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WINTER 2017/2018



Secrets Of The Kripalu Kitchen The best Ayurvedic kitchen can be found in The Berkshires

Oiling for Winter Months Learn the top 5 winter essential oils and Aba Love Apothecary's favorite infusions



Editor's Note ERICA JOY DUNN Perhaps it’s the plummeting temperature in Brooklyn or the

Ayurvedic kitchen in our feature article and learn about new

image of the snow-covered mountains of last year, but all we

ways to explore your mind and body with essays by Mossy

can think about in our cozy offices is our need to travel this

Moon Medicinals and Laura White of Soul Addict.

winter. If you are preparing for the long months of winter or traveling Traveling takes many forms. Whether it’s the trip to the

to wintry climes, we have wonderfully helpful essays on winter

Berkshires or a transformative cup of tea, the way our defiant

essential oils by Aba Gyepi-Garbrah and the teas you need to

minds play with taking a winter interlude is nothing short of a

rebalance your body in the new year by Kelley Hoag.

miracle. As much as we’d love to escape the chill, some of the most In this issue we embrace that wanderlust by exploring the

lasting journeys we take our with our within our own bodies.

power of travel, the places we’ve traveled to, and our

Carey Davidson discusses her healing path through exploring

unending desire to experience things big and small. Walk with

an Ayurvedic diet and Lauren Mooney interviews Anna Toonk, a

us through the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health's magical

psychic intuitive reader, about her craft and the space she creates within herself for others.

Whatever journeys you take this winter, whether big or small, psychic or through the air, we hope you follow your desires and may your desires lead you to a wonderful 2018. xo The Wellness Mercantile



Hormones travel through our bloodstream and can affect


everything from our metabolism to our sexual function. Our

Ginger is a root and roots are known for their grounding,

bodies are constantly working to maintain balance but when

balancing, anti-inflammatory properties. Foods have

our hormones are off-kilter, there are natural remedies to get

frequencies and vibrations which is why roots have those

them back in sync. The following roots and herbs are known to

balancing properties that help us center the opposing energies

help our bodies remain in, or return to, homeostasis. To

in our body. Consuming high vibrational foods and herbs

incorporate these herbs into your daily life, look for them in

connects us to the earth, our life source, and keeps us

organic teas. Consuming these herbs with hot water gets you


started with calming the body down and hoping with overall digestion.


Dandelion tea is best known for its detoxification purposes. SPEARMINT

Drinking dandelion helps the liver get rid of toxins and excess

As a member of the mint family, this tea has a refreshing flavor

hormones in the bloodstream. A healthy liver is a key

that supports digestion, helps calms nerves and promotes

component to maintain balance in the body. You can even

relaxation. Cortisol, known as the stress hormone, needs to be

make your own. It is safe to consume the entire dandelion and

kept in check. Spearmint aides in balancing coristol levels and

the benefits are countless from preventing urinary tract

can therefore reduce a number of issues from sleep disruption

infections to balancing blood sugar levels. Take a dig in your

to weight gain. Spearmint is a key player in keeping the body

garden and brew the stems in hot water to reap the benefits of

balanced and at ease.

this incredible, edible flower.  

"Holy Basil . . . is a potent hormone balancer and known as the 'elixir of life.'"

acne and blemishes and combat dry skin. Rooibos also has both stress relieving and energizing properties, calming the nervous system while giving our bodies a natural dose of energy. 


Raspberry leaf comes from the plant of a raspberry and has been used for years to support female hormones. It seems to


potentially have a direct effect on the uterus, especially for

Holy Basil, also known as Tulsi, is a potent hormone balancer

pregnant women, leading to shorter labor and a decreased

and known as the "elixir of life." Holy Basil is an adaptogen,

need for C-sections. It also may ease menstrual discomfort.

which means it helps the body fight off stress, from inner anxieties to environmental stressors. Simply keeping this plant in your home has a number of benefits, but consuming it has both medicinal and spiritual benefits. It can be used for adrenal support and to restore overall balance in the body.

Kelley Hoag is the founder and coach of Root to Rise, a holistic health and wellness practice that blends Applied Behavioral Analysis and Integrative Nutrition. For more information about


This tea is rich in alpha hydroxy acid and zinc which can reduce

Kelley and her practice, visit



The best ways to use oils in the winter months with a focus on

Infusions offer full botanical benefits and a gentle way of using

warming, protective & soothing oils.

the healing power of plants in combination of nutrient dense oils. Use organic herbs that are 100% dried and make sure


your chosen herbs are OK for skin contact. WHY SHOULD YOU BE OILING YOUR BOD?

           With intention, you are giving yourself a healing touch,                   releasing lymph fluid and promoting circulation


           You are getting to know your body- perhaps you may       

1.  Calendula (calendula officinalis) – yields a gorgeous golden

              find tender or sore spots that need more attention

oil; soothes skin irritations such as dry chapped skin & diaper

           Adds a layer of protection from the elements and                 


          provides extra warmth in cold climate

2.  Arnica (arnica montana) – for arthritic joints & sore muscle

          Feeds the skin with fatty acids & nutrients our bodies do 


          not make on their own

3.  Lavender (lavendula angustifolia) - another wonderful skin

          Naturally opens you up to touch & affection, as you will     

soother, calms redness, anti-microbial

          be feeling and smelling delicious

4.  Rose (rosa damascena ) -  Supremely skin softening; will be

          Don’t end at the body, also useful for scalp massage &

be more economical than purchasing the essential oil, an

          hot oil treatments for the hair

infusion with rose petals will still yield a gorgeous smelling oil!


           Peppermint – invigorating, refreshing and uplifting; has   

1.  Argan oil ( argania spinosa )  – high vitamin e content & rich

            warming effect when used on the body; respiratory           

in essential fatty acids. Argan is also in our Body Tonic


2.  Sunflower oil ( helianthus annuus ) – high in fatty, oleic acid; wonderful for adding enhancing the skins barrier function

* if you are pregnant or nursing, consult with your physician before

( extra protective in cold climates)!

using herbs/essential oils Visit to see the full Aba Love


Apothecary line of hand-crafted botanical skin care products.

