The more I get to know flowers—living with them, healing with them, photographing them, practicing and teaching flower meditation with them—the more I sense the deep compassion and affinity they have for human beings. This affinity is carried in the energetic architecture of their form. Woven into it also is a great desire to help human kind.
Flowers love to give of their beauty. They love to share their soul energies with our own. And the healing they bring us takes place in a highly personal way. Imagine being at a concert of expertly played classical music. Although we all hear the same music, each of us in the audience will be affected in a different way. Some will be deeply moved, others uplifted, still others calmed and quieted—depending on our individual response, and on whatever need the music fulfils for us. If the same symphony is played by another orchestra with a different conductor, the same collection of people will experience further shades of meaning. So can it be with flower essences created by different makers.
There are now more than three thousand flower essences made worldwide. You need only a handful to benefit from their gifts. The most famous of all is Rescue Remedy. Not a single essence, but a mixture of five flower essences, it was created by Dr Edward Bach. Hundreds of thousands of bottles of it are sold each year. Many who use it regularly are not aware of how it is made from flowers, and have little idea how it works. They only experience its benefits. Bach’s Rescue Remedy is one of the most useful things you can give to anyone who has suffered a shock—from a skinned knee to the death of a family member. It helps restore mental, physical and emotional balance in the face of any trauma.
Taking any flower essence is a gentle, yet profound, experience. Before deciding on which essence or essences are right for you at a particular moment in your life, take time to become aware both of what is going on inside you as well as whatever physical symptoms you may be experiencing. A practitioner trained in flower medicine can be a great help here—especially if you are wrestling with deep depression or chronic physical illness. He or she will take into account your history, your work, your relationships, your strengths and weaknesses, and your future goals. If you are choosing an essence for yourself, think about all of these things. Look at photographs of flowers, or better still, seek out the flowers themselves in a garden or the woods. Get to know a little of the character and the healing properties of each flower and notice any that seem relevant to you, or which attract you.
WHERE ARE YOU
Then take a gentle, compassionate look at what is going on with you now. There are two ways to do this. You can begin by looking through a flower essence materia medica to find out what conditions different flower essences are designed to alleviate. You may discover that some essences leap out at you as you recognize descriptions of behavioral or emotional patterns that fit. Write all this down. Then work from the list you have when making your choices. When you get to know the flower essences you are drawn to, explore each flower essence company’s lists. This is easy to do by looking them up on the internet. You really don’t need to know a lot of different essences to find the help you need. For many different essences can often help the same conditions.
The other method for ‘self diagnosis’ takes a bit longer, but works even better. For a week, observe your reactions to what is going on around you day after day. Make a note of any emotional reactions that repeat in your life again and again—if you feel anxious, nervous, angry, tense, or upset, for instance. Write all this down in a notebook. Also record what seems to trigger these feelings. See if there are one or more emotional patterns or tendencies that appear more often than others. Record any keywords or phrases that come to mind. For instance, “I am often irritable. This makes me impatient. Sometimes my body gets tense, and I feel anxious. I suppose people think I’m intolerant.”
You might talk to your partner or to a close friend about what you have observed and recorded. See if they agree. Ask if they have other observations about you that might be helpful. Then, armed with your description of your emotional states and traits, go through the descriptions in a flower essence material medica and match your key words and phrases with theirs. Make a list of all the essences that you think might apply to you.
TRUST YOUR INSTINCT
Narrow your list down to no more than 3 to 6 essences— those which best match the way you feel, or want to feel. Using your intuition, see if you can identify one or two essences which you think, more than any of the others, seem to ‘fit’ with your needs. If you have a healthfood store or pharmacy nearby that sells flower essences, it can useful to handle the bottles of essences themselves. Hold each one you think might be helpful in your hand for a moment or two, close your eyes, and see how you feel. Always trust your instincts to discover which ones most call to you. Flower essence therapy is the safest form of natural treatment in the world. It is impossible to over-dose on it. Should you happen to choose the wrong remedy, your body’s energy will simply not resonate with it and you will get no effect from it.
LESS IS MORE
Sometimes the best way to use flower essences is to work with one remedy at a time. But if you feel you want to use more than one, then choose a ‘theme’—remedies that deal with a single emotional state: A combination of peppermint and nasturtium, for instance, helps clear mental fatigue. Crab apple and buttercup can help build self-esteem. You can mix them together. If two quite different emotional ‘traits’ emerge from your self-examination—for example, anger and a need to release more creativity, you can deal with both issues at the same time, if you wish. In this case, take one essence or a mixture of essences for the one condition in the morning, and those for the other in the evening.
