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Pacific Essences - Gifts from the Sea

by Sabina Pettitt(more info)

listed in flower essences, originally published in issue 16 - December 1996

The greens and golds and persimmon of the Arbutus trees and the blue of the Pacific Ocean called us to this island in 1981. This jewel in the Pacific is the home and birthplace of Pacific Essences®. It feels like Avalon – a sacred and magical place.

This island has amazing forests and plant life and at the same time the beaches are magical. Botanical Beach is like a moonscape with many crater like tide pools teeming with sea life. Even after 15 years of exploring this beach, there is still something new to discover on each visit.

The waves of the Pacific Ocean come crashing in on the west side of Vancouver Island. They come with gentleness. They come with fury. They come with rhythm and measure, being guided by the cycles of the moon. And as they wash over the rocky beach from low tide to high tide they nourish, disturb, and provide a home for plant and sea creatures, the living beings, who make this liquid environment their home.

Vancouver Island is the most westerly part of Canada and it is in this magical setting that Pacific Essences®, the first Canadian flower essence developers, discovered the first sea essence.

Sea Palm

Sea Palm

We were walking silently along a beach in the summer of 1985 just appreciating the warmth and breeze and sunlight when we both stopped in front of a Sand Dollar and heard "Make this into an essence for Corrie." I say "heard" because that's what it feels like when the message is so loud in your head, and since we both had the same thought simultaneously it seemed more than a trifle noteworthy. After some discussion about how to do it, we returned to the car for a glass jar and proceeded in the usual fashion to prepare an essence. This time, however, we were using a sea creature in salt water and sunlight instead of a flower in spring water and sunlight. With some hesitation and not knowing what it was for, we offered it to Corrie. She was a 27 year old woman who was suffering from a rare form of cancer. The pain was often excruciating and when she wasn't hospitalized, nurses came to the house to administer demerol and gravol every 4 hours. Although it was an external skin cancer there was a constant threat that it would spread internally and take over her cervix, uterus and other abdominal organs. She had become a 'medical experiment'. Because her cancer was so rare and because she was so young her doctors were trying all the most innovative treatments on her. At one point she was the first person in Canada to be treated by photochemo therapy – a method where they inject a chemical and then shine a 7000 watt light bulb on the area. The light bulb burned out and there was a few weeks delay before it was replaced. When they commenced treatment again they re-injected the chemical. The side effect of this treatment was that for the next year whenever she was out in ordinary daylight, even on a cloudy day, any exposed skin turned black.

Needless to say, after a few experiences like this, she was eager to try anything that was non-invasive and unlikely to have side-effects. So she welcomed Sand Dollar even though we told her that we had little idea what it was for. She immediately noticed that she was able to do her visualizations more easily, seeing the healthy cells replacing the cancer cells. Within a few days she realized that she was beginning to see pictures of herself in different situations earlier in her life. She noticed that there was a tremendous 'energy rush' for her to be rushed to hospital in an ambulance with sirens screaming and then having a team of medical experts trying to unravel the mystery of her illness. She came face to face with the fact that this unusual illness actually made her feel really special. And this is something that had been sadly lacking in her childhood. The eldest of 4 children her mother left her alcoholic, gambling father when she was 4 years old. She immediately took responsibility for the younger ones while her mother worked to support them. In some ways she never had a childhood. By the time she was a teenager she was rebelling through promiscuity. Even though she was now happily married, her husband spent long hours at work and so the pattern of abandonment continued and the desire for attention was still not satisfied. As she began piecing all this together she felt freer than she had in years. This woman now has two healthy children aged 9 and 7 and has not had a recurrence of her cancer.

Obviously Sand Dollar is not a cure for cancer. It is, however, one of the first remedies we think of when someone is struggling to take responsibility for their illness, to learn how they may be feeding its energy, and to discover the core energetic patterns which may be responsible for the creation of it in the first place.

