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Happy New Year & Heartfelt Thanks from Us at UTLT!

What a fabulous year 2013 has been for Under The Lime Tree! Thank you all for your continued support! Its been the best year EVER! The best for B&Bs; the best for Pamper Days & Nights; the best for Massages and the best for Catering! It’s such a privilege to say that the business gets better each year. Thanks again!

It was a long season and it all starts again TOMORROW with our first B&B guests arriving from Holland on the 2nd, and with the first Pamper Night couple of the year on Friday January 3rd! We’re all rested and ready to go! Bookings are coming in for May and June too, which is a relief to know!

We ran a number of new courses and workshops for the first time last year ~ Summer Painting; Yoga Classes as well as a Retreat; Mindful Meditation days; Mandala Painting and Qi Gong to name a few, as well as Sean’s own Knife Making workshops. All were a great success! This year we’ll continue to concentrate on hosting events that appeal to our international and local clients and which are run by our local experts. We’ll soon be setting dates again for Painting and Yoga. Felt Making and Basket Weaving are harder to confirm at this early stage, but we’re hopeful that the course leaders can find time to fit us in! Digital Photography and Knife Making will always be year-round events run by Sean ~ except that these won’t start again until March, when he’s back from a 7 week adventure in Mozambique!

His building business also continues to grow but his passion is fed and his sanity is kept by pursuing and developing skills and expertise in areas closer to his heart (and which don’t take such a toll on his body! He’s a lucky man to have me as his personal massage therapist!). He’s been commissioned to make knives as special gifts and his 2-day knife making course is getting rave reviews. Sean’s talent for photography is becoming much more about photo journalism and capturing the story behind the image ~ we’ll see what his experience in Mozambique brings…!

We managed a wonderful weekend break in Barcelona at the end of an epically busy time and what a great city to soak up all the sights and sounds of urban life! We met up with the Spanish guests who were resident here for 2 weeks in the summer and had an inspirational time exploring Gaudi’s extraordinary buildings.

Of course, that’s our perk in this business ~ meeting great people, sharing stories, exchanging ideas, caring for others, making friends and being passionate about what we do without even leaving the house! We’re lucky and we know it! So, many thanks once again for your support.

Live & Love well this year. Be grateful for the small things, try not to sweat over the big things and have a Fantastic, Fabulous, Fun-filled and Fearless 2014 Folks!

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Us on our way to Barcelona!


Modern World ‘Santa Claus’ vs Ancient Super Shaman!

Some psychologists have discussed the “cognitive dissonance” which occurs when children are encouraged to believe in the literal existence of Santa Claus, only to have their parents’ lie revealed when they are older. By so deceiving our children we rob them of a richer heritage, for the actual origin of these ancient rituals is rooted deep in our history and our collective unconscious. By better understanding the truths within these popular celebrations, we can better understand the modern world, and our place in it.

Most people see Christmas as a Christian holiday, but many of the symbols and icons we associate with Christmas celebrations are actually derived from the shamanistic traditions of the tribal peoples of pre-Christian Northern Europe.

The sacred mushroom of these people was the red and white amanita muscaria mushroom, also known as “fly agaric.” These mushrooms are now commonly seen in books of fairy tales, and are usually associated with magic and fairies. This is because they contain potent hallucinogenic compounds, and were used by ancient peoples for insight and transcendental experiences.

santa2 fly1

Most of the major elements of the modern Christmas celebration, such as Santa Claus, Christmas trees, magical reindeer and the giving of gifts, are originally based upon the traditions surrounding the harvest and consumption of these most sacred mushrooms.

These ancient peoples, including the Lapps of modern-day Finland, and the Koyak tribes of the central Russian steppes, believed in the idea of a World Tree. tree4The World Tree was seen as a kind of cosmic axis, onto which the planes of the universe are fixed. The roots of the World Tree stretch down into the underworld, its trunk is the “middle earth” of everyday existence, and its branches reach upwards into the heavenly realm.The North Star was also considered sacred, since all other stars in the sky revolved around its fixed point. They associated this “Pole Star” with the World Tree and the central axis of the universe. The top of the World Tree touched the North Star, and the spirit of the shaman would climb the metaphorical tree, thereby passing into the realm of the gods. xmas tree1This is the true meaning of the star on top of the modern Christmas tree, and also the reason that the super-shaman Santa makes his home at the North Pole.

