Ayana Young, Laughing with the Trees.

2 years ago, I found myself desperate for something I couldn’t put my finger on. I have had this feeling my entire life, off and on, that I was missing something really important. I experienced it as intense loneliness, deep grief, and an inescapable feeling of isolation and disconnection. I know that I am not the only one who feels this at times.

I found myself bumping up against these questions:

What fucking matters?

Is there some sort of spiritual path I should be following?

Where did I come from? Who are my people? Where is my homeland?

How do we make right that as a culture, we are so destructive and un-appreciative of this land that holds us? 

How do we fight for the earth that we love so deeply that sustains us and allows us to survive?

Where do we begin to cultivate the strength to look the crisis of of this earth straight in the eye without losing all hope? 

How can I raise my kids in this world with truth and reverence and an understanding of the fragility of our future lives on this changing planet?

Big Questions.

I was being called towards activism, and to the earth, and to some sort of spiritual experience, and I had no idea where to begin.

From the depths of the Russian Taiga, deep in the Boreal forests of the northern woods, a seed was planted long ago. Generations and migrations later, this seed showed up in full bloom, in the form of Ayana Young.

Have you ever been around someone who speaks profound truth in a simple, straightforward way so much that they catch you off guard and make you question what took you so long to see the light? That is what Ayana has been for me. In metaphor, meeting her and following her Earth Action work has been a light at the end of a dark existential tunnel.

Today, I want to honor Ayana Young as being a light and a bridge for so many of us from our own hearts back into the land from which we came. She is the facilitator of a beautiful space where the origin stories of earth love are contained. She is a mother of the wild, a mother of girl dogs, and a laugher with the trees.

Ayana is the creator of For The Wild ( formerly Unlearn and Rewind ) where she hosts podcasts which feature front lines earth activists, indigenous leaders, healers, authors, and politicians and engages them in conversations from the heart on issues related to radical earth renewal.

These conversations take us from the trees, to the oceans, to ancestry, spirituality,  politics, indigenous wisdom, anti-oppression, colonialism and de-colonization, the magic of mycelium, wild horses, psychology, death, birth, renewal, despair, and deep into the roots of the earth and the love that brings us to want to protect her. Activism rooted deeply in love, activism which deeply inspires.

Through these conversations, we learn that to act as stewards and protectors of the planet, we have to be able to understand all of nature as ‘being’, existing in more than just a physical form but in soul and in relationship to all other beings.

Within these relationships, there is a beautiful opportunity to live in reciprocity, give and take. There is an opportunity to lean in to the feelings of kinship we may feel with the natural world. To reconnect and find soul and earth healing medicine in these simple, beautiful connections. And to let them inspire us to act in protection and support of the earth from a place of deep love.

Through Ayana Young and the conversations on For The Wild, many of those questions of existential despair have been answered for me.

I am reminded that any path that leads us from our hearts into the land that we walk and all of it’s creatures is a path worth following. This path leads us to a deeper place within ourselves, and within the web that connects us all. This path leads us to live with more regard and in deeper reciprocity with our natural world. This path leads us away from loneliness and despair and it inspires a sort of activism that grows from a place of love, the sort of love that is needed to be able to keep pushing forward and finding solutions.

Ayana’s work reminds us that every act of love to the earth we walk is activism, and every minute we spend nurturing our own heart connections with the land is healing for both parties. Laughing with the trees, crying with the snails, praying, watering, nourishing and building relationships with the wild.

That is my love letter of the day. I had the pleasure of visiting with Ayana last week when she came through town. We had a lovely afternoon, chatted and laughed and then we visited some of my favorite trees and adorned them with flowers.

We talked about her upcoming Sisters Bonded in Action Webinar series with Spirit Weavers which feature women in activism speaking on the topics of:

Power, Oppression and Intersectionality featuring Barbara Jefferson

Decolonizing and Reclaiming Indignity featuring Jade Begay and Lyla June

Dismantling Systemic White Supremecy featuring Mollie Crittenden & Rain Crowe

Exerting and Expanding our Rights featuring Yasmin Christopher

Direct Action from the Grass Roots featuring Malia Hulleman

and Keeping Sane and Active amid Mass Psychosis featuring Joanna Macy

I highly suggest signing up for this series.

