Hello lovelies! Welcome to the Gemstone Organic Blog. We are here to share our insight on skincare, holistic living, and beyond.

Summer Solstice ~ BEE the sweetness

For to the bee the,  Flower is a fountain of life,  And to the flower a bee is a,  Messenger of love,
And to both, bee and flower,  The giving and receiving is,  A need and an ecstacy
Kahlil Gibran

 

For this Summer Solstice Celebration ~ I have chosen the bee as my focus. Because of their ability to create incredibly beautiful hurricanes below their wings their flight is one of life's little mysteries, amazing.

I LOVE bees and find their touch something to be cherished. They visit me every time I make Gemstone Organic cremes and although I always dream that they come just because they love my energy, most likely it is that they love the smells!

We have so much to learn from this small yet important insect ~ Albert Einstien said, "if the bee disappears off the surface of the Earth, man would have not more than 4 years to live" ~ why? Because of their vital and most important role in our ecosystem. 

I chose the Bee for this Sun celebration because they are believed to hold secret knowledge and are divine messengers. They symbolize brightness, personal power, the sun and community. To follow the bee is to discover your new destination. What better time to discover more of 'you' than under the warmth, and light of these special long days of summer.

Another interesting note, bee keepers know that at the time of the Summer Solstice the Queen Bee is said to move towards winter and the hive shifts and begins their preparation for colder weather coming. 

I begin to move toward my winter by gathering the sweetness of these long summer days, not forgetting to smell the flowers. And like the bee, I will collect the pollen and make honey for sharing.

Last night I stayed up late and at the moment of the Summer Solstice,3:04 am PST, I laid a picture of a bee at the center of the vision board that I will create for this celebration. Tonight I will complete my vision board for this time between the Summer & Winter Solstices...I will share it with you later. I encourage you to start a vision board ~ they are powerful and beautiful images to keep your dreams floating in your consciousness and subconsciousness. They can be simple, very simple. 

I end with this beautiful Gayati prayer:

You who are the source of all power, 
Whose rays illuminate the world,
Illuminate also my heart
So that it too can do Your work

As you say this prayer, visualize the sun's rays streaming forth into the world, entering your heart and then streaming out from your heart center and back into the world. The Sun is our Life Force.

And remember my sweet family ~ what you are striving to become in actuality is what, by nature, you already are. Bee conscious of your essence....let it shine like the sun and touch the world like a bee.

Busy as a BEE ~ and loving every minute,
Debra
Moon Mama

June 21, 2018

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New Cazimi Moon in Gemini ~ fresh starts, new projects

Tomorrow at 12:43 pm PST (3:43 pm EST) we have another New Cazimi Moon ~ this time in the sign of Gemini. I love Cazimi moons as they inspire me to hold my ritual at the time of the dark moon moving into the New Crescent Moon. Gemini is a mutable, air sign ruled by Mercury (the planet of communication). If you have a new project to start, this is the time to do it! Or if you need a fresh start in life, this may be the time to aspire to those calls.  Air signs represent mental processes, communication and pursuing intellectual projects (research, studies, hobbies).  I believe that this is a great moon to take your mind to the place that moves you forward. This is a great time to create a ritual to keep your mind from jumping on the 'hamster wheel' and instead opening up space for your imagination to breathe inspiration into your body.

Air signs are associated with the lungs, tissue, breathing and sense of smell.

Here are a few thoughts for preparing for your ritual:

  • When creating your altar and sacred space use a feather to fan the smoke ('air') from incense, palo santo or sage, over your altar, space and yourself. Or use a flute or horn (something that takes air to create the music) for cleansing your space.
  • Colors to use are yellows, blues or silver.
  • You can also add fragrant flowers or an essential oil to bring scent into the air.
  • Air is associated with iron and copper, so it would be good to wear these jewelry items or place them on your altar.

Rituals for the Gemini Moon:

  1. WALK A LABYRINTH

    This is a beautiful way to get your mind to loosen and to listen to your inner voices. If you do not have a labyrinth near you ~ you can use this picture to follow:



  2. NADI SHODHAN ~ alternate nostril breathing

    This breathing exercise is wonderful for harmonizing the two hemispheres of the brain, bringing you balance in mind, body and spirit. Here is a video link to a youtube video on how to do alternate nostril breathing:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xbbr6Udg1UA

  3. UTTARABODHI HAND MUDRA MEDITATION Mercury rules the hands and lungs.

    This mudra strengthens the metal element and is associated with the energy of the lungs and large intestine. The metal element conducts the universal life force (chi or prana) from the outside to the inside, charging your inner power reservoirs. This is a great mudra to use when you feel physically and mentally listless or when you need a rousing idea ~ a flash of inspiration!

    Place both hands in front of your solar plexus, at the level of your stomach. Lay the respective index fingers and thumbs on each other. Point your index fingers upward to the ceiling, and your thumbs downward to the floor or stomach. If you are lying down, the tips of your thumbs may lie at the lower end of your sternum. This hand mudra can be held anywhere, at anytime, and for as long as you want. Create your own affirmation to use when holding the mudra or use this one: My partnership with the powers of the cosmos allow my life to appear in a new light.

This beautiful twin moon reminds us that we have two arms, two spheres, two lungs, two feet, and two eyes ~ use them and be grateful for them as they show you the journey, carry you on the journey, lead you on the journey, breathe you on the journey.

New Moon Wishes to each you,
Debra
Moon Mama

 

June 12, 2018

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Endocrine Disruptors ~ what are they?

Endocrine disruptors are natural and synthetic molecules that mimic our estrogens, androgens and thyroid hormones. These disruptors interfere with the endocrine system and how it functions by interrupting our bodies hormonal communication system, which in turn affects the production of hormones and how they interact with their receptors. Hormonal processes play a key role in the health of our blood, brain, guts, and organs.

As I discussed in my last blog Hormones & You, our bodies communicate through our nervous system and hormones. When these endocrine disruptors get into our system they are messing with the messages your normal hormones are trying to send to each other. They can reduce or inflate the messages being transferred ~ think of it as a game of ‘telephone’. I am sure we have all watched a sentence pass through a circle of people and heard it come out sounding totally different by the time it reaches us again!

