Planet Soul

Essential oils, herbs, healing — this is who we are

Two hands holding a sprigs of fresh lavender.
Two hands holding a sprigs of fresh lavender.
Photo by Vero Photoart on Unsplash

Everybody wants to be a witch. Well, every woman.

Oh come on, you with the 75 bottles of essential oil in your kitchen drawers. Don’t even try to argue with me.

This is how I know, if you were curious. The essential oil phenomenon is a dead giveaway. Those MLM companies packaged it brilliantly — just a few drops of “natural healing,” a teaspoon of “aromatherapy,” and a dash of “energetic properties,” and voila, you’ve awakened a deep, primal instinct in women.

This is what we do. This is who we are.

It doesn’t matter what ethnicity you are — once upon a time ago, we all lived in tribal cultures, living off the land. We relied on the plant world for food and medicine. …

And yet still find Its presence in my life to be an unending mystery

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Photo by thevibrantmachine from Pexels

When I was a little girl, my private Christian school teachers taught me all about God. Who was he? A protective (and judgmental) man in the sky with a long white beard who was always watching us.

I was half-comforted by this, half-terrified. I loved feeling like a grandpa-dude was up there, making sure I was safe, but I didn’t so much love feeling like he was watching when I was, say, in bed, diddling around with that little flap of skin between my legs that felt so good. Something about being watched during certain activities made me feel gross.

I really started butting heads with Old Dude in the Sky when my parents announced their surprise pregnancy when I was ten years old. …

In the absence of our usual holiday traditions, what is left but the reflection that we so desperately need in this country?

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Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

I admit it: I’ve been dreading the holidays since my birthday in July. Honestly, I’ve dreaded the holidays since my parents bitterly divorced 10 years ago. Suddenly, every holiday seemed to incite weeks of arguments and anger, and a rehashing of my parents 35-year marriage, and then a rehashing of the divorce, and on and on.

I liked to spend the holidays at my mom’s house, as had been the tradition since we moved to this area when I was still in high school, but that would mean listening to her complain about how much she hated my father and feeling intense guilt about not being with my dad for the big celebrations of life. …

My “yes” must be enthusiastic — and ecstatic

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Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

When I was a young girl, I assumed dating would be easy. You’d see someone from across a room, your eyes would lock, and sparks would fly. I thought this might happen a few times in my life — I didn’t expect to meet a forever match the first time like most of my friends did. (And frankly, I wanted to sample the goods before I locked myself in.) But surely, it would be easy, right?

What turned out to be easy was sexual attraction. Everything else was hard (no pun intended).

There were all kinds of reasons for this, but ultimately, my biggest problem was that I was never taught about consent. On the contrary, I was taught very dangerous ideas about sex. …

And still finding plenty to be grateful for

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

It seems strange to remember this time last year. There were two new babies in our family — little Alex, my sister’s sixth child, who was 8 months old, and sweet Mabel, my brother’s baby who was only 2 months old. I remember how excited I was to have the whole family together with these new additions and how it was going to be noisy and rambunctious and exhausting, just like the huge family parties we used to have at my grandfather’s house when I was a little girl.

My brother arrived first, and proudly put Mabel in my arms. I feel horrible saying this, but as happy as I am to hold any baby at any time, I’m not actually a huge fan of newborns. I’m an aunt who has been through that stage eight times now, so the novelty has worn off. …


It’s been a long time in hiding…but I’m finally ready to be noticed

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Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

But I wonder if anything less will bring about the kind of change we need

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Photo by christian ferrer on Unsplash

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite words was “gypped.” I loved the way Hayley Mills said it in The Parent Trap — it had such a strong ring to it. So I imitated her, dropping this word whenever I felt someone had done me wrong.

As a teenager, I discovered that “gypped” was an ethnic slur. The “gyp” was referring to gypsies, and the term had come about to frame them as untrustworthy people. I was horrified that I’d been using this word so capriciously and immediately had a talk with my younger siblings about it.

“We have to stop using this word,” I told them. …

The structures we have now feel dangerously limiting

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Photo by Azrul Aziz on Unsplash

Have you ever noticed, when you’ve been single for a while, how sometimes you’ll have night after night of dreams in which you meet someone new? You wake up so happy those first few nights and then… A few days in, these beautiful dreams that are so different from the solitary life you lead make your heart ache. It’s bittersweet to the point of pain.

Lately, several friends have confided in me that this has been happening to them. Winter in a pandemic when you’re single is rough. There are a lot of cold-ass nights in cold-ass beds awaiting us.

I get it. I sympathize. …

Why a daily walk is as important to me as brushing my teeth

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Photo by Elijah Hail on Unsplash

I always wanted to be a runner. I grew up in Los Angeles, where there were a lot of runners in their tiny, 80s short-shorts and sweatbands. They looked so powerful and elegant.

One of the most exciting moments of my young life was sitting out one night with all the neighbors at the side of the road and watching an Olympian run by with the torch just before the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic games began. I still remember that figure flying by us so elegantly, torch held high, hardly breaking a sweat.

I wanna be like that, I thought.

But even as a child, I had issues with running. For one thing, I had serious asthma, perpetually aggravated by the thick layer of smog that covered the city in the 80s. …


Yael Wolfe

I just want to be a big, bad wolf. | Newsletter: | Email:

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