Musings, Reflections, Spirituality, Reflections, Spirituality

On Transitions & Accountability – An Equinox Recipe

It’s impossibly early. Its dark, and cold. There’s a storm blowing outside and I’ve been woken by the sound of sheet rain pummeling relentless onto the tin roof, while overhanging branches slap against the shed in rhythm with the wild dance. After an apparently unseasonable run of hot, humid weather, these are the winds of change that herald the final birth pangs of summer giving way to autumn. It is a welcome relief.

The equinox looms. If you are in the northern hemisphere, the first appearance of snowdrops signals the beginning of new life, new hope with Spring and there may be a welling up in you, an urge to clear away the cobwebs of winter and do a Spring clean. Sure you could hire someone to do it for you, but there is no personal catharsis in this, and with the coming lighter energies of Spring this is something that we all seem to need to do. Here in the southern hemisphere just now, the Hawthorn berries are in full swing, pomegranates are ripe with their precious ruby jewels, and  the leaves of deciduous trees are beginning to turn on their show of gold and crimson hue. And as many plants do, Autumn also invites us to begin gathering our resources for the cooler months, to turn inward on preparing ourselves and our homes. Both experiences of the Equinox draw us to focus on the hearth – both of our homes and our souls. The Equinox elicits a stir to change, to reflect, to set new goals, to learn and to grow.

In less than five weeks, the Passover season will be upon us. I’ll be de-leavening my home and clearing out the physical remnants of bread that I don’t actually eat, and generally decluttering the accumulated flotsam of the previous year. As I do this, I also reflect on the lessons that I have learnt over the past year. What have I learnt? Have I grown, in my character and my spirit? Is there anything that I should have done differently? Is there anything lurking in the shadows that I still need to overcome? How is my relationship with my Creator? This is a time of deep soul-searching and accountability.

An important component of the Passover meal is the bitter herbs. The inclusion of the bitter herbs represents the bitterness of being in the bondage of slavery while we were in Egypt. After the sacrifice of the Messiah (the Passover Lamb), this bondage of slavery in Egypt came to be synonymous with being in bondage to the slavery of this world, to the system that is run by greed and narcissistic lawlessness. The bitter herbs however, are not the focus of the meal, if they were we’d be stuck in victim mentality, and we wouldn’t be able to move forward. This would then become a root of bitterness in our being that keeps us stuck in slavery, often not to the system but to our own negativity.

You see this is the funny thing about bitters, the bitter principle whether it be in a plant, or in life, invites us to change. It stirs us up and ignites a fire deep in our belly, our own personal hearth. Physically, this helps us to digest our food properly, so that we can absorb it and utilise it’s nutrients for our growth and repair. Spiritually, if we allow it, it spurs us to draw closer to the Creator, whose Light helps us to reflect on what we’ve been through, learn it’s lessons and then grow or begin to heal from it.
Many of the bitter herbs are also blood-cleaners and anti-inflammatories.

My last post eluded to the ability of Rosemary (Rosmarinus off.) to stir up change. I wanted to make use of the beautiful stately bush growing where I currently live, while it was at it’s peak, so I developed the following bitters recipe based around that. It can be used before meals or whenever you’re feeling a bit stagnant. Take between 1/2 tsp to 1 Tbs depending on taste, and the heaviness of the meal.


Last of the Summer Bitters

Raw, unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar with the mother.

2 parts fresh rosemary, flowering tops
2 parts dandelion root (raw – dried or fresh)
2 parts burdock root (raw, dried or fresh)
1 part fennel seeds
1 part dried orange peel.

(optional: add a 1-2 Tbs raw honey or sustainably-sourced vegetable glycerin to add a touch of sweetness.)

Mason jar large enough to hold all of your herbs. (I used a 475ml jar).

Fill the mason jar with the herbs and pour over the ACV. You will need to stir as you pour to loosen the herb so it becomes completely saturated. When you think you’ve filled the jar with ACV, let it sit for an hour and you’ll see that much of the herb has absorbed the ACV and there’s exposed herb left on top. Pour on more ACV, stirring as you go, until you absolutely can’t get any more in the jar. Cap tightly, and let sit for up to 6 weeks. Give it a shake every so often. After 6 weeks or so, strain the mixture through a nut milk bag, and rebottle. I like to use 50ml bottles so I can take some with me wherever I go. It also makes a great gift.

Bitter is a taste that is often missing from the Standard Western Diet, much to our detriment. I encourage you to explore the world of bitters and Be the Change.

Many Blessings,
Michelle x




Edge-walking, fringe-dwelling, and beating the bounds.

Give me a roadtrip, and I’ll give you a materia medica, or a treatise on the human condition.

Over the decades, I’ve traversed thousands of kilometres of this great land, as well as a few others, witnessed changing landscapes – both the natural progression from lush forest to sparse plains, and in contrast, the progressive sprawl of sub-urban ‘civilisation’ with it’s cartoon-realism of boxes upon boxes of bland and generic blergh. One thing that I’m constantly drawn to however, is the ever-changing edge.  Edges of riverbanks, creeks, beaches, mountains, paddocks, and road-sides. Interesting things happen on the edges. Diverse things. Eco-systems in and of themselves. Sub-cultures and sassy wilderness.


I started pondering this recently as we made the annual road trip there and back to take and fetch my eldest son from Summer camp. The area where the camp is also hosts the invasive but ever useful St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum). It just happens to be blooming and at it’s medicinal peak at the exact time of year we drop our offspring off. So, if time permits, I take the opportunity to harvest the flowers – usually to infuse a deep ruby-hued nerve-nourishing, wound-healing, oil. But other green beings grow on the road-side and fence-line as well – mullein, fennel, yarrow, hawthorn, willow, apples, peaches, apricots, cherries, plantain, dandelions, prickly pear……..

and amidst the green abundance, myself.


I’ve been living on the fringe ever since I can remember. Growing up, the spiritual beliefs of my family had in various ways meant that we didn’t really fit the norm of the greater community of those on a similar path, or the community as a whole. This often frustrated me. I found it difficult enough to think or express myself like others did. And spiritual beliefs aside, my natural introversion and propensity to simply observe, gave me ample opportunity to do so. And so observe I did.

And observe I continue to do.

And I continue to look at the edges, fringes, and boundaries of things.

People included.

Because interesting things happen on the fringe.

Is it any wonder then, that I married a man whose life motto is, “if you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much room”?


So I began to reflect on this fringe-dwelling, edge-walking, bound-beating life of mine.

As a doula, I stood at the edges, holding the space for women and their babies to find their own way in the world, simultaneously holding back shadows. I’m there but I’m not there.

As a herbalist, I exist in that ‘hedgerow’ between plant and person, between wild and civilised, between hopelessness and hope, but also gleaning the meaning, the motivation, that lies at the edge of humanity, in the shadows of the bodymind that sits in front of me.

Ironically, even within these realms, I am a fringe-dweller, a radical, who witnesses both the noble services of birthwork and traditional herbalism being appropriated by the reductionist, relentless, and horribly homogenous mainstream.

As a mother, I am the edge, the boundary between child and world.

And so it goes.


As I have grown older, I have come to terms with my intrinsic fringe-dwelling, my inherent need to study the edges.

If you take a walk with me, don’t think I’m being rude, I’ll be listening to you, but I’ll also be watching the road-side. Simultaneously watching for the wildness that dances there, and I’ll be listening to what it says too.

Over the next few posts, I’ll share with you the weeds and the wonders that I observe, where often nobody bothers to look.

Because interesting things happen on the edge.