For decades we have been exposed to hundreds of toxins and over time this exposure creates an accumulation of toxins that can clog our systems leaving our bodies/systems unable to properly remove and detoxify. For example, if our livers are overworked (they perform over 200 vital functions) they are not able to properly remove toxins and excess hormones and rather than sending them out of the body will push them back into circulation causing an excess and imbalance. This is why boosting our detoxification pathways through cleansing can play a key role in hormone balance. More on that later.

Endocrine disruptors have been shown to play a role in auto immune diseases, allergies, inflammation, obesity, diabetes and insulin resistance, hormone related cancers and infertility to name a few. And I want to emphasis here that although many times we place the focus of endocrine disruptors on women, they also play a big role in the lives of men.

To monitor the intake of these disruptors it is good to look at our diets, lifestyle and the environments we live in. 

My goal here is to educate you and not to induce fear or guilt. I believe it is important for all of us to be knowledgeable and to take on what we can when we can. Because I know that eating healthy and taking care of ourselves can be a FULL TIME JOB! My hope is that many of you are lucky enough to have a partner who shares in supporting you on this journey. 

So lets talk about a few of the most common and dangerous disruptors and how to best avoid them:

  • BISPHENYL A (BPA) ~ is an industrial chemical that is used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960’s. These polycarbonate plastics are used in making water bottles along with other beverage and food containers. The epoxy resins are used to coat the inside of food cans, bottle tops and water supply lines. It has been found to accumulate

    BPA is a synthetic hormone that can mimic estrogen and trick the body into thinking it’s the real thing by binding and activating estrogen receptors and has been shown to cause breast cancer, reproductive problems, obesity, early puberty and heart disease. And please note that although BPA free means BPA free it can be replaced with BPS a chemical from the same family that is also known to be an endocrine disruptor.

    Best ways to reduce your BPA exposure is to buy fresh food and less canned food since most cans are lined with BPA-containing resin; say no to receipts since thermal paper is often coated with BPA; replace plastic with glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers; avoid heating plastics in microwaves or dishwashers as the plastics breakdown over time allowing BPA to leach into foods.
  • PERCHLORATE is a chemical used in the making of rocket fuel, fireworks, explosive and some bleaches and fertilizers. Today, we can still find perchlorate in packaging for dry food such as baby rice cereal, flour and spices. Unfortunately, it also winds up in the food we eat. Past chemical spills of rocket fuel that leaked into our water systems are used to water farmlands, both organic and non-organic, and is why we still find these chemicals in our produce.

    Perchlorate compromises iodine uptake into the thyroid ~ women can be more sensitive than men. Our thyroid hormones regulate metabolism and are critical for proper brain and organ development in infants and young children.

    To limit your intake of perchlorates buy organic foods from local farmers; filter your tap water using a reverse osmosis system (both drinking and bathing if possible as your skin absorbs contaminants); and get good levels of iodine in your diet.
  • DIOXINS are a group of highly toxic chemical compounds formed during the production of pesticides, herbicides and other industrial processes. Chemical waste from these processes contaminates our drinking waters, soil and air. Although they have been banned since the 1980’s because of their high toxicity along with their slow breakdown they continue to linger in the environment and accumulate in the food chain. Dioxins are concentrated in the food chain as they are stored in animal fats ~ 90% of our exposure come through meat, dairy and seafood. Once they enter our bodies they build up and are slow to leave.

    Dioxins mimic thyroid hormones interfering with the transport and metabolism of the signaling of male and female sex hormones.

    Ways to reduce levels of intake are to eat moderate amounts of meat, dairy and fish and choose lean meats and fish cutting off excess fat when preparing,; and eating more fruits and vegetables.
  • FLAME RETARDANTS are chemicals used to make products flame resistant. PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), similar in structure to PCBs and dioxins, are a class of flame retardant chemicals used in furniture, building materials, plastics and electronics. Although they are being phased out along with the use of BVO (brominated vegetable oil) that was used in sodas to help dissolve colors and flaboras and to prolong shelf life, they are a long living chemicals and remain in soils and waters creating again a food chain reaction.

    Flame Retardants have a similar structure to our thyroid hormones and in addition to disrupting the balance of androgen and estrogen signaling they can accumulate in our organ tissues over time.

    Avoid these chemicals by choosing clothing, furniture, electronics, and plastics that are PBDEs free; purchase wild caught fish vs farmed fish; and again reduce your intake of animal fats by choosing lean meats and cutting off fat before cooking.
  • PHTHALATES are a group of chemical toxins used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break and some are used as solvents. They are found in hundreds of products ranging from plastics and food packaging to cleaning agents and cosmetics to inflatable toys and garden hoses to the enteric coatings of pharmaceutical pills and nutritional supplements. If you see a product with the ingredient “fragrance” or “perfume” it most likely has phthalates. We are exposed to phthalates by eating and drinking foods that are in contact with containers and through our skin by using products containing phthalates. Our children are at risk because of they love to chew and suck on plastics. Although they are toxic, our bodies are able to break them down and release them through our urine.

    According to the EWG phthalates can induce ‘death-inducing signaling’ in testicular cells making them die earlier then they should and are also linked to hormone changes that affect lower sperm count, birth defects and obesity and thyroid irregularities.

    Ways to reduce intake include avoiding plastic products (food containers, wraps and children toys) labeled with recycling #3, along with those products that contain the ingredients “fragrance” or “perfume” or “parfum”.
  • PARABENS are esters of para-hydroxybenzoic acid and can include synthetically made methylparaben, ethylparaben propylparaben and heptylparaben. Used as preservatives to extend shelf life, these chemicals are found in a wide range of products like deodorants, cosmetics, detergents, polyester fabrics and foods (beer, pancake syrup, sauces, desserts and frozen dairy products).

    Parabens mimic estrogen in the body interfering with your thyroid function. These chemicals can be absorbed through the skin.

    Avoid cosmetics, personal care products, medicines and food that contain these chemical ingredients ~ starting today.

