Queen of Wands: Raspberry Leaf and The Strength to Birthe Dreams

From The Herbal Tarot by Michael and Lesley Tierra

“Raspberry Leaf is an astringent and an anti-inflammatory. Raspberry Leaf aids pelvic circulation in the female reproductive organs and also aids in childbirth. As an anti-inflammatory, Raspberry Leaf is used for fevers and is good for nausea and motion sickness.”


I chose this card in hopes of finding some sort of inspiration for writing today…I seem to have been dropped into a wide Void this week as far as creative confidence goes.

Of course, The Queen of Wands would come, to stare at me, to give me a complete opposite to gaze upon–she of utter passion, determination, motivation and confidence. She, surrounded by Raspberry Leaf, the herb of fertility and preparing the body for birth.

It makes me think of the birthing process, and if, once again, I am in another one. It makes me wonder (having never birthed physical children) whether pregnant mothers come upon these strange pockets of blankness, of “what the hell am I doing?” during their pregnancies. Whether they hit long stretches of doubt, cloudiness and lack of surety about what they’ve decided to enter into creating.

That’s how I feel now.

You see, I’ve decided to create a workshop around the Food Memories book/process…I actually have the whole thing written out. My business mentor asked me last week, “Ok, so now we need to get really clear on who this is for.”

And that’s when the blankness set in. Or rather, the swirl of possibilities–but nothing clear. I spent time at the drawing board, trying to mentally plot out objectives and goals for each of the clientele I felt come into my mind. But then those swirled wildly around too. Now there was a lot of goals, and a lot of client types, flying around like wicked monkeys in here.

So I stopped. I stepped back. I asked the deeper parts of myself and whatever may be co-creating with me to send me clues about who the hell my offering would best serve. And waited.

And only silence met me.

Again I think back to the pregnant mother, drinking her Raspberry Leaf tea, preparing her body, all the while feeling a blankness as to how she’ll ever be able to do this. I think about the courage it takes for a woman to face that risk, not knowing what may happen, but committing to the gargantuan task anyway.

And I think of her praying in the dark of night, calling out for support, and feeling only silence. Wondering if she’s making a mistake, wondering if bad things will happen, if she is healthy enough, or if she decided to conceive too soon. Wishing, yearning for her internal guidance, and external forces to show her the way through her doubt and fear. But hearing only silence. What must she feel in those moments, those terrifyingly silent moments in the night?

Again I look to the card. I see this woman, who seems grounded and wise, facing forward. She holds the staff firmly in hand, but not to prop herself–it is an extension of her internal power. I see the Raspberry plant winding around her, framing her, supporting her. I see the white cat, her familiar, by her side.

Looking into her eyes, and upon this whole scene, I feel my sense of lostness transform into hope again. She seems to be saying to me that I have her in me, that I am on this birthing process, and that I just need to keep going, keep trusting in that process. She seems to be holding one of the Raspberries in hand…almost like she is offering it to me.

It’s all a very non-linear directive, but I’m trying. I’m going to go make myself a cup of Raspberry leaf tea right now, envisioning it nourishing my creative centers, my deep internal strength. Despite my internal agnostic, snickering, I will also make space for the possibility that I too, have a spirit familiar, helping me somehow.

I will sip and let the possibilities grow, and let the blankness be okay. I will let the Raspberry and the energies of the Queen of Wands infuse me, and see what happens.


Thanks for reading :}

Chocolate Chip Cookie and The Metallica Problem

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

Searing bitter deliciousness

Washing over edges

Mixing, swirling

Amongst melting chunks

And soft doughy crumbles



This time I woke to Metallica

Words and images leaving trails of shame

Dashed epic illusions


Like the pieces of soft

Cookie pinching off

In my oily grasp



Mixing and swirling

Hot and bitter

It all comes together


This time


Unlike that time

Nauseous and suicidal

Just hoping for something


To give me reason


This time

Although echoes

Of what used inspire

Skip through dusty crevices

It is in reading my own creation

While feeding my very present



This bitter dark, chunky melting goodness



It is in this

And bowing to the memories of that

I see

Just how far I’ve come


This memory sought to re-create a morning I woke to utter hopelessness, lost in a deep and dark void–in the bed of a stranger’s home. Don’t get all excited, I had come to this place to housesit, and although I’d met the family for a moment before they left, they were essentially strangers and I was essentially sleeping in a stranger’s bed.

