A Conversation on Ancestral Haircare with Becca Piastrelli

Hello my dears.

Today, my heart is heavy because I am not on my way to the Spirit Weavers Gathering which takes place on it’s own beautiful homeland in Southern Oregon, where many of my dearest sisters are communing together and preparing and blessing the land for 600 women who will meet this weekend and next for a sharing of ancestral earth skills, sacred activism, healing, empowerment, adornment, and on and on and on.

I have been to this gathering the past 2 years, and it has filled an empty longing in my heart that I had carried with me my entire life. I didn’t know why exactly I wanted to go in the first place, I just felt drawn to it and now I know why……Because it has facilitated in me a necessary awakening that holds me to my path in a beautiful space with many other seeking souls.

I could really go on and on here but I don’t want to go too deep right now, I just have to get off my chest how sad I feel to miss it this year. No regrets on my choice not to go, I’m simply too pregnant. I’m just having spiritual FOMO and missing my sisters and the forest. Thanks for bearing with me.

Today, I want to take a minute to share with you a beautiful conversation that I had a few weeks back with Becca Piastrelli, Bay area writer and Blogger whom I met at last  year’s Spirit Weavers Gathering. 

She hosted me in her beautiful Mill Valley home for a Braid/ Haircare Workshop a few months back, and then got back in touch about doing an interview on the topic of Hair as Adornment, Self-care, Brushing Ritual, Braids and Ancestry. We dropped in together over video-chat and she asked me some great questions that I really enjoyed answering and am glad to share with you today.

Here is her beautiful intro for the blog post she put together with the video footage.

Words from Becca Piastrelli…..

As I journey deeper into the ancestral traditions of the women of my lineage, I feel all the more connected to my own body.

I often look at my hands with such awe and reverence for what they are capable of and how all the women that came before me are helping to guide them in my daily acts of making (from breakfast to writing emails to dip dyeing fiber in indigo).

Having grown up in this beauty-obsessed culture, feeling comparison with the hair (and bodies) of the women plastered on billboards and in the pages of magazines has come up for me often. There have been times where I’ve hated that I wasn’t blonde, didn’t have curly enough hair, didn’t have straight enough hair, or sucked at making it look good.

But a lot of that has shifted over the past year as I’ve begun a deeper exploration of my hair as an expression of who I am and my connection to the earth and the people who came before me.

Here is the post/ video Interview. Give it a look, and let us know your thoughts!

Also, follow Becca here on IG for more life musings for the creative heart.

 

Thank you for being here, lots of love.

RJH

Maddie’s Hair Transformation

Hi babes. Welcome to round 2 of Ritual Head Shave/ Hair Transformation. Meet Maddie. She answered my IG call for Head Shave Models, and I answered her call for wanting a reason to shave her head. 

She was reserved about wanting to fully expose her ears, which is so common for women.  When we shaved her head, we revealed her beautiful ears and she was just stunning. 

For her color concept, I worked from inspiration of these green bubbles. I had had a sense that green would be an important color to her, and it was, and it looked perfect on her.

Check out Howtohairgirl IG for more video footage from this series, and stay tuned for next weeks Transformation edition:)

xo, HTHG

 

Gemini Hairoscope

coverFriends old and new, thanks for visiting us today for the 4nd edition of the Free Your Hair HOROSCOPE honoring the Gemini.

I offer this series to all as an ever-changing and morphing guide for Hair-Centered Radical Self Care, Ritual and Beauty in honor and tribute to each sign as they enter into their place in the Sun Rotation.

With this Hairoscope, we hope to inspire each sign of the zodiac to take some extra time on their birthday month to really love on and care for themselves. Every month, we will pull a card to share from The Moon Deck to inspire your monthly self-care ritual. With the sage advice of The Moon Deck, we will adapt our monthly mantras to bless and honor our own hair. We invite you to share these monthly Hairoscopes with your friends who are of that month’s astrological sign and help them take some time for self love!


For this series, I worked with artist Madison McClain to create our women of the horoscope, and with intuitive writer and healer Aarona Ganesan, co-creator of The Moon Deck, which is the Tarot Deck I use daily to inspire my own personal self-care rituals.

This month, we honor the Gemini

Moon Deck Ritual:

(Words and Rituals adapted from the Moon Deck Guidebook, changed slightly to speak specifically to our hair.)

Hair Brush Mantra:

‘I Honor the natural process for growth and transformation ‘

From the moment we leave the womb we journey through many life cycles and transform along the way. Growth is a natural process and change is inevitable. You are going through a metamorphosis and expanding with increasing beauty. Honor your growth and allow a joyful lightness to enter your journey.
Butterfly has arrived as a symbol of grace, joy, flight and transformation. She’s a messenger, fluttering about with alluring lightness and expressive color. From a slow moving caterpillar to a tightly wound cocoon into an exquisite butterfly in the sky, she does not deny the natural process of her evolution- it’s what makes her so incredibly special. Butterfly is here to remind you that your right on track to becoming an expression of your highest self, have patience in the process.