There are several additional endocrine disruptors that can be found here on the Dirty Dozen List by the EWG. I feel top five ways to reduce intake of these chemicals is to: 

  1. Use glass or stainless steel in place of plastic whenever possible
  2. Eat organic, local foods that can be traced to the farmer and their practices
  3. Use organic, personal care products and household detergents that do not list parabens or phthalates.
  4. Drink filtered water that removes endocrine disrupting chemicals.
  5. Reduce your intake of meat and dairy and/or when you do eat meat or fatty fish, remove the excess fat before cooking. 

I cannot end without talking about your largest organ, the skin. Please remember, when chemicals come in contact with your skin they go directly into your bloodstream and that means they are absorbed straight into your bloodstream without any filtering of any kind and head right to your delicate organs…making this path one of the most important to be aware of ~ truly.

This last month the EU banned the outdoor use of three bee killing neonicotinoids in Europe. “These chemicals act like endocrine disruptors on the bees, which act on their nervous system causing paralysis, decreasing the function and survival of the queen bee, worker bees and the honey production.” These endocrine disruptors also impact human life.

I am also over the moon excited to share that Hawaii has banned two endocrine disrupting chemicals used in sunscreens. Oxybenzone and octinoxate not only cause coral bleaching but the are also endocrine disruptors and when applied topically can cross the skin and reach the blood, negatively affecting the functions of important immune and reproductive hormones. Thank you Hawaii for taking the first step to protect our beautiful coral reefs.

Take care of your bodies moon family; they are magnificent machines that perform intricate and magical processes.

More coming….

To healthy and vibrant lives,
Debra
Moon Mama

June 06, 2018

2 comments


Flower Moon ~ Full Moon in Sagittarius

 

Tomorrow morning the Moon will reach her fullness in Sagittarius at 7:19 am PST (10:19 am EST).  She moved into Sagittarius today at 3:29 pm PST (6:29 pm EST) ~ maybe you felt a shift in energy as she entered the sign of Sagittarius as when the Moon is in this sign she is at her most optimistic and sheds a feeling of willingness to let go of things. Sagittarius is a masculine, mutable, fire sign and is ruled by Jupiter. Get ready to feel inspired, with an optimism that leads to radical change! With her bow and arrow she inspires us to hit our mark and hold fast to our truth. This is a Moon to guide you closer to your personal freedom and independence. He holds radical change behind his aim and is there for you to bring your intention from the Taurus New Moon to light.

This Full Moon is also known as the Flower Moon by Native Americans and across Europe because it is the time of year of blooming flowers. The flowers here in California right now are like eye candy ~ so, so beautiful, with vibrant reds, crimsons, peaches, yellows, whites, blues and purples. And the jasmine flowers are heavenly with their soft and yet powerful scent that pushes a smile across my face every time! I am in love <3. Don't dilly-dally ~ get outside NOW as these blooms come and go much faster than you remember.

I am hoping that some or all of you were able to follow the last ritual by collecting your flowers each day and placing them into books or under boards to press them. I found it a lovely ceremony with the tasting of each one and the surprise they all brought to my mouth and taste buds.

Tomorrow is the day to take them all and place them into a flower Mandala to bring your intention(s) onto a Moon circle ~ one that you can now turn each day to keep the intention moving forward and with new light and energy. 

I completed my mandala to give you an idea of how you might want to work with your pressed flowers ~ and for those of you who did not gather them, do it now and over the next few weeks ~ it will inspire you with heartfelt love for your intention every time you look at it.

So here is what I did ~

  1. Get a poster board or any paper that you can place your flowers on
  2. Using a glue stick or other glue ~ place your glue down and then lay your flower on top and hold in place for a few minutes.
  3. Placement of the flowers is up to your eye and hand ~ they cannot be anything but beautiful!
  4. Each day, turn your mandala if you can and take your eye with your intention in mind to the next place on the wheel.  It is important to see your intention and keep it moving and this is a beautiful way to see it from a new perspective each day as it is time to bring it to fulfillment in what ever way you can ~ each step is a step.

I gathered my last flowers today and must admit with all the blooms some days I was not able to only gather one :)).

I will add them to my Moon Mandala tomorrow.....and I added a dandelion today as I wanted to be sure to include a beautiful healing weed!

So take this Moon and fee the freedom she can light up in you ~ this is a time to laugh hard and loud! and be spontaneous ~ feel the flower in YOU. Watch her rise tomorrow night at 8:11 pm PST (11:11 pm EST).

And don't forget to put your Moon Water out tonight gems.

Full Moon Flowers for each of you,
Debra
Moon Mama

May 28, 2018

3 comments


New Moon in Taurus ~ Solid, Strong


Knowing others is intelligence,  Knowing yourself is true wisdom.  
 ~ Tao Te Ching 

Tomorrow morning at 4:47 am PST (7:47 am EST) we will experience the Dark Moon in Taurus. Taurus is a sign that is committed to getting things completed. The Bull represents independence that blooms from self-knowledge and connects us with our inner power. When the Moon is dark under an Earth sign, we are reminded to slow down, connect to her deep rooted energy and ground our hearts and minds. It is a time to pause in the present and let our emotions find their stability so that they can bring forth their best intentions. 

Taurus Moon energy is Feminine, Fixed and Earthy. Taurus is ruled by the planet Venus and in the body she rules the thyroid gland, larynx, chin, lower jaw, ears tongue, vocal chords, jugular vein and tonsils.

Under a dark moon ~ everything is new and we connect to our primal urge to initiate and emerge; we are driven from a body level rather than a mental level. Dark Moons are a time when our mind turns inward, and our intuition is active. Our bodies may feel a slowing of metabolism and although you may sleep well, on awakening you may feel sluggish or drowsy.

The Lunar Celtic Tree for the month of May is the ‘Mighty Oak Tree’ ~ The Moon of Strength

 

The Oak Tree has the magical properties of all positive purpose and is the most powerful and sacred of the trees for the Celtic peoples. The Moon of Oak poses the essence of power and balance. She is androgynous and her essence provides the greatest alignment for manifesting our goals.