Sand Dollar
Sand Dollar


When we did more research on the Sand Dollar essence we discovered that it was related to the Lung channel. In Chinese Medicine, this channel is related to taking in qi, prana, the life force, through breath. It is inspiration and worth. The signature of the Sand Dollar is a round shell with 5 petals etched on its upper surface. Beneath each petal is a small compartment containing one tiny calcification that looks like a dove. Both the number five and birds have long been associated with freedom. And when we are able to discover and clear 'core issues' we are indeed free.

As we made the first sea essence from that Sand Dollar, I could feel a whole new world of essences emerging. Always a lover of the ocean and its many colours, faces, and moods, I knew that Pacific Essences® was being called to make the first essences from the sea. When we had selected the 12 essences to be included in the first kit it turned out that there was one essence for each of the 12 meridians.

Apart from the many flowers and plants who called us to do this work in the first place, there is no doubt that our unique contribution to the field of vibrational medicine is the Sea Essences. The other unique aspect of our work at Pacific Essences® is that we see the essences through the window of Chinese Medicine. All of the flower and sea essences have been carefully correlated with the specific meridian with which they resonate.

Since Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) was really the first psychoneuroimmunology and always saw illness in relation to the whole person, it has been a great benefit to be able to use the essences in this context. When using this model we can work from a place of physical symptoms, emotional patterns, or mental disharmonies, to find the best essence to resolve a particular challenge. As an acupuncturist I have found that I am able to enhance the effects of the acupuncture treatment and also sustain the effects of treatment for longer periods of time if I give the patient an essence to take between treatments.

For instance, if someone comes in with severely deficient, almost frozen, kidney qi I've noticed that giving them Snowdrop essence to take between visits as well as needling K 3, BI 23, etc . . . resolves their condition much more efficiently than just needling and moxibustion. The Kidney channel holds the energetic template for energy and vitality. When the kidneys are deficient there is little vitality and people tire easily and seem to have no stamina. Think of the Snowdrop. Think of the amount of energy/essence resources it must have within in order to break through the frozen soil to manifest as the first spring flower.

Because of this connection with TCM it is easier to bridge the differences between the disciplines of Vibrational Remedies and Western medicine. The correlations with the meridians of Chinese medicine and the chakras of Ayurvedic medicine make them particularly user friendly for any health practitioner who has a background in these areas. They can either be used as an adjunct to acupuncture, kinesiology etc. or as a replacement for conventional protocol. For instance, as a Touch for Health instructor, I have found that I can use an essence to balance a muscle instead of neurovascular and neurolymphatic points. Usually I do both and then send the remedy home with the patient to anchor the experience of balance and harmony within the Body/Mind.

At the same time, one doesn't have to be a health practitioner in order to use these remedies effectively.

One of the traditional ways that flower essences have been selected is either by dowsing with a pendulum or by finding a key word or emotional pattern which seems to match the particular frequency of the flower or sea essence. Both of these methods can still be used with Pacific Essences and over the years we have repertorized the essences in this context as well.

A very effective and successful practitioner in Brazil begins her session by listening to the patent's current issues and then dowses for the remedy. After selecting the remedy, she then works backwards as it were from the description of the flower or sea essence to the issue at hand, thereby shedding more light on the problem to be resolved.

Grass Widow
Grass Widow

Pink Seaweed
Pink Seaweed


In my clinic I always use a simple finger muscle test to ascertain that we have selected the best remedy. Not only are patients amazed by the difference in their muscle strength when holding a remedy that specifically matches their symptoms as opposed to one that is not effective at the time, but I believe that every time they take that remedy the memory of that strengthening is reactivated at a subconscious level.

The following cases will give you some idea of how these essences can be used most effectively and why they work.

