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Who is Herb Robert?

Hello dear friends,

I had a serious blip in March (alcohol poisoning from too much free champagne at the Savoy Hotel – I kid you not dear reader) that took me off track and impacted quite extremely on my mind body and spirit throughout most of April. I was pretty depressed and lost sight of my future.

I mean I had started 2019 so auspiciously – making myself get up and get out of the house for daily yoga for 8 weeks. Yes 8 weeks of yoga and intermittent fasting ruined ! Ruined by one night of the demon drink HA HA …………………

Calliope drowning in Champagne

I was a sad guineapig and felt like a failure. Everything seemed a little futile again, my liver was struggling plus I had to go to Berlin to finish a transnational project. This really felt like one step too far and a jeopardisation of my health, which made me hate on myself some more. But I knew I had to see through my commitment. So I went and I came back. (It was an amazing project after all). And took a week or two to recover.

On the first of May I finally started a 28 days liver cleanse. I had collected all the necessary herbs last February 2018 and had been saving them, though not in my pouches thankfully.

I have been liver cleansing for the last 14 days. This involves taking twice daily doses of dandelion and milk thistle tincture, 2 litres of spring water daily (with lemon when I remember) and copious amounts of Mullein tea. I bought them all ready made from the wonderful healing hands herbs. https://secure.herbs-hands-healing.co.uk/detox-and-cleansing/28-day-cleanses who also have a herbalist you can talk to for free on the phone about their detox herbs. How amazing is that!

This is along with of course juicing once or twice a day, taking berberine, curcumin and live yeast enzymes, sporadic liposomal vitamin C, eating raw at lunch (with grated beetroot), cooked foods at tea, and occasionally doing an 18 hour intermittent fast.

Anyways the only change I have had to make for the liver cleanse is cutting out green tea. #myhardcore. The first 7 days I was totally exhausted all the time. Now at day 14 I am starting to feel almost spritely. Spritely enough to be sniffing the air out in my hutch and mowing and hedge strimming and noticing a plethora of little pink flowers. Lo Herb Robert!

But I mean who the duce is Herb Robert and have you seen him? Is he like a super genius musician like Herbie Hancock? Or an actor or even pink car seen in Disney films? Nope! Prone to musical pink and green Herb Robert is a common garden “weed” (sorry Robert) that grows prolifically around and about in northern Europe, northern America and probably northern Asia.

It actually has been a good few years since I noticed him, growing shyly among the cleavers in sporadic bursts in my back garden.

But I studiously ignored him. For a long time.

Then after the wonderful and missed herbalist Christopher Hedley introduced me to the joys of picking and using cleavers I became a little more interested in these pink flowers nestling amongst the cleavers in my garden. Though not interested enough to do anything with them.

A couple of years on and I started googling them, would collect the pink flowers after mowing the lawn and ponder some therapeutic use but nah, no resonance. It wasn’t calling me to work with him. Plus I got confused by all the different reasons to use it and its lack of mention in old well worn herbal books I have like Jethro Kloss Back to Eden.

And those that did write about him well this is what Nicholas Culpepper had to say about Herb Robert:

Government and virtues. It is under the dominion of Venus. Herb Robert is commended not only against the stone, but to stay blood, where or howsoever flowing; it speedily heals all green wounds, and is effectual in old ulcers in the privy parts, or elsewhere. You may persuade yourself this is true, and also conceive a good reason for it, do but consider it is an herb of Venus, for all it hath a man’s name.”

Nicholas! “Consider it a herb of Venus for all it hath a man’s name” what does this mean! You make Robert sound rather uninviting in a kind of Age of Enlightenment authority way. Plus some of its names like Stinky Bob – referring to its noxious smell of fox hormonal spray scent, and Death Come Quickly are also kinda ominous right!

Yet “Saint Robert’s Herb, was named after a French monk who lived in 1000 AD, who cured many people suffering from various diseases using this plant. ” Plus “First Nations people have used this plant internally to help with many health ailments and externally for healing wounds, herpes and skin eruptions.”

Every year I seem to have more and more, prolifically taking over the garden. And now for the first year there is more Robert than cleavers! If your best medicine is in your backyard then Herb Robert is SHOWING UP!