The gift of Oak Moon Mother is in showing children of the universe what their talents are so that they can share them to create a world of balance, where no one is without. She presents us with the essence of fertility, the power to manifest, and the capacity to create an environment for success. She provides the essence of balance; work and play; action and rest; and speaking and silence.

My ritual for you under this New Moon is to encourage you to carry your intention forward ~ to make it a part of each day between now and the Full Moon in Sagittarius. We have another Cazimi Moon, meaning that if you can do this ritual within 1/2 before or after Grandmother Moon goes Dark it can be more potent ~ but please know that anytime tomorrow or tonight will be powerful too: 

  1. First I would like you to take time to really ground into your intentions for this seeding. This is a time to deepen into your desires, no need to strongly pursue just stop and rest.
  1. Create your space and altar ~ outdoors under an oak tree or near one would be magical! Colors for this moon are greens and pinks; gemstones are Rose Quartz, Jade, Smokey Quartz and Agates; essential oils I love for Taurus are rose and geranium.
  1. Gather candles, sage, paper or journal, pencil and if you like a rattle, flute or drum.
  1. This New Moon I would like to ask you to collect one or a combination of different flowers: Roses, Poppies, Foxtails, Lilac or Lavender. Buy or collect enough for a week at a time ~ you can collect or buy more for the second week. Also, choose a book that you can use for pressing your flowers ~ if you have one that you can read something out of everyday that would be magical ~ otherwise a heavy book works well or several books can be placed on top of each other.
  1. Now using your sage and rattle or drum, cleanse your room and body. Here are a few thoughts to ponder before starting your quiet meditation:
      • Are you ignoring your source of strength?
      • Do you see yourself as beautiful?
      • What awareness does this Dark/New Moon bring to you?
      • What do you need at this time? Let the Oak Moon Mother assist you in manifesting what you need ~ this is a great time for realizing your potential.
      • Where are you feeling her in your body today?
    1. Now, sit quietly and slow your breathing until you feel yourself drop heavily into your body. Visualize your roots connecting to the nourishing rhythm of Mother Earth. Take a few minutes here to open up space for connecting and listening. 
    1. Once you feel ready, take your paper or journal and write out your intentions(s). Let it flow ~ use your body or voice if needed (this moon rules the vocal cords) to get clear and write as much detail as you can.
    1. Now, take your intention(s) and bury them somewhere in your yard, garden or in a plant in your house. If that doesn’t work, place them under a rock or other earth element you have in your home/yard. If you have more than one intention you can bury them separately or together.
    1. Now starting with the Crescent Moon, Wednesday, May 16th, take a flower or petals and place them inside your book to press them while speaking one or all of your intentions and then if you can squeeze the flower with your fingers and touch them to your mouth to get the energy and taste of her essence. This is a way to keep your intention moving forward in you, your life and your body. It will connect you with all five of your senses; taste, touch, sight, smell, and hearing.

    The Crescent (Sprout) Moon is a time when we can feel the young shoots of our seeds (intentions) just beginning to poke themselves out of the soil (our consciousness). This is a time we may be filled with insights or new ideas, so it is a wonderful time to awaken your beautiful intentions by placing your flowers into your book.

    I believe that we are our best healers and to know ourselves deeply is a wonderful way to connect to our wisdom. This is not a quick process, but a lifetime of learning, so be gentle with yourselves my beautiful moon family. You still have dreams to dream and stories to tell.

    New Moon Wishes Your Way,
    Debra
    Moon Mama

    May 14, 2018

    3 comments


    HORMONES + YOU

    What do you know about your hormones? Do you understand the important role they play in your body? In your daily life? What can cause hormonal imbalances? Where you can find endocrine disrupters? How do they interfere with our hormonal levels? How does the Moon work with our hormones?

    Learning how hormones work and how to keep them in balance covers a lot of ground. So to answer all the questions above, I am going to do a series of blogs. With the huge leaps and bounds science has made over the last 10 years in understanding these amazing and magical beings that live within us. I wanted to take this subject seriously as I believe it will help all of us to better understand ourselves ~ a true passion of my work and life. Because I believe that knowledge is power; it empowers.

     In this blog I am going to cover the basics of hormones and how they work……

    Hormone comes from the Greek meaning of the word hormon, “that which sets in motion, urge on, impulse”. Our bodies use hormones as a communication line between organs and tissues to regulate physiological and behavioral activities. They help to regulate our biological clock, digestion, metabolism, respiration, tissue function, sensory perception, sleep, excretion, lactation, stress, growth and development, movement, reproduction and mood. They rule our bodies in so many words.

    Similar to our nervous system the endocrine system is one our body’s main communication systems. The endocrine system is controlled by the nervous system through the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, and yet they both work independently with the main function of the endocrine system working to keep the body in a state of balance and the nervous system working on receiving and responding to stimuli.

    Hormones can take the form of protein-based molecules (water-soluable) or lipophilic (fat soluble). They are broken down into three major chemical classes, steroids, peptides and amino acid derivitives.

    We have 10 main endocrine glands whose main function are to produce and release hormones. Each gland produces different types of hormones that awaken a specific response in other cells, tissues, and/or organs located throughout the body. Your endocrine glands secrete their specific hormones into your blood so that they can travel through the blood stream to reach their targets. Lets take a brief look at the ten major glands:

    1. Hypothalamus is located in the brain below the thalamus and above the Pituitary gland where it is attached by the pituitary stalk. This gland plays a vital role in the endocrine system and also the nervous system. Many call this part of the brain the command center because it synthesizes and secretes neurohormones called releasing hormones that stimulate or inhibit the secretion of pituitary hormones. The hypothalamus controls the release of 8 major hormones by the pituitary gland. It is also in control of your body temperature, food and water intake (hunger and thirst), sexual behavior and reproduction, your circadian rhythm and mediation of emotional responses. These releasing hormones move through the pituitary stalk to the posterior and anterior lobes. The posterior lobe regulates anti-diuretic hormones and oxytocin. The anterior lobe regulates the hormones that control the gonads, thyroid, adrenal cortex and the production of growth hormones.

