Saturday, August 26, 2023

Black clouds of gloom

The black cloud of gloom which descends for no reason is the emotional state we all associate with the need for Mustard. Dr Bach says in The Twelve Healers it hides the light and joy of life. It’s not the depression which arises from a known cause (and may need Gentian or Gorse perhaps) but inexplicably arrives out of nowhere.

In a Mustard state we are focused inwardly, entirely on ourselves.  Our vibration is so low we send no light out into the world.  We’re like a black hole in outer space: no light can emanate.  When we’re in such a dark place it’s easy to believe that all light has vanished. But it is always present, it’s just that our eyes (on the physical plane), our souls on an emotional plane, are not ‘tuned in’ to receive it. 

Only a sculptor like Michelangelo could see a block of marble for what it really was: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” Light and darkness are a bit like that: we see a block of darkness and believe that’s all it is and all it ever will be. But when we have taken Mustard (or do not need it) the darkness is merely light in an undifferentiated state. 

Darkness doesn’t mask, subjugate, or quench light, it is a form of light that is incomprehensible to our eyes, to our emotions in a particular mood.  “And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (John 1:5)  Some translators consider that means the darkness fails to understand light.  But in reality it means that darkness cannot engulf light, cannot seize hold of it as though it were prey and swallow it. 

Darkness is merely a primeval, low-quality manifestation of light. When we are feeling gloomy we are like the Brightness slider on a photo editor – we have moved too far in one direction.

So bear that in mind the next time you are mysteriously, illogically, so depressed that all you can see is darkness. Remember light is life, it exists everywhere at all times and Mustard will restore your ability to see it, bringing you –– en-lighten-ment …


Photo: Ally Matson


Monday, July 31, 2023

Seven Dragons - the Search of a Lifetime

When Dr Bach died someone said, ‘He slew seven dragons so that others might be encouraged to slay one.’  These 7 dragons may refer to the 7 sets of challenges to our emotional peace into which Dr Bach grouped the remedies*.  In which case what would 7 dragons or demons look like if his life was written as an adventure quest?

This is an epic tale starring a young man following his heart and his soul’s purpose in a lifelong quest.  It's written as a fantasy adventure in 11 chapters.

* Despair, Insufficient Interest in Present Circumstances, Fear, Uncertainty, Loneliness, Overcare for the Welfare of Others, Over-sensitive to Ideas and Influences.

Photo: Sonia Foo

Episode 1 Following the heart 

Once, a very long time ago, a young man was wandering down a country lane, mindlessly swishing at the wayside weeds with a stick, cutting the heads off docks and nettles.  As he approached a bench by a little ford, he saw a woman walking away over the footbridge, the sunlight on her setting off her vivid summer dress of pink, yellow and white.  

He sat on the bench and gazed at the stream running merrily over the ford.  After a while he glanced down and saw at his feet a heart-shaped locket with an undone chain. He picked it up idly and opened it.  Inside was a picture of a girl with the sun behind her, making a halo of her hair and casting her face into shadow.  He immediately realised this must belong to the woman he’d seen walking away and he raced across the ford after her, but round the bend in the lane there was no-one. He ran on, hoping to catch her, but she’d gone.  He decided to continue looking for her and increased his pace. 

After a while it was clearly hopeless but now he was in earnest to find her.  As his pace eventually slowed to a walk he noticed flowers in the hedgerow he’d never seen on the first part of his stroll – agrimony, wild rose, honeysuckle and clematis. 

At last, as night was falling, he found himself in a town and he collapsed on a bench. 

He awoke to full sunshine and - seeing an old man sat nearby, smoking a pipe - he decided to ask if anyone knew the woman, so distinctive she had seemed, even from a distance.

‘I’m looking for a young lady,’ Woody began.


‘No – not like that!  I think I’ve found her locket.’


‘I think she dropped it, back down the road.’


‘Do you know her at all?  She was wearing a bright pink, yellow and white dress.’


‘Oh! So maybe you know where I can find her?’


