Monthly Archives: April 2015

Current Transits: May, 2015

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Category: Current Transits

Special note: Barry will host an Astrology for the Soul workshop at Mimosa on May 21. Click here for more information. 

Sun moved into Taurus on April 20

Last month, fiery Aries renewed our impulse to assert our spirit into the world. Now, Taurus grounds that intention into the physical, starting with the denseness of our bodies, extending out to all the practical, physical resources we need, and reaching further to that which we want and desire. Thank you, Taurus – I needed that.

Our inner Venus, ruling Taurus, responds to our earthy existence, and based on our likes and dislikes, needs and wants, pleasures and displeasures, it forms our values. It is our values that give shape to our life. When we know and commit to our values, we can infuse our Martian vitality into the physical resources that Venus attracts to us, thus creating that which pleases us. Through planting, building, business, artistic expressions, and relationships, we increase our sense of abundance and physical security. Taurus’s spiritual intention is to build our commitment to the physical world, rewarding our limited senses with delightful expressions of how spirit can express sacred beauty and love into physical form.

In the Taurus part of our humanity, we learn loyalty, patience, gratitude, persistence, endurance, commitment, and forgiveness. If conscious, we grow our self-worth and self-resourcefulness. We take action slowly, deliberately, honoring others needs, but respecting their boundaries and our own. We feel awareness and gratitude for Mother Earth, value our bodies, and enjoy the pleasures of our five senses. Fully conscious, we realize that the physical is only a reflection of the spiritual, and our values evolve to the intangible qualities of spirit, which then guides us to infuse our physical creations with love and beauty.

Our unconscious Taurus, by leaning too much into self and insensitivity to others, can let our need for physical and emotional security turn into attachment and accumulation, jealousy and possessiveness. Our need for self-worth can turn into stubbornness and greed; our enjoyment of pleasure turn into excessiveness and addiction.

Full Moon on May 3

With a Sun – Moon/Taurus – Scorpio polarity, these two luminaries will bring to light any of the following imbalances in your own life or the world: boundaries versus vulnerability, mine versus ours, stability versus change, physical versus emotional. The key to any imbalances may be found in Jupiter in Leo. It’s square to the Moon reflects a tendency toward apathy and self-indulgence. It’s square to the Sun tends toward an overly optimistic and idealistic ego. Together, it’s a call for humble discipline and realism.

Venus – Uranus – Pluto T Square

During the middle two weeks in May, as lover Venus squares individual Uranus and opposes willful Pluto, watch for how you apply your values to your personal relationships. Are you being authentic? Are you feeling empowered? Manipulative? Manipulated?

Venus trines Neptune

Halfway through May, Venus trines Neptune, bringing your need for personal love in harmony with your need for spiritual oneness and compassion. It’s a good time to heal your relationships, but you can also be taken advantage of by those who are needy or dishonest.

Jupiter trines Uranus

Independent orientated Uranus will continue to fuel Jupiter’s drive toward expansive awareness and growth. Learn how your values are informing sense of growth, or lack of it.

Good Taurus Activities in May

Build something. Plant something. Use your hands. Use your body. Enjoy sensuality. Plan your finances. Make and spend some money. Connect to the earth. Make a commitment to yourself and stick to it.

Good Taurus Questions To Ask Yourself In May

To heal and evolve your Taurus self, ask this: Do you know your own values, and are you willing to assert boundaries around yourself to help you uphold those values? Do you feel worthy of your needs and desires? Can you give yourself or ask for what you want without feeling selfish? When you feel stubborn, jealous, or possessive, can you sense your insecurities and create an inner security. What are your intangible values, and can you be flexible with how those show up in physical form.

Barry Kerr, a certified soul-based astrologer, has 33 years of experience with an international clientele, including many medical professionals and alternative healers. He and Kristine Gay, a licensed psychotherapist, are owners/practitioners at Inner Essence Center in Madison. Both have extensive training in soul-guided healing of mind, body, heart and spiritual systems. Barry offers astrology readings and coaching by phone, Skype or in person in Madison, WI. Inquiries are welcome – free 15 minute consultation to explore if this is for you. Visit for more information.