      The Hypothalamus and Pituitary glands send out these hormones to communicate to the other endocrine glands to make their specific hormones. If your body releases too much or too little of these hormones it can create hormonal imbalance that can affect your body’s health and well being. For example, when your body has high levels of the corticoptropin-releasing hormone you might experience, acne, diabetes, osteoporosis or infertility; low levels can produce gastrointestinal issues or low blood pressure.
    1. Pituitary gland consists of three lobes, anterior, interior and posterior. The anterior and posterior lobes release chemical messengers, hormones, via the blood to other endocrine glands to tell them to make their specific hormones. The pituitary and hypothalamus work together to create hormonal balance within your body.
    2. Pineal gland also known as the thalamus, was the last of the endocrine organs to be discovered as it is located deep in the center of the brain was called the “third eye”. It produces melatonin.
    3. Parathyroid glands located in the neck make a hormone called the Parathyroid hormone which is associated with the growth of muscle and bone along with the distribution of calcium and phosphate in the body.
    4. Thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck below the Adams apple and produces hormones T3 and T4 to help regulate your metabolism, heart rate and in the uptake of calcium to bone.
    5. Thymus gland is located behind your sternum and between your lungs. It creates the hormone Thymosin to activate the development of the disease fighting T-cells, which play a role in the function of the immune system. This gland is only active until puberty at which time it begins to slowly shrink and becomes replaced by fat.
    6. Adrenal Glands are found above the kidneys and play an essential role in the body. The inner part of the adrenal gland, called the medulla, secretes adrenaline. The cortex, the outer part of the adrenal gland, produces the life essential hormones, cortisol and DHEA.
    7. Pancreas is located behind the stomach, produces glucagon and insulin that control blood sugar levels (also part of the digestive system) These hormones convert glucose to glycogen and glycogen to glucose.
    8. Ovaries produce two main hormones, estrogen and progesterone. They also produce androgens, which are responsible for producing testosterone and secreting androstenedione, a steroid hormone used as a stepping stone in the production of testosterone and oestrogen, along with DHEA.
    9. Testes produce testosterone, the male sex hormone.

    These 10 glands are responsible for producing our hormones. Now lets look at what are considered the most important hormones they secrete and a little about how they work within our body's:

    Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands and released into the blood stream. Our cortisol levels increase early in the morning to prepare us for meeting the demands of the day and then gradually decrease throughout the day, reaching their lowest levels late in the evening ~ a pattern we know as our circadian rhythm. It also plays a role in the maintaining healthy blood pressure, glucose, and energy levels and in reducing inflammation.

    When we are under long periods of intense stress, our adrenal glands secrete high levels of cortisol. Research has found a link between high levels of cortisol and excessive weight gain around the belly. So for those trying to loose weight, reducing your stress levels will be important. Other body responses to high secretions of cortisol are mood swings that include anxiety, depression and irritability; lack of sex drive; and irregular or infrequent periods.

    DHEA is made primarily by adrenal glands and is important in the production of testosterone and estrogen. When we are under stress the ability of the adrenal glands to produce DHEA is limited. DHEA is an important component for mental clarity and cognitioin and is not only produced by the adrenals but also in the brain. DHEA also protects us against the effects of inflammation and when in sufficient supply increase libido and sexual arousal and enhance our immune system.

    Estrogen is mainly produced by the ovaries and also by fat cells and the adrenal gland. Known as the female sex hormones they are important for sexual and reproductive development, mainly in women. Estrogen refers to all of the chemical hormones in this group, which are estrone estradiol and estriol. Estrogen regulates our menstrual cycle along with the growth of our uterine lining during the first part of the cycle. It also plays an important role in bone formation, blood clotting and maintaining the strength and thickness of the vaginal wall and vaginal lubrication. It preserves the elasticity and moisture content of your skin. For women Estrogen levels increase during puberty and pregnancy and decrease after menopause or once a woman stops menstruating.

    Men produce estrogen as well but at lower levels than women. Men’s estrogen is secreted by the adrenal glands and testes. High levels of estrogen in men contribute to prostate cancer, heart disease and enlarged breasts. When men testosterone is transformed into estrogen the low levels of testosterone can cause many unpleasant symptoms including loss of muscle mass, fatigue, low libido, erectile dysfunction.

    As men age, testosterone and progesterone levels drop and estrogen levels rise. However, increased estrogen production in men can result from aging, a high degree of body fat, nutritional deficiencies or excessive alcohol use. Decreased testosterone levels along with increased estrogen levels can result in decreased sexual desire and arousal.

    Progesterone is made by the ovaries, placenta, and adrenal glands. In women this hormone mainly regulates the condition of the inner lining (endometrium) of the uterus. Low levels of progesterone can lead to abnormal menstrual cycles or difficulty in conceiving. It can also cause estrogen levels can decrease sex drive, contribute to weight gain and gallbladder problems.

    Progesterone in men is a building block for many hormones, which include testosterone. It builds bone mass, takes a part in regulating blood sugar, brain activity and functions throughout the body to ensure healthy balance.

    Testosterone is produced in the adrenal glands, testes, ovaries and brain (and in the placenta during pregnancy). This hormone is important in the development and function of male sex organs; enhancing libido and sexual arousal in both men and women; aiding in the building of muscle and bone; assisting in brain function; stamina and restful sleep; and is known to influence our moods and motivation levels.

    Thyroid hormones (T4 and T3) ~ our thyroid takes iodine from our food and converts it into T3 and T4 hormones. These hormones regulate the speed of your metabolism. When these hormones are “overactive” or “inactive” it can lead to weight gain or loss even when eating a good diet. They also aid in bone growth, protein synthesis and brain development.

    Growth hormone (GH) is produced in the pituitary gland and works to stimulates growth tissues and bone & reproduction of cells. Our growth hormones are crucial during puberty as we experience growth spurts; like height, length of our bones and muscle mass. It also works with the liver to produce insulin growth facor-1 ~ which activate growth during puberty and maintains body composition in adults.

