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Self-Mastery Through Flower Essences

by Lila Devi(more info)

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

"If your life could be ideal, what would you change to make it so?" This is one of the questions I ask clients who come for flower essence consultations. Typical responses range from desiring more money to wanting deeper harmony in relationships, from achieving greater peace of mind to experiencing richer happiness. It seems that so few are contented just as they are!

Cocos nucifera – Coconut Blossom

Cocos nucifera – Coconut Blossom

If you want to improve your life physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually, consider flower essences: an extraordinary healing method both time-tested and dynamic. Brought forward to this century by Dr. Edward Bach in London in the 1930s, it was actually the sixteenth century Swiss physician Paracelsus who initially discovered the usage of dewdrops resting upon blossoms for treating his patients.

Flower essences are herbal tinctures which impart strength and balance. Flowers, much like people, have personalities. They vibrationally offer us a range of elevating qualities, which can be extracted by a simple method employing sunlight, pure spring water, and the blossoms themselves. Peace of mind, kindliness toward others, and a dignified sense of self are but a few of these qualities. Such qualities, which already reside in us, are enhanced when we take flower essences. Hence the supreme reality of this healing method: flower essences help us realize the truth of who we already are.

Origins of The Master's Flower Essences

Two decades ago, I took my first flower essence: the classic Rescue Remedy. My response was both profound and immediate. Instantly, I experienced a complete shift in consciousness from the confusion and disorientation of a major geographic move, to a calm inner knowing that all was right. As is the common reaction when one passes through a life-changing experience, I wanted to share the good news with others: "I've just taken my first flower essence, and it worked!" Scant few books on the subject were available at that time, which proved to be an undisguised blessing. Thus my knowledge of, and work with, the essences was, from the start, primarily experiential.

Following an intensive study of the Bach Flower Remedies, I was led to a list of the psychological qualities of various fruits and vegetables discovered by a world-renowned master of metaphysics, Paramhansa Yogananda, internationally acclaimed for his classic, Autobiography of a Yogi. Eat bananas and you injest their quality of humility, he said. Eat grapes, and you imbibe the vibrational nutrient of unconditional love. If these foods offer us such a bounty of healing properties, I thought, why not go to the plant's true source of power – its blossoms – and develop flower essences according to Dr. Bach's preparation methods? Thus were born the twenty Master's Flower Essences. The Master's Essences are so named for Yogananda's contribution and also because, through taking them, we attain greater levels of self-mastery.

How Flower Essences Work: The Nuts and Bolts

Exactly how do flower essences work? They uplift us. They inspire. Composed of the purest energy from the plant kingdom, they provide "missing vibrational vitamins," as it were. By injesting them, we introduce into our own energy field what you might call "bottled states of consciousness": bottled peace, kindness, flexibility. Feeling depressed? Try Orange Blossom Essence. Frazzled by a rough day at the office? Simple: Spinach Essence will soothe the stressed spirit.

Directions for usage are straightforward: take two to four drops of Stock Concentrate under the tongue (being careful not to touch the dropper to avoid contamination) four times a day, not too close to mealtime (ten minutes before or an hour after eating). You may also take the dosage in juice or tea to avoid the brandy taste; the alcohol content both preserves the essence and maintains its vibrational potency. If you are averse to injesting the brandy, simply place a few drops on the inside of your wrist and rub it in like perfume. For practitioners and essence enthusiasts who wish their bottle to last longer, you may prepare a Dosage bottle: add two drops of Stock Concentrate to a 30 ml dark bottle, add one tablespoon of brandy, and then fill the bottle with spring water. Take four drops four times a day. Administering the drops more often throughout the day is recommended when the need is felt, especially in emergency situations.

What kinds of results do individuals report from taking flower essences? The range is as varied as the people themselves – anything from mild emotional improvement to dramatic and immediate physiological changes. Since flower essences work on an energetic rather than biochemical level (unlike allopathic medicines), results are more personalized. "I took Corn in the evening," wrote one woman. "When I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror the next morning, my inner state of mind had changed so much that I didn't even recognize myself!"