I remember that day feeling like I wanted to die.

I had just relocated myself to the mainland US after having spent some years in Hawaii, and had nothing really, just a suitcase to my name. I had no plans, my identity of what I was and what I wanted to do with my life had spun out immensely while on said islands. I had hoped by coming back to the mainland I might find some sense of grounding, some sense of sanity but evidenced by this memory I had not found what I’d wished to find.

In the original scene I remember feeling nauseous, no hunger and like my life force was trickling to a dribble. I remember being on the edge of not wanting to try anymore and how then this force of anger and frustration came bursting through. I remember asking for an image, any image to help me get my sorry ass out of bed and back into life again, if only for the day. What appeared was an image of a chocolate chip cookie, a cup of coffee and some sort of a metal music magazine. Inspired by this sudden force, I strapped on my falling apart boots and made my way to the Safeway down the road.

At that store, I found all of the ingredients to this magical trio, including a Rolling Stone magazine dedicated to Metallica. Not exactly what I was looking for, but this music had carried me through the darkest times of my life and spoke to some of the darkness I was feeling, so I felt met and companioned…here in that store with my Void amidst the neon case lights and roboticized voices shouting, “Have a nice day!” around me. Metallica and their world held such sparkles in my mind at the time.

Fast forward to this day, roughly 15 years later, where I aimed to recreate such a scene. Oddly enough, I spent much of the week prior to this re-enactment wallowing in another deep well of Voidness, swimming in the Nothingness. One of those gut-wrenching hollow feelings, haunting me. I didn’t think of it then but now I wonder if in aiming to recreate this scene, I was conjuring also this deep feeling to “get me in the mood” ha.

Anyhow, I woke up thinking of Metallica and decided to turn the knife extra deep by watching a video of me pissed off and disillusioned by the “scene” at an event I had worked at for Kirk Hammett…one where there were such bad vibes I basically felt like running away from the whole gig, but of course didn’t. I revisited a feeling full of shame and judgment and mind-games I encountered there, and how my dreams of working with my heroes, being able to find purpose there…or at least some good people…were totally smashed.

So that started out my re-creation experience. Feeling the heaviness again, but inspired by my own writing project (this one), I strapped on my slightly less beat up boots and made my way to the nearest Safeway.

One chocolate chunk cookie was there for me, and I ordered a small cup of hot black coffee to go with it. I was excited to see what awaited me in the magazine aisle to go along with this treat…would I synchronistically find a metal magazine, here in suburbia? And why did I feel excitement, still, for this scene?

I walked up to the magazine section and, balancing the hot cup back and forth in my hands, started scanning. Bummer. An issue on The Doors, but not really anything else awaited me there. I had wanted something filled with images of gore and darkness and people throwing up the heavy metal horns. What could this mean? What would I spend my recreated experience with? The magazine was definitely part of the original scene. Hmm.

I went to my car and set the goodies down. On the other side of the armrest was my book, Food Memories, and that was all there was to entertain. I opened up the cookie bag and started taking in the perfect soft chewiness, gulping down sips of the dark coffee with it. I peeled open my book, to the poetry section and began reading.

As I read, I realized that maybe it was necessary to have an illusory inspiration via Metallica and other metal bands. During a time where I needed to see others creatively expressing their darkness–so I didn’t feel so alone, so I knew I wasn’t totally crazy, so I had some sort of role model with how to process the intensity I was feeling but didn’t know how yet.

But how interesting that here, now, with this chocolate chunk cookie, I was being inspired by my own creations. That having gone through the journey of seeking to be involved in a world that I thought would make me feel better about my own shadows–and ironically only feeling more lost in doing so–that here I was, finding my way back to my own medicine. How interesting.

On this day, I sat back and thanked my inspirators, even the f*cked up scene that exists in the industry, for teaching me and for helping me get to this point. I also thanked whatever the hell has inspired me to get back to a place where I am hungry again, despite the crumbling world around me. And I thanked the fact that it is in my own creating process that I find inspiration to rise and meet this strange, strange world.

(Ironically, after I finished this experience, I went across the street to get lunch at another store and lo-and-behold, in the magazine section was a Rolling Stone magazine focused entirely on Metallica. I picked it up and flipped through it but felt no wide-eyed projection take hold. I put the magazine down and walked towards lunch.)

