Flower Spirit Blog Update

Dear blog followers, thank you for watching this space.

You may have noticed things have been awfully quiet around here of late. As quiet as a flower waiting for a bee’s kiss, as silent as the moon looking down at the earth below.

This blog was a temporary resting place for my thoughts until I changed web host and server at www.flowerspirit.co.uk. I won’t be updating this blog anymore so… fly on over to Flowerspirit to see what’s new.

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Need a little positive faith? You might enjoy this post on Gentian flower essence (my most taken Bach flower remedy!)

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Just want to chill out with a little meditation? Then I invite you to join me in the bluebell woodland here.

Thanks for sharing this journey with me, I appreciate it.

With love Jackie

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The Essence of Interconnectedness

Water violet flower essence aids the soul’s journey from feelings of lonely separation to interconnectedness. It was one of the first 12 Bach Flower Remedies discovered by Edward Bach in the 1930’s. He made it near Lewes in East Sussex and I took this photograph on a pilgrimage to find it close to where he first discovered it on the Offham Marshes.

There was only one solitary flower, unreachable in the middle of the stream the day I met water violet and that’s no coincidence. Water violet flower essence is for solitary types – people who prefer to be alone and are aloof, superior, quiet and independent. They often look poised and perfect and can appear unapproachable – those people you meet and you may sense an invisible barrier between you and them. It would be an imposition to hug them or be too intimate or familiar with them.

As water violet flower essence is taken, it allows the invisible barrier to be broken down to connect with other people more easily. I grew up feeling separate and different and that I didn’t fit with people at all. Always more comfortable with plants and animals, my unbalanced water violet state made me feel very lonely when I was with people. If I was in nature I felt fine but around people my inability to connect with them would be triggered painfully. Water violet types often spend a lot of solitary time in nature for this reason. If you’re a solitary nature lover ask yourself if this resonates with your experiences.  I still find small talk difficult and would prefer not to talk at all than to fill the air with words for the sake of politeness. For this reason, people needing water violet can appear superior, anti-social and unapproachable. Water violet people are naturally reserved and withdrawn, other people sense this so it reinforces the feelings of loneliness.

People who need water violet often have a strong connection to spirit but this can make them feel superior to other human beings. As water violet flower essence is taken it brings humility and greater love and intimacy with all of life. Subsequently spiritual connection is found from relationships as well as through solitary pursuits like meditation.

The gift of taking water violet flower essence is that it helps you to realise that we are all truly interconnected: to one another, to the planet, to all plants and creatures. When you feel that truth in your heart it releases the painful feelings of loneliness.  For those of a particular age and musical past the lyrics of Jah Wobble sum it up: “I am everybody and everybody is me”. For everyone else, perhaps the Mayans said it better: “In Lak’ech: I am you and you are me“.

Water violet is the flower essence for Aquarians who are celebrating their birthdays just now and who often carry soul-deep feelings of lonely separation.   You will know you need water violet if you find it difficult to connect lovingly with others or feel painfully lonely and different. Taking water violet will change your vibration to bring more love, intimacy and interconnectedness into your life.  You can visit the Bach Flower Remedy shelf to order Water violet from Crystal Herbs here – just enter Water violet in the search box.

Would you like a deeper understanding of how your emotions and beliefs influence your life? A flower and crystal essence consultation enables you to release emotions and beliefs that are holding you back so you can live your Soul’s purpose. Please contact me to find out more.

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Bach Flower Remedies for Sustainable Communities

Back in the 1930s a Harley Street doctor turned his back on conventional medicine to find cures for his patient’s health problems in nature. He abandoned his medical practice and devoted his life to finding natural remedies to heal the emotional states that he believed were causing his patient’s physical ill-health. He claimed “in those who really desire to get well there is no disease which can resist the power of the antidote to be found in the right plant”*. That man was Edward Bach and the natural remedies he discovered are the world famous Bach Flower Remedies, the most popular of which is the combination Rescue Remedy® (also known as Revival Remedy™ and 5 Flower Remedy®). Bach’s vision was for every household to have the full set of remedies to choose for themselves as preventative medicine. Now almost 80 years since Bach’s death, the Bach Flower Remedies are increasingly popular yet two huge environmental issues challenge the future of these natural remedies.

