Wild Coyotea

Herbal Alchemy Inspired by California


Life as Ritual

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The practice of ritual has been a constant in my life since I was a little girl.  At the breakfast table, my mom and sisters and I would recount our dreams every morning: discussing the lively, bizarre, enigmatic mysteries of our nightly escapades.  Sometimes we would help each other find deeper meanings, other times working them out ourselves as we attempted to explain these cryptic night puzzles to each other.  Sharing our dreams in the morning was a ritual we enjoyed, a blend of magical sharing, sisterhood and cereal. 


What is Ritual? How can it be defined?  Merriam Webster gives a few definitions: “always done in a particular situation and in the same way each time”, “done in accordance with social custom or normal protocol”, and “ the established form for a ceremony; specifically :  the order of words prescribed for a religious ceremony”.  There are more definitions to be found, but I would like to define Ritual for myself.  To me, Ritual is an act that is performed repeatedly, with reverence. 


I love living with the philosophy of “Life as Ritual”, which encompasses the daily acts of my life into reverential, sacred, meaningful endeavors.  Making tea is one of my favorite rituals. Boiling the water, placing the dried herbs in a teapot, waiting for them to steep, pouring the healing liquid into my favorite mug gives me peace and pleasure.  Another favorite ritual is playing with my tarot cards. I have quite a few decks. I love choosing one that calls to me, holding the cards, imagining a question or concept I’d like more information about, and giving reverence to the cards as I divine some new perspectives and answers while pulling cards.  Rolling and smoking my herbal smoking blend is another ritual that gives me deep satisfaction.  What if we could truly enjoy these little acts every day, instead of just going about life on autopilot, we gracefully give these rituals meaning and love, adding to the enjoyment of small deeds. 


Creating rituals for ourselves is very personal. I would not expect you to enjoy the same daily acts as I do! Riding your bike to work, taking the dog for a walk, writing in your journal, making food for your loved ones, are all daily acts that can be turned into rituals with a shift of perspective.  When we cut vegetables, imagine all the energy that has already been expended to get the veggies to your home, and then as you infuse them with love as you prepare a meal, the effects of this ritual ripple out as your family eats the nourishing meal and feels the love of your work.  Here are some ideas for creating rituals for yourself. Please add to this list, share with us, and stretch your imagination to consider what else could be added to your ritual acts.


  • Cooking for your loved ones
  • Writing in a journal
  • Making tea or coffee
  • Lighting and burning incense and candles
  • Breathing
  • Walking
  • Playing with tarot cards
  • Stretching your body
  • Making your art
  • Enjoying nourishing food
  • reating a sacred space or Altar (more on Altar Making coming soon!)


This is just a short list to get your imagination sparked.  Try creating rituals for yourself and see how the joy in your life increases! Create your life as Sacred, it already is.


With Love + Reverence,

Califa Coyote Weiss



92 and Loving Life

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My grandpa, Clifford Brothers, is 92 years old. He was born on a farm in Western Massachusetts, the oldest of 6 children, to two alcoholic parents. At 16, he dropped out of school to take care of his younger brothers and sisters because his parents were unable (or unwilling) to do so.  He never graduated high school, but joined the Navy at 21 and travelled around the world during WWII, stationed in San Diego and the Philippines.  He married my nana, Thelma Shortsleeve, his childhood sweetheart, despite the efforts of each family to prevent them from doing so.  Thankfully, they moved away to California in the early fifties to start anew.  My grandpa worked for many years as a prison guard as well as an insurance salesman. My nana was one of the first women to attend UC Davis as a medical student, where she became a nurse practitioner.  My wonderful nana, Thelma Brothers, passed away 8 years ago.  My grandpa was understandably devastated, but through the community of the Healdsburg Senior Center, he found a new passion for life. His whole outlook changed – he started taking classes, including writing classes, which surprised my family.  He now writes poems and stories regularly, and was published in a book by his writing group, Tuesday Morning Memories: An Anthology. He lives alone, cooks for himself, drives around town, and makes friends wherever he goes. 

Here is an inspiring story from the perspective of a ninety-two year old man!

