I knew at some point I wanted to do a podcast episode on meditation and this week was it! The people have spoken! I posted a poll to see which subject listeners would like for me to discuss and it was the winner! Anyone that knows me very well at all has probably complained about something and I’ve given meditation as the cure-all, so it was only fitting that at some point I’d get to ramble on about the benefits of said cure-all.
Meditation has become a popular wellness modality thanks to youtube, phone apps, and social media. According to a report by the CDC and the Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, the number of children and adults meditating regularly has risen significantly in the last 5 years. I for one am excited that meditation has become a popular thing to do!
I found a really great article from www.project-meditation.org that stated that a chemical company in Detroit did a three-year study on meditation and the workplace. At the end of their three-year study, they concluded with some amazing data! Here are the results:
-Absenteeism was down 85%
-Productivity up 120%
-Injuries down 70%
-Profits up 520%
I have no idea what other factors were involved with the increase in profit but those are some amazing numbers!
Since 1930 there have been over 1500 separate meditation studies. To me, this proves that science is interested in the benefits and effects of meditation. Some of the benefits that those studies found are:
-75% of insomniacs that engage in daily mediation are able to fall asleep within 20 minutes
-Stress hormone cortisol down
-Improved PMS symptoms after 5 months of daily meditation practice
-The thickness of artery walls was down-which lowers the risk of heart attack or stroke by 8-15%
-60% of anxiety-prone people showed great improvements -Heart rate, respiration, and oxygen consumption all were lowered
-Less anxious and nervous
-More independent and self-confident
There are some more amazing studies that list the effects of meditation on the brain here https://nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm#hed4
Meditation can include spiritual or religious dogma, or be done without and solely as a wellness practice. I use it for both and it is a daily practice for me as well as something I use during ritual and spiritual events like Sabbats. It has been a game changer for me. I first started meditating to fix my insomnia, which it did. After that, I was hooked and really interested in including meditation in my life permanently. I love guided meditations and use them often. My favorite are ones by Jason Stephenson. His meditations are structured similarly to hypnotherapy sessions, and I feel that I can go deeper with that format. You can see his channel here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqPYhcdFgrlUXiGmPRAej1w
If you’d like to start, start with attainable goals! Five minutes a day is plenty to start with and give yourself a couple days off. Four to five days a week to start out sets you up for success! Add length and frequency as time goes on and you get more comfortable with your practice.
I’d like to switch gears and talk about mugwort, which is an herb often I do burn as incense while I meditate. You may have seen the name Black Sage in stores, that is another name for Mugwort. I love this herb and it’s one of my favorites to work with in incense blends. Mugwort is a member of the daisy family and can grow from 3 up to six feet tall. It has a purplish stem, which I love since one of my favorite colors is purple. It blooms from July to September. If you are going to grow it, it loves lots of sun and is a hardy plant. Just be sure not to over water it! You should harvest mugwort right before it flowers and hang it upside down by the stem to dry.
Mugwort doesn’t come without any warnings though. Please don’t use mugwort if you are pregnant. It may cause a miscarriage because it can start menstruation and also cause the uterus to contract. You should not take mugwort for more than one week at a time, and give your body a couple weeks rest before taking it again. Large amounts and prolonged use can also cause liver damage, so use with caution.
Mugwort is associated with the feminine. It is closely associated with Artemis, who gives comfort to women in labor. Mugwort is associated with the moon, and in turn the reproduction cycle of womanhood. Some people smoke it or use it in a tea for divination purposes or protection. You can use it in incense form as well for those purposes. It is a dream herb, inducing prophetic dreams and assisting with astral projection. It opens the third eye and crown chakras, enabling the practitioner the ability to receive messages and connect to their spirituality easier.
I like it in a tea blend, if I’m going to have a long day of readings, I take a cup of this to start my day and maybe a cup in the afternoon. I feel it eases any anxious feelings or nervousness as well as opens myself up to receiving messages for clients. It’s great for rituals as well to get you into the mindset and relax your body.
I want to also add that I am NOT a doctor and you should always contact your physician when ingesting a new herb such as mugwort.
And as always, you can listen to Witchy Woman Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and Podbean!