Reading cards

I do tarot readings and I do it often, so I have a range of graphic versions of it. Some of them are more compatible with my intuition and some less. It might change with people and period of time, but it works pretty well. For more than 10 years, every Sunday I do a public reading card for the following week and I pick various pictures for the same card for better understanding.

However, it seems that thousands of existing versions are not enough for me. A few years ago I was tempted to draw my personal cards. I didn’t have the ambition to create a real tarot set with a fixed structure, I wanted to draw pictures according to my inner calling and watch what was going to happen.

And it happened. I was surprised how quickly I was sure what to draw. Although my pictures are naïve and people look strange, the biggest surprise was how well the cards work. The set is open, so I can add a card at any time, or even cancel the one that is not longer relevant.

In the beginning, I was ashamed and worked with them only when I was alone. Later I showed them to a few of my friends. And now I have decided to show samples to you! 😊

With love, Ivana

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Is herbal soap without flavor acceptable?

I love to make soaps loaded by herbs. I love to experiment with various combinations, listening to my inner voice and remembering University knowledge. I’ve learned how to infuse herbal energy and active compounds into the soaps effectively and I am happy to apply them on my body. Each time in the shower my lovely soaps remind me the whole adventure from harvesting herbs to final bubbles.

I believe the desire to share passions with close people is natural. So I did and proudly offered my herbal soaps to friends. All of them did the same thing. They skipped a visual survey and immediately began to smell intensively. As if the smell could reveal everything about the quality. One by one they told me the same thing with the same disappointment: “It smells only like soap!”

Looking at my disappointment, they listened to my lecture on the effects of herbs and natural oils I had used, but it was obvious that there is nothing to compensate a lack of proper smell.

Next, I wanted to make the others happier, so I made a lot of various herbal soaps with various added flavors. I did my best and used essential oils labeled “natural”, considering it was a compromise. The others gave me compliments for innovation, but I felt somehow that I was moving away from myself.

Because I am not a big manufacturer, I only make a few soaps for a while, the whole process took a couple of years. I have to admit it now. I lied to myself in trying to be successful in the eyes of my friends. The truth is, that I need to have my soaps full of herbs but with no added flavors, doesn’t matter how much they are “natural”.

Today, I have a bunch of violets on the table ready to become a part of soap soon. They are so beautiful with hidden power for skin treatment and I finally know that I am not allowed to kill their uniqueness by added flavor. And just time will show if such decision is acceptable to more people than just for me.

What do you think?

With love, Ivana

Spring flowers syrup

Most of spring flowers are naturally juicy similar to the soil after snow melting. There was almost no snow in my area this year and now the soil is very dry even in the beginning of April. I was foraging violets and they had for my surprise really unpleasant taste. Later I realized it was due to lack of irrigation.

However, I wanted to prepare tasty syrup from spring flowers. After disaster with violets I foraged some young flowers (buds) of Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) even they were also rare because of drought. In my language, the name of Butterbur sounds like “9 powers” and this is something that can be useful. I have already mentioned its quality here Power of Butterbur, so we are kind of fellows some time.

But for the first time I decided to make syrup. Butterbur has very specific taste and you need to get used to it. I am happy with the result, the consistency is similar to honey and the final taste is emphasized with a little lemon. Now I have my 9 sweet powers for morning porridge 😊

My one small jar success made me hungry for another one. Yesterday I foraged Lungwort and I was lucky to find some really sweet violets. Feeling like an experienced master, I put them into the procedure. Everything looked good, but also according to the proverb “pride precedes a fall”.

When I poured the hot syrup into a jar, it broke and most of the hot and sweet liquid flooded the kitchen counter. I was lucky that only a few drops hit my hand, which I then treated with cold water and the oil from St.John’s wort. The great success of this attempt is: I have no blisters! 😋

Waiting for another experiment, Ivana

Happy birthday, Hanka!

The post and the picture are dedicated to my friend Hanka, who celebrated her birthday by successful participation in the Prague Half Marathon few days ago. I have a strong respect for endurance and vitality, which she runs in her running and living as well.

Hanka, I wish you all the best for your birthday! You are entering the year 7 in your life path, so you can expect an important crossroad ahead. You will probably meet a number of opportunities for change, but it’s up to you to decide and accept. I feel a great challenge on the field of work, where change could bring a significant growth.

Seven is also the number of truth. Unfortunately, the truth is often revealed by breaking of myths under which it was long time hidden. It can hurt, but for a healthy future, the truth is a more stable base than a beautiful myth. I believe, you know the core of that truth. After you discover the whole story, you will move forward. And moving forward is another key feature of the seven.

