We hope this past month has been filled with cozy wintertime rituals and deep self care. As we swivel into this new moon cycle, we have been practicing the art of
s l o w i n g d o w n.
The effects of being a modern human, with 24 hour access to computers, mainstream media, and cell phones, as well as 24 hour pressures to somehow balance full time work, while finding extra time for meaningful friendships, relationships and marriages, all while raising families, having side hustles, cleaning the house, exercising, and somehow having a creative or spiritual outlet, is quite frankly making us sick.
It feels so important to combat these modern day conditions by resisting the pressures to conform, and by nourishing your adrenal glands and nervous systems with nutritive, stress relieving herbs, rest, and meditative practices.
For this Month, we have two exciting offerings to help you reclaim your right to slow down and nourish yourself!
First, Josh will explain how he learned to create ambient music using his own brainwaves and the bio data of plants! This will be a fantastic section for anyone who is interested in making their own ambient music, or for folks who are just curious how the heck this is done.
After our brainwave journey, we will travel to the land of plants and honey. This will be a fantastic section for folks looking to learn how to make their own herbal infused honeys, or for folks looking to easily integrate plant medicine into their daily routines.
How to Make Ambient Music using Brainwaves and Plants
by Joshua W Bruner
Hello to all of you sound curious beings!
The experience has been an incredible one which has opened the floodgates of my curiosities and creativity. It hasn’t always been fun. It hasn’t always been easy. It definitely hasn’t been cheap. It has, however, been a complete joy to accomplish and I certainly would do it all again in a heartbeat. I’ll try my best to walk you through the process but if you have a different computer than me, or a different EEG headband than me, you may need to search the internet for the few people who have generously posted in forums about their own methods using different tools and operating systems.…
Learning to make plant music was too easy! You don’t need to know a thing about music to pull this off, and I love that aspect. It’s brilliant. I just purchased a MidiSprout, connected it to a plant and began making beautiful, generative music from plant energy! They have an easy to use app that you can play from your iPhone/Mac or if you use a DAW you can even route the MIDI into your session with ease and create your own instruments to be played. This is all thanks to DataGarden/MidiSprout for their hardworking team of sweethearts and visionaries. If you’d like to buy one for yourself, or a plant obsessed loved one, you can get a 10% discount on your purchase if you use our affiliate code of FLOWER. I highly recommend you spend some time with this healing piece of tech and explore a fascinating new world.
The brain music is where things got super tricky. I’m already sweating at the brow thinking about it. LOL.
The tools I use to make this happen are a 2013 MacBook Pro, MUSE EEG headband (2014), Ableton Live, Max for Live, and MusePort/MIDI Generator plugins from To The Sun. Depending on your gear and computer knowledge this process may be easier or possibly more complicated than my experience.
I started with searching forums to see if it was possible to create music with a Muse headband. I already owned the 2016 model and figured if you could pull off making music with plants, then you must be able to pull it off with brainwaves. My hunch was correct and I found several people across numerous forums who shared how they had already made it work. I understood about 20% of what I read. It was incredibly intimidating and often times included some hacking and coding, which I just don’t have the skill-set for. One thing was clear though—I needed to purchase Ableton Live and MAX for Live. Kinda pricey and since I was happily using Logic Pro, I was really hesitant to buy them but I couldn’t make any brain music with Logic Pro so I bit the bullet. I found a couple of MAX plugins made by To The Sun in a forum and I was ecstatic that someone had already made these tools just for this purpose. These were the MusePort and Midi Generator plugins and they were really affordable. I figured it out!
Not so fast!
At this point I realized that due to outdated developer tools for Muse, and the 2016 model, I couldn’t actually connect or stream any EEG data to my computer via bluetooth although some said I should be able to with this via another app. I tried a million combinations with no luck. Then I remembered someone mentioning in a forum that the 2014 Muse headband could make the connection that I needed. I tried to swap out headbands with Muse directly but they had sold out of the 2014 versions by now. I found one on EBAY and bought it immediately. This was the missing link I had been searching for!
I was able to troubleshoot some old legacy version bugs in the MusePort plugin, learned a thing or two about using Terminal on a Mac to receive an OSC stream from the headband, and I was actually making music with my brainwaves!
My head was tingling with each note played. It was a special kind of rush I’ll never forget. The rest was just choosing which virtual instruments I wanted to assign to each brainwave state to create my meditative soundscapes. That’s the fun part!
I’m not an especially tech savvy person but I have a special kind of persistence which sometimes pays off. I’m so glad this was one such time. Lately I’ve been using both MidiSprout and my Muse headband to play duets together in my Sound Paths classes. It’s my favorite musical experience of over 20 years of playing music, easy. There is an undeniable awareness between the plants and the brain during these jam sessions. They react to one another often and other times seem intentionally syncopated! The plant and brain are playing together!
If you’d like to purchase a 30 minute ambient soundscape created with plant and brain data, a music which is composed to help strengthen your sleep cycle and relieve stress, you can do so here for $1.99 on our Bandcamp.