          Fresh Ginger ( zingiber offinicinal e) – zippy, warming,                    uplifting & aphrodisiac             Rose Geranium ( pelargonium graveolens ) circulation                    boosting, heart opening, yin energy. Rose Geranium is                    also in our Flower Crown Facial Serum

Aba Gyepi-Garbrah is the founder and creator of Aba Love

          Black spruce  (picea mariana) – adrenal support, relief of 

Apothecary. The love of plant medicine led her to a discovery of

            emotional fatigue; encourages fortitude

exotic flowers, humble weeds & seeds, precious oils, sacred woods

          Vetiver – supremely grounding, protective, soothes             

and resins that were rich in telling the stories of natures secrets and

          anxiety. Vetiver is also in our Grooming

the history of the world.


In life, whether you identify as a male, female or neither, we

weekly routine. Weaving it into a routine, can help keep the

carry a masculine and feminine energy, these energies go

energies aligned.

beyond defined gender. We should always be striving to keep them both in balance. Our masculine energy deals with the

Mugwort, also known as Artemisia vulgaris, has historically

right side of our body and expresses our traits of ego, logic and

been connected to the feminine. It’s latin name Artemisia hints

structure. Feminine energy focuses more on the left side

at its’ connection to the Greek deity, Artemis, Goddess of the

connecting with the deep self, following intuition, being

moon and hunt. Like Artemis, Mugwort’s connection to the

receptive, emotions and dreamtime.

moon is strong, its trident leaves and silvery back shine bright when the moon is full. It is also quite the resilient plant,

In our culture, it can be difficult to maintain a balance between

thriving in urban environments, bursting through cracks in the

the two. Masculine energy seems to rule the way we work and

sidewalk, growing in abandoned, alongside roads and near

run on our lives, which is necessary to help drive us. With our


feminine energy it helps to keep us balanced, grounded and connect to our true selves. The concept of masculine and

Medicinally, Mugwort is helpful with menses, by bringing forth

feminine energies are not only found in humans, but in all life

blood flow, aiding in digestion and connecting one to dream

forces, such as plants and stones. We can connect to these

time. There are several ways you can connect with mugwort.

allies, to shift any imbalances that we may hold.

You can burn it, drink it as a tea (although it is quite bitter, so drinking it isn’t for everyone), you can also smoke it or hang a

We suggests three plants that carry feminine energy and

lovely sprig above your bed to help you connect to your

various ways of how to incorporate them into your daily or


Another beautiful plant that can help you dive deeper and

Yarrow can help circulate our energy flow, ground and protect

connect with the feminine is Rose. This flower is connected

us. This ability to create a safe space to regenerate ourselves is

with the element of earth, a grounding force. Energetically, it is

very much the feminine energy within us. To connect with

light and sweet; both emotionally and spiritually healing. In

yarrow, you can try it as a tea, though it is a bit bitter, easier

Ayurveda, it is said that rose can be used for anything. A true

for some to take as a tincture. It’s flower essence is a lovely

love herb, it is warming and uplifting. One way to incorporate

ritual as well when in need of yarrow’s energy.

rose is by spraying rose water during a time of stress, calming your energy. In the hotter days of summer, it is a nice practice

These three herbs are a wonderful place to start. Some

to add roses to a jug of water, letting it infuse over night in the

practices you can accompany with these herbs are yoni steams

refrigerator, to be enjoyed cold and fresh in the morning. It is

(like an herbal face steam for your bits), yoni eggs (stones that

sweet as an herbal cigarette, mixed with tulsi and mullein,

you place in the yoni, to help strengthen muscles and bring

nourishing the body and helping to regenerate the lungs.

energy to this power center), and yoni flushes (modernly known as douching, but in this case with herbs). There are a

Another powerful herb is Yarrow, Achillea millefolium, named

variety of ways to pull in your female energy and simple

after the Greek warrior Achilles and the plant’s million leaves.

methods to weave them into your daily practices; either by

Energetically, Yarrow is a protective plant,to keep us focused

adding a tea to your morning routine, rolling up an herbal

and safe. This allows us the peace of mind and the space to

cigarette under the moon, trying a yoni steam before or after

reconnect with the strength of the feminine energy. Medically,

your period ... whichever ritual sings out to you, pick your

yarrow is great for the menses, helping to regulate blood

favorite herb and try it out.

flow. In fact, it can help promote blood flow or slow it down.  This ability to balance the flow of blood in the body, is similar

Mossy Moon Medicinals. Based in Brooklyn. Owned and run by

to the energetic properties of the flower essence, in that when

two Western Herbalists, Amanda and Katrine.

we are overstimulated or overworking ourselves, we bleed our

life energy.

Instagram: @mossy.moon Email:


Just as crystals, mushroom coffee, adaptogenic herbs, and palo

foundational way. In ancient times, women were thought to be

santo have found their way onto our bedside tables and into

the ‘guardians’ of herbal knowledge. My personal favorite is

hearts, the new-age concept of ‘cannabis for wellness’ is

the story of one of the most proclaimed herbalist women

becoming an open topic for women everywhere to explore.

healers in the Middle Ages, a woman by the name of Saint

While research and studies are accumulating and becoming

Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179). A mystical woman thought

more widely available as to how cannabis works to empower

to be a revolutionary of her time and one of the first to state

health, there’s a lot to learn if you’re curious about adding it to

the importance of the relationship between our mind, body

your wellness ritual. As popularity grows, women are

and spirit. She was granted sainthood by the Roman Catholic

beginning to test its benefits in the most unlikely of places,

Church for her work as a gifted herbalist and healer, authoring

from smoothie bowls to adaptogenic lattes (with dried rose

an entire book dedicated to sharing her knowledge of plants.

sprinkles!) to name a few. While it might seem like a novel trend, the truth is cannabis and women have had a long,

As popularity grew in Europe, women turned to cannabis for

powerful, history with one another for ages—4,000 years of

help. It’s recorded that many cultures would make thick

plant magic merged with mystic women, to be exact.

cannabis-infused salves to use for sore, pre-menstrual breasts and as an after-nursing aid after giving birth. In 1890, Queen Victoria was a fan of easing her cramps and helping balance


hormones with a cannabis tincture. As we progressed in our

Women and plants, from a historical perspective, seem to have

practice of self-care there’s also documentation that women

shaped much of our relationship with healing itself in a

from all over the world would soak in cannabis baths to relax.