Case – Severe Chronic Pain

A 73 year old woman who was allergic to all analgesics was referred to the Clinic for pain management due to sclerotic arthritis in her hip. She arrived with pain at a level of 12 out of 10. After some acupuncture, followed by massage with the Balancer Oil, her pain was reduced to about 5 out of 10. I sent her home with a bottle of Anemone and suggested that she take 3 or 4 drops every time she began to feel the pain escalating and to take it at least 6 times a day before I saw her again two days later. When she returned she was in much better shape and had noticed that every time she took the Anemone she was relatively comfortable for at least 30 minutes. She was reticent to take the essence more than 6 times. I explained a little more about breaking the pain cycle and repatterning cellular memory to be pain free. So after her second treatment where the pain was diminished to 4 out of 10 she took the remedy as frequently as required – initially 12 - 15 times a day. Within two weeks she was taking the remedy only 8 or 10 times a day, and having acupuncture once a week. After a month she was on a schedule of bi-weekly acupuncture treatments and taking the remedy as required. Within three months she was doing acupuncture about once every 4 weeks and using about 2 bottles of Anemone a month.

Explanation: Anemone is related to the Liver channel and Wood element in Chinese Medicine. The Wood element governs muscles and tendons. When our body is tense physical pain is exacerbated.

Case – Chronic Pain

After being successfully treated for agoraphobia with flower essences, a 38 year old man confided to his practitioner that he had suffered from pain in his testicles since he was 13 years old. The practitioner consulted with me and then offered her client an unmarked bottle of essence and asked if he would be willing to take it. He agreed, and the next day he called her and said "That essence was for my pain, wasn't it? I haven't had the pain since I took the first dose." The remedy was Anemone.

Explanation: Not only would Anemone help relax muscles and tendons, but in this case the path of the Liver channel runs right through the area of pain, being the closest channel to the testicles.

Case – Depression & Medication

A 31 year old woman was very overweight and had been taking a variety of medications since she was 19 when she was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. She really wanted to be able to live without medication and thought that flower essences would help. We worked together for about six months by which time she had been off all allopathic medicine for three months. The two most significant essences in her recovery were Chickweed which helped her to drop a lot of weight – 75 pounds in one year since beginning treatment and Grass Widow which seemed to be the key remedy for allowing her to live without medication.

Explanation: Chickweed is related to the Gall Bladder channel and physically and emotionally it helps to digest fat. It is also responsible for decisive action and being able to take initiative. As an essence it helps us to live in the moment and in our bodies. Often people with weight problems are unconscious about their eating habits – i.e how much and how often they are eating.

Grass Widow offered her the opportunity to let go of limited thinking and to override the diagnosis of anxiety and depression. Its resonance with the Stomach channel helped this woman to digest not only her food but her life experience. Grass Widow is also connected to the Large Intestine channel and assisted her with letting go of anything which did not serve her new direction.

Case – Deep Grief

A 39 year old woman came for shiatsu because she was feeling very stressed. Her husband of 20 years had died six months earlier from a brain aneurysm. In the previous ten years she had lost her mother and sister to cancer and her best friend had committed suicide. She is a very creative person and tended to deal with all this loss by plunging deeper and deeper into her work, which was a creative outlet for her. It took some time for this woman to even recognize the depth of her sadness. Four years into treatment she was involved in a new relationship. One day when we were working together, she admitted that she couldn't feel her heart, – "it feels as if there is a sheet of ice covering my heart." I tested her for Pink Seaweed. During treatment we put a drop on CV 17, the alarm point for the Heart Protector channel. She immediately felt some warmth in this area. After a few days of taking this remedy orally she began to feel as if she could give and receive love again. The ice over her heart disappeared and did not return.

Explanation: Pink Seaweed is one of the first 12 Sea Essences and is related to the Heart Protector channel. The closest physical correspondent to this channel in western medicine is the pericardium. In Chinese Medicine the Heart Protector acts as the guardian of the Heart itself and governs its ability to be open or closed. This remedy allowed her to open her heart to her new partner and it felt to me like the final step in a long and painful healing journey.