‘Please do tell me, then I can return this to her.’

‘Third door on left,’ was the brusque reply, with a jerk of his pipe up the alley.

Woody knocked on the dirty, inconspicuous back door and as it opened, a silent push in his back sent him hurtling over the step where he was grabbed by two heavyweights. 

Episode 2 Losing heart

"In this, our civilisation, greed overshadows all... the worst of these 
is the greed to possess another individual... for, to desire possession 
or influence over [another] is to usurp the power of our Creator."  
Dr Bach

Stunned, he said nothing until he was in front of a desk behind which sat a beautiful blonde woman.  Woody felt relieved.

‘I’m sorry to disturb you but I found this locket and believe it may be yours –’

Before he could finish, she had reached out to take it.  Woody was in the process of opening it but it was snatched from him.   His last glance of the picture in it seemed different – the face was missing and even the sun seemed no longer to shine.

‘My mother,’ snapped the woman.  ‘It’s very precious to me,’ and she flung it in a drawer.

‘But –’ began Woody, but the heavies had already laid hands on him and marched him into a cellar and locked him in.

It did not take Woody long to realise he had fallen into the hands of a gang-master, a slaver.  Woody’s few possessions were taken from him and like the other slaves, he had no means of calling for help.  But he was fortunate in one respect, as unlike the others who worked long hours – for little pay which was taken from them each night in return for abysmal food – he was treated as a sort of ‘trusty’ and given lighter work around the office and kitchen.  He was never left alone except at night when they were all locked in.

Woody racked his brain but could think of no way he could escape.  The others were all too petrified of the consequences to band together to arrange an escape plan – it was rumoured that rebels had been known to disappear overnight. Over and over he tried to think of a way out.  This was not the life he had imagined for himself.  

After months of this, Woody began to fear for his sanity.  Would this nightmare never end? At times he felt spaced out and adrift from the real world.  Then one night it looked as though there might be a chance.  A commotion woke him. He could only ever nap as he had to sleep on the floor of the room in which he was imprisoned.  He listened carefully.

Episode 3 The Route of Mindfulness

"Knowing that all our battles are won before they are fought, 
that victory is certain before ever the test arrives ..."  Dr Bach

It appeared that Madam had been out celebrating a new deal and had come home almost unconscious from a combination of drink and drugs.  The heavies got her into her bedroom, threw her onto the bed, and left her in the care of her aunt, who had been coerced into acting as her maid. 

There was silence.  Madam was out cold.  Was there any way Woody could use this to his advantage and escape?  Even though the doors were all heavily locked, and goodness knows where the heavies were.  And what about the locket? Somehow he knew that was key – he had to get that back.

 A faint noise in his dark room alerted Woody.  It was the aunt.

‘Quickly,’ she breathed softly. 

He rose from the floor and quietly followed her.  Like a cat she padded silently through the corridors until she came to a door that was known only to Madam’s most trusted staff.  Noiselessly she undid the locks and Woody could feel the cold night air on his skin for the first time since he’d come to this charnel house. ‘But the locket, I need the locket,’ he exclaimed in her ear. ‘Ah yes: fuel for the journey!’ she breathed back, handing him a brown paper food bag.

Thanking her with a kiss, Woody fled the darkened town.  Once out in the country, he sank behind a haystack to rest before morning.  Opening the bag he saw a large cheese roll – and trickling out of it was a delicate chain! The heart-shaped locket had been buried in the roll.  He opened it and even in the grey light of pre-dawn the image shone as brightly as ever.  The locket was important – now he knew for sure that he had to find the owner.                                        

Wandering the streets of town after town, city after city, always following up hints and tales of where the lady might have gone, Woody found he was getting despondent that he would ever find her.  It was this gloom that led to a lack of concentration and one day, in traversing a wild moor between towns, he forgot to watch his step and fell straight down a steep-sided pothole.  At the bottom he was grateful to be unhurt but surveying the sides he was struck with the hopelessness of the situation.                                                           

Episode 4 The Pit of Courage

The walls were smooth with no footholds and the chance of anyone wandering this far out in the wilds was remote.  Woody explored every turning and tunnel but they were all dead ends or fell away over an abyss.  Returning to the main shaft he sank down, realising his life was over before it had properly begun and all he’d done was walk round in circles. 

