When I first began to consciously listen to messages from plant spirits during my vibrational essence training, it felt like an entire new world had burst open right in front of me.
Discovering that essences are made by conscious communication with plants to gather their messages was the most magical thing I’d ever heard of.
Yet it also made complete sense on a very practical level. Extraordinary and ordinary at the same time.
As a child, the flowers I loved most were ragged robin, foxglove and cotton grass.
I wasn’t consciously tuning into the energy of these childhood plant allies but on an unconscious level I was receiving their medicine. This is how it is with nature. Even when we don’t consciously think we’re connected, we are. We can’t NOT be connected, but we aren’t always aware of the depth and nuances of the relationship.
I used to think my heart would explode when ragged robin came into flower because I felt such a surge of delight seeing the dancing flowerheads of this beautiful meadow plant. Foxgloves seemed to open a gateway to wild magic and I felt a sense of anticipation that something AMAZING was about to happen every time I saw their spires in the woodland. I would walk up the hill to the marshy moorland where the cotton grass grew whenever I felt vulnerable and scared so I could stroke their fluffy heads.
Now that I know about essences, I couldn’t have chosen better childhood allies and teachers than these three particular plants. Their medicine is exactly what I have needed, and their gifts show me what I am here to integrate and embody.
Ragged robin helps you to bring your soul qualities through to the physical level so you’ll experience greater connection with your soul’s purpose and soul gifts. Ragged robin tells me that it opens up the Akashic Records to show us who we truly are and why we are really here. This deep enquiry into the nature of the soul is what I contemplate most, and my work is devoted to creating spaces for others to get in touch with their soul gifts and heed their soul wisdom.
Foxglove is recognised as a powerful ally for the heart with strong associations with the Otherworld magic of the faerie realm. Foxglove tells me it helps us dissolve heart defences that have arisen as the result of past hurts. It dissolves the ego’s need to experience separateness by opening the heart to more compassion and unity instead. This journey from the wounds of the emotional heart into the bliss of the spiritual heart has been my conscious focus for most of my adult life.
Cotton Grass is the only one of these three that I haven’t personally made into an essence although LightBringer Essences and Alaskan Essences both have. Like me being comforted by stroking the flower heads as a child, cotton grass essence brings comfort and support particularly after trauma.
Rachel Singleton from LightBringer Essences says “it is an essence of protection and grounding. It reminds us that we are safe and supported – even in intensely challenging and fearful situations when we might feel shocked to the core and deeply destabilised.” The impact of trauma on our systems and how essences help us to recover is quite possibly my favourite topic. It was my own trauma that first led me into the essence world seeking healing, and now over 20 years later I feel sure that essences are at the leading edge of trauma release.
Each of these plants attracted me and got my attention from childhood. These plants became trusted friends and allies long before I knew what their flower essences were for. They stood out to me, they showed up for me, they gave me what I needed.
I suspect that the plants we feel the strongest connection with in childhood give us clues about the life themes we are here to learn, integrate and embody.
Perhaps, like an astrology chart or numerology of our day of birth, our childhood plant allies show us our life themes, our challenges and our gifts? Knowledge that is hidden in plain sight, as my Shamanic teacher would often say about nature’s teachings.
What are the plants that spoke most to you in childhood? Can you convey each plant’s quality in one or two words? How do their qualities relate to your life themes? These are good questions to take into your heart as you ponder the connections between the plants you most loved as a child and the trajectory of your life.
Each plant contains multitudes; messages waiting to be discovered, conversations waiting to be had, qualities they embody and want us to awaken within ourselves. Each plant extends an invitation from its heart to yours so you can experience its inherent qualities and hear its wisdom.
We are here now on this beautiful planet at the time of the Great Remembering, when our unconscious connections with plants are coming into our consciousness once again for deep knowing, wild medicine and soul-affirming integration.
There was a time when we intuitively knew how to connect with plants to receive healing, wisdom, emotional and spiritual nourishment. That knowledge went underground for a while, hidden from our waking awareness. Hidden in plain sight.
Now the time has come to remember and reawaken our inner knowing.
Now is the time to remember the depth of our connection with the plant realm. Now is the time to make our unconscious connections with the green world conscious once again.
As we deepen our connection with nature to absorb its messages and medicine we inhabit our bodies and our souls more fully. This is how we become integrated and whole. This is how we find our way home.
We are being invited to reawaken our ability to become a bridge between plant consciousness and human consciousness to experience the wild magic of the world.
This is ancient knowledge, seeded deep in your bones – waiting to be reawakened through the gateway of your heart, and there are many resources available to help you.
Events for deepening your connection with plant consciousness:
Hello, My name is Alexa, from The Well of Belonging. I am an Embodied Relational Therapist, Flower Essence Practitioner and trainee Wild Therapist who loves working and connecting with nature and the otherworld through art, story, journeying, dreaming and creating ceremony and ritual to honour our connection to ourselves, the earth and each other. You can connect with me on Facebook at The Well of Belonging and at my website/blog Thewellofbelonging.wordpress.com
Having had the honour of being one of Jackies’ students on her Flower Essence Practitoner Diploma there are so many aspects of the training that have been transformational it’s difficult to know how to begin. So I will share a little of what I’ve learned and come to understand of essences and the profound depth to which they can work, to give just a glimpse of what they are and what can be achieved through using them.
Imagine you are made up of a majestic hand woven tapestry- created with a unique design that is yours and yours alone.
This is a living work of creation, of you, as a human being, which began to be woven long before you were born and continues to be woven every day of your life. Every experience you encounter, every disappointment you face, every setback, every victory, every milestone – is woven into the fabric of your being.
Some parts of it are vibrant, richly coloured, intricately sewn from fine strong fibres – this represents the most whole aspects of your being.
Some areas are a little dusty, some of the threads are frayed or broken, some places have holes in or are threadbare and fading – these are the areas that represent the older forgotten parts of you, the bits you haven’t taken as good care of. You can still see the design in the tapestry but it’s a little dull.
And then there are the areas that have been knotted, torn, ripped, shredded, burnt, stood on, scuffed, trampled and covered in layers of dirt and mud and grime – here you can barely see the pattern to discern where one bit ends and another begins. These areas on your tapestry represent your wounding and your trauma.
Some parts of the tapestry seem to have other people’s threads tangled up in them – or there appears to be a pattern that has been locked into ours that doesn’t belong to us – as though someone snuck in and took over what was being created without our knowledge and without realising, we carried on with the design.
Some places have threads that have snagged and got so tangled up that no further design is possible until the thread is undone or cut out and rewoven.
Working with essences is like lifting the dirt off the tapestry, mending the broken threads and restoring the whole thing to its most brilliant, vibrant original form.
A little bit at a time. Piece by piece. Thread by thread. Layer by layer.
They allow us to slowly piece back together the missing parts, fill in the holes, and re-weave threads of our liking and choosing to create a tapestry free of others’ design ideas and ill-fitting threads.
Essences are an amazing doorway to discovering exactly what is you and what is not you. What you need and what you don’t need. They help to uncover and clear the energetic imprint of our trauma, our limiting beliefs, the emotional and mental patterning that has formed who we are based on the energy we grew up in and around.
They do this by enabling us to return to a state of natural balance by correcting the energetic imprint or thread if you like.
Whilst training as an Essence Practioner and using essences on a regular basis, lots of small changes have taken place. I am still who I am, but the shifts in perception and awareness of my life story and patterns of what I have experienced have subtly altered and expanded as new insights and understanding have filtered through.
There have been challenging emotions and shadow aspects of my being to confront. Boundary issues to work on, trauma to heal and release, unprocessed anger to work on in a way that puts the energy to creative rather than disruptive or destructive use.
Essences have supported me to be much more grounded in my body but not without first working through the blocks and wounding that caused me to be out of my body in the first place.
They have put me more in touch with emotions I dared not acknowledge or allow myself to feel in the past. My vulnerability and sensitivity. My inner strength and resolve.
They have helped me learn from my past mistakes, acknowledge the limits of what I can and cannot do and what is and isn’t possible. My mind is calmer, my thoughts clearer. I am more able to allow myself to follow my own natural, rhythmic flow of fullness and emptiness without constantly trying to change it.
Having essences to help us is like having a circle of really good trusted allies who will build you up, support you and encourage you but who will also call you on your bull.
They let you know when you’re not being honest or truthful with yourself in a very gentle and loving way, and show you what you might not be seeing or may have missed so you can have a broader, clearer, more truthful perception of yourself and the world you live in.