As a health practitioner I have begun to see that each of us has a metaphysical 'Achilles Heel' so to speak. This is the place where we tend to manifest symptoms and disharmony under extreme stress or just when we are faced with particular challenges in our lives. When we discover what this core energetic disharmony is we can find the particular remedy which will usually assist us. I call it our essence ally, somewhat like a constitutional remedy in classical homeopathy, the essence ally is a friend we can always rely on when our lives and/or our Body/Mind seems to be going awry. My own particular ally appears to be Jellyfish. It has a very clear signature, being fluid, transparent and containing 4 compartments which resemble the 4 chambers of the heart. Jellyfish is the best remedy I have discovered to assist me in staying clear and open-hearted when someone I love is going through some challenge and I have this overwhelming desire to fix it or change it for them. Not only is this behaviour totally disempowering to them and very disrespectful of their own life process and life challenges but it is also draining for me. Taking Jellyfish moves me back into a place of unconditional love and acceptance and also allows me to – "Make no judgements, Make no comparisons. Delete the need to understand." (Brugh Joy - Joy's Way)

With the notion of discovering personal essence allies we are developing a comprehensive study of the archetypal patterns of the 12 meridians of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which we teach in our annual Energy Medicine training. Because each of the channels contain physical, mental, emotional and spiritual attributes, it is like unravelling the strands of an exquisite creative masterpiece when we are privileged to participate in someone's journey of self discovery and self-healing through essences. Or like being able to see the nuances of colour and layers of colour that have come together to form a work of art like Monet's Water Lilies. And this work is such a gentle, fluid dance between practitioner and patient and so very rewarding for both. It is truly a co-creative journey into a land of Mystery and Wonder.

Probably my most amazing case occurred on my first trip to Argentina. A 43 year old woman came to me. She only spoke Spanish so we had to do this consultation through the medium of a young businessman. Her story was that she and her husband desperately wanted a child. She had been pregnant once but the foetus had been brain damaged and deformed and spontaneously aborted in the third or fourth month. She worked as a social worker in palliative care with AIDS. patients. On questioning it became clear that she herself might consider adoption but her husband probably wouldn't. I asked her if she was willing to consider the possibility that her life might be fulfilled without a child. Although she said yes, there was some slight reservation.

You can imagine that this session was very emotional for all of us. The client's heart was totally open. We were all teary eyed. And frankly I was somewhat amazed that here I was in the other half of the world and that really the issues of life are all the same. There was also part of my mind that thought that one of us must be quite nuts – her for thinking that I could give her an essence to conceive and me for even trying to do a healing consultation in one session and then leave town. Nonetheless, I asked her about other health concerns and emotional issues.

It turned out that she was slightly overweight and retained a lot of fluid. She described herself as rushing all the time and craving salt and sugar. She also had cold hands and feet and lots of gas and bloating. Her pulses showed severe deficiency in Kidney and noticeable deficiency in both Earth pulses (Spleen and Stomach). My rational mind decided that the only thing to do was to balance the energies as I perceived them and to give her remedies to correct the noted disharmonies. However, in the process of selecting the appropriate remedies I heard myself saying. "The next time I come to Argentina, you will come to see me and you will bring me your baby." The part of my mind that was listening was horrified! I never express fixed outcomes as a result of treatment, solely because energy moves in mysterious ways.

The consultation took place in early October 1993. That Christmas I received a card from this client telling me that she was indeed pregnant. And 10 months later when I returned to Argentina I met the most beautiful baby girl who was then 12 days old.

The essences we selected were Sea Palm and Snowberry in one combination and Chickweed and Urchin in a second combination. These essences focus on her penchant to rush around, her weight problems, her ability to live in the moment, and her digestive problems. And Snowberry was included to help her to accept life as it is.

People always ask me what the essences were, but in this model of healing it really is irrelevant. Working with essences is a process where there is a connection between the practitioner and the patient and between both of these and the consciousness of the plant and sea beings in the essences. It is a journey of embracing the Mystery of All That Is.

Further Information

The UK distributor for Pacific Essences is: International Flower Essence Repertoire, The Living Tree, Milland, Liphook, Hants GU30 7JS. Tel. 01428 741572


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