The first challenge is that some of the plants used by Bach and common in the UK in the 1920’s and 1930’s are no longer so widespread. The second is that we know that oil is fast running out so we won’t be able to import and export essences all around the world indefinitely. Subsequently we need to protect our wild plants and learn to make essences at a local level. A new project in Burnley is leading the way in addressing both these challenges thanks to funding from the Big Lottery’s Awards for All scheme.

Declining population of native wild flowers

Two of the Bach Flower Remedy plants are rare and declining in many parts of the UK. Scleranthus (for emotional balance and decision-making) and Gentian (for optimism and faith) are getting harder and harder to find in the wild. UK wildflower charity Plantlife estimates that every county in the UK loses a wild plant every year. This in itself is tragic, but for flower remedy enthusiasts it will hit really hard if we lose two of the Bach Flower Remedy plants.  Compare the spread of Scleranthus (shown as blue circles) in Bach’s day on this map with sightings of it last year on this map and you’ll see the problem we’re facing.

One of the principles of flower essence making is only to use plants that are in abundance and to use the minimum amount of blooms, but even with such consideration the decline of these plants is a worry for essence makers. All the Bach Flower Remedy producers I’ve spoken to say they would welcome a sustainable source of the less common plants to make their essences from.

Rising oil prices and peak oil

You may have heard about peak oil in the media: the point at which the amount of oil we have reaches a peak and starts to decline. Nobody knows exactly when oil will run out but it’s certain that it will run out. If it doesn’t happen in our lifetime it will happen in our children’s and already we can see that the price of oil is rising dramatically. This awareness of oil as a finite resource has led many of us to become increasingly concerned about our carbon footprint and the distance our food travels to reach our plates. The UK is one of the largest importers of food in the world making us one of the least self-sufficient. We’re starting to think about ‘food miles’ and the time has come to think about ‘health miles’ too, looking at where we get our natural remedies from and asking if that’s sustainable.

If you’ve come across the amazing work of the Transition movement initiated by Rob Hopkins you’ll know that communities all over the world are finding creative ways to embrace a future without oil. If you haven’t I suggest you visit their website and get inspired.

Currently we use oil in every aspect of our lives from food to medicine, travel to plastics…the list really is endless. The sooner we can release our ‘oil addiction’ using it only for essentials the more likely it will be to last. We need to be looking at all aspects of our lives and asking what we can grow, make, recycle, share. We need to think outside the box when it comes to travelling, working, building and heating our homes. The Transition Network website has lots of ideas about how to do this.

It’s time for us – as individuals and communities – to get creative in our approaches to the future of our health and wellbeing too.

I’m really excited to have become involved in a visionary project at Offshoots permaculture in Burnley where we’ll be growing all the Bach Flower Remedy plants on one site. We’ll be teaching the local community about how these flower essences support health and wellbeing and showing people how to make their own essences. If you’re in Lancashire, join us for an essence-making workshop or tree planting event – get in touch if you’d like to be kept informed of upcoming dates.

It may take a few years for the Burnley project to produce the whole set of 38 Bach Flower Remedies (sunny days when the trees and plants are in flower are required for essence making and we are based in the north west of England which is not known for its balmy temperatures!) When all the essences are made, they will be available as a community resource for everyone to use. Until then the wonderful heart-centred people at Crystal Herbs have generously donated a full set of Bach Flower Remedies to be used at the project.

We’re hoping to successfully grow the more rare Bach Flower Remedy plants to prevent them and their unique healing qualities from disappearing altogether. I’d like to see these plants being reintroduced to wild places across the UK so they can flourish again.

My dream is for every community to know how to make their own flower essences to maintain optimum health and wellbeing.  My dream is for our precious wild flowers to be saved from exctinction so that generations to come can enjoy their beauty and healing qualities. This new project in Burnley is turning those dreams into action.

* Collected Writings of Edward Bach ed. Julian Barnard, click here to buy.

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Speak Your Truth With Agrimony

Agrimony flower essence is the Bach Flower Remedy for Sagittarians who are celebrating their birthdays just now. It helps you to speak your truth without worrying what others are thinking, enables you to get in touch with your emotions and releases feelings of inner torment and restlessness.

The keynote of this essence is fear of emotions. That fear of feeling the strength of our emotions and, even worse, letting other people see us feeling our emotions!  Agrimony essence is for people who say everything is fine even when it’s not; those who put on a big smile even when they’re falling apart inside. When someone is in need of agrimony they will pretend all is well in their world, both to themselves and to everyone else.