And I am feeling spritely enough to look Herb Robert in the face and say hey – do you want to do some work with me?

Then I found the blog Julia’s Edible Weeds. She writes the nutritional components and cites another herbalist to explain the effects of germanium

“germanium which as well as being an oxygen carrier and catalyst, also stimulates electrical impulses at a cellular level, which benefit the entire body according to Isabell Shipard a well known Australian herbalist. She further says that this humble herb has resulted in numerous amazing healings from such illnesses as cancer, colitis, chronic fatigue, cataracts, diabetes, mouth ulcers, bleeding gums and pain relief for those with rheumatism and arthritis. “

Plus this food for thought

“According to an article in The Healing Journal, scientists, herbalists, and botanists have discovered that Herb Robert grows especially abundant in areas that have high radiation levels (which include under hydro lines). It is believed that Herb Robert absorbs the radiation from the soil, breaks it down and disperses it”

So I am collecting five leaves a day, chopping them up and using them in salad, swimming in the flax oil of my porridge (true story) or throwing them in with the spinach in smoothies or pasta. I am going to see how it goes. For the moment it feels good. And my garden has soooo many Roberts that I can circumnavigate the plants that have been sprayed by all the neighbourhood cats in the turf wars they dare to have in the domain of a guineapig!

So my friends check what is growing in your back yard and full respect for these so called “weeds”. And if you need some medicine maybe there is your answer.

Love Peace and Empowerment

Calliope xx



Healing with Herb Robert

Herb Robert sitting on top of a lush green salad.

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2019 Has Fully Arrived


The capacity for illness to render time nonfunctional is powerful business at the best of times.

A time out of time where the markers of human existence warp, become half speed, double speed or just suspended animation in the context of body functions.

At the end of last year looked like history was going to repeat itself as my lungs started cracking, cackling and burbling like a melting ice cap. I even had to get a chest X-ray on Christmas Eve. Fortunately this mysterious chest thing, for me it only lasted nearly three weeks and then went, in part due to autumnal regularity of taking daily liposomal vitamin C and also judicious use of Thyme and Clove oils.

Anyways Solstice came and went, christmas came and went, untouching me with festive social cheer as I bubbled away in exclusive rat companionship, lethargy and wheezing, choirboys and carols, vegan cheese and walnut pate and unwell lounging coughing and general chestyness. Plus one NYE gig. Cue late late mornings, late late sleeping times, and general laziness, incapacity and the kind of timekeeping humans with children cherish the memory of as a long lost unrecoverable part of their youth..

But how easy and seductive it is to get lost in this time vortex. Where nothing matters, expect immediate bodily needs, the outside world dissolved into the dark midwinter, invisible in inky street light blackness. Delicious and subversive but also time honoured.

Hibernation was the old word for it. But we don’t sleep with our 24/7 electric lighting, heating and netflix.

With immense concentration I decided to pull myself out of it. Always challenging. When you have abandoned trying to maintain structure in the face of so many interlocking seasonal baubles. 2019 dawned and now with the greening all around us it is properly arrived.

So for 2019 I am looking inward, and creating coherency within and without. The time is over for hope on its own, which has been a nice holiday, yeah I had a hope holiday being Voltaire and keeping myself amused in the hope that my body could fix itself. Well it didn’t. Not yet. But it is still being faithful, functional and fun, pretty good qualities and attributes for creating a good life.

This year is for action. Action on all levels. And not action in the outside world either. I did much of that Autumn of 2018, going to 3 amazing music gigs ( Sainko Namchylak, Janelle Monae and Fatoumata Diawara I know wow right!) organising a 5 day event for visiting European activists, presenting at a conference, composing music and performing ritual, doing some dj gigs (yes guineapigs dj). Proving to myself that I can do these things, even with a disability. Even if it takes me double extra time. But now I rise and fully claim a relationship with myself, exclusively with myself, a relationship where I try not to check out too much and lose myself unnecessarily in colours and lights and sounds, laughter and rat and cat fur.

