I recently acquired a new book entitled The Healing Plants Bible by Helen Farmer-Knowles. It’s a reference book that introduces the reader to plants used in traditional Western herbalism as well as traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda. I find its “History, mystery, and spiritual healing” entries on each plant particularly interesting.
I thought I’d explore some of the holiday greens that surround us this time of year to learn of their healing qualities starting with this book and the holiday greens of holly.
I love being immersed in holly at this time of year. I discovered that holly has been associated with the Christmas holiday for a long time. The holly bush brightened homes at Christmas before fir Christmas trees were introduced.
The Romans celebrated the god Saturn to whom the holly was a sacred plant at the “Feast of Sol Invictus” on Decemeber 25. Holly was used to decorate homes, palaces and the marketplaces in honor of Saturn. Holly was formed into wreaths and given to friends as presents.
For the Celtic Druids, the holly tree was sacred and conjoined with the Holly King who ruled from the summer solstice until the winter solstice, ending in a great celebration.
Reading this inspired me to look at The Wild Wood Tarot cards I have and sure enough, there is a major arcana card 9 The Hooded Man who is dressed in an evergreen holly and berry cloak and stands at the midwinter solstice on Dec. 21. (In traditional tarot, The Hooded Man is called the Hermit.) “The Hooded Man survives even in the cold empty winter landscape because of his wisdom and his will. He is at one with the harshness of the climate because he draws upon the strength of the evergreen holly that even in the winter cannot turn to dust and has stored spiritual nourishment to sustain him; and to those who have followed his path, and now are tired and in need of solace, he waits to pass on his wisdom, comfort and guidance.”
The bird in this picture is a wren, an ancient totem bird that flew highest of all creatures on the back of the great eagle. It reminds us “that the smallest of Earth’s creatures is capable of soaring to the greatest heights and seeing beyond the farthest horizons.” The wren is also associated with the Holly King.
Here’s a photo of an American holly tree:
Holly is one of the Bach Flower Essences. It is a fitting support for the holidays as it helps one shift imbalanced energies to feelings of understanding, generosity, tolerance, love and forgiveness. When describing this Bach Flower Essence, Edward Bach said: “Holly protects us from everything that is not Universal Love. Holly opens the heart and unites us with Divine Love.”
Today I decided to spend some time with the pink evening primrose flower essence. I planted this flower a few years ago in my Arizona garden because it is known as a drought tolerant plant. In the early spring and summer, before the extreme heat sets in, the flowers create a sea of pink loveliness. Being a wildflower, the evening primroses quickly took over the spaces in my garden where they were planted.
Researching for information, I found that the pink evening primrose’s botanical name is Oenothera speciosa. It is also known as Showy evening primrose, Mexican evening primrose, Showy primrose, Pink ladies, Buttercups, and Pink buttercups. (Speciosa means “showy”.) Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center Plant Data Base has a beautiful picture and excellent article on this wildflower here. I noted that the capsules of pink evening primrose attract birds, especially finches, and that it has a special value to native bees.
I found some more information here here. The pink evening primrose blooms both day and night while other species of evening primrose bloom only in the evening, early morning, or at night, (hence the name “evening primrose”). The pink ladies bloom from March to July, and occasionally in the fall. I’ve got some blooming again now in September. The plant’s wild habitat includes rocky prairies, open woodlands, slopes, roadsides, meadows and disturbed areas. The USDA has a nice map where you can see the distribution of this wildflower here
I turned to the Flower Essence Services for help in understanding the energetic properties of this flower essence. The Flower Essence Service has an evening primrose flower essence made from a species of evening primrose that is yellow (oenothera hookeri) and blooms in the evening and morning. They have tested this essence and find its healing qualities to be awareness and healing of painful early emotions absorbed from parents. It facilitates the ability to open emotionally and form deep, committed relationships.