Do you feel nervous about having emotional conversations with people? If you’re really honest with yourself, can you see that you sometimes try to escape your emotions with travel, keeping busy, alcohol or drugs? The more we close the door on our emotions, the bigger and badder the emotion monster grows in the cupboard…… Agrimony flower essence helps you to open the door and gently begin to get comfortable with your emotions. Let the monster out of the cupboard, it’s not as big and bad as you think.

You’ll know you need agrimony flower essence if you’re prone to sore throats or you often need to clear your throat before you speak.  Are you scared of confrontation and do anything to avoid it, even if it means you end up compromising yourself? Maybe you grew up in a family where you were discouraged from expressing yourself or where your parents struggled to express their emotions. Situations like that can make us grow up feeling vulnerable about expressing ourselves. Agrimony flower essence makes emotions easier to accept, embrace and express.

Sagittarians and other people needing agrimony flower essence often find it a challenge to express their own truth because they fear it might not be what others want to hear. There can be a fear that someone won’t like us anymore if we’re honest. There can be a tendency to be the joker making light of emotionally charged situations.

Perhaps you find yourself pleasing others by telling them what they want to hear rather than what you’re really thinking? Worrying about how other people react to your truth is too big a burden for you to carry. Let it go. It’s the responsibility of each of us to be as loving and honest as we can when we express ourselves. But we can’t carry responsbility for how others respond to our honesty.

When you take agrimony flower essence you come to a place of inner peace and emotional honesty that makes life more authentic.

If you’ve been thinking ‘oh yes that’s me’ as you’ve read this post, you may find this statement a useful one to work with in meditation or as an affirmation:

I speak my own truth fearlessly, and by accepting the full range of my emotions I find inner peace.

The agrimony state is one of those patterns which seems rather harmless but subtly stops us from being in an authentic relationship with ourselves and others. If you think about the repercussions of that on a soul level, it’s incredibly harmful. A flower and crystal essence consultation is a wonderful opportunity to get in touch with the essence of who you truly so you can live your Soul’s purpose. Please contact me if you want to find out more.

You can visit the Bach Flower Remedy shelf to order Agrimony from Crystal Herbs here – just enter Agrimony in the search box.

If you want a laugh about what could happen when emotional honesty goes too far then read this!

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My Chemical Romance is Ending

Here’s a story about my long affair with chemical hair dye and why it’s time to say goodbye.

In the summer a friend came to visit, and after brushing her hair she cleared the hairs from her hairbrush and put them into the compost bin that sits on the kitchen window sill to feed the worm-box. I raised an eyebrow at her. ‘Full of nitrogen, great for compost’ she explained. Hmm, I hadn’t thought about that before. Since I’ve been dyeing my hair for over 20 years I wondered if the onslaught of chemicals on each strand might do the worms more harm than good. And did I really want those harsh chemicals to get fed into my beloved garden? No way! I wasn’t going to put nasty stuff into the worm-box or garden, but it seemed OK to keep plastering it onto my grey roots every 5-6 weeks.  Twisted logic perhaps.  I didn’t give it another thought.

Then I came across the beautiful natural products made by Woadworks and loved the sound of their hair baths made with natural ingredients and aromatherapy oils. I know from past experience that natural shampoos and conditioners simply don’t have what it takes to smooth my chemical-ravaged, wildly tangled curls though. Curly hair is naturally more dry anyway and intensive chemicals make it wilder. I  have to buy the most nutrient-enriched cuticle-repairing intensive conditioning products for deeply disastrous straw-like hair or I look like Worzel Gummidge.

So these two isolated incidents began to meld together in my little mind and I realised that if I want to be in congruence with my values I’d need to stop using such horrible stuff on my hair. The hair dyeing began in my teens with black hair dye in the quest to look like Sid Vicious. I moved into intensive backcombing and, somewhat oddly, a period of twisting of beads and TV wire into the tangle. It was high maintenance and didn’t particularly suit me.  I look back now with grown-up incredulity – of course it didn’t suit me, there was TV wire in my hair!

Then Thelma and Louise hit the big screen and I transferred my hair obsession onto Geena Davis. If I had gorgeous coppery Geena hair, then obviously I’d be cool and sassy with fabulous cheekbones and speed about with my best friend in a fast car having adventures.  And so the redhead phase began and stretched through most of my 20’s. I was Scottish and living in London so everyone assumed it was natural. I had freckles and pale skin so that seemed to divert attention from the dark eyebrows that technically should have given the game away. People like this romantic notion of Scottish people all being red-haired so it suited me to play to stereotype.