I got to braid Ayana’s hair, finally;) and also give her a little trim and some rose oil. Her braids brought out her inner Taiga Teenager, reminiscent of the Old Country and the sweetness of youth (her last name is Young, after all) I tried my best to encourage her to get deeper into self-care, something that can be hard for those who throw their hearts so deeply into their work. We truly cannot pour from an empty vessel. 

I fell in love with her sweet dog daughter, and she got to meet my human daughters. She left me with a full heart, a shit ton of hope, and 2 half-gallons of strawberry kefir from the farmer up the road from her land in the woods of Northern California.

xo.

 

 

Cedar Solstice Braids and the Secret Selkie

7u6a0256-1Jules came over for some new color and a little lunch the other day. We went with seaweed green panels within the layers of her hair.fullsizerender-6

It reminded me of the story of the Selkie, the myth the Seal Woman from coastal Scottish and Irish folklore. I had posted this photo the previous week, from a fellow hair artist Aylah Rose. She created the look inspired by the Selkie and the Wild Women of our global folk history.

Jules took me on a tour of Scotland when we were 19. She is a Scotswoman. Not much in the blood, but 100% in the soul. It is funny how a tiny bit of actual ancestral rootage can come through so strong in some people. She lived in Glasgow for several years, and is a fiddler and a flat foot dancer. She is now a Rick Steve’s Scotland guide in the Summertime. In short, she’s a Secret Selkie.

After we finished Jule’s hair, I fed her my favorite soup that I have been making lately. It is Seaweed Soup and I can’t stop eating it. It is made with chicken broth, fresh ginger, turmeric, garlic, green onions, cilantro, wakame seaweed, and kelp noodles. No measuring, just throw it all together and boil it for 20 minutes. Turn stove off, let it cool a bit. Add a large spoonful of miso and mix it in. BAM!


Solstice Braids

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Then, we did some braids.

These braids are my new favorite way to do Milk Maid Braids, and I re-named them Fire Maid Braids because I originally did them on Fire Keeper Miriam at last years Spirit Weavers Gathering and she rocked them so beautifully. I love them because they are very sturdy and can be worn for weeks at a time, and they look so great from all angles. Finally…….here is a tutorial:)picmonkey-image-3

 

  • Begin by creating 2 french braids. Dutch braids also work, it is totally up to you. Secure the ends with small elastics.
  • Now, gently pull the edges of the braids apart, starting at the ends and working your way up. This softens them and plumps them up a bit:)
  • Now, pull the ends of the braids forward and overlap them at the top of your head. Use bobby pins to secure them every few inches. Add extra pins as needed to the places that stick out. Tuck the ends under the braids and pin them so that the hairstyle appears continuous.
  • Pull down soft pieces of hair around your face and neck to soften the look.
  • Add little Cedar boughs and bits to adorn the braids for the perfect Happy Solstice/ Holiday Hair Vibe.

 

xo, HTHG

 

 

Holiday Berries and Short Hair Braids.

7u6a9933Braiding short hair can be hard, but there are many ways to make it work. I am a big fan of  the Accent Braid, which is basically a small braid that is encorporated into a hairstyle, adding detail and texture to something otherwise pretty basic.

In short hair, a small braid can go a long way to make you feel like you have more options…..I urge you to experiment!

Today’s little holiday hairstyle incorporates a basic French braid, with two very basic little twists, pinned together despite the little hairs that didn’t make it in……And don’t fret about those little hairs that don’t quite make it. They add softness to the style:) Here is a step-by-step.picmonkey-image

  1. Create a French braid down the center section of the back of the head, leaving out the hair on either sides. The section should be roughly from behind one ear, to behind the other.
  2. Secure the end of the braid with a clear elastic. Then, flip the end underneath, tucking it inside the braid to make it disappear. Secure it with a bobby pin.
  3. Take all the hair from one side, and twist it together, bringing it towards the back of the head. Pin it into place over the base of the braid.
  4. Repeat on the other side, overlapping the first twist if possible. Secure with more pins.