Ted Andrew’s Nature-Speak suggests that nature reveals its secrets through its geometric shapes, numbers and colors. What distinguishes the pink ladies from the other evening primroses, besides its time of blooming, is its distinctive cross-shaped, four petal, pink flower. Andrews says the cross shape balances the male and female and can reflect the intersection of waking and dreaming, stimulating more vibrant and lucid dreams. The number four indicates a time for new foundation and for patience in laying it. It points to issues of groundedness and stability. Pink reflects issues of compassion and of the heart. It can help soothe emotions. I resonate with that one! The American Indian Secrets of Crystal Healing says pink contains both white (purity) and red (love) and symbolizes the unconditional love that is useful when working on problems of the heart.
Perhaps the pink evening primrose can support us in the next stage of healing once we feel safe to open up in the light of day and share some of our inner healing work with others. I find this flower and flower essence to be very healing, supportive, and uplifting. Why not try growing your own and testing the essence out for yourself? You can buy seeds here for a few dollars including shipping. Make sure you plant them in an area where they can grow and spread since they can be invasive. The pink evening primrose will gift you with a sea of pink, a safe space to open up and shine your light.
I’ve been away on vacation the last month or so which is why this blog has been resting as well. The wonderful thing about vacations is that when you go back to your normal life, you get to have a fresh start and try new things. I have been stretching myself out of my comfort zone a bit by taking online classes and participating in a practice group provided by Ronni Ann Hall at Designing Fairy
In my practice group we’ve been practicing doing intuitive card readings with each other and I have now twice done card readings where I have integrated earth gifts to support the qualities being suggested by the cards. It occurred to me that I could write a post in a similar manner.
One of the qualities I worked with today was Assertiveness. This is the ability to stand up for your beliefs, and only say yes if you really want to. I found three earth gifts that can support one in being assertive: a flower essence, a spirit animal, and a gemstone.
Centaury is a Bach Flower essence that can be found in your local health food store or online. The Centaury flower looks like this:
The centaury flower essence helps you serve others from inner strength, with a healthy recognition of one’s own needs. Assertiveness means acting from the strength of inner purpose, saying “No” when appropriate.
The spirit animal that can assist with assertiveness is the Polar Bear.
Polar Bear can assist in standing up for yourself and speaking your truth respectfully and compassionately, with no attachment to outcome. This includes asking for what you want and setting boundaries. You can say “No” clearly and without apology when you are assertive. One way to work with Polar Bear spirit essence might be to get pictures or a stuffed animal as a visual reminder of the Polar Bear strength you can call upon within yourself.
Finally, the Tiger’s Eye gemstone can assist in having the confidence and courage to be assertive:
Image courtesy of http://www.retrokimmer.com/2011/10/retrokimmersstigers-eye-bracelet.html
Scott Cunningham in Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic says that Tiger’s Eye is a warm stone that promotes energy flow through the body when worn. He suggests sitting outside on a sunny day and holding a tiger’s-eye in your hands, gazing at the flashes of light.
Assertiveness is a key to happiness. It honors everyone’s rights, including your own. Assertive people are easy to get along with because you always know where you stand with them. You can speak your truth with love and let go of unhealthy, old communication habits. I would love to hear of any earth gifts or tools that have helped you with being more assertive.
When you see, smell, or think of roses what comes to mind? Love? Beauty? Roses have been symbolic of these qualities since ancient times. Here’s an example: Cleopatra had her living quarters filled with the petals of roses so that when Marc Antony met her, he would be reminded of her every time he smelled a rose. Here are some more historical facts.
In Greek mythology, Chloris, the goddess of flowers, created the rose from the lifeless body of a beautiful nymph. She called on the help of The Three Graces who gave it joy, brightness and charm; Aphrodite, the goddess of love, who gave it beauty; Dionysus, the god of wine, who gave it a beautiful perfume; and Zephyr, the wind god, who blew away the clouds so the rose could open her petals to sun. The newborn rose was crowned the Queen of Flowers, the emblem of Aphrodite (Venus), and the symbol of love.