Fragaria chiloensis - Strawberry Blossom

Fragaria chiloensis - Strawberry Blossom


Musa paradisiaca – Banana Blossom

Musa paradisiaca – Banana Blossom

Practical New Terms for the Practitioner and Layperson

"Oh, sure," you're thinking, "this stuff sounds too good to be true." But consider a healing art which uplifts and inspires, one that allows you to distinguish the subtle difference between identifying your weaknesses and identifying with them. However, the beauty of this method has long been overshadowed by the traditional means for describing it. "I went for a flower essence consultation and was told that I was apathetic and indifferent," a client recently shared, "and then was given an essence bottle to remedy those problems." A bit discouraging, isn't it? The vocabulary for defining flower essences and the individuals who take them has emphasized, until now, negative personality qualities. In the Bach Remedies range, for example, we learn of the Cerato type's predominant foolishness and the Scieranthus type's overriding yo-yo indecisiveness. An unflattering construct, to say the least!

It was for this reason that I developed a new "language of the flowers". (You will find this subject covered at greater length in my new book, The Essential Flower Essence Handbook.) Yes, of course we have problems; but let's always remember that they do not define our essential nature! We are not our transitory trials and passing emotions. The truth is, we are love. We are joy. We are wholeness.

Literature being a wonderful metaphor for life, I have borrowed literary terms for our new language: theme and plot. These terms offer a cohesive and entertaining system which explain the mysteries of human nature without pigeonholing it into suffocating, definitional boxes. So if we must, by nature, define our world, let's at least give its inhabitants the highest possible credit!

Theme Essence: The Story line

A theme, as we may remember from grade school literature classes, refers to the story of a play or novel, developed through particular challenges. Perhaps we are perfecting the art of unconditional love (Grape), or repeatedly manifesting strength throughout our life's trials (Tomato). In essence terms, we could say that we possess one basic theme quality in which we excel. In my book, I've profiled some of these themes in the form of well known and loved fictional characters: Mary Poppins, our cheerful Cherry theme; Cinderella, a selflessly loving Peach theme; and the ever-charming and childlike Winnie the Pooh as an idyllic example of the simple Spinach. (Note that the capitalized food name refers to the actual flower essence and not the food itself.)

Example of a Theme Essence: Case Study A

Consider the following example of a famous Tomato theme from my book: Let's examine the life of Helen Keller and her corresponding theme essence. Born in 1880, Ms. Keller lost both sight and hearing at the age of nineteen months. Through the efforts of her loving teacher, Anne Sullivan Macy, she learned to comprehend the connection between words and objects and, at ten years of age, achieved a major victory: speech. In her twenty-fourth year, she graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College. Ms. Keller authored six books, and became the subject of several films, including the adapted Broadway play in 1959 entitled The Miracle Worker. She is also noted for her valuable contributions to the American Foundation of the Blind as counsellor on international relations.

Even without experience in intuiting theme essences, we can see that Ms. Keller's was a life of unmitigated courage, strength, and overcoming of obstacles: the hallmarks of a Tomato theme. Faced with extraordinary barriers to the natural abilities of the senses which we take for granted, she fought time and again to master the simple art of the spoken and written word. Even the titles of her books suggest the courage and will power of her undaunted spirit: Optimism (1903), Out of the Dark (1913), and The Open Door (1957). "Life," she professed, "is either a daring adventure – or nothing." Ms. Keller's life, indeed, exemplifies that of a warrior; the message of Tomato permeates her life's path.

