The End of the World as We Know It and Ten Healing Plants, A Guest Post

Madison Woods

Madison Woods

By Madison Woods

TEOTWAWKI, an acronym for “The End of the World as We Know It,” can mean anything, from the standard biblical apocalypse to an economic or environmental disaster, or even a personal crisis. Some people consider an uncertain future to be a challenge, while others fear it. Still others don’t think of the unknown at all; they assume things will go on as they always have, never entertaining the possibility that life as we know it might take a completely different turn and belie our expectations. Whether “it” is referred to as Armageddon, End of the World, Economic Collapse, WWIII, Global Warming Disasters, or the Zombie Apocalypse, “it” is a source of widespread anxiety.

Disconnect from Nature

I think part of the reason for the anxiety is because of an epidemic disconnect from Nature. And I believe one of the reasons I feel no such fear is because I have a very close relationship to Nature.

snake eyeRattlesnakes are one of the more dangerous aspects in Nature that we must learn to live with. You can read my blog post about how I used plants (not all local, though) to help my dog heal quickly and without side effects from a rattlesnake bite last month. To be aware of and respect danger doesn’t mean we need to be afraid. (By the way, the snake only wanted to be left alone. It wasn’t until the dog tried to bite it that it responded in turn.)

Media fuels this disconnect from Nature by dramatizing the dangerous aspects of nature through hyped up weather reports, with programming designed specifically to highlight the hazardous side of nature. The most popular movies focus almost exclusively on the dangerous aspects of humans in their behavior toward each other.

Remember, we are part of Nature, too.

Like watching train wrecks. No one will sit for an hour of programming about trains travelling without a hitch through the countryside, but if the viewer knows there will be a collision, he will sit in rapt attention waiting for it to happen. It’s part of our nature to be drawn to that which we cannot control. Then we want to try to control it to the best of our abilities, because that brings out our hero/savior nature.

We are dual-natured beings.

Listening to Nature

Deep in my bones I feel my purpose. I want to help people re-establish ties to Nature. By making allies and forming bonds with Nature again, we can relieve a lot of the silent anxiety. My particular purpose has to do with listening to Nature, understanding the dangers, yes, but mostly learning how to fit in with the natural order of things. I feel a close affinity for the plants, and I use them as needed.

mgaical realmWhen I or my family has an illness or injury I put that knowledge to use. I look at “misfortunes” more as opportunities so that I can continue to grow. And through my website and books, I share the wisdom of the plants with others. By advocating their sustainable use and pointing out the helpful qualities of plants, I feel I am doing them a service, too.

People do feel the yearning to reconnect to nature even if they don’t recognize the call. Sometimes their first foot is placed on the path of that journey when they become aware of our Earth Mother’s healing herbs. To help those new to this journey, I’ve completed the first of a series of books on plants that grow right around my home in the Ozarks. They grow wild and sometimes in gardens throughout the eastern/southeastern United States. (Sorry, Pam, I don’t think many of these are common in the desert states.)

10 Common Plants Worth Knowing in a Long-Term Survival Situation

The series is called, “10 Common Plants Worth Knowing in a Long-term Survival Situation.” To me, a plant is useful if it brings me closer to Nature or makes me smile. But in the books, I focus on the practical uses of the herbs, as medicine, food, tools or other useful things.


The first 10 Common Plants, from left to right (top row): All-Heal, Beebalm, Echinacea, Red Clover, Witch Hazel, Red Raspberry, (bottom row) Red Mulberry, Elderberry, Persimmon, Spicebush.

Each book includes color photos and describes the properties of the plants, the parts used, and how to harvest and prepare them for usage. The first book in the collection includes the plants shown above.

I introduce ten at a time for two reasons. If I made the book longer, the price would increase considerably and it’s very important to me that this information is available to everyone. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, many people feel overwhelmed when presented with too much information at one time.

Learning plants is a passion of mine and the journey is fun. I’ve been doing this for many years and the knowledge gained is layered year after year. Some people like starting out with all they can get their hands on, but some prefer to take it in small bites. Those are the people who make up my audience, since these books are small, on point, and less detailed than the heftier tomes available out there. I continue to work on future volumes of ten plants each.