In short, women of the past would be big fans of the Whoopi

‘high’ or cause mind-altering effects. I am well aware

and Maya cannabis empire that’s building as I type.

deciphering the proper cannabis lingo can get confusing even if you’re a seasoned canna-connoisseur or a curious wellness

Even in what seems to be much more mystical times where


women would be persecuted as ‘witches’ and ‘practitioners of dark magic,’ we have always managed to find our way back to

To simplify, CBD can be found in both marijuana and the hemp

nature to explore plant-based remedies, regardless of the

plant, which are jointly members of the Cannabis plant species,

harsh consequences. We’re natural nurturers and intuitive

but the ‘high’ feeling associated with cannabis comes from

creatures, and history will continue to repeat itself when

THC, not CBD. Marijuana is essentially the opposite of the

something simply works.

Hemp plant with high THC content, and often lower CBD content. Hence CBD’s coveted arrival on retail shelves and


I started my own journey of exploring cannabis, namely CBD

online storefronts to making appearances in ingestible elixirs and skincare.

from hemp, as potent natural option to help aid my often numbing anxiety and hormonal shifts that seem synchronistic

So how does it work? CBD’s potency comes from the

while navigating your late 20s and 30s. CBD is what is often

'cannabinoid’ content that naturally occurs in the leaves, stalk,

referred to as ‘cannabidiol’ and the misconceptions about

and flowers of Cannabis Sativa. CBD relates and

this natural cannabis compound are many (read: 2 a.m. trip to

essentially can ‘talk with’ regulatory receptors (cells) in

a greasy drive-thru, order half the menu, drive away

our body as  cannabinoids are something our bodies already

laughing for no reason will not be your takeaway experience

naturally produce through what’s called our Endocannabinoid

here). Part of CBD’s appeal is that it’s not going to get you ‘

System. (Fun fact: They’re even found in our vital organs and in

things like broccoli and chocolate.) This complex system’s

worked for me. There is something powerful about using a

main function is to balance vital functions between our mind

plant to help naturally create noticeable, positive, and calming

and body and is meant to create homeostasis through

shifts within your body. Especially after visiting doctors who

regulating things like stress, sleep, anxiety, appetite, mood,

quickly wrote you off, promptly writing an Rx when you clearly

pain, and immunity.

said it wasn’t an option you were quite ready to explore, just yet.

When our body is out of balance, our endocannabinoid system can get wonky, too. Our body’s ability to produce cannabinoids


over time, like many other functions, can lag and when you

What’s the best way to add this natural plant remedy to your

take CBD, it's like re-engaging this system’s ability to work

self-care routine? I often tell women our bodies will always

optimally. Once this happens, a whole body re-balance can be

respond differently to new wellness rituals, so my advice is to

reinstated from a holistic perspective, heavily aligning with

'play with different ways of using CBD. As a wellness and

women’s health. From reported healthier responses to anxiety

beauty junkie, it’s even more exciting to explore it’s benefits

and stress to a study that showed a correlation between our

with more and more out-of-the-box product lines sharing a

endocrine system better able to regulate hormonal shifts in

new aesthetic for women to try their hand at how CBD could

our bodies.

work for them. My personal favorites range from adding your favorite CBD oil to superfood lattes (I love mixing up different

After researching numerous natural alternatives, I decided

tonics with Sun Potion herbs), ‘baking’ raw brownies, adding to

that this seemingly magical CBD could help. After a month of

smoothies, or if you’re on-the-run you can always ingest the oil

exploring its effects, I felt as if I’d found a plant remedy that

directly by holding under your tongue for a few seconds.

My company, Soul Addict, is also about to launch an adaptogenic CBD chocolate (my vision for a new healthy, functional, and high vibe version of your typical grocer’s

The Wellness Mercantile and its materials are not intended to

chocolate spread!), so the possibilities for women to create a

treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on

fun space to naturally address and take on healing our body’s

The Wellness Mercantile is provided for educational purposes

shifts is becoming limitless as the industry grows and

only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another

empowers its mission with women at the forefront. With

qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have

women, at this very moment, taking the lead in this multi-

regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any

billion dollar industry one thing is for sure; the future of

diet, exercise or other health related program.

Cannabis is Femme. To be honest as many great love affairs start, this cannabisexploring journey of mine is still continuing which has, so far, led me to launch my own naturally grown, hemp-sourced CBD wellness line called Soul Addict with a mission to connect with

Laura White is a western North Carolina native and the founder of

women from all backgrounds to inspire the rediscovery of the

Soul Addict. For more information on the line of new age hemp

potency of plant-based remedies.

wellness products, visit

feature SECRETS









There is something special about Kripalu and it's hard to describe.

I had never been on a yoga retreat or gone on a spa trip so I didn't really have any expectations. What drew me to Kripalu was the yoga and the Ayurvedic cooking. My first visit to Kripalu was last winter and I had booked three night as an R&R guest needing to get out of the city. The drive to Kripalu was beautiful and snowy. I had never been to the Berkshires before but was surprised that it was such a quick trip from Brooklyn. I felt like I had all the time in the world, somehow time had just stopped. A schedule was posted offering a variety of yoga classes throughout the day at various time. Pretty much at any point, there was a yoga class available. Other activities including Kripalu dance and snowshoeing. I felt like I was at summer camp. I filled my days practicing yoga, reading, writing being outdoors. I have been studying Ayruveda for the past few years and loved the food at Kripalu. One evening I even took a cooking class with Jeremy Rock and loved learning about the Kripalu kitchen and some of the seasonal recipes they were serving. After three short days, I felt amazing. The rooms are simple but perfect. I had slept better than I had slept in years and just felt reenergized and full of creativity. I knew I would be back to Kripalu, I just didn't know when... 