Herbs to Attract Butterflies & Bees

By Dr. Christina Wilke-Burbach

All of nature lives together in harmony. When one part of the ecosystem is damaged, the entire system is broken. Pollinators, like bees and butterflies, are necessary for our survival. Bees pollinate most of the crops that we use for food. If our food is not pollinated, the crops cannot grow. Then animals and humans, and every other living organism that relies on plants and crops for sustenance do not have food to eat. This could lead to famine and economic disruption.

Pesticides, herbicides, neonicotinoids, and crops modified with pest control characteristics (GMOS) threaten the survival of Monarch butterflies, honeybees, and bumblebees. The chemicals kill Milkweed, the caterpillars’ main source of food. These chemicals also disrupt the bees’ location and tracking instincts leading them to get lost and not be able to find their way home. Chemicals make the bees more prone to disease, suppress their immune system, increase their stress, and are believed to be the culprit for Colony Collapse Disorder, a phenomenon in which bees suddenly and mysteriously disappear from the hive. In recent years, beekeepers in The US, Canada, Europe, Asia, Central America, and South America all report over a 50% decline in their bee populations. In the United Kingdom, three species of bees have already gone extinct. 90% of the wild bee population in the US have died out. The Monarch butterfly numbers are the lowest they ever have been.

If we don’t change our gardening and agriculture methods, not only could the bees and butterflies become extinct, but it could surely threaten our food supplies and ultimately our own survival. As many people are waking up and becoming interested in green and clean living (organic food, natural cleaning products, natural body products, etc) there is a need to translate the natural movement to our own backyards. The following are some things we can all do to increase their bees’ and butterflies’ chances of survival as well as restore harmony and balance to the earth.

  • Respect the bees! Leave their hives alone. Learn the difference between hornets, wasps, and bees. Bees are not the bad guys. They are not aggressive like wasps.
  • Consider becoming a beekeeper!
  • Weeds are ok! Many of us were taught that weeds were “bad.” In fact, Mother Nature lives in harmony and balance. When weeds appear, that is nature’s way of balancing out the soil quality. In fact, most weeds are medicine too!
  • Use natural and organic gardening methods like natural fertilizers (guano, kelp, bloodmeal) and natural pest detractors (neem and some essential oils like lemongrass and citronella).
  • Pull out weeds by hand. This is not only great exercise but a way to get your hands dirty and commune with nature.
  • You want to make sure you only get organic seedlings or organic seeds to plant in your garden. Plants from greenhouses may be sprayed in pesticides and chemicals.
  • Plant organic herbs that attract bees and butterflies. Not only will these assist our bee and butterfly friends, but at the end of the growing season you can harvest your herbs and create wonderful healing teas, tinctures, and balms for yourself and your family. Herbs that attract bees and butterflies include:

Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica, Asclepias incarnata, Asclepias syriacea. At the end of the growing season harvest your Milkweed, dry it, and make a sachet for protection.

Catnip (Nepeta cataria). A favorite of cats, catnip is also a sedative for humans and is beneficial for insomnia, anxiety, and stomach upset.

Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis. Hyssop has been used for its cleansing properties since Biblical times. It is excellent for respiratory system health.

Bee Balm (also known as Wild Bergamot) (Monarda didyma, Monarda fistulosa, Monarda  citriodora and Monarda pectinata). Bee balm is excellent for digestive problems.

Lavender (Lavandula officinalis, Lavandula angustifolia) is great for skin care, anxiety, and stress.

Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea). Echinacea is one of the best herbs for boosting the immune system.

If you are interested in learning more about medicinal herbs, their holistic properties, growing herbs in the Midwest, and making herbal products, please join me for the Holistic Healing with Herbs series at Mimosa Books and Gifts May 29-31, 2015! For more info and to register, please visit:

For more information like this, consider signing up for Mimosa’s newsletter. It’s free, and you’ll even receive a free ebook too! You can check it out here: Free ebook & newsletter

How to Burn Resin Incense on Charcoal

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Category: Incense & Smudging

Resin incense is the pure natural material used to formulate incense sticks and cones. It may be purified tree sap, powdered wood, or other plant material, or else a combination of various ingredients. It can be a natural way of using scent, and also a powerful magical tool. If you’ve ever been in a church where a priest or assistant is swinging a censer, you know resin incense is a tradition shared by many spiritual paths.