Starting this blogpost initially at the beginning of January I stated an intentional commitment for local daily yoga for two weeks… “my class tomorrow is booked ambitiously for 7am and bought a new juice glass. Fancy Schmancy. From TK max.”

I now update, and will be writing more on all this, but add that my two weeks turned into 8 weeks at 3 different yoga studios, the juices are still ON but more and the rebounder is out in the garden.

I live within hope and make action. Restorative action, from a place of compassion.

Love peace and empowerment for your weekend and your forthcoming days

Calliope xx

ps I am going to start a fb page where I will answer questions about being vegan/ good diet and nutrition plus any health related stuff from the perspective of non medical vegan guineapig.

Readers should it be called Ask Calliope? Ask A GuineaPig? Ask a CGP ? or Ask A GP?

Answers on a post card… no seriously just let me know what you think!

Peas Out







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Saints, Sinners and Vegan hypocrisy.


Untitled design

Dear friends, fellow vegans, non vegans and readers of this blog.

I have heard many disses of vegans over my years. They don’t bother me. I recall being on a course in Glastonbury and sitting next to the priestess leading it in a pub. As we perused the menu she started spitting her distaste and anger in no uncertain terms at self righteous, hypocritical, moralistic, idealistic and impractical vegans in one foul torrent of invective. That took me aback with its passionate swathe. It was in the context of expressing her disillusionment with a male love interest who was of course vegan ….   So I chose not to take it personally, but all the same vegans are a pretty easy target to project shit onto.

Stereotypes aside as far as arguments and disses go one of the big hitters that some omnivores/carnivores like to pelt vegans with concerning the subject of veganism is hypocrisy. …..even though like who isn’t a hypocrite at sometime in their human life.

“Hey you are killing the plants too….. plants have feelings and are sentient life forms. Whatever you eat you are killing life. You are a vegan hypocrite!”

And you know they are not wrong with this.

In the great interconnectivity of life to just to stop eating critters with eyes or faces doesn’t mean we are not still involved in an exchange of life whereby we are becoming something else by eating it and creating a cessation of its life.

“Plants feel too. You are still murderers.”

Aside from breatharians and fruitarians (people who only eat what gracious trees and shrubs offer us by way of their fruits, without harming the tree itself) yes maybe we are all still murderers. Maybe we are all murderers until we find a way to understand that plants and trees and herbs have a consciousness and if only we could listen can actually choose for themselves if they want us to eat them. Or not. That we get down with the idea of vegetable consent


Whoah Calliope! You are too “out there” Guinea-pig friend and are losing your readers/marbles/sanity…

Does your garden grass consent to it when you are munching it in your outdoor hutch? Is that why in your human form you SPEND SO LONG in organic veg shops trancing out in front of the vegetables ba ha ha ….

But think about it readers. How much do we scoff at or think that cows and horses and sheep and other ruminants have a terribly boring life with their noses pressed against the earth chewing grass for hour after hour for days, neigh their lives. Ruminants I think we call them. But what if they are simply connecting to every blade as they eat it. How do we know? And how do they know what piece of grass to eat next. Who knows whether the ponies and the shrubs and blades of grass are communicating with each other.

To watch New Forest Ponies keep the forest groomed is to marvel at their collective compass.

Why do we dismiss as “magical make believe thinking” the idea that plants and animals can connect with us and communicate

I am minded of a shamanic plant medicine retreat 8 years in Mexico a dear friend went on where weeks were spent in a hole in the desert waiting for the medicinal herb to make contact and tell her where to find it.

I am also minded of a story anthropologist Hugh Brody shared with us on a visit to my uni. About an indigenous community of peoples in the South American rain forest who mystified a visiting anthropologist for weeks with their “maybe tomorrow” for a hunt. Until he found out they had dreamers at the the four directions of the village who would wait until an animal visited them to tell them it had chosen to be caught and eaten and how to find it. That would be the signal that a hunt was happening.

It also reminds me of Barbara McClintock and her study of corn and the genetic discoveries she made through connecting with the corn, becoming the corn.