Take 5 minutes today to brush this mantra into your hair, repeating it to yourself with every stroke. Be in a comfortable, calm place without distraction. Close your eyes and breath, centering your body as you brush. If you are not a regular hair brusher, here is why we think you should try it, and here is where to get yourself a beautiful hair brush to work into your hair care ritual. If you are more of the combing type, consider a wooden wide toothed comb or your own fingers for a relaxing scalp massage.

Rainbow Bath Ritual

Your self-care ritual for your birthday month, dear Gemini, is to pull in the powerful transformative force of color alchemy and infuse your bath and your spirit in a rainbow of possibility.

Go on a walk around your neighborhood or at a nearby park. Gather leaves and flowers and petals in as many colors as you can find, filling out the spectrum as brilliantly as possible. Practice calling in the color red to begin with, and let only red flowers pull you towards them. Move through ROYGBIV, giving each color a chance to jump out at you. Acknowledge each shade as you pick.

Once you are satisfied with your range of colors, whisper your mantra into the flowers. Take them home, draw a bath, and add your rainbow of petals. Soak as long as you want, letting the petals kiss your skin with the intention that you gave them.

Hair Advice:

Gemini: In the spirit of transformation, this would be a great time to try out some color in your hair. I don’t mean like correcting grays or getting highlights. I mean like real color. Find a stylist who is excited to experiment, and share your deepest color dreams with them, making sure that you  are clear about your level of commitment to upkeep/care and investment. There is a color technique to fit all lives/textures/budgets. Want to DIY it? Try this.

 

Moon Phases in Gemini:

The New Moon and Full Moon are the most potent times for setting new intentions for healthy habits and relationships and creating rituals that are potent in their action. I highly recommend this months Brush Mantra and Rainbow Bath Ritual be done around both the 25th of May to observe the New Moon, setting an intention of what you are ready to let go of in your life/in your hair/in your relationship to yourself in physical and spiritual form, and around June 9th to observe the Full Moon, setting intention for what you are ready to bring in to your life. What do you want to manifest? Now is the time.

And how do you set an intention? for those who haven’t practiced it……Speak a little prayer to yourself. Honor it with the ritual of taking an Rainbow Bath. Hold the prayer in your heart as you practice self love. Make it so!

Please check out The Moon Deck for more musings. Gemini babes, may we suggest you get your own deck as a birthday gift to yourself and make a vow to love yourself and your hair more in this coming year.

What would you like to see woven into our monthly Hairoscope? I would love to hear your feedback! We are excited to watch this series grow and change with your input.

xo, HTHG and The Moon Deck

 

 

Chaga: The Best Natural DIY Self-Tan

Beauty comes from the inside out, and we can all appreciate the feeling that we get when the sun kisses our skin, regardless of how we look in comparison to anyone else’s standards of “Beautiful Skin”

I feel the need to make this clear.

Friends, far and wide. I am not a tan obsessed, skin color judging person. This is a post that I sort of stumbled upon without really meaning to, as a woman who doesn’t use self-tanner and doesn’t really ever think about my own skin color unless it is within the context of trying to better understand my own social priveledge based on it, with the intention of better understanding my responsibility to my sisters and brothers of all skin colors because of my general pasty whiteness and because of the history of our culture. This is a whole other conversation that I am very glad is happening.

Today, though, the focus of this post is on the magic of a CHAGA. And how we can use it to bring a golden glow to any skin color. This experiment came from a long, dark, rainy winter…..The rainiest and darkest in the history of my lifetime in the Pacific Northwest…….A  winter so brutally dark, that we all became sad, cold, pasty ghosts of ourselves and taking hot baths with herbs in them was MY only remedy for insanity.

I came out of this Winter so thirsty for sun on my skin and body and in my eyes and in my hair, that it hurt like a physical injury. Then, one day, in early April around the New Moon, on an intuitive whim I brewed up some really dark Chaga tea, poured it into my bath and soaked in it. I stepped out of the bath a golden glowing version of my ghostly self, and took note of it. My skin felt incredible and sun kissed for weeks and it really boosted my mood. My friends commented on my great tan, wondering how the hell?

I began to experiment. Today, I share the fruits of my experimental Chaga tanning. But first, dears, here is a bit about what Chaga is……..Because many of you may be asking by now.  But likely many of you already have discovered this incredible medicinal mycelial magic. If so, skip ahead to the DIY. If not, read on for Chaga info.

What is Chaga?

Chaga has been consumed for centuries in the East, most typically as tea, where its health benefits are well established. More recently, chaga has been gaining popularity in the West, where its numerous health benefits are now being recognized by many health gurus. Technically, chaga is a highly-concentrated black mass of mycelium that protrudes from birch trees infected with parasitic–but non-toxic–fungus Inonotus Obliquus. The dark, hard and cracked exterior, which often appears like burnt charcoal, is called the sclerotium. The interior has a rusty yellow brown color.

How is Chaga used Medicinally?

The health benefits of Chaga are numerous, many of which can be attributed to its immune-boosting ingredients and antioxidants. 