Learning to select essences for others has been a deeply rewarding and enlightening experience. One that has shown me without doubt that we are not alone in our human struggles and the Earth we live on is patiently waiting for us to reconnect with her and make use of the abundance of healing she has to offer, if only we would turn to her for support.
Learning to tune into nature and create essences from the plants and crystals really opens up this connection to a new level.
Nature connection can be a valuable mirror to our own soul.
Having the opportunity to integrate principles of Embodied Relational Therapy with flower essence consultations has deepened my capacity to connect and relate to both the client and the essences, and work more deeply with issues that arise – not through talking and questioning but through tuning in to the client’s energy and selecting essences that relate to the issues the client is bringing, some of which they may not be fully aware of. You can work with others very deeply without necessarily needing them to say very much or for them to even know what it is they need.
This makes working with people who may not be able to specifically identify an issue, or who have several issues that interlink, a little easier as a therapist and also means the client, through using essences to support where they are at that time, can begin to reach a place of clarity on their own process and identify what within them is needing most attention. By paying attention to a client’s unfolding process through what the essences bring up to clear, support can be offered to match the shifts and transitions a client is going through and space can be held to support the integration of the new energies, insights and understanding that arises.
Seeing people blossom as a result of working with the natural energy of flowers, gems, elements and specific natural environments, seeing how much more quickly people shift through their blocks, stuck-ness and wounding to embody more of their own true soul nature has been an amazing honour to witness. I’ve particularly enjoyed working longer term over several sessions with people who are looking for ways to find more harmony and balance between their own needs and the needs of others whether that is within the family, between partners or within their working life.
To step into this Training is to open up yourself and your life to new possibilities, new awareness, and new ways of being and to commit to healing your own personal wounding, barriers and blocks along the way.
I feel the essences can do in a short space of time what therapy alone cannot.
I am eternally grateful to Jackie for arriving in my life with this when she did. I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t trusted my instincts and taken the opportunity to train with her.
The next practitioner diploma which starts in September is enrolling now. Learn more here.
Hello! It’s painful for me to type at the moment so I thought I’d chat to the camera instead of writing about what’s on my mind and in my heart this week.
In this short video I’m sharing very openly about the physical pain I’ve been experiencing since the start of the year.
I’m talking about how love is present in pain, why I’m dropping the desire to be well and simply loving what is here, and why I think it’s human nature to chase ourselves out of the uncomfortable places before they have fully had their way with us.
I feel that this message is relevant to physical pain, emotional pain and many aspects of our vulnerable humanity. As I say in the video, Love is coming for us one way or another. Sometimes it takes pain or heartbreak or grief or another powerful experience to drop our defences and surrender enough to receive the Love that is here for us.
Would I prefer not to be feeling physical pain? Yes. Am I softened, humbled and delighted to be experiencing this much love, gentleness and surrender? Yes.
Here I am, honouring exactly how I am and what is here. My hope is that there will be some medicine for you in this story.
The gift of honouring exactly how you are. - Vimeo
A lot of women find my website as a result of searching for information about hellebore essence after hellebore has visited them in dreams, journeys, meditations or visions.
I feel a strong personal connection with hellebore’s vibration of feminine power and ancient wisdom, and have written about her many times, receiving more information about her each year as I connect more deeply with her energy and teachings.
Hellebore tells me that hers is Priestess energy. Ancient knowledge. Divine Feminine. The love and wisdom of Mother Earth. The hidden secrets of the womb. Pure woman in all her deep, embodied, vital lushness.
This is a flower essence that invites women to step into their power, their wisdom and their deep embodied knowing. To drop beneath the surface self and logical understandings of life to reawaken ancient knowledge and cellular memories of what it means to be a woman who lives with love and power.
Hellebore invites us to embody our Priestess energy and womb wisdom, and lights the Magdalene flame in our hearts.
For the past couple of years when I’ve been checking in with the hellebore deva to ask her what she thinks about me selling hellebore essence she’s told me that selling the essence is fine – preferably when she’s in flower in our garden at this time of year, but that’s not the whole story. I’m meant to be offering a hellebore initiation. And then in the next breath, she’s been saying ‘but you’re not ready yet’.
Until last week.
Lying in sivasana after delicious heart-centred yoga class the hellebore initiation arrived fully formed in my inner vision. The hellebore deva is now nudging me out of my comfort zone to call in the 13 women who are to be part of this sacred ceremony in just over a week’s time.
On the new moon on Saturday 17th March I will place a glass bowl containing hellebore essence in the centre of a circle, with 13 bottles of hellebore essence placed around the outside. Each bottle is to be dedicated to the woman who will receive the essence after the initiation ceremony is complete.
Each of the 13 women will be drummed by name into the circle so her energy is invited into the circle. Each of the 13 women who feel called to join will receive their personalised hellebore essence afterwards, charged with the energy of the circle and that particular cosmic moment when we gathered energetically in circle together.
In advance of this I will send an MP3 audio file to everyone who signs up for the hellebore initiation, containing a guided process to connect with the hellebore deva and the energy she is here to reawaken within each of us.
This audio file can be listened to while the initiation is taking place, before or after. Each woman will know when she is to listen to it and receive its energy. This file can be used again and again, with different aspects of hellebore’s energy being transmitted each time.
The initiation will unite the power of the heart with the wisdom of the womb, send healing through the maternal line so we can fully embody the energy of the Divine Feminine, and ignite the Magdalene Flame in our hearts.
The hellebore deva tells me that a key part of this initiation is that we will become Keepers of the Flame.
And this is where my self-doubt kicks in and the fear comes knocking. Because here I am being given information from the hellebore deva who shows up telling me she lights the Magdalene Flame in our hearts and I know very little about Mary Magdalene.
I wasn’t raised Catholic, I don’t want to offend anyone who was brought up in the church who may feel I’m misappropriating their religion. I feel Mary Magdalene with me as one of my guides – she comes through very clearly in sessions where people need to experience how deeply loved they are. And yet, I’m writing this and thinking how pretentious that sounds, and I’m feeling like I’m not allowed to have that connection because I haven’t read the Bible, I haven’t trained with a feminine mystery school or been initiated as a Priestess. I’ve never even sat in a red tent. And yet… I am a woman.
Hellebore teaches us that we must trust the deep knowing within us even when we don’t think we have the external qualifications required. She tells me that this knowledge is every woman’s knowledge, nobody has a monopoly on holding it or sharing it. It is every woman’s divine birthright to reawaken her feminine essence.
This knowing is in our blood and our bones, it is encoded in our wombs. We are all being invited to awaken and embody our true power as women and there are many different paths that lead us home – this hellebore initiation is one of many routes back to the Divine Feminine. This particular route will speak to those for whom nature is the gateway into their own wild hearts and wise wombs.
Hellebore’s guidance is clear. It’s not about me teaching something, it’s about me opening the doorway for people to connect more deeply with the hellebore deva themselves so that she can offer her teachings directly to each woman, each heart, each womb.
While I haven’t studied women’s mysteries, I’ve devoted most of my life to listening to messages from plants so despite my self-doubt about whether I’m qualified to offer this, the deeper part of me trusts that hellebore is orchestrating this perfectly. I just need to show up and do the part I’m meant to do – she will do the rest!
While journeying and meditating with hellebore, she has taken me into the cosmic womb, shown me the Magdalene flame, and shared her particular way of anointing that ignites our woman power. I researched all of these because I didn’t know they were actual real things and they’ve all checked out; other people have received the same information.
I also know that I’m very intentional about how I create sacred space so as long as I show up and create a space for the hellebore deva to speak I’ll be doing my part. One of the women on the flower essence practitioner course wrote this about me: “You are the gate keeper to a world of forgotten magic. You open the door to another kingdom filled with wonder.”
Opening doors to worlds of forgotten magic, yup that part I can do. That part’s as natural as breathing!
Hellebore’s message is about trusting what we know in our blood and our bones rather than thinking we need to look outwards to find the knowledge. It’s not about having qualifications or training to prove what we know, it’s about trusting the knowing that is deep within us. The more we trust it, the more we awaken it and embody it!
She reminds us to trust ourselves: we know what we know at an ancient cellular level. She invites us inwards, circling into the heart and the womb to reconnect with our spiritual heritage as wise women.