These shamanic ideas of life and connectivity become more and more acceptable as indigenous teachers spread their wings and come to teach westerners about things that will ultimately save the planet, connection as an ecological imperative. And western academics; anthropologists, phytogeneticists and biologists like Jeremy Narby, Rupert Sheldrake, Graham Hancock, Donna Harraway and our own homegrown David Luke and the conference for psychedelic studies have been paving the way for an intellectual understanding of this in the field of parapsychology.

In an experiment conducted by animal biologist Monica Gagliano with Mimosa plants she showed that plants are capable of memory and have the ability to react and respond to their external environment. Michael Pollan in his article the Intelligent Plant for the New Yorker in 2013 posited that ‘plants have all the same senses as humans, and then some. In addition to hearing, taste, for example, they can sense gravity, the presence of water, or even feel that an obstruction is in the way of its roots, before coming into contact with it.  And he suggests that plants may be able to teach humans a thing or two, such as how to process information without a central command post like a brain.’

So yes plants appear to have a consciousness, and an intelligence that doesn’t need a brain. And thus eating a plant is eating something that was alive.


Following this train of thought maybe killing is not in itself murder. Maybe murder is the idea of the infliction of pain and violence on something or some-one, or the act of killing with the intent of doing harm, or the act of killing whilst being numb to the pain being exacted. I mean the body kills viruses and bacteria germs and cancer cells as part of a natural course. We don’t think of our bodies as murderers for doing this. And on that train of thought allopathic cancer treatments do evoke imagery of slaughter and battles which is a right turn off for me personally.

It could be argued that eating meat is not murder if done consciously and with gratitude. But what does that mean this conscious eating? (read here for my foray into conscious meat eating https://cancerguineapig.com/2012/07/31/the-carrot-or-a-stick/) Is our gratitude and awareness that the piece of flesh we are eating was once an animal (and how many carne and omnivores do I know who cannot actually stomach that connection either) make the lived life of the animal we are eating any better? No.

But connection is everything. The main difference between the act of eating plants that were alive and animals that were alive dear reader is the connection that our bodies, both physically and energetically make with our food. Something recognised in many different spiritual practices and schools who request that their disciples eat only vegetarian or vegan plant based diets (more on that in a future blog).

A plant might not have consented to be picked BUT more importantly, a plant is not likely to be force fed until its stalks snap and break like the legs of 6 week old male chickens for the chicken industry, or consistently raped with metal instruments and then the product of the rape, a baby taken away from it over and over again in order to produce milk for another species, or or or or ad nauseam ad infinitum.

If we are what we eat, then eating flesh that is saturated with suffering, pain, violence and non consent is basically energetically what we are receiving. So we might eat it “consciously” but actually the reason why myself and maybe others became vegans in the first place (for me that was 30 years ago) is not about the killing aspect but more the industrialisation of animals and the understanding of animals as units of currency, with no acknowledgement or a cultivated blindness to both the autonomy of the animal or its capacity for pain, feelings and consciousness. If I have to be a “murderer” then I would rather eat the consciousness of a plant than an animal.

Wishing you all a good start to the week.

Love peace and Empowerment

Calliope xxx



Photo by Elaine Casap on Unsplash





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Connection As The Key To A Healthy Life


I have a new drum. This is a drum I made, with the guidance and help of two dear friends to be used for trance and otherworld travelling purposes. A shamanic drum if you like.
My daily practice – its been three weeks now – with it renders a plethora of sounds, intervals, tones, resonances that are never alike on any two days. It is astounding! It reminds me of something I read recently that said something along the lines of …we are a totally different person everyday, and that is okay, we can forgive and love ourselves for this fact.
I don’t know for you, but I sure get confused by being a different person everyday.


It is so easy to come unmoored from your purpose by getting distracted by a seemingly new set of feelings, or want to explore who this person is who feels so blank or how this person is different from the day before.

Maya by Hrana Janto

Maybe this is the MAYA of illusion. An illusion of reality that distracts us by inviting us to play at exploring what it is to be human at the expense of forgetting who we are at our root (instead of exploring our humanity whilst being connected to our root?). An illusion that can easily take us down paths that are not in resonance with our higher purpose or for our greater good as beings who have incarcerated whoops Freudian slip I mean of course incarnated as humans on this planet at this time.

