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Connecting science and nature

{Nature conversation with Anke Randegger}


Anke Randegger is a multi-passionate woman. With her work she connects science with nature. She started out as a pharmacist and now offers courses in nature cosmetics and herbal walks. Additionally she accompanies women on their journey to their own power with the Art of Feminine Presence. Starting our conversation Anke mentioned her female ancestory who were always drawn to plants, which is a topic very dear to my heart. This ancient wisdom that was still known by women back in the day and which they passed on from generation to generation. And so we started our conversation with this topic. I hope you’ll learn something new and that you feel inspired to connect with the plants that surround you.

 

In this nature conversation we talk about…

…how science and nature belong together.

…what you can do to incorporate nature into your life.

…how you can start to make your own nature cosmetics.

…how you can open yourself to nature fully.



Naturmensch-Gespräche

 

Hi Anke, what I immediately liked about your work is that you are bringing back this old knowledge about plants that women passed on from generation to generation. This combination of supporting women in their power and to come back to a deep connection with the plants interests me a lot. I would like to start here.

 

Yes, I can’t yet feel exactly how these two aspects of my work fit together, but I know that they actually belong to each other. They move closer and closer. While working with women I support them to reconnect with their own inner feminine essence, their feminine nature. And that’s what’s happening by working with nature, too. When I’m in my feminine essence I’m open. My senses are open, I can perceive nature in another way than when I’m in my masculine, analytical, focussed, goal-oriented mind. I realize that these two aspects have a lot to do with each other. That’s a good place to start: nature and women, perhaps I will even find out something new myself. (laughs)

 

Very well. I’m very interested in the rhythms of nature and therefore the cyclical living as well. What plays a role here, too, is that returning to nature has a lot to do with feminine energy. With slowing down, becoming more intuitive, connecting and also the creative aspects belong here. A little disclaimer: Feminine doesn’t only pertain to the gender of the “woman”, but it’s the feminie energy that all of us, no matter what gender, have and that it’s more about bringing the masculine and feminine energy into a balance again.

How is it for you to return to this old knowledge about plants our ancestors still knew about and at the same time to not forget your scientific side?



Anke Randegger
© Anke Randegger

Yes, really I’m both. For me it’s not "going back to nature", but "going forward to nature". Not: everything from the early days was good and every modern thing is bad. Today we have a much bigger understanding and it’s interesting that people intuitively did it right back in the day, which we can scientifically explain today. Many things fit together. I find it important to say that science and the old knowledge actually function together and therefore it’s not a one plus one, but it exponentiates each other. Sometimes people come to me who say that all things chemical are bad and all natural things are good. But in my nature cosmetics courses we still need some scientific facts. For example you can often read that you should put the oil into the sun for six weeks for a plant extract. But do you really think that your oil is still good after weeks in the hot sun? I measured it, the oil’s temperature goes up to 70 degrees celsius. When it’s exposed to air, warmth and sun the oil gets rancid. But if you look back, you can see that our ancestors didn’t use glas jars for the oil, but stone ware pots. Light couldn’t penetrate them, but the oil still warmed slightly during the day and at night it didn’t cool down as much. In the dark the oil had a constant temperature, which we want. This scientific base is important here. But also that all which isn’t scientific, isn’t automatically bad. But as I said: we have to bring these two sides together.

 

I often catch myself saying things like that, too. But you are absolutely right, we need science as well. And especially when it merges with something original, ancestral.

 

That’s what I love. To connect these two aspects again. Because here, too, we have a separation of the feminine, which is nature, and the masculine, which is science.

 

Kräuterspaziergang mit Anke Randegger
© Anke Randegger

You have a lot of experience with nature cosmetics, natural remedies and herbs. When someone comes to you and wants to connect to this old knowledge about the plants, who wants to live more naturally, where would you recommend this person should start?

 

I would start with a guided herb- and wild plants walk as a first step. With my clients I often make the experience that someone says: Oh wow, I have walked this path for fourty years and I had no idea what actually grows here, because I didn’t look properly. They notice that it’s actually incredible what potential their gardens or their surroundings hold.