So here we are. I’m diving into this hellebore initiation, trusting the process. I’ll soon be recording the audio of what the hellebore deva has asked me to share. I’m excited by the new level of depth that will happen when the hellebore essence is energised by the ceremony next Saturday as this gives a new dimension to essence-making that I haven’t explored before.
As the guidance for the initiation has been coming through from hellebore, I’ve repeatedly been shown the numbers 13 and 11. 13 bottles set up in the circle for the women who want to receive the initiation, with a further 11 bottles to be made up as hellebore essence without the initiation for people who want the essence but don’t want to join the ceremony.
When I went to my diary to check the timing of the new moon on Saturday 17th March I burst out laughing. 13.11 UK time. Well, what do you know? (And that’s the thing, my mind didn’t know but the deeper wiser part of me is totally tuned into the magic and mystery of this process).
I’m no numerologist but it fascinates me that 2018 is 11 in numerology and 11 is the number of the Priestess with many people saying 2018 is the year of the Priestess. Say no more, I’m in!
It’s time. I’m ready. Hellebore is ready. The circle awaits. Do you feel the call to join us? Tune into your heart, your womb. You will know.
The Hellebore initiation is now fully booked but there are bottles of hellebore essence available – see below.
When you sign up to the hellebore initiation, you’ll receive:
Your energetic place in the circle on 17th March (I will drum you in by singing your name and connecting with your energy);
25ml bottle of stock level hellebore essence charged with your energy in the initiation during new moon on 17th March (N.B. Contains brandy and water, please let me know if you’d prefer non-alcohol glycerine preservative instead of brandy);
Audio process from hellebore deva (sent as MP3 just before 17th March);
Printed message from the hellebore deva;
Hellebore flower postcard for your altar.
Receive hellebore essence (11 bottles available)
Orders will close at 13.11 UK time on Friday 16th March unless all essences have already been sold by then.
When you order hellebore essence, you’ll receive:
25ml bottle of stock level hellebore essence energised during new moon on 17th March (N.B. Contains brandy and water, please let me know if you’d prefer non-alcohol glycerine preservative instead of brandy);
Mini hellebore flower card for your altar.
Order now for £11 (approx. $15/€12) + postage & packaging
Choose delivery country
UK/Europe £14.99 GBPOutside Europe £16.99 GBP
With much love and ancient wisdom from the hellebores and me
The prehistoric pottery workshop had just begun when my friend and I arrived. We found a space at one of the tables and were handed balls of cool moist grey clay.
Around 20 people of all ages on the second floor of the mill, shaping similar balls of clay. Each of us shown the same basic techniques to transform our clay into pots.
I felt the weight of its cool delicious smoothness and every part of my being felt at home and at peace. As a tactile Earth sign, touching the earth is always good medicine for me.
It felt sacred. I sat in quiet reverence as the heat from my hands began to make the clay warmer and more malleable.
Handfuls of grit were heaped on the tables, to be worked into the clay to make it more resilient.
My friend and I shared a smile at this metaphor for life.
As we kneaded the grit into the soft body of the clay, it became integrated. No longer rough, gritty and separate but an essential part of the clay’s structure without which our pots could neither hold form nor function.
Metaphoric prehistoric pottery.
We kneaded, squeezed, shaped and stroked the clay, inviting it to stretch up and grow taller.
Absorbed in our clay meditation, utterly present, utterly at peace. Winter quietly opening into spring in the woodland outside the windows.
I silently gave thanks to the earth, air, fire, and water as I stroked the clay smoother and taller.
When I looked up to see what other people’s pots looked like, I was startled to notice that they were all very different from each other and all very different from mine.
My pot was rough around the edges, quite short, and very open. I hadn’t planned for it to look like this; I was aiming for more of a smooth elegant vase.
No matter what I did to try to shape it how I’d planned, it insisted on being an open bowl. So open that it broke open in a couple of places.
I gently repaired it with fat sausages of clay placed on the inside of the bowl, smoothed lovingly into place.
Gently reinforced from within; stronger than it had been before it broke.
I found myself reflecting that everything we create inherently expresses aspects of our own essential nature.
As humans, we need to make things because creativity is one of the ways in which our souls express themselves; one of the ways we let our souls be seen.
That’s why I think it can be vulnerable to show other people what we’ve made. It’s like saying “here’s part of my soul right here in front of you.”
That’s why it felt vulnerable yet deeply moving to sit with each woman on the course that day, not hiding behind our personality defences but trusting each other enough to let our souls be seen.
When I told the friend who’s a spiritual mentor to me that we’d shared a process to honour one another’s soul qualities in the final class, she said: “that’s what we expected from our parents as children and did not receive.”
I got the tingles when she said that. The tingles that my cells recognise as deep truth.
It is profoundly moving to drop beneath the surface level of our personality and to let our souls be seen.
It is deeply humbling when another soul trusts us enough to drop their defences and show us who they truly are.
As I’ve been reflecting on the ending of the essence training course, I am more certain than ever of the role that essences have to play in bringing us into living daily relationship with our own souls.
With a gentle and loving touch, they help us to clear away all the defences we have put around our hearts to stay safe, to be loved, and to function in the world.
Flower and other vibrational essences help us to recognise and let go of our conditioning, patterns, stories, beliefs, emotions and old wounds piece by piece.
Essences do this, not by trying to fix or change what we don’t like or don’t want in our lives, but by infusing all parts of us with so much love that everything out of alignment with that vibration simply doesn’t make sense anymore.
Our systems can’t sustain the lie that we are anything other than pure love, shining bright.
As we invite essences into our lives, the surface self crumbles away like loose pieces of dried clay and we are left standing in the radiance of our own souls.
I’m offering space for your soul to be seen, so that anything that is out of alignment with who you truly are can be lovingly transformed. And you will step forward feeling the vast love in your heart, the deep wisdom of your soul, and the creative magic in your life.
Check out the link to see if it resonates with you to join me for this delicious experience of soul-to-soul connection.
The new Bach Flower Spirit Cards aren’t just pretty pictures.
Images of the Bach Flower Remedy plants invite us into relationship with the soul medicine of the Bach Flower Remedies themselves in dynamic and creative ways.
These new cards offer us an intuitive way of connecting with the energy of the Bach Flower Remedies because they were taken with the same love and reverence that goes into making essences.
Bach Flower Remedies have been used for over 80 years and their effects are widely recognised. Images of these special plants help us to experience the energy of the Bach Flower Remedies themselves.
In the deepest wisest aspects of our being we intuitively know what we need for balance; we sense it without necessarily even being conscious of how a plant’s soul speaks to ours.
We tap into this inner knowing when we see the image of the flower whose energy we need. It’s like a cosmic dance where a particular flower calls us closer to get more intimate with it; to dance cheek-to-cheek for a while and learn the steps it’s here to teach us. And then, when our learning is complete and we have integrated what we needed for balance, we are drawn to a different plant teacher; a different messenger.
The Bach Flower Spirit Cards offer an invitation to connect with the Bach Flower Remedies in many different ways. Most of these suggestions can be used with other consciously created flower card decks too. I particularly love these and these.
Use cards to choose essences for yourself:
I recommend getting centred by taking a few deep breaths or meditating before you begin.
General wellbeing selection. Placing the cards face-up, ask ‘which Bach Flower Remedy can help me most at this time?’ and notice which image/s attract you.
General wellbeing shadow guide. Placing the cards face-up, ask ‘which Bach Flower Remedy can help me see what I’m not seeing at this time?’ and notice which image/s attract you. Get intimate with this flower and see what treasure it has to share with you.
General wellbeing ‘blind pick’. Turn the cards face-down, shuffle them and spread them out. Ask ‘which Bach Flower Remedy can help me most at this time?’ Pick the card/s you feel drawn to or which fall out of the deck.
Get specific about what you want more of in your life – ask which Bach Flower Remedy will help you to embody more of particular qualities or to fulfll a particular intention (e.g. achieve success, listen to your heart, express yourself, feel confident etc.)
Get specific about what you want to let go of – ask which Bach Flower Remedy will help you to illuminate and release particular issues, patterns, emotions, beliefs and stories (e.g. ‘which Bach Flower Remedy will help me to release my fears of being seen?’ or ‘which Bach Flower Remedy will help me forgive my ex so I can move on?’).
