At Evenstar's one of the most popular resin incenses is frankincense. Many of us probably first heard of frankincense as one of the gifts of the magi, a gift on par with gold. So what is this fabulous fragrance and what makes it so special and what are the sustainability prospects for this remarkable resin?
Frankincense is the hardened sap from a small, shrubby tree of the Boswellia family that is native to desert climates. There are over 20 species of Boswellia that can be found growing from West Africa to the Arabian Peninsula, and as far south as Tanzania and Madagascar. Some species grow in India.
Frankincense resin is harvested by tapping the sap of the tree and allowing the sap to harden. The resin can be picked off the bark or collected from the ground. Because the process is like "milking" the tree, the resin is known as olibanum in Arabic. The "pearls of the desert," has become known as frankincense from the old French meaning pure, nobel, or high-quality incense.
The resin is highly valued as a spiritual aid, a medicine, an aromatic, and oil and has been in use by humans for over 5000 years. It has been so highly valued that it was once worth more than its weight in gold. Roman emperor Nero, for instance, whether out of grief or vanity, burned at the funeral of a mistress an entire year’s worth of frankincense. The Egyptians used it as an embalming agent (because of its astringent properties). After removing the organs, they would fill the body with frankincense, the astringent properties would dry out the body and its fragrance would hide the smell of decay.
The medical uses of frankincense are related to its properties as an anti-inflammatory, an astringent, and as an emmenagog. Frankincense has been used for reducing pain and inflammation and for boosting immunity. When applied to the skin frankincense should tighten and tone loose tissue; people have used it to combat signs of aging, wrinkles, and acne. With deeper penetration, its anti-inflammatory properties have been reported to alleviate joint or muscle pain from arthritis or rheumatism and improve blood circulation. When inhaled, it can ease breathing by drying up congestion and reducing phlegm and mucous in the respiratory system and sinuses.
Its physical properties also make frankincense a powerful antiseptic; it is used to eliminate bacteria and viruses and can help disinfect an area — use it as an aromatherapy spritzer or burn the resin for this purpose. When thus used as a fumigant, frankincense is believed to both physically and spiritually cleanse an area (in much the same way that we use sage) which is why major religions use frankincense in their most sacred rituals.
There are various ways frankincense can be used by the home practitioner. The resin can be used to make an infusion for use either as a topical lotion or as a tea. Use 4-5 small pieces of resin per quart of boiling water. Allow to steep for four-six hours or overnight. If the infusion is cloudy or has un-dissolved resin you can strain. As a tea, it is helpful when you are feeling congested. Many will also use the infusing to reduce inflammation in arthritic or painful joints.
Burning frankincense is common for meditation. You can burn 3-4 pieces (or more) of the resin directly on a glowing charcoal. This will produce the smoke commonly used as a fumigant. Alternatively, you can place the resin in an "oil burner" with a candle or tea light underneath. Heating the resin this way will release the fragrance but not produce the smoke or the "burning" smell associated with charcoal. Always use fireproof containers when burning resins or incense.
Frankincense when used in meditation or aromatherapy can help you ground, become present and calm, find peace, and remove anxiety and stress.
Lastly, in recent years there has been growing concern about the sustainability of frankincense, and the future is not good. Land use practices and overharvesting in Ethiopia and Somalia (where most of the world's supply of frankincense comes) are having a great impact. Rising demand in the essential oil industry have pushed up prices of the resin some 500-600%, stimulating over-harvesting, but other economic and biological factors have probably caused greater impact. The boswellia tree may take as long as forty years to reach maturity when it can consistently survive the scarring process that produces the resin. Farms have started to increase the frequency of tapping (traditionally the tree would be tapped once a year; now trees are tapped continuously) and to reduce the age of the tree at which tapping will begin. This constant tapping has inhibited the boswellia reproduction processes, so there are fewer boswellia saplings are being germinated. Furthermore, clearing and cattle grazing in the horn of Africa is crippling boswellia sapling production, and mature trees have fallen victim to the long-horn beetle which lays its eggs underneath the bark, killing the tree. In all, the introduction of widespread cattle-farming and invasive species will probably doom East Africa frankincense production this century.
Through its valued use as an essential oil, a fumigant, and a medicine, frankincense has long been the most noble of the incenses. Our growing awareness of environmental impacts coupled with a broad and growing spiritual awakening and its central importance in many world religions may be the salvation for this beloved resin.