I hope you are ready to fearlessly re-establish your own connection to Nature. If you are, I have a page on Reconnecting to Nature at my website to help you get started.

Madison Woods lives way off the beaten path in the Ozarks of northwest Arkansas. She and her husband practice self-reliance and homestead 160 acres as they learn to live in and from Nature.

First "Ten Common Plants"

First “Ten Common Plants”

10 Common Plants is offered for the best price in paperback at her online shop, but the Kindle version can be had for free if the paperback is purchased through Amazon.

What Death Bed Choice Would You Make?

Man in BedYou’re on your death bed, family members all around you, and suddenly you can’t see them anymore. A figure, a Native American man, is floating near the foot of your bed and he says to you, “Behold the light.” He gestures with his right hand and an opening appears. You see a community where everyone is dressed in white clothing decorated with variously-colored bands of beads. Male and female, they are happy, smiling, moving about from place to place, some working, others shopping, some having lunch together. You see a chorale harmonizing on a stage, and then a woman running into the street to save a stray dog from the wheels of a carriage. The incredible blue of the sky catches your attention, the air is fresh and clear—you can sense this from your bed. A white-haired man who seems an Elder of the man floating above your bed, appears right next to you, smiling. Extending a hand, he says, “Come, now.”

You can’t believe this is happening. You’re not an Indian! You’re a man of influence! Who are those people dressed in white? The place is beautiful but there is no conflict there. Everyone seems unnaturally peaceful. “Robots?” you think. “No, that’s not right. Something has changed in that world—they live there without conflict, as if they’re of one mind. One mind?” you ask yourself. “That’s dreadful. What about my mind? Would it disappear if I go there?”

The Elder fades and the first Native American man, still floating above the end of your bed, says, “Behold the land of struggle,” and gestures with his left hand. An opening appears and if you weren’t this very moment dying, you would leap from your bed. A T-Rex dinosaur is stepping out of that world on top of you.

When you gasp and gurgle, your son says, “Dad? Dad, what is it?” But his voice barely registers as you watch the T-Rex look over it’s shoulder, roar and then run away. A mob of wild, hairy men wearing nothing more than rags around their loins runs to the opening. The one is front growls, enraged at you for some reason. He raises his spear as if to finish you off; you are terrified, but cannot scream. Your family members watch in horror as your face contorts with fear. Then the opening closes and you begin to breath again, slowly.

“Dad, are you okay? What’s going on?” But all you can see is the Native American man floating above you.

He says, “It is time. If harmony is your choice, you will go with Grandfather into the World of Light. You may choose the other world, but if you do, know that you will begin another cycle on the great wheel of time, as a prehistoric man on another planet, evolving over a very long period to a level of awareness similar to where you are now. You will then be faced with this decision again.”

Finally, you can speak. “Will I remember there,” and you point to where the T-Rex was, “who I am now, what I left behind?”

Your son says, “Dad, thank God! What is going on?” Still, you can’t hear him.

The Native American man says, “No, you will be very similar to an animal, primitive, and you will remember nothing of the advances you have made over your many lifetimes. Is that your preference?”

You pause to weigh the choices. You can tell in the world of harmony that the bodies of those people are so light, they may soon change into Beings of Light. “What does that mean?” you wonder. You have your suspicions: no money, no sex, no competition—at least, not as you know them now. Then you think of the prehistoric world and how terrible the life is there. “Those people can’t live to be very old. But that fight to survive—I understand it. That world is a safe place for me.” A laugh bubbles up from deep within you; you are pleased with the irony of your thought, and your decision.

Your laugh sounds like another gurgle to your family, and you draw your last breath.

The opening to the prehistoric world appears again and your soul rises up from your body and passes into that world, above it, where you await the opportunity to be born. From this vantage point, you see a large hairy man-like creature grab a pregnant woman by the hair and throw her to the ground. She screams; he falls on top of her and forces himself into her, grunting and biting her on the neck. She cries and fights, but he is very large and strong. When he is finished he stands, picks her up by the hair with one hand and throws her to the side of the path. She curls into a fetal position, cradling her abdomen, sobbing.

Suddenly you realize this is your mother, and that she has gone into labor. The last thing you remember before your soul prepares to enter the body in her womb, is of the choice you made and you think, “Dear, God, what have I done?”

