Archive for ‘Photography’

February 24, 2015


This is a picture I took in Mexico of an Oregano plant, also known as Wild Marjoram, but should not be confused with Origanum majorana, which is Marjoram. There are many common names of one plant that are confusing, so it’s best to use the universal Latin name to identify a plant. Latin names are usually in italics, to differentiate in print. The first Latin name is called the Genus, and the second name is the species of the plant. While marjoram and oregano are from the same Genus Origanum,  they are very different species: Origanum vulgare is Oregano, and Origanum majorana is Marjoram. 

The leaves on the Mexican Oregano are scalloped, unlike the smoother edged varieties in my garden. 

What other differences are there between Mexico Oregano and Greek Oregano? 

For starters the Mexican Oregano is grown in Mexico, and the Greek Oregano is grown in Greece. 

Plants that have the same Latin name can have different chemical constituents depending on where they are growing. Habitat influences plants, and alters chemistry because of factors like altitude, soil, climate, rainfall, and a host of other conditions. 

These types of plants are referred to as Chemotypes. They are the same plant in Latin name, but due to habitat may have different plant chemistry. 

Different breeding and natural selection of a Genus like Thymus, Thyme, creates many varieties of species and subspecies. 

The Mexican Oregano may have the same name as the Greek Oregano growing in my garden, but it looks different and tastes different. They may have mainly the same chemical constituents that make up Oregano, but there is enough variation in plant chemical constituents to change flavours and aroma. They may be used interchangeably, but expect different results. 

February 7, 2015

DIY Rose Tincture and Perfume for Nutritive Medicine and Skincare 🌹

Roses are such divine food, medicine and perfume, but watch out for those pointy, sharp thorns on the stem. It’s easy to see why it is such a universal symbol of love. 🌹

I collected some wild rose petals from my garden, for a rose petal tincture and essence. Wear gloves and protective clothing to harvest. Wild roses are better than the commercial varieties for medicinal use.

You can make your own perfume out of Rose petal flowers, as well as medicine.image

See my blog on how to make your own natural perfume from flowers.

Rose petal tincture is used medicinally as a nutritive for debility. Rose has a euphoric, aphrodisiac action that soothes and relaxes the nervous system. It tones digestion, reduces inflammation, and is great to use in skincare products. It is good for all skin types, especially mature skin. It’s easy to add rose water and essential oil to make your own skincare products.

See my blog on using Rose essential oil.

Rose water is what is separated from the essential oil part, and is used in cooking, baking, and for beverages.

Rose hips, collected after the flowers bloom, are delicious, nutritious medicinal food. Rose hip tea beverages and culinary soups have a pink red colour, and pack some good Vitamin C content and phytonutrients.

Here are some beautiful roses for you friends. The roses in these pictures are from my garden, so take some time to smell the roses.🌹

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Common Name  Rose hips/ flowers
Latin Name  Rosa spp.
Family Rosaceae
Parts Used Perennial- Collect flower petals during growing season. Roses lay dormant in colder climates. Collect rosehips in the Fall. Essential oil made from flowers. 
Target Organs Digestion, Central Nervous System, Nerves, Skin
Common Uses Aphrodisiac, perfume, debility, exhaustion, nutritive, inflammation, skincare, Rosehips, rosewater, are used in cooking and beverages
Properties Aphrodisiac, antidepressant, antiseptic, euphoric, antispasmodic, nutritive, astringent, mild laxative, vulnerary, diuretic, anti-inflammatory,
Constituents Essential oil : Esters: geranyl acetate, citronellyl acetate, neryl acetate, 

Sesquiterpene alcohol: farnesol, 

Aldehydes: benzaldehyde

Monoterpene alcohols: Citronellol 15-20%, geraniol 10%, linalool, nerol 15%, cedrol, linlool  

Monoterpenes: a+b pinene, limonene, camphene, b-caryophyllene, citronellal, p-cymene  

Damask rose: a-damascenone, B-damascenone, B-damscone, B-ionone, rose oxide  

Other: vitamin C, tannin, pectin, carotene, fruit acids

Cautions Do not use during pregnancy. Thorny plant, caution while harvesting.
Dosage Tincture: 1-4ml Tea rose hips, flowers


September 2, 2014

Monarch Metamorphosis

Monarch Metamorphoses

What is an ending to the caterpillar is a beginning for the butterfly. One in the same cocoon. Trust the process.

