The Flower Essence Theory Explained
Is it just an accident that a field of flowers is so breathtaking to the human eye? While flying to one field, does a bee see a different field and say to itself, "Whoa, now THOSE are beautiful flowers!" and change course? People love flowers for their array of colors, textures, shapes, and fragrances. But is pleasing the human eye the purpose of nature's floral design? Or do insects and animals fall under their spell just as we do?
Science says that the beauty of the flower is a by-product of what it takes for the plant to attract pollinators, that the features that we appreciate are cues to pollinators that there are rewards to be found in the flower. Scent, color, and size all attract a diversity of pollinators, which include thousands of species of bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, and beetles, as well as vertebrates such as birds and bats.
Yeah, ok, that's all well and good, however... there just seems to be something more to the story. Our experience with flowers, personally, is a bit more than, "Oooh, there's a reward for me in there!" While we may never know if insects experience flowers on a "higher level," our experience is that people certainly do. Don't get us wrong, we love science. But haven't you ever had a person pop into your mind that you haven't spoken to for months or years and a moment later the phone rings and it's them? There are a myriad of uncanny things like that which, to us, point to a larger universe beyond what we can see and measure.
What are Flower Essences?
Unlike essential oils or herbal extracts that contain the physical substances extracted from plants, there is no physical part of the flower left in a flower essence. Instead, the vibrational life-force of the flower is imprinted on water. These liquid preparations are made from fresh flower blossoms and are believed to address emotional and behavioral issues as well as someone's overall wellness.
They work on similar principles to Homeopathy. The life-force and vibrational signature of the flower is transferred to water. This is achieved through sun-steeping the flowers in water for a period of time. The water is then collected, strained, and diluted.
Flower Essences are considered to be vibrational, energetic remedies since they are based upon the energy or vibration of a flower. Only the flower is used to make the remedies, and they work by utilizing the water that has been impregnated with the energetic imprints of the plant. These extracts have completely different properties from mood altering medicines and address imbalances through a separate avenue.
The use of flower essences has gained world-wide recognition due to their contribution to holistic health and emotional healing. They are "time-tested," meaning that they have been used for thousands of years. They have been used traditionally to heal physical and mental imbalances even though their biochemical effects are difficult to study due to the limitations of science and research.
The term "Flower Essences" has been around since the early 1930s. We can thank Dr. Edward Bach for reacquainting western medicine with this form of "energetic" medicine. Energetic medicine has been around for thousands of years in what we recognize as acupuncture, acupressure, and reiki. Today, single-flower essences are created from all types of flowers, plants and trees from all around the world.
So, How Do They Work?
Flower essences are based on vibrational energetics, rather than biochemical, and stimulate the body’s natural capacity to bring itself back to homeostasis. They are used to affect change in a positive way for emotional and mental well-being. They are often mistakenly confused with essential oils. Unlike essential oils, the impact of flower essences is not derived from bio-chemical intervention within the physiology (which is why they are challenging to study from a scientific perspective). Essential oils work off the olfactory sense, or smell, causing a physiological effect. With the exception of a possible slight vinegar (sometimes used as a preservative) smell, flower essences do not have a scent. Essential oils can address similar emotional topics, but they are more commonly used for their scents as perfumes, physical ailments, and in inhalers for respiratory issues, or massage oils for topical needs.
And unlike pharmaceuticals, or even some herbal medicines which can suppress symptoms, flower essences work by the principle of resonance within the subtle human energy field, which impacts one’s physical and emotional health.
All plants carry vibrational energy patterns, and it is said that flowers are the pinnacle of this energy. Doctrine of Signatures (DOS) play a major role in identifying the specific application of each flower. DOS originated within Alchemical and Hermetic traditions, where the most important thing was to understand how the macrocosm (universe) corresponds to the microcosm (individual). When viewed through the lens of DOS, the energetic qualities of flower essences present themselves through their color, shape, habitat, and growing patterns. In regular people language this means that violet leaves which look like hearts will likely have an impact on the heart (which they do :) ).
Safe and Gentle
The great thing about flower essences is that they are very safe and may be used by everyone, including children and animals, and can be used internally and externally! We can often be wrong in understanding the root of a child's or an animal’s emotions and end up playing the guessing game. Flower essences can help alleviate the angst of miscommunication and help kids and/or animals process their issues in a more timely manner. These tools make change easier on them, and on us.
