Winter Solstice: Recipes of Mirth + Brightness
If we take time to seek out mirth in the darkness, we're bound to find it during the long nights of winter. I probably create and dream of more new recipes during the winter months than any other time of the year. Perhaps it is the flow of introspective energy or maybe its all the twinkling lights that send my mind musing on new ways to connect with our plant allies. Maybe it all comes down to my love of giving and receiving gifts, full of surprises and shouts of glee, and practicing generosity towards ourselves and our community.
I created this liniment as a topical treatment for inflammation, sore and stiff muscles, and as a sacred forest anointing water to celebrate long winter nights. Juniper is a cleansing and protective herb, well suited to the work of pulling pain from the mind, body, and spirit.
- 8 oz Organic Juniper Berry (Juniperuscommunis)
- 300 ml Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) Extract
- Optional essential oil blend:
- 3 drops Clove Bud (Syzygium aromaticum) Essential Oil
- 3 drops Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) Essential Oil
- 3 drops Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum) Essential Oil
- 6 drops Juniper (Juniperus communis) Essential Oil
- 6 drops Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis) Essential Oil
Begin by creating an extract by combining your ground up Juniper Berries with the Witch Hazel. Let brew for a full cycle of the Moon, shaking and singing to daily. Strain the Juniper Berries from the Witch Hazel and you can either bottle the beautiful brew now or add the optional essential oil blend. I take the leftover Juniper Berries and wrap them up in cheesecloth and add them to my evening bath.
To use your Juniper Liniment make sure to shake the bottle up and then add some to a clean cloth. Use the cloth to either wrap or rub on the liniment to the area causing you discomfort such as aching knees or sore shoulders. You can also add the brew to a spray bottle and apply the liniment by spraying it on the affected area. The liniment should keep for a number of years if stored in a cool, dark place when not in use.
Winter Sun Sugar Scrub
While I haven't been a fan of traditional sugar scrubs that use white sugar, I think coconut sugar is pretty swell since it is not only healthier for the body than standard processed sugar but is a more environmentally sustainable source of sweetness. The Winter Sun Sugar Scrub is like the right sort of candy for the body combining the exfoliating qualities of sugar with healing herbs and essential oils. Chamomile, like other bright, sun-like herbs, are wonderful during the winter months aligning our earthly bodies with celestial signs (since herbs like Chamomile and Calendula are well suited to the signs of Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces) and bringing cheer to dark nights.
- 1 cup Coconut Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Chamomile (Matricariachamomilla) Powder OR 2 tablespoons whole Chamomile Flowers
- 1 - 2 tablespoons Sweet Almond Oil
- 2 drops Clove Bud (Syzygium aromaticum) Essential Oil
- 1 drop Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) Essential Oil
- 2 drops Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) Essential Oil
- Optional Essence blend:
- 1 drop Chamomile Flower Essence
- 1 drop Oak Flower Essence
- 1 drop Sage Flower Essence
Mix all ingredients together while dancing and store in an airtight container. Use by rubbing the blend onto damp skin and then washing off, leaving your skin sunshiny and smooth.
Solstice Bath Tea
I created this blend as one of the many holiday remedies I'm sharing with friends and family this year. Bath teas are an accessible and easy-to-use form of herbal medicine. Toss them in a tub and don't worry about the taste! Our Solstice Bath Tea is full of skin-nourishing herbs that also work wonders on soothing the nervous system. A lovely bath blend for folks of all ages right before bed!
- 1 part Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) Flowers
- 1 part Elder (Sambucus nigra) Flowers
- 1 part Calendula (Calendula officinalis) Flowers
- Add 1-2 cups of healing salts to every cup of herbs
- Add one or more of the Winter Solstice Flower Essences depending on your need
Mix all the flowers together in a golden blend while singing songs of merriment. Add 1/4 - 1 cup of Solstice Bath Tea to every bath either by adding the flowers directly into the water or wrapped in cheesecloth. Alternatively, you can brew the Bath Tea ahead of time for 20 minutes to a few hours, strain, and then add to your bath water which allows you to access more of the medicinal qualities out of the blend.