 

I believe that’s a very important step. Wow, I walk here daily and not until now did I notice what this plant actually looks like. Or you take a homeopathic remedy and then you realize that you actually see this plant every day, but you didn’t know that euphrasy, for example, looks like this.

 

Kräuter zum Trocknen aufgehängt

If you have truly seen and noticed a plant once, then you suddenly see it everywhere.

The next step is about how to process and work with the plant. How to forage them, how to dry them. How can I make tinctures, plant extracts, powders, teas and so on with them? You can find good information in the internet, but also many things which aren’t correct. That’s why I would look for someone who can really show you all of that. It’s not difficult. But one thing that happens often for example is that you harvest the wrong part of the plant. Take valerian: the active ingredient is located in the root and not in the flower. And so it’s of no use to drink valerian flower tea. Or plants get harvested at the wrong time. You should harvest roots only in spring or in fall, for example. Or you dry the plant wrongly, in the sun where they loose their powers. And in the worst case you make mistakes at every single step and end up with a product that has no healing properties. Of course the energetic principal also has an effect. But the active properties are as important.

And I don’t think that’s something you can learn from the internet or from books only, but that you need to go on a walk and find someone who can confirm: yes, that’s actually that plant and you can use, process, store it like so and so.

 

It’s interesting, in all my nature conversations we have at one point ended up here. That you have to experience nature for yourself. You have to go outside and get in touch with the plants. That might sound spiritual, but plants can also touch us on other levels. I made the experience shortly after moving to the mountains that everything was in full bloom around me and I had no idea, what it actually was. But then I went into the forest or the field with curiosity and I noticed all of a sudden that I do actually know the plants. I simply turned inwards and asked what it could be and so I identified many plants intuitively right. Additionally I felt what the plant could be good for. Here too I was often right, because plants tell you many things by looking at where they grow for example. That wasn’t a question, but maybe you have some thoughts?

 

In my courses I sometimes do exactly this. The participants simply go around and feel which plant speaks to them. Then I give them books to see what they are good for and most of them say: yes, that fits exactly. It’s what I need right now. Physically, emotionally, mentally.


Nature is a mirror for something I cannot see.

How beautiful! This gives me a feeling of being so held by nature. Because there’s always a reason why a plant speaks to me. That’s something the plants teach me again and again, that they provide.

 

Heilkräuterspaziergang
© Anke Randegger

Speaking to you or not speaking to you, that’s the interesting difference. We know this from psychology. Something I admire in somebody or in a plant has to do with a positive shadow inside of me and that which I don’t like about it at all mirrors a negative shadow inside of me. You can work with both. Because nature often is a mirror for something I cannot see myself because I’m stuck in it too much. I can only see, feel, appreciate the beauty of a plant, if I’m connected to my own beauty. Or when I notice how powerful this tree is, I can feel my own power, too. Nature lets us find the connection to ourselves again.

 

I experience this a lot, too.

How do you incorporate nature into your daily life? Do you have a tip for someone who wants to integrate more herbs or nature cosmetics into their life?

 

It’s easiest to incorporate nature into your food. I don’t have a lot of herbal recipes, but I simply go outside and look for what grows at the moment. When I prepare a smoothie, I add ground ivy. When I cook spinach I add something wild, too or when I make a salad I add a few edible flowers.

Naturkosmetik

As far as nature cosmetics are concerned summer is the time to forage, dry, prepare oil extractions or tinctures. Because that’s when the plants are here and then you have to harvest and store them. I destillate, too, which is a bit more complicated. During fall and winter is my time to make something with the plants I stored, for example I make a cream out of them. I like to produce something in winter with what I harvested in summer.

How long it takes to make a natural cosmetic product varies quite a bit of course. But I recommend starting with something that is finished in a few minutes and which is based on a fat like oil, wax or essential oils. Like that you don’t have the problem of your product getting moldy. As soon as it contains water, you have to disinfect all your tools and you have to add some form of nature-identical preservative. It’s not difficult, but it’s a bit more complicated.