A few weeks ago I read an article by a man who was 88 years old. He wrote about his life and all the memories he had lived through. Now that he was old as he described, it made me think about myself at 92. Our lives were certainly different, comparing backgrounds. He was brought up in a stable and well-to-do background. He felt as if his life was complete and about over for a man of his age. How negative, I thought, sure he is older but the whole world and adventures lie before him to discover, if he only would open his mind to explore the wonderful word we are seeing today. 

The discoveries in space, science, medicine, curing so many problems of living longer, to still be full of vigor. The world is exploding with new ideas and knowledge every day. What an exciting time we are living in.  

I marvel at the new discoveries that have happened since I was born. Yet I feel it is only the beginning of life and the future. What an exciting time to be living in the 21st century.

I did not think about all things in the past. There are so many wonderful memories in my life that would take a book to detail them. I am living today 92 years old, the future is what I am excited and concerned about.  We control our own desires and wants in how we want to live, in negative or positive lives. I choose my own way – how to live my life. I have seen too many seniors give up instead of standing up to look around at the world. There is still time to live for tomorrow instead the year of yesterday.  When I lost my honey of 62 years, I had negative thoughts. My world came crashing down on me. Wow. I had known about the Senior Center – it was time to explore and see what it was really like with other seniors.

I was surprised to see vibrant people writing, making art, exercising and empowering their health. I stepped into the group and found life was exciting and wonderful. I became alive and was looking toward the future instead of thinking about the past.

I even had some stories published in a book by the seniors, to my surprise.  What a wonderful group of human beings, living in today and not yesterday. It was a new beginning in my life. Do not let people say, “You can not do that.” Do not listen to them, for they have given up. Keep up your positive attitude and before you know, wow, I could be 100 in 8 years!

If I have offended anyone by my writing, I apologize. My eyes are open and I welcome positive ideas.  I hope we will see you in some classes at the Healdsburg Senior Center due to my thoughts. I appreciate all the help – we can make this world a better place to live.

Grandpa with my sisters and I: Califa, Gwen + Ash 

Grandpa with my sisters and I: Califa, Gwen + Ash 

Don't Hate the Haters

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Hate is an attitude, a feeling, an action of being. When you hate it consumes you more than other emotions. Try being hateful and simultaneously smiling at your sister. Or try being hateful and making a wonderful meal for people you love.  I believe energy is real, and if you are hateful, this hateful energy spreads into your whole life.  The hard thing is, when someone directs hate at you personally, the energy is so charged, it’s the easiest thing in the world to react and be as intense and hateful as the perpetrator.


Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to put this into practice – to not become a hater myself.  In one month, I had two different people attack me personally online, on Facebook.  The attacks were over-the-top accusations about my being in the world, from pointing out obvious things like my privilege, to much less sane claims, like I was a “bad witch”. The first time it happened was the day I was launching my online store.  Being a one woman show here, I was literally setting up my website, making sure my handmade products were ready to go, writing a letter announcing the launch, etc… And I get hit with this crap – on my homepage of Facebook, a semi-public space for my social network to see. I also received an array of private messages, supporting the allegations that had already been posted.


Initially, I knew it was something I couldn’t take personally, because – WTF, these things weren’t TRUE, and I needed to continue directing my energy toward more productive things. But in reality, I had a mini-meltdown, verging on anxiety attack, feeling fueled and burnt by this hate! I tried talking to the person reasonably, which didn’t really do much.  I decided to block the person and make it clear that I was not up for this kind of bullshit.  This is called self-preservation and boundaries. It is inevitable that someone is going to be displeased with me – I’m putting myself out there in the world, being as vulnerable as possible.  If I choose to hate right back, I’m falling prey to hateful manipulation. I’m not getting even by getting mad, I’m letting them win their game.