The amanita muscaria mushrooms grow only under certain types of trees, mostly firs and evergreens. The mushroom caps are the fruit of the larger mycelium beneath the soil which exists in a symbiotic relationship with the roots of the tree. To ancient people, these mushrooms were literally “the fruit of the tree.”

Ancient peoples were amazed at how these magical mushrooms sprang from the earth without any visible seed. They considered this “virgin birth” to have been the result of the morning dew, which was seen as the semen of the deity. The silver tinsel we drape onto our modern Christmas tree represents this divine fluid.

The active ingredients of the amanita mushrooms are not metabolized by the body, and so they remain active in the urine. In fact, it is safer to drink the urine of one who has consumed the mushrooms than to eat the mushrooms directly, as many of the toxic compounds are processed and eliminated on the first pass through the body.

It was common practice among ancient people to recycle the potent effects of the mushroom by drinking each other’s urine. The amanita’s ingredients can remain potent even after six passes through the human body. Some scholars argue that this is the origin of the phrase “to get pissed,” as this urine-drinking activity preceded alcohol by thousands of years.

Reindeer were the sacred animals of these semi-nomadic people, as the reindeer provided food, shelter, clothing and other necessities. reindeer1Reindeer are also fond of eating the amanita mushrooms; they will seek them out, then prance about while under their influence. Often the urine of tripped-out reindeer would be consumed for its psychedelic effects.

The effects of the amanita mushroom usually include sensations of size distortion and flying. The feeling of flying could account for the legends of flying reindeer, and legends of shamanic journeys included stories of winged reindeer, transporting their riders up to the highest branches of the World Tree.

Although the modern image of Santa Claus was created at least in part by the advertising department of Coca-Cola, in truth his appearance, clothing, mannerisms and companions all mark him as the reincarnation of these ancient mushroom-gathering shamans.

One of the side effects of eating amanita mushrooms is that the skin and facial features take on a flushed, ruddy glow. This is why Santa is always shown with glowing red cheeks and nose. Even Santa’s jolly “Ho, ho, ho!” is the euphoric laugh of one who has indulged in the magic fungus.

Santa also dresses like a mushroom gatherer. When it was time to go out and harvest the magical mushrooms, the ancient shamans would dress much like Santa, wearing red and white fur-trimmed coats and long black boots.

These peoples lived in dwellings made of birch and reindeer hide, called “yurts.” Somewhat similar to a teepee, the yurt’s central smokehole is sometimes used as an entrance when the snow is deep, or by a shaman for ceremonial purposes. chimneyAfter gathering the mushrooms from under the sacred trees where they appeared, the shamans would fill their sacks and return home. Climbing down the chimney-entrances, they would share out the mushroom’s gifts with those within.

Santa’s famous magical journey, where his sleigh takes him around the whole planet in a single night, is developed from the “heavenly chariot,” used by the gods from whom Santa and other shamanic figures are descended. The chariot of Odin, Thor and even the Egyptian god Osiris is now known as the Big Dipper, which circles around the North Star in a 24-hour period.santa1

Most religious historians agree that St Nicholas did not actually exist as a real person, and was instead a Christianized version of earlier Pagan gods. Local traditions were incorporated into the new Christian holidays to make them more acceptable to the new converts. To these early Christians, Saint Nicholas became a sort of “super-shaman” who was overlaid upon their own shamanic cultural practices.

truthYet the true spirit of this winter festival lies not in the exchange of plastic toys, but in celebrating a gift from the earth: the fruiting top of a magical mushroom, and the revelatory experiences it can provide.

Instead of perpetuating outdated and confusing holiday myths, it might be more fulfilling to return to the original source of these seasonal celebrations.


Full article and references here:

Have a FEAST this festive SEASON!