Ted Andrews in Nature Speak says that rose is the most sacred plant and the flower of love. It has an energy that is healing and will balance and align all chakras. It can activate the heart chakra for healing and awakening a greater sense of love. Rose can increase your telepathy, and help you attune to the angelic vibrations. “It can help open one to exploration of the mystery of time, life and death and all that is unknown.”
In the Feb. 2003 Flower Essence Magazine.com article by Tenanche Semiata-Akuaba entitled Rose Flower Essences: Loving Support Through Life’s Transitions she states:
“The rose flower essence . . . supports and protects the heart from emotional pain and trauma. It also fosters hardiness, resilience and endurance in the face of sudden change, characteristics that virtually all repeat-blooming hybridized roses display after being pruned.
I’ve compiled a brief reference to the healing qualities of roses based on their colors and associated chakra(s) using photos of roses from my garden and other sources, references from books and websites, and my own experiences. I’ve cited all my sources at the end (source number in parentheses after each item).
Red Rose (root chakra , sacral, and heart chakras) Photo is of a pinky/red floribunda rose from my garden.
- for grounding into the body, releasing and vitalizing kundalini/chi (1)
- red rose increases confidence in your sexuality and helps you open up to love and bring your desires into action (2)
- symbol of the sun, of earthly passion, assists in all aspects of love and fertility (3)
- attracting love, enhancing passion and romance, increasing motivation, and promoting healing (4)
- associated with Archangels Haniel and Jophiel (4)
- associated with Archangel Uriel (5)
Orange/apricot Rose (sacral chakra) Photo is of an orange/apricot colored mini foribunda rose from my garden.
- for emotional clearing, easing anger, and enhancing creativity. (1)
This flower essence helped me release feelings of loneliness and sadness from loss of my parents. In its place, I began to feel that my cup is overflowing with love.
Yellow Rose, (solar plexus and crown chakras) The photo is of a Double Delight rose from my garden.
- for acceptance, interpersonal connections, calming the mind, and bringing calm, engendering joy. (1)
- it can teach us how to recognize and express truth. (3)
- cultivating calm, peace, and joy; and concentration (4)
- associated with Archangels Haniel and Uriel (4)
- associated with Archangel Jophiel (5)
I also made a flower essence from the Double Delight roses. When using this flower essence I got help with my emotion of worry. I gained a feeling of peace and relaxation. I felt trust, that all is well, and I am safe.
Pink Rose (heart and solar plexus chakras) Photo is of a pink hybrid tea rose in my garden.
- for self-love and acceptance, releasing heart pain and trauma. (1)
- symbol of the blending of the male and female within to give new birth and creation to one’s life. (3)
- beauty, self-confidence, comfort, and being content with yourself (4)
- Bach Wild Rose flower essence, pink or white has healing qualities of will to live, joy and commitment to life despite trials or pain.
- FES California Wild Rose has the healing qualities of love for the Earth and for human life, enthusiasm for doing and serving.
- associated with Archangel Jophiel (4)
- associated with Archangel Chamuel (5)
(Blue) Purple Roses, (throat chakra) (There is no such thing as a blue rose, but purple roses carry the blue vibration.) I do not have a rose this color in my garden, but it is on my wish list. This photo is of an Ebb Tide floribunda rose courtesy of plantworld.net.
- for inspiration and creative self-expression. (1)
- it opens one to the energy that makes the impossible possible and the unobtainable obtainable. (3)
- associated with Archangel Michael (5)
Violet/Lavender Rose, (crown chakra) Photo is of a violet/lavender hybrid tea rose in my garden.
