The sign of Scorpio

I was born in Scorpio and I’ve never liked the animal picture related to it. Nothing to say about trillion people repeating that Scorpio is the worst sign of zodiac and that it’s better to keep far from it.

Long ago, I created an easy visual tool for astrological beginners. The chart was divided in 12 areas like Olympic arena, Himalaya, Amazon rainforest, etc. Then I personified the planets and put them down to the relevant areas. It was like a funny desk board game.

All of us have the whole circle, but we differ in what areas the population is and what they do there, or how they interact. As soon as I simplified and visualized the chart, people understood their potential and pitfalls much easier.

Recently, I decided to renew the old board with more precious drawings. And here we have the Scorpio area!

Imagine rainforest deep in Amazon, wet and dark, colorful wilderness around you. There is breathtaking beauty combined with mortal danger at every turn. Half instinct calls to fall into forever, because all previous experience was empty gray in comparison. But the second half calls for caution. You watch the life and death so close each to other, both so intensive.

And there, hidden from civilization, the native people live with their traditions and ancient wisdom. They know the secret of living on the border between life and death. Their shamans know the healing rituals and potions above which modern medicine can shake the head with disbelief.

Daily life might be simple, golden chains or shiny cars have no meaning there. Life might be short, so it’s better to live intensively. And the powerful are those who know how to heal and protect life from death.

And how about the great sexual appetite of Scorpio, you have certainly heard about it? How does it fit into the Amazon jungle? Sex is magic from many reasons. At least it is connection, leading to creation of a new being, which is a miracle for sure! And from the long-time perspective, creation of new generations is a tool how to deal with death, perhaps the only one.

Having Sun in the Scorpio sign means the inner King lives in Amazon. And that’s nothing easy. Each king likes power and comfort of his palace, wide range of servants and plenty of fun. He needs to be important but how to manage it in the middle of rainforest, where death could be so close? Before anything else could be done, the king must assimilate on the jungle territory. Keeping too much pride could even kill him.

Looking at the other planets on board makes the whole story, or better to say the complete picture. I believe to finish my updated version soon.

Today, I wish all the best to all Scorpios worldwide, either in the Amazon or anywhere else.

Happy birthday!

Ivana

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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

Hunting mushrooms

I would say that people are divided into two basic groups: either they love eating mushrooms or they hate it, nothing between. I belong to the lovers!

In my country, gathering mushrooms is very popular. It is a kind of national hobby, which probably comes from the bad times when people were looking for food in forests, whether it was during various wars or like in my childhood during Soviet occupation. I already remembered a bit of that mushrooming in the restricted area in the Pine Tree.

But even today, when you can easily catch anything including mushrooms in supermarkets, the summer forests are crowded by mushroom hunters. They get up early in the morning to be first in the forest and pick up the best pieces in the largest amount. Even the main evening news deals with mushrooming in the season. It often looks like competition rather than fun.

Most population gathers mushrooms of the family Boletaceae, because they are easily recognizable and delicious to taste. Who has never tasted schnitzels from these mushrooms, has missed much!

However, there are many species of mushrooms. One of my high school teachers was a mycologist and used to gather mushrooms throughout the year, even in the snow and winter. Once he took the whole class into the forest and I remember how I brought colorful mixture of mushrooms back to home. Unfortunately, my traditional mother forced me to throw away all the beautifully colored species except of Boletaceae.

Since that, many years have passed. Even summer is gone and the main mushrooms season with it. But the sun was shinning and I wanted to bring some nice trophy from the walk. This time, it was strangely colored mushrooms. I double checked them on internet, cooked a tasty dinner, and so far I am alive! 😁

With love, Ivana

Nobility and wisdom of Spruce

A tall and noble tree, which likes to live friendly with other trees of the same species, this is Spruce (Picea abies). Despite of its vulnerability to pests and regardless of the softness of its wood, Spruce is kind of forest’s High Priest.

