Making and Using Flower Essences
Posted on March 05, 2014 0
Making and Using Flower Essences
By Cathy Skipper
I was eighteen years old the first time I came across flower essences. At the time, I was working as a waitress in London, whilst at the same time studying to be a drama teacher. One evening, before work, one of the other waitresses presented me with the list and uses of the Bach Flower remedies. My first reaction was, “Yes I need them all!” I began using Bach Flower remedies straight away and carried on doing so for many years. Throughout the years, I am sure their subtle but effective action on my emotional and mental states have played a crucial role in my own healing journey. Since then I have gone on to discover other flower essence makers, and now many of the essences I use I make myself.
Dr. Edward Bach was a homeopath who believed that the cause of disease was emotional; a conflict between soul and mind that needed spiritual and mental effort to eradicate. He speaks in his work, ”Heal Thyself,” about his belief in the existence of the soul, and how the root of disease and unhappiness is often linked with conflict from either the material world or other people, leading one away from the soul’s real path. The second major theme that Dr. Bach relates to health is that of unity and interrelatedness. He outlined some of the human defects he believed to be adverse to unity such as pride, cruelty, hate, self-love, ignorance and greed; stating that illness sets in if one continues in these defects after knowing they are wrong.
I have met flower essence practitioners who will only work with the 38 Bach Flower remedies; believing that Dr. Bach created a range of remedies that were complete, and that there is no need to diverge from them. I personally believe that the system and remedies that Dr. Bach offered to the world in the 1930’s had, and still have, their work to do. But there is absolutely no reason why his system shouldn’t be used to experiment with other plants and continue to add to what is now becoming a vast information base of flower essences. There are as many essences out there as there are plants. By making one’s own essences, herbalists and practitioners will find the flowers that speak to them personally, and through this relationship be able to hear when it is the right time to suggest one to a client.
What are Flower Essences?
Flower essences are the vibrational message of a flower transmitted to water by solarization, and the vibrational resonance of the flower is memorized by the water.
Today in my work as an herbalist, I make flower essences to use with clients. A certain plant will attract my attention and I may feel drawn to make an essence. Just before, or during, the process, I sit with the flower and listen and meditate (over the years I have learned to listen and not get way-laid with mental doubts or questioning); I jot down in my notebook what comes to mind. I will later trial the essence myself, and ask colleagues to trial it too, in order to build a picture of the plant’s message and how it can be used in herbal practice.
As herbalists we are more often than not confronted by clients who are already showing physical signs of illness or disease. It is these physical signs that motivate them to come and see us in the first place. Although it would be advantageous to see clients at the first signs of emotional or mental imbalance, most clients wouldn’t think about visiting an herbalist before being physically ill.
However, once a client comes to an herbalist for a physical disorder I believe that it is beneficial to try and work on several levels of healing: the removal of physical symptoms in order to relieve the client of pain and discomfort, the lifestyle changes necessary to avoid the problem repeating itself, and the emotional and mental issues that may be underlying the illness. Generally, I have found that the more a plant preparation is concentrated, the more likely it is to work on a deeply physical level; and the more a preparation is diluted, the more likely it is to shift things on a more subtle level. This does not mean that concentrated plant medicines do not have an effect on emotions, or vice versa. For example; if I want to zap an infectious bacteria, I am more likely to use an essential oil with high phenol content over a flower essence. If I am looking for direction in line with one’s higher self, flower essences would be my choice.
How to Make Flower Essences
Making flower essences is an extremely simple procedure; however, to obtain a quality remedy a certain frame of mind, and attention to detail is needed. I love the way that toxicity is not an issue with flower essences. If you find yourself attracted to a certain flower, go ahead and make an essence with it. No molecular trace of the plant will be found in the finished essence.
Having said that, when one of the young botanists at the herbal school where I teach decided that he wanted to make a range of essences with extremely toxic plants such as: belladonna (Atropa belladonna), datura (Datura stramonium) and henbane (Hyoscyamus niger), we guided him away from this idea. Although the flower essences would not do any harm physically, energetically he was definitely not ready to work with this type of plant, which could have dangerous emotional implications if used without care, experience, and respect. Although flower essences do not demand any particular skill in order to make them, one definitely needs to be ready for this type of medicine making. An understanding and awareness of an intuitive nature is necessary.
- A small glass bowl, which should be used uniquely for essence making.
- Fresh spring, or mountain stream, water collected in a glass container if possible. It is great if you can get fresh, wild water that comes from near to where the flowers you are using grow. This is not always possible. So either collect spring water from somewhere else, or if all else fails, buy spring water in a bottle. I do not advise using tap water, as it will be full of fluoride etc.
- A funnel (a glass one if possible
- A dark glass bottle (125ml is a good size).