Soul-level check-in. Ask ‘which Bach Flower Remedy does my heart need’? ‘Which does my body need’? ‘Which does my mind need?’ ‘Which does my spirit need’? and finally ‘Which Bach Flower Remedy qualities does my soul wish to embody at this time?’. Notice which cards resonate with you as you hold each of these intentions in your heart. You can do this face-up or face-down (the cards that is, not you, though I suppose you could be lying face-up or face-down too). Do what feels good!
Use cards for insights and guidance:
Pick a daily, weekly or monthly card for your altar. Ask to receive insights, guidance and balance from this Bach Flower Remedy during that time. Make offerings, give thanks, light a candle, burn incense, sage and other practices that feel sacred to you. You can tune in consciously on a daily basis or simply set your intention for the time period you’ve chosen and reassess how things have changed (or not) afterwards.
Pick a card and explore its messages in your journal. You may wish to refer to the guidance in the booklet enclosed with the cards or other books you have about Bach Flower Remedies. Which aspects of this plant’s teachings are relevant for you at this time?
Pick a card and explore its messages in your artwork. Art is a great way to bypass the conscious mind and what we think we know about our lives so we can travel more deeply into the unconscious. You can reproduce the image of the Bach Flower Remedy on the card you’ve chosen with your eyes open or set an intention to capture its energy (often best done with eyes closed) and your creative self will take over.
Past, present, future. Do a three-card pick to explore past, present and future and how each Bach Flower Remedy illuminates the learning and healing from each.
Three-card pick to tune into the moment. Do a three card pick while asking: ‘What is arising within me now that needs to be honoured?’, ‘Which Bach flower Remedy can best help me navigate this?’ and ‘What is the soul quality that is yearning to be expressed within me?’
Decisions, decisions – follow the energy. When you have a decision to make, tune into the energy of each of your options and ask to be shown a card which relates to the energy of each choice. This card and its inherent qualities will have significance for you. Notice how it feels in your energy field when you’re holding that card – e.g. does the card associated with each decision make your energy rise or fall? What else do you notice? Be open to sensations, words, images, memories and other types of guidance coming through so you can gather data about each of your options.
Decisions, decisions – use information from the booklet. When you have a decision to make, choose a card to represent each of your options and explore how the message of this Bach Flower Remedy can help you, using the information in the accompanying booklet in a more conscious way than the previous prompt. It’s helpful to use both decision-making prompts to access the wild wisdom of your sensing self and the informed knowing of your conscious mind.
Clarity. Think about a specific situation you would like greater clarity on, and ask which Bach Flower Remedy has the energy and message you most need. I like to do this while shuffling the cards until the perfect image seems to fall out.
Deepen your knowing. You can go deeper by choosing cards while asking ”what are the patterns/beliefs/emotions/stories I’m being invited to illuminate in this situation?’ and ‘What are the qualities I’m being invited to embody?’ Take any guidance you receive into your journal to explore in more depth.
Use cards dynamically:
While cards like the Bach Flower Spirit Cards are traditionally used to help you select which essences to take, you can use the cards in many dynamic ways too.
Potentise your drinks. Choose the card you’re most attracted to and place it under a glass of water to energise the water with the vibration of that Bach Flower Remedy. This is ideal if you’re travelling, don’t have a particular essence available when you need it, if you want to avoid the alcohol preservative that’s in most essences, or if you’re very sensitive to the effects of essences. It’s also great for children and they love to make up their magic water. More and more essence makers are now making essences in intentional ways like this instead of placing cut blooms in water the way Bach did back in the 1930s. As consciousness changes and we become more sensitive to energy we can work with more subtle vibrations (e.g. the plant’s spirit being conveyed through an image into the water) and feel the effects because we’re less dense.
Energise your creations. Place cards under items you make, e.g. body creams, essence sprays, yummy foodstuffs, fabric crafts, artwork, jewellery etc. to charge them up with the energy of that Bach Flower Remedy.
Journey for soul medicine. Choose a card then take a Shamanic journey to meet the spirit of that Bach Flower Remedy. Ask what meaning, messages and medicine it has for you at this time.
Flower spirit meditation. Choose a card to take into your meditation practice, either holding it while you meditate or having it nearby. Depending on how you access your intuition, you may find that you hold the image of the plant in your inner vision; focus on its name like a mantra; or focus on feeling this flower’s inherent qualities in your heart while you meditate. Intend that this Bach Flower Remedy is filling your energy field with its energy. Relax, and notice what unfolds in your meditation.
Bum wisdom. Choose a card to access what has affectionately become known as ‘bum wisdom’ in the practitioner training course I teach. For American readers, that’s butt wisdom to you! This takes the practice in the step above a little deeper and is great for people who are very kinaesthetic. Select a card and sit on it – you can do this with the card face-up or face-down. Ask what messages are available to you from this Bach Flower Remedy. Notice bodily sensations, emotions, insights, observations, and anything else that arises. You can do this while focusing on a particular issue you’d like clarity on or to receive guidance from your body, mind, emotions and spirit.
Use cards in groups and gatherings:
Sacred space. Use the cards to create sacred space for workshops, women’s circles, one-to-one sessions and other gatherings. Placing the cards in concentric circles or a spiral works really well, and changes the tone of the environment you’re in because you’re inviting the energy of the Bach Flower Remedies into your space.
Group connection with flower spirits, Invite people to choose one or more images that attract them. This is a lovely way to welcome each person individually into the space and it can be a good ice breaker to invite people to talk about their response to the card/s they’ve chosen. If it’s appropriate, you may wish to talk about the qualities each chosen Bach Flower Remedy embodies and/or the issues it brings into balance (you’ll find this information in the booklet supplied with the Bach Flower Spirit Cards).
Group harmony. Select a card with the intention of bringing coherency to the energy of the group or workshop and place it centrally in the room, on the altar or in any other way that fits with the group.
Bach flower energy in classes. Use cards in yoga class, meditation class, dance class, art class or any other groups you facilitate by inviting everyone to choose the image they most need and encourage them to connect with its energy during the session.
Plant allies in meetings. Ask which card’s energy is needed for family meetings, business meetings and other significant get-togethers. Choose one card as a spirit helper for the meeting and/or invite everyone to choose a card to create a circle of supportive plant energy in the room.
Use cards at signficant times:
New Moon Card Pick. Ask which Bach Flower Remedies will help you to energise new ideas and projects, or another theme that fits with the energy of the New Moon.
Full Moon Card Pick. Ask which Bach Flower Remedies will help you with healing and transformation, or another theme that fits with the energy of the Full Moon.
New Year Card Pick. Choose a card for each month of the coming year, and an overall card for the year. Notice how it guides and transforms things for you.
Flower spirit energy for celebrations and transitions. Pick a card or selection of cards at key times e.g. Celtic wheel of the year festivals, your birthday, family celebrations and rituals.
Use cards to choose essences for others:
If you have the privilege of selecting essences for a client, friend or family member you can choose from the prompts above and adapt them to suit your circumstances. The following prompts are intended for practitioners to use in one-to-one sessions.
Use the cards to select Bach Flower Remedies for your client. At the beginning and/or towards the end of a session, ask which Bach Flower Remedies will be of greatest benefit to your client at this time and select cards, either face-up or face-down.
Your client uses the cards to select Bach Flower Remedies. Encourage your client to choose their own images, with the cards either face-up or face-down. This is empowering for them, affirming that they are in touch with their intuition and instinctively know what they need. Children love doing this – they’re naturally very intuitive and trust their inner knowing.
Pendulum and muscle testing to select Bach Flower Remedies. Use a pendulum or muscle testing to select the appropriate essences for your clients by placing a selection of cards on the table and asking the pendulum or muscle test to show you which Bach Flower Remedies are needed.
Use cards dynamically with others:
These cards can be used as energetic tools during flower essence sessions, in fact the first thing that people who’re sensitive to energy say when they see these cards is ‘Oh, these aren’t just images, they’re energy tools’. I love using images dynamically during client sessions and feel that I’ve just seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s possible with them.
Sometimes after interacting with images in the ways I suggest below, people will have shifted what they needed to with the support of that Bach Flower Remedy in the moment so the actual essence may not be required. However sometimes it’s a more complex or deeply rooted pattern so the Bach Flower Remedy will be needed for loving transformation.