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls the butterfly.” Richard Bach

“A great beginning is sometimes at the point of what you thought would be the ending of everything.” Dodinsky

“The caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity.” George Carlin


For more information on how to help improve the Monarch butterfly population >

July 20, 2013

Rare Mammatus “Breast” Clouds

Mammatus, also known as mammatocumulus (meaning “mammary cloud” or “breast cloud”), is a meteorological term applied to a cellular pattern of pouches hanging underneath the base of a cloud. They are a rare example of clouds sinking in air, most form in rising air, and are associated with severe storms.







I saw these marshmallow skies at sunset over Toronto, Canada last night after the severe wind thunderstorm blew through. Trees were damaged and one huge tree had fallen on the path blocking it in the park.
These “Breast” clouds, probably named by a man, are seen with severe weather usually after a storm, but it is pretty hard to see during, for obvious apocalyptic type weather reasons.

These cloud formations were named Mammatus because some scientist said it looked like a cows udder. I thought they looked like marshmallows, I would have named them Marshmalltus.

If seen before a storm seek shelter immediately, some heavy weather and wind is coming your way. Although some people associate these clouds with tornadoes, it is not always the case. It was a wicked wind thunderstorm yesterday and some power lines and big trees came down as proof.
It is advised not to chase these types of storm clouds, so I’m sure lots more people will now.
It is fitting that these breast clouds showed themselves on the anniversary of the arrest of Gwen Jacob who changed the law and got topless rights for women. The goddess thanks you from the skies and so do a lot of men I’m sure. Thanks for the mammaries!!! May the Breast Cloud be with you always.


July 2, 2013

Milkweed is Important Monarch Butterfly Food


Milkweed is not a weed, it is important butterfly food. The Monarch butterfly population decline is directly related to environmental degradation, destruction of their habitat and the use of pesticides from Monsanto. The use of glyphosate developed by Monsanto in the U.S. for products like Round-up, which is the number one selling herbicide in America, are a threat to important pollinators and plants.

Read the full story here-

Monarch butterflies cannot complete their life cycle without the milkweed family. These plants are important because it is the only food source of the monarch butterfly larvae.
The female lays her eggs on the plant and the young caterpillar eats it as food. Then it turns into a butterfly to then feast on the milkweeds nectar. Eating the milkweed as its only food source, it absorbs the acidic bitter constituents from the plant and that is what deters predators from eating it.

Common milkweed has the Latin name Asclepias syriaca and is the most common milkweed, although it is not invasive, it grows in colonies like goldenrod. Milkweeds are becoming less common in some areas in North America, and that’s the reason for the declining monarch population.


Maybe it is considered a weed because of the name, but it is very pleasant smelling and the flowers are very beautiful. It blooms June to August in umbrella like clusters, with up curved horn purple petals below a crown of hoods. It releases silky parachute seeds from pods after it flowers.

It is native to North America, even though the Latin species syriaca name of the common variety suggests it is from Syria. It is common there and in Southern Europe, but it was actually brought there from North America. It is native from Quebec to Saskatchewan south into The United States.

The common name Milkweed is named so because it has a thick milky white sap that has bitter chemicals that protect it from predators. The sap and root are potentially toxic, having cardioactive compounds that influence the heart, so avoid internal use of fresh sap.

There are other Asclepias species of milkweed- butterfly weed milkweed, swamp milkweed, poke milkweed and all are important nectaring and nesting sites for the monarch butterfly. It is important to build butterfly friendly areas for monarch butterflies and other important pollinators on their flight path, and stop the use of pesticides and insecticides from Monsanto to ensure a rebound in population numbers.



October 3, 2012

The History of the Aura in Art and Photography


The rainbow around our body.

The aura is a protective energy field that emanates around us and connects to the
chakras. That is why the aura is sometimes called the eighth chakra. This shifting shield of light is as unique as we are. The aura can change size, shape and colour depending on mood, sound, frequencies, environment, and reflects physical, mental and spiritual health.

The word aura originated from the Latin word
aurea which means golden. It represents a
symbol of transcendental divinity, holiness and has a long history
of being depicted in art, particularly around religious figures.
Earlier depictions of the aura were known as the halo or corona.
The corona is the halo around the sun, and its rays of light
represented Gods like the Greek Sun God Apollo.

Ancient Egyptians
wore headdresses to show this corona in the physical material
sense. This is where the crown symbol has come from, designated for
royalty. The crown which symbolizes figureheads or god-like humans
is the halo aura power symbol of divine nature, and means
transcendence from ordinary existence.

