Sunday, March 20, 2016

Finished My First Handmade Socks

This winter, one of my goals was to learn how to knit socks.  As luck would have it, Lucy Neatby was (and still is) offering a free knit-a-long course over on Craftsy (with video tutorials and 3 great patterns)!!!  On February 2, I found this beautiful Sweet Paprika, Pizzicato yarn I loved (color: Barn Door) and cast on to make these smocked Guernsey socks!  Today is the first day of Spring and I'm happy to say, that my very first pair is finished!!  You'll find more details on my project page over on Ravelry.  I can't wait to get started on the next pattern.  Happy Spring!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Lyme Disease Talk by Chris Marano

An informative, talk on the subject of Lyme Disease by herbalist Chris Marano, at Prakasa Yoga Studio in Goshen, MA, Saturday 4-11-15 from 1-3PM
Knowledge is power -- be better informed and equipped for dealing with acute and chronic Lyme Disease   

Lyme Disease: A Roadmap for Dealing with a Complex Disease
an informative talk with herbalist, Chris Marano, RH, MA, BS  
Prakasa Yoga Studio in Goshen, MA, Saturday April 11, 2015 from 1-3PM

By now, everyone knows about Lyme Disease, so we are beyond "Introductions." Lyme Disease is here and not going anywhere. This general talk quickly introduces the lay person to Lyme and its co-infections, and spends the majority of time offering practical and promising advice for dealing with this complex and tenacious disease. Chris Marano is a clinical herbalist with over twenty years experience, and he has been working with acute and chronic Lyme clients for the entirety of that time. His approach addresses areas of physiology, psychology, nutrition and behavior, and his insights have been of great help and hope for many people.

Cost $25

for more info and to register, contact Lynne Paterson:
info and registration:
Send emails to:

Chris Marano is a clinical herbalist of Western, Chinese, and Native American healing traditions, with a wellness practice in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts. He has over 20 years experience as a practitioner, he is a registered herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild, teaches herbalism at University of Massachusetts, is the founder of Clearpath Herbals, offering health consultations and high quality, custom-blended herbal preparations, and of Clearpath School of Herbal Medicine, dedicated to the teaching of herbalism, holistic health, and Earth-based wisdom and sustainability. For more information, visit, email, or call 978-544-5781.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

2015 International Herb Symposium

You are joyfully invited to attend this

outstanding event in Norton, MA, USA


Celebrating the Healing Power of Plants

June 12 ~ 14, 2015

"A Symposium to touch your heart and soul as well as mind and spirit, this gathering is for all people enraptured by the healing essence of herbs. The International Herb Symposium offers herbal enthusiasts an incredible opportunity to learn from the worlds leading experts in botanical medicine and herbal lore. Whether a novice or advanced in your herbal interests, the Symposium offers [over 90!] classes, workshops, panel discussions and learning experiences to touch every level of your being."

I'm so thrilled to be registered to attend again this year!  What a great opportunity to meet new people, incredible herbalists, favorite authors and an international community of unbelievable instructors!!  There are over 90 classes to choose from throughout the weekend plus a host of great herb walks, yoga classes, and after-dark activities! Check out the on-line schedule!! This is one weekend you won't want to miss!!

If you are looking for a group to register with to qualify for the group discount, please email me as we are looking to grow our group to qualify as well.... near or far, we can register under the same group name!

Green blessings,
Val :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Witch's Brews, Magick Potions, and Obscure Elixers

Tonight I am celebrating Samhain with a seasonal plant medicine circle.  We will be dismantling, understanding, and re-creating the "magickal" formulas of early herblore.  Many of the herbs in these old formulas contained poisonous and psychotropic plants, as well as an element of mystery and magick.

For my contribution, I thought I would explore potions made with the wormwood that is still thriving in my garden - even in the cool autumn weather.  This potent herb is the main ingredient in Absinthe, but I have never experimented with it, so I went looking online for someone who has!

I came upon this fantastic site that has several recipes to share, steps for making absinth, an overview of professional absinthe, mixed drink recipes, and properties of absinthe ingredients.  Check it out!

Remember: Some of the substances mentioned there can be toxic and may result in injury and very nasty hangovers. Please consult reliable medical information before attempting to ingest the substances listed there. Continued use of absinthe can result in addiction, convulsions, and possibly death.