I often wake up and just feel a blank, an unknowing of who I am and why I am here. This is heightened for me as I have no external structure impressing on me like a jelly mould what shape to take in the world, how you are identified and how you identify yourself. How you are as a professional. This could be seen as the ultimate horror or the ultimate freedom, or both, the horror and responsibility of freedom. A place of empowerment and self definition if you have the will and energy and mindset to use it.

chocolate miceJelly Moulds

Anyways Jelly moulds can be fun. I have one of a guineapig I opt into to write this blog. Yet the jelly mould is not who you are either, I mean it is not who I am au font.
To remember who I am I practice connection.
I practice a daily connection to myself, myself in all the glorious contradictions, pluralities and multiplicities, the parts of me that exist in different places and emerge with different people but also to the part of me that is Gddss, the spark of divinity/creatrix that we all have access to and is part of the greater whole.
It is this connection that is most threatened when I get caught up in the world of Maya – the illusion of reality – the connection to the part of me that is eternal and forgiving and abundant and all powerful.
Without this connection I feel lost and ungrounded in a treacherous world, and forget that that connection is actually always there and I am safe and held.

One Way To Connect

This connection involves a daily practice of grounding and welcoming myself as a human, through some simple stretches and spine twists informed by yoga and Taoist practices, and some meditation. I have been doing this in various combinations since 1997. It gives me a bedrock of inner peace.
For many people this daily check in and connection is simply forgotten due to frenetic lifestyles and financial striving. For those of us who have had that connection and trust in that connection disrupted and wrenched through painful childhoods, adverse conditions, sad losses or maybe even a health diagnosis… I mean pretty much everyday human experiences … this silent morning check in and connection can mean the difference between a day of blank feelings on top of a pit of anxiety and fear, manifesting as self hate and nihilism or a day of heart sparkling peace, optimism and well being.
It is that powerful. Which also means I struggle when that practice is not available to me because I sacrifice it for convenience sake or practical considerations like if I am not at home, or have no where to practice, or oversleep, or have something that is more fun and distracting to do, or feel like I am a nuisance with my insistence on this practice. The impact is huge. Yes as I said before, this is recovery work and my connection to my inner self muscle atrophied somewhat due to lack of conscious use, and abandonment of it as a response to my environment when I was younger.

Don’t Lose It Use It!

It is said that things that are lost and then refound have a quality to them feels precious and the potential loss of them more fraught. My response to anxiety is abandonment. To abandon the thing I could lose so I at least feel in control of something, and the thing I have in the past abandoned is myself. Everyday in a morning practice I recommit to myself and to connecting to the parts of myself that I have abandoned even if I don’t know which parts they are, and to commit to connection with Gddss

It Is Always There

And the most profound aspect of this morning practice, the thing that works for me, that gives me hope and allows me to navigate my life and live how I live (which many people ask about) is a morning practice of accepting myself who ever I AM, and who ever I will be for this day, accepting and taking pleasure and gratitude in the fact that I have been born, and human and am here, regardless of whether I feel connected or not…everyday I am different yet I have this connection that is always there, even when my sense of loss makes me get absorbed in that feeling and creates a sense of loss in this connection. We NEVER actually lose this! It is always there for us and with us. A mutual indwelling.

A Morning Practice

If you don’t already have a morning practice, or have let one slide I nudge you to find/refind a way to engage with yourself … it could be a something for as little as a ten minute wiggle and stretch followed by 5 minutes of stillness, or an hour or even two filled with one practice or many different components. Find something that resonates with you and do it. I start with a 15 minute set of yoga exercises to wake the body and then meditate from 15 minutes up to 60 minutes. I started this 21 years ago inspired by an Ayurvedic book written by Deepak Chopra and have changed my practice over the years but have found that simple is best. I mean some people even rebound to psytrance for ten minutes. These days there are so many resources on youtube.
Just find something that connects you to your body and commit to it. Yes celebrate who you are by connecting your human body with your inner Goddess strength, daily.
And if you have never done this before…….Just try it!
Love, Peace, Empowerment
Calliope xx

Your action of commitment is the bridge.

