For the past 40 years, I’ve harvested alaria from the ledges around the Sally Islands which are within a three mile radius of my home on the coast of Maine. Here are some things I know about this seaweed:
- Alaria is the Atlantic cousin to Pacific wakame.
- Alaria is the most alkaline-forming food in my kitchen.
- Alaria has the highest calcium content of all the seaweeds I harvest.
- Alaria’s iodine content is moderate, suited to all blood types.
- If you want to prevent osteoporosis and protect your thyroid from radioactive iodine being released into the atmosphere and the food chain, eat three pounds per year. That’s just 3-4 grams per day.
- Your body is mostly water and it transacts with your food at the level of water. Learn to use wet recipes. Avoid roasting seaweeds because iodine is volatile, and you will lose it to the air. There are many good recipes at theseaweedman.com and additional soup recipes on this blog.
So long as I don’t harvest the deep perennial plants (spore stock), the annual form of the plant comes back in predictable quantities each year. These annuals are destroyed by winter ice storms. My apprentices and I have named the ledges where alaria grows according to the sustainable yields and/or the characteristics of the ledges: “Eastern Island was abundant with 120 bushels! In the Three Sisters Ledges, Cliff gave us 40! Haystack had 20! Placid surprised us with 30! Sally Island gave us 20! Ankle Twister gave us 15 bushels on a rough day! Old Woman was shorn of 8! Old Man had enough alaria whiskers for 6! Bonney Chess gave us 20, and the seals were curious and friendly!” Already my apprentices are letting me know that they want to come back next year and do it again. Paba could learn the work of crew leader from me and my son Jay who now works as an engineer, testing safety systems in cars. Paba has good strength, ambition, and humor. Home-schooled, she’s a free spirit and an independent learner. I miss her laughter.
When I first started working on the water here in Maine, I sensed that my departed father’s spirit was near me, so I sought advice about spiritual practices that would help me open up to him so that I could receive his guidance. The veil between life and death is permeable. The boundary can be erased! My father had been a navy navigator in the South Pacific during WW2. He grew up on a farm beside a lake in Minnesota, and the first fish I caught with him when I was a boy was a ten pound northern pike! He knew the waters! Working with a small outboard motor that provided the drone, I chanted on the water until my heart chakra opened and I became a coherently vibrating soul. My crown chakra flashed from the water like a strobe light beacon from a life raft. My father came through and answered my request. Six people who all had my mother’s birthday came into my life within a period of six months. All of them were incredibly supportive and helpful to me, some in very practical ways, some in spiritual ways.
I asked the astrologers about the significance of my mother’s birthday, May 4th. The reply came back: “May 4th is the Day of Nourishing Support. Your father is sending you a megadose of your mother’s energy. Enjoy the ride!” One of the May 4th people was Jane Teas, a cancer researcher who noticed that Japanese women have lower rates of breast cancer. She hypothesized that the cause was a combination of soy and seaweed in the Japanese diet, so she came to visit me (and brought an herbalist along to help with the intuitive part of the selection process), and she chose alaria for a nutrition study with a group of post-menopausal women who had survived breast cancer. After Jane ran the study, she sent me a letter, letting me know that the alaria had strengthened the immune systems of the women in the study. “Keep up the good work!” she wrote. “I had some leftover capsules from the study, and I sent them on to a doctor friend in Africa so he can try them out on ebola virus and AIDS.”
Another of the May 4th people was Candace who was helping me raise my sons. Candace said, “There’s a group of healers who get together in Harrington every month. They don’t know you, but I want to take samples of the seaweeds that you harvest so that we can find out more about the vibrational qualities. When Candace came back from the meeting, I asked her what had happened. “Nothing much,” she replied, and then she smirked. “So tell me…,” I said, picking up on her excitement. “Well, really,” she said, “nothing much happened except when the alaria was placed in the center of the circle. There was a medical intuitive, a woman who is a psychic healer, and she asked, ‘Does Larch have a father who died of cancer when he was a boy?’ I said, ‘Yes,’ and she went on to say, ‘Well, I feel moved to say that Larch’s father’s spirit is guiding the group tonight, and he would like Larch to know that the alaria he harvests would have helped to heal his cancer.'” I thought for a moment, and then I said, “I’ll stay at the work.”
Since that time, people have channeled my father’s spirit to me at various times, and the general message could be summarized as, “He wants you to know that he never left you. He’s always available for a consult. He has his own path and his own evolution, but you have access to his mind essence, and it is constantly evolving. He encourages you to write your book.”
I was looking into my father’s eyes the night he died. Tibetans understand that a person can have access to the mind essence of another person. They speak of “direct transmission from teacher to student”. Americans are just beginning to understand this. When I talk to computer nerds, I simply say, “The night my father died, I downloaded my dad’s mind essence, and I call it The Father Legacy. It’s an app that’s always being upgraded through the Cosmic Internet. If I’m willing to ask a sincere and honest question, then shut up and listen, I get clear answers. After all, in far eastern traditional cultures with strong spirituality, it’s generally said that ancestors on the other side of the veil have seven times as much clarity as we do. Their perspective is much broader than ours. We all work together in sacred contracts. Earth is a spirit garden, a school for souls.”
Thank you, Father, for being the Great Navigator, guiding my life. And thanks to the Circle of Friends, seen and unseen, for supporting my life.