After about 5 years of intensive dyeing my hair was almost falling out so I got it cut really short and grew out the dye. It was back to my natural hair colour for a couple of years which turned out to be a warm brown with auburn tones. It seemed to suit me better than the colours I’d dyed it so I got comfortable with my natural colour and even grew to like the curls. Then horror of horrors I started to go grey. I wasn’t even 30. Prematurely early I felt. Was this some sort of Karmic joke just as I’d fallen in love with my natural hair colour?

Plucking stray grey hairs as they appeared seemed to do the trick for a while (and satisfied the obsessive-compulsive aspect of my personality). Over time though, it became apparent that I was making myself bald. So vanity led me back to the chemical-laden bottle. I have friends who have decided to let their hair go grey and embrace their wise woman archetype. It suits them; they look distinctive, glamorous and dramatic. If I leave my hair to go grey, I just look frumpy. With my old lady habits of reading, gardening and knitting I can’t be too careful, I need to cling to the illusion of youth as long as I can.

Chemical hair dye has been an unacknowledged discrepancy in an evolving consciousness about what I use and eat. I’ve gradually moved to natural aluminium-free deodorant, natural skincare and cosmetics, natural washing up liquid and am passionate about increasing our community resilience by making and buying local. So there’s been this big aspect of my life that’s out of alignment and I hadn’t even thought about it until recently. The chemical hair dye that’s made by a massive multi-national, has probably been tested on animals, is destroying the texture of my hair, possibly doing even more damage than that. And it can’t possibly biodegrade.

Today I am celebrating a new solution that enables me to cling to my vanity and my ethics. I bought a vegetable-based hair dye from our local health food shop and it’s worked. Badger roots are gone which is probably a blessing in the current climate. I don’t want to run the risk of being culled next time I’m out walking by the river. My hair is glossy, shiny and suspiciously soft. With a major trim and a few months’ to let the chemical-laden ends grow out I can see myself emptying my hairbrush into the worm compost. And if the condition improves I could be using natural hair products soon too!

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Find Balance with Scleranthus

When I designed my first practitioner leaflet it promised ‘emotional balance with flower and gem essences’. “You’ll attract all Libran clients”, my Libran friend informed me. Librans seek harmony and balance in all things. This journey to find a centred state of balance is the soul lesson for Librans who are celebrating their birthdays just now, and indeed it’s something which many of us seek.

Scleranthus (Scleranthus Annuus) is the Bach Flower Remedy that brings balance to Librans and anyone else who struggles to choose between two options or who vacillates between emotional states before reaching their centre. This state is like a pendulum that swings out first to one side then far out the other way before gradually coming to rest in the centre.  Scleranthus works on the mind to aid decision-making and on the emotions to bring balance. It’s useful for inner ear imbalances, travel sickness and any physical problems with balance because the body reflects what is going on in the mind and emotions.

So how does Scleranthus bring balance to the mind? Let’s say, for example, you see an interesting job advertised. You like the look of it, start to imagine yourself doing it and decide to apply. It seems to be the right decision and you’re all set to download the application. Then, without rhyme nor reason, your mood moves on and your certainty moves with it. It no longer seems like such a good idea and you start talking yourself out of applying.

Then later, your thoughts return to it and you don’t know what to do for the best. You don’t ask anyone else to help you decide; you carry the uncertainty quietly within you as you fluctuate between both choices over the next few days. The inability to choose paralyses you and you literally don’t know what to do for the best. It’s hard to focus on other things in your life because at the back of your mind is the burden of this unmade decision. In the end you miss the deadline and the choice is taken out of your hands. This is where Scleranthus is so helpful. As Scleranthus is taken, you find the direct route to your inner wisdom and certainty so make decisions easily.

It’s incredibly draining to be in a space of indecision because a lot of your energy is being taken up with the uncertainty. By making a decision, it frees your energy to focus on other things. This quote from Abraham-Hicks is soul food for Librans; let it sink in.

“Make a decision and then make the decision right. Line up your Energy with it. In most cases it doesn’t really matter what you decide. Just decide. There are endless options that would serve you enormously well, and all or any one of them is better than no decision.” – Abraham

I find that if I’m struggling to make a decision, it’s usually because something has thrown me off-centre emotionally. Is there truth in that for you too?  When I’m emotionally centred, I connect to my inner knowing with certainty and confidence so decisions come easily.

