are infused with life force energy or qi.”
Fragrance is one of the ways plants communicate with their environment. For humans, fragrance is processed in the brain’s limbic system, an area closely associated with memory and emotion. Even a subtle fragrance can evoke powerful feelings and memories. Since our dreams are driven by emotion and can hold important information for our conscious minds, programming and remembering our dreams with intention can be very healing. Dream pillows can assist us, as the energetic properties of the herbs and flowers reach into our unconscious minds while we slumber.
Making dream pillows from your fragrant herbs is quite easy and pleasant! Here are some guidelines and helpful hints that can make the whole process go more smoothly.
Harvest your fragrant herbs before they get too woody. Mints can become kind of tough if left to grow for too long. Even if you’ve been busy and the herbs are pretty far along, just strip the leaves from the stems for faster drying time. Also, who wants stems in their dream pillow? Or in their tea? There are some exceptions, but I usually disgard stems for the most part and dry just the flowers and leaves.
For this dream pillow project, I’m using a dehydrator to process many of the flowers and herbs. This way, the herbs dry very nicely and rather quickly – within 24 hours – so that I can get my dream pillows ready to list on my ETSY site and sell at a local artists’ cooperative. Dehydrating herbs quickly often improves their potency and fragrance. Fragile herbs, like Lemon Balm, are much more fragrant and tasty when dehydrated quickly. So even in our somewhat dry climate, I still use a dehydrator. I also have drying racks and baskets for larger quantities of herbs that just won’t fit into a dehydrator, like passiflora, which produces huge quantities of plant material. It’s a 15′ vine, after all.
So, for this project, bring your flowers, herbs and dehydrator trays to your work space, and strip the leaves off the stems onto the dehydrator tray…
Interestingly, this is all the same herb – Eau de Cologne mint. The larger leaves came from plants that were growing in full shade, while the smaller leaves came from plants that are growing in full sun. The fragrance is different, as well as the appearance and texture. The shade-grown mint has softer foliage and stems and a more soothing, lavender-like fragrance, while the full sun foliage is more durable, concentrated and “medicinal” smelling. I love both!
Collect Roses and other fragrant flowers in the morning when they are just waking up and not stressed by the hot sun. Most roses are at their best in the morning between 8:00 and 9:00 am. At least that’s when MY roses are the most fragrant.
Soooooooo fragrant!!! Lyda Rose, Rose de Rescht, Autumn Sunset, Hansa, Westerland, and the first two Souvenir du Dr Jamain roses of the season make up this small batch, which I will add to dried roses from last fall and some roses I dried earlier this season. The roses are really just getting started.
Rose Geranium leaves dry best in a dehydrator. They are wonderfully fragrant and retain their lovely essence for months or years.
I have two blends that I have formulated for my dream pillows:
Good Night, Moon was the first blend I tried, and it has been very popular at the artists’ cooperative. It’s a very fragrant blend with the lavender-minty overtones of Eau de Cologne mint. I’m delivering more of these to the shop tomorrow! Whenever you make an herbal product, it’s always good to include an “action formula” letting people know what each herb is doing in the formula you create. That way you learn more about the herbs each time you include them in a formula. Often doing a search for “medicinal properties of” will bring you the information you are looking for. Or in this case “dream herbs and their meanings” is a good search.
My second blend, A Reverie of Roses, was formulated because I love drifting off to sleep accompanied by the fragrance of roses. I often spray my pillow with rose hydrosol before bedtime, and I use rose hydrosol almost every day as a complexion mist. Not only is the fragrance heavenly, but rose is incredibly healing for all skin types when used topically and can be very supportive for emotional healing.
Mugwort is the “premier dream herb,” so I always add that to any dream pillow blend – usually only a leaf or two per pillow – because Mugwort is powerful! I added Rose Geranium to this formulation because it enhances the “rose” part of this fragrance formula and is relaxing, balancing and adaptogenic. Small amounts of Lemon Balm and Passiflora round out the energetic properties of this blend. Rose and Rose Geranium are the featured fragrances, so are used more generously.
Here we see roses making up the majority of the blend, with handfuls of Passiflora, Lemon Balm (dried and crushed) and Rose Geranium. After mixing these herbs together, I add an equal amount of buckwheat hulls and mix well. The Mugwort gets added in separately as I assemble and fill the dream pillows. It’s an odd herb, and when run through a food processor, becomes almost wooly in texture. Now I simply add a leaf or two to each dream pillow.
I like to use natural fibers for all my fabric products, and for these I chose a pure linen. It’s porous enough to allow the fragrance to escape each time the pillow is compressed, but tightly woven so that no bits of herbs escape. Silk doesn’t always allow for air to move through the herbs and out into the air.
Here, I have filled the linen pillow forms with the Rose dream blend:
Then I hand stitch the opening:
And add the labels:
Making dream pillows is just one way to enjoy and engage the energy of the fragrant herbs and flowers from your gardens. Get in the habit of harvesting when the herbs are at their peak. If you’re not ready to make a floral or herbal honey, tincture, vinegar, oil or elixir with the fresh herbs, then dry your plant material and store it in jars. Think ahead and plan some herbal projects you might like to make and then go for it! Or just have some tea!
And always, always grow organically!
Blessings to you and your gardens,