In religious paintings of the aura, called aureole, early depictions display rays of white light or had rainbow shadings. The coloured auras gold or blue indicated
celestial glory  during the Renaissance Era.

The Italian Aura version called the Mandorla, meaning almond-shaped, indicates the in-between middle shape of the Vesica piscis symbol, that happens when two circles overlap. It represents the Virgin Mary and the birth of Christ. The painted auras had multi-layers of colours encased around the person. Rare occasions showed 7 doves, indicating the 7 gifts of the Holy Ghost, in 7 coloured layers.

A square halo around the head in art indicated an earth element, and
usually distinguished the living from the saints.

A triangle halo represented the trinity, used to represent God the father, as well
as the son and the Holy Ghost, which is the feminine mother.

A cruciform nimbus is three rays of light that form a nimbus halo, which is a cross within a circle referring to the redemption through the cross of Christ. This is an ancient symbol of a compass for travellers.

Hexagonal nimbus represented the persons having allegorical virtues.

The circular halo is the most popular, which reflects the circle of sun rays. All halo shapes express exalted states of divinity, holiness and transcendental power.

The rainbow and auras are more common in Eastern art than in
Western art. In Eastern art it is not mandatory that spiritual
beings have an aura, and everyone had an aura.

In the Sacred Art of Tibet the aura and people are inseparable, and the outermost layer usually has the 7 colours of the rainbow.

The first known photograph of the aura is from the 1890’s by electrical engineer
and pioneer inventor Nikola Tesla. Tesla used a device that
attached to the body that was able to photograph the bio-electric
energy field around the body and fingertips.

Soviet studies of documenting energy fields around living things date back to 1939,
when Semyon Kirlian, an electrician, who was working at a hospital
in Krasnodar discovered that the energy flowing between the
physiotherapy machine he had repaired and the patients skin could
be photographed. He fixed his hand to a photographic plate with an
electrode and pulled the switch. He burned his hand but managed to
capture on film the aura energy imprint around his hand. Along with
the help of his wife Valentina, he developed Kirlian photography
devices to capture this mysterious energy field. Kirlian
photography has 14 Soviet patents, and is based on directing a high
frequency electrical field that oscillates 75000-200 000 times a
second, which then captures the bio-plasma field that surrounds our
body and puts it on photography paper. There were now patterns and
correlations of auric energy captured through this electric body

Auras are for protection and communication. The size depends on personal vitality. Just like the rainbow in the sky, the rainbow around our body is a mysterious natural phenomenon, and one that we can tune into, if we are only conscious of it.

Activities that promote a healthy aura are:

meditation, a healthy diet, yoga, chakra clearing, visualization,
scanning the aura, and achieving moderation in all activities.


My aura captured by First Star which is a form of
Kirlian photography. Symbols and spirit lights sometime show up but
not for everyone.  Right before this picture was taken I
called to the angels to protect me in the four corners and four
spirit lights showed up. Thank you angels.

Although auras have every colour of the rainbow, Kirlian aura
photography acts as a biofeedback mechanism with colours and
symbols acting as guidance and feedback for us, like a reflection
in the mirror.

Bibliography: The
Rainbow Book, edited by F. Lanier Graham, Vintage Books, 1975
Viktor Adamenko, Human Control of the Bioelectric Field,
March 1973, A.R.E. journal Alexander David-Neal, Magic and Mystery
in Tibet, Dover Press, 1971 Martin Ebon, Psychic Discoveries by the
Russians, Signet books, 1971 Sheila Ostrander and Lynn schroeder,
Psychic Discoveries behind the Iron curtain, Prentice-hall, New
York Bantam 1970 Stanley Krippner and Daniel Rubin, Galaxies
of Life: Human Aura in Acupuncture and Kirlian Photography,
Gordon and Breach, 1973 Kirlian Aura: Photographing the
Galaxies of Life, Doubleday, 1974 Lowell Ponte, A Personal defense
of Parapsychology, Popular Psychology 1973 C.W. Leadbeater, Man
invisible and Invisible, Quest Books, 1969 Kilner, The Human Aura,
University Books, 1965 The Aura, Samuel Weiser 1973 Lama Govinda,
Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism, 1960

September 25, 2012

Chasing Waterfalls

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I did some waterfall chasing over the summer inspired by Mishy Laine and her beautiful pictures on her blog

I wonder if you will be surprised as I was to learn that Hamilton, Ontario, Canada is the waterfall capital of the world, but it made sense because it’s the Niagara escarpment and near Niagara falls. So time to explore my own BIG backyard of a Country in search of waterfalls. I also added waterfall pictures from my B.C. trip.