- for deepening spiritual vision and intuition (1)
- associated with Archangel Zadkiel (5)
White Rose, (crown chakra and soul star chakra above the top of the head) Photo is of a Green Ice mini rose which I have in my garden but am lacking her photo. She is currently resting up before blooming again so the photo you see is courtesy of Rose Show.com
- for connecting with the divine and a sense of pure knowing (1)
- quietly inspiring and strengthening, renewing energy and joy in your life (2)
- given to infants and young children to help them grow up, keeping a sense of heaven on earth (2)
- symbol of the moon, helps develop spiritual purity and awaken our own divinity (3)
- purification, peace, gentle transition, releasing links from the past, and clearing earthbound spirits (4)
- Bach Wild Rose flower essence, pink or white has healing qualities of will to live, joy and commitment to life despite trials or pain
- associated with Archangels Metatron, Michael, and Raphael (4)
- associated with Archangel Gabriel (5)
1. “Rose Flower Essences: Loving Support Through Life’s Transitions” in Feb. 2003 Flower Essence Magazine.com by Tenanche Semiata-Akuaba.
2. Flower Power by Anne McIntyre
3. Nature – Speak by Ted Andrews
5. Website Mini Guide to the 7 Archangels
If you’re interested in purchasing rose flower essences from Ronni Ann Hall, Designing Fairy you’ll find them here.
Bach Wild Rose Flower Essence can be purchased here.
FES California Wild Rose Flower Essence can be purchased here.
Power of Flowers has two rose essences, look up Nootka Rose (pinkish red) and Sophie’s Rose (pink).
thelittleleaf.net has some beautiful peach rose photos.
talainsphotographyblog has beautiful rose and other nature photos.
When I moved to Arizona in the mid 1980’s a frequent sight when traveling over the mountain to Prescott or traveling down to Phoenix was herds of pronghorn antelope. Now almost thirty years later the sightings are less frequent. The open grasslands over the mountain in Prescott are part of Prescott Valley and homes have been built and the highway expanded. I was thrilled to take the picture you see in this posting when showing my brother the sights last October. The high grasslands on the way to Phoenix have herds of cattle from time to time but I no longer spot antelope. I count myself lucky to have the contact with them that I do.
The Spring 2013 edition of National Parks featured an article on the Yellowstone’s pronghorn entitled “The Value of Species”. I learned some facts about pronghorn I didn’t know before and wholeheartedly agree with the author’s thesis that plant and animal species have value in and of themselves, not just in terms of what they contribute to humans.
I didn’t know that the pronghorn antelope are not really antelopes because they do not lose their horns. Also, they only exist in North America and have always existed here: they did not come over here from Asia as many other species, including humans did.
They evolved to be the fastest long distance runners in the world: they can sprint at 60 miles per hour. Only African cheetahs sprint faster than pronghorns, but could not keep up with pronghorns over a distance. Pronghorns are interesting to study because they have developed a huge heart, trachea and lungs to enable their running. They also have a large liver for storing energy that can be accessed quickly and special cartilage padding on their hooves. What’s even more astonishing is that these adaptations serve no purpose in present day because no predator is around to give them a decent chase—not even the gray wolf.
The fossil record shows that pronghorns existed on this continent with several species of high-speed cats that disappeared from America in the Pleistocene extinction 11,000 years ago. Their ancient enemies caused the evolution of their amazing speed and the pronghorn survived to the present day.
So what are the messages and gifts pronghorns have to share with us? Jamie Sams and David Carson in Medicine Cards have quite a lot to say about Antelope. Not surprisingly, Antelope represents action: doing. They tell a story of Antelope teaching this lesson to the People when they were naked, hungry, and in danger of extinction. “Antelope taught humans to honor the gifts sent from Great Mystery, and to avoid indiscriminate destruction of life. Antelope medicine gives you strength of mind and heart, and the ability to take quick and decisive action to get things accomplished.”
Ted Andrews in Animal Speak says that the pronghorn reflects a mental agility and quick-wittedness that enable it to survive in the most difficult of environments. Their thick hides and tubular hairs provide insulation in winter and can be a message to either insulate oneself or a need to come out of hiding. He says it’s not unusual for sensitive and empathic people to have antelope show up in their lives.
