Embracing the Darkness: Halloween Traditions By Aisling Badger, October 28, 2016

Witchy bicycleWhether you are celebrating a traditional Samhain, or honoring past lives for the Day of the Dead, this time of year is traditionally a moment of ritual and celebration. Samhain is a Gaelic festival that marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter.  The festival honors transitions and the year’s bounty with merriment, food and drink. Harvest season has come to a close. It is time to embrace the dark and find new ways to bring light into our lives.

The Day of the Dead is a traditional Mexican festival that honors those who are no longer walking with us. This holiday is celebrated with parties, rituals, food, dance and beautifully vibrant decor. 

It is often said that the veil between the spirit world and our physical world is thinnest on All Hallows Eve, and thus it is the prime time to communicate with elders, past family members or the spirits. People have traditionally dressed in costume with the idea that if we are disguised on this night, we will be hidden from the roaming spirits and they won’t take us back with them to the Other Side.

This is a special time to honor and reflect upon the year, however you may choose to celebrate. A sense of magic often gets lost in a busy, fast-moving world. Magic can mean all sorts of things, but there is something primal about finding the time to connect with nature and to a deeper spiritual side, by allowing ourselves to feast, to be warm and to light up the dark together.

This year’s Halloween coincides with the New Moon, which is symbolically a threshold for new beginnings. This is a great time to […]

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Echinacea Medicine By Aisling Badger, October 27, 2016

Echinacea Flower CloseupEchinacea is one of the most well-known herbal medicines today. Its characteristic cone-like flower has graced gardens and medicine cabinets for centuries as a trusted plant in our wellness toolkit.

It is a member of the Asteraceae or Compositae family (commonly referred to as the aster, daisy, or sunflower family) and a hardy perennial flower which is native to North America, although much of what is available out there today is cultivated. The name “Echinacea” comes from the Greek word ekhinos and the Latin prefix echino-, both of which describe something prickly (these words are also the origin of the echinoderm “spiny skin” family of marine animals, which includes starfish and sea urchins.) Echinacea is commonly called purple coneflower, because the rich, bright purple flowers gradually form into a hardened cone.  The most commonly used medicinal varieties are Echinacea purpurea and angustifolia. In the northeast where our growing season is much shorter compared with other temperate places, the plant takes two years to flower and become large and potent enough to harvest for medicinal qualities. With Echinacea, the whole plant can be used, and often the most well-rounded Echinacea tincture is made from the root, leaf, and flower.

The fresh root is slightly sweet and pungent and has a characteristic tingle that lingers on the tongue. The tingling sensation is due to the alkylamides, which are especially concentrated in the roots. This is a good way to determine the quality of your medicine; potent Echinacea is strong and tingly.  

At Urban Moonshine, we feel lucky to get ours from excellent sources. Our Echinacea […]

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The Importance of Rest By Aisling Badger, October 20, 2016

We live in a world where we are always connected and stimulated. Whether it’s the nature of our work, busy social lives, expectations or following our dreams, we are continually excited by the world around us.  The average person spends 75% of their day on screens, and people today are more connected to one another than ever before. Social networking and the rise of technology give us the opportunity to stay fully engaged at all times. But people are also more lonely, distant and unhealthy every year. And unfortunately, it has become common to forgo our need for self-care and rest.

The body craves solitude and downtime. And sleep is essential. It is when we do our best work at keeping ourselves healthy. Sleep is often disregarded as a tool for well-being and its priority on our lists can get lower when something seemingly more important comes along. We know we need it, but are often not getting enough. Sleep allows us to be still and gives our body a chance to rebuild itself physically.  It makes us more capable of being happy and healthy, and supports a better emotional connection to the world.

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Now that fall is here and we are readying ourselves for winter and slowing down, it’s a good time to look at our sleep patterns and see how they can be improved.

 

Why Sleep Is So Important:

  • Healthy Brain Function
    Our brains needs a reset– the studies out there […]

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Less Stress 101: 5 Daily Habits for Busy Lives By Jentri Jollimore, Guest Blogger on behalf of Badger Balm, October 11, 2016

Lake Champlain sights and sounds

Spoiler alert: there’s no single silver-bullet to manage your stress. Because there’s probably not one single thing that’s stressing you out. That’s normal – you’re busy, and busyness and stress often go hand-in-hand.

And that’s ok. In fact, some stress is actually good for you.  

But most of us (me included) could do with less stress. And that’s when stress management techniques become helpful.

Here are five simple ideas to try when the going gets tough.

  1. Deep breathing

Stress response can include difficulty breathing. When we take shallow, rapid breaths, it signals to our brain that things are not ok.

One simple technique is to concentrate on breathing deeply. You can try roll breathing for daily maintenance, and 4-4-4 breathing throughout the day as-needed. Simply inhale slowly for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and exhale slowly for 4 seconds.

Seems easy right? That’s because it is! But don’t let the simplicity fool you: this exercise can have a profound effect on stress by quieting your mind and slowing your heartbeat.

  1. Move

Sometimes the best response to stress is to think about something else until you are in a place to calmly (and productively) address whatever is stressing you out. But that can be difficult in the moment. A trick that works for me is to move my body.

Go for a short walk. Do some stretches. Do a handstand (safely). Jump […]

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