Wormwood itself has some very interesting history.
  • It has been a religious herb among both Hebrew and Greek cultures.
  • Sacred to Artemis and Diana.
  • Said to have been handed down from Artemis to the Herbalists through Chiron (a centurian) as a primary healing herb.
Some strong ancient traditions.
  • Made into the (now outlawed) "highly-addictive and dangerous liqueur", absinthe.
  • Counteracting the effects of poisoning by hemlock and toadstools (caution - unproven).
  • Plant in general purpose gardens or gardens intended for love, healing, or divination.
And some very interesting magick.
  • A most potent herb, it is used in less common works of magick.
  • Use this herb to vent anger and negative energy in a peaceful, creative means.
  • When a group works magick, this herb can be used to stop war or to inhibit the enemy.
  • In tarot, it can be used with the Lovers card.
  • A visionary herb used in prophecy and divination (especially in combination with mugwort).
  • Worn or burned in incenses to aid in developing psychic powers.
  • Carried to protect against bewitchment and the bite of sea serpents.
  • Hug from rear view mirrors to protect vehicles from accidents on treacherous roads.
  • Used in love potions, mixtures, or spells and can be placed under the bed to draw a loved one.
  • Burned to summon spirits (sometimes mixed with sandalwood).  According to ancient grimoires, if wormwood is burned in graveyards, the spirits of the dead will rise and speak!
  • Throw onto fires on Samhain to gain protection from spirits roaming the night.
It can also be used for herb scrying.
  • Get a small quantity of dried patchouli, mugwort, or wormwood.
  • Crumble the herb between your hands until it is finely diminished.
  • Pour into a small square pan (glass or ceramic).
  • Light yellow candles and place the pan on your working area.
  • You may also want to burn scrying incense.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Extend the index finger of your weak hand.
  • Gently touch the centre of this pan with your finger tip.
  • Move your finger at random shifting from one direction to another without conscious pattern for a few minutes.
  • Remove your finger and open your eyes.
  • You can now interpret the symbols you have written in the herb.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Farewell to our local Little Mysteries shop

I've enjoyed many hours browsing in Little Mysteries!!  Best wishes on your future endeavors, guys!!
silverhorse mimi final

Farewell from the Little Mysteries Crew

Little Mysteries Books is now closed.
We would like to to take a moment to express our deep gratitude to all our loyal customers and friends, as well as to the Little Mysteries staff, both current and past. Over the past 20 years, we've had so very many wonderful experiences, thought-provoking conversations, adventures, and life lessons. Everyone's support, suggestions, and enthusiasm helped to shape and grow the store over the years.
Many, many thanks from myself, Sandra, Amanda, and everyone at Little Mysteries.

Our Readers

Many of you have been asking how you can contact our various readers, now that the shop is wrapped up.
Nerissa (Tarot and Palm Readings): She can be found at or by emailing
Kelliena (Psychic Readings): Kelliena can be reached via her website:
Pierre (Tarot Reading): Pierre can be contacted at 902 229 6532.


We still have some store fixtures and displays available for anyone interested (from small to large). Drop me an email at if you're interested in picking up anything for your own business or home.

Monday, December 16, 2013

David Winston Herbal Salons

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David Winston Herbal "Salon" Free Link to Recordings for Store & Practitioner Customers 

Thanks to our Customers for your enthusiastic support of David Winston's Educational Herb Webcast Discussion Series! In each, David gives an overview on the topic while explaining in detail why he uses certain herbs in his formulas. Participants post questions for David as he is speaking. We are pleased to offer free links to previously recorded "Herbal Salons".  
A sampling of recent comments:  
  • I've been meaning to do these classes forever. What a wonderful way to learn.
  • David is a great teacher. I learn a lot from him and will continue to do so.  
  • Thank you to everyone involved in these presentations.
  • It was great!    
  • Thank you!!!!!!! 
Look for your invite to the next David Winston Herbal Salon* 
2014 Herbal Schedule  
January 8th   
February 5th
March (TBD)
April 9th
May 7th
June 4th
July (TBD)
August (TBD)
September 3rd
October (TBD)
November 5th
December 3rd  
*Topics and Dates subject to change
Salons are scheduled one Wednesday per month at 11AM ET  
Links to All the Recent Herbal Salon Recordings   