    Ghrelin  is known as the hunger hormone and secreted by our gut and acts on the appetite regulation center, hypothalamus in the brain to induce hunger. In turn, this increases stomach acid secretion and gut motility in preparation for food intake. The best way to positively influence and work with this hormone is to get a good nights sleep and follow a high protein, high fiber, high water meal plan.

    Insulin is the most important hormone that the pancreas produces. The role of insulin is to lower glucose levels in the bloodstream and promote the storage of glucose in fat, muscle, liver and other body tissues. High sugar intake can lead to insulin resistance and which is when your body is fighting to hold on to the energy you ate rather than metabolizing it as fuel for your daily life. This can cause you to feel tired and gain body fat. To combat insulin resistance exercising is great as the more fit you are the better your body is at using the food you eat for energy.

    Melatonin is produced and released by the pineal gland and plays an important role in the regulation of our internal body clock. Higher levels of melatonin, close to 10 times higher, are produced at night when it is dark. Light entering our eyes will communicate with our melatonin hormones telling them to drop off. This is why melatonin levels also have a seasonal rhythm, with higher levels in the fall and winter and lower in spring and summer due to the daylight hours.

    Hormone balance is like a big puzzle that just doesn’t fit together if pieces are missing. These beautiful chemical messengers are sorely understood or discussed and yet impact our lives ~ starting in the womb. Many of us are out of harmony with our natural biological rhythms because our hormones are out of balance.

    Next week I will talk about the fight to keep our hormones balanced in the midst of a chemical pool of endocrine disrupters.

    Ready to kick this one to the Moon <3,
    Debra
    Moon Mama

    May 12, 2018

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    Full Moon Water Ritual ~ Deep, Watery Scorpio

    The Moon. Luna. Mwezi. Grandmother. We know her across the world under different names, but as her light shines down on us she makes each of us feel like we are her special one, the one she really wants to communicate with, the one who has something special to offer the world…and we do, each of us.

    Creating rituals can be nourishing and turn you inward to your quieter spaces. I would like to offer you one such ritual that can be done each month if you like, a Full Moon Water Ritual that I love to do and find healing benefits from. It may help you connect with new parts of yourself, brighten your day or help quiet you so you can hear the sweet words your soul is sharing. Gathering the light of the Moon into water is a way to connect to your feminine power.

    Creating Moon Water under the Full Moon is an ancient ritual for men and women and is best charged on the first night of the Full Moon. There are many ways to use the Moon Water once it is charged: I love the most ancient and sacred practice of drinking this moon magic! You may want to use it for blessings, for cleansing your chakras, making tea or for watering your plants ~ maybe they need a boost of moon water love! You will intuitively know what to do with yours once you hold the power of the charged water in your hands.

    Here are the steps to creating your Moon Water Magic:

    1. To begin, you will want to pick a glass container, jar, or bowl - something that will hold the sacred feeling of what you want the water to carry over the next 28 days. The vessel can vary with each full moon - sometimes large, sometimes small, colored or clear. You may feel inspired to decorate the vessel with colors by surrounding it with gemstones, flowers, leaves, candles or even draw or write on it…be creative!
    2. On the eve of the Full Moon fill your container using filtered or distilled water. Bless the water, by holding it and visualizing the water collecting the energy of the moonlight. Share your love and intention with the water by speaking into it - tell it what you want the light to shine on in your life.



    3. Cover the container and place it outside, if possible, where the moon can shine into the water all night. If you cannot place it outside, choose a windowsill where it can gather the greatest number of moonlit hours.
    4. The next morning collect the container with the Moon Water, hold and bless it again thanking Grandmother Moon for her light and energy, then take your first sip!

    Every morning until the next full moon, take a sip of your Moon Water on an empty stomach. With each sip you will strengthen yourself with the properties of the full moon. Open yourself to her energy of creativity, wildness, imagination and brightness ~ she is there for you. Remember the blessings and intentions you placed in her and let this be a new way to start your day with gratitude and connection to the light within you.

    Moon energy is something we all experience bi-monthly as her ocean tides rise and fall and the Earth tides (body tides) create a displacement of the Earth, which is caused by the gravity of the Moon and the Sun. We may not feel it in a active sense any more than we do the spinning of the earth as it rotates on its axis, but as we tune into it we can feel her pull. We women are in bodily ceremony with her every month as we follow her cycle of 28 days in our menses. We feel her rhythm as she wanes and waxes and she calls to us on a deep emotional and nurturing level. We carry the vibration of her feminine power.

    TONIGHT we experience the Full Moon in Scorpio at 5:58 pm PST (8:58 pm EST). This is a time for you to feel deeply into the secret places of yourself. This time of year we can use the thunder and lightening to feel the places that we are awakening ~ to get the inner circulation flowing.  Its a time to crack open situations so that you can grasp it with wholeness ~ when you can See it allows you to reach the truth or the result you are looking for. You might be tempted to give up but to give up means you would miss the diamond in the rough. Through persistence you gain skills and inner strength. Use this full Moon energy to ask yourself: How can you follow your sense of direction more closely? Where might your path of truth lead you now?

    Take time to create your Full Moon Water Ritual and connect to this spring energy that is cracking us all open to possibilities and love and freshness of life.

    Journeys lead us out and then home again ~ let this moon take you out from your source to help you to rediscover your own deepest intent and its harmony with your spirit.

    We all love the moon and her beauty ~ let her shine her light this month into your deepest truth. Let her light ignite your light. 

    Full Moon Blessings,
    Debra
    Moon Mama

    April 29, 2018

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    New Moon in Aries ~ Cazimi Fire

    Sunday, April 15th at 6:57 pm PST (9:57 pm EST)

    Tonight we have a New Moon in Aries ~ a time of unexpected things to come! This fiery sign is sure to stir your passions up and that can sometimes be as uncomfortable as it is exciting. If you are not following your heart or hearts desires, it can definitely bring up reasons that it is important to look at them again. New Moons are here to share with you the opportunities or dreams that you are quick to bury or put aside as not possible or achievable. This Moon is one of those yearly moons that is sitting in a position to hold a fire to your intentions and with Mercury moving out of retrograde ~ or moreso in his stop before starting his move direct ~ it brings us more clarity of thought and word on how to communicate and work towards these fire-powered dreams. Sprouts require watering and so New Moons are a time of watering ~ taking time to give them the nourishment they need to come to life. And remember Moon Sisters & Brothers, this may take months of nourishment at times so stay the course and be kind to your dreams as they are waiting for you to bring them to life.

