stare down hatred and wear radical love from head to toe.

Enlightened by the strength  of our sisters and brothers in S. Carolina whose wives and husbands and grandmothers and best friends and sisters were murdered in cold blood, we have sight and compassion where we once were blind and misguided.  With blinders off we see that distinctions like black and white, red and blue, Muslim and Christian are irrelevant.

 Inspired by what we saw and heard in Charleston, we realize that the real distinction, the one that matters, is between loving and hating.  With this recalibration our nation has a glimpse of the good fight ahead.

We can imagine what it might be like here were we to stop breeding Haters and make radical love our new MO.  Look what happened last week in our nation.  Hands were extended across “aisles.”  Symbols of enslavement were surrendered.  We were inspired to inspect our hearts and appreciate what happens to “us” and what happens to “them” when we hate and when we love.

 

We live within a system that encourages fear, insecurity, and greed. These harmful chemicals create a fertile breeding ground for hatred expressed as violence and prejudice.  The Love/Hate dichotomy is at the core of every issue that keeps us pitched against each other, and it is our time to make the right choice above all else.

 We don’t have to linger in the dark corners of Leviticus and Jihad.  It is impossible to be both lovers and literalists.  Instead we must keep our eyes on the prize, assuming the simple, radical, central assertion of Jesus-Moses-Mohammed-Buddha-Lao Tzu-Krishna, that transcends the begats and the slayings.  Each teaches us to make love our guide…not submission or capitulation, but courageous, risk-taking, radical love that seeks justice and bears witness to truth.

There are Americans who will never be free to get outside of their own self-absorbed and other-hating heads, our countrywomen and men who are deeply entrapped in great wealth and/or deep fear.   As we bear witness to love, the eyes of unrelenting Haters will glaze over with disinterest, suspicion, cynicism, or terror.  Oh, well.  We can leave the dead to bury themselves.   We have more  fertile soil to plow and plant.  

We know for an incontrovertible fact that Mother Emmanuel Church will not invest in a new security system to carry out X-ray scans of people entering the sanctuary.  We know for an incontrovertible fact that Mother Emmanuel Church will welcome into a prayer circle the next stranger who asks to join.  Let’s take the radical grace of the Mother Emmanuel Church members and the truth-bearing and compassion of the surviving families of June’s horrific hate crime as a big, solid kick-in-the-ass.

 Viewing the world through a prism of radical love will inspire us to take radical steps to reconcile with self, neighbor, and the stranger who dares to enter our sacred circles.  More scales will fall from eyes, more remnants of enslavement will be surrendered.  Watch the video.  We’ve got the map in hand.

Who can argue with love?