*Thanks for reading. Please join me next week as I re-create the food memory, “The Mocha.”

**If you’d like to learn more about the Food Memories book I am referencing for these posts, you can support a small bookstore by purchasing it here: 


or by searching for Food Memories by Reagan Lakins on any major book selling website.

Dementors, Thanatos and Black Bean Corn Salad

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

A mealy seasoned center

Bursts out of blackened skin

Onto tongue

Dressed in pungent protection

Garlic and salt weaving forcefields

Into and around nostrils

Down my throat

Mashing, knashing

Through crisp white skin

Bursting sweet corn juice

Rolling, crunching, mealy crispness

Finally descending


I think back to that day

As I sit here, my own voices still protesting

Of the temporary profession

I wore for them, with them


I remember their faces, sweet and rebellious

Looking to me for guidance

Likening their struggle to Dementors

Soul sucking

Child self

No more


Helping them

Once I felt confident

That I was to battle

That there was this enemy

That I’d overcome

And would help them too


But sitting here, mashing and knashing

It’s still all been measured

No matter how much I try to alchemize

The fact remains the same:

If I look into the void

The void still stares back at me

Alive and well

Waiting, overtaking


After journeys into underworlds

And far off lands

I’ve found the complexity

Of not an “enemy”

But a shadow

The Unforgotten


Banished and condemned

And simply rising in another form

To try, to try to get its message across

A message rarely heard


This garlic bean mash

Stringy kale strips stuck in crevices

And toasted avocado smothered denseness

Mix together in me

Like the complexity of the real journey

Unable to truly be separated

Into its





I once thought comprised answers




I sit here

With my own caudre of inner figures

Fearing, questioning, rebelling

And although my gnosis attends

Still I’m left with the pungent aftertaste

Of question marks

And the persistent



A return to inorganic substance

Thanatos, my love

The Void

Staring back at me

Waiting, overtaking.


This week’s food memory re-enactment is named “Dementors.” In my memoir, Food Memories, I name the chapter this way due to the fact that it centered on a memory I have of me sitting at a table with a bunch of young eating disorder sufferers. In this memory, I was a “staff” helping them through their meal fears, and although I did feel mostly “healed” from my struggle, my journey at that point had only begun.

At the table, one of the clients mentioned how the eating disorder felt to them like the Dementors from Harry Potter–something that sucked them empty of all desire, happiness, joy. Something that basically left them with a feeling of having no real reason to live.

I of course, being on the “good side” at the time, encouraged them to fight back against this energy, like Harry did with his Patronus conjure, seeing this other part as the enemy that they had to overcome, like I had.

But mixed into this memory was my budding confusion on the black and whiteness of the matter, that while I told these amazing kids these things, I was beginning to doubt the certainty of such statements. I had just started studying Animism, at one time called Shamanism, which held a much broader and deeper understanding on the nature of illness. That on the one hand it is something to strive for health, but on the other it is also wise to understand why the illness, or “demon,” has come. These concepts were blowing my mind and making it difficult to totally work with confidence in a system that didn’t address this complexity in some way.

In my re-enactment, I decided to make the same salad as I made for them, and myself, to eat together that day. I measured it this time like I measured it for them. Only the most advanced client would not freak out if they noticed their portions hadn’t been exactly measured. In an effort to get food into them, we made it as safe as possible.

At first I was going to tune into an online chat support group while I ate to mimic being surrounded by the clients, but the timing didn’t work out. I decided instead to turn on a video describing the “History of Dementors” while I ate. While I chewed and savored the meal, I learned of JK Rowling’s real life experience of depression and how she created these characters to embody the heavy, soul sucking feeling of going through this process (I’m much more of a Lord of The Rings fan, so that was new news to me :}).

As I listened, I thought of how this woman, instead of letting herself be swallowed by these energies, chose instead to bring them to life in her story. To give them a place, to give the darkness a place. I thought of how many countless others were affected by this depiction, how they felt seen and understood by this characterization of their experience. And I thought that, hmm, if this depression was ignored by Rowling, battled and not really spoken of, how so many people may have never had that feeling of being seen, of being given a way to let these energies “have a home” in some creative way too.

Using art to honor and allow dark energies to live outside of us has been a very helpful way for me to deal with the complexity of understanding the shadow, not just “battling” it.

