At Autumn Equinox this year, we celebrated by putting on a little festival. It was a beautiful co-creation by a group of amazing people. It feels like the seed of something wonderful. In the run-up we had meetings (the most fun meetings I’ve ever experienced), and looking around the room I could see a lot of skilled people- enough skills to create something magical. And we did! It was a beautiful day, and of course there was infinite room for improvement- we are already planning- and can’t wait to make more.
Pulling the threads of this hemp festival together was my biggest adventure yet. I had been inspired by the other cannabis events I had attended but the main motivation was to get everyone I had met through the book together in one place. Such cool people, working in all aspects of hemp. We also attracted top quality artists, poets and musicians including the awesome Mobius Loop.
There wasn’t much time for me to enjoy the event itself as I was running around attached to a walkie-talkie- but lots of people said how much they enjoyed it and made good connections. So that’s a mission accomplished as far as I’m concerned. I think I have worked out how to make next year much more relaxing. I caught a few excellent tracks by Seize The Day and Mankala towards the end of the evening: the sound was top quality, delivered smoothly by Vesica Productions and expertly assisted by the engineering skills of Neal Scragga Robinson. It is wonderful to have made such a start and it’s exciting to imagine what the seeds might sprout into in the future.
Hanf-zeit is a farm to product company who grow acres of hemp and make food, cosmetics and cbd. They were my highlight of the Berlin expo. Elkie and I would take a route past their stall just to see their smiling faces and hang out with the happy souls there. In the video below, Stephan, CEO of Hanf-zeit tells a bit a bit about the history of the company and shows some of the 50,000 uses of hemp.
Hanf-zeit have an online shop where (if you understand German),you can purchase some of their beautiful cosmetics, foods, raw hemp products… It’s worth having a look just to see what hemp products are possible: http://www.hanf-zeit.com/ My favourite was their Hemp Flower perfume which they made by driving 2 trucks of bud down from Steinheim in the North to Bavaria in the south of Germany where perfume is distilled in the traditional way. It smells and feels So Good! I can only imagine what 2 trucks of hemp bud smelled like on the road!
Another thing that Hanf-zeit do really well is support excellent musicians, most of whom have videos shot in their hemp fields. Here are two artists called Sellassikai and Yah Meek that we really love. Elkie and I are hoping to see everyone again at Reggae in a Hemp Field next month. So Much Love and Appreciation to Hanf-Zeit!
I met Geraint Christopher aka Free Love Cannabis at a party in Glastonbury. Whilst we propped up the kombucha bar he regaled me with stories of activism, prison, naked living and as his nomde plume suggests, his love of cannabis. This meeting has developed over the last few years into a friendship that has most recently seen us travelling to Berlin together. He has taught me a lot over the years. I appreciate so much this man’s kindness, generosity and tireless campaigning.
Free runs a business in Glastonbury called Hemp in Avalon. The shop sells cbd oil, hemp clothes, bags, food, tea, literature… He calls it The Hemple and it feels like it- with pictures of Shiva and Lakshmi upon the walls (and the Hemp Fairy original artwork!) Free is a deeply spiritual person and can sometimes be seen shaking it at the Friday night ashram kirtan. He sees cannabis as a sacred plant that is to be revered and shared. Sharing is something he does widely and Freely. At many public events in Glastonbury, Free will be giving out cake and truffles that he makes with love and prayers for those that take the medicine. I have personally seen the lives of his customers transformed by the products he sells. Free organises Cannabis events in Glastonbury where he often shares his poetry. Listen here is a poem called Cannabis Bigger Than Jesus:
At the trade shows and events we have visited and also through my own research, I know that he sells cbd at a very low mark-up- he remains below the VAT threshold thus not funding Babylon. He is passionate about sharing information about the corruption of the system and the ways in which our taxes are used to fund war and greed. But the fact that he earns money through his business has meant that he can support projects that he believes in, like the recording of an album of hemp-inspired tunes and the production of a kid’s book spreading the message that Hemp Can Save The World. The Hemp Fairy book would not exist without Free’s inspiration and personal support. It was Free’s inspired idea to make a book after I told him that Elkie had asked to go to The Land of Sensi after hearing a tune on a Hempathic Beings CD he gave me.