Almost about a year later, I saw a weekend program that was being offered called Secrets Of The Kripalu Kitchen with Jeremy Rock and jumped on it. This was the perfect balance because I was able to dive deeper into Ayurvedic cooking while still getting away and have some down time to practice yoga. I arrived a Friday afternoon, unpacked and went to my first yoga class. That evening we had our first cooking class scheduled. We went over what to expect for the weekend and basic knife skills. We were given a packet with a ton of recipes that we would be cooking. The first night, the class flew by. We were getting to know each other and excited to learn. Jeremy is incredibly warm and a great teacher. He explained that we were probably going to be cooking at home for friends and family so it's really important to just have fun and enjoy the process. Yes, it's important to keep in mind eating local and 

sustainable when possible and eating for your dosha but what's the point if you aren't enjoying what you are cooking and eating. Cooking food is about creating community and sharing it with family and friends. Sometimes after a long day, I just want to make something simple with what I have in the house and Jeremy walked us through simple recipes to make any day. After our Friday evening session, I was ready to get cooking. 

Saturday morning I woke up early and headed straight to yoga class in the new wing at Kripalu which is absolutely beautiful. I watched the sun rise over the mountains during an incredible class. After class, I headed straight to breakfast. Breakfast is my favorite meal at Kripalu because it is silent. I especially love the quiet of the morning while I am still waking up. I have time to think, plan my day, take in what I learned the night before and still enjoy the lingering benefits of my yoga class. I think it is so relaxing. Also, kitchari for breakfast is one of my favorite meals. Kitchari (pronounced kich-uhree) is the traditional cleansing food of Ayurveda. It is a combination of split mung beans and white basmati rice with plenty of spices, depending on your constitution. Amidst all of the modern diet trends happening today, this might seem like an unusual cleansing food but kitchari is also balancing for all doshas. It's a wonderful grounding meal, especially during the colder months.

After breakfast, we met back at the classroom and were split up into groups to make our first recipe. We were told that we were going to make about 25 recipes throughout the weekend. We would

"Cooking food is about creating community

assemble them in our groups and then demonstrate in the front of the class. Each recipe was something that I would actually make at home so it was easy to follow along. After we made our recipes, we were able to try each one and share with our classmates. Saturday we had a morning session and an afternoon session which left time for lunch, a nap and another yoga class. The afternoon session we continued to work on our recipes, ask questions and share with the class. 

Sunday morning was probably my favorite session because we talked about what happens behind the scenes of the Kripalu operation. Jeremy Rock is managing a huge production that serves three meals a day to up to 600 guests. Not only is it a matter of volume, they are working with pretty incredible ingredients. We went over how they source ingredients at Kripalu and use as many local vendors as possible. Leftovers are given to a nearby pig farm and to local food banks as much as 

and sharing it with family and friends."

possible. The entire process was really amazing. Sunday morning we also took a tour of the Kripalu kitchen which is massive. It is incredibly neat and organized, running like a well-oiled machine. Fresh breads are baked every morning. The menu is prepared well in advance and the staff is constantly coming up with new recipes.

After our tour on Sunday, we had some time to ask our last questions before hitting the road. It was such a special weekend, and I am already trying to find time to go back to Kripalu this spring. It's now my second home. 

Here's one of my favorite recipes from the weekend:

Kitchari 1 T ghee or coconut oil 2 tsp ground cumin  1 tsp turmeric  Pinch of black pepper 1 tsp brown mustard seed 1/2 c white basmati rice 5 c water  2 T cilantro chopped 1 tsp lemon or lime 1/2 tsp salt 

1. In a medium sauce pan add ghee or coconut oil, cumin, turmeric, mustard seeds and black pepper. On a low medium stir spices together and cook for 2 minutes or until the mustard seeds begin to pop in the pan.

2. Add beans and rice and stir to incorporate. Cook for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally.

3. Add water and bring to a light simmer. Cook and cover for 10-15 minutes or until liquid is mostly absorbed and grains and beans are tender. Let sit for 5 minutes with the lid on.

4. Remove lid and add cilantro and lemon or lime and salt. Stir until combined and serve!

"Kitchari is the Ayurvedic prescription for cleansing that resets the entire system."

" S E R V E











H E A R T .

H A P P Y ,








H A P P Y .




A N O T H E R . "




“Sublime places gently move us to acknowledge the limitations

new places irrevocably changes us. It can expand our minds

that we might otherwise encounter with anxiety or anger in the

and grow our hearts to new dimensions. It has the capacity

ordinary flow of events. It is not just nature that defies us.

to bring forth the richness of life in the form of family,

Human life is overwhelming. But it is the vast spaces of nature

friends, lovers and acquaintances. It can positively impact

that perhaps provide us with the finest, the most respectful

how we process the ups and downs of our beautifully

reminder that exceeds us. If we spend time in them, they may

complex existence.

help us to accept more graciously the great unfathomable events that molest our lives and will inevitably return us to dust."

de Botton’s thought on the beautiful places we encounter

                                             –Alain de Botton from The Art of Travel

and the effect it has on our humanity has never rang more true to me than now. It is indeed time spent immersed in the

When was the last time you were transported? After

sublime that makes me feel the most human. It reminds me

reading Alain de Botton’s The Art of Travel, a look at the

just how much bigger our lives are than our everyday

significance of travel in our lives, I pondered this for

annoyances and even the larger discomfit that plagues many

myself. While I’ve always loved discovering new places–

of us in the current climate of political unease and violence.

watching stretches of unexplored landscapes from car windows on road trips, the first glance at a patchwork of

From the time I was very small, my two sisters and I we were

grass and buildings when entering the airspace of a new city,

piled into the family station wagon and carted across

walking around a city you’ve never been to before–for a

country to see family in the Midwest and Southwest. Flat,

long time I didn’t intentionally reflect on how experiencing

dusty plains morphed into mountainsides as we drove along and I inexplicably felt more whole, like I knew my family

better by sharing the same panoramic view of America..

generated the air of possibility and excitement and left me feeling renewed and ready to return to work energized.