Ernst, Edzard E. "Frankincense: Systematic Review," BMJ [British Medical Journal], December 2008, 337ff. doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a2813
Groenendijk, Peter, Abeje Eshete, Frank J. Sterck, Pieter A. Zuidema, Frans Bongers. "Limitations to Sustainable Frankincense Production: Blocked Regeneration, High Adult Mortality and Declining Populations." Journal of Applied Ecology 49, Issue 1, (December 2011): https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2664.2011.02078.x
Melina, Remy. "Christmas Staple Frankincense 'Doomed,' Ecologists Warn." LiveScience, December 20, 2011, https://www.livescience.com/17563-frankincense-doomed-ecologists-warn.html
Mercola, Joseph "Frankincense Oil: The 'King' of Oils," Mercola, June 02, 2016, https://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/frankincense-oil.aspx
Morgenstern, Kat. "Frankincense," Sacred Earth: Ethnobotany and Ecotravel. December 2006. http://www.sacredearth.com/ethnobotany/plantprofiles/frankincense.php
Patinkin, Jason. "World's Last Wild Frankincense Forests are Under Threat," AP News, December 24, 2016, https://apnews.com/500f051cbfa84421b3b4b0c77db16e0c
Rijkers, Toon, Woldeselassie Ogbazghi, Marius Wessel, Frans Bongers. "The Effect of Tapping for Frankincense on Sexual Reproduction in Boswellia papyrifera." Journal of Applied Ecology 43, Issue 6 (August 2006): https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2664.2006.01215.x
Zabel, Steph. "Frankincense: A Sacred Resin," Cambridge Naturals, December 27, 2016, https://www.cambridgenaturals.com/blog/frankincense-a-sacred-resin
"How to Use Frankincense," Enfleurage--Aromatics from the Natural World, n.d., https://www.enfleurage.com/how-to-use-frankincense/
 Exodus 30: 34-38.
 Emmenagogs stimulate or increase menstrual flow and should be avoided by pregnant women. Some sites report frankincense as an abortifacient.
 The medical uses of frankincense have been reviewed by Edzard E. Ernst, "Frankincense: Systematic Review," BMJ [British Medical Journal], December 2008, 337ff. doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a2813.
 Disclaimer: we are just reporting here what other sites on the www have said about frankincense. Evenstar's Chalice endorses no claims about medical benefits of frankincense or its use. As always, you are responsible for your behavior.
 Patinkin (2016); Rijkers, et al., (2006).
 Groenendijk (2011)
by Jeanne Adwani
Hi. Thanks for visiting us and taking the time to read this. Happy 2019! In numerology, 2019 is a ‘12/3’ year. In the tarot system, that would be the Hanged One, and the Empress. This is a year to nurture and find ways to meditate, be in silence, take in what you need to be nourished with and let it feed and sustain you. How will you give pause and listen to what you need to do? What needs nurturing within you and around you? Can you take the time you need to really Be? What will you give your creative self to expand within?
Evenstar’s Chalice had a great holiday shopping season, and we are so grateful to you for supporting us. It is because of you that we are sustained and nourished in the big wide world out there. We are so glad that we can offer the magic, the art, the classes, and the uniqueness of us that can inspire and invite you to return again and again. We give you a Deep bow, and thank you. And may we all continue to expand and receive from each other.
Lot’s of classes are being offered in this New Year and beyond. Art as a Spiritual Practice with Rocky Rains, both classes in the Art of Shamanism and the Art of the Divine Feminine. Reiki and Realization Process with Mara Evenstar are being offered as well as our continued Full and New Moon gatherings, First Sundays, and gifted readers available on the weekends for your support. We keep the website and FaceBook page pretty up to date with these event offerings - so please go there to get the most up-to-date info.
We love feedback, questions and suggestions. Have you any? Like, what are we missing that you would LOVE to have in the shop? What ‘magic’ inspires you? What classes would you like and come to? Is there a topic that you would really like to have a community conversation with that we can initiate?
Thank you again for Being such a great support to us. May we all flourish together.
Love to you.
Dear Love, Loved & Loving,
You are incredibly powerful, beyond your understanding.
I see your gifts and they are so immeasurably valuable.
Everything you think, say and do, everything you create is sacred and impacts the collective. The simplest thing you do ripples out and affects the whole.
Every act of creation is an act of love, because only the courageous heart can create. To create you must let go and leave the "safe" harbor, you must embrace the unknown. The ego cannot step into the unknown. The ego has to know the outcome. But the heart has the fearless ability to leap into the void, trusting and knowing that it will be supported in the process, that it will have the ability and resources it needs on the way. It trusts, it surrenders and because of that, love can flow into creation.