Feel Free to connect with me and tell me if you resonate with this post and what your morning practice is

*Image of Maya taken from the brilliant Goddess Oracle Deck and book set by Amy Sophia Marashinsky, illustrated by Hrana Janto and available at Waterstones https://www.waterstones.com/product/the-goddess-oracle-deck-and-book-set/amy-sophia-marashinsky/hrana-janto/9781572815469
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The Psychology Of Persistence. How to Survive and Thrive

How to have persistence in the face of adversity is a question I am often asked about. How do you maintain your unwavering belief when things you do don’t seem to work or you fail at them? This question whilst relevant in all areas of life seems particular fraught around the subject of cancer, or living with chronic ill health when each set back can have the shimmering weight of a loaded dice on the path of life or death.

One way

to continue on is not to let your past history or your failures define who you are. To constantly feed the belief of your own dreams and greatness. As Gareth Southgate, the football manager of the young British team who just had a great World Cup experience if not winning, says “We always have to believe in what is possible in life and not be hindered by history or expectations.”We always have to believe in what is possible in life and not be hindered by history or expectations

If our body is a living history, our own living history, then the idea of not been hindered by history takes on a complicated turn for those of us living with dis ease as we are confronted with the story of our embodied history every day. Similarly and as a parallel reflection we also, all of us, have an embodied collective history and every country can be seen to have it’s own culturally constructed body. I mean if countries are the body of the social collective then millions of us are also living with legacies in our collective bodies of  mysogyny, colonialism, institutional racism and homophobia everyday as well. Some of us maybe living in or fleeing war zones similarly being confronted with the living history of human conflict, violence, power struggles.

I think the same principle applies for creating health and well be -ing in the physical body as for the collective societal body … to build futures based on hope and not fear, (to quote Nelson Mandela). Futures based on and born from positive vibrations, that create the changes we want whilst naming but not fighting the ones we don’t. Positive vibrations that can be sown and nurtured when we are not crushed in mental defeat and the weight of history, or exhausted by anger and fightback against systems that don’t serve the majority of us, that suck our precious life energy fighting them.

For those of us lucky enough to have all our basic needs met and live in relatively peaceful societies maybe the elusive freedom that many humans quest for is in fact the freedom from ourselves and the weight of our embodied personal and national narratives?

Certainly in the article (whose link I include below) about Gareth Southgate and the psychological coaching they had from Pippa Grange  the British team  was “ playing with freedom; there’s no fear of failure. Fear is essentially made up because it is a projection into the future, where you have created a narrative of something badly going wrong. We all do it, and we get very good at creating the negative [future] rather than the positive one.”

Now for sure some people would see or say that I spend a lot of guineapig brain power contradicting my little furry body’s truth but I prefer to see it as feeding my being with a truth that I feel is more resonant, a truth which creates my future with joy and positivity but also pragmatism and empowerment… that this is a temporary aberration and my body made this so it can heal this. Imagine that as a mantra for the ills of the world, not so dissimilar to the thinking that this too shall pass!

Yes I have had set backs, and dramatic interludes, some of them in this blog https://cancerguineapig.com/2016/08/02/european-exchanges-and-other-stories-pt-1/ and things that worked and things that didn’t, but with each set back there has been a lesson learnt and wisdom gained. To nod to Gareth again with each failure I have learnt to not be afraid of what goes wrong, as whatever has gone wrong I have dealt with it, have lived through it, and become stronger and more resilient. As Pippa Grange the team psychologist for the Uk mens footie squad says again:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         “Overcoming difficult situations and building resilience potentially contributes to success.”

gp of the month

Another way to have persistence in the face of adversity is to harness the imagination to create positive futures

The imagination is a tremendous untapped resource when harnessed mindfully for the good of all beings. Most of us are familiar with the idea of positive thinking. Yet positive thinking itself is not always so productive. For me the trick is to use the imagination to visualise what is needed to do to get the result, instead of simply creating a fantasy result. So whilst I believe my body made this so it can heal it .. this cancer is a temporary aberration I also constantly give as much support as I can to my body so it can do its business!

Thinking plus Action creates Miraculous Results!