As an adult, that feeling of being better for my excursions grew even more apparent and intriguing. On a trip alone to Rome, I

Several years ago, my husband (who was my boyfriend at the

recall gazing out of the airplane window down at the sheets of

time), and I went to Mexico. We spent most of our time in

clouds and tips of the Alps below feeling acutely aware of the

Tulum and also traveled to Coba. I was confronted with the

sheer beauty and wonder of flight. I was so deeply grateful for

rustic beauty of temples, jungles and cenotes, all within a few

my life in that moment that tears spontaneously rolled down

miles of each other. On this trip, my joy was palpable. The

my cheeks. Once there, I walked the city all day equally awed

feeling of freedom, bobbing in the clear warm Mediterranean

by the Spanish Steps and the simple treasures of gilded lion

water and staring out into an endless azure horizon, was a

head door knockers and cobblestone streets. I took myself to

spiritual experience. It made me feel even more in love with

dinner at an outdoor café and stayed up late to feel the buzz of

him and sent the stress of a busy work life melting off my

the city. I could not have created this feeling in a place that I

tanned shoulders. “I’m so happy right now!” I exclaimed to him

was familiar with, it was the newness and adventure that

as the calm waves lapped against our legs and we grinned at each other. Moments such as these don’t commonly occur on a commute or grocery run, but happen freely when I’m spending

"I was so deeply grateful for my life in that moment that tears spontaneously rolled down my cheeks."

time in a beautiful place. I take great comfort in the fact that travel is liberated from the tethers of expectations and judgment if we so choose. What a life-giving pleasure it is to reside in that thought. I remember taking in the simple charm of the French countryside from a train on a family vacation. Feeling more calm and

compassionate because I had experienced this beauty and was better for it was a by-product of my vacation. Feeling more calm and compassionate because I had experienced this beauty was an unmistakable by-product of my vacation. Travel gives us freedom in many forms and the beauty of it is that you don’t have to go to a far-flung destination to be inspired. How do we do this? We can look to quick weekends out of town, trips to weddings and visits to friends as opportunities to afford ourselves the grace of traveling well with open hearts and minds. By seeking out the chance to emerge soothed and positively changed, we increase the possibility of it happening. Let’s go.

Kelley is a beach-loving Native Texan living in Brooklyn. She's a content strategist, creative director and writer.


As I write this it’s about to be the last full moon of the year. And

Are you the Empress or the High Priestess or both? [laughter]

what a year it’s been. Politically it’s been gut wrenching. Sexual harassment wise it’s been vindicating. And as someone recently

I identify more High Priestess than Empress. I think when I do my

attuned to Reiki, I am feeling it so intensely, at times even

work I am more High Priestess; but what has changed in my life

viscerally. So thankfully tarot presented itself as a tool to process

and work is being more accessible to people, being more nurturing

the undercurrent of emotion volcano-ing inside me. It has also

and compassionate. So I guess I do sway more Empress these days.

been of the utmost importance to find support in community. So

I struggled with the High Priestess when I was younger because I

when the wondrously magical Anna Toonk announced she was co-

perceived her as cold. She’s not cold; she’s just not going to do the

teaching Tarot 101, with the equally badass Kara Kinsey, I signed

work for you, and she’s not super warm. I also kind of identify as


the Queen of Wands because I think I’m maybe still figuring out things with the Empress. It’s weird to be in the mother stage of life,

Anna is the real deal. tarot reader, Reiki Master, and all around

but not have kids, and not want to be another adult’s mom. So

intuitive; on any given day, she embodies the archetypes of the

figuring out how you can be giving and accessible to people and

Empress, High Priestess. and Queen of Cups. She is generous with

connect people, and not mom. I like that about the Queen of

her knowledge, and benevolent with her power, using it to

Wands - because she is making things happen.

connect people in the Wellness space, and she’s also hilarious. I had the pleasure of speaking with her recently at the Wing in

So I know you’re psychic, but I’ve been coming to know Tarot - as

SoHo (major lady power vibes!), and we got deep. Enjoy!

a tool not just for divination, and more for self reflection and clarification on knowledge we already possess. What are your

thoughts on that?

for me, is that I’m really capable of radical acceptance with people and it’ll make me accept bad behavior and unhealthy

As a baseline [tarot is] definitely a tool for self reflection. It’s

dynamics because I don’t judge it.  

easier to take others people’s advice vs your own. That outside perspective that cuts through stories, wounds. It is sorta like

There’s been much in the news lately about predatory

“This is the situation.” But then once you start to learn it a bit

behavior - specifically males taking advantage of females. I

better and recognize your own gifts with it then I think your

wanted to talk about the idea of “doubt.” You’ve said how the

relationship with it does change. When I first started reading, I

worst thing we can do for our intuition is doubt it. Do you

was a lot more by the book: card theory, or what the cards

think females are naturally more intuitive than males? And

meant. And I still got a tremendous amount out of [tarot]. I

do you think females are more prone to doubting ourselves

don’t think you have to be intuitive or use it as a tool for

and why?

divination. It’s hard to say whether or not women are more intuitive than When did you realize the power of holding space for other

men. I think it’s possible. I think women are more open to it;


whether or not they are more, I don’t know. It’s kinda like when people say “Women need to fix things now”, [and] “We

Probably as a teenager. I think I always [held space] in a way.

need women’s empathy”.

[It was] definitely part of my family dynamic. My father passed away when I was 16 and my mom understandably kinda fell

Men are capable of empathy - otherwise they’d all be in prison.

apart. There was a negative to it in that I was definitely

That’s what a lot of murderers are in for; they lack empathy.

parentalized at a very young age but also it was really easy for

My other passion besides Mysticism is True Crime - because I

me. I was sorta like “I know how to give people space to

find humans endlessly fascinating and i think part of the rage

have their feelings.” And I think something that’s good and bad 

that’s come from women - with #metoo and the great

triggering of 2017 is because we knew we were right on some

Women do so much unseen work in the form of emotional


labor. Any thoughts on this?