    This Moon is also a Cazimi Moon, meaning that its center is within 17 minutes of arch with the center of the Sun in celestial longitude. This position is said to create a very powerful, yet gentle and loving period starting 30 minutes before the Moon is in her full darkness and running 30 minutes after. This is a time to really align with your hearts desires.

    Aries is a masculine, cardinal, fire sign. It is ruled by mars and rules the head. That is why this is such a powerful time to get your heart and head to connect and move them in the same direction.  Use this fire awaken your dreams and take on that Aries confidence, strength and passion and put it to go use. 

    The Celtic Tree for this New Moon Cycle is Willow. The Willow tree seeks out water and like no other tree is associated with the Moon in all her phases.  She encourages expresseion of deeply buried feelings and teaches us to surrender completely to the watery world of emotions and the subconcious so that we can move into a deeper understanding of your inner-most feelings, toward a better appreciation of our hidden motives and secret fears and desires.  She allows us to realize that within every loss is a seed of potential for something new! The magic of the willow carries creativity, inspiration and female rights of passage. Follow the labyrinth trail, connect with the power of wisdom and the rhythm of your soul and return to your ordinary world strengthened. Your will find that your awareness of your purpose is stronger and your intentions cannot be broken by the spell of someone else'e desire.  Remember your fertile inner strength is like that of the Willow. You have the flexibility to bend around obstacles ~ your desires can be woven into the shape. Tell your wishes to the willow.  This is a wonderful time to 

    Use the New Moon in Aries to write out your intentions and deepen your movement forward. A ritual for this new moon ~

    Map it out! Lets try something new for this New Moon by mapping out our intention for the next two weeks. If you want to do a larger mapping save it for another time. Lets keep this one simple.

      1. First quiet yourself. Take a few minutes to light candles, create an altar or place items on your altar to bring in this new Moon.  A few suggestions are placing gemstones on your altar that work well with this moon energy such as fire opal, bloodstone, or moonstone. Colors are red and yellow. Rosemary is a wonderful essential oil to calm your body and keep you from feeling the fight or flight sensation and helping you to focus.
      2. Intentions are best set once you take the time to move into a place of feeling contentment as opposed to a place of lack or need. So if you like do a short breathing meditation to calm the mind and connect it with your heart.
      3. Get a piece of paper and write out your intention and then sit with it for a few minutes allowing yourself to go into the dream state of how you would feel if you had accomplished or completed your intention.  What do you feel? How do you look? How will you move forward from this journey to the next?
      4. Now, get out your colored pencils and larger paper for drawing out your map. Create the steps to getting there by drawing or writing words and mix it up with dates and arrows! Add anything else that you want like maybe ~ flowers, gemstones for energy or even essential oils for smells to bring you back to your intention as the weeks pass. Be sure to create steps that you can accomplish ~ this is important ~ and yet don't hold back on the outcome. If there are only three steps from this New Moon to the next that is perfect! It is more important to accomplish the step and continue at the Full Moon or next New Moon.
      5. Place your map/drawing on your altar and use the gemstones or essential oils to guide you as the weeks pass. Another thought is to wear red and eat red foods over the next week to help you to connect to your steps and intention!

    This Moon has a special energy, because it is the New Moon in Aries 2018. It is unique. Remember Moon Family, what you are seeking to become is actually by nature what you already are ~ this is a time to become conscious of your essence and bring it into form and express it in a creative way. Today is a new day ~ everyday.

    New Moon Wishes,
    Debra
    Moon Mama

    April 15, 2018

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    Gibbous Moon ~ Libra Full Moon Beauty


    Artwork, Full Moon Medicine, by Mary Pines

    Today we move into the energies of the Gibbous Moon ~ how are you feeling? This is a beautiful time to stay aware of any negative thoughts or energy coming forward that can deter us from coming into the fullness of our ideas or intentions, and releasing them into our lives. Grandmother Moon is resting in the sign of Virgo until Friday morning ~ what better time to clear out the cobwebs and clutter in our home and mind before she moves into her Fullness in Libra on Saturday morning at 5:36 AM (PST)/8:36 AM (EST). This is a beautiful time to stay aware of negative thoughts or traits coming forward.

    As you are moving through this energy also remember that we have our second Blue Full Moon this month ~ a moon to remind us that opportunities are never lost. That they come back around as the Moon does. They may not always appear at the most convenient time in your life, but these are opportunities you have had to pursue your dreams ~ and find an excuse not to act upon them. Following dreams is not easy, we must change how we think and act. This is the time to do that, yet remember that sometimes we need to make sacrifices. If we don’t move or act we become stuck repeating the present. The Moons phases guide us into remembering the importance of being aware and in tune with our thoughts and actions. This is a time to find a new approach, a new way, something different. Something fun ~ it will clear the path so that the opportunities will again flow your way ~ here are some thoughts for moving energy over the next two days:

    • Find gratitude in small places so that you keep your visions full of positive energy. When you find yourself falling into that negative comment or thought, LAUGH. LAUGH out loud at yourself. And then find something about it or your life/surroundings to be grateful for ~ this is not hard gems, in fact it can change your inner landscape so much you may be surprised.
    • PLEASE ~ take a walk outside and smell the beautiful, wonderful, amazing, luscious, bountiful, smells of Mother Nature. I am in awe of her smells in the spring and how they fill not only my senses, but also my cellular body of memory. I do not pass through a spring without remembering my mother and how much she loved nature ~ it is something I cherish, to have her near me in thoughts and smells and it reminds me of how much love this world truly has to offer.
    • Do Ho’oponopono. This is a Hawaiian Huna ritual for forgiveness. This is a lovely ritual to help you to release negative patterns: look in the mirror and for each negative thought, tell yourself I am sorry, I forgive you, thank you for your awareness and I love you.