The holiday season can be both a happy and stressful time.  David discusses the importance of distinguishing between what is considered normal stress and anxiety and when stress and anxiety start to impact emotional health.  Sleep can be affected when suffering from depression or anxiety.  In winter, our bodies want to follow the natural cycle of shorter days and longer nights but modern society does not allow it.  Sleep is foundational and it is recommended that most people need at least 8 hours of sleep.  Formulas discussed include Emotional Relief™ Tension Relief™, Grief Relief™, Gentle-Man™, Serenity Compound™, Phytocalm™ and Kids Calmpound Glycerite™.  Single Herbs discussed include Wood Betony, Wild Lettuce, and Kava.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine the lungs are call the "tender organ".  It is the organ most affected by heat, cold, dampness, dryness & wind.  As we enter into cold and influenza season, there is an increase of respiratory problems.  David discusses the importance of choosing the right energetic lung formula - vital in keeping the condition from worsening.  David discusses how each of his lung formulas are used for different lung patterns.   Formulas discussed include Lung Relief™ Antispasmodic, Cold/Dry, Cold/Damp, Hot/Dry, and Hot/Damp.  Respiratory Calmpound™ and J.Kloss Anti-Spasmodic Compound are also discussed as well as the single herbs Houttuynia, Propolis and Usnea.

(please note the recording login page is slightly different this month--if you have any problems watching this recording please contact Telspan Web Services ph# 800-898-2315)

David focuses on common childhood complaints and ailments, many of which relate to their immature and developing immune systems.  The foundations of children's health are diet, sleep, exercise, and environmental factors.  David's focal point of any remedy for a child is to keep it very mild, safe, have no significant toxicity, and taste good.  Most children cannot easily swallow pills, so the use of liquid herbal remedies, herbal teas, and the addition of solid herbal extracts can play a great roll in maintaining health.  David discusses the herbs contained in his Children's formulas: Healthy Kid's CompoundTM, Kid's Tummy ReliefTM, Kid's Calmpound GlyceriteTM, Compound Mullein OilTM, Focus FormulaTM, and Hawthorn Solid ExtractTM.  Additional single herbs discussed include Peppermint, Goldenseal Glycerite, Valerian Glycerite, Linden, Fennel and Elderflower.    

Maintaining an active lifestyle is key to healthy aging.  Emotional and mental stimulation, a good diet and adequate exercise are all necessary for enabling good health as we age.  David Winston discusses age related topics including Arthritis, Hypertension, Osteoporosis, and Impaired Digestion.  Included in the discussion are his formulas Muscle/Joint TonicTM, Aspirea CompoundTM, Burdock/Red Root CompoundTM, Cardio CalmpoundTM, Hawthorn Solid ExtractTM, OsteoHerbTM, Herb-CalTM, Bitter's CompoundTM, Carminative CompoundTM and Gingko/Horse Chestnut CompoundTM.  Single herbs discussed include Devil's Club, Ashwaghanda, Black Cohosh, Black Haw, Dandelion leaf, Chrysanthemum, Sichuan Teasel, and processed Rehmannia.   

There is a long history of using specific herbs for treating eye conditions and diseases.  Our population suffers from various age related and inflammatory related eye conditions.  Herbs and nutritional supplements can be very important for maintaining eye health.  David goes into detail the use of each herb in the formula Insight CompoundTM as well as the benefits of Blueberry Solid ExtactTM, Elderberry Solid ExtractTM, Cranberry Blueberry Solid ExtractTM and Lycium fruit.  Single herbs discussed include Amla, Eclipta, Tienchi Ginseng, Yellow Sweetclover, Self Heal, and Ligustrum Berry.  Circulation is also a vital part of eye health.  Ginkgo Horse ChestnutTM as well as the single herbs Cayenne, Lesser Periwinkle and Prickly Ash are discussed.                    

Age brings musculoskeletal issues such as reduced circulation, arthritis, chronic knee pain or bulging discs. David discusses how hormesis (combination of herbs targeting many different receptors, tissues and enzymes) may benefit these conditions. Formulas discussed include Fitness FormulaTM, Muscle/Joint TonicTM, J. Kloss Anti-Spasmodic Compound, and Aspirea CompoundTM. Herbs can have an effect on both internal bone structure and external skin health, for example enhancing bone health by using the mineral rich OsteoHerbTM and Herb-CalTM may also have an adjunct benefit for healthy skin. David also has a wide ranging discussion on Healthy Skin TonicTM as well as the single herbs Amla, Kudzu, Cramp Bark, Yellow Sweetclover, Black Haw, Mullein root, Roman Chamomile, and Feverfew.                   