And even male friends of mine whose hearts I trust and who I

I have a good friend who is a dude and very recently we’d been

think are good people - it’s been interesting for them

not getting along. And I said “Do you know the term “emotional

processing the wave of just the volume of women who have

labor?” And he was not familiar with it. And I was like “I think

been violated - and so I think when your culture is prone to

the problem we’re having here is that I do most of the

dismissing one group’s viewpoint - I do think that is a real

emotional labor and I don’t want to.” And I sent him some

intuition inhibitor.

articles. I do think it’s difficult. And if you’re intuitive as well it’s more difficult, because you’re aware of a lot more. You can

Thats a big reason why I teach a lot, because I don’t like some

sense the undercurrents, or you can kinda know, or you think

of the spiritual crew that acts like they have to give it to you, or

you do.

they have to initiate you, and bestow this on you. No. I just want to help you reconnect with that; realize you have it. I do

Often people who have some sort of abuse or trauma when

think if you’re going to be an intuitive you have to keep a clear

they’re young are highly intuitive and empathetic. Because it’s

channel. I don’t think you can yoga the trauma away. I do think

developed as a skill to prevent further abuse, so they can get

you need some sort of therapeutic practice. I do think they

the lay of the land, and understand people's stuff. And it is

should be working on resolving their trauma, to be responsible.

difficult because sometimes you can know, but it doesn't mean

I do think the biggest thing we’re seeing now is this giant, “I

you know how to deal with it necessarily.

told you so.” from women. We told you. Don’t act shocked. They say our big lessons are more of a spiral. Boundaries is A part of feeling balanced and also navigating life is having

definitely one of them for me, where I feel like I get another

boundaries, which is often more challenging for women.

rung in, and then it comes up in a different way. And it’s hard

to not feel like you’re not getting it, or you’re not getting it

allowing themselves to explore their feminine energy and

right. But the more you actually try to learn about it, try to

balance it and not see it as a sign of weakness or a lack of

master it, the more layered and complicated it gets. The more

masculinity or a lot of the negative messages you can send.

you realize what you would do before wasn’t really

[And] I think it’s great I’m starting to see more men come to

boundaries. Like not responding to someone, is a form of a

classes that are interested. I do praise everyone who wants to

boundary but its not really, you’re just putting a block. So I

learn more, who wants to know how to navigate themselves

definitely feel like I’m constantly learning what feels good, and

better, and shift their consciousness.

it changes. I always think of that quote “You don’t have to set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm.”

I think it would help men to read more about ancient practices, to learn what a High Priestess was. It always blows men’s

You’ve talked about claiming Feminine Magic - how can men

minds when I talk about women regarded as magic back in ye

also do this?

olden times because of periods. That we told time, that women and the moon were how people decided to plant fields and

I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I think women have a lot

crops. We’ve really lost touch with that and I’m starting to see

more inherent or innate magic available to them than they

some shifts in terms of men being cooler about periods and

realize and are encouraged to tap into. I do think Feminine

stuff like that, but like it cracks me up that it’s still an

Magic is available to men. I don’t think witches are just women.

achievement to proudly carry a tampon vs. secretly put it in

If you are trans, non-binary, a man, feminine energy and magic

your pocket. Why do we feel that shame? Why are we hiding it

is always available to you. I hope we can come up with better

so some dude around us doesn’t feel uncomfortable?

words than feminine and masculine energy. I understand as someone who is a cis woman, it’s not triggering for me. I can

In general women are feeling a lot less shame around

understand the label and the short cut. But I do hope we can

femininity. [Women are] finding a lot more strength, and

start to find some better terms. I do think more men are

finding their voice, and how to be inclusive and what actually

is Sisterhood, and how to be supportive. The more we do that

through a lot. And it’s an honor to be invited to that sifting

the more available it is to men.

process. Plus she’s so funny, her Twitter feed is amazing!

The more we figure out what it means the more we can invite,

[And] maybe Solange as well. I like people who are definitely a

and encourage. Before we were like stay out - we don’t even

little bit out of this world. I’m not just impressed with famous

know and you’ve taken everything, let us have this. And now

people. [When] people are masters of their own craft, it feels

it’s not that simple - it’s not black and white. And especially

like an honor to share yours with them.

now with more people coming out as non-binary and trans, we’re seeing the fluidity and the pointlessness about trying to put labels on everything. Who is is a dream tarot client? I’ve read for famous people, and it’s cool because tarot is so humanizing. Right now in this moment [I would love to read for] Roxane Gay. I wouldn’t say I prefer to read for women. I’m

Lauren Mooney is a reiki practitioner who has studied both

always men neutral. I’m trying to be less surprised when men

the Tera-Mai Seichem and Usui Shiku Ryoho lineages of the

come to me. Men often do really well with tarot. It can be very

form. For more information, visit

logical. I wish they knew that, and were more into it. But I really do love reading for smart, self aware women who are

Anna Toonk is a psychic intuitive reader. Tarot reader, Usui Reiki

really honest about the difficulty [of] being human. [Roxane] is

Master, offers intuitive channeled guidance, amongst other

very symbolic of that to me. A woman who is incredibly cool

services. For more information and to book appointments, visit

and complicated. I really dig women like that. They’re sifting



Understanding what it means to have a sexually healthy life is

This work of sexual education belongs to all of us. The primary

a question that most people face throughout their life and

questions that we ask about being sexual don’t change much

relationship cycles. Our sexuality is among the most powerful

throughout our lifetime. Questions like, “Am I normal?” and

and mysterious aspects of our personality. Without learning a

“Will it hurt?” begin with our first inklings of our sexuality and

basic vocabulary of what motivates our erotic drive, many of

evolve as we age. I always say that as soon as we are able to

us are left to struggle with how we express this part of

ask a question we are ready for a true response. This is the

ourselves and how we communicate both our desires and our

best guideline for learning about our own sexuality and

fears about who we are erotically.

teaching it to our children. Providing honest and developmentally appropriate responses to the curiosity that

Like every other aspect of our personal development, it is

we all share about sex is the foundation of healing it. Answers

through education that we become a better and more resilient

should always be provided without shame, using real

version of ourselves. Here are three kinds of education that

vocabulary terms based on anatomical structures. There is

may help to understand that a sex life is an emergent rather

great freedom and power of calling a thing by its true name.

than an objective reality. We come to understand our sexuality

This is the kind of education that gives both us and our

and its meaning moment by moment as we open up to the new

children ownership over their own bodies as well as the

things we are learning each time we are sexual.  

language to protect themselves against inappropriate sexual touch.