Talking about the pronghorn speeds, even baby fawns can run around 25 miles per hour in the first day of life! Andrews attributes pronghorn medicine with quick wittedness and dynamic communication. Children with this totem often drive their parents nuts with continual questions. Their minds and imaginations are always active.
Pronghorns can see for long distances and this along with the antennae-like horns confer clairvoyance on individuals with a pronghorn totem. “They came in with the lights on, although they don’t always realize it.” Pronghorns also have a strong sense of smell that can awaken psychic and mediumistic abilities in this area.
I find the pronghorn very interesting creatures with much to teach me. I appreciate their gifts. Have any of you had pronghorn experiences?
I had the opportunity to do some bookstore browsing today and came home with Sun Bear and Waburn’s The Medicine Wheel: Earth Astrology. As I’m leafing through the book I find reference to Waboose, Spirit Keeper of the North which is a white buffalo.
Later I’m opening my mail and find an appeal to sign a petition to stop senseless bison killings in Montana. What?!? I find myself catapulted from a place of sacred musings to present day angst and anger. Bison restoration is threatened in Montana! You’ll find the petition on behalf of the bison here and I urge you to support this effort.*
I went to my photo library and found photos I took on my 2005 trip to Yellowstone National Park . Being able to see bison up close was a highlight of the trip even if it did slow everyone down whenever the bison started meandering along the roads through the park. There was a feeling of oneness among all of us in the queue of cars as we were given the opportunity to sit and contemplate the magnificence of these gentle giants. (I know they have a fierce side which is why everyone stayed in their cars.)
There is also a sense of terrible loss as well when one remembers that it was not cattle but huge thundering herds of millions of buffalo that roamed the prairies of our American forefathers until their senseless slaughter from 1865 – 1883. You’ll find more about this terrible tragedy here. Sadly the motivations to accomplish this disaster were profit and the genocide of the Native Americans who depended on the buffalo.
In The Medicine Wheel it states that the white buffalo brought renewal of both body and spirit. It is interesting that in the past few years there have been several white buffalo calves born, beating the odds of one in 10 million. Here is an excellent recent article on the promise of the white buffalo that seems to be occurring.
Jamie Sams and David Carson in Medicine Cards say that because of the buffalo’s desire to give the gifts that its body provided, and because of its willingness to be used on Earth for the highest good before entering the hunting grounds of Spirit, Buffalo did not readily stampede and run from hunters. They say that buffalo signs may indicate a time of reconnection to the meaning of life and the value of peace.
Such a powerful, positive gift and message. I feel we are entering such a time!
* Good news! I just read that Montana’s Governor vetoed the last of the 2013 anti-bison legislation on May 9th. Read it here!
Go here for more information on the American Bison.
Go here for the American Bison Society.
And for those who can stomach it, go here for photos of the near annihilation of the American Bison. It is heart breaking.
The prickly pear cacti in my yard are flowering. I placed water near the blooms to capture their essence and managed to capture a bumblebee in the water as well. Starting over, I noticed some more cactus blooms that were a brilliant yellow. I went to take pictures of them and found bumblebees in almost all of the blooms.
Later I was reading the June/July 2013 issue of National Wildlife and found A Bumblebee’s Brute Force: A photographer captures a pollinator’s powerful wings mid-flight . These experiences have inspired to seek the healing messages and gifts Prickly Pear Cactus flower and Bumblebee have to share.
Ronni Ann Hall, my flower essence teacher first introduced me to Prickly Pear Cactus flower essence. Here’s what her online flower essence catalog has to say about it: “Prickly Pear Cactus: “remove the blocks” Prickly Pear is a real powerhouse for removing any kind of block that is in the way, whether emotional or physical. It also removes by awareness what is not authentically you.” I tried it out and found it to be helpful just as described.