With any flower essence the adage ‘less is more’ applies. Although you cannot overdose on a remedy, you are more likely to see benefits from taking smaller amounts than larger ones. Also remember that there is tremendous power even in the ritual of taking a flower essence. As you take it, focus your mind gently on the positive healing you seek. Be sure to allow plenty of time for an essence to do its work. Give it at least a month before you consider replacing it with another. You will sense its effects and know if you should continue to use it.
HOW TO USE FLOWER ESSENCES
Flower essences that you buy come in glass bottles containing stock concentrates. The stock concentrate or ‘stock’ has been made from the mother essence, which in turn has been made from the vibration water plus a little alcohol to preserve it. It can be a lot of fun and very rewarding to make your own flower essences. Here’s how it works.
The sun impregnates water into which a flower is introduced, creating vibrational water.
½ vibrational water + ½ brandy makes the mother essence (sometimes also called mother tincture.)
7 drops of mother essence in a bottle of 20% alcohol and 60-80% pure water creates a stock concentrate of the flower. (This is what you buy in stores and make your own dosage bottles from.)
2-4 drops of one or more stock concentrates is added to a 30ml bottle filled ¾ of the way up with pure water and then topped up with brandy to make your dosage bottle.
Put four drops under your tongue at intervals throughout the day or add them to a small glass of water and sip it.
Carry your dosage bottle around with you. Take your essence from it four times a day.
Making your own decanted bottle also enables you to use more than one essence at a time. You simply add 4 to 6 drops of each mother tincture to the dosage bottle when preparing it, thereby creating a special mixture just for you.
You can also mix your stock concentrate directly into a bottle of spring or distilled water and drink this mixture throughout the day. I like to do this when using the Bach Flower Remedy Crab Apple, which is helpful for detoxifying the body. I take a liter or a liter and a half bottle of pure water, add 6 drops of stock concentrate to it and mix it up, then put it on my desk while I am working, and sip it throughout the day. (Be sure to label each blend you create.)
Flower essences work best when taken regularly—say four times a day—as much as possible at around the same times (but don’t get neurotic about this if you can’t.) Whenever you can, take them as you would a homeopathic remedy, in a ‘clean mouth’—at least 20 minutes before eating, or at least a couple of hours after.
Take a moment or two each time you take an essence to remember its healing qualities and to give thanks to the flowers from which it comes. This makes you more receptive to what is given.
GREAT USES OF ESSENCE
DROPPER BOTTLE: Fill a 30ml dropper bottle with ¾ spring water and ¼ brandy. Add 4 drops of flower essence from a stock concentrate bottle. Shake or tap the bottle against your hand several times vigorously before taking to potentize it. Place 4-6 drops of your mixture directly under your tongue. Alternatively, place these drops into a glass of spring water and drink.
STOCK DIRECT: Put 4 drops of the concentrated stock essence directly under your tongue.
ESSENCE WATER: Place 6 drops of one or more essences from their stock bottles directly into a large container of mineral water or distilled water and drink throughout the day. Swirl the bottle round clockwise before using each time to potentize the water.
ESSENCE BATH: Add 25 drops of stock concentrate of essence directly into a warm (not hot) bath. Swish it all around for a minute or so and then soak for at least twenty minutes, topping up the bath with warm water if you start to feel chilly and topping up with cold water if you get too warm. Use this time to expand your consciousness through meditation. It’s a great way to prepare for a blissful night’s sleep.
ESSENCE MASSAGE: Add 10 to 12 drops of stock flower essence to your massage oil or face or body creams and then use them as you normally would, directing your intention towards bringing healing and wholeness. You can mix an essence this way with aromatherapy treatments, combining both the vibrational aspects of a flower with the physiological benefits of an essential oil.
ESSENCE MISTERS: To a clean 100ml spray bottle of pure water, add 20 drops of stock concentrate flower essence. Shake well before spraying. Spray your face, your body, the air around you while opening your
awareness to the flower healing that is being offered.
However you choose to use the flower essences, remember that your intention and the compassion that you have for yourself or for another while using them play an important part in receiving their vibrational healing power. Let each time you use an essence be a moment of pleasurable receptivity, where you open yourself to the grace of flower blessings and give thanks for the generosity of spirit they bring to enhance your life.