Knowing the truth about our sexual selves is how we develop the courage to both set boundaries and report when they have been violated. This is how ongoing healthy sex education can change the trajectory of a life.

"It is not just children who need and deserve evolving sexual education."


It is not just children who need and deserve evolving sexual

becomes real through being heard and listening to our partner.

education. And in fact our children will learn more from how

This is what meaningful sex education looks like as we mature.

we behave in our own intimate relationships than they will by what we say. Learning how to communicate with your partner is hard work, but a required step in evolving our sexual IQ.


Many consensual relationships between loving adults struggle

We come into our erotic consciousness in our early

with communicating their needs and desires to their partner. It

adolescence. This process is mostly subconscious, as the

is normal, that the power and complexity of our sexual drive

maturing brain establishes unique patterns of pleasurable

can overcome and confuse which is all the more reason that

stimuli, often in response to painful events or relationships

developing a comfort with words is critical. We are never too

that it is working to resolve. Like our fingerprints, or the subtle

old to grow up sexually. As with any area of knowledge, our

distinctions in our sense of smell, our arousal mechanism

ability to understand our sexual experience deepens and

evolves outside of our control and often to our surprise. It is

no wonder that the first and often long standing issue most of

And yet, many adults never fully understand or appreciate the

us begin our sexual journey with is - am I normal? As we come

rocket fuel of sexual energy they contain. Instead they

to know what turns us on, even in its most subtle forms, our

suppress their erotic self, which only makes it more powerful

arousal mechanism and associated fantasies can push our

and difficult to manage. Instead of suppressing our sexual

boundaries. Making peace with our sexual selves and coming

nature, learning to ask honest questions about our sexual

to terms with the unique, and often wild streak that lives in

selves and applying reliable information enhances our sexual

each of us is where sex education flourishes and allows us to

experience and boundaries.  

experience the full pleasure potential we hold inside.

" . . . no wonder that the first and often long standing issue most of us begin our sexual journey with is - am I normal?"

Wendy Strgar is an award-winning entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, a pioneer in the organic personal care product industry. She is a popular blogger and author of  two books. Sex That Works: An Intimate Guide To Awakening Your Erotic Life and Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy.


My radiologist glanced up at me with a look of mild irritation.

learning more about why my breast tissue had miraculously and

Hers was reminiscent of the look on my kids’ faces when dragged

entirely improved. The question sat unasked while I decided

away from a TV show or some other electronic distraction. This

whether or not to speak up.

can’t possibly be that important, her eyes suggested. I had pulled her from inspecting something deep in the far reaches of her

Her eye contact lasted for a thoughtful five seconds while I

computer screen.

digested her words and wondered whether I would address this matter, or leave. I thanked her and began to breathe with more

Ninety seconds earlier she had given me good news. “You don’t

regularity. My radiologist gestured politely that the conversation

even have to sit down,” she tossed at me with a polite smile. I had

was at its end with a subtle nod of the head and a slight tilt to the

barely crossed the threshold of her office doorway after my

left. Her eyes moved back to the large computer screen.  Her

mammogram and she was saving me the extra two seconds and

fingers resumed the pluck plucking on her dark gray plastic keys.

two feet to the chair. “That spot we’ve been watching for the last year is totally gone.  You’re good to go.  We’ll see you in a year.”  

I thought about the ungodly high number of charts she must have been assigned to read that day and felt a little sad for her. I was

Her eyes were on mine, but her fingers perched deftly on her

sure my lingering presence in her doorway was eating into her

keyboard, ready to strike again as soon as I left. The relief I felt

lunch hour. Out of respect for her packed schedule, I thought I’d

was so overwhelming that for a moment I just stood there

save my questions for another time. I returned the polite nod,

cemented to the carpet and started to breathe again. It took a

shifted my gaze to the floor and turned to leave.

couple beats before it hit me that she wasn’t interested in

About a third of the way through my turn to go, I changed my

My response reflected my irritation. “I haven’t heard anyone

mind and turned back around. I couldn’t leave this

suggest caffeine since I was in college. No, I haven’t stopped

unaddressed. At this point, I’ve dedicated my life’s work to

drinking caffeine. Have you ever heard of Ayurveda?”  

empowering people with skills for health and happiness and this was an opportunity for growth.

“Isn’t that where you don’t eat nitrates? I could never give up peppers.”  Hers was a swift dismissal of something she

“Aren’t you curious what I’ve been doing differently for the

perceived to be an old wives tale that combined little value

last six months that may have impacted my breast tissue?” She

with a lot of personal sacrifice. She probably heard my

pulled her gaze away from her work and trained her eyes back

exasperated exhale.

on me. She was going to entertain my further interruption, but not for long.  Her fingers remained steadfastly perched.  She

“Ayurveda is actually an ancient form of lifestyle practices that

had to fill that quota.

helps bring the body and mind back into balance. Depending upon the goal, Ayurveda health plans may include diet

“Oh, you stopped drinking caffeine?” she straightened a bit in

changes, but suggestions are individualized based on

her seat. Her posture punctuated her confidence that caffeine

particular symptoms. But, no, I didn’t alter my eating.  I

could be the only possible culprit. I wondered if that was what

actually just started doing yoga and breath work.”

they taught students in medical school about the spontaneous healing of breast tissue.

There was a pause in the conversation and my radiologist’s eyes rested on mine. She heard words she could relate to and

A pithy chuckle escaped my throat. It was no doubt propelled

she detached from her work for a moment. Her hands moved

by my annoyance with the fact that medical students aren’t

to her lap and her posture eased for the first time in our short

informed about the strategies for nor the benefits of proper

exchange. “I’ve started doing yoga with my 4-year-old.  It’s

nutrition and stress reduction techniques.

hard to keep her focused during class, so I’m actually getting

more out of it than she is.” I smiled at her admittance and we

My resilience in the face of a frightening potential health

spoke for a few minutes.

outcome wasn’t great. Even though I had access to a wonderful community of holistic health providers who were all

We found common ground and a heart connection opened

steeped in stress reduction technique wisdom, I still was not

between us. The Ping-Pong battle of the brains became active

immune to worry and fear.

engagement. I exhaled the judgment and criticism I held and released my own fixed mindset thinking about her intentions.  

