Bonnie kindly asked me if I wished to be interviewed for an article she is writing on flower essences.
So, while I was responding via email instead of phone, as someone ended up doing a large delivery right on phone time, I thought it might be nice to share my answers. She had a range of questions, and I realised I was enjoying writing about my experiences and thought it might be good to share my knowledge here also. Enjoy! :)
- What exactly are flower essences? How are they made? How do they work – is it mainly on an energetic or subtle level?
Flower essences do work on the subtle and energetic levels. Like homeopathy they introduce, by drop form, the vibration of the presenting issue.
This allows the body to start working on a quantum level to release a particular stress to the system. The journey with an essence can be short or long depending on how long you take them, how deep you want to go with them, and how they may be prescribed by a practitioner. They can also have long lasting and deeply transformative effects on a person.
Every case is different of course, as is every person using Flower essences.
There are documented cases where flower essences have helped skin conditions, and other more physical ailments. (See Bush Fuschia in Australian Bush flower essences for my personal experience)
They are made by placing the flowers in a bowl of water, and the energetic imprint of the flowers moves to the water over a particular length of time.
A preserving liquid (usually brandy) is used to keep the essence mix from going rancid over time. This is the base or mother, and then stock, and dosage bottles can be made further from this base.
(see here for a bit more: http://www.bachcentre.com/centre/tincture.htm This probably also has any answers to the question of what flower essences are.)
- What sort of issues or challenges can they help with?
If you read any of the flower essence books, there are numerous cased of what each flower works towards balancing within a person.
There are so many things they work with, and the ability of each one can also have effects not researched.
There are many flowers being made into essences and still being researched.
FES in particular have a membership where you can add your research to the group.
So the answer to that question would be that there is a massive range of issues and challenges they help and, that they also can work well with other modalities. For instance, I often find an essence is indicated during a kinesiology session and it might be to simply place two drops under the persons tongue during the session in order to move to the next step of the balance.
- How do we use them? How are they typically taken and for what duration of time? What should we expect when taking them?
As mentioned in previous question, they can be used in a one dose capacity, or as a practitioner may prescribe over a two or 4 week period.
For the purpose of your article these are approximates and the most general scenario, although others may require different frequency and drops.
In general, Bach Essences work on a two drop to the dosage bottle taken four drops x four times a day, Australian Bush Flowers work on a seven drops to the dosage bottle with a seven drops twice a day formula. However with kinesiology one asks the bodies intelligence system what the best frequency and drops will be as back up after a session.
- For people who are self-selecting an essence for instance at a natural health store, how can they choose the right essence for them?
Generally the health stores which stock any essences will have the Bach Range, this has a board at the back with the remedies and a list of what that particularly essence might work towards easing in the person. This is not hard to do, if you know whats bothering you, you could easily self prescribe in this scenario.
There are also Australian Bush flowers in health food stores which are mixtures, similar to the Bach 'Rescue Remedy' where a variety of essences are put together to achieve a blanket approach to a larger issue such as travel, self esteem, stress. (You can research them on either the Bach or the Australian Bush Flower Essences website.)
Any issues that might arise from doing this:
If you do not have back up support, and place yourself on a long term dosage, you may not understand if things go weird.
By that I mean, taking the wrong essence could bring out emotions or behaviours not expected or desired.
For instance both my daughters can take Bach's Impatiens and it soothes their impatient, Aries nature. But if I take it, within a day I'm a raging angry mess and need to go off it immediately.
People do have constitutions and have 'right' essences for them.
Some essences do dig deep into emotional stress, abuse, and anger, and these are best supported with a practitioner for monitoring, feed back and back up support if theres deep distress.
- For people seeing an essence practitioner, what should they expect from a session? In this instance, are personalised blends often created for the client?
Some practitioners may have a standard face to face listen in a traditional homeopathic way and then prescribe a few essences in a dosage bottle to be taken over the following two weeks and to be re assessed for any additional timeframe.
I'm going to just speak about how I work as I believe every practitioner is different. And no way is right or wrong, in fact it is wonderful there is a range of ways so individuals can choose a practitioner that suits how they like to have a session.
I love the journey of the essences, I equally love the clients journey, and trust a client to know themselves really well. I prefer them to be empowered the whole way through, see what they can find within themselves and so I favour the approach of the flower photos.
This is where I flip through flower photos and the client pulls out the flowers they absolutely love or the ones that make them feel absolute disgust. (This is a quick process to trick the thinking mind so it doesn't get involved). Once a pile of flowers are chosen, we spread them out, and work through in order to pare the pile back to no more than 7 flowers.