You can also save a little money by becoming a subscriber for just $20 a year. This will provide you with monthly meditation tracks for an entire year!
I hope you enjoy the music and that you create a sound and plant ritual within your own life for a healthier parasympathetic nervous system which will improve your quality of life in ways you’ve not yet dreamed.
How to Make Plant Infused Honey
Infusing plants into honey is one of the most ancient, sacred, and simplest ways to extract and enjoy the medicinal constituents of plants. We are so excited to share this method, because it is EASY and fun and the opportunity for creativity when choosing your herbs is limitless.
It's basically as easy as throwing whatever plant is calling to you into a mason jar, covering it with honey, letting it sit for at least one week, or up to one moon cycle, then straining and enjoying as a heaping spoonful on its own, or adding to teas, oatmeal, smoothies, snacks, or whatever you feel is needing some sweetness.
The magic and medicinal properties of honey are many. In addition to it being anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, and an antiseptic for sore throats or external wound healing, it is also rich in amino acids which help with digestion and metabolism, and rich in minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. On top of all that, it is fantastic for healing burns and skin irritation, as it reduces inflammation while promoting the growth of healthy new skin cells.
Herbalist Robin Rose Bennett describes honey as "an everyday, sacred miracle."
We couldn't agree more.
When infusing herbs into honey, you are not just creating a tasty treat! You are brewing potent, intentional medicine. It's a melody that your body remembers, and knows how to use.
When thinking about nourishing your heart and nervous systems, herbal infused honey is such a wonderful medicine to reach for. The plant matter suspended in honey becomes even more bio-available, because your cells become more permeable and receptive in the presence of sugar. It is also a beautiful thing to give your heart and nervous system something sweet. We often go days/months/years without remembering to soften or to slow down enough for self-care. Ingesting honey is like eating a love poem from the earth, sky, and bees.
When thinking about which plants to infuse, we encourage you to slow down and look around at what's growing around you. Often the plants that are growing right outside our door, the plants that remind us of our childhood, or the plants we walk by every day are just the medicine our bodies are craving.
Another tactic is to think about which plants you know you want to ingest, but have trouble getting down. Shout out to valerian! Traditionally, honey was used to make pungent herbs more palatable, or easy to ingest. Herbs were ground up to a fine powder then infused into honey to make an herby paste. This was then eaten by the spoonful or used as a spread. This can go a long way with compliance, especially when you are working with children or the inner child in all of us!
This moon cycle we challenge you to infuse and enjoy your own medicinal honeys!
We put together three of our most beloved recipes featuring plants that open and heal the heart, plants that ground us into our bodies, and plants that support the digestive, nervous, and cardiovascular systems.
We hope you fall in love with herbal honeys as much as we have:)
Raw, Unfiltered Honey
1. Fill a clean quart sized jar a little less than halfway with dried herbs.
2. Pour raw, unfiltered honey over herbs. Try using a chopstick to poke the herbs down to make sure honey completely covers the herbs.
3. Put a lid on the jar and place the jar on a plate.
4. Turn the jar over AT LEAST once a day to get the honey moving over all the plant material. (You'll be happy the jar is on the plate for this step!) Say a thank you to the bees, to the sun, to the plants, as you engage with your medicine.
5. Keep an eye on your jar. Does it need more honey? Sometimes the herbs soak up the honey and more is required to keep the herbs submerged. It's really important they are fully covered at all times.
6. Infuse for one moon cycle. I like infusing from new moon to new moon! But if you are in a pinch, I've had great success with infusions that sat for just 1-2 wks.
7. Strain out herbs using a finely grained strainer, then store in a cool, dark place.
Here are our some of our favorite formulas:
Tending the Fire
3 parts Ginger
2 parts Cinnamon
1 part Rose
7 Cardamom pods
This one is so spicy and delicious! We love adding it to teas or just taking a spoonful whenever we need a little extra warmth in our belly and heart space. It's fantastic for digestion, so it's wonderful to have before or after meals, and it really helps get the blood moving. It's great for keeping warm on winter nights, or feeding to your sweetheart before going in for a kiss!
Let it Flow
2 parts Hawthorn Berry
1 part Linden
1 part Rose
Sometimes we need a little support to feel our feelings and move forward. This formula really helps you drop into grief and allows trapped emotions, anger, and water energy to flow up and out of the body. This is tree medicine. Thorny and Boundaried. Celtic and Witchy as hell. It holds you in the shadow, drapes you in profound self love, and walks you back into the light.
2 parts Tulsi
1 part Lemon Balm
1 part Rose
This stress relieving formula helps to re-write stories of trauma and helps break unhealthy patterning connected to trauma, nervous system fatigue, stress, and heartbreak. It is soothing to the nerves and supportive to the digestive and cardiovascular system. We love this one!
Thank you for coming on this brainwave music and herbal honey journey with us!
We hope you are feeling the new moon energy and creating space for continued self care.
As a reminder, we are holding weekly sound paths meditation classes in San Francisco. Check out our calendar on our Sound Paths page for this month’s events!
With Much Love,
Nora and Josh