I recently became obsessed with Louis Theroux’s documentaries.  Although I had heard of them, I was shocked to see the Westboro Baptist Church’s relentless force of hate as they picket soldier’s funerals, yelling at people, “God Hates Fags!”  Their message is that, since the USA supports gay rights, the troops are fags, deserve to die, and will burn eternally in hell – along with the rest of the world who isn’t part of their church (some 75 people).  Watching the story of their congregation unfold, their beliefs were completely unreasonable to me.  The children go to public school, where they have no friends, and the whole church has been alienated from the community and world at large because of their outrageously hateful messages.  Louis points out at one point that, because they are putting out so much hate into the world, they are insulating themselves with hate, of course all they see in the world is hate.  If you have one shred of compassion for humanity, you could easily fall into the trap of abhorring “The Most Hated Family in America”.  And all this will do is continue the cycle.


There is an appropriate place for anger – which can feel like hate, a fiery emotion, explosive, maybe even violent.  However, falling into the trap of hate, directing that toward anyone rather than solving it within yourself, allows you to be controlled.  Personally, I have found a few things that work to diffuse anger. 

·      Writing in my journal

·      Going for a run, or otherwise expending physical energy

·      Being outside

·      Talking to a trusted friend

·      Focusing on the breath


It is not wrong to feel extreme emotions, just be aware of them so they don’t control you, so you don’t become a victim of hate.  There are many reasons to get pulled into a negative spiral if you look around – international news, racist acts in the community, environmental destruction – but if we stay in that negative pattern we won’t be able to get the momentum to do something truly productive, contributing to the healing of hate.  Here’s to responsible emotional awareness, raising our vibration together, not hating the haters.

Peace + Love,


Cosmic Drama with Prince Puja

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Prince Puja is one of my dear friends and inspirational muses. He not only motivates me with meaningful, loving + mind-expanding conversation, he also makes beautiful jewelry that I never want to take off, shoots gorgeous photos and makes music. We met a few years ago in LA and had an instant soul connection. We've cried and laughed together, I've contributed to his zine "worship [journal]", been featured in his lookbook, and most importantly we've been cheerleaders in each others' work and life.  Here is an interview with my soul brother, Prince Puja. 


What inspires you?

I am inspired by countless things. Life being lived to the fullest. People creating from their hearts and souls. Nature in all it's beauty and perfection. Morning light (or any light for that matter - natural or artificial). Art in all it's many forms. People caring for and loving each other. Music and scents both for their ability to capture a moment or transport you to another time/place. My friends and all the brilliant people that I have met in my life that are doing something that they love and believe in. Love of any kind.

 What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about living my life to the fullest. Going on adventures. Creating art that makes me feel something and that gives me a voice to express myself. Jewelry. Photography. Music. Traveling. Yoga. LIFE.

What project/s are you working on right now?

Currently working on a new jewelry collection inspired by lotus plants and living in the present moment. A series of photographs of homeless nomads living on Skid Row in Downtown LA (right outside my front door). Starting to play around with some music again. Myself.

What keeps you going when you’re “stuck”?

Knowing that being stuck will never last. Looking outwards at other people doing inspiring things/creating work that they are passionate about. Looking inwards at the vast universe within myself that is where anything and everything that I will ever know/create. Going outside and spending time with Mother Nature for she has all the answers.

What do you believe in?

I believe that we all come from the consciousness of the Universe and choose to manifest in these human bodies (which are really just vehicles for this lifetime) in order to experience ourselves (aka the rest of the Universe). I believe this is a cosmic drama where we are each the director, the actor and the audience of our own lives. I believe in the power of our minds to create anything we can possibly imagine (and things we can't even imagine YET with our little human minds). I believe in taking care of each other and loving and supporting each other because we are all really one energy split into a zillion+ little entities that are each on our own personal journeys that make up the one big journey of All That Is.

How do you take care of yourself?

I take care of myself by following my heart. Spending time in nature whenever possible. Eating the most natural foods I can. Not being too hard on myself. Meditating. Doing yoga. Reading lots of books on philosophy, self love, self help, etc. Exploring the inner depths of my Self. Surrounding myself with positive energy (people, places + things). Drinking lots of Wild Coyotea! And serving/taking care of others.

What qualities about yourself work to your advantage? 

"I am an empowered being and I am utterly free to create."

What is your favorite place on earth?