On an emotional level, Scleranthus brings an inner state of balance too. You will know you need Scleranthus if your emotions regularly veer from one extreme to another. You may find yourself giddily happy and laughing in the morning, then weeping and wailing in the afternoon. You get swept along with the tide of your emotions, easily getting thrown off-balance by them. Reflect back over your day and notice the times you felt happy, sad, confused, angry, confident, worried etc. It’s natural for our emotions to ebb and flow but if you become a slave to perpetually changing emotions, then Scleranthus will bring relief.  You may find it helpful to regularly take time (perhaps in meditation or a journal) to acknowledge the emotions that are arising for you. Giving them a space to be noticed makes them less likely to overwhelm you.

When the Scleranthus state is balanced, it brings certainty, emotional stability and balance to all areas of your life. Librans who have embraced their soul lesson embody the positive state of Scleranthus with their empathy for others’ emotions and an inherent fairness that comes from seeing life from all angles. These are the gifts of working with this energy in a lifetime.  It’s no surprise that Dr Edward Bach who devoted his life to helping humanity and discovered the Bach Flower Remedies was a Libran: his birth chart is shown here on the Bach Flower Research Programme website.

I love prescribing Bach Flower Remedies and offer consultations by phone and in person where I will listen to what is going on in your life, and prescribe essences to restore balance where needed. You can find out more about consultations on this website or by emailing me at info@flowerspirit.co.uk.

Scleranthus is at great risk of disappearing in the UK and is now on the red list of endangered plants. If it disappears altogether we will lose its healing abilities forever.  If anyone is aware of studies into its decline, please email me.  If anyone knows where it’s abundant I’d love to hear about that too.

Scleranthus portrait taken by Jason Smalley in Edward Bach’s garden.

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Find Your Inner Power

Centaury (Erythraea centaurium) is the Bach Flower Remedy for all the Virgos celebrating their birthdays just now. Even if you aren’t a Virgo, centaury flower essence is brilliant for bringing more willpower, feistiness and the determination to manifest what you’re here for.

Virgos are empathetic and helpful, responding to the needs of others before their own. The worriers of the zodiac, they feel a deep responsibility to help others and this is often to the detriment of themselves.  This is where centaury flower essence comes in, as it enables them to give themselves as much consideration as others.

Do you find it hard to say no when people ask favours (even when it doesn’t suit you to do the favour)?  Have you ever been bullied by more dominant personalities?  Do you find it difficult to express (or even recognise) your own needs because you are so used to meeting other people’s?  Does you have a strong desire to please? When someone asks you what you want to do, eat or drink do you say ‘I don’t mind, whatever’s easy for you’?  If you answered yes to any of these, then centaury flower essence has your name on it!

The centaury pattern of putting other people’s needs before our own is one of the most socially acceptable personality imbalances that the Bach Flower Remedies treat. It’s not, therefore, one that people easily see in themselves as an imbalance yet it can be incredibly damaging. People will say they’re just being considerate or kind, which indeed they are. Yet this becomes a problem when it stops them meeting their own needs or when they get bullied.

People needing centaury lack strength of will and therefore find it difficult to manifest their own purpose in life. It’s alien to them to put their own wishes centre stage so their life plan often goes unheeded.  As centaury flower essence is taken you feel a greater sense of willpower and stand strong, more true to yourself.

Edward Bach said this of people needing centaury: “their good nature leads them to do more than their own share of work, and in so doing they may neglect their own particular mission in life”. That is the tragedy that arises out of the centaury imbalance.  If we spend all our time dancing to someone else’s tune we will have no energy left to follow our own path and that would be a great waste.

Centaury flower essence is for the carer who never gets a break; the mother who doesn’t get to taste the cake she really wanted because she gave it to everyone else first; the child who gets bullied in the playground; the old man who says he doesn’t mind when someone barges in front of him in the Post Office queue.

The beauty of bringing the centaury energy into balance is that you will still be able to think of others, but in a way that empowers both you and them.

Meet centaury flowers for yourself in this lovely video from Healing Herbs.

I find that centaury (like all the Bach Flower Remedies) works best when combined with others.  Contact me if you’d like me to select the best Bach Flower Remedies and deep-acting higher vibrational essences to help you find your inner power and manifest your true desires. I work with clients by phone nationwide and in person in Lancashire.

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