A young woman recently came into Present Moment with a quizzical look. She was looking for something to help her get past a "spiritual" block of some kind, not even certain that such things were possible. As I started explaining my ideas about how healing and spiritual growth were really the same, I also introduced her to some of my favorite flower essences for enhancing awareness of more subtle energies. Each time the drops touched her tongue, her eyes widened in wonder as new perceptions unfolded. Some doors opened up for her that day.
By the word "spiritual", I simply mean anything that helps us tap into our innermost nature. "To heal" means to make whole and complete, in touch with the life force within us. Essences, normally thought of for healing emotional problems, are really a spiritual tool. They help us connect with who we really are, free from the traumas and blackages that life throws our way. I'm particularly interested in my own work with finding those flowers that nudge us into a higher awareness of subtle energies. Many flowers seem to affect certain chakras (energy centers within the aura), making us more open to new experiences. Let me introduce a few of my favorites.
One of the most amazing flowers I have ever met is called White Grape Hyacinth. I first ran into this plant in the Peace Garden by Lake Harriet, here in Minneapolis. As I usually do, I cupped my hands around the flower to feel its energy. Within seconds, I felt a familiar tingling up my spine, the sensation of energy moving in the spine (such as during meditation). Later, when I made the essence and first sampled it, I experienced its chakra opening abilities first hand. I could feel a warm glow in the heart area of my body, followed by a tingling in the third eye. In short order, the other chakra points also "turned on" and the channels along the spine connecting them almost seemed to glow. Used over a period of time, this essence teaches you to enter this expanded spiritual state at will. It's literally a liquid meditation.
Another flower for awakening is Bloodroot. This plant has a long history of usage for blood disorders. To the Native American healers, this includes certain kinds of spiritual problems, since the blood is associated with the Ancestors. Matt Wood calls this the remedy for "the fallen initiate syndrome", a state characterized by willful and reckless disregard for the spiritual teachings and skills you've learned. It helps reestablish your connection with the Sacred when you've lost your way. Bloodroot essence is one of the most potent stimulants of the entire chakra system I have ever felt, practically jolting the psyche into a state of wakefulness. The aura of the plant is most peculiar, too. Whenever I approached the pan as I made this remedy, I had the distinct feeling of entering another world. The energy of this plant acts as a gateway to a more refined perception of the world. It's a spiritual guide to the other side.
So, why should we mess with our chakras anyway? Why should we have spiritual experiences at all? I view a person more as an energy field than a material body. The chakras are centers within these fields that "step down" the life force to more manageable levels, as well as direct this power into certain areas of our lives (such as survival instincts, sexuality, power and dominance, love and relating, language, intuitive insight, and higher consciousness). We experience our own energy as thoughts, feelings, and drives. When you develop or open up a chakra more fully, you become more able to experience life at this level. It's as worthwhile to tune into higher awareness as it is to eat or have sex or open up to love. It's an instinctive way our energies behave, it's part of our human potential, it's who we are. Spirituality, at a minimum, means exploring who we are at all these levels.
Sometimes we get "stuck" in one of these areas of our lives. Most people can use the lower energies easily, but have trouble with the higher centers. I see many people that have difficulties in one of these areas, especially the heart (love and relating) and throat (language) centers. My old standby for the heart is Yerba Santa, an essence that frees up the emotions after they've been beaten down time and time again. Lily of the Valley is good at cracking open a "hardened heart" so love can flow more freely. A common throat center problem is being afraid to tell others about your spiritual life because you might appear crazy or weird. Fear is often an enemy of spirit. I frequently use Snapdragon, Columbine, or Jack in the Pulpit to help open the throat area -- these remedies even relax tight neck and jaw muscles! There are essences for every chakra -- the list is too long to discuss fully.
When you open up spiritually, it's crucial to protect yourself properly. You can become too open, picking up other people's emotions and bad vibes. I use Pink Yarrow or Fringed Violet to get people out of my system. It's also possible to become ungrounded or spacey from too much energy. You need to keep your feet on the ground while your head is in the clouds. Some good grounding remedies are Corn, Echinacea, Lady's Slipper, Lotus, and Red Lily. I would also recommed Lavender for those who feel wound up or high strung from overwhelming energies.
The FES people recently introduced an interesting essence called Purple Monkeyflower. This flower is for people who experience a clash between their traditional religious upbringing and their current spiritual path. This clash can often bring up old fear and guilt (all too often the foundation of religion) about "straying from the One True Way." The flower brings out the courage to follow your own path.
It's a bit unfair to single out a few essences as "spiritual remedies" and ignore the others. Ultimately, all essences are a spiritual lesson or aid of some kind, just as all experiences in life are of the spirit. As we grow and explore, there will always be times when one or another remedy may prove useful. Used appropriately, flower essences can awaken us to the magic and wonder of our lives and free us to seek out the subtle realms. May there always be flowers along your spiritual path!