Here’s what some other flower essence people have to say about Prickly Pear Cactus flower essence:
- accessing the great strength that comes from surrendering to the flow of life and life’s events;
- inner calm through surrender to what IS;
- remaining committed to what you know is right;
Dancing Dolphin Essences : Thrive Prickly Pear Flower Essence: Assists with physical, mental and emotional challenges.
To summarize, Prickly Pear Cactus has powerful qualities for clearing emotions that are blocking us and empowering us to be who we are in the face of adversity.
Turning now to the Bumblebee, the “Brute Force” photo and text referenced earlier talks about how the bumblebee lifts its big body into the air with wings that are comparatively small for its body size. It’s adopted a brute-force approach, flapping its left and right wings independently 130 times or more per second and using large flight muscles that take up most of its midsection. It relies on the regular doses of energy-rich nectar it acquires while pollinating plants.
Ted Andrews in Animal Speak says that bees are long-time symbols for accomplishing the impossible. As pollinators and makers of honey, bees remind us that no matter how great the dream, there is the honey sweet promise of fulfillment if we pursue it.
This all syncs nicely with Prickly Pear Cactus flower essence: it speaks to thriving when the odds seem impossible and achieving our dreams when we embrace our uniqueness and let go of all that is holding us back. It’s time to take flight!
Go here to read about Pollinator Week, June 17 – 23, 2013.
Go here to learn of the “Bee Smart Pollinator Gardener App” for planting a garden that butterflies, hummingbirds and bees will love as much as you.
Go here if you want info on FES 100 Flower Essences Healing online class starting May 24, 2013.
The iris parade in my garden started at the end of March with the wild purple irises and ended today with the creamy white yellow-accented irises. For over a month I’ve been enjoying exquisite blooms in a graceful waltz displaying their frills and colors. There’s a sense of loss now that the last iris has expired. However, the iris plant continues to display its green blades for the rest of the season. In a summer Arizona garden, that green is much appreciated! Despite their delicate orchid-like appearance, irises are tough enough to do well in a hot dry climate with some watering. (They will survive without watering, but may not flower.)
Patricia Kaminski wrote in “Using Flower essences, healing oils and affirmations to illumine the soulscape of your sleep” (a booklet enclosed in Flower Essence Services product Dream Deep Ensemble) that iris is one of the most foundational flower essences, having “soul-making qualities”. Iris owes its name to Iris the Greek Goddess of the Rainbow who served as a messenger from the heavens. In Celtic mythology, Iris found her way back from earth to heaven on a “rainbow” of colored essences arising from flowers.
Iris flower essence encourages creativity and expression. Flower essences are my hobby and I enjoy making them, trying them out, and sharing them with my friends. I shared my iris essence last year with an artist friend, Shari Silvey who was experiencing artist’s block. She tried it out and suddenly she was painting again! She was so thrilled by the break through that she drove over to my house from Sedona to show me the painting that flowed from her brush. It was based on a wilderness hike she had taken and there were wild purple irises all along the meandering stream which flowed through the center of the painting. I am not making this up! I shared my iris flower essence with another artist friend of mine, Pamela J. Smith who also gave me positive feedback on it’s healing qualities.
If you would like to purchase commercially prepared Iris flower essence, here are some options:
Or if you have access to irises, why not make your own? There are many different approaches to this which you can research. Here’s one that is close to my process. I differ in that I use a small glass bowl that contains about 1 1/3 cups of reverse osmosis water. I also use an indirect method most of the time since it is difficult for me to cut flowers and have them die in the process of making the essence. I place the bowl of water near the flower so that it picks up on the flower aura. I also do not do the optional step 14 described.
I’d love to hear from you about your experiences with iris!
Here’s a fun, easy, online class on flower essences starting May 24, 2013. I took it and loved it!
For some gorgeous iris photos see these!