- Organic grain alcohol (at least 40%, such as vodka).
Before picking the flowers, use your intuition to feel whether or not you have their permission.
Flower essences are made on sunny days, as the sun’s rays shining through the flowers, help transmit the message to the water. This is known as solarization.
1. Fill the bowl with spring water and put it in the sun, preferably among the flowers the essence is being made from.
It is the vibrational imprint of the flowers that is going to be memorized by the water, not the vibrational imprint of the essence maker. In order to put the least possible of one’s own energy into the essence, consciously distance yourself from the action. By this, I mean, when collecting the flowers imagine you are just an instrument, try and remain neutral.
2. Gently drop the flowers onto the surface of the water. This is not an infusion so they do not need to be immersed. Cover the surface of the water with flowers.
3. Leave in the sun for at least two hours where there is no risk of shadows falling on the bowl.
4. Come back to the bowl, and with the help of a couple of twigs or leaves, (so not to touch the water) remove the flowers from the bowl.
5. Using the glass funnel, pour the water into the glass bottle until it is half full. Fill the bottle to the top with the alcohol.
This is the “mother essence” or “mother tincture,’’ and it is from this bottle that the drops will be taken to make the “stock bottle.”
Once back inside, take seven drops from the mother tincture and put them into a bottle (20 ml. bottle). Fill the bottle with alcohol. This is the stock bottle. It is from this bottle that the medicine is made. Put two to seven drops into a small dropper bottle and fill with alcohol. Label the bottle. The essence is now ready for the client.
I tend to advise clients to take a couple of drops in water, or directly under the tongue, when they think about it, preferably as far away from meals as possible.
Many people carry the small dropper bottle with them at first and take the essences regularly. When they start to forget, it is usually because the essence has done its job, and there is less need for it. However, as their action is subtle, I do try and encourage clients to take essences for at least twenty-one days, and depending on the issues being dealt with, for up to three months.
It is possible to blend essences, and each practitioner has his/her own techniques. I tend to go for one essence at a time, and would advise not to blend any more than three at a time. Once things have started to shift, a change of essence can be helpful as the next emotional layer is revealed.
Last May, whilst staying in a family house in the Ardeche region of France, I came across the most beautiful field, full of wild flowers and orchids. I had been thinking about making a wild orchid essence for some time, but as orchids usually grow alone or in tiny communities, the opportunity had not arisen. (Saskia, from Saskia’s Flower Essences, later told me that you can actually make essences without picking the flowers but just by leaving the bowl of water nearby). Straight away I knew it was an invitation to make some flower essences, and maybe even an orchid essence. I organized all the supplies I would need, and set three days aside during the following weekend to come back alone, especially for this purpose.
The first day I spent getting rid of emotional stuff that was bothering me, meditating and getting in tune with myself, in order to be in the right frame of mind. The second and third day I spent essence making. The field was teaming with wild flowers and two species of orchids; heath spotted orchid (Dactylorhiza maculate) in abundance, and burnt orchid (neotinea ustulata), that was nearing the end of its vegetative cycle. Following my instinct and meditating with the flowers of each essence I made, I spent two days making the following essences. (The descriptions next to them are the notes I took during the process).
Jersey thrift (Armeria arenaria) – helps the sense of community, working for the whole, service, fluidity and moving together in the same direction.
Oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) - total opening without fear, no holding back, confidence in being oneself, honesty, simplicity, innocence, ”What you see is what you get,” giving freely, being able to receive, joy, open heart.
Dog rose (Rosa canina) – soft, gentle, loving, caring, motherly, warming caressing, holding you, tender, feminine, generational healing.
Wild sage (Salvia pratensis) – force, power, defense, strength, be in the here and now, leadership qualities, balanced energies. ”To have backbone,”’ linking earth and sky energy.
Heath spotted orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata) – subtle energies, high resonance, a teacher in fine-tuning, spiritual connection, guiding, unconditional love, an aerial for global love/universal love, leading us into the future.
It is only now, writing out these notes, that I notice fully how much these essences seem to be right for the needs of today.
I would have loved to make an essence from the burnt orchid but there were not many left, and I knew that even by taking just a few flowers from each flower head it was not right. I decided therefore, to just sit with it. What happened next has no words to describe, and there is no need, as each one of us builds our own unique relationship with the plants we spend time with. It is sufficient to say that the tiny burnt orchid backed up the information I had already learned from the heath spotted orchid. That is, orchids are not just highly evolved botanically, but they are also highly evolved beings, here to guide us in this time of planetary change. The orchid essence I made that day is very powerful. I have been trailing it, as has my flower essence maker friend, Saskia. The conclusion we have come to is: this particular essence is, at the moment, working on the level of ”healing the healer,” rather than the client.
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