A resin incense burner or other safe container. You may want to buy a special burner, usually a brass burner with a screen. These burners often come with a little wooden plate to place under the burner when it’s in use; this keeps the hot metal from touching your furniture. Alternatively, you can use any non-flammable dish with enough sand inside to form a safe layer under the charcoal.

Charcoal: We sell both bamboo charcoal and easy-to-light disks. The disks are a little easier to use, but the bamboo charcoal is additive-free and burns cleaner.

Resin or powder incense

Tongs and a small spoon are useful for handling the charcoal and resin, but you can use kitchen utensils for this as well.

How to Use:

Make sure you’re burning your incense in a safe place, free of drafts, where pets and children can’t get into it. It’s good to keep some water handy just in case.

There are two ways of lighting the charcoal. 1) If you have an electric stove, the easiest way is to place the lump of charcoal directly on your burner and turn the burner on. Soon you’ll see the charcoal begin to glow reddish. You can then transfer it into your container. 2) You can also use a lighter or match to light the charcoal. It takes longer to light charcoal than to light stick incense, however–around 30 seconds with the lighter, or a couple matches.

Spoon a small amount of incense onto the coals at a time. It’s best to start with a few granules of resin, or a pinch of powder, and add more as needed. If you add too much at once, it can get a little overpowering.

Enjoy! Resin incense comes straight from the plant, and is the oldest form of incense. It’s very intense and very pure, so a little should last a long time.

Mimosa has also produced a short video about burning resin incense:

For more information like this, consider signing up for Mimosa’s newsletter. It’s free, and you’ll even receive a free ebook too! You can check it out here: Free ebook & newsletter

use sage & other smudging materials to clear energy

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Category: Incense & Smudging

A smudge stick is a tool for cleansing and purifying, which you can use on people, other living beings, and inanimate objects. Smudging is especially helpful for clearing space that has suffered the presence of negative energy. Most smudge sticks are bundles of sage, sometimes with other ingredients added, but the procedures outlined below will work just as well if you are using some other smudging object, such as a palo santo wand.

You may want to have something handy to catch ashes; shells are traditional. You may also want to use some natural object, such as a feather, to help direct the smoke.

You can light the stick with a match or lighter, but often it’s easiest to light a candle first and use that to light your smudge. Once the flame has spread to a little bunch of leaves, gently shake or blow it out, so that the leaves are just smoldering. (If it’s hard to light, it might help to spread the leaves a bit to let in some oxygen.)

To smudge yourself, direct the smoke around your body. To smudge others, first smudge yourself and then direct the smoke around the other person, animal, plant, etc. As you do this, move slowly around the place where you’re performing the smudging, praying or chanting as you go. Use a an invocation or prayer to set your intention. This can be something very simple, such as, “Mother Earth and Father Sky, please remove negative energy from my body and soul. I thank you for clearing and blessing me.”  If you are inclined, you may also invoke the four directions or specific deities to help you clarify your purpose. Whatever you do, be sure to thank whatever powers you have called.

To smudge a group of people, form a circle with them. Start with the person to your east, and work your way in a clockwise direction around the circle.

To smudge an area, such as a room, start with an eastern window or door. Smudge your way once around the room, clockwise, lightly touching any windows, doors or other vulnerable places. You may fan the smoke up and down using your hand, a feather, or some other ceremonial object. If you have a whole house to cleanse, it’s best to do it one room at a time. Sometimes, however, it may be beneficial to do the whole house at once. In that case, simply smudge the whole house as if it were a large room.

It usually doesn’t take a whole smudge stick to perform one cleansing. When you’re done, you may put out the wand using a dish of sand, some dirt, or running water. Be sure all living fire is extinguished, then put the sage down somewhere safe to cool. When you’re all done, it’s a good idea to thank the spirit of the sage, and any other deities or powers you may have called on.

Alternatively, you may also leave the smudge burning. To do this, set the stick upright in a sand-filled container. Whatever you do, never leave a burning smudge stick unattended, and be mindful of pets and small children.

You can find smudging materials here. 

For more information like this, consider signing up for Mimosa’s newsletter. It’s free, and you’ll even receive a free ebook too! You can check it out here: Free ebook & newsletter