Seven is touching our heart and soul. If it’s done with honesty and open mind, the Universe offers all we need for success and happiness. The seven wants us to stop sticking to old patterns and prejudices, and start opening to the offered gifts. And there are plenty of them!

With love, Ivana

No meat pâté, hit of the week

Being tired of delayed spring arrival, I turned my focus into the kitchen this week. I planned a small chat over wine with my neighbor, so among others I prepared a pâté from red beans. With a lot of garlic and marjoram it was a clear winner of the evening! And because of the beans color it looked like a regular pâté from meat.

I’ve had a rest of red wine from the neighbors briefing, so I decided to make another version of the red beans pâté today. With my poor camera the picture looks that somebody has already used it, but you can believe that it’s delicious!

This time I took onion, juniper and red wine, let them cook together for a while in the pot to join their tastes, added cooked, chopped and salted red beans, butter and some cream. Let it sit to combine ingredients well and then mix into a delicate consistency.

After about one hour in a fridge and with homemade bread you get something fabulous!

Good appetite,

Ivana

Liverleaf, Hepatica nobilis

Besides Lungwort, Liverleaf is another spring flower that blooms before new leaves are fully developed. As if they couldn’t wait longer, light purple flowers raise their heads from damp soil to the spring sun even in the shadow of forest.

I know the place where Liverleaf grows in abundance, creating incredible carpet of live wildflowers. The beauty of them takes my breath every time, and I am almost afraid to enter the place because those flowers are so fragile!

Yesterday, I found the first blooming Liverleaf. So far, it was the only Cinderella in the middle of nothing, but also it was a clear sign that the right time is coming and sisters are going to bloom very soon.

If you are looking for the place with Liverleaf before blooming, you can find it easily according to the evidence of last year leaves. They are very unique with 3 lobes, tough in consistency like an old alcoholic liver. No matter how long and hard the winter was, the old leaves stay in their place, so the young flowers could lean on them.

Similar to Lungwort flowers, I like to eat the Liverleaf flowers. As they grow close to each other and bloom simultaneously, they create beautiful and healthy mix of edible flowers, suitable for immediate consumption.

Even though I’m careful to keep the ratio in favor of Lungwort because Liverleaf is slightly poisonous as it belongs to the family of Ranunculaceae, But the main portion of active substances is contained in leaves, so the consumption of flowers is quite safe.

As the name suggests, Liverleaf (Hepatica nobilis) is used in cases of liver disease. Although I prefer to use other herbs for this purpose, I still gather some Liverleaf because I’m fascinated by the shape and tough consistency of its leaves. I admire the ability to overcome difficult conditions and hope to learn it, drinking the tea.

With love, Ivana

Pink beauty for healthy lungs

It looks that spring is finally ready to manifest itself! Despite strong frosts and snowfall recently, sunshine calls nature to start unrolling buds. Even though it’s too early, I’ve been already checking my places and searching signs of new life among dry and brown last year’s leaves.

First what I’m looking each spring for, are wonderful flowers of Lungwort. I’m hungry for the moment when I see the incredible tenderness of pink and purple. In my daily life I always prefer yellow before pink, but the first spring flowers of Lungwort are probably the only exception.

I really love the unique colors of Lungwort, sweet to look and also sweet and juicy to taste. It’s like a promise that the whole season could be such sweet and delicious. Once I discover the first Lungwort flowers of the year, I gather them directly to my mouth and eat them immediately 😋

My second choice for Lungwort flowers is still eating them directly, but in more civilized way like adding them into salad or put them on potatoes with cottage cheese. It looks and tastes fantastic!

Lungwort belongs to the plants that bloom before their leaves grow fully. So you can enjoy the beauty and taste of flowers before serious harvest for healing purpose. And there is one big purpose of the Lungwort, clear by the name, the healthy lungs!

Lungwort has strong anticarrhal and demulcent effects, so you can successfully use it in case of cold with cough. It reduces unwanted mucus caused by pathogens and protects irritated tissues. The content of silicon and allantoin accelerates skin regeneration, so the Lungwort can be also used externally for longterm wounds even with pus. But the most common use of Lungwort is still in wide range of lung diseases like bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, etc.

Even though the Lungwort looks so useful and kind, there is one warning for all who have problems with blood coagulation (clotting) because the Lungwort slightly increases the level of it. A few fresh flowers should be fine, but be careful about longterm use.

I hope to see the pink and purple flowers soon and this year herbal season will really start!

Which plant is the sign of spring for you?

With love, Ivana