I'm always listening to clues, what they say, how their body language is, asking questions, and steering them to whittle down the pile during this process.
Some clients like to just get a bottle at this point and go away to work on things themselves. This is a personal choice.
Others love to get on the massage table at this point, and using the Bah Hui point, or point of Hundred Convergences, an acupuncture point on top of head, a bottle or drops, are placed here in an order already discussed and intuited. (This method is a particular method I learnt from a workshop many many years ago with Drs. Vasudeva and Kadambii Barnao of Living essences, W.A.)
This is where a person can experientially explore the energetics of the essences and talk through their 'presenting issue'.
This can be an emotional session, the person on the table can re experience, through talk and release, whatever is at the root cause of the issue.
This focused talk and release is aided by the essences the whole time, and works through the issue deeply and via the release offers life changing and personal insights.
There may be no need for a back up dosage bottle, it really depends on the person and what they feel they achieved in the session or if they wish for further delving.
- I’m keen to cover some of the different essence brands on the market. It would be wonderful if you could give me a quick overview of the below brands, in terms of what is unique or distinctive about them.
While I have used many essences across the variety of ranges and made my own on the odd occasion, there are also Alaskan, other home brand essences, and also shell essences.
Another area which uses essences are Tinctures, and my friend Miriam makes these. They're potent mixtures of essences, herbs and essential oils, for use as body or room sprays.
I use these during sessions, and for my own house and room clearing of any stagnant energies.
I have been favouring Australian Bush Flowers (possibly because I have done numerous workshops with Ian White and worked at his Sydney workplace helping bottle essences.)
So I feel I know them the best. I've more recently swung back to using a lot of Bach.
After twenty five or so years, it seems to me, some just work on certain issues differently, I have phases with each brand. Go away for a while, come back to them etc.
And of course, I have my favorites across all the ranges for my own personal use which are what I call 'returning essences', those ones that are particularly constitutional for me.
I am also keen to discuss 3 or 4 stand-out essences from each brand – ones that you find particularly powerful, or tend to use quite frequently with clients.
(Just going to do only one or two for each, for time purposes.)
>Bach flower essences
Two particular stories come to mind about the Bach Essences.
I had a client who just couldn't sleep, she kept thinking and thinking and tossing and turning.
I prescribed White Chestnut for her.
She described the feeling as she took this essence on its own, of having a little switch inside her head that gradually, over a couple of days, turned off the obsessive thoughts.
She began to sleep more deeply and stop worrying and fretting about things in her day to day life.
She also looked better, having a sense of peace about her over the following two weeks. She didn't require any more as it has done the trick.
Another client presented with a dilema. She had begun an affair. She loved her partner, but the new guy, a 'bad boy' had her very confused and ready to just run away with him whenever, or wherever he asked.
Her long standing relationship was not one she wanted to throw away, yet, she was smitten and could not decide which way to go, what to choose or, how to even work it through.
I gave her 2 drops under the tongue of Schleranthus every 10 minutes once I realised she had difficulty making a decision between two choices.
As she talked it through and the essences worked their way through from quantum level to conscious level, she was able to see where her relationship was boring to her, and how she could choose ways to spice it up. She was able to see her bad boy for the distraction he was and to see he was not going to be stable in the long run, and she intuited that it might not even last longer than a few moths even. She was able to make a more informed decision and come to a decision about the relationship.
While many practitioners do prescribe more than one essence in a dosage, and most certainly this happens with the flower photo and Bah Hui diagnosis approach, both these examples were one only essence remedies at these particular time.
I love the Bach essences, have used Rescue remedy on my children since they were born, and on myself in instances of panic attacks or car accidents, but aside from Rescue remedy, I find I prefer a one remedy at a time approach with Bach, if diagnosing with face to face.
>Australian Bush Flower essences
Back twenty five years ago, when I first discovered the Essences and began to try them out, I was a shy young girl, it wasn't obvious to others that I know of, but there was a slight glitch from brain to mouth for me, possibly a result of trauma around the age of eight. I had a very slight stutter and didn't speak easily nor overly enthusiastically.
Well, that was how it appeared to me. I took a class with Ian on the flowers and their healing properties. I found I had a knack with the flowers and loved them, they really are the most beautiful and gentle of the holistic medicines, and work so well with all people and across all ages and abilities. I randomly choose a flower I liked from the flower slides and had one dose.
We were to take seven drops under the tongue, and then sit for a while in silence writing down what effects we may notice.