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I saw more waterfalls than I thought! I’m looking forward to photographing more in different seasons too.

July 26, 2012

Echinacea with Amazing Butterfly Pictures

Echinacea is blooming and what a beautiful butterfly magnet it is! Echinacea is the latin name that people are familiar with, but the common name for this amazing perennial wildflower is purple coneflower. ‘Echinos’ is the Greek word for sea urchin or hedgehog, which relates to the look of the center cones that resemble the spines of hedgehogs, especially when dried.

There are three types or species of Echinacea:

  1. ‘purpurea’ is the purple variety
  2. ‘angustifolia’ is the narrow leaf variety
  3. ‘pallida’ means pale, named for the paler varieties. This variety is used less  medicinally.

Do not misuse Echinacea as a long-term immune enhancer, it is not like adaptogens such as ginseng. Echinacea is a cool detoxicant that reduces infection and heat. Use it for short-term infections and acute conditions only.

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***Echinacea should only be used as short-term immune stimulant. Do not use long-term and avoid overuse. Do not pick it in the wild, it is extinct and endangered. Cultivate it yourself or buy the root dried. Echinacea is also a good ingredient in gargles, washes, compresses, syrups, and used externally to treat injuries, burns, and skin disorders.

Learn how to make your own tincture here:

Common Name  Echinacea/ Purple coneflower root
Latin Name  Echinacea spp. angustifolia/ purpurea/pallida
Family Asteraceae
Parts Used perennial flowers rarely used/ root harvested in late summer /fall after blooming
Target Organs Blood, lymphatic, skin, stomach, urogenital, immune,
Common Uses bacterial viral infections, first sign cold, flu, chills, swollen glands lymph congestion, runny stuffy nose, cough, laryngitis, food allergies, UTI, skin infections, fever, inflammation, discharge,  wounds, ulcers, burns,
Properties Cool, dry, calming, stimulating, restoring, dissolving, anti-microbial, antibacterial, antiallergenic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-toxic, astringent, alterative, anti-catarrhal, antiviral, antineoplastic, febrifuge, depurative, detoxicant, diuretic, lymphatic, decongestant, stimulating/regulating, immune stimulant, vulnerary
Constituents Essential oil, humulene, sesquiterpenes, glycoside echinoside, polysaccharides-echinacin, inulin, isobutylamides, polyines, polyenes, echinolone, betaine, tannins, resins, oleic/cerotic/ linolic/ palmatic acids, 13 polyacetylenes, enzymes, fatty acids, phytosterols, trace minerals, vitamin C
Cautions Mild remedy but may cause dizziness, nausea, numb tongue, gastric upset, cankers, throat irritation due to its stimulating nature.
Dosage Most effective: Tincture: 2-4ml                 Decoction: 6-10 g

Acute conditions like infection or onset of a cold

Take up to 2 tablespoons of decoction or 1 tsp. of tincture every two hours at acute protocols

June 19, 2012

Mayan ruins Coba and Blue Agave

The Riviera Maya in Mexico is one of my favourite places to visit and I went this past January for a couple of weeks.

I love exploring Mexico and eating delicious Mexican food. Eating gluten free and even being vegetarian is easy, because Mexican food staples are corn, beans, rice, peppers, chiles, avocados, limes, tomatoes, and the blue agave plant.

 The blue agave, also called agave azul, has the Latin name Agave tequilana L.  and it is where the popular alcohol drink Tequila comes from. Mezcal and other drinks are also made from sap found in the heart of the plant.

I explored the Mayan ruins of Coba and climbed Nohoch Mul pyramid, did some kayaking, swam in a sacred cenote swimming hole dripping with gorgeous stalagmites after being blessed by a shaman with copal smoke. We ate an amazing lunch of traditional Mayan food at a local Mayan village.

Drinking fresh coconut water on a sunny beautiful beach doesn’t hurt either! Coconut water hydrates and nourishes with nutrients of potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus,   with no cholesterol, and it tastes so good. I definitely want to go back to Mexico and explore more soon!

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June 16, 2012

What’s blooming in the Garden?

What is blooming in the garden? It feels like everything! Plants are blooming so fast, I turn around and it is almost summer. More delicious smells and tastes emerge 🙂 I wish I could capture them all!

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