Plot Essence: Action and Growth

The term plot, in contrast, defines a series of events which develop the story line or theme. Since plot suggests action and growth, a plot essence refers to the need for, or lack of, a given quality, without implying bad, dark, or wrong. After all, how many people do you know who are unequivocally perfect? Here's a recent testimonial profiling the application of a plot essence: "I've been upset for several months now: down, depressed, and whatnot. As we know, sometimes when we feel badly, we do things that only make it worse for ourselves. For me, this means bingeing. I figured I'd live on junk food for at least a week, even knowing that my body wasn't happy with the idea. Well, I took Apple (for healthfulness and healthy, life-affirming attitudes) in the morning with my coffee and throughout the day in my drinking water. I even kept the essence bottle beside my glass. It was amazing – by evening, all I wanted to eat was salad."

Example of a Plot Essence: Case Study B

Now let's look at an example of a plot essence in action, also reprinted from my book.

Madeleine worked in a gift shop in a small West Coast tourist town. She often found herself judgmental and impatient with customers and co-workers. After a week on Date, her pivotal plot essence (see chart) indicated by a curt nature, she reported feeling more irritated than ever. Madeleine experienced a seeming setback, as if the essence had "backfired." We discussed this turn of events and decided that the problem had actually not worsened; her awareness of it had grown, a common reaction to flower essences. Two days later, Madeleine called with the news: her judgmental, easily irritated pattern of reacting to customers had dissolved, and she felt more at peace with herself than ever.

In addition, the plot thickens with several subsections: the sub-theme and two categories of plot essences – pivotal and peripheral (see chart below). To summarize: a flower essence is a positive vibrational quality. Our theme essence is our positive, dominant expression of that quality. And a plot essence reflects our need to express that particular quality. With these clarifying tools, we now have an inspirational and uplifting language with which to apply flower essences.

The Flower/Food Connection

Because the Master's Flower Essences are prepared specifically from fruit and vegetable blossoms, they are accessed very easily. We are already familiar with apples, oranges, and pears. Now, with a bit of study and reflection, we will be able to spot the health-minded Apple theme, the joyful Orange theme, and the healing Pear theme in whose presence we naturally feel at peace.

What we call the "flower/food connection" offers yet another intriguing piece to the puzzle of understanding the human personality. People tend to express a special relationship to their theme essence food: a particularity of sorts. "Corn's my favorite – I think that's why I like working in a Mexican restaurant," admits a Corn theme. "I can't start my day without half an orange for breakfast," confides a classic Orange theme. Thus, the flower/food connection offers excellent clues to deciphering individual's themes.

In Essence

Flower essence lines are blossoming worldwide with more than seventy in existence. Most claim geographic distinctions; some are prepared by variations on the traditional Sunshine or Boiling methods. Flower essences – gifts to us from the plant kingdom – are bottled bouquets of vibrant life force, available year round. In answer to the call of her children for a healing art that is gentle, powerful, subtle yet supremely effective, Mother Nature has responded in the form of her own essence: flowers.

Theme and Plot Essences Identified

Flower Essence
The positive vibrational quality

Theme Essence
Our positive, dominant expression of that quality
A secondary positive expression

Plot Essence
Our need to express that particular quality
Pivotal Plot
A frequently recurring need to express that quality
Peripheral Plot
A need expressed occasionally in specific situations


Qualities of the Master's Flower Essences

AvocadoGood memory

BlackberryPurity of thought

CornMental viability
DateSweetness, tenderness
GrapeLove, devotion
TomatoStrength, courage


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About Lila Devi

Lila Devi is the developer and director of the Master’s Flower Essences, the oldest essence range outside the U.K. Her new book, The Essential Flower Essence Handbook, also serves as the text for the Master’s Correspondence Course, a tri-level home study course with frame-worthy certification for each level. Lila lectures and teaches internationally, and will be returning to the U.K. for a weekend workshop on January 25-26, and again in June, 1997. For more information about products and programs, contact The International Flower Essence Repertoire at The Working Tree: Milland, Liphook, Hants GU30 7JS, Tel: 01 428 741 572, Fax: 01 428 741 679.

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