Absorb the energy from the cards. Pass your client any card/s that you sense would benefit them at particular times so they can absorb the energy there and then. I find this is useful when somebody is upset because it gives them immediate support from nature. Another situation where this works well is when somebody is talking about an issue in a detached overly mental way and you sense they’re avoiding feeling the emotion, so providing a direct connection with the plant through the image can bring them more into their body. Conversely, if somebody is absorbed in the emotion or story of something that’s going on for them and can’t get out of that swamp to gain perspective and see things with clarity, the right card at the right time can bring useful focus. Trust your guidance on which image to choose for them.
Which card attracts you? Ask your client which image/s attract them while they’re exploring particular feelings or discussing particular issues. A gentle invitation to ‘see if there’s a card that attracts you’ can open gateways to new understandings. Follow your inner promptings about when this is appropriate for your client. It can help them to get in touch with the energy of what’s arising within them and what they instinctively need for balance in very direct ways that speak to the part of the energy system where emotions have become stuck.
Stay with the energy. Invite your client to remain present with their feelings while holding or looking at particular card/s and observe any changes e.g. they may become calmer or less upset, more in touch with their bodily sensations etc. This takes some skill to observe but if you’re working with other people in this way it’s likely that you’ve developed those skills already through essence practitioner training or other energy healing approaches. If it feels appropriate, you can invite them to explore what they’re experiencing while they connect with the image/s. ‘How are you feeling now?’ or ‘Tell me what’s happening in your body now?’ are good questions to offer. You may wish to talk to them about the patterns, emotions and beliefs that the Bach Flower Remedy on the card they’re using balances, or it may be appropriate to simply witness what they’re experiencing.
Healing sessions. Place one or more cards on the healing couch or on your client’s body during healing sessions so they can absorb the energy directly. Either they choose the cards, you do, or a combination of both of you. It’s particularly potent if you ask them what their intention is at the start of the session e.g. to feel more relaxed, to receive clarity on a decision, to let go of a difficult relationship etc. as that creates a container for the essences to work very directly.
Distant healing. Use the cards to send distant healing to a person (with their permission) or situation. Choose between 1-8 images and arrange them in an alignment that feels good to you.When I’ve set up an arrangement of images in the way that feels right, I use my drum, singing bowl or voice to carry the vibrations from the cards to where it is needed.
What have I missed? How would you use yours?
Tell me in the comments, and remember that if you order your Bach Flower Spirit cards by Thursday 30th November you’ll qualify for pre-sale discounts and delicious (secret) bonuses.
The story begins in the woods one drizzly day in May 2009.
I didn’t know why I needed to attend a woodland photography workshop with Jason Smalley but I had to honour the inner prompting that insisted I go. Although I’d never been interested in photography before, I was called to that workshop so loudly that I couldn’t ignore the impulse.
It takes faith to follow our inner promptings when they make no sense to the logical mind.
It takes courage to listen to our hearts when we have no idea what we’re doing or why.
Within moments of arriving at the workshop, it became clear why my heart had led me there. Jason connects with nature through photography in the same way that a flower essence practitioner connects with nature. We share the same depth of presence; the same sense of love and reverence for the unseen realms, elementals and devas.
We both live our lives in conscious communication with the very soul of Nature herself. While I capture these qualities when making an essence, Jason captures them in a photograph.
By the next day we were already making plans to create a sumptuous book together, combining the energy of the Bach Flower Remedy plants through Jason’s images with my knowledge of essences.
Over the next two years we travelled the length and breadth of England to capture images of Bach Flower Remedy plants growing in wild, sacred, obscure and unexpected locations! We travelled to Dr Edward Bach’s garden at the Bach Centre in Oxfordshire to photograph Scleranthus and Cerato.
Scleranthus for inner balance and decision-making
I sat at Edward Bach’s desk on a chair made with his own hands and cried with a heart full of gratitude for him and his legacy. Later I laid on Bach’s grave, mourning the fact I never met him while he was alive but grateful that I feel his guidance nevertheless.
I promised Dr Bach I would honour his work.
We approached publishers and agents with our proposal for a full colour photographic book exploring the Bach Flower Remedies, but received multiple rejections and decided to put plans on hold. Life took us in different directions until eventually a new idea emerged – to publish the images as a set of cards instead of a book.
Jason was clearly guided from the outset that we needed to capture images of the Bach Flower Remedy plants on a white background as well as in their natural habitat. If you’ve ever photographed a flower you’ll know that the background is always visible in your shot unless you cut the flower and place it on a plain background (e.g. a piece of paper or fabric).
Jason was adamant that cutting the flowers for a typical indoor studio shot with the perfect white background and lighting required to achieve those types of images would not honour the wild beating heart of this project.
He insisted that all the images were to be taken of living plants, and it took him some time to find a creative solution that would enable us to have a set of Bach Flower Remedy images on white backgrounds as well as a set of images on nature backgrounds.
We didn’t know why we needed both, but the guidance was clear. Both were needed and no plants were to be damaged in the making of these cards!
We trusted the inner promptings without knowing the reasons why.
Gentian helps us to develop greater faith and trust.
As I began to use the images in sessions with people, a pattern emerged. Some people were drawn predominantly to the images on white backgrounds, others to the images on nature.
It was common for someone to go through a journey during a consultation where they experienced energetic shifts, insights and emotional release by connecting first with one image of the flower that related to their core issue and then connecting with the other image of the same flower.
I could see that people were moving through a process using these images – a dynamic energetic experience that shifted their emotional state from confusion and distress into greater balance and wholeness.
One woman told me that when she was experiencing the energy of one image it was exactly how she felt when she was in the state that Bach flower remedy treated; when her unbalanced emotions, patterns, beliefs and stories were triggered.
Then when she connected with the other image of the same flower, she felt a shift and was able to embody the inherent positive qualities of that essence because she could feel how that image held the energetic template for balance.
That was a real Aha! moment for me. She gave me a framework to understand what I sensed was happening when I used the images in sessions with people. Since then, the feedback I’ve had from essence practitioners, shamanic teachers and other people who work with energy is that these images are dynamic tools that help to bring about shifts in emotional states and changes in consciousness.
Agrimony brings inner peace and emotional authenticity
The flowers were photographed in sacred communion with nature with the intention of capturing the essence of the Bach Flower Remedies themselves.
These images have their own vital energy that can be felt. The cards speak to the soul in the same way that essences do, reaching into those wordless places where emotions can get stuck and soul longings are held.
We will be publishing the images as two separate decks that can be used individually or together for spiritual insights and energetic shifts. The Wild Embodiment Deck contains all the images on natural backgrounds, and the Inner Clarity Deck contains all the images on white backgrounds.
My explorations using the different sets of images with clients suggests that each set relates to different aspects of our being. The Wild Embodiment Deck helps you to get in touch with and release emotions and beliefs in a dynamic way. The Inner Clarity Deck provides a wider perspective on what you’re experiencing so you identify less with the story and experience greater spiritual understanding.
Pine helps us embody self-worth, self-respect and forgiveness.
Soon the cards will be available for pre-sale and it feels like the start of something special. I’m excited about the journey everyone who resonates with these cards will go on together. We will use them in ways that cards like these are traditionally used (e.g. to select essences, and to receive guidance on the big questions about life), and we will use them in new ways as energy tools to bring about emotional shifts and inner transformation.
I don’t know exactly how this is going to unfold but I do know that publishing these cards is the next piece of a story that began on that drizzly May day in the woodland. Or maybe the story really began with Edward Bach walking through the fields over 80 years ago seeking a new system of healing from nature.
I’m sitting here with the Wild Embodiment Deck and the Inner Clarity Deck spread out next to me and the energy from these images reduces me to tears. The kind of tears that open your heart in gratitude and joy. I cannot wait to share them with you!
Yet I know that I’ve only been given part of the story of why these cards have been created and what they will do. My job is to physically bring them into being by publishing the decks and sharing everything I’m learning about using them.
We are on the cusp of co-creating the next part of this story together through the ways in which you will use the cards to bring this work alive. Together we will discover how these images open new doors in the heart of human consciousness. You will be guided to use them in ways I haven’t considered. You will have experiences with them that will have messages for us all.
We are about to travel on a beautiful journey together, learning how these images take us deeper into the energy of the heart so we can be guided by the wisdom of our souls.
Chicory helps to open our hearts to unconditional love
Dr Bach tells me that together we will be taking his work to a different level that was not possible during his lifetime. We are ready now to work with the energy of the Bach Flower Remedies embodied in these images in new ways to co-create a world that thrives on Love. In the words of Charles Eisenstein, the time has come to create the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.
