June 17th, 2011
What to include in my sanctuary

I have been turning my bedroom into a sanctuary of sorts as a place to retreat to, to rest in, to labor in, and to bond with a new little human. I remember how much giving birth threw us into chaos the last time, and the little things that really saved me. My husband transformed my room into a cozy cave with candles, good smells, soothing music, clean laundry and tidiness, after the first few days of no sleep, clothes piled up, frozen food and our days not having a top and bottom (parents out there will know what I mean). So I am being preemptive this time, and seeking out things that are soothing to me.

Things I am including

As you may already know, I have been studying Tibetan Buddhism in recent years and lately really into the lectures of Pema Chodron. My babe is probably as familiar with Pema’s voice at this point as my own.

Other soothing sounds…my next door neighbor is a concert pianist and I am regularly gifted with free concerts coming through my window (like right now). It is one of my joys in life these days. He doesn’t know how much I enjoy it, I suppose I will tell him someday.

A birthing shrine. This is something that my girlfriend created for me during my Blessingway. It is to include ritualistic items, incense, stones, things collected to honor the birthing practice, a quilt made by another friend, letters, poems, etc. I am tailoring this one a bit as I am very sensitive to smells with this pregnancy (no incense this time around).

Photos of family and friends. My favorite is of my grandmother, my mom and me as a newborn.

Textures, in the form of fabrics, tapestries, paper lanterns, an old traditional Newfoundland hooked rug made by my grandmother out of old clothes (this has traveled everywhere with me).

Plants. Green is good for the air.

While watching the film Vision about Hildegarde Von Bingen the other night, I was reminded how much I enjoyed having a substantial herb garden when I lived in the country. It takes a few years to build one up and I haven’t put in the energy lately due to a busy career and a toddler. I miss all of the smells and dreaming about making concoctions and salves and new recipes. I have said for years that I must have been a witch in a past life because I never tire of going into the garden to gather things and slaving over a large pot for hours. And so in the meantime to substitute I now seek out others who are making their own concoctions of healing herbs. If you have any herbal apothecary’s that you like, please pass them along. Yesterday my son and I planted a little herb garden so that I can have a few fresh herbs at my disposal to aid with sleeping and make a few infusions (lavender, chamomile and rosemary being my favorites).

Wool, wool, and more wool in various forms. I have mentioned already that I have been making the switch to wool bedding, this includes mattress, pillows, mattress pads, blankets. I know this may sound like it would be warm in the humid months, but in actual fact wool is the best temperature regulator out there, warm in the winter and cool in the summer (yes it’s true!). As someone who has had temperature issues my whole life it has been quite transformative, I no longer feel clammy or deal with chronic cold feet in the colder months. Plus as a knitter it means I can surround myself with more of a material that I love on a tactile level. Contrary to popular belief unprocessed wool is not scratchy at all, it is dust mite resistant, naturally fire proof, and studies have show it lowers heart rate during sleep time allowing for more rem sleep. Trust me, sleep is a sacred thing right now, it varies greatly from one night to the next as I have trouble getting comfy with this heavy load. (I will add that a wool mattress is MUCH firmer than a regular one and might not be for everyone. It takes some getting used to, but I found that it is actually better for my back and hip discomfort.) I did find wool much more expensive than other bedding options, but when you factor in that you can have it the rest of your life, its probably cheaper in the long run. The only way for me to have more wool might be to get a sheep myself, something else for me to dream of someday. I should also mention that on occasion some wool bedding (depending on its source) can smell a bit “barny”, other times more like lanolin (read: very clean smelling), but if you are like me the barny smell is a good thing and lulls you off to sleep. You can read more about wool here.

Please note: I am slowing down these days as I will be giving birth sometime in the next few weeks. So I will not be able to respond to much email during this time, if at all. I am attempting to put together a bit of an FAQ for those who write (every day) with questions.

Jun 17 2011
11:33 am
demie writes:

its a wonderful although very tiring time. is really good you are having a lovely husband who is helping. and surroundings that give you calmness. i got so touched by the fact you have roots in Newfoundland. i read a book called : The colony of unrequited dreams once and loved this place through it. i don expect an answer to this comment. i just wanted to wish you all the best : )

Jun 17 2011
11:34 am
margretha writes:

just wanted to say thank you so much, for sharing so generously and wish you all blessings on the weeks to come for you, the little one, the toddler and the dad.

Jun 17 2011
12:53 pm
Shari writes:

I hope you find peace and tranquility. I’m very excited for you and your new baby on the way. :-)

Thank you for sharing the wool info! I had no idea… I prefer natural bedding, so this is very helpful info. Especially in regards to temp regulation! Cottons & linens aren’t always warm enough alone. I’ll have to find a nice wool blanket… since I don’t know how to knit. (Someday!)

Much love and joy to you!!

Jun 17 2011
4:17 pm
Rei writes:

For herbs and stuff, the first one that sprang to mind for me is “The Green Eyed Owl”


Dee is an amazing person who is truly passionate about her work with herbs. She sells a variety of herbs as well as preparations and products made from them.

I loved the description of your sanctuary, it’s inspiring!

Jun 18 2011
8:17 am
Christina writes:

Just the other day I was talking to my 11 year old and we said the best day of her life was the day her brother arrived. That was nearly 9 years ago and it seams like yesterday. This is a great time for you and reading your blog bring it all back so vividly. Thank you for being generous with your time and knowledge and your spirit. Enjoy the wool, the kids and the wonderful husband.

Jun 19 2011
12:40 pm
Narnia writes:

my best friend is a modern-day alchemist in istanbul, her apothecary is called Vie en Rose where she spends all day fixing magical potions in the back kitchen, look it up, she is a fabulous witch! and also beautiful : )

Jun 20 2011
1:40 pm
Andrea writes:

For wool bedding, there is a company you might be interested to know about: Obasan. It is Canadian but will ship anywhere in Canada and the U.S. I bought one of their Saguenay wool pillows. It is not as “bouncy” as down but it is much cooler in summer. (www.obasan.ca)

Keri, I wish you all the best at this exciting time.

Jun 21 2011
1:26 am
pixie writes:

I am thinking of you as you gear up. You are a magickal kitchen witch and I dream of your infusions.

Jun 23 2011
5:59 pm
wendy writes:

this is oh so glorious. thinking of you all welcoming the new member of your family.

ou might like herb mother’s etsy apothecary :-)

Jun 25 2011
12:02 pm
Mandy writes:

Loved the movie Vision.

Jun 29 2011
6:38 pm
Julia writes:

it’s official, you are my secret twin! so happy to have found your books and blog! my daughter, now 4, was born june 28 when my oldest was 4.5. it doth cast us into the Chaos! but delightfully worth it <3 we have a wool topper on our all-natural cotton futon mattress (from whitelotus.net). the futon has gotten too firm over the years– it is around 8 yrs old– but the wool topper will go on whatever new thing we eventually get. blessings on your birth! for one of my Blessingways I was given a spray bottle of lavender room spray that was lovely. I'm seeing beeswax candles that look like pysanky eggs and red silks draped about too :)

Leave a Comment
message *

Ad Free