    And now that you have cleared the path for all those opportunities lets bring them into the light of the Full Moon in Libra (Saturday, March 31 @ 5:36 AM PST). Libra is all about beauty and balance and can stir in us the ways that move us into our dreams with just that ~ balance and beauty. This is not a time to give up or feel that things are passing you by ~ but to notice, notice, notice, and move into the feeling and beauty and opportunities that are presenting themselves to you under her light. Grab them, see them, feel them, and most of all get to know those places in your body and spirit that hold them so that you can access them later as she begins to wane. If they are not complete, put them in a safe place so that you can work with them and seed them again in new soil for the New Moon in Aries.

    Libra is an air sign and another reason to be sure to get time outside ~ to feel the warm breezes of spring on your skin ~ a simple way to reenter your body awareness. If possible, jump outside under the rains ~ cleansing and clarity come from a walk in the rain. She is ruled by Venus and so it is also a time for self-love and forgiveness. Libra rules the kidneys and intestines

    Here are a few rituals to gather this Full Moon Medicine:

    • Paint ~ with your fingers ~ yes, with your fingers. It will open up places you have not touched in a long time.
    • Create a vision board for your dreams. If you have one that you completed for the New Year ~ make this a follow up vision board to see if they have changed, moved or come to fruition and how you want them to continue moving. Doing them more than once a year is a good thing! If you don’t have time to complete it before the Full Moon ~ gather some pictures or remembering’s of spring blooms and save them for later. This is a time of gathering.
    • Work with your Heart Chakra. The Heart Chakra or Anahata is the fourth chakra and is located at the center of the chest near the heart. Working with the heart chakra will teach you how to give and receive love, and how to forgive yourself and others. Using Rose Quartz or Jade and the colors of pink and green will connect you with your heart center. The heart chakra unites the three earth energy chakras below and the three spirit energy chakras above. Balancing this chakra will help you to grow in your spirituality, for it is at this center that you can heal both emotionally and physically.
    • Feel Beautiful!
      • Put on your favorite dress and dance barefoot on the earth or with your children or moon sisters
      • Gather flowers and place them all over your house in little vases to remind you of the beauty you hold ~ mother nature is the best reminder
      • Smile at a stranger ~ it will make you feel beautiful inside and out
      • Listen to the song birds and find your song ~ it is there to be awakened now
    • And this is the time to prepare for your Full Moon Water Ritual. It is also a lovely time to place your gemstones or amulets out under her light to cleanse.

    This Full Moon is the harbinger of Spring. This is the time of year to fill up with Mother Natures Medicine called blossoming! Gather. Enjoy. Savor. Her love, light and fullness are here for you.

    I believe in you.
    Debra, Moon Mama

    March 28, 2018

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    Awakening Natures Rhythms

    Following Our Natural Rhythm is a Sacred Ceremony

    This is a ritual we do either consciously or unconsciously. We are influenced by the constant cycles of the sun and moon, light and dark, warm and cold. In order to thrive our bodies have had to be intimately linked with these natural cycles and the seasons. Our bodies follow the seasons in ways that we know well. For example, as the days get longer our energy increases and we need less sleep. And here is an interesting fact ~ did you know that sunlight (natures full spectrum light) activates your endocrine system when it enters your eyes? And that your endocrine system is connected to your immune system and your nervous system? We need this light daily.

    I love how Krystina Dryza writes about our connection to natures rhythms:

    " Put simply, rhythm is fundamental to wellbeing. It is the keynote of nature. Not just a sign of life – it is life.

    The cycles of nature guide our lives and their wisdom can be our wisdom too. We often forget that our body is part of the body of the universe and so when we reference, integrate and live the movements of the cosmos within our own selves, our lives too take on the same natural flow.

    Seasonal, circadian, lunar and tidal forces influence our lives in profound ways – if only we can let them in and trust their intelligence. Nature isn’t to be conquered or controlled, only surrendered to. I work with these cycles not just as natural occurring phenomena, but also as archetypal processes, metaphors and symbolic influences.
    Below is a brief description of the roles I believe each of these energies play in our lives.

    Seasonal: subdivisions of the year with noticeable changes in weather, ecology and light, which invite acceptance and greater presence.
    Circadian: physiology and behaviour over a 24-hour period that encourages congruency and alignment.
    Lunar: distinct phases of waxing and waning within an unchanging cycle that inspires reflection and appropriate phasing and pacing.
    Tidal: the periodic rise and fall of large bodies of water, which promotes a state of effortlessness and flow.

    Remembering we are nature reconnects us to everything else. It returns us to our essence. Nature’s rhythms are the key to feeling in sync with life, but this isn’t a mental exercise. It’s not a frog-march intellectually. To familiarise ourselves with the flow of life . . . to feel the sea of energies . . . means allowing – not forcing. We ‘let’ things bubble up and happen in their own unique timing rather than forcibly ‘making’ them happen according to our personality’s schedule. To connect to something deeper than ideas and concepts – to the source that powers life – requires Presence.

    When we’re flowing with the natural operating systems of this world, we’re traveling through life in a particular state of mind, energy and manner. The quality of our experience of getting from A to B is infinitely enhanced when the path chosen is one that’s in harmony with life’s natural patterns and sequences of energy. To do this requires an awareness of the constantly changing equilibrium at play, while allowing each idiosyncratic, poetic movement to guide us. [Sounds ‘mentally’ hard but when you’re ‘it’ in frequency, easy!] Only in this way can we confidently navigate the waters of life and witness the greater beauty that surrounds us."

    Spring is here and we are moving into her with all the energy of the young maiden; in love with the mystery of life, feeling magical, enthused, curious, open to trying new things, and knowing anything is possible and that all those endless possibilities are held within us. This is the time to explore your senses and delight in everything that spring has to give.

    This week, as we move into the waxing, Gibbous Moon, also known as the time of the Maiden, gather her light and energy and stop.listen.feel. the unfolding of yourself.

    Spring forward ~

    XXOO
    Debra
    Moon Mama

    March 25, 2018

    5 comments