Mine was the Bush Fuschia and it was like a ripple effect happened.
I am highly sensitive and feel the energy of things pretty much straight away. Things shifted on that quantum level and all of a sudden something odd happened to my tongue, it felt like something kind of left it.. odd!
Well, the Bush Fuschia?
It's for dyslexia, poor learning ability, stuttering, nervousness in public, and for listening to 'gut' feeling.
The 'story' of the stutter had changed. I took a course for two weeks after that. I released memories, and came to an understanding of how I had not 'spoken up' about some abuse around the age of eight.
And I could tell my speaking, and the line between brain and word, had uncluttered and changed dramatically from that two week period.
>Flower Essence Society (FES)
This is one of my favorite FES essences. I find it shows up, and adds a beautiful energy to a mixture, when someone is feeling like they do not have the courage to do something.
I've used it myself when facing something difficult, for a one dose immediately before a task, or a longer term in a mix when it comes to work and breaking through some perceived difficulties.
One particular story, I like regarding Borage Essence, was when a friend of mine wanted to see what she might need currently and also have a kinesiology session.
This was early on and about twenty two years ago, but it is a sweet story.
I was running through pre tests, and her body kept telling me it didn't need anything, I was confused about this as she had come for a session so why did she not need anything. Borage and a jar of goji berries were the only things that showed up.
As she was a flower essence practitioner herself, I ended up telling her that this was all her body required.
I was slightly baffled. No muscle balance, no emotional balance, no stress balance. I felt like I had not done the right job or something.
She smiled and said, something along the lines of it being all good and went off home.
A spoke to her a little later and she divulged she was pregnant and had no issue with it, and that if all her body required was some borage for the courage during the pregnancy and birth, and the goji berries as a gentle tonic then it was all fine with her.
She hadn't wanted to say she was pregnant as she was in the early stages, and was being cautious about it still, I hadn't thought to ask at the time. I'd like to think the borage helped her to tell others, but I'm sure she would not have been able to hide it after a certain period anyway.
California Poppy: (see below)
>Living Essences/ Western Australian essences
I don't feel I resonate personally, as strongly with these essences as I do with Ian White's and Dr. Edward Bach's.
So I honestly do not have one particular essence to talk about, even though I have three trays of them in my cupboard and have used them.
What I do have, is some very special experiences that have happened as a result of doing one workshop with Living Essences and really is true to what they stand for.
It has nothing to do with the quality that I do not use them as often.
I know the work the Barnao's do is with the utmost integrity and their love of the land, and their work with the indigenous Australian population is wonderful.
They just don't show up as often in sessions or with clients for me for some reason.
My time during their workshop was special for the information I gained about the Bah Hui diagnosis (mentioned previously), and for finding out about how the indigenous Australians have used flower healing for as long as their oral traditions have passed it down.
I learnt of how in indigenous tradition, if a person 'gets out of themselves' or 'out of wack' a hole is dug and the flowers with certain properties are laid in bulk within the hole, a person is then given the time to lay in that hole, covered with those flowers, and they stay there till they feel better.
This is utilising the energetic blueprint of the flowers to create a transformational shift in the person. Such a beautiful safe and gentle process.
This learning from the Barnao's also informed a particular experience I had of how a large field of living flowers can also be transformative.
I was on tour with my former partner. He is a musician, and was lucky to have been hired as part of the musicians on Tour with Harry Millers, Jesus Christ Super Star.
We had all flown to Perth, and I was pregnant with our first child.
I think I may have been around six months pregnant, and feeling pretty good about travelling, visiting different towns around Australia and getting to watch Farnsy (John Farnham), Kate Ceberano and the rest on stage some nights and fraternise with other singers.
As Tony's relatives were in Perth we took a little extra time there to visit, hang out, and also, as I had been studying flower essences, I wanted to visit some of the more expansive wild flower areas just to see fields of flowers, and even some of the more rarer native flowers.
We hit an area which had masses of California Poppies (FES) They were so beautiful and orange and so happy. I walked right into the middle of a massive field, all pregnant and sat down in the middle.
I breathed in and out, and just found myself going more inward and more inward. I stopped being all out there and excited about connecting with the singers in JCS, being on the road, and touring, and just found myself in a state of peace. My ears seemed, like my tongue with the Bush Fuschia, shrink in on themselves. I was calm and relaxed and at peace. I read up later that the California Poppy is an essence you take to stop putting store on others opinions and being out there in the world doing what you think is right by others standards, and to listen to your inner voice. And Im pretty grateful that the Barnao's really, by their teaching, instigated that experience.