Soon, I’ll be sharing the next piece of the story, and I hope you’ll join me so we can co-create a beautiful new story together. Watch this space! In the meantime, join me on Facebook or Instagram where I’ll be sharing the wild beauty of these images plus inspiring ways to work with their energy.
In the first part of this series on using essences for trauma I talked about what trauma is and how it affects us, key essences to help us recover from trauma, and shared some of my own experiences of using essences to move on from trauma. Read Part 1 here.
Birth can be deeply traumatic for both mother and child, and it’s something that women have historically kept silent about. Do you know your own birth story? How was that experience for your mother and for you? It’s common for there to be birth complications and physical interventions that are traumatic for mother and child but they’re not always acknowledged. Many women I’ve spoken to still feel traumatised years after giving birth. Yet we normalise this trauma – if we end up with a healthy baby in our arms, what we endured gets put to one side; stored in some wordless part of us as we cope with the reality of looking after a young baby.
And even if the birth goes well physically, I believe it’s still a huge spiritual shock for the incoming soul to transition from womb to world. They leave the warm water home of the womb and arrive into the world, often in harsh brightly lit hospitals.
There can be a type of soul loss that happens at birth where not all aspects of the incarnating soul feel safe to incarnate into earth life. This could be because of the physical environment during labour, or because of emotional impressions absorbed by the soul in utero about how welcome and wanted they are, fear about the world they are coming into or any number of other reasons why they are unable to incarnate fully.
Northern Lady’s Slipper from the Alaskan Essences is effective in the treatment of birth trauma, particularly when there is a sense that the soul has not fully incarnated. It offers a “nurturing energy for the healing of core traumas and wounds that have strongly impacted the physical and energetic structures of the body; helps us allow our bodies to be touched and healed by infinite gentleness.” Buy Northern Lady’s Slipper in the UK here, or internationally here.
Essences can be used to treat any kind of trauma that has been absorbed in utero. The foetus absorbs the mother’s emotional energy as if it was its own. What was going on emotionally for your mother when she was pregnant with you? Was there shame, fear or despair about the pregnancy? Were you planned, wanted and welcomed?
Many people I work with feel ambivalent about being here on earth in a physical body. For one reason or another, parts of the soul don’t feel the sense of safety, belonging and welcome that are esential for embodied aliveness. There are essences which speak directly to this, welcoming us into our earthly existence with love and belonging. In this way, essences can be used to support incarnating souls to fully arrive and feel safe in the world from birth.
The Alaskan Essence “Shooting Star is often indicated for those who have had a difficult birth, and can be a catalyst for the removal of pain and trauma remaining in the body from the birth experience.” Buy Shooting Star in the UK here, or internationally here.
Essences can be used to support mother and baby during pregnancy and birth and if, like my son and I, mother and child are separated for some time because the baby is in special care and/or the mother is ill, essences can help to restore that nurturing bond which was missing in the early days.
Thrift from the LightBringer Essences “supports interdependent relationships which are loving, giving, and well-balanced, and helps create strong family bonds, especially between parent and child from conception onwards.”
If essences were not used at the time of birth, they can still treat birth trauma many years later because they treat the energetic imprint of the trauma regardless of where and when it originated.
Ancestral and Family Trauma
Often the trauma goes even further back than our experiences during birth or in the womb. Many of us carry the legacy of our ancestor’s unhealed trauma, and this can cause problems physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Trauma is defined by an inability to process, release and heal from something shocking so an unintegrated energetic residue remains after the event. If trauma is not healed in the generation where it originally happened, then where is that energy going to go? Your grandfather’s war experiences, your aunt’s suicide, your mother’s depression? These ancestral traumas live on in the soul of the family. It’s now accepted that the effects of trauma are passed down through generations – this is described as ancestral or intergenerational trauma.
The human soul has a natural impulse towards healing so, like a plant reaching for the light, undigested trauma will travel to where it can be transformed. This means it usually gets absorbed by the sensitive people in the family who are most likely to notice and work with it.
Family trauma can be ancestral in nature passed down through the genes, or it can be what’s happened within our families in our own lifetimes. Perhaps it affected us directly or we absorbed the impact of it on an emotional level – abuse, neglect, deaths, divorce, mental illness, suicide and poverty can have strong emotional reverberations for the entire family, and it is the sensitive people who feel it as though it is their own. Fortunately, sensitive people also respond particularly well to essences – noticing the subtlety of their impact on their entire energy system and feeling their sense of balance and connection being restored.
LightBringer Essences Scots Pine combination “connects us with our roots, our path, our ancestors and our grounding. It helps us to settle in to our body and life, finding acceptance and peace with what Is. It helps us to know who we are at the deepest level, putting down roots which claim our space and our right to be. With the essence we can claim the right to regenerate any areas of our personal/familial history or our psyche and energy-system which do not feel owned or fully inhabited by us.”
The Role of Essences in Treating Trauma
“Trauma is not the story of something awful that happened in the past, but the residue of imprints left behind in people’s sensory and hormonal systems.” Bessel van der Kolk
To treat trauma successfully, we need to create a different sensory imprint; restoring trust, safety, presence, vitality, and what Peter Levine calls ‘goodness’.
To recover from trauma, the body needs to learn that it is now safe and able to live in the reality of the present rather than being stuck in the terror and paralysis of what happened in the past.
Essences have an intrinsic vitality, comfort and loving presence that restore these qualities within us.
They can be used immediately in shocking situations to diminish the effects on our sensitive energetic systems. Essences will help you to stay in your body so that you are present, embodied and able to process and integrate what’s happening at the time.
In the moment, essences help you to feel safe and stay present, less likely to check out, collapse or freeze and therefore more likely to respond to a shocking situation appropriately instead of becoming traumatised by it.
Like animals that quickly shake off their fear after they’ve been hunted and get on with their lives again, taking one of these combinations will help you to stay present, engaged and connected. Peter Levine’s research demonstrates that people become stronger and more resilient by successfully navigating events that could have been traumatic if responded to differently. When we have an embodied experience of feeling safe and emotionally well resourced, it develops our emotional resilience. Essences taken in times of crisis or shock help us to develop this quality of emotional resilience that trauma interferes with.
Essences can be used just as effectively long after a traumatic event has happened to address the imprint that’s been left. Essences work in the ‘here and now’ so if you’re feeling numb, dissociated and shutdown, they will help you to awaken and feel once again.
Essences support us to become present so our bodies can have the somatic experience they need to move out of shock, terror and shutdown.
In Steve Johnson’s workshop on using Alaskan Essences for trauma last year, he said that every person who heals from trauma weakens the vibration of trauma on the planet, creating a more resilient, stable and balanced vibration for us all. The collective impact of healing our trauma is huge.
Essences and the Right Side of the Brain
Something that particularly fascinates me is that studies of traumatised people show that the left side of the brain which orders and organises information shuts down, so talking about trauma or trying to make sense of it are not effective in healing from trauma.
In contrast, the right side of the brain is highly activated in trauma – this is where the sensory fragments of the traumatic experience are stored: the smells, sounds, images, colours, feelings and sensations. Successful treatment of trauma requires creating a safe space for these fragmented sensations, feelings, images and other sensory impressions to be integrated into a coherent experience.
To effectively address trauma, it makes sense to go directly to the part of the system where the traumatic imprint is stored and registered – and that’s predominantly in the right side of the brain where essences have a particular affinity.
Essences speak to our creative intuitive right brain most clearly; this is where they have the greatest impact. When I’m making an essence, the impressions of how it works come to me as a series of intuitive sensory downloads rather than logical ordered information. Essences speak to us as fragments, sensations, feelings in the body, emotional responses; as sensory impressions of music, images, lights, colours, smells.
Essences speak to us through our sensing self, directly reaching into the right brain which is where the trauma imprints remain.
In this way, essences go directly to trauma sites within the energy system replacing the painful fragments with different sensory information that is supportive, compassionate and safe.
Essences help us to create a stable container in our fragmented systems so we can become more resilient, present and embodied.
And the other piece that we must not underestimate is the gentle compassionate presence of nature that is embodied in essences. Peter Levine tells a story of being knocked down by a car and the two factors which stopped him being traumatised by the experience. One was the opportunity for his body to somatically process what happened by discharging the energy of the event, and the other was a passer-by who offered her compassionate human presence. In a gentle non-obtrusive way she was stayed present with him, offering kindness and acceptance.
