Summer Solstice Haikus from Luna

Living, Laughing, Love
All Souls Rise Strong Fierce Fearless
Love Equals Victory

– Luanda

My Son, Black as Night
Black Life, Black Child, Future Black Man
Please Let Him Breathe

– Asatu

Tired of Crying
Why Won’t They Stop Lying?
My People Smiling

– Sabrina

Summertime Bursts forward now
A Father’s Day loss
Weeping Nations Rise

– Holly

Birth without Fear

By Asatu Musunama Hall, Midwife and Health Educator

I remember being pregnant in 2008 and stressing out about the sex of my child. In my heart I wanted a little girl to carry on my maternal legacy but when asked “so what if it is a boy?” I remember experiencing anxiety which had nothing to do with my fear about giving birth. My anxiety was about having a Black son in a city, state, and a country where young Black boys and young men are murdered and disproportionately arrested and imprisoned. As a midwife and birthworker, I  knew the statistics about health disparities for Black mothers which meant that I as a Black mother along with indigenous mothers was 3-4 times more likely than a white woman to die during pregnancy, labor, or within the first year of birth due to preventable causes.

It took great effort on my part to rid myself of emotional trauma, eliminate anxiety so that I could birth without fear, and bring my son into the world without violence.

I can imagine that many pregnant mothers during this time of Covid-19, police brutality, violence, and revolution are experiencing a number of emotions including apprehension, fear, confusion, grief, and anxiety which is completely understandable given our current situation. However, fear hinders the birth process. During the birthing process, fear causes the body to produce adrenaline and forces much-needed oxygen away from the uterus; increasing the experience of pain whereas feeling nurtured, supported, and safe allows women to produce sufficient oxytocin to help the labor progress naturally and with greater ease.

In his 1975  book, Birth Without Violence French obstetrician Frederick Leboyer helped raise consciousness about the violent and fear-producing environment in the hospital during birth. He promoted a gentler and more sensitive birthing environment for delivery which, like the midwifery model of care, encourages gentle lighting, immediate placement of the baby on the mother’s stomach after birth, delayed cutting of the umbilical cord, infant massage and a warm bath to re-create the womb-like environment.

Even though the outside world is filled with turmoil,  extreme change, and even violence, the most important work (emotionally, physically and spiritually) for expecting mothers to do right now is to focus on taking care of herself and the child she that is carrying, keeping her environment positive, healthy and peaceful and lastly focus on giving birth to a healthy child in the least violent manner possible.

Here are a few suggestions to support A Birth without Fear and A Birth without Violence during the Covid-19 pandemic and our emerging revolution.

  1. Consider switching from the “fear-based” medical hospital system to a midwifery model of care with a midwife
  2. Hire a Doula
  3. Work with a mental health therapist before birth to deal with past trauma, current fears, and anxiety
  4. Ground yourself in your spiritual practice if you have one
  5. Create positive affirmations and post them everywhere
  6. Limit your exposure to social media and the news until after birth
  7. Fill your mind with positive images of ecstatic natural births
  8. Learn about Hypnobirthing or other forms of childbirth preparation
  9. Shelter in during Covid-19

Half Moon in Virgo

Good health in America is lacking, we live in a nation full of sick people always looking for a quick fix/cure (drug medicine & antibiotics), unwilling to slow down and take the time to let the body heal the cold or other ailments. Sometimes drugs can drive disease deeper into the body.

How do you know if you’re sick? Are you listening to your body? Do you have a rash on your skin, constipation, bloating, gas, indigestion, memory loss or fatigue? If you do, your body is talking to you. Ask your health practitioner or trusted professional.

Toxic, poisonous feelings of anger, hurt, disappointment, and guilt suppress the immune, endocrine, and digestive systems. So pivot towards changing your mood while focusing on healing thoughts.  Never suppress the pain; instead feel through it until it lets you go.

Things are closed, but don’t contract too much, let your heart expand – turn on all of the lights in your home and play joyous music that warms your heart.

We are social people, today social media is so much more relevant than ever, Zoom meetings, online dance classes, virtual video games, and long distance calls from an old friend. Immerse yourself in human connection, even if it’s virtual or over-the-phone it means a lot to the person on the other end and is self-fulfilling as well. Don’t be afraid to reach out.