Rudolf Steiner on the Roots of Intolerance

At times like this, when nine people are slaughtered because of the color of their skin while praying in their church, words are hollow. But I remember fifty years ago when it seemed, from the outside at least, that light was being shed on the forces behind racism, and new understanding and acceptance were taking root. I thought it was the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.

I was wrong. For the sake of all the families who have lost loved ones to fanaticism, isn’t it time we identify the root cause of intolerance?’ This dangerous emotion lives in feelings of superiority, pride, fear and hate. Why has racism become so dangerously common? Is it the acceptance and fanning of extremist ideas? Is it mental illness? Why and how have the many facets of human existence—religion, politics, economics, education, health, culture—all become so polarized? Aren’t we responsible for this? Why is it now the norm NOT to cooperate for the higher good?

Ahriman world trade centerThere is a fascination today, and I am not digressing here, with the paranormal: ghosts, vampires, demons, etc., in novels, TV shows and movies. On some level, we humans understand there is more to these stories than meets the eye. Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), was an Austrian mystic, philosopher, social reformer, architect, and esotericist who saw into spiritual worlds. He consistently spoke of the battle between light and dark forces and the effects of spiritual beings on the physical world. If we don’t reverse the trend of the ever-expanding problem of violent intolerance, Steiner says life could end in a War of All Against All.


Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925)

Steiner, the founder of Anthroposophy (a path of insight which leads the spiritual in the human being to the spiritual in the cosmos), was a deeply devout man and while it may not be fair to him or to the reader to pull out a few paragraphs of his spiritual lingo from the book NATURE SPIRITS, his ideas are pertinent to the heart-wrenching issue of the growing and violent partisanship of our times:

“Matters which have a harmful result on the etheric body are bad laws, or bad social measures prevailing in a community. All that leads to want of harmony, all that makes for bad adjustments between people [causes] the accumulation in the etheric body . . . [of] detachments from beings working in the spiritual worlds [which are] now found in our environment—they are ‘spectres’ or ‘ghosts.’ We see [them] grow out of the life of human beings . . . For one who is able to see things spiritually, [the] physical body is crammed with phantoms, [the] etheric body crammed with specters. As a rule after a person’s death, all this rises up and disperses and populates the world.”

Steiner goes on to say,

“Think only how the modern man for the most part wants to overrule the mind of another, how he cannot bear someone else to think and like differently, how he wants to work upon the other’s soul. In all that works from soul to soul in our world, from the giving of unjustifiable advice to all those methods which people employ in order to overwhelm others, in every act that does not allow the free soul to confront the free soul but employs even in the slightest degree forcible means of convincing and persuasion—in all this, forces are working from soul to soul which again so influence these souls that it is expressed in the night in the astral body. The astral body gets those ‘enclosures’ and thereby beings are detached from other worlds and whirr through our world again as elemental beings. They belong to the class of demons. Their existence is solely due to the fact that intolerance and oppression of thought have been used in our world. That is how these hosts of demons have arisen in our world . . . beings which are just as real as the things we perceive through our physical senses, and which very definitely produce effects in human life. Humanity would have advanced quite differently if intolerance had not created the demons which pervade our world, influencing people continually. They are at the same time spirits of prejudice. One [better] understands the intricacies of life when one learns about these entanglements between the spiritual world and our human world.”

At the end of this quoted chapter, Phantoms, Spectres and Demons, Steiner says,

“Nothing symbolizes the permeation of the world with spirit so beautifully as the story of the miracle of Pentecost. When you contemplate it, it is as though the interpenetration of the world with spiritual life were indicated prophetically through the descent of the ‘fiery tongues.’ Everything must be given life again through the spirit; the yearly festivals must also become concrete and living again . . . if man does not absorb the [Pentecost] spirit, then the etheric body goes out of the physical body and is far too weak to overcome what has already been created, those worlds of spectres, phantoms, demons, which the world creates as phenomena existing at its side.” (Italics mine.)