Flower essences are not meant to be used for physical issues, however there may be times that physical issues subside when the emotional cause is alleviated or resolved. For example, stress hives may subside if the emotional trigger causing the stress has been removed. Flower essences can help to modify learned behaviors as well as behaviors developed as emotional protective devices. Positive outcomes from using flower essences may include greater peace and calmness during stressful episodes in your life, experiencing more joy and optimism, finding forgiveness towards yourself and others, a deeper connection and understanding in relationships, having greater clarity and focus, and even gaining insight into your life’s purpose and direction!
Depending on the degree of imbalance, some flower essences may have an immediate effect, and other times you may feel a slower unfolding of the effects over the course of days or weeks. Anything that does not match the vibration of the chosen flowers simply dissipates, and if the wrong flower is chosen you will not feel any change. It's helpful to use complementary activities such as journaling, meditating, using affirmations, or free writing while taking flower essences to reveal and document insights that may occur.
How to Choose Your Flower(s)
Unlearning the skepticism we have been taught is part of this process. Sacred Plant Medicine requires you to trust yourself, your connection to the larger universe, and your ability to have sacred experiences. They have lessons, companionship, and healing to share with you. But how do you know which flower? Unfortunately, there's no cross-referenced charts you can consult to tell you which plant to focus on. Since this is an energetic intention, one must discern which flowers your body is longing for.
Begin with some self-reflection and by setting a clear intention for what you want. Focus on one theme or issue. Don't try to resolve everything in your life with one mega-combination of two dozen essences! For example, ask yourself these questions:
- What kind of support do you need right now? What is going on?
- What emotions and thoughts are coming up?
- Which qualities within yourself would you like to strengthen?
You can find many different guides or flower essence oracle cards online to help. At Una Biologicals, we offer some helpful resources:
- Flower Essences from a Witches Garden by Nicolas Pearson. Hands-on guide to using flower essences in witchcraft, alchemy, and healing. Detailed instructions for making and using flower essences in meditation, potions, spells, spagyrics, and ritual. Weaving together magickal herbalism, traditional plant lore, and flower essence therapy, this guide allows you to see flower essences not just as vibrational remedies but also as powerful tools for transformation, magick, and spiritual practice.
- The Magic of Flowers by Tess Whitehurst. This is an excellent resource for knowing the healing powers of different flowers and for helping you intuit which flowers are calling to you.
- Hedgewitch Botanical Oracle: Let the spirits of the plants be your allies and friends. This gracefully illustrated deck will support you with insights gleaned from traditional herb lore, providing guidance and perspective from the thin places between one world and another.
- We also recommend The Bloom Book by Heidi Smith.
Begin your intuiting for your special friend. It may take some time:
- Dreams: Mayan, Native American Great Spirits use dreams to communicate. Rosita Arvigo tells her story of having the Great Spirits visit her while she was studying with Mayan Healer Elijo Panti.