Buddha—the awakened one— Dharma—expanding the teachings of the Buddha— Sangha—group practice and exchange of the teachings

Please continue yoga, breathing meditation, good nutrition, deep breathing, emotional well being, good sleep, and doing things that make you feel good and fulfilled in a positively benefiting way. Be grateful for what you have in this moment – everything.

Gut health becomes even more important as we get older, this may be why commercials on the television target older populations with over-the-counter antacids and laxatives. I want to share a book that I recently enjoyed, The Body Ecology Book by Donna Gates. It was referred to me by my acupuncturist.  With the right timing and discipline, it can be life-changing. I highly recommend it.

Now is the time to do those things you put off and never have time to do at home or in the backyard. Like reading that book that’s been sitting on the bookshelf (yes I still have one) or watching that movie that a friend recommended a year ago. Take good care of your home, self and family and be well always.

Sabrina Pinell, Reiki Soul Healer & CMT

Embracing Authenticity in the New Moon

When we founded Luna Nueva Wellness Collective, we spent a long time figuring out what to call ourselves. We considered “Luna Bear,” a nod to our beloved moon, my daughter’s beloved dog and to the Bear spirit (whose protection has been phenomenal in turbulent times and fearsome when needed). When we embraced “Luna Nueva,” I envisioned how a beautiful seedling moving upward and outward after a new moon rises and the above ground (aerial parts) of these plant beings sprout moving from the dark safeness of the beginnings of life into the next phase of being.  New moons bring a time for our creativity to spring into action. This new moon in Gemini allows us to spread our wings with our friends and family by listening more closely, enjoy our conversations, improve our listening skills and explore a variety of ways to express ourselves… How am I speaking with others? What energy am I sending and what tone do I have in my voice? What does my body language say? My kids and grandkids will tell you that my hardcore, urban “Mommy/Lola” is undeniably strong… but do I need to use that vibe all the time? My friend told me to use soft words… this advice really works when negative emotions boil over me.  Can I avoid misunderstandings by really listening to what the other person is saying and not focusing on my interpretation of what I think they may have said? Can I learn to be more flexible, have an open mind and heart and learn to adapt to new situations as we’ve been forced to do when SARS2-COVID-19 made its way into our world? Can we use this time to learn more things? Teach and share with others? Can we begin a project that expresses ourselves with words through drama, poetry, prose, music or speeches? Can we research our passions, explore our new heart’s desires, take new classes, read new books, gather new information or experience things in our environments that we might be taking for granted? Are we able to live to our fullest, even in what we perceive to be precarious times and unforeseen futures? I think yes! I choose yes! And I am thankful for this New Moon in Gemini to guide the way!

My lesson for today: “Embrace authenticity.”

As each passing day evolves I consider what is most important. One teacher, Manong Sapi Bawer, Kalinga Culture Bearer living high in the mountains above the Chico River, advised me to be balanced. In years past, my friends felt I was totally a person of wind and fire… years later Apo Reyna pronounced me earth and water… It took years for me to find that balance, to embrace all parts of me, to embrace my own authenticity. Another teacher, Manu Koreha, Maori Healer and now Ancestor, taught me the power of song, the stones, the trees and how to look up.  Through ceremony, Elder Linda of Two Eagles Ranch, told me that I needed to overcome what was stuck in my throat and to sing. Maori Healer Atarangi Muru shares songs and prayers in her teachings while guiding us in working with the body for healing. KW always reminded me that “Joy Cometh in the Morning,” and when I observed more closely, it always did. Mestre Carlos Aceituno (Ibaye) and I had deep conversations about where creativity springs from and in our travels to Bahia, Salvador, Mestre Kinge (Ibaye) shared his connection with the Orishas and teaching us dance along with our small traveling dance group. An Elder Mae, whose House was Oya/Yansa, spoke to me about connection to spirit and the elements embraced me immediately afterwards as they do when I pay attention and often when I don’t. Maguindanaoan Master Danny Kalanduyan (RIP) shared his gandingan songs with us and the language of the music swept us up in an embrace of the magical essence of being, as it does in all music. Grandpa Darryl Babe Wilson always reminded me of the “Two Moons,” and of “Danza Ye’ja,” how it is in his words, “…the bringing of dance to heal the earth. It is a medicine song, a love song to Mother Earth in which the universe will hear and respond by healing Mother Earth, making Mother Earth vibrant again, just as spring brings new life.” The wisdom and teachings of Rangiemarie Rose Pere of Aotearoa or Babaylan Apo Reyna of the Philippines are pearls embedded in my memories with comfort and guidance during difficult times. And with friends and family who honor the Orishas, dance during the Japanese Obon Festival, sing the gospels, blues or jazz sprung from the Black South or the songs honoring the Ancestors here in our beloved SF Bay Area, home to the Ohlone, Pomo, Coast Miwok and Wappo peoples, the gifts of beautiful experiences continue to be a part of my life.  