Whilst at Mary Jane Berlin Expo, I looked around the ‘Business Area,’ and saw the suited and booted kinda icky money-makers, ready to jump on the potentials of the herb. I also met some of the most interesting, open-hearted people involved in creating a different kind of business- where profits are shared and invested in creative projects. And I also clocked the guys who have been pushing the boundaries for YEARS- they looked like they’d be fun to hang out with. I would love to hear some of their stories over a cannabucha. Free has been campaigning for 22 years and running his shop for 20. From 1997 to 2001 Free was arrested 5 times and imprisoned 3 times- Free and others like him have worked hard to get us to the place we are in today. We can see it happening in the US- it won’t be long before cannabis is free and we’ll all be able to have a garden of plants if we choose.
For more information and to connect with Free, take a look at his website here.
Last night I flew back to the UK after three days at a Cannabis Expo, meeting amazing people from around Europe, in the beautiful city of Berlin. When I got back I discovered I could smell ganja everywhere. Which got my interest piqued… until I realised it was me. Hemp perfume was one of the favourite things I discovered. I put it on to chill me out on the plane. And to give the sniffer dogs a thrill. There weren’t any sadly. Or thankfully, probably thankfully…
The event took place in a huge Bauhaus building which had a majestically run-down beauty. The kind of thing shabby chic’ers are reaching for when they beat up perfectly good furniture. The building was a Radio Station in the time of the DDR (East German Republic). It’s now called The Funkhaus, which I just thought was a really excellent name for a venue- though apparently it’s nothing to do with funk: there are world-class recording studios and a concert hall here, but funk actually translates as radio. One thing that was very apparent was my lack of German language. But I now know how to say Hanf and Liebe, so that’s good.
The outdoor area of the event was beautiful. Hammocks were slung where we could watch the trees and the boats passing on the river. Berlin is such a green city! Within half an hour of leaving funky galleries and cafes, you can be walking in woods and swimming in beautiful water.
So I spent a couple of days in a hammock, did an interview, visited some stalls… but mainly stayed in and around the hammock. Saturday was intense- the smoking culture in Germany feels pretty all-pervading. I don’t hang out with smokers much so it was interesting to observe the different atmosphere that smoking brings. On Saturday afternoon, the vibe changed as many of the crowd seemed to (as one) switch to a stoned place it was tricky to relate to. I eat cannabis, plant or oil, and it gives a very different experience to smoking. It reminded me again about what I want to create with Hemp Fest. Smoking is one way to activate your Endocannabinoid receptor system but there are so many others that feels so much healthier!
It was on Saturday that I met Rick Simpson and his wife Danijela Smiljanic Simpson. Rick has been instrumental in the development and promotion of cannabis oil as a treatment for cancer. When people are dealing with a serious diagnosis, and wish to seek an alternative option, it is often his work that they begin by researching.
A highlight of the event for me was being able to thank him for his work. Several friends of mine have used his methods and I’m super-grateful that I can still hang out with them. There are now other oil-production tutorials available online, but he remains the most famous proponant of the medicine. The Simpsons both loved the Hemp Fairy book as did many others. Sunday was a much more chilled day and I was able to chat to lots of stallholders and share Elkie Trifft Die Hanf-Fee as the venue was much less packed. I’ve found a German distributor and two online Hemp shops bought copies. There’s so much more to share with you! But here’s the first hempy taste.
My daughter loves making perfumes and potions. I can clearly remember my own potion phase. I reckon it’s probably etched on my mum’s memory too- I’m sure it was she who emptied out the stinky rotten rose petals once the potion was forgotten.
Below is a story and an activity you can share with children: making potions that are practical and powerful. Making magic meaningful.
We all have our own special magic and we all have the power to change things for each other, just by being ourselves. Sharing love and kindness, can bring space to things that might feel stuck or painful.
Beltane is a time of rising juices. Everything in the land feels potent and fertile. Here is a Beltane story to share with children. About love and the magic of presence. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did when it arrived.
Once upon a time there was a woman who lived in a crooked little cottage. She had a crooked little nose and two crooked little eyes and when children walked past the crooked little cottage, sometimes they felt scared of her crooked face and crooked house. Sometimes because they were scared and no one had taught them about kindness they said unkind things like ‘witch!’ Sometimes the grown-ups who hadn’t learnt to be kind and learnt to be brave also said ‘witch’ as they passed her crooked cottage.
Now you might think that this made the woman sad, but the woman had learnt to be kind and had learnt to be brave and best of all, she knew that she WAS a witch. Her mama had been a witch, her grandmother before her, all the way back to the times before people started to be scared of the power of women who knew. All the way back to the times when women like her had been called wise, not witch.