I remain in the minority as a woman with direct and frequent access to a self-curated group of healing angels. Most of us are

I realized that the gap in our healthcare model is not due to a

not so fortunate. Most doctors don’t know how to provide this

lack of desire to help patients heal. Rather, the gap is more


closely linked to what is lacking in our medical education system.

My wish for 2018 is that my efforts with adults and kids make a difference in the health education space.  Just imagine a

While it is widely known that lifestyle choices are the primary

world in which doctors doled out coping strategies alongside

cause of premature death in the United States, medical

disappointing diagnoses. Can you fathom a doctor saying, “The

students are ill prepared to teach patients lifestyle strategies

results show compromised tissue, but hey, this is a wakeup call.

that improve health and quality of life. Lifestyle medicine isn’t

This is an opportunity to gain new skills and insights and

a priority in medical schools and its value isn’t respected along

strength. We have a program on-site for holistic lifestyle

the spectrum of possible treatment strategies.

support that will teach you strategies for physical and emotional resilience. It’s called The Resilience Response and it

Looking back over the year since my initial diagnosis with

will greatly improve your quality of life.”

abnormal tissue, I probably spent the equivalent of about two full weeks in some level of stress over the news.  

Our physical, emotional and spiritual selves crave

homeostasis. We all want to feel happy and balanced. When presented with unsettling news, we should be given access to skills and strategies to both recognize when our stress levels are elevated and to return to calm. My mammogram experience inspired me to speak up and use my disappointment to create a better experience for others.  Wishing you all strength, resilience and love in 2018!

Carey Davidson is a reiki master and founder of Tournesol Wellness, an integrative medical and healing arts practice for personalized, compassionate healthcare. For more information about her practice, visit



Holiday Entertaining Essentials

winter squash wreaths INGREDIENTS

serves 8

1 acorn squash 1 tsp olive oil salt, pepper to taste Topping: 2 leaves curly kale 1/3 cup raw almonds juice of 1 lemon 3 tbsp olive oil 1/4 tsp red wine vinegar 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds optional: sprinkle of hemp seeds Maple-Tahini Drizzle: 2 tbsp maple syrup 2 tbsp tahini 2 tbsp water

DIRECTIONS Pre-heat oven to 400f degrees. Prep a baking sheet with un-bleached parchment paper. Slice acorn squash into circles by first halving the squash and then CAREFULLY chopping into circles as best you can (be patient). I suggest using a chef’s knife for larger cuts, and keeping a paring knife handy in case you need something smaller. You can also just cut them into crescent moon shapes and piece together when serving. Add slices to a large plastic freezer bag and add the tsp of olive oil, toss around to coat the squash and lay out on the parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste over top and roast for 25-30 minutes until well cooked but not overly brown. While they cool, make the kale-almond topping by combining all ingredients into a food processor except the pomegranate seeds. Pulse until chunky but well combined like a relish or pesto. Once squash is cool enough to handle, place on the tray you’ll be serving on (I used the same baking sheet without parchment paper). Then, using a regular teaspoon, you can spoon out the kale and using your fingers shape it onto half of the squash pieces making “wreaths”. Next, combine ingredients for the maple-tahini drizzle until very smooth (use more/less water depending on how it’s coming together, my tahini was very thick so I needed the water to make it more fluid). Drizzle maple-tahini sauce over tops of the wreaths and then sprinkle pomegranates and hemp seeds! Aren’t they pretty? Serve and enjoy!

chicken florentine bone broth soup INGREDIENTS Meatballs 1 lb. ground free range chicken 1 handful fresh basil chopped with stems removed pinch sea salt 1/4 tsp dried basil 1/4 tsp dried sage 2 garlic cloves minced 1.5 Tbsp duck fat or tallow Soup 1 small yellow onion or half a large onion diced 3 carrots diced 3 celery sticks diced 2 16 oz. pouches of Bare Bones Chicken Bone Broth 4 cups 1 pack of shirataki rice (7oz) or 2 cups cauliflower rice 3-4 oz. fresh baby spinach a handful of fresh basil sliced into ribbons pinch sea salt

DIRECTIONS Add first 6 meatball ingredients to a large mixing bowl, with clean hands, mix all seasonings into the meat well. Wipe hands with a paper towel and begin to roll the meat into meatballs, ground chicken can be a little sticky, but working fast with your hands will help. You should get approx. 12 meatballs, add to a plate and set aside while you wash your hands. Heat a large soup pot or dutch oven on the stove, add cooking fat and coat the bottom of the pot (add more if not covering). Once the cooking fat has melted and is hot after a few minutes, place meatballs on the bottom of the pot and cook for approx. 4 minutes on the first side. After there’s a nice brown on that one side, flip with a wooden spoon (you may need to scrape a little - it’s okay, we’ll use those brown bits). Let cook for another 4 minutes on that side. Meanwhile, make sure onions, carrots and celery are all diced. Cover your pot to ensure the center of your meatballs are cooked for 2-3 minutes. This will release a bit of liquid, and now your meatballs should be very easy to spoon up. Place in a separate bowl and set aside. Now, add the onions, carrots, and celery pieces to the pot. If you need more fat/oil, go ahead and add a bit more. With a wooden spoon, stir around a few times scraping up any brown bits from the cooked chicken and let the veggies get tender for 3-4 minutes still over medium. While that’s cooking, rinse shirataki rice if using or simply get cauliflower rice ready and set aside. Once veggies are tender, add in your bone broth and bring to a boil. Season to taste with a pinch of sea salt. Once boiling, add your “rice” and stir around for just 2 minutes or so since the “rice” doesn’t need much time. Now add back your chicken meatballs, and lastly your fresh spinach. Once the spinach has wilted, stir around and make sure everything is well incorporated in the soup. Ladle soup into bowls, top off with basil ribbons and any other fresh herbs you’d like.

The Wellness Mercantile Vol.7  
The Wellness Mercantile Vol.7  

Winter 2017