Eat your heart out folks but don’t overcook the Brussels or the broccoli!

Edible xmas tree!

edible broccoli christmas tree by utlt!

Season’s Greetings!

With love from all of Us at UTLT x

Under The Lime Tree ~ The Cool Place to B & Be! ™


Into the public domain!

This is me and my stand at the Christmas market at Anais! One of a number of markets I’m at through out the year. I take along my mobile ergonomic massage chair and offer a 12 minute head, neck, shoulder & back massage working with acupressure points and using known indian head massage techniques. It’s great fun, and for those who have never experienced one, it’s a great way to introduce people to the idea of having a massage. Some of my ‘regulars’ turn up too and take advantage of a quick rub down whilst browsing for christmas presents ~ what’s not to like! 6 hours and 19 heads later, I’m ready for my own rub down and some tlc!

Also on my stand are beautiful handmade bags from Salsacs French Vintage Textiles and fantastic banana yarn  scarves, yoga socks and fingerless mittens from Shakti Creations – designs exclusive to Under The Lime Tree.


10% off Christmas Gift Vouchers at UTLT!

Order your Christmas gift Voucher anytime before 24th December and get 10% off! Great stocking fillers for your friends & family ~ and for you, of course! Look after yourself for life, not just for Christmas!

gift voucher

Don’t miss out! Pay 10% less now, redeem later. What’s not to like?

Buy a gift voucher from now until December 24th and and earn a 10% discount off your purchase. Redeem it against any Spa Treatment / B&B product at any time next year. Purchases can be made in person or online using Paypal or a cheque payable to N. Emmerton and posted to Under The Lime Tree, Fontfaix le Haut, 16260 Cellefrouin. You will receive your Gift Voucher, fully completed to your specification, in person or as a jpeg file which can be printed from your computer. Minimum purchase is 20€ (30 minute treatment). Must be redeemed in 2014.

Under The Lime Tree ~ The Cool Place to B & Be!™

hot tub winter

Open House! Thursday 21st Nov ~ 10am to 5pm. 10% off!

Look after yourself for Life, not just for Christmas! You’ll get 10% off all Holistic Spa Treatments & Packages ~ Pamper Days, Pamper Nights, full body Hot Stone massage, Shiatsu or seated Indian Head massage at this great event on Thursday 21st November at Aunac, alongside Namaskar Accessories, Neals Yard Organics and much more! 9 route de la Garenne, Aunac 16460.

Come and try a seated Indian Head massage! Even only 10 minutes of this enjoyable and stress relieving therapy can promote health and reduce sickness levels. No oils or lotions are used, so slide into my specially designed chair and just chill…! 

This massage is very versatile and effective. Seated Indian Head massage combines techniques taken from a variety of ancient massage techniques. The result is a unique massage experience that can be both invigorating and energising, and thoroughly relaxing both mentally and physically. I will use my hands, palms and fingers to apply pressure to the acupressure points on your head, neck, shoulders, upper arms and spine. A usual session is 30 minutes.

Any of my holistic spa treatments and packages are a great Christmas present to yourself, or to your friends and family! And they can be taken at any time! 


See my web site for all holistic Spa Treatments at Under The Lime Tree ~ The Cool Place to B & Be!™

Happy 14th Birthday UTLT!

They say that time flies when you’re having fun. Well, despite a shaky start which included my ex. leaving 10 months after arriving, my dear old dad dying, and my wee niece dying of a terminal illness, I can vouch for the saying! How the time has flown and how incredibly challenging and rewarding its been! Thank you all so very much for your continued custom and support. Without YOU, the client, customer, guest and friend, I couldn’t have managed. And without my beloved Sean, I wouldn’t have wanted to. I’d do it all over again just to fall into his arms and have him in my life for longer! Merci merci merci!

Thank you too for having “Liked” UTLTs facebook page, and thanks in advance to those of you who might now go to it and “Like” it!

Here are some ‘THEN’ and ‘NOW’ pics to mark the passage of time… Enjoy! Namaste, Nikki