Essences have this same quality of compassionate presence. They carry the intrinsic love and support of nature within them; reminding us that we are loved, we belong, and all is well. They meet us gently and compassionately reminding us that we, too, are part of nature, we are being taken care of, and we have a natural capacity to bounce back and return to centre once again. Essences remind us of our natural animal resilience and reawaken that within us, even if we have been deeply traumatised..
Gabor Mate says “trauma is not what happens to us, but what we hold inside in the absence of an empathetic witness.”
Essences provide us with an empathetic witness to our emotional experience by meeting us with love and presence. And perhaps most powerfully, they help us to activate the empathetic witness within ourselves.
As a result, we find the safe haven within ourselves, able to meet and hold our own emotional experience. Thus soul loss and fragmention are transformed into integration and wholeness and we can begin to live life with restored joy, presence and vitality once again.
I would love to hear about your experience of using essences for trauma, or if you work with trauma and are curious about how to use essences in your work – please leave a comment below.
By the time we reach adulthood, I believe that most, if not all of us, will have experienced trauma that impacts on our emotional wellbeing and everyday functioning.
I believe that flower and other vibrational essences have a huge part to play in the healing of trauma because they reach directly into the parts of our energy system where trauma gets lodged; gently bringing comfort and restoring our natural vitality.
Although I’m not a trauma specialist, it’s becoming clear to me that much of the work I do with essences is helping people to release the impact of trauma from their energy systems and everyday lives. Some essences address the symptoms of trauma (e.g. feeling numb, overwhelmed, fearful) while others address specific types of trauma (e.g. sexual abuse, trauma from surgery, birth trauma).
The value of essences in the treatment of trauma is something I now see clearly in my own life. As I begin to learn about trauma from people who are experts, I recognise that many of the things I’ve struggled with are characteristic of people who are traumatised.
Deep disconnection from my body; feeling numb and disengaged. Low level dread of life; feeling that it wasn’t safe to be here. High level anxiety and constant overwhelm. Getting highly activated in situations that other people would take in their stride. Feelings of being powerless and, at times, deep dark hopelessness. Chronic pain all over my body coupled with exhaustion that would keep me bedbound for days at a time.
For a long time it required a daily commitment to using essences and energy work for me to be able to function in the world at all. Now I don’t need to work so hard to maintain that basic level of functioning because I’ve rediscovered my core emotional resilience and sense of safety, so life feels very different. I feel very different.
Essences are, I believe, a crucial resource in the treatment of trauma because they help us to move on, feeling safe, embodied, resilient, connected and alive. They offer us soothing support to move into our emotional experience and meet it with compassion and patience rather than shutting down our emotional responses in an attempt to cope with the unbearable.
Whether you’re a practitioner seeking ways to help your clients release and heal from trauma, or an individual seeking support in your own trauma healing, I hope this series of posts will be of benefit to you.
What Is Trauma and How Does It Affect Us?
Trauma occurs when something shocking or distressing happens and we are unable to cope at the time; we can’t respond, integrate and process the event so there is an ongoing psychological and physiological impact.
“We become scared stiff or, alternately, we collapse, overwhelmed and defeated with helpless dread. Either way trauma defeats life.” Peter Levine
The terror and shock cause disconnect from the physical body; people often report feeling that part of their soul left during a traumatic incident and didn’t come back. While this dissociation happens as a way to protect us from feeling the pain of an unbearable situation, the disconnect continues after the initial threat has passed, resulting in long-lasting emotional numbness, difficulties connecting with others and a fear of feeling anything at all. We no longer feel safe experiencing our emotions, and we no longer trust our somatic experience. We couldn’t prevent the unthinkable from happening so we feel powerless and lose faith in the intrinsic goodness of life.
“Anyone who has suffered a trauma knows first, paralyzing fright, followed by the bereft feeling of losing your way in the world, of being severed from your very soul.” Peter Levine
“Overwhelming experiences affect our innermost sensations and our relationship to our physical reality – the core of who we are.” Bessel van der Kolk
Trauma shatters our ability to feel fully engaged, embodied and alive. We cannot engage meaningfully with ourselves, other people or life itself because the energy system gets overwhelmed, can’t cope and breaks down.
Brain functioning is affected by trauma; the mind cannot make sense of the raw sensations that flood the system so the unprocessed experience gets stored in the body until it finds a safe way to release.
The imprint of trauma affects many aspects of daily life and functioning. Traumatised people continue to secrete high amounts of stress hormones long after the traumatic event has passed, and this has a negative impact on the immune system. Inreasingly researchers are exploring the link between trauma and auto immune disorders such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.
The impact of trauma is debilitating, so we need to find ways to restore our natural resilience; to reawaken our feelings of safety, trust, courage and self healing so we can feel vital, alive and connected once again.
Peter Levine has observed that traumatised people “are either overwhelmed by their bodily sensations or massively shut down against them.”
When I began to read Peter Levine and Bessel Van der Kolk’s work on trauma, I was immediately struck by the fact that the experiences common to traumatised people are all states addressed by Bach Flower Remedies.
Experience shame for not being able to escape. (Pine)
Feel unable to move on from the past trauma and only feel alive when revisiting it. (Honeysuckle)
If you are experiencing any or all of these states in your life, I invite you to use the appropriate Bach Flower Remedies to see if you notice any difference. The impact of trauma goes deep so while you will probably notice some changes quickly, it may take many months, in some cases years to release the imprint of trauma from your system. Practice gentleness and patience in addressing these states. Bach Flower Remedies can be taken individually at stock level on the tongue or in a drink of water to treat acute states, or combined in a dosage bottle with water and preservative to treat chronic states. More information about combining Bach Flower Remedies here. Take them until you notice a difference; until peace is restored to your system.
What Happens In the Human System When we Experience Trauma?
“Trauma is not just an event that took place sometime in the past; it is also the imprint left by that experience on mind, brain and body. This imprint has ongoing consequences for how the human organism manages to survive in the present.” Bessel van der Kolk
In the wild, animals face shocking, frightening and distressing events on a regular basis e.g. being hunted by a predator, but they are able to ‘shake it off’, reset their nervous systems and get on with life. It’s different for us.
Peter Levine says: “Many of us humans, unfortunately, have become alienated from this innate capacity for resilience and self-healing… This has made us vulnerable to being overwhelmed and trauamatised. Traumatised individuals have lost both their way in the world and the vital guidance of their inner promptings. Cut off from the primal sensations, instincts and feelings arising from the interior of their bodies, they are unable to orient to the ‘here and now’.“
This demonstrates why essences can be so valuable as part of the treatment of trauma.
Essences enable us to rediscover our innate capacity for resilience and self-healing. Click To Tweet
They contain the vital energy of nature in all its power and help us reconnect with our visceral animal self; the part of us that intuitively senses and knows what we need.
This visceral sensing self is the very part that can get shut down as a result of trauma, when we lose trust in our bodies and become terrified of feeling at all. Essences suport a homecoming to the body; gently enabling us to tune into our inner sensations and move towards our emotional experiences rather than closing down from them out of fear and numbness.
Essences reawaken the soul after shock and trauma, bringing comfort, reassurance and love. Essences help us to become present in the moment, feeling the sensations in our physical bodies and able to explore our emotional worlds in a safe and gentle way.
Different Types of Trauma
Commonly when we think of trauma we may think of war veterans, people who’ve been involved in horrific disasters or experienced sexual abuse or rape but there are many different types of trauma. Trauma may be emotional, physical or a combination of the two. In his research, Bessel Van der Kolk has found that chronic emotional abuse and neglect can be just as devastating as physical and sexual abuse.
Physical trauma results when the body has been damaged by accident, injury, surgery or physical abuse. Physical trauma may or may not be accompanied by emotional trauma depending on the circumstances.
Cotton Grass from the Alaskan essences specifically addresses trauma from accident or injury. It “helps us come to a full understanding of the core issues that led to an accident or injury so we can release the physical, emotional and mental trauma associated with it.” Order Alaskan cotton grass essence in the UK here, order it internationally here.
While physical trauma is not always accompanied by emotional trauma it’s important to note that on an energetic level, physical damage to the body also affects the etheric body; the layer of the energy body closest to the physical body and essences help us address this. People who are sensitive to energy will see or feel this etheric damage as holes in the aura where energy leaks out, leaving the person feeling drained and vulnerable.