These things keep me centered. And also through ceremonies, the Whale and Bear spirits reminded me of my place in the world and how to seek guidance, receive comfort and ask for protection. I am used to being like the horse, running free and wild with no fences to limit my freedom. In my dreams I could fly like an eagle, dive off cliffs into sea waters perfectly and float atop roofs while the flood waters rushed by.  There is much in the world that is unseen, in that space just beyond, in the center of our hearts, in the infinity of the universe. Manu would say, “…the multiverses…” There are many lessons in life from many people who cross our paths that share their knowledge and wisdom to get us through the hardest of times. I know that I am not perfect, a human being. I know that there is strength in the moment, in each breath and each thought that passes through my mind. 

In this time I must find strength, love and patience in my heart to move forward in compassion, understanding and love. I do my best as others also do theirs. Someone special just told me he failed… but there is no failure in life… only lessons. The lesson I need to return to is affirmations. Here are two: 1. I am worthy of love and joy. 2. I am never alone. My daughter writes affirmations and posts them on mirrors to remind her of who she really is. I need to return to that so that I feel worth, I feel love, I feel joy and I am never alone. Let these affirmations and love dispense the fear.  This I must do and this we must do… so do you have affirmations or words of wisdom we need now to move forward? When we sleep will joy cometh in the morning? Can we rise to sing with the birds as the sun rises to bring us a new day to live each moment without fear? To live each moment… and yes, we are alive!

In the midst of my work to find solutions for SARS2-COVID-19 I am learning these lessons. I can mention herbs here and make suggestions for holistic healing now, but I think the largest thing I can do is forgive myself and others for rushing down the road of fear. I am thankful for each breath of life, of the waters of life, of the fire within my heart and the sun that rises each day and the earth below my feet that provides me with all… and the beautiful plants that sustain us all. With this thought I send you all love and my thoughts on herbal plant medicine in the time of COVID-19. Click on this link in our Resources page to see what I compiled while researching SARS2-COVID-19 in the winter and early spring: Overcoming COVID-19 Using Plant Medicine

Luna Nueva Wellness Collective will be launching our YouTube channel soon; activating our Instagram with messages of hope and sharing podcasts so we can have loving kindness, heal ourselves and provide for our families and communities through this stormy time. The storm will clear, but to summarize, here’s the wisdom of Datu Vic Saway of the Talaandig people who once shared with me, “We are the bridge for our descendants and we must be strong.” 

May we all be well as we move through these days in peace, tranquility, balance and strength. We are all love and joy and strength. And we are not alone. We have each other.

-Holly Calica, Clinical Herbalist & Arts Educator

Take a Moment to Breathe

With this corona outbreak, all of us are on heightened alert to stay healthy. Every day the news challenges us to be calm, centered, balanced, serene.  I know the reports say, “don’t touch anyone, stay 6 feet away,” so, who is left to touch? No one but yourself.  In this moment, pause, take a couple of deep calm cleansing breaths.  Breathe in, Breathe out.  Feel your cleansing breath slowly enter your nose, exhale out through your mouth.  Move your hands and press the beginning of your clavicle, the two bones that protrude at the base of your throat.  Breathe in, Breathe out.  Breathe in, Breathe, out. Breathe in, Breathe out.  You have all you need, you are a divine being, you are at peace, your ancestors walk with you, trust in the unseen. This too shall pass.                 –  Luanda Wesley, LMT

Remember…

Greetings Community. It’s important to stay focused on the important things, family, love, community. It’s easy to panic and act out of desperation and fear. We have been hearing of personal violence and attacks as people act out of fear, forgetting to be rational. Is killing someone for gas, or toilet paper worth it?? Please remember who you are and stay connected to that divinity in all of us.

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