Herbal Classes Online

If you’ve been quarantined, you may find it a blessing in disguise. Perhaps you have more family time or can sit quietly with your cat for a while. Maybe, however, someone in your house is sick or in the high risk category for contracting an airborne illness like COVID-19. What better time to enroll in an herbal class and learn about boosting your immunity naturally! 

Herbs are not a “cure” for COVID-19, however, utilizing herbal infusions may be useful in reducing the severity of the most troubling symptoms like cough, aches, pains, and difficulty breathing. Incorporating more herbs and plants into your diet can strengthen your body’s immunity over time. And you can do that by adding some as seasonings to your regular meals, making teas and tinctures or just eating them raw. 

Herbal Academy is committed to educating the world about herbs and their benefits. Last week, I shared the newest online offering, The Mushroom Course. Right now you can enroll with a discount of $50 until April 6 and start learning about the beneficial properties of fungi. 

This week I wanted to let you know that several of Herbal Academy’s programs are 50% off.

The Introductory Herbal Course is designed for those with little or no herbal knowledge. You can preview a lesson from this course here.

The Intermediate Herbal Course is meant for those that have some understanding about the practical use of herbs for wellness. Both courses are 50% off for the next three weeks.

Even at this reduced rate, you might find the budget too tight and the future just too uncertain to justify these classes right now. That doesn’t mean you need to give up on your herbal education entirely, however. Huckleberry Mountain Botanicals offers free herbal content for you to enjoy. 

I know I’m using this time to reflect on my health, make determined decisions to improve my wellness levels, and take the time to appreciate what I have. What about you?

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Filed under Health, Natural Healing

The Additional Cost of a Catholic Death in Rural Mexico

More than 83% of Mexicans are Catholic. Catholic mourning customs will add to the expense of the funeral whether you have a casket or an urn as your final resting place. If el difunto (dead person) isn’t Catholic, but the family is, expect a Catholic funeral. 

As the host or hostess, you’ll need to provide refreshment for the attending mourners as the familiar representative of the deceased, both during el velorio and the subsequent novena. The most common food is pan (sweetbread) served with cafe de olla (coffee made in a large pot) or tequila for the male attendees. Usually, mourners that have come to pay their respects bring sugar or styrofoam cups or even alcohol along with their condolences and floral arrangements to help offset the cost. Nonetheless, there is a cost and depending on what you serve and the number of attendees, it could be a nice chunk of cash.

La novena (9-day prayer session) is usually not as well attended. The family often divides up the host responsibilities to provide some sort of nourishment for those that attend. The woman who is in charge of the prayers during the novena, and it is always a woman, must also be taken care of. She may refuse money but a gift of some sort is appropriate.

After el velorio, the body is often taken to church for the misa (mass). Although Pope Francis exhorted the Catholic priests to not charge for the requiem for the dead, it isn’t a free service here in Mexico. The la misa de difuntos for my brother-in-law costs $300 pesos and then whatever was collected when the collection baskets were passed among the funeral attendees. 

If the body will be on display during the mass, it is announced as la misa con cuerpo presente (mass with body present). This is the most common situation. If the person died en el norte (in the United States) then the body may not have arrived yet. Or if there were some unforeseen delays, the body may have already been buried before the mass. 

For instance, if the church was unavailable for the funeral because of a prior booking, then other arrangements may need to be made. The misa for my brother-in-law couldn’t be held in a timely manner because the festivities of Revolution Day were taking place. His misa and burial were able to take place just before the mandatory 48 hours. Mama Vira’s funeral service was moved from the church in front of her house to the church in the center of town for similar reasons, overbooking and all. 

There are different levels of service provided by the church, but I don’t have a price list since it often varies from church to church. My mother-in-law was provided the basic service, which was, well basic. However, when my teacher friend Rene died, being a pillar of the community and all, his many relatives and friends paid for a more lavish funeral service. The entire church was redecorated just for the funeral, like they do for weddings. There was music. The service was about 40 minutes long, praising his virtues. Of course, the service was standing room only in the church and the crowd spilled out and filled la plaza, so there’s no surprise that the extra effort was taken.

The church isn’t done with you or your wallet yet. At the one month anniversary there is the misa del mes (one-month mass) which includes another service with a minimum “voluntary” donation of $300 pesos. 

Then at the one year anniversary there is the el primero luctuoso (first year of mourning) with another yet mass. In our area, it’s common to take out a half-page newspaper spread to announce the time and place of the celebration. After the mass, attendees receive a recuerdo (souvenir) which of course you pay for. Each subsequent year has another mass, el segundo luctuoso, el tercer luctuosos and so on, for perpetuity, or as long as someone is paying for it. 

If you happen to belong to a religion that makes up the other 17% of Mexico, there are still services to pay for, but it might not stretch out for years to come.

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Filed under Death and all its trappings

A Trip to the Barber Shop

Normally, I don’t go with my husband when he needs his hair cut. However, he tricked me into thinking we were heading somewhere else and then pulled into the Barber Shop parking area. I didn’t want to go in, but I looked silly just hanging out on the sidewalk. 

So I entered the 4 x 8 ft man cave. There was a car bench for me to sit on, so I did and looked around in awe. A soda machine provided beverages, snacks were in plentiful supply. A good size plasma TV was showing some man-movie about a hoochie-mama female gunslinger in tight leather pants that blew things up. 

The two hair cutting chairs were occupied and there were three barbers, although one seemed to be only in charge of the straight razor, swooping in to shave when given the head nod. My husband and I waited, and waited, and waited. I swear the policy was to cut one hair at a time. There was so much snipping, and spritzing, and more snipping, and dusting off with the powder puff brush, that hair was saturating the air.

Finally, the gunslinger movie ended and a chair opened up. My husband took off his moto helmet and his mushroomed hair boinged out like in the cartoons. He was WAY overdue for a haircut. The stylist pulled out what must have been a horse comb to attack it. 

Meanwhile, the other stylist was channel surfing. He switched to a program that had Sylvester Stalone, Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris, Arnold Swartznegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Jason Statham, shooting up the place. Talk about a MAN MOVIE!  

Drawn by the gun-fire, more men started dropping by. None of them looked like they needed a hair cut. Soon there were eight men in that 4 x 8 ft space and me on the car bench. Can you imagine the high testosterone level?

Fortunately, my husband’s hair taming was finished by then and I skedaddled out of the room. That’s two hours of my life that I’ll never get back. 

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Filed under Cultural Challenges