What is your next travel destination?

I am currently in Victoria, BC (Canada) so my next destination will be Vancouver and then back home to LA. After that, who knows!? 

What is your favorite beverage?

Chai. (Specifically street chai in India.)

What is your favorite food or recipe?

It's pretty general but Indian food!

What are your Utopian ideals?

I don't think I have any Utopian ideals because I believe that our biggest quest as humans is to accept everything as it comes and to live in the present moment. Utopia is a vision of the future which will always be that, a vision of the future aka not now aka never going to happen. The only moment that ever existed is HERE + NOW.

What is your astrological sign?

Sun - Virgo. Ascendant - Leo. Moon - Cancer.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Califa Coyote of Wild Coyotea is one of the most inspiring people I have ever met in this lifetime (although I'm sure we've known each other for many many lifetimes) and I am so beyond grateful for all of her love, support and wisdom. Sending out love and light to everyone in the Universe. I believe in all of you and hope that if you don't already know exactly what you're doing here on this Earth at the moment that you are easy on yourself and you just enjoy the journey while you're figuring it out. You are perfect just as you are!



Responsibility: From Humble Beginnings

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 responsibility |riˌspänsəˈbilətē|

noun ( pl. -ties)

the state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone : women bear children and take responsibility for child care.

the state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something : the group has claimed responsibility for a string of murders.

the opportunity or ability to act independently and make decisions without authorization : we would expect individuals lower down the organization to take on more responsibility.

(often responsibilities) a thing that one is required to do as part of a job, role, or legal obligation : he will take over the responsibilities of overseas director.

[in sing. ] ( responsibility to/toward) a moral obligation to behave correctly toward or in respect of : individuals have a responsibility to control personal behavior.


In a culture that values youth, beauty, new gadgets, and fast food, the word responsibility can seem scary – or even worse – boring!  I have actually found power in the concept of responsibility as it relates to being accountable for my own life. 


When I take the definition “the opportunity or ability to act independently and make decisions without authorization” I feel compelled to act responsibly, as it indicates freedom of being.  Being responsible, I can make my own decisions without anyone’s approval.  I take the risk, I get the reward.  However, this still may seem like an abstract or “pie in the sky” concept.  How could responsibility actually be rewarding?


I have had numerous jobs in the food service industry: bussing tables at a white tablecloth covered hell as an eighteen year old, being a hostess at a “California cuisine” restaurant where the owner regularly fired people for no apparent reason, working in the kitchen for a good friend catering weddings (do NOT come in the kitchen unless you are the event coordinator, we do not need to make you a special meal because of your gluten sensitivity), passing hors d'oeuvres for celebrities and people who would rather pretend you are invisible than say “no thank you” to my small plated treats.  Some of these experiences were enjoyable, some down right miserable, but all served a purpose.  By taking these jobs, I was able to pay my bills, travel, make independent media, have a flexible schedule, and participate in various creative projects of my choosing.  However, I didn’t feel fully empowered because so much of my time was given to others without complete personal fulfillment.  I knew that I wouldn’t always be working these jobs, but I didn’t have a “long term plan”.


July of 2013, a friend introduced me to Jessica Koslow of SQIRL, a high-quality, farm-to-table brunch spot in my neighborhood. I needed work and she was hiring.  I didn’t think I would be taking yet another restaurant job but my bank account told me I better find something ASAP, and this seemed like a great opportunity. I was able to be a part of a business that was serving the best food, coffee, I could walk to work, and I loved my co-workers! I had been making kombucha and herbal tea blends at home for years, and Jessica allowed me to experiment with some new beverages at SQIRL. I was grateful to put my creativity to work in a culinary setting!


I had a great passion for wellness and natural healing, and I was going in the direction of creating myself as a holistic wellness expert. I had finished a year-long course certifying me as a Health Coach with Institute for Integrative Studies in NYC.  I continued blending herbs at home, spreading the word of #herbalalchemy via Instagram and Facebook, starting to invent myself as an Herbal Alchemist – something new and unique to me.  To bring the definition of responsibility back into the conversation, “the state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something” - I was being accountable to myself for creating a new possibility for work and lifestyle that I felt fulfilled by, and I knew this could transcend the day-to-day work I was in at the moment.


