Flower Essences and Sexuality: Putting Life Back in the Bedroom

Human sexuality is one of the greatest gifts of life. Not only is it a source of great joy and pleasure, but it is also a means of creating intimacy in relationships and even a potent tool for spiritual transformation and self-discovery. The energies of sex are not confined to the physical, but can be used on the emotional and spiritual planes as well. However, sexuality is also one of the most "wounded" areas of the modern psyche, turning this profound joy into one of the most tortured areas of contemporary life. Flower essences, those wonderful remedies for bringing new energy into our lives, are a powerful means of healing these wounds and restoring sex to its precious role.

We normally think of sex as "purely physical" and divorced from "higher pursuits", including spirituality. But in the old Tantra philosophies, sex is closely aligned with the kundalini forces, the powerful life force that fuels all aspects of our lives from the most mundane to the highest God realization. Energy is energy and it can be used for many purposes. I like to describe human beings as having not simply one body (the physical), but many bodies (including the emotional, the mental, and many finer levels). This unnatural split between the physical body and other spiritual states is the source of much of our confusion and pain regarding sex. Restoring our natural wholeness, whether with flower essences or by other means, is the the goal of true spiritual practice.

It's interesting that the original 38 Bach remedies don't address sexual issues directly, perhaps because sex wasn't a polite topic in the 1930's. Many of the essences developed in the last 20 years are more forward about healing sexual problems. In addition, there are many essences that work with sexual issues indirectly, via related problems of intimacy, self-confidence, spiritual growth, etc. I'll attempt to describe a few of the main essences used for these issues.

The split between the physical body and the spiritual life takes many forms and different flowers help us reintegrate this split. Easter Lily refers to a psychic state where sex is considered impure or degrading. This is the "Madonna/whore complex", the feeling that you can be pure and chaste, or else give into "dirty" sexual feelings; an Easter Lily person frequently flips back and forth between these extremes. Often the sexual organs are in a toxic condition, which the essence helps clear out. Basil also addresses the split, although here the sense of impurity leads one to illicit or forbidden affairs. With Alpine Lily and Manzanita, the tendency is to draw away from the "merely physical" and put down (even abuse) the body, feeling it's somehow beneath oneself. The sexual life takes on a disembodied, removed, or alienated quality. In each case, these flowers help bridge the gap between body and soul, assisting us in realizing that the spiritual life is lived in the body, right here and now in our day-to-day affairs.

Some essences work on a split between the body and the emotions, a lack of intimacy or warmth in sexual relationships. Many of these essences work best (though not exclusively) with women, as they promote the softer, "feminine" side of the psyche, although some "macho" males can benefit from exploring their feminine side more fully. Frequently, there's a history of physical or sexual abuse with these people, leading to a mistrust or drawing back from sexual intimacy, or a feeling of "not being present" during sex. For whatever reason, the heart (feelings of love, warmth, openness, intimacy) checks out because sex seems threatening. Some of the major remedies here are Sticky Monkeyflower, Hibiscus, and Wisteria. A good remedy for males that feel uncomfortable with physical contact and emotional intimacy is called Flannel Flower -- the soft, fuzzy covering on the plant says that it begs to be touched.

Another source of problems is the feeling that the body itself is dirty or disgusting. These feelings often have deep roots, going back to parents punishing their children for touching themselves or exploring their own bodies. As they reach puberty, the sex organs, bodily secretions, and sexual acts also take on this aura of impurity. The result is guilt, self-loathing, or an aversion to anything sexual. Crab Apple and Billy Goat Plum work on these feelings, making one more comfortable with the body. California Pitcher Plant, an insect eating plant, is for people who are put off by their instinctual drives. The human animal, like all living beings, is genetically programmed with survival skills that operate automatically and unconsciously. Some of these instincts, such as eating and procreating, can seem offensive to people who think they are above all that. The Pitcher Plant helps one feel more at ease with their own drives, realizing they are a source of strength and vitality.

The essence of Calla Lily is for people whe experience confusion over their sexual identity. For instance, a girl born to parents that wanted boys (or vice versa) can feel subtle, but intense pressure that undermines their natural sexual development. Similarly, confusion can overtake someone that is discovering homosexual tendencies and learning to cope with the stresses that causes. Sometimes this confusion can reflect a situation where a person has incarnated as one gender for many lives and is having trouble adjusting to the other gender this life. Similarly, Pomegranate is for women who have trouble finding a proper channel for their nurturing, maternal instincts. There are many other avenues for nurturing than having babies, although Pomegranate seems to help expectant mothers adjust to their new roles.

A number of essences affect one's ability to handle love affairs. Black Cohosh is for people that tend to get into abusive or destructive relationships. They are powerful people with strong emotions, but they express their feelings in negative ways that get them in trouble. Often, there is a toxic condition of the reproductive organs, a physical expression of their disturbed emotional state. Black Cohosh helps one resolve these problems and deal with their emotions in a more positive manner. Bush Gardenia is for when the "fire" goes out of a relationship. When used (preferably by both partners), it reignites the passion and reopens lines of communication. Wedding Bush assists those who have difficulty making a commitment and settling down, who would rather run away to the next person when the relationship gets too serious. Bleeding Heart helps with codependency, a manipulative, clinging way of getting affection. It also helps when one is pining away for a lost love, as does Boronia, allowing one to get on with love. Fairy Lantern is for people whose emotions are stuck at a child-like level, allowing them to relate in a more mature fashion. And Holly is for when love turns to jealousy, spite, or envy.

While many flower essences affect the physical body (via clearing up emotional patterns that make one ill), I'd like to mention She Oak, in particular. Ian White, the naturopath whe discovered this remedy, uses this one to treat infertility in women, especially when the inability to conceive stems from emotional causes or from dehydration of the ovaries. He claims good success in helping women become pregnant with this essence; I've seen a few successes in my own practice.

Flower essences may not be the total answer for removing your sexual hang-ups or bringing a truce to the war between the sexes. But they are a wonderful aid for making the "sweet mystery of life" just a bit sweeter. Give them a try!