The idea of using the imagination in this way has long been used by sports teams for example whose trainings often comprise of say 60% mental work and 40% physical work, but there has been much other research conducted on using the imagination to stimulate hormones and chemicals in the body, (all of which escapes me as I am writing this but will try and find some sources for later).

Whilst the World Cup is still relatively fresh, and keeping on the psychology of footie theme … in a recent article about the youngest member of the winning French team – the amazing 19 year Kylian Mbappe  –  who gave his winnings to support disabled children in his hood btw  – Vadim Vasilyev the man who played a key role in signing him for is first professional club, says this:

“I spoke to him, we spent some time together after we won the French title, he always had it in him. He knew this would happen, he didn’t know how and when but he believed in himself and he knew his destiny is to become a big, big, big player and he’s very sure of himself.”
“It’s like he knew, he always worked so hard and now it’s happening and, of course, it happened fast but he had it inside. But this is your destiny and he was ready. He was, of course, surprised that it happened so quickly but in the end he was ready because that’s what he was always thinking, dreaming, working for. He knew he would do it, one day he would do it.”


1So my friends, never give up, never be defined by past failures and defeats, know that you can keep working for your goals and that defeat simply builds resilience. The future can still hold magic, promise and success.

Anything is possible.

Love, Peace and Empowerment

Calliope xx






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Cleavers Time Again

Calliope GPOnce more the wheel turns and my garden is bursting with bluebells, violets and lilac. The lush blues and purples enticing me out to play and discover the baby nettles that make the best nettle soup, the beginnings of Herb Robert and of course the most prolific greenery of cleavers.

I cannot think or see cleavers without a heart pang of loss and gratitude as I remember the most amazing herbal wizard and ally that was Christopher Hedley, (RIP Christopher Hedley. 1946 – 2017). The cleavers stay eternal, reminding me of the time I saw him for nerve pain after radiotherapy. I wrote a blog about it here many moons ago if you want to check it: https://cancerguineapig.com/2013/06/01/herbal-helpers-what-you-need-is-often-in-your-own-back-yard/ He simply invited me to walk with him along Camden canal and look for cleavers to gather.


This magical herb is a lymph cleanser extraordinaire and comes under the astrological            influence of the moon according to medieval herbalist Nicholas Culpepper. Also known as Goosegrass, Barweed, Catchweed, Cleavers, Stickywilly, Zhu Yang Yang, or its latin name Galium Aparine it grows in abundance from March until July. August if you are lucky.

Christopher simply told me to pick loads, wash it, put it in a saucepan and soak it overnight in cold water. In the morning drain it and drink the water throughout the day.


You can also make a herbal infusion which is particularly good for the dried herb if you do not have access to fresh cleavers. For dried herbs the legendary shop Baldwins in Elephant and Castle London do a good quick online delivery service. Put a good handful of dried cleavers in a 1 or 2 litre mason jar, fill with boiling water and put the lid on. Steep overnight and drain in the morning. Drink throughout the day.

I have been doing a spring detox using this method with dried cleavers, ground ivy and burdock since the middle of march. I am now starting to pick and use the cleavers in my garden! I have to fess that I live near an Ikea and was delighted that they do cheap 2 litre mason jars and green funnels like the one my sieve is sitting on!

If you want a more food orientated way to use fresh cleavers here is a link to the wonderful seed sistas site on how to make a spring vinegar.


And to finish this little blog here are some magic words from Christopher Hedley himself.

‘The virtues of a herb are its strengths and qualities: Its inner potency, expressions of its vital spirit and of the way it is in the world. The way a herb is in the world will inform it of the way to be in your body. We prefer this term to the more modern ‘uses’. Herbs do not have uses. They have themselves and their own purposes.’

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.

I hope you found it helpful

Love and Empowerment

Calliope xxx





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Health Activism: The Politics Of letting Go.

Hello dear readers,

Happy Spring, Happy International Women’s Day and Happy Wakanda watching.

As most of you know from my previous post, I had the Lurge (yes with a capital L). The lurge that has left almost no – one I know unscathed this year. That is the flu bug for those of you who aren’t familiar with the lurge.

I then had suspected pneumonia.