Every little dance, song, poem, painting, story, experience you create is an act of love. Every creation sends ripples out through the ocean calling lost souls home to the truth of their infinite nature. You are infinite love and creativity and every time you step into the void you are exercising your truth and sending the ripples of love outward. Is there anything more important than that?
It all matters every little bit created matters.
are always beautiful
because they are acts of love
and that changes the world
in ways you can not even imagine.
Never hold back your light
never hold back an ounce of creativity flowing through you
let it out express it every way you can
because it is lighting up the world
your light matters
your love matters
your light is valuable
your love is valuable
let it shine, let your light shine.
let your love shine let your heart shine
release it for the world
it is needed, powerful and extremely valuable, beyond understanding, trust that, believe that for the sake of the universe.
Your healthy internalized parent.
Message brought to you by: Leah Myers
By Russ Jones
Historians have a fetish about origin stories. Here’s mine:
While re-awakening in the early parts of this century, I met and fell in love with Mara. I was teaching history at Eastern Michigan University when we met. I was struggling to find a place in modern scholarship in a field over-populated with scholars. Teaching is a fine profession and it paid my bills, and sometimes it can even be spiritually fulfilling.
Mara and I had done some spiritual and relationship workshops together as participants and her immersion in her master’s program in transpersonal psychology propelled her into more disciplined areas of practice. One of these areas was in the work of Ken Wilber which led us to participate in the 2011 Integral Spiritual Experience (ISE) held that year in Monterey. That was a profoundly altering experience. While Mara re-affirmed her commitment towards aiding the transformative work that we all should be engaged in, I came away more committed to aiding Mara in her work. Particularly inspiring at ISE were the workshops with Barbara Marx Hubbard who inspired so many us with the belief that it was not only possible but imperative to re-form our institutions. While before ISE I may not have had any lifelong ambition to create a learning institution, afterwards, it has become part of my life and relationship with Mara to build such a thing.
We started in 2012 down this road with an organization known as New Myth Works within which we were intending to develop programming for helping people transform their lives and world. Our biggest event soon became a New Earth Day celebration annually on the Winter Solstice. Remember, in 2012 the world was supposed to come to an end with the end of the Aztec calendar and there were global events and interconnected programming (through the www), and our New Earth Day was part of that celebration.
By 2016, I had settled into a “holding pattern” in academia. My university-level teaching experience wasn’t all that I had dreamed it would be. As novices (in anything), we see but one or two sides of a life, but when we become immersed in it we experience all the angles—social, political, economic, and so on—that make up any career. So, perhaps I was burned out. I study history mainly for the research—I was and am a thorough and meticulous researcher—which I loved—and that carried me in the history profession for about twenty-five years (seventeen of which I spent teaching at EMU).
Mara and I felt that the time was right for creating a formal institution, something solid in which NMW and other transformative organizations could do their work. We looked at some properties, developed some plans, but nothing really clicked or showed us all the “green lights” we were looking for. The universe, at such points in time, often gives people a shove. This shove came in the form of Jeanne’s scramble to find a new salon.
We had always envisioned that the Center would have retail space. But we always thought that the retail space would be secondary or supportive of the transformative work being done inside the Center. And that idea remains central to the long-term goals of Evenstar’s Chalice—the store exists to support people in their everyday spiritual practices and their transformations.
Oh, yes, and I have done the historical research on the building known as the Occidental Hotel (pictured here as it was in 1905) -- but I'll cover that in a later post.
By Mara Evenstar
I’ve been pulling on different threads, trying to decide on the best one to follow to unravel my tale of how Evenstar’s Chalice came into being. We decided to focus these first few blogs on our origin stories; last month you read Jeanne’s journey, here is mine, and in the near future, Russ will tell his tale!
