I’m a New Age girl, and I’ve accepted it. Ever since I was little, I’ve been entranced by spirituality and the occult and intrigued by how our daily life is influenced by realms and energies unseen. These interests later led me to discover witchcraft and, as they say, the rest is history. Some people are freaked out by the thought of witchcraft, but if you’ve ever had a gut reaction, felt uncomfortable in a certain space for no reason, or felt a kinship with the natural world, it's actually not so different.
I have always been enthralled by flowers; to this day, I quite literally still stop to smell the roses and any other bloom in my path. So when I read about flower medicine via an article on The Numinous about Bach’s Flower Essences, I knew I needed to try some. The flowers were talking to me, and, this time, I decided to listen.
Launched by Dr. Edward Bach in London in the 1930s, Bach’s Flower Essences make up a self-contained system of healing that includes 38 different types of flowers to treat a myriad of emotional problems. Bach was a doctor and a homeopath who believed that people’s physical issues were often a manifestation of, what he referred to as, emotional imbalance. By treating these imbalances, people would recover more quickly or maybe not even suffer from the issues at all. The bottom line? The better off you are emotionally, the better off you’ll be physically.
The flower essences are made by infusing 100 percent natural spring water with wildflowers that have either been sun-steeped or boiled. The Essences (called Remedies in Bach's native England) are not designed to treat medical issues per se, but rather to treat emotional ailments, like stress, anxiety, or self-consciousness. In this way, the flower essences are similar to other forms of natural healing designed to work in tandem with the body's energy flow, like reiki and crystals.
While each flower treats a specific negative emotion—from anger and jealousy to sadness and grief—by combining up to six or seven different flowers, you can create a personalized flower essence to treat everything that's skewing your emotional balance at the moment. This is a key part of flower medicine: These essences are designed to treat what is bothering you at a specific time. The biggest question then, before using flower medicine, to ask yourself is how you feel, why you feel it, and what you would like fixed.
But if this still sounds confusing to you, don't worry. Although you can work within the system yourself, and buy Bach's Essences online or at places like Whole Foods, you can also work with a certified Bach Flower Essence Practitioner to help make the process easier.
That’s where Kerri Aab came in for me. Aab is the owner of Seed to Blossom and a Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner. Aab witnessed firsthand the power of the flowers when she was halfway through a 50-hour labor with her daughter and was given Rescue Remedy, a premixed Bach's Flower Essence for times of emergency or extreme anxiety. Although she later forgot about the essences, she was introduced to them again after dealing with postpartum anxiety and has been hooked ever since.
Aab works as a correspondent between the flowers and the person she’s consulting with and offers Skype, phone, email, or in-person consultations. Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what it is you’re feeling, but by working with someone like Aab, you’ll be led through a series of probing questions designed to help you get deeper into understanding how to articulate what it is you're really feeling. And once you do, you'll be given a customized blend of Flower Essences to help work through your imbalances.
I wanted to witness the power of flowers firsthand, so I chose to have a Skype consultation with Aab, who is exactly the sort of person you want helping you through tough emotional issues; both warm and comforting, Aab put me at ease as soon as our session began. She started by explaining Bach’s Flower Essences to me, telling me a little bit about its history and how the system is still manufactured in the same London garden that Bach tended to back in the day. Before my session with Seed to Blossom, I filled out a consultation form, which asked questions about what it is you're going through emotionally and what you hope to get from the session. So, before the session began, Aab already had an idea of where I was.
One of the main reasons I wanted to work with the flowers was, hopefully, to help control my anger and impatience, especially toward my family. Abb asked me a series of questions about these problems, like when do I feel agitated and what kind of small things tick me off. The beauty of this session is that it’s deeply personal; by combining her intuition with her understanding of the flower properties, Aab asked questions that got to the root of other issues, too, like the fact that I’m empathic and pick up on other people’s energies, something that’s caused me anxiety in the past. The session itself lasted about an hour, and it felt like a mix of a counseling session, an interview, and a talk with a good friend.
After the initial interview process, Aab recommends different flowers based on the emotional need. Although she suggests certain essences, she is keen to emphasize the fact that it’s also important to trust your own intuition. If there’s a flower you don’t think is a fit, she’ll gladly go back to the drawing board. For me, she recommended Beech which represents intolerance. The flowers crowd out the negative by flooding you with the positive correspondence to the emotion, so, in this case, it would be tolerance. She also recommended Impatiens for impatience, Pine for guilt and shame (which works for me on a “why am I so fortunate and others are not” sort of level), Walnut for protection from outside influences and energies, and Vervain, which is for activists, usually in the areas of justice, who are overwhelmed and burnt out. Obviously, these flowers weren’t all dealing with one specific sort of anger; through my session, Aab had been able to see what my passions are and what I’m feeling and tailored my concerns toward this.
After the Seed to Blossom consultation, my personalized Flower Essences arrived with instructions on how to use. They come in a beautiful package with clear and simple instructions: Take four drops, four times a day—once when you wake up, once before you go to sleep, and twice in between. Simply put the drops under your tongue or in a glass of water and you’re set. You do this for up to three weeks, or whenever the bottle runs out. The effects take about a week and a half to kick in, but if you’re in a moment of stress, or like me, impatient and angry, you’re told to take the essence for quick and sometimes immediate results.
The flowers worked for me on an energetic level, subtly at first and then with more gravity. And let me say, there wasn’t a singular “aha” moment for me while I was taking the essences. It’s not that the flowers are a bandage for the work that you have to do energetically. Instead, they act as a guide, a reminder to slow down and witness how you’re feeling. Once you get into the habit of taking the essences, you’re forced to be more present, more aware. The flowers are like friends who let you know that what you’re feeling is okay and that they are here to help as you need it. I noticed that my anger wasn’t there as much and that even during times of chaos when I was surrounded by large groups of people, I didn’t feel as anxious and overwhelmed as I would have thought. The flowers act as a slow-working medicine, reminding me that it’s okay to feel my feelings but that sometimes you don’t need to feel all of them all the time. And through the entire experience, I had the support of Abb, whose guidance worked along with the flowers to remind me that I am not alone, that I am part of a bigger earth, and for that, I am thankful.