June is Men's Health Month. David discusses how diet and herbs can alter testosterone levels, sperm count and the epigenomics as men age. Herbs contained in the formulas Men's FormulaTM, Men's Prostate TonicTM, and Gentle-ManTM are reviewed. Also discussed are the specific properties of Cleavers, Pipsissewa, Mullein Root, American Ginseng, Cordyceps, He Shou Wu, Rhodiola, and Sichuan Teasel.                  

May is Women's Health Month. David discusses the herbal formulas used as a women moves through the premenstrual to post menopausal phases in her life. Learn how the complex personalities of herbs are combined into different formulas for each phase. Compound formulas reviewed include Women's CalmpoundTM, Women's FormulaTM, Women's Transition CompoundTM, Full Moon - Women's Anti-Spasmodic CompoundTM, Uterine TonicTM, Replenish CompoundTM and Reckless Blood TonicTM. In addition to the herbs contained in the formulas, he discusses the specific properties of False Unicorn, Lady's Mantle, Partridge berry, White Ash bark, and Damiana.                

Seasonal Allergies can be managed by keeping the inflammatory index low enough not to have symptoms. Immune Amphoterics, Immunoregulators, and Antiinflammatory/ Antioxidant herbal supplements should be started before the allergy season even begins. David discusses how prevention is better than treatment, and what to do if treatment is needed. Compounds discussed include Sinus SupportTM, Respiratory CompoundTM, Seven Precious MushroomsTM, Immune AdaptTM and Immune BalanceTM. Useful for Eye and Nasal Allergy symptoms are Blueberry Solid Extract, Elderberry Solid Extract and Pomegrante-Goji Solid Extract. Single herbs and their specific qualities discussed include Chinese Salvia (Dan Shen), Gotu Kola, Sarsaparilla, and Amla.                

March is National National Kidney Month and David Winston discusses the use of herbs to nourish the Kidney, enhance diuresis, and prevent Urinary Tract Infections. David goes into detail discussing Kidney ReliefTM, Kidney SupportTM, and UT CompoundTM as well as the excellent antiinflammatory qualities of Cranberry Blueberry Solid Extract. Single herbs and their specific qualities discussed include Dandelion leaf, Juniper Berry, Marshmallow, Kava, Lobelia, Horsetail, Stinging Nettle leaf, Khella, Yellow Root, and Bergamot.               

February is Heart Health Month. David Winston discusses the use of herbs to strengthen and nourish the heart and cardiovascular system. The Heart is more than just a pump but also stores Shen and consciousness. The heart has significant Endocrine function and has receptors for every hormone and neuropeptide in the body. Some of formulas David goes into detail in discussing are Healthy Heart CompoundTM, Cardio CalmpoundTM, and Ginkgo/Horse ChestnutTM as well as the wonderful strengthening and nourishing qualities of Hawthorn Solid Extract. Single herbs discussed include Dong Quai and Corydalis yanhusuo.              

Herbs can improve, tonify and nourish the major eliminatory organs--the Liver, the Kidney, the Lungs, the Lymph, the Skin, or the Bowel--resulting in their performing their roles more effectively. David discusses his Cleansing Protocol that gently enhances the function of all eliminatory organs without weakening or damaging the body. The Cleansing Protocol includes his formulas: GentlelaxTM, Burdock/Red Root CompoundTM, ThistlesTM, and Healthy Skin TonicTM. David also discusses how to maintain a well functioning digestive system as the path to maintaining healthy weight balance.  He explains in detail his choice of herbs in Bitters CompoundTM, Carminative CompoundTM, Kid's Tummy ReliefTM and Intestinal CalmpoundTM, as well as the single herbs Artichoke and Marshmallow.             
If you have enjoyed these lectures, you will love David Winston's next 2 Year Herbal Studies Program. Next class begins in 2014!
Center For Herbal Studies
Don't miss this wonderful opportunity to learn about hundreds of herbs and how to use them for specific conditions from a world renowned herbalist.  For more information, visit his Center for Herbal Studies Website.
Beth Lambert
Herbalist & Alchemist

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