In the dim light from above he could see that all around there were bones of other unfortunates.  Then he heard a sound which made the hairs stand on the back of his neck.  Coming from a tunnel which led only to a steep drop into the bowels of the earth, there was the sound of heavy footsteps and even heavier breathing. In advance of whatever was coming came a waft of fetid smoky breath. Woody felt paralysed with fear.      

Eventually a dragon appeared.  At first it seemed comical as its head and neck were tiny but as it emerged its body got bigger and bigger and at the end was an almighty tail with a curl at the end of it like a giant scorpion.   It did not come at Woody in a head-on attack but slowly circled him so that its entire body and tail girdled the circumference of the shaft. It was obviously savouring its kill.  Woody could feel panic overtaking him, leaving him unable to think.  In desperation he clutched the locket – and was given an idea.  Instead of approaching the head, he ran for where the tail joined the body. As the dragon moved angrily, Woody jumped on its back and as he had hoped, the creature raised its mighty tail.  Using its scales as footholds, he swiftly mounted and as the creature raised its tail even more, Woody was borne higher and higher and at last could make a leap for the rim of the shaft and scramble free.

He vowed to concentrate more fully on where he placed his feet in future and not make that mistake again.  He walked on, always searching, and one day he found himself fighting his way through the crowds that thronged the dirty, disease-ridden streets of a city.  Suddenly, Woody was attacked by a huge savage dog.  He tried to fight it off but it had the strength of ten and after a few minutes of bleeding badly he felt his strength draining from him.    

Episode 5 The Dreaded Enemy

"Certainty, knowledge truth would remove from our minds
all fear, yet it may be part of the Divine Plan we prove ourselves 
far greater by battling on, though we are afraid; and it is for
mankind to discover the way the way to see the Light and 
remove from mankind the burden of fear." Dr Bach

As he lapsed into unconsciousness he felt rough hands holding him up away from the dog’s jaws.

He woke after what seemed a very long time to find that his wounds had been professionally stitched and dressed, and that he was in a small stone cell with only one tiny window high up, so there was little light.  He was left alone apart from when meals were brought and the food was always brought by the ugly great thug of a man whose dog was the brute which had attacked Woody in the first place.  When he tried to ask anything the ogre never replied but the dog growled menacingly as though it was the one in charge.  Woody tried to think how to escape but it seemed impossible.  He was frantic to get out and continue his search. Round and round in his head went ideas and plans to no avail. By day he was always guarded by the ogre and his man-eating dog.  By night there was no dog but the ogre was still there.  Did he never sleep?

One night a full moon shone out of a clear sky and beamed directly down into Woody’s cell.  It made everything lighter and clearer than ever before and gave Woody the insight he needed.  Walking to the door he called to the ogre who came shambling over.  In the bright moonlight Woody’s intuition was proved correct: the night watchman was a twin of the daytime ogre!   Knowing that fears melt when faced, Woody asked if he could go out for a while and get some fresh air.  As the ogre had very limited understanding and had been given no instructions to the contrary, he cheerfully opened the door and Woody casually walked to freedom.

He made his exit look relaxed but after the attack and then months of inactivity in the cell his muscles had atrophied and he felt exhausted with the effort.  He left the city by the nearest gate but outside the towering walls he found himself in a strange land full of mountains and valleys, crags and cliff tops falling away hundreds of feet.  Nothing in the landscape made sense and for the first time he felt totally out of control.  As he explored, a spine-chilling sound made him look round and he saw to his horror that a herd of strange beasts, like primeval aurochs but with longer necks, were roaring and preparing to charge.     