Once it was kinda official there were pneumotic cells in my right lung I realised that actually yes I was really rather ill and to take the hardcore antibiotics and steroids. Along with probiotics. It was amazing. I felt so much better, like really incredible. And the pneumotic cells did not develop into full blown pneumonia I am glad to say.

Here is the thing. Last week I had an amazing day, the kind of day I really haven’t had for years.. where I was just out and about having meetings, doing stuff, vibing, getting excited, having the fire for some creative ventures… and it didn’t feel exhausting.

The next day I found out about an amazing eco conference that I wanted to go to in London.

I really got into the idea of going. The next morning I texted a friend who was there, as I couldn’t find any access details online. For a few hours there was the possibility of going, and I felt excited, ready, yes ready for anything, and dynamic. And then it became clear that it was an insider thing and would be a sneak in and reuse an arm band job.

Even though it still could have been very possible and I had a friend there also attending who would try and help the moment I let the thought seed that it was not accessible to me, and I did not legitimately belong there everything deflated.

It was so energetically intense.

Now sometimes she who dares wins! I have seen friends and loved ones just sail through things that are seemingly impossible, or make the impossible happen, one particular rat friend companion managed to get on the red carpet at Cannes film festival one year, through cheek, audacity, belief in that possibility. I myself am no stranger to belief in possibility. It has been my body song for 14 years.

Yet the fact that access to this amazing conference wasn’t a given and would require a little more work, more inventiveness, more effort defeated me. And I couldn’t blame my health as I had energy or spoons. This was something else. And it struck me as I watched and felt the energetic change in my body and a grey veil of despair envelope me that this feeling is my default. My hidden unseen default a default that I didn’t know was my default. That I don’t belong or am not entitled to belong, to attend, to be there, so there is no point. And the moment I became aware of that feeling in my body and energy, and managed to identify it I realised that it was a slumping hopeless grey sticky trap.

This is how the hidden chains operate. The unseen coding of privilege that shapes our cultural understanding. The ways we limit ourselves and police ourselves through mainly subconscious belief patterns about class, race, gender sexuality but also about hierarchical positioning in other ways. I am not saying that this type of recognition cancels out the need for structural and institutional change. That change also needs to happen, but the inner work is as important as the outer work. This is also why the Black Panther film is such an important cultural landmark, planting seeds of action, self worth and pride for many and having the potential to melt so many of these invisible chains and create energetic change.

I am sure the idea of seeing possibility as an open door, a door that is an invitation to something exciting is familiar to many people. When everything feels like it starts vibrating in the body and the air around you with potential and joyful open expansion, and then the door somehow shuts. Sometimes the door shuts through overwhelm, sometimes through something not quite going to plan, sometimes through adverse circumstance or even sometimes a little sabotaging inner voice whispering stories of worthlessness. The shut door can rapidly translate into a heavy rigid constriction of energy and a sense of hopelessness.

I felt this profound shift back to my default, that I hadn’t identified as my default and then wondered what would happen if I “rewind selector” and imagined the time before when I was excited to go. And lo I started running that amazing energy again.

To realise that this can be done is profound and empowering. I mean I have listened to Abraham Hicks and others for years, and read extensively. Am familiar with the concept of uplifting yourself and your emotional state. Have changed emotional states to cope with pretty hardcore physical challenges. I just had never realised before that this horrible grey hopeless feeling was lurking underneath everything, hidden and embedded. A default that you would not choose to reset to factory setting. Choosing to surface at any given moment but always there like a river of hopelessness. Maybe I always suspected even knew it was there but wan’t ready to take it on.

And this is one of the keys to fulfilling personal empowerment. It is a skill to develop the sensitivity to both be able to identify the moment of this sometimes devastating energetic change, and then not become swamped by the emotional state, but hold it with patience non judgemental compassion and then decide to see, or choose to try and change it, switch it, to something that serves your being and hence all beings better. A persistent commitment to doing that takes discipline and effort but over time reaps untold benefits.

Enlivening the body and soul through acknowledging feelings in all their abundant magnificence, with compassion. And then letting go of what is not needed instead of holding onto it or fighting with it. Yes the politics of letting go!

This is health activism my friends. Inner and outer work.

Love Peace and Empowerment

Calliope xx




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