Where to begin? Although the seeds were planted much earlier, I think the real germination point for me was attending the 2011 Integral Spiritual Experience conference in California with Russ. We both had profound spiritual experiences over the weekend of this gathering. One such peak moment for me was a moment of opening and saying “YES.” Even though I wasn’t even exactly sure what I was saying “yes” to, I knew with every fiber of my being that it was important, transformative, and related to one of my very purposes for Being. It was one of those moments when you know your life is fundamentally changing, even though you may not quite yet know how…but more on this thread later. I also want to share that this conference was being held at the beautiful Asilomar retreat center in Pacific Grove. Part of our experience was roaming the beautiful grounds, having life altering experiences in sacred spaces, and dreaming together about how wonderful it would be to create this type of space as an opportunity for others. We were just talking like many couples do, how we’d someday like to have or do this or that. I had also had this feeling and inclination in visiting other such space like Omega and Menla Park in New York and Esalen, also in CA. But these were just dreamy dreams and I hadn’t yet connected these two things directly – my life purpose work (to which I apparently said yes) – and creating sacred and transformative spaces for us all to deeply connect to our purposes and grow into them!
For me, co-creating Evenstar’s Chalice is a step in fulfilling this dream and purpose; but it came in a very surprising way! You see, the Universe took me up on my YES, and since that time I have been working towards various visions and ways of manifesting this dream. Using my spiritual guidance system, I began unfolding a fairly literal interpretation of what was inspiring me. The vision was to create the “Esalen or Omega” of the Midwest, a retreat center in which we can come into our wholeness, grow and evolve and expand our consciousness while in deep connection with one another. And I was/am certainly not alone. Many are sharing and working this dream or something with similar intent. And several of those people came into my life through this unfolding, many of whom are now part of my spiritual family and co-creators on several levels. Many of these connections were made in the process of forming my organization New Myth Works, which was created for the purpose of creating these networks of creators and holding and nurturing the various visions and dreams coming through. Our mission statement is to “Provide a dynamic sanctuary for conscious evolution” and yes, this is the connecting fiber.
My connection with Jeanne Adwani, co-creatix of Evenstar’s Chalice began in this way as well. Jeanne attended one of the earlier New Earth Day events put on by New Myth Works and that event is when we first met. Not too much later, I reached out to Jeanne because I also had been looking for someone to help me care for my hair. What a coincidence! Through the following years we connected more deeply and began forming a friendship, Jeanne also was engaging and participating with New Myth Works, Sophia Unfolds and Conscious Rites (all organizations that I have co-founded on this journey).
Meanwhile, back at the ranch….in 2016 Russ and I were now serious enough about creating the center that we were looking at real estate and leaning toward a more urban center that had similar offerings to what the retreat center would eventually have. We were giving serious consideration to the Quirk building in Ypsilanti and I was simultaneously building a team of interested people in my circle to help midwife this next step. In this incarnation, the dream was called the Center for Transformative Arts (CTA). Jeanne raised her hand and said, “I’m in!” (As a side note, interestingly, the other person that showed up for coffee on that day that Jeanne relays in her story is Holly Makimaa, who was also joining us in discussions about the CTA….(so I’m pretty sure Miss Holly will be showing up in my story again as we move forward!). As the months rolled along, it became clear that the Quirk building was not quite right and that perhaps we weren’t quite ready to take such a big step or financial risk. Back to the waiting and less-tangible building game.
Insert here that magical day when Jeanne, Holly and I met for coffee at Cultivate. Jeanne was looking for space to move her salon business and wanted to fulfill her personal dream of opening a shop, she just couldn’t do that part alone. And because Jeanne was already part of our dreaming of the Center – it wasn’t a huge leap for me to take, to see that this was a divinely orchestrated opportunity to take our next step. Having a retail space was always part of the larger vision for the center – I just never thought or imagined to lead with that! It was always a phase 5 or 6 thing I my mind. So it was definitely a pivot in the larger plan, I just needed to see if Russ was game too. He was holding that ever-so-important financial investment piece and we either stepped in together or not at all.
What unfolded next was a whirlwind of activity that burst forth from this web of amazing connections and creativity that we had been cultivating over the last several years. All three of us were stepping into a big unknown. It has required trust in our love for one another, for our community and world. It has required a deep listening into what is trying to emerge through us. And although this did not in any way begin with the vision to open a retail shop for me, I am finding that this is a way in which the “Center” is being born and dreams and purpose are being fulfilled. It is a space that is welcoming, transformative, supportive of everyone’s finding their own paths to their own purpose and wisdom. Who knows what will unfold from here. Perhaps this is “it” or perhaps Evenstar’s Chalice is a waystation on the greater journey. What I do know is that there is great joy and fulfillment to be found in the now of this. I invite you to come drink that in and become part of the story of Evenstar’s Chalice.