Take some time today to wander your neighborhood, seeing what is growing…..We are abundant with colored berries this time of year in the PNW……..Rainbow colors in an otherwise very gray existance!

Tuck berries or greenery into your hairdo. This is a great way to fill in gaps, and to adorn your crown for the season.

img_7515For a meditational rainbow foraging treat, check out #hthgcolormeditation on Instagram and find the first post….Follow directions!

For more botanical inspiration check out #filthandbeautymandala

Here for more foraged braids.

Enjoy!

xo, HTHG

 

 

HTHG Summer Hair do: The Flower Part

Hello Hello! What better way to celebrate the Summer and cool hair than with little sweet flowers along your part-line.

Why? Because. Because not all of us can do the glitter thing in real life. (my partner gets rage-y when glitter is around.) And because sometimes a part-line seems to beg for decoration.

And because floral beards and bushes have been done, braided beards and rainbow pits have been done, so the Flower Part seems like an obvious yes.

Flower Parts anyone? I’m sure feeling it. Wear yours to your next Summer Party.


How to do a Flower Part


How to do it? pick some tiny flowers, being careful not to pull their petals off. Use a small dab of sticky hair paste in little bits along your part, stick flowers to them! Done! Thank goodness. It’s really too easy, I can’t believe we haven’t been doing this forever.

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Pair your Flower Part with a really strange and cool hairstyle. Get creative, get weird.

xo, HTHG

Cherry Abundance Braids

IMG_9184Hello and Happy Fruit Season from the abundantly fruity Pacific Northwest. This time of year feels very special because for a few short weeks, we can eat berries straight off the bush without feeling the need to hoard them or share them, because their are simply so many of them around.

On my daily run ( okay runwalk ) I can be found actually just eating the berries directly off the tree hands free. I call it mouthpicking. It sounds maybe a little strange but when there is this much abundance it just seems right to go all in. Also, the birds are so happy that when they do their business, bright pink bombs fall from the sky. Onto my windsheild.

This time of year is about simply relishing the abundance of the berry world, and being open to receive from the fruits of nature, and having deep gratitude for the opportunity to fully just embrace the berry juice on your face. And, maybe wearing berries in your hair as a prayer to keep that abundance flowing, far after the berries have dried on the vine.  IMG_9252

Here is a shot from last weekend, when a dear old friend showed up on my doorstep in her wedding dress, with a bouquet of lavender and an amethyst, ready to elope to her man who she met in firefighter training school. I of course added a raspberry in there for good measure and a prayer for abundance for their new life together.

IMG_9162I shot a little braid tutorial to celebrate the berry harvest and share with you all…..here, have a berry while you check it out. These should still be warm from the sun.

Cherry Abundance Braids

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cherry braidsHere is how I did these braids…..

I sectioned off both sides, and did a braid in each side section, securing the ends with a clear elastic.

I did two diagonal french braids across the back, then braided all the way down the ends and secured them with clear elastics.

Then, I took the ends of the top french braid and wrapped them into a tight bun, pinning them into place.

Then I took the ends of the lower french braid, and wrapped them tightly around the bun, tucking the tail underneath and pinning it into place.

Then, I pulled one side braid up and around the bun, tucking the tail in and pinning the braid into place, and I did the same with the other side braid.

Then, I decorated her hair with fresh cherries, pinning them with small hair pins by their stems.

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Braid Meditation

 

Oh, and before you begin, while you braid ( or brush your hair) , say a little prayer to the universe for abundance, and express gratitude for what is already abundant in your life. May you be fruitful and juicy in all of your pursuits!

xo, HTHG

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