“Uva-ursi” is Kinnickkinnick’s Latin name, which directly translates into “Bear Grape" or "Grape of the Bear”. Potent medicine for January, as we ourselves sit in Winter's grape/egg-like tamasic state of inertia, or unrealized potential and hibernation, dreaming of Spring and new growth into being.
Kinnickinnick likes sunny, dry slopes, sandy & rocky soils, riverbanks, and is ground-cover in coniferous forests. The thick, evergreen leaves of bearberry can be gathered early spring through late autumn. In the winter, if needed, they can be harvested from under the snow. When harvesting, give thanks and be mindful to take only what you need.
In terms of medicinal uses, Kinnickinnick's are manifold. The leaves can be made into a tincture and are predominantly used as a urinary antiseptic for urinary tract infections. The leaves' anti-microbial actions help to kill bacteria in the urine. The leaves are infused by steeping them in water just above the boiling point to make a tea and then is drunk as a tonic. This infusion could also be used as a mouthwash for canker sores or weak gums.
It has also been made into a decoction by boiling the plant material in water, and then drunk for colds and Tuberculosis. This decoction could also be used as a wash for broken bones. Moreover, decoction of Kinnikinnick has also commonly been used as an eye medicine for sore eyes.
There are many ways that the Kinnickkinnick is/was used by First Nations, from dried leaves smoked as a part of a ceremonial smoking mix in Indigenous pipe ceremonies, to the leaves being chewed on to suppress thirst. In daily living, Kinnikinnick fruit berries were also mashed to create a sealant on baskets.
A great first step to designing a garden is deciding what to grow. By focusing on foods we enjoy eating, we'll have more motivation and excitement in growing these foods in the garden. To answer the second question, we need to do a bit of research. We all live in different climates, and not everything we're used to eating on a daily basis can be grown in every region. Once we have a list of foods we most like to eat, we can narrow that down to foods we can actually grow at home. Check out this link and enter your postal code to get a good idea of how long your growing season lasts, and when your first and last frost dates occur.
Once you know your growing zone, you can make educated decisions on crops that will likely be able to survive and reach maturity in your climate. Many seed companies list the compatible growing zones for food crops, taking the guesswork out of which crops can be grown.
The last question should be answered from the heart: how much of your food do you really want to grow? If it's just a few staples, great! Want to grow your entire diet? Don't be too quick to dismiss such a goal, it's definitely possible! When answering this question, don't worry about the logistics, we'll get to that in the next issue!
Here are a few tips to help you stay balanced:
~ by Sannyasi Shivani
To set a Sankalpa that is befitted to a soul such as our own, first we need engage in some self enquiring and dreaming. Take stock of your strengths and weaknesses, ambitions and needs, a technique known in our lineage as "SWAN". Dig deep and get an honest, inquiry of who you are and where you are at. What qualities do you like about yourself? Are you kind? Are you generous? Be honest and find out which of the qualities you express could benefit from some refinement. Do you anger quickly, for example? Is your generosity tethered with strings of expectations in return? Only when we have the courage to be really honest with ourselves are we able to see our true opportunities for growth. Then, with this honest picture in mind, dream about who it is you want to be. Do you want to be kinder? Do you want to experience less anger? Do you want to give more without worrying about your own coffers, thus coming into a deeper direct experience of faith? DREAM BIG. Dream your fullest potential… and then set a resolution, a Sanklapa, that is the (present tense) embodiment of that. For example, "I AM HEALTHY", "I AM UNCONDITIONALLY GENEROUS", or "I AM LIVING MY FULLEST POTENTIAL."
When these seeds are planted firmly in the heart, the universe will quickly manifest opportunities for you to move into the embodiment of this. And this is where awareness, courage, and action toward resolve comes in for, if we want to experience a change in our reality, we have to be the ones willing to change! Not always an easy pill to swallow in a society that is always looking to the outside to conform to our comfort.
Next, create ceremony. When you know your heart's desire for your inner potential, write out your Sankalpa on a piece of paper, light a candle, put the paper on the altar and sing or chant mantra to create an orb of frequency in the room that is of the light and that can receive this prayer of your heart. When you can feel this shift in the space, set alight the paper with your intention written on it. Dissolve the intention so that it permeates the very air you breath…
My prayer to you for this year ahead is that you experience the courage and Grace needed to journey consciously and with gusto toward your fullest potential, your love of life, and your path to Re-membrance of your soul.
Om and Prem.
~ compiled by Om Shanti
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