The top 7 health benefits of consuming Chaga are:

  1. Immune system support
  2. Soothing properties
  3. Gastrointestinal and ulcer support
  4. Blood pressure and cholesterol normalizing
  5. Anti-microbial
  6. DNA damage protection
  7. Anti-viral

Thanks to Global Healing Center for sharing this information. Please find more in-depth Chaga wisdom here. 

Chaga is easily made into tea which can be sipped daily ( I mix Chaga tea into my cold-brew) It is completely odorless and flavorless, and freakishly shelf stable. It can live seemingly forever in a jar, sitting on your counter waiting to be added to anything you want. I always have a jar of it around, and gawk at it regularly for it’s incredibly beautiful, rich dark color.

Why use Chaga as a self-tanner?

For one thing, Chaga is found to be incredible for your skin…..AND, it is filled with Melanin, which we all know, is what gives our skin color.

Many of chaga’s active constituents can help to keep your skin looking and feeling healthy. Of greatest notability is the presence of melanin in chaga tea. Melanin is the pigment that provides color to your skin, and provides a shield against harmful UV rays. Producing this pigment internally is difficult, as it requires a number of very specific nutrients.

Because chaga can provide this pigment naturally, it is therefore a very valuable natural resource for protecting against sunburn and giving your skin that healthy golden sheen. Chaga tea also helps by promoting good circulation, alleviating inflammation and helping to combat infection, all of which can reduce the occurrence of skin problems.

DIY Chaga Skin Tonic Self-Tanner Recipe

 

There are several ways to use Chaga as a self-tanner/Skin tonic. You will need raw Chaga which you can get here on Amazon, or consult your local apothecary or plant witch and they can likely help you find it from a more direct source.

You will begin by steeping a nice, dark Chaga tea. Do this by crushing the Chaga into pieces about the size of a large marble and smaller. It is quite hard and crusty and difficult to cut through, so try whacking it with a mallet or putting it into an herb/coffee grinder to break it up a bit. Put it in a sauce pan, and cover it with water (Spring water if you can.)

Turn the stove on and bring it to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for a half an hour or so. It will reduce a bit, and get really dark and lovely. When the tea looks about like espresso, turn it off and let it cool. Strain out the tea into a jar.

You can then use this same batch of Chaga to make up to 10 more batches of tea. It just keeps giving and giving and giving. So don’t compost it yet!

Now that you have your tea made, you can tan with it many ways: I have used these 3 methods, each time with great results and a golden tan that lasts.

Method 1. Dump tea into a bath and soak in it, the more tea the better. Soak half an hour or more, than step out of the bath, towel off, and admire the feeling of sunshine on your skin. Add your favorite flowers too, just for fun.

Method 2. Funnel it into a spray bottle, and spray it liberally all over your body and rub it in. Let it air dry, and voila! Golden, toned, happy skin.

Method 3. Mix it with water-based lotion and apply it all over your body. I personally felt like this was the most effective way I used it. You can either mix it in a bowl, or add the tea directly to a half-empty bottle of lotion, shake it up really well for a couple minutes, and use it that way.

Again, it is very shelf stable so you can keep using it as you desire, you will get more and more golden with each application. And the beautiful part of it is that it works with your unique skin tone to make the YOU version of tan skin, instead of an out-of-the-bottle orange that doesn’t fool anyone. And it isn’t a stain like other self-tanners including black-tea-tan. It is a true blue tan that lives in your skin. This is what I experienced. 

These three methods will bring you beautifully toned and golden skin, protection from the elements and a great solution if you need to build up a base-tan and skin resilience. It can be used on any and all skin types and colors.

I highly recommend sipping the tea while you are using the tea topically, for best results.  Get that melanin from the inside out. I hope it brings you some sunshine.

Try it, and let me know what you think!

xo, Kitchen Beauty Witch

 

Michele’s Ritual Hair Transformation

Welcome to the first edition of this beautiful saga of hair transformation!

This series will be mostly photo-documentation, with just a little intro to each woman. I considered going in do much deeper depth about the how’s and why’s of each woman’s personal transformation story but it seemed that the photos were enough to tell the tale.

Know this, though……I put a call out on my Instagram for women who are wanting to mark a transition in life by shaving their head and letting me bleach and paint colorful prayers into their heads afterwards. I heard from many interested women, who had been waiting for a reason to do this. It seemed that I was answering their call as they answered mine. I knew It was worth pursuing. 

Michele’s Transformation began with writing down an intention that she set for moving forward in her life. She shaved her own head, to mark the release of her intention into the universe. She burned her intention and her hair outside to bring in the elements of fire and air to burn through obstacles standing in her way of moving forwards.

Then, as witness and artist and co-facilitator, I painted prayers of color and vibrancy into her hair after bleaching her stubble to a soft white. 

The experience was very experimental, powerful, joyful and transformative. Thanks to Michele for her bravery, and for all of you who are witnessing. 

Please check out a small video of the process on my IG, under the hashtag #hthgtransformation

xo.

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