Spruce belongs to the old trees, whose original homeland is Europe, especially its mountains and foothills. It seems to me, that the higher positions give to Spruce its natural overlook. Spruces domesticated in lower areas are somehow impoverished.

Spruce is tall and spiky, but not proud. It has always willingly offered wood and cones to people for heating and later also for industrial processing. It was people, who became proud and greedy, so they almost devastated some locations.

My most striking experience with Spruce is a few years old, but still very vivid in my mind. I spent holiday with friends in local mountains and all the roads were lined with spruces. Their branches rumbled in the wind and kept whispering me: Don’t forget your nobility, don’t forget your nobility. And the more I defended myself from listening, the more loudly they called.

When I finally opened my heart to their message, I realized that nobility doesn’t mean pride. It was more like: Stop to underestimate yourself! It is not a shame to be soft and vulnerable because this is exactly what spruces are. It is important to take and use benefits that sensitivity brings. You cannot make oak from what was born as a spruce.

I also realized that I can happily live with all my opposites. I don’t have to choose between them. Like Spruce, I can enjoy the juicy sweetness of the young and inexperienced shoots, being protected by sharp prickness of the old needles. It’s important to learn how to merge the opposites or let them live side by side.

And then, one of those old and spiky spruces gave me a very personal advice on the level of a real high priest: Stay in your heart, you will find there everything what you need. And try to merge the wisdom of desert with the wisdom of forest.

And so I do.

With love, Ivana

Heart, love and trees

With autumn progress I feel forest as a place of evening hygiene. Trees put off unwanted dresses directly on damp ground and some of them are completely naked, ready to put snow pajamas on. Just conifers remain proudly green as if they ignore the cycle of life.

Today’s walk brings me to think about linden (Tilia). I realized that a strong linden tree needs space. To prosper, it cannot be squeezed in a tight crowd. Linden tree is wide and noble, needed a place for its majesty. It can grow on the edge of forest or in the alley, but other trees must maintain a respectful distance.

Since childhood, I was taught, that linden is our national tree. Never ever I had any idea what does it mean. I just honestly admired huge linden trees, which survived centuries. Centuries of peace and wars, centuries of children’s games and lovers’ kisses.

I remember two old linden trees in my hometown beside the church. Big sign proclaimed that they are the trees protected by the state. When you come closer, you could see huge metal belts around the trunks. And to make the protection perfect, they poured concrete into cavities. I didn’t feel any pride at all, either personal or national. I felt only sympathy for the living thing that grows despite the protection provided by the people and the state.

Today, I realized my respect and love for linden. It has nothing to do with the nation, it is a matter of heart and humanity. It responds to patient love and gifts, supplied to us from linden trees through ages. It’s no coincidence that the leaves are shaped like big hearts. Fragrant blossoms attract thousands of bees in order to produce equally fragrant honey. Tea of linden blossoms is an effective tool against fever and colds. And linden wood is an excellent inspiration for carvers of any nation to make our world more beautiful.

What are your experiences with linden or its products?

Frozen Beauty

I spent a wonderful weekend in the company of my friends, we celebrated birthday of few of us and consumed many herbs in various forms. After party we woke up to a sunny day, which attracted us to a walk in nearby forest.

As a true Scorpion born in November, I love the walks when heavy boots treading in mixture of mud and fallen leaves, sun glimmering through the trees, incoming winter feeling in the air. And that’s exactly how it was today!

Because I had pretty new boots, I proudly looked at them while walking. And suddenly I saw all the beauty around on the ground! A unique mosaic of fallen color leaves from the greatest artist, the Creator. And along the way some green plants, frozen alive. I had to admire each of individual leaf, in all details perfectly lined by hoarfrost. It was more like a delicate lace! It’s incredible with how accuracy the cold works and what creates. I was so amazed that I forgot to watch my new boots. All the frozen beauty was the most pleasant culmination of my weekend. Again, I had to realize that the treasure and the beauty of nature are above all our products.

I wish a happy birthday to all other Scorpions!