Eventually another chef, Greg Arnold, recruited me to conceive a beverage menu for Mesa Verde, a new plant-based restaurant about to open in Santa Barbara.  This was truly a dream job.  I was given full reign to invent herbal teas, super-food smoothies, juice recipes, and innovative kombuchas. I started playing around in the kitchen before the restaurant opened, being creative, fully immersed in my art of alchemical beverages! It was very fulfilling.


I knew this wasn’t the end game. People started asking me, “What’s next?!” “Are you opening your own spot?” “Where can I buy your kombuchas?” Starting a storefront or restaurant is a huge responsibility, one with much risk and stress and paperwork involved, and though I considered it, I knew this was not the time.  Eventually the concept of Wild Coyotea came into focus: I could make herbal blends, package them beautifully, and sell them in my own online store!  I started saving money, working on the blends, taking steps toward this dream.  I decided to leave LA, move back to my family’s property in Northern California, and use my resources wisely. Although I was giving up a dynamic lifestyle in Silver Lake, Los Angeles (my favorite neighborhood + city), I knew I would be much more focused and grounded in Sonoma County.  These decisions were actually quite easy to make when I realized what it was I wanted.  I was taking responsibility for my own life, making plans, taking the steps, knowing it would be a lot of work, but very rewarding to have my own business!


Wild Coyotea is still in its infancy. There will be more herbal teas, more smoking blends, more handmade products in my store to come.  There will be more collaborations, tea parties, and eventually I will sell my products in stores.  I have my work cut out for me!  I wear many hats, am head of all the departments: production, shipping, marketing, newsletter, blog, events, product development, accounting!  By taking this on, I have created much work for myself, but also a sense of pride and love and optimism that wouldn’t exist if I was still working for someone else.


Not everyone needs to own a business or even start a big project, but I hope that this will inspire you to be accountable to yourself for your life.  Make adjustments to raise the bar of your own fulfillment. Make plans, ask for support, cut back on excessive spending and start a little savings account.  Whatever it is, you are the one that gets to choose. Enjoy your life, take on this new year with a heart full of personal responsibility!

At Cinespia in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Summer 2014 with my Ritual Smoking Blend

At Cinespia in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Summer 2014 with my Ritual Smoking Blend


With Love + Encouragement,

Califa Coyote Weiss


Alignment + Follow Your Heart

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“To accept the challenge of the unknown is the only way to grow.” Osho


Starting a business making herbal blends is a whole new adventure for me.  I’ve been living a vibrant and healthy lifestyle forever, always surrounded by opportunities to learn more about wellness, nutrition, alternative care.  I have been passionate about creating delicious drinks since I was about 5 when my mama got me a kids cookbook with a few smoothie recipes. That’s 25 years experimenting with beverages that are not only tasty but also support our overall wellbeing.  In the past few years I’ve been developing recipes for restaurants and blogs, which has been very rewarding. I love creating a new recipe, seeing it on a menu, and hearing feedback from someone who just tried kombucha for the first time! 

In the past 6-12 months, I have been hearing nonstop from my community, asking me when I’m going to start my own shop/brand/product line.  I reassured them that whatever was coming next would be in perfect alignment with my life, that it would flow effortlessly and not feel too much like something I had to FORCE.  When the idea for Wild Coyotea finally came to me, everything really started falling into place.  I committed to creating this small business which feels in line with who I am and what I stand for, and my community gave me a resounding YES, offering multitude of ways to help, support, get out the word.  I am currently working to finalize my packaging and will shortly have four very wonderful products I am wholeheartedly proud of.  Coming very soon, three herbal teas and one ritual smoking blend!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support, love, and encouragement. It really means I am on the right path, serving you in the best way I can. 

Whatever it is that calls your heart, follow that soft (or loud!) sound!  Be patient with yourself and allow yourself to create from a place of self-worth and self-knowing.  Everyone has something wonderful to offer. I love you!