Flower essences are made with different types of flowers, which are material things that are prepared in a away that allow them to work energetically. This is something I experienced directly and very intensely when I was learning about Bach flower essences with a great herbalist and teacher. (If she reads this post, which is probable, she will know who she is :)). This experience was one which I have often thought of sharing but have not done so until now because I find it difficult to reveal my weaknesses. Who likes feeling vulnerable in public?
Like all intangible, energetic phenomenon, a flower essence will resonate with the person if it is the right therapy for them. Something will happen. A strong sensation will be felt. Something will click. A memory will come to the forefront in a new vivid light. In class, we had explored such occurrences. The teacher talked about a flower essence that “came to her” and allowed her process and heal from a recent family death. We read a personal account featuring another essence, honeysuckle, by a woman who had been severely impacted by homesickness. Yet she had not realised it until the moment she learned about the essence. These stories were incredible because it seemed that just the mere suggestion of the essence brought about healing and realisation. They made me wonder whether there was a specific essence for me.
Flower essences address various negative emotional states such as depression, anxiety, jealousy, impatience, and the impacts of trauma. At the time, it seemed that so many could be useful for different emotional states that affected me. There did not seem to be one that stood out from the others. For this reason, I struggled to make a formula of essences for myself. A Bach flower essences formula can have up to seven flower essences in it, but I felt like I needed much more than seven. Or so I thought up until the point in class when the teacher started talking about the Sweet Chestnut essence. This is the essence that helps ride the “dark night of the soul”. The moment she began to describe it my body reacted almost violently. I was sitting in the back of the class typing away, taking notes on my laptop. I remember pausing because I knew full well what was coming. I began to sweat. My heart pounded. I began to feel an overwhelming despair. I was hoping no-one would notice. I thought of leaving the class abruptly. I looked around me. I looked for answers. I looked for something that could calm me down. I was experiencing the horror that comes with having the bleakest, most defeating, soul-destroying and heart-crushing experience a human could endure. I was slipping into the terrible storm – a harrowing journey to rock bottom. This was the storm I had ridden on many turbulent and lonely dark nights of my youth, and which still descended upon me in my adulthood.
I had found my therapy. I did not need a formula of seven essences, I just needed the one.
You might think this is a terrible experience. You might be terrified to ever try an essence if it means it might trigger an old dreaded emotion. But I am sure it is obvious to you, that it is a necessary step to initiate healing. If you suffer from similarly overwhelming negative emotional states, know that it is possible to find an essence that is right for you.
After that day, I used Sweet Chestnut over several months. I used acute doses during critical periods at the beginning of the treatment and gradually decreased the dose as the condition improved. After a while, I reached the point where I did not need it anymore. On occasion, when something disastrous occurs that threatens to drive me to the edge, I will take out the Sweet Chestnut and keep it handy in case I need it. But I never actually take it. I find that I can get through tough situations relying on my inner strength and calming techniques. I have become a powerful and wise traveller of the dark night of the soul.