I’ve also been reading a book called THE BATTLE FOR THE SOUL, dictated by a man named Bernard Lievegoed (1905-1992) from his death bed. He knew some of Steiner’s contemporaries and studied Steiner’s works in depth. On the eighth and last day of dictation, just days before his death, he gave the last chapter called The Strategy of Opposing Forces, which I quote from here because it also applies:

“In [two] instances, we see spiritual beings [Lucifer and Ahriman] who have turned themselves against the cosmic order and who have made it their purpose to frustrate the human development which is directed to the achievement of individual freedom and spiritual autonomy. Both spiritual beings are assisted by great hosts of lower beings, in esoteric literature often called demons. Thus there are the Luciferic and Ahrimanic demons.”

“Rudolf Steiner always emphasized that it was of great importance to clearly distinguish both forms of evil. In fact, they are polar opposites. Lucifer strives for illusions, having created the caricature of the empty fantasy. He wants to lead the human soul away from the earth. Ahriman, on the other hand, wants to push the human being deeper into the earth, tie him more strongly to physical matter. He is the inspirer of the materialism that has become one-sided, and the creator of empty, abstract thinking that now predominates our society. He is the caricature of the empty computer ‘brain.’”

Mr. Lievegoed goes on to talk about the periods in human history when Ahriman tries to turn the world to darkness. He first,

“fills the human ego with pride and as a result, the human being is exposed to the temptation of magic which causes enormous natural disasters and was the end of Atlantean culture.”

Ahriman is defeated when the,

“Persians go all out to defend their Sun culture against the descendants of the Turanians [of Atlantis].”

He is defeated a second time when the Egyptians were able to create the pyramids (cosmic buildings),

“through spiritual harmonies sounded forth in musical mathematics.”

Ahriman then worked through a black magician who lived in Mexico at the same time that Jesus Christ lived in Palestine. The magician was defeated by Vitzliputzli and,

“was crucified at the same time Christ was crucified and the magical power of Ahriman was broken.”


“At the beginning of the ancient civilization of Greece, Lucifer and Ahriman decide to divide the spoils. Lucifer gets Greece and Ahriman the Latin peoples. Once again the leaders of humanity come into action. They introduce Greek philosophy as an antidote to the dreams of Lucifer. It is Aristotle who calls the Luciferic powers to a halt.”

“After the Greek and Roman times come the Middle Ages. Ahriman tries to achieve his goal by Ahrimanizing the world of Aristotle, by making it abstract and lifeless. This takes place in Arabic countries and spreads all over Europe. Then comes Thomas Aquinas, who strips Ahriman from the work of Aristotle and in fact, Christianizes it.”

Twice more Ahriman tries to threaten Christian culture and he is defeated.

Apparently Ahriman is owed a physical incarnation on Earth and Steiner told some of his associates that Ahriman would,

“do everything in his power to accelerate his incarnation to the year 1998. Whether he will succeed in this will depend on whether there will be enough people who see through his designs.”

I’ve quoted these texts because intolerance and all the -isms continue to accelerate and it does seem there is a dark and deep source of power. If these two fallen beings are after our human souls, and I don’t think anyone could make up Rudolf Steiner’s extensive and profound body of teachings, we need to wake up and speak out. We need to act before what we call ‘senseless acts of violence’ escalate to the point that they trigger mass destruction, not of our physical bodies, but of our souls. That really would be the end.

The Awakening: Healing Words by Sonny Carroll, A Guest Post

“I actually began writing this piece in 1996 shortly after coming out of a long, drawn out and painful break-up. I was a total mess. My life was in shambles and as I tried to make some sense of what had happened and why, I began to write ‘The Awakening.’ This piece is a compilation of all the lessons I learned and the observations I made about myself, about other people and their relationships, and of the wisdom that my most dear friend, Drane Uljaj, has shared with me over countless cups of tea.”

There comes a time in your life when you finally get it …

When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out “ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on.” And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world from a new perspective. This is your awakening.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

You realize that it is time to stop hoping and waiting for something, or someone, to change, or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that there aren’t always fairy tale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you. Then a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

So you begin making your way through the “reality of today” rather than holding out for the “promise of tomorrow.” You realize that much of who you are, and the way you navigate through life is, in great part, a result of all the social conditioning you’ve received over the course of a lifetime.

And you begin to sift through all the nonsense you were taught about: Continue reading