Episode 6 The Labyrinth of Uncertainty

Knowing that their ability to run over this treacherous terrain would be far greater than his, he sought for somewhere to hide. Just as he could almost feel their hot breath on his neck, he spotted a narrow gap between two walls of rocks, just wide enough for him but too narrow for them to squeeze through.

Safe for the moment, he eased himself through the narrow crevice, finding that the path led ever downward.  Before long it disappeared under an overhang until it entered the earth, and what little light there was gradually diminished until he was in total darkness.                        

He couldn’t go back as the only way out was through the narrow gap between the rocks, into the jaws of the beasts.  But how could he proceed in this darkness?        

All around him he could hear faint whispers of movement, like sighs or flutterings.  His heart was beating so loud it seemed to echo off the walls.  For comfort he placed a hand on his heart, and found the locket which, for safety, he always wore round his neck.  Immediately it glowed through his fingers and the light brightened until it was enough for him to be able to edge his way forward.  It gave him the confidence to believe he was going in the right direction.

As he stepped forward, the flutterings and whisperings seem to follow him but after a while he got the impression that there was an air of excitement in the movement rather than intimidation, so he stepped forward even more boldly.  Were they – whatever they were – willing him on or urging him into a trap?                                                                     

The journey seemed everlasting especially as he had no way of knowing if he would meet a dead end and have to find his way back regardless of the beasts at the start.  Would they in fact be waiting him at the far side of this labyrinth, always assuming there was a far side?  At times he did not know which route to take when several paths branched off into the darkness. At other times his heart was in his mouth as his way led along a narrow ledge with an unfathomable chasm off to one side, from which only the sound of distant mutterings and hissings gave a clue as to the depth of the drop.  

Episode 7 The Field of Loneliness  

"The more the apparent difficulties in our path the more we
may be certain that our mission is worthwhile."  Dr Bach

At times the glow from the locket dimmed and he realised after a while that it shone more brightly when he could concentrate fully on his path and suppress his fears and uncertainty.                                                   

At last, round another bend, he could see a pin-prick of light from the outside world.  He tried not to hurry towards it, until he could clearly see the route before him. Then unconsciously releasing his grip on the locket, it dimmed and returned to its normal state, its job done.  As Woody emerged into the soft dawn of a new day, there was a mighty whoosh as a thousand invisible things rushed past him, beings which had also found freedom and were released from darkness into the light.   

Emotionally and physically exhausted, he sank down to rest by the bank of a quiet stream. He found the surroundings so pleasant and the sound of the trickling stream so soothing that he fell asleep.  Waking refreshed the next day, he set forth again on his quest.  The afternoon was hot and as his walk slowed, he decided to take a short-cut across a field. As he ambled over the grass, once again not concentrating on where he was walking, he inadvertently stepped in a cowpat. It prompted him to turn round.  Looking behind, he could see a bull with its head lowered, looking distinctly unfriendly.  Woody unfortunately decided to make a run for the gate.  However despite his best efforts he could tell the bull was gaining on him – they can achieve speeds of 30mph – and he wasn’t going to make it.  The only option was the tree standing restfully just a few yards ahead.  Woody made a desperate leap for the lowest bough, swung up his legs and was just out of reach when the bull skidded to a stop. Score: love-all.

Woody removed his jacket and surveyed his prison.  The bull snorted, frustrated, and pawed the ground.  Looking above, Woody saw a cat perched in the uppermost branches and he reached up to rescue it.

The cat hissed and made a futile attempt to back along the increasingly flimsy branch.  Woody gave up and made himself as comfortable as he could on a broad branch.  It was an oak and being in full leaf it provided welcome shade on such a hot day.  Maybe eventually the bull would wander off to graze or the farmer would release cows into the field to lure the bull’s attention away from the tree.            