Rhodolite Garnet from the Alaskan Essences specifically addresses this etheric damage by increasing “our ability to inhabit the physical body; helps us reconnect energetically with parts of the body that have been injured or traumatized; rebuilds the web of etheric energy in areas disrupted by accident or injury.” Order Alaskan Rhodolite Garnet in the UK here, order it internationally here.
Domestic violence, sexual abuse and rape are all examples of trauma that is both physical and emotional. As well as physical pain, the violation of trust and feelings of physical danger are overwhelming to the emotional system. These types of trauma call for patient gentleness in their treatment; a gentleness that essences inherently embody.
River Beauty Alaskan Essence “helps soothe the effects of traumatic events, and supports the necessary process of emotional reorientation and recovery one must go through after the shock from such an experience has passed.” It brings comfort to many different types of trauma. Order River Beauty in the UK here or internationally here.
Balsam Poplar from the Alaskan Essences specifically addresses sexual trauma, heping with “the release of physical and emotional tension associated with sexual trauma; balances the circulation of life force energy in the body; helps to ground and synchronize our sexual energy with planetary cycles and rhythms.” Order Balsam Popular in the UK here or internationally here.
Within the LightBringer essence range made from living wild plants in the most pristine environments of the UK, we find many essences that restore wholeness after trauma.
Spring squill essence “helps to turn back trauma from childhood. Where a child has been abused or experienced deep pain, where life has literally been a ‘bad dream’, or where the child has had to grow up too quickly, the essence energetically wipes the slate clean and helps restore childhood truth and innocence.”
Another essence from the LightBringer Essences to offer the gentle support that is required in trauma is Thrift which “enables a person to feel safe and grounded again after trauma and shock has left them vulnerable. Thrift earths and stabilizes, but with such a sense of play and friendliness! There is nothing heavy about this essence – just the joy of loving care.”
Cotton Grass from the LightBringer Essences “is an essence of protection and grounding. It reminds us that we are safe and supported – even in intensely challenging and fearful situations when we might feel shocked to the core and deeply destabilised.”
When we use essences, we are able to restore wholeness on physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and etheric levels. We know that we are in safe and loving hands when we turn to the natural vibrations that are encapsulated in vibrational essences.
Essences Released Trauma From My Son’s Birth
I felt both phsycially and emotionally traumatised by the birth of my son. I wasn’t the same person for a long time after that; part of my soul left and I remember the exact moment when it happened.
I’d asked the doctor not to do an internal examination until my current contraction had peaked and I was able to control my breathing again, so I could work with my body to relax for his manual examination of my cervix. He looked me calmly in the eyes, ignored my wishes and shoved his arm inside me when I was at the peak of the pain. The shock, pain, powerlessness and physical trauma shattered me. I left my body at that moment; this dissociation is common in traumatic circumstances. Continuing with labour in a fragmented state did not make for an easy birth!
While taking essences for releasing trauma in the last couple of years I’ve felt physical sensations from the labour 17 years ago resurfacing as though my body wants to have the somatic experience of doing what it couldn’t at the time. Trauma expert Peter Levine writes about how one of the keys to healing trauma is completing the physical escape process that wasn’t possible at the time.
Essences offer us a gentle way to get in touch with memories held within the body; supporting us to let these old stories stored in our cells find their natural release without needing to talk about, remember or try to make sense of what happened at the time. There is something very pure about what happens when we use essences in this way; they reach directly into the emotional sensations we’ve been holding in our bodies so these sensations can be integrated and released without retraumatising us.
Essences have a core gentleness, safety and comfort that helps our traumatised systems trust that we are being held with exquisite gentleness, soothing support and compassion: key requirements for healing trauma.
We are part of nature, so it’s essential soul care for us to nourish our connection with the natural world. Studies show that time in nature is good for our mental health, and our connection with nature is soul-deep.
Coded within each of us is a deep cellular memory that we ARE nature. We’re made of the same stuff as stars and plants and rocks and soil so when we connect with nature’s energy we experience a homecoming of the soul.
Connection. Belonging. Homecoming.
I believe that we are continually being offered invitations to receive nature’s love and support to replenish our parched modern-day souls. It’s the antidote to the epidemic of separation that runs rife through our lives.
We need to be in relationship with nature to experience the connection and belonging that is necessary for our wellbeing. We need to remember that we are not separate; we are part of a rich web that holds all of life’s experiences.
There are vast universes in your soul.
You are starlight and flowers, stormy seas and summer meadows, thunder and birdsong. You can hold love and despair. Sorrow and joy. Hope and disappointment. Fury and delight. We can hold all of it so we need to give ourselves permission to feel all of it.
We live in a culture that separates things.
We separate mind and body and treat them as though they are not in conversation with one another. We separate out ‘good’ and ‘bad’, craving more of the good experiences and avoiding what we consider bad.
We judge some emotions as positive and others as negative so when the emotions we don’t like arise, we throw them out of our hearts instead of making them welcome.
We need to stop pushing away our uncomfortable and painful feelings in the quest for positivity. We need to learn how to make space for everything. Nature is here to show us how it’s done.
Nature includes, accepts and makes space for everything.
I was watching butterflies and dragonflies in our garden yesterday, revelling in their beauty as they darted exquisitely from plant to plant. And then a fat bluebottle settled next to me and I felt a little shudder of revulsion. I was judging it as less attractive and welcome than the others because it doesn’t appeal to my aesthetic senses in the same way. But it plays its own necessary part in the web of life. It has its place; it belongs.
We make similar judgements about aspects of ourselves. We constantly separate out parts of ourselves into those that we accept and those we reject. I’m thoughtful, generous, kind and loving most of the time. These are my butterfly and dragonfly selves! But I can also be cynical, resentful and inflexible – the fat bluebottles of my inner world!
Everything that you feel is necessary and valid and transitory.
We are here to experience all that arises within the heart. This is how we open fully to life with all its beauty and discomfort.
We need to stop fuelling this story of separation, where we subtly abandon our own hearts every time we feel something we don’t like. When uncomfortable feelings get triggered, most of us push them away – invariably we judge or reject them and push them out of our hearts.
Actually, we are being invited to turn towards these feelings to give them their place of belonging. We are being invited to make space for what is there and meet it with kindness, compassion and acceptance.
The ego seeks separation by making things either good or bad but the soul seeks belonging. Click To Tweet
The ego says ‘you shouldn’t be feeling this’ while the soul says ‘everything is welcome here’.
Feel that land within you: ‘Everything is welcome here.’
I feel a softening and opening within me when I breathe that truth into my heart.
Vibrational essences from nature give us a powerful way to welcome all aspects of our experience into our hearts. We soften, we open, we put our defences down and stop quietly battling against the parts of ourselves we don’t like.
Essences help us to bring our full presence to our experience; meeting what is in our hearts with love and curiosity rather than judgement and rejection. This is deeply integrative and healing. This is nature’s wild medicine infusing us with the inherent qualities of belonging and acceptance that we yearn for.
Part of the alchemy of working with essences is that in order to select them appropriately we need to create a space of enquiry where we enter into conversation with our own souls. We ask ‘how am I feeling?’ ‘what is rising up to be seen in this moment?’ ‘what needs my attention?’ ‘what needs careful tending?’ ‘what feels raw or painful or tender?” ‘what feels balanced and clear and flowing?’ ‘what do I most need?”
By exploring what is true in that moment of enquiry we are turning towards all that we find instead of walking away.
Essences meet us in the truth of where we are, integrating our human experience with our spiritual essence.
There is an essence for every feeling that we humans struggle with, inviting us into deeper relationship with what’s arising in our hearts so we can find peace.
Each essence has a unique vibration; particular qualities that it embodies and helps us to awaken within us e.g. love, confidence, faith, power, inner knowing.
Each time we take an essence we are turning towards our hearts, opening more to what is there instead of pushing it away. Each time we take an essence we are deepening our relationship with all aspects of the self and experiencing closer communion with our own souls.
When we take an essence we receive a potent infusion of nature’s wild medicine with its inherently healing integrative qualities.
We experience our place within the web of love and belonging that holds us.
Maybe when we experience emotional discomfort it is secretly an invitation from the heart of nature to open up to the support, love and belonging that our souls most need. Maybe this is how nature reaches out to us to say ‘I am here for you’.
Maybe this is how we are invited to experience unity and release our attachment to separation. Maybe this is how nature invites us to open our hearts fully to experience all of Life so we can remember that we are welcome and we belong.
As Francis Weller said, “Remembering our bond with the earth helps heal our bodies and souls.”
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