- Voices: hear actual words
- Vibes: feelings, sense of the message
- Visual: energetic field or aura around the plant
Start with a plant that resonates with you. It may be from discerning from a book, chart, meditation, suggestion from a friend, or just a tree or flower that is special to you. Some joyful "sunny" plants that are a good starting place are:
- Lemon Balm
Others that you may consider are:
- Ash: Sacred world tree, brings light, healing and protective
- Birch: Embodies the great mother (Druid lore), feminine, baby blessings
- Cypress: Purification, enhance psychic energy
- Hazel: Tree of wisdom and inspiration, divination
- Maple: Love, long life
- Dogwood: Protective
- Oak: Sacred tree, abundance, fertility, longevity, protection
- Pine: “Tree of Peace”, purification, healing, joy
- Magnolia: Ancient wisdom, goddess energy, personal power, wonderment
- Citrus Blossom: Heavenly connection, clarity, wealth, balance work-aholics
- Black Eyed Susan: shift energy, release what no longer serves(abrupt), ground, enhance mediumship-see through veil
- Cherry Plumb: Aura/chakra healing, agelessness, inspiration, motivation
- Daisy: Refresh spirit, renew health, strengthen personal power, purify
- Calendula: Physical healing, uplifting, bright energy
- Iris: Bridge realms, inner alignment, intuition, energy balance
- Rose: Pure vibration, heart chakra, divine self, energy clearing, purification
- Nasturtium: Creativity, tolerance, open mind, stamina, courage
- Beebalm: Zip to one's life, physically and spiritually
- Bleeding Heart: Affinity with the heart chakra, restore harmony and peace to the heart
- German Chamomile: Release feelings of stress and unbalance, solar plexus chakra
- Columbine: Self-esteem issues
- Honeysuckle (common): Release attachments to the past, move forward, positive direction, learn from past experiences
- Holy Basil: Adaptation, stress management, joy, mindfulness, and love and wealth
- Mint: Immune support, divination augmenter, prosperity, protective
- Woodworm: Strength, healing, wisdom, protection, psychic connection
- Lavender: Calm centering, divine alignment, cleanse physical and spiritual
- Rosemary: Home blessing, purification, memory, nervousness
- Sage: Purification, protection, throat chakra, wisdom, manifestation
- Thyme: Lung health, release sorrow, calm nervousness, house blessing
- Yarrow: Physical healing, stimulate chi, banishing, divination, protection
After you've made your choice, build a relationship with this magical being:
- Introduce yourself to your new friend.
- Ask to sit with them for a bit.
- Offer something of yourself.
- Let yourself fall in love with this plant.
- Simply feel and listen
- Take note of how you feel.
Create a Ritual
- Come to your plant with intention and respect.
- Invoke the East and the West as a prayer, gratitude, or request for aid.
- Light a candle.
- Intone: "With this flame I welcome the power to create. I honor my path and fulfill my destiny. I walk joyfully forward in light. With this flame I release inhibitions. I move beyond limitation."
- Ask the plant for its permission and thank her for her help.
- Place an offering at her base.
- Sit in communion with your plant for as long as it feels good.
Create Your Flower Essence
- Always Get Permission: Be sure to explain to the plant what you plan to do, ask for permission, and thank her for the help. This may seem silly, but plants are living, breathing beings! Place an offering at her base. Spend some time communing with your chosen plant/flowers. Remember that your flow of energy goes in to each essence you make.
- Fill Your Bowl: Add water to a clean, clear glass or crystal bowl. Do not use distilled water as the ionization process used to distill it destroys the water’s life force.
- Select Your Blossoms: Gather flowers that are near maturity. Follow your intuition, clipping just the flower heads (without touching them) and let them fall into the bowl. Handle the flowers as little as possible. Use a leaf to arrange them on the surface of the water, face up so that they are not touching.
- Harness the sun: Let the bowl with the flowers sit undisturbed in the sun for approximately three to four hours.
- (Harness the moon. Alternatively, Moonlight can be used as well for a specific energy.)
- Remove the flowers: Using a leaf, you can remove the flowers from the water. Place them under the plant you have gathered them from and offer thanks, touching them as little as possible.
- Prepare your Mama Bottle: To a clean jar, transfer the Mother Flower Essence and 150 proof Brandy for preservation. (Alternatively, use vegetable glycerin or apple cider vinegar as a preservative.) Activate the essence by vigorously shaking the bottle and tapping it against your palm, dispersing the molecules and energy into the water.
- Prepare a Dosage Bottle: Add a mixture of 50/50 brandy/spring water into a clean 1 oz stock bottle, and then add four to seven drops of the Mother Essence from the Mama Bottle. Be sure to shake the essences each time before using. (Substitute vegetable glycerin/apple cider vinegar for the brandy if desired.)
- Store the Mama Bottle, and Dosage Bottle in a cool, dark place.
When and How to Use
Dosage from the stock bottle is four drops under the tongue or in a little water up to four times a day. Take upon waking and retiring, at noon and at evening meals. However, do not take directly with food. Be sure to store out of light and heat.
Start by working with a single essence. As you gain experience, you can then combine three to six essences focusing on key issues. There may be a temporary increase in symptoms until negative patterns are released. If needed, increase the frequency of the essence, not the dose size. Engage in activities that work synergistically with the flower essences, such as journaling and using positive affirmations that will help recharge your subconscious.
More Wild Witchy Wisdom
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