One of the challenges of flower essence work (as with all natural healing techniques) is "learning your remedies." This goes far beyond the simplistic formulas like "Agrimony is for tension" and "Aspen is for vague fears" that we all start out with when first encountering the remedies. In my experience, every flower essence is a unique personality and a living energy. Like human friends, these personalities only come out over time. It may take years of reading about the remedy, using it with clients, and especially taking it yourself before you really grasp what it's about at a deep core level. This is even more difficult when you make the flower essences yourself, since you don't have the book information to start with.
The usual questions people ask about an essence are "what does it mean?" or "what issues and traits does it represent?" These are the descriptions you find in all the books. If you are sensitive to the subtle energies in the flower, you can also ask what the remedy "feels like" as its vibrations mingle with your own aura. However, to really understand each flower, you need to ask it directly: Who are you? As you get to know them, as one living being to another, the flowers are more than happy to teach you their unique energies and how to use them. First impressions are important here, just as when you meet another human for the first time. Let me describe some first encounters with a few of the new essences I've made this summer.
Pulsatillas (commonly called Pasque Flower or Wind Flower) are one of the earliest spring bloomers in the midwest. In fact, during last winter's unusual warm spell, they got confused and started blooming in December! They have a long history of use in herbalism and homeopathy, so I was looking forward to seeing what kind of essence they would make. The flowers of Pulsatilla are purple (a signature that they affect the upper, mental centers of the aura) with a yellow center and are quite fuzzy. My first impressions of the energy of this plant were that it helped one break through deep, entrenched issues of long-standing. It's non-specific in this regard, seeming to go wherever the person needs help the most, unlike many flowers that concentrate their force on a specific chakra point or auric pattern. However, they have a particular ability to focus and clarify the mind -- it's a cure for "fuzzy thinking", just like the flowers. I've used this remedy with several people and had very encouraging results. The plants also seem to be some kind of garden magician, quietly doing their subtle work in the yard, such as playing with the energy ley lines. This is a complex plant and I'm eager to find out more.
The Motherwort in our yard has gotten out of control, so this made another good essence candidate. It's used in herbalism for various heart problems and women's reproductive conditions; homeopathy recognizes the same usages. The essence seems to affect the heart center quite directly. I find it useful to compare Motherwort to Pink Yarrow. The latter is good at driving the emotional residue of other people out of your system when you are overly sensitive to the influence of others. Motherwort is like a souped up version of Pink Yarrow, going deep into the heart to release all those old influences from others (Pink Yarrow is more superficial). It is highly stimulating, producing a strong feeling of wakefulness as it opens the heart and mind. I'm happy to have another deep acting heart center remedy to experiment with.
The most recent essence I've made is Wood Betony. I've been wanting to make this essence for many years now, as herbalists consider Betony to be synonymous with the solar plexis and the third chakra. It's known to affect the digestion and calm the nervous system. It has a very grounding effect on a person when their gut level instincts and judgments seem to be "off" or unfocused. So I was prepared for the warm flow of energy in my belly when I first tried my new essence. I've been looking for a new solar plexus remedy for quite some time. However, I was taken by surprise at the strong sense of mental clarity, focus and equinimity this remedy produces, as it seems to quiet the emotional storms and allow you to rise peacefully above your problems. It may take some time to understand all the nuances of this plant!
Obviously, these initial impressions are just the start. It takes working with numerous people, seeing when the remedies "work" and when they don't, before a well-rounded picture of an essence emerges. It takes time before a new friend becomes an old friend -- I'm looking forward to the journey.