I've always been attracted to "weird" hobbies. So when I started studying herbal medicine over 10 years ago, I naturally gravitated to working with flower essences. The area of flower essence therapy is the "little sister" of the better known fields of herbalism and homeopathy, but it is a highly effective therapy for psycho-emotional problems that is rapidly growing in popularity.
Flower essence therapy was created by an English physician turned homeopath named Dr. Edward Bach. About 70 years ago, he developed all the essential ideas and techniques that are still in use by practitioners today. He also created a collection of 38 flower remedies, the famous Bach Flower Remedies, that are still the most widely used remedies world wide. He based his studies on the brilliant insight of his homeopathic days, that the best remedies for a person's healing should be chosen on the basis of their personality patterns, not the "disease" that they were suffering from. He chose his 38 flowers to correspond to certain basic personality types that he frequently encountered in his practice, carefully gathering the subtle energies of these flowers to make his potent remedies.
The term "subtle energy" is batted about rather glibly by most people, but for people like myself with the gift to directly feel such energies, they are simply an everyday reality. The hard part is making sense of these sensations and trusting that they are real. Every living organism, whether flower, animal or human, is a manifestation of these same subtle fields of energy. They show up at all levels, from the most physical to the psychological and even in the spiritual realms of our being. When these energies are out of balance, the person is also out of balance, displaying problems of various sorts on each of these levels. They frequently show up as emotional disturbances first, though over time (as the deeper psyche tries harder and harder to get your attention and heal the disturbance) they descend into physical symptoms as well. This is the point when a doctor may say you "have a disease" -- though the problem has been there in latent form for many years before you go to his office. Flower essence therapy attempts to heal the original disturbance early on by using the medicinal properties of a flower's vibrations to rebalance your own disturbed vibrational patterns, to heal your personality.
As a specific example, just this last weekend, I made my first flower essence of the year. Our garden is filled with a common "weed" called Creeping Charlie that sends out a profusion of tiny purple flowers resembling miniature irises in the spring. "Charlie" propogates by sending out runners that hug the ground and put down roots, effectively crowding out other plants nearby. When I first tuned into these flowers, the energy had a feeling of "I belong here!" This aura of confidence, bordering on defiance, has a flip side, however, that came out strongly when I was making the essence. Both my partner and I felt the mood of this essence most strongly in the region of the heart, indicating a heart chakra connection. It spoke of a feeling of rejection and alienation, of being cast out, that is the antithesis of "I belong here." I suspect that as I start to work with clients on rejection issues using this new essence, it will help instill a new sense of confidence and rootedness.
Modern practitioners have extended the original Bach 38 remedies into the hundreds in recent years, each with their own unique personality pattern (I often think of them as little cartoon characters). I personally use over 200 in my practice, including many that I've made myself. Somewhere amidst all these helpful flowers, are the answers and insights you need to heal your life problems. These friends are incredible teachers of the soul at a time in our culture when the connection to spirit is very tenuous. Powerfully, but gently, they remind us what it means to be human, whole and free.