I Just Went to Make Soap...

This last weekend I had signed up for a cold process soap and herbal medicine immersion course at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. Oaken and I have been following the work at Dancing Rabbit (DR) for 5-6 years..probably close to 7 at this point. We have been eager to visit and arriving there this weekend was so overwhelming...I actually cried. Yep, one of the first things I did when I arrived, was cry. It was surreal and beautiful.

Guess what? Kim, our amazing teacher, just sat with me, listened, and understood. She has lived at Dancing Rabbit before and still knows many of the people there...its like a home to her. 

Friday night was our first dinner...which was the best meal I had eaten in a long time. Followed by a tour. Pinch me, because I still couldn't believe I was there and that this was real. The tour walked us around the residential areas talking about the houses, the history...I was standing, in person, in front of everything Oaken and I had been reading and discussing for the last half of our marriage.

When the workshop started the following morning....I was absolutely blown away. Yep, more delicious food, but Kim was an amazing teacher. She explained everything just right for us AND we got a copy of her 'zine "How to Make Soap Like a Boss" which is a MUST HAVE for anyone interested in cold process soap making. Sure you can use the internet but this book is a perfect addition because it keeps it simple, yet gives you everything you need to make cold process soap NOW.

 Photo credit: Rae at Dancing Rabbit

Photo credit: Rae at Dancing Rabbit

We listened and watched all morning and that afternoon we made soap ourselves. Vegan soap AND lard soap.

 Photo credit: Rae at Dancing Rabbit

Photo credit: Rae at Dancing Rabbit

Sunday was our herbal day, which started with a plant walk. After soap making, this is what I was most excited for. I have lots of education in herbs but my wildcrafting skills are lacking. I was really happy that I knew almost all the plants she talked about (kind of a validation for me, my confidence wavers at times) but I got to hear from her AND other participants about what they know and what they have experience. That makes for some of the best education.

 Photo credit: Ann or Rae...can't remember!

Photo credit: Ann or Rae...can't remember!

But...I left DR with more than soap and other herbal goodies...I left DR with peace and hope and motivation. In between workshop times, there were some amazing conversation. Conversations about difficult subjects...and where people we able to discuss, have emotions, yet not end up in a screaming fight.

Conversations that I have never been able to have with people because for such a long time I have been the ONLY one in my "group" or area to think that way that we do, or have been exposed to what I have.

Conversations that gave me hope that people can actually make a difference and that in the midst of all this turmoil in our nation and world, that there is something we can actually do. 

Conversations and camaraderie that helped me feel like I am no longer chasing a dream but have arrived in the land and am on the right path to live a fulfilling life. 

Conversations where I felt "normal" for once. Don't scoff at that. For years, I have felt like the outside. Laughed at, even. I had never met anyone quite like me (of course I am unique but I yearned for someone relatively like me)....and at DR there were multiple people that I could relate with. It was a utopia. 

I have a trust issue from my past but what I felt at DR was like...that part of me was healing. We did intuitive collage on Saturday night, led by the wonderful Aline. That was way too much fun. Adults can't have fun like that, right? Wrong! It was a perfect way to connect and unwind. Fun and informative.

My lodging was at the Milkweed Mercantile. Its a bed and breakfast in a strawbale house. It was beautiful and comfortable. The food was AMAZING. Aline and Kathryn made some of the best food I have had....Nettle pesto, Clover pasta...BANANA BREAD FRENCH TOAST. Lets now even get started on the desserts. My mouth is watering over the desserts. You don't have to give up any sense of normalcy either...they had cola, beer, and wine available for drinks (natural options of course) and a sweet little collections of 'zines which I ended up buying a few of.

By the end of the weekend...yea, all this happened in just 2 days....DR felt like home. I didn't want to leave, although I really missed my girls. Thankfully, we are headed back in October for the 3 week visitor program so I will get to enjoy it relatively soon. That will also be the maiden voyage of our skoolie so its going to be almost a dream.

I wish I could portray how amazing Kim with Artemisia Soaps and DR is but this will have to do. As I type this post, I smile.

You can enjoy Kim's soaps by visiting her website Artemisia Soaps...and sign up for the CSA (community supported apothecary) where you can get soaps and herbal goodies 4 times a year.

Visit the Milkweed Mercantile on Facebook and in person when you are passing through ( or make a special trip if you can).

Read up on DR and what this ecovillage does and all the ways you can visit. Its worth it. It really is.