New to the apothecary: Fade Into You...
It's been a really long time since I've posted a blog here. Honestly, I'm terrible at keeping up with this and I'm only doing it now because what I've written is way too long for a social media post. It's also probably the most personal thing I've ever published for public consumption, save for a few MySpace surveys back in college, but it's about the most personal formula I've created so far. So, here it goes....read on to learn all about my latest elixir, why it was created and how it works.
When I was 11, I fell in love with a song. What can I say? I was an early-’90s, angsty-song-loving, Scorpio pre-teen cliché. When I heard that haunting chord progression on the radio, I stopped everything and listened to the mysterious song with the open ears of a child. Now, nearly 25 years later, those velvety opening chords still stop me in my tracks. Hope Sandoval’s moody, evocative voice made me quite sure Fade Into You was written just for me. After all, hadn’t we all experienced that kind of deeply romantic yet emotionally unavailable love by fifth grade? I sure thought I had. At 11, I was certain that’s what love felt like — mystical and consuming, with an element of sorrow.
Four years ago, I blew through all my carefully constructed personal boundaries and let my typically guarded heart fall hard — and fast. I made plans with someone. Life. Plans. There was a 600-mile move to be made, land to be purchased, a house to be built, dogs to be raised, lives to be lived — together. If you know me, you know that I mostly live in the present and try hard not to obsess too much about the future. I’m ruled by a fixed sign, so if I actually do make plans and they don’t come to fruition, my mind and body object — it might actually give me hives. Follow-through is everything to me.
Sixteen months in, I discovered that the person with whom I’d spent so much time scheming and dreaming wasn’t actually emotionally available to me, and my world shuddered to a halt. My lovely, methodically envisioned timeline was wiped away. I was wrecked — and I’m not generally a wreckable person. I had to focus so intensely on not becoming completely unhinged that there are parts of 2015 and 2016 that are hazy to me now. However, if there’s one thing I am, it’s resilient — so I relearned how to do life alone and how to whittle down the deepest love I’d ever experienced to friendship.
This time last year, I created Unbreak My Heart, an elixir to nourish, heal and gladden a broken heart — my broken heart. At the time, I hadn’t considered what my new, mended heart would look like; I just focused on the mending. I didn’t know my boundaries would be sky high and locked up tighter than ever. I didn’t realize that I would guard my heart and all of myself in a way I never had. And I wasn’t prepared for the immense amount of fear and anxiety I would experience when inviting in someone new.
When I first started naming my apothecary formulas after songs, I knew my favorite Mazzy Star standby would come into play at some point, but I didn’t know what form it would take. I probably should have made this sooner, but I wasn’t sure which plants I wanted to include. I also wanted to do justice to the song and my connection with it. I didn’t know what I really needed and what would also translate into a good formula to share with others. Maybe if I made it a few months ago, I wouldn’t have recently missed out on what might have developed into something great — maybe I wouldn’t have ruined my first real opportunity to open up to someone new. On the other hand, if I hadn’t met someone I really like, who I wanted more than anything to let in if I could just remember how, I wouldn’t have messed up and found myself in need of the formula that would soothe my heart and mind the way I always imagined the song could. Somehow, my preteen self connected with that song and recognized it as something I would need two decades down the road.
So here’s Fade Into You, a disarming elixir for breaking down boundaries, opening your heart, calming your anxiety and fears, letting go and easing into something new…
Heather flower (Calluna vulgaris): I’ve always known that my full name (Heather Colleen) literally translates to “plant (or flower) girl,” but until last year, I hadn’t spent any time working with my namesake plant. Because this is a deeply personal formula for me, in addition to its relevant actions, I wanted to include it.
On a spiritual level, heather is used in spells and rituals for new beginnings, self-discovery and rain-making. It can bring feelings of peace, protection and positive energy. On a physical level, it supports the generative system and urinary tract. It’s an anti-spasmodic that can soothe nervousness and insomnia.
Hawthorn berry, leaf and flower (Crataegus monogyna): Hawthorn is a plant that has actions on both the physical and spiritual heart. Hawthorn can allow us to break down boundaries we’ve built up to protect our hearts in response to past trauma, fear, etc. Hawthorn is an excellent ally for the guarded person who doesn’t feel capable of giving or deserving of receiving love. It encourages self-esteem and helps summon courage to allow us to achieve a truly open heart. Hawthorn berries are high in flavonoids and are restorative to the cardiovascular system. Hawthorn thorns can be worn or used in rituals for protection.
Damiana (Turnera diffusa): Damiana is often the first plant people think of when they hear the term “aphrodisiac,” but it’s so much more than that. It’s a powerful nervine that can allow us to relax and let go. It can restore an exhausted nervous system and calm us down from the most stressful situations. It can stir the heart and quicken the flow of blood, reminding us of the warmth of summer in the dead of winter. It can be especially helpful in situations where outside stressors lead to issues with intimacy. Because of its nervine actions, it is a great ally for those who struggle with depression, anxiety and nervous exhaustion — particularly in cases where issues surrounding sex, trauma-related or not, are a factor.
Kava kava (Piper methysticum): Simply stated, kava is magic. It can help you to relax without feeling sedated. It allows those who are riddled with social anxiety to feel more at ease around people and find the right words to say. Kava can soothe feelings of fear and melt away tension that may be holding us back from something. It unwinds the muscles and the mind and helps you feel at peace. It’s also anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and warming. It’s not necessarily great for long-term use. It’s better used as part of a short-term intentional practice, but there is only a small amount in this formula so its effects will be more mild than if it were consumed in a full-strength infusion or as part of a ritual.
Rose petals (Rosa centifolia): Rose evokes the spirit of love in the heart and mind. Like Hawthorn, roses remind us that both strength/boundaries/protection (thorns) and softness/openness/vulnerability (soft, delicate flowers) can coexist in one being and can help us balance those qualities within ourselves. Rose petals get our blood moving and open us up to giving and receiving love. The intoxicating scent of a rose can relieve depressive moods and even create a feeling of mild euphoria. It’s also calming, cooling and healing to wounds, both physical and emotional.
Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa): Hibiscus encourages movement and release in the sacral region at the base of the spine. It allows us to open up to intimate connections with ourselves or others and can draw us toward love.
Other ingredients: brandy, raw honey
Available in the online apothecary in one and two ounce bottles.