JK Rowling’s choice to honor these energies and express them artistically gave them another place to be, and a “voice” in a sort of way. Even though they were depicted as evil, the very fact they were created in many ways actually honored them.

This in turn helped many people. If it weren’t for these energies, would the Dementor characters…or even the entire Harry Potter series for that fact, would it have ever been created? Do we thank these dark energies for inspiring such a character? Do we owe these dark energies for this fantastical work of creation? Hard to say, but maybe.

Today as I sit with my own inner circle of voices, self-counseling them through anxieties around this meal, I think back to how simple the black and white perspective was and how it made it easy for me to have words to help these young ones. They simply must just battle.

Today, I use much more complex words with my own inner parts, helping them be both with the complexity and yet still strive for life more than letting the Dementors consume them. I encourage them to create art, through writings like this, to give these darknesses a home. I encourage them to savor the tastes of the black bean corn salad and avocado toast whilst the Void sits next to them, always staring back, filing its fingernails.

I pick up the pen to give it, too, a place at the table.

*Thanks for reading. Please join me next week as I re-create the food memory, “The Apple.”

**If you’d like to learn more about the Food Memories book I am referencing for these posts, you can support a small bookstore by purchasing it here: 


or by searching for Food Memories by Reagan Lakins on any major book selling website.

The Artist’s Way-Creating with Food Again

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Pexels.com

This week, I felt incredibly moved to return to a process I completed over a decade ago-The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. What prompted this was a sudden and overwhelming boredom with the routines and rituals I have set up to keep me healthy. Healthy, but not fun!

When the aim is to stay nourished enough to not veer back into eatingdisorderland, usually eating by meal plans with prescribed amounts and times are part of the situation. (Unless you’re “fully recovered,” a state I don’t quite understand nor have experience is possible for the majority of strugglers.) These self-care prescriptions have become a comfort to me over the years, replacing the comfort I once had with restricting regimes. Knowing what to eat and when has been incredibly helpful to my health, as it is often typical for my appetite and ability to choose to shut down when I feel stressed out and overwhelmed. When I’m standing in the grocery aisles asking myself to choose a new meal option and all of the zillions of choices we have these days makes my brain turn to mush. When I’m freaking out about something and I literally feel like I want to throw up all day, for “no reason.” When eating a small amount unexpectedly causes all sorts of digestive distress, for hours, and now its “time” to eat again but my stomach is roiling. Instead of choosing restriction, which seems natural to most (“to give your stomach a rest”), all I had to do was follow The Plan to stay healthy.

So yeah, its been a lifesaver. But let me tell you that eating the same things at the same times over and over again becomes its own, albeit slightly larger, kind of cage. One I am very frustrated by yet scared to leave. Don’t think I haven’t tried, I get these break-free kind of urges often, and will eat out at a restaurant or cook a new recipe. Yet there often is an overwhelming fullness that comes with eating unmeasured, unfamiliar foods and this throws my whole schedule Plan off. I don’t know what to eat, or when to eat, when I am exploring off in these new lands, and it often sends me into choosing to restrict slightly to make the fullness and discomfort go away. Then I land myself in a situation where I am hungry at some unplanned time and instead of a normal person response to eat, I have this cascade of confusion that comes over me about what to eat, and if I do eat now, when to eat again. I hate this confusion, and the possibility of restricting and losing my health, so I go back to the cage, The Plan, which keeps me safe…but bored. You get the point of crazy making, eh?

So the image of The Artist’s Way came to me again, as a way to explore the emotions and critical voices and resistances to creatively cooking and trying new things, and although I think, “yeah but how will that help…I’ve tried to change and it doesn’t work!” I am curious why this process is calling to me again. I feel estranged from the creative, Kitchen Witchy part of myself who loves creating delicious potions and edible delights, and I don’t know how to get back in touch with her. I want to dress like her, cook like her, be her. I want to be joyous and creative in the kitchen, laughing like her…ah! This feels so far away. Maybe she is calling me. Maybe following this subtle curiosity will help me.

I know this veers from my usual posting content, but it is part of my daily life process, and its part of what I struggle with in my upcoming memoir, Food Memories, so I thought I would share these babblings that are stirring inside of me as I make transformations and rattle old cage walls. Thanks again for reading, I’ll keep you posted.