Today as the woman sat in her garden she was thinking sad thoughts, not because of the children who passed but because her mother had died. She now lived alone in her cottage. As she thought sad thoughts, she remembered that she knew she was never alone as she could talk to the plants and sometimes, if she REALLY listened, they would talk back. As she sat in her garden, appreciating the plants and the beings who looked after them, she felt the sun on her face and she started to appreciate the warmth of the sun after a winter of sadness. The sun warmed her face and her skin, all the way into her bones. She felt herself relax…
As she sat there loving the sun, she began to appreciate the flowers that were beginning to bloom and then the insects that had emerged after their winter hibernation. She began to listen to the birds singing happily to each other. She remembered the sound of her mother’s voice singing her favourite song. After a while there was no more space for sadness, there was only warmth, relaxation and appreciation.
Just then a man was walking down the road. This man had been travelling and was tired. He was so tired and his feet hurt. But as he walked he heard a wren sing and that drew his eyes to the hawthorn buds that were soon to pop and bring forth their beautiful white blossom. He saw the insects on the plants by the road and then he started to feel the warmth of the sun on his face. The sun felt so good, he realised how long he had been feeling tense in his shoulders and he let his bag fall to the ground.
He rested for a while by a wall, feeling peaceful and happy. When he looked up, he saw he was leaning on a wall outside a crooked cottage and outside it stood a woman, holding a cup of coffee. ‘I made this for you,’ she said. ‘Would you like to sit here and rest a while? You look tired. You look like you have come far.’ The man had come far and he did wish to sit for a while in the beautiful crooked garden, outside the crooked cottage. As he sat, he and the woman began to talk. They spoke about their lives and the things that they loved. The woman shared with the man what she knew about plants and magic. The man opened his bag and showed her his own magic. ‘You know how to make medicines that will help people and heal their hearts. I too make medicine.’ He took out a small bottle which seemed to be filled with shining powder. ‘In this bottle I have put kindness and prayers, wishes and hopes and dreams.’ The woman took the bottle from the man’s hand and brought it to her face. As she undid the stopper she felt everything he had said. His beautiful dreams seemed to flood out of the bottle and wrap themselves around her heart like a blanket of feathers.
The man stayed in the crooked cottage for a few days but too soon it was time for him to leave. When he was gone the woman found that she did not miss him. Instead the woman now felt him everywhere. In conversations she had, in the funny things she now said to the children who passed. And in the bottle. She began to make bottles of her own, mixing her own medicines with hopes and dreams but mostly, with the new feeling she had, the feeling of love.
As the years passed the face of the woman began to take on more lines, each one speaking of wisdom she had gained, adventures she had had and places she had been.
One day as she knelt, tending to her dandelions, something made her look up. And there was the man. With his rucksack. ‘I was in a far land and and I received a bottle,’ he said ‘A bottle which contained medicine and when I opened it I felt my heart surrounded by a blanket of warm feathers. Your bottles have travelled all over the world and everywhere they go they help hearts to feel safe to open.’
The woman picked up her rucksack which was packed ready and shut the door of the crooked cottage. She took the hand of the man and closed the gate behind her. They walked down the road together sharing songs they had learnt along their way, feeling the warmth of the sun on their faces and the sure solid ground beneath their feet.
Sharing Magic Bottle Making with Children
Circle round and/or snuggle up
Tell the Magic Bottle Story (stories are far more magical told rather than read. Make it your own story…)
Elicit from the children what kinds of unwellness people they know might have. Invite the children to think of anyone who might need help/ prayers/ magic/ love to heal their bodies, minds and/or hearts.
At this time of year (late spring) there are an abundance of wild plants with which we can make our potions. Always be sure to gather only as much as you need, a leaf/ flower here and there. I teach the asking of the plant, listening for an answer and deeply thanking after a harvest has been made. If you think that’s odd, my friend’s mum sneaks up on her foragings to retain the full magical potency! Respect for all life feels more important now than ever, however children learn that is valid.
Prevent stinky mush by sterilising containers. Small, clear, glass bottles work really well.
Make real tinctures and perfumes with real plant-medicines and essential oils. Here is a wonderful resource with recipes available: http://www.sensorysolutions.co.uk/blog.html
Once the tinctures/ perfumes are made, have the children hold the bottles and give the contents the person-specific blessings for wellness.
Add glitter, ground mica or small chips of crystal for added magic
Make labels with one word which most conveys the healing gift you are wishing to impart.