By Jeanne Adwani
Welcome to our first Blog. Thanks for your visit. I’m Jeanne Adwani. I am one of the Creatrix of Evenstar’s Chalice. One of the us of us; Mara Evenstar, and Russ Jones that helped to birth our beautiful shop. Also, I am the hair artist that shares the building, nestled in the back called Be Hair Now.
In many ways the incarnation of Evenstar’s is a result of my need to leave my hair salon in downtown Ann Arbor by the spring of 2017. The building was being sold and I didn’t want to buy it, thus I had to make a big move. I already had in my ‘next-thing-to-want’ to add on to my ‘All-the-things-I’m-already-doing’ list. I had a big desire to have my salon sharing space with an antique shop. I was going to call it Sovereign Relics. I’m an antique/collectible dealer and thought it a great idea to meld the two together. Since I had to move my shop, I was looking for space enough to have both things happening together. And I was looking for someone else that could run the antique/collectible shop. I certainly couldn’t do hair and mind a retail shop at the same time. I was feeling determined to make all this happen.
At the first of the year, 2017, I was going to meet Mara, and another friend at Cultivate, in Depot Town, Ypsilanti. We were going to talk about what the New Year had in store for us; our desires, our visions, our intentions, etc. On my way to meet them, I drove by a soon-to-be available rental in DepotTown. I got all kinds of buzzed up, pulled over my car, and called the number in the window, making an appointment to see it at 4pm that day.
I get to Cultivate to meet my friends, and liked I said, I was all kinds of buzzy and excited, all fluttery and exuberant, taking up All kinds of space, and dumping it all on them with great enthusiasm. After, they generously listened to me, Mara says, “I might like to go with you and look at that building.” My brain does a double take and I say, “What?, You might be interested in doing this with me?” She gave a little shudder and said, “Maybe, I have to talk to Russ.”
I’m like, having a Big Whoot Whoot moment cause how amazing would that be if she and Russ were part of my dreaming. Of course, I knew it would be different in its manifestation if ‘other’ was to do it with me, and that felt OK for me. Mara and Russ had been seeking a place to build a ‘Spiritual Center’. They had many imagined and laid out opportunities in the parameters of what that might be, and what it would look like to create for the community. A shop was kinda down toward the bottom of their list. Might that mean that it was now going to the top of their list?
Over a few weeks of looking at several rental opportunities, and more brainstorming than I thought possible on what our shop could be Dreamed into being, we fell in love with 36 N. Huron St. We signed our names on the lease for 5 years. We opened 7 July, 2017.
Here we are; Mara, a Pisces, Russ and me, Capricorns, putting together our shop dedicated to the Divine Feminine. Two Goats and Fish; scaling the mountaintops and diving deep. It feels like that is just what we do, expand and explore on behalf of the Highest Good, and dive deeply into what Spirit/Source invites us to consider and do.
I am humbled and incredibly grateful for Russ and Mara who have held this space and gone way beyond what I had imagined my little Sovereign Relics shop would be. We are a good team. We have several awesome people that work with us, Rheisa, Andrea, Sandy, Jerri, and Angela. Their wisdom and loving care is a priceless support to us.
Whether I’m doing hair, working the shop floor, or doing Tarot insights with a client, the ever present feeling of charm and magic fills the entire space. And, the shop smells amazing. Be prepared to have all your senses excited.
I thank all the people that shop and ‘presence’ themselves with us. It is a joy and a gift to meet you and create community relationships with you. I look forward to the ever changing, life enhancing conversations that rise up between us.
So, Hey… Thanks for reading, thanks for visiting us, thanks for sharing your magic and good energy with us. So very appreciative!. Come visit often, bring friends, pass the goodness on.
Much love to you all
Creatrix, hair healer, tarot wisdom, Creativity coach.
Be Hair Now. 734 260-0629
"We are a culture that has sanitized two of our most sacred life events – our births and our deaths."
Mara Evenstar is also the Director of Conscious Rites and wanted to share this blog posted written for Conscious Rites because it felt very relevant to Evenstar's Chalice and the intention we hold to bring more consciousness and meaning into our everyday. This piece is specifically about bringing more depth and meaning into our culture's "baby shower" customs. Read it here!
"Ironically, in creating these boundaries around space and time with our attention and intention, we create the potential to step outside of time, to step out of place, to step out of limited understanding of who/what we are and encounter knowings beyond our current beyond."
Mara Evenstar was invited to do a guest blog for Crazy Wisdom's Online Journal. This piece is an exploration of sacred space. You can read it here. And while you are there, check out some of the other helpful and rich pieces available at CW Online.