 

At the end I ask all my guests the same questions. Do you have a favorite plant at the moment? And if yes, which one and why?

 

My favorite plant at the moment is the balloon vine.

 

Ok, I don’t know this one!

 

I was looking for a hanging plant and found the ballon vine at a garden centre. It produces green lanterns and is quite unimpressive. But then I looked it up and I realized that the ballon vine actually is cardiospermium, which you might know from homeopathy. It’s the plant-based alternative to cortisone, because it’s very anti-inflamatory for skin rashes. But the most amazing thing is that the balloon vine produces three seeds after blooming. They are black and have a white heart on them, that’s why they’re calld cardio-heart, spermum-seed. They are also called heartseeds.

The plant only lasts for one year, but it produces so many seeds that I have started to gift them. And only after starting this practice I read that the indigenous people of North America gifted those seeds as well and it meant that the eternal fire of passion will never cease to burn.

My daughter, too, took the seeds with her to Costa Rica and she gifted them to a gardener in Lanzarote. Through us the balloon vine spreads across the whole world. (laughs)

 

Ballonrebe
© Anke Randegger

Which again fits the indigenous meaning. You spread the plant and therefore the fire of the heart doesn’t extinguish.

When you go out into nature for yourself, do you have a ritual, a practice, an exercise you return to again and again?

 

In my work with women there’s an exercise called «open to receive». You open yourself and go into this receiving mode. That’s what I do most often, because only when I’m in the receiving mode I can perceive nature in a way that nourishes and touches me. In the giving mode, namely when I’m in my head, I also notice the tree, but nothing happens in my heart. Being open to receiving I allow nature to take me in and I take in the energetic power, which is often simply something that touches my heart and which makes me so happy and as mentioned nourishes me.

 

Is there an exercise you do in order to reach this receiving mode?

 

If you like, I can do a simplified version with you?

 

Yes, please!

 

You can close your eyes and you are «closed to receiving». Settle into this closed mode. It’s very subtle, but just notice how it feels to be closed.

And now we change into “open to receiving”. Notice how it feels when you’re open. Explore with curiosity.

Then we go back again to the closed mode. Without judging notice how you feel, closing yourself again.

And lastly open yourself once more to receiving.

When you’re ready, open your eyes again.

 

Oh wow, it’s so simple, but so effective. I felt it very strongly on a physical level.

 

Yes, I saw that, too. In the “open to receiving”-mode you straightened your back, your breath became deeper and you started to glow.

It doesn’t mean that “closed to receiving” is bad necessarily. Because depending on the situation and where you are it’s good if you don’t take in everything coming from the outside. I could see well how your body closed again in “closed to receiving”.

Did you feel a difference between the first and the second time?

 

I felt that the first opening was bigger and the first closing felt rather restricting and depressing. But closing the second time I could feel what you just said. That it’s ok, too.

 

And I notice that it’s often more difficult to close again once you have been in the open mode, because you’re somehow fuller. You can’t close completely anymore, unlike in the beginning.

That was an easy, simplified version. But you see, it was so easy. And the cool thing about it is that you can choose to do it deliberately. We aren’t used to being completely open in nature anymore.

 

How beautiful, thank you so much for that!

Lastly I would like to give you the space to say what you want to say. To tell us about your offerings. How can we find you and your work?

 

You can find me under www.naturkosmetikkurse.ch.There you’ll find all my courses starting from a plant walk to processing the plants and nature cosmetics.

And also my work in art of feminine presence can be found there.

If you would like to start with nature cosmetics, you can purchase a starter kit on my website, which teaches you how to make your own lip balm. It contains all the weighed ingredients and a video instruction. And I have an ebook about shower peelings (in German), too, which you can download on my website.

Furthermore I write a newsletter where I introduce a topic from nature which should inspire you to continue with your own journey.

 

Thank you very much for this conversation!

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