Episode 8 The Tree of Yin and Yang

"All earthly things are but the interpretation of things spiritual. The smallest 
most insignificant occurrence has a Divine purpose behind it."  Dr Bach

He sat there feeling frustrated and irritated that he was wasting time. It was the first occasion he had had to stop and consider his position, and waves of loneliness, gloom and self-pity washed over him in turn, due in large part to tiredness.                                         

He realised he was just going to have to be patient and tolerate the situation for as long as it took, enduring just as the tree endured.  It was quite a little citadel that tree.  All afternoon it was ablaze with life, butterflies swooped to and fro, flies and bees buzzed in and out.  Birds paused and chirped quietly to each other, and a robin stopped and sang a song. Caterpillars and beetles crawled busily about and ants ran up and down nearby.  Only the man and the cat were still and the bull was somnolent below.

 After some long time the cat picked its way delicately down the steps of the branches and stopped near Woody.  He put out a tentative hand and the cat rubbed its back sensuously against it before settling down to doze near his thigh.  He looked from the small, lithe black and white cat to the large, solid black and white bull – really it was quite yin and yang.   Rather like his life at the moment – balancing resignation and loss of agency against action and self-determination. Patience and time to reflect versus boredom and frustration.                             

Woody was desperate for a drink and could only hope the bull would feel the same thirst and wander off to the distant trough. When it felt as though the day would never end and the bull would never move, the cat rose and miaowed loudly.  It seemed to be calling Woody to action. The miaow woke the bull who, disgruntled, raised a hoof against the trunk – as though he would climb up – and arched his head dangerously close to Woody’s feet. In a flash the cat had tensed itself and sprung lightly down onto the bull’s broad forehead. Even before its hind paws had touched the bull’s head, the cat had zipped across the bull’s back, flown to the ground and pelted towards a distant building.  With a bellow the bull turned awkwardly and set off in pursuit.  Wondering if this was a game the two of them played often, Woody gingerly let himself down to the ground. His legs were so stiff that he could hardly move.  Keeping the thick trunk of the oak between him and the speeding bull, he hurried to the gate, flung himself over and lay in the long cool grass waiting for his heart to slow down.                             

Episode 9 The Boiling Sea of Fervour

"To gain freedom, give freedom.  When we have given
freedom to every creature, everything around us, then
we are free ourselves."  Dr Bach

Eventually Woody wandered so far in his search that he reached the sea.  He’d never seen the sea before so he spent some time just wandering along the beach daydreaming about what the future might hold and how he could make it happen.  He thought his quest must lie on the far side. Looking down, the pebbles all seemed to have terrified faces, as they stared out to sea. Then there was a huge rumble and as he looked, a gigantic wave rushed towards him, ready to overpower him and end his dreams.             

As the wave curled over in white froth he saw it was composed of a herd of white horses threatening to charge and run him down.  Inspired by the pebbles, he bent down and picked up two.  Holding them in his outstretched palm, he calmly approached the alpha stallion, making eye contact with him fearlessly.  As the stallion bent his majestic head, thinking the pebbles were crusts of bread, Woody seized his mane and leaped on his back.  The stallion, with all the mares, was now under his control.  Woody started to guide the horse across the sea towards the land he could see on the horizon.

But all around, other herds of savage horses threatened to attack and were kept only at bay by the iron will of the alpha stallion.  Only Woody’s control over him kept them going in the right direction.

Unfortunately, in his fervour to get on with his journey he did not see that he was pushing the horses too hard.  His energy and passion seemed tireless and he failed to notice that the herd was tiring and the younger horses and mares were dropping away. He eventually realised when the sky filled with dark, threatening clouds, the roaring wind created even bigger waves and the overtired stallion started sinking below the surface, almost drowning Woody.  What could he do?  He felt guilty – he needed to reach land but he also needed to release the horse in order to save it.                                               

Episode 10 The Wood of Distraction

Photo: Ally Matson

He clutched the locket for inspiration and immediately a pod of dolphins appeared and spoke to the stallion in their own language. Getting the gist, Woody apologised to the stallion, thanked him from the bottom of his heart and slipped down onto the back of a waiting dolphin who bore him safely to shore.

Finding himself in a green, welcoming landscape he followed a well-worn path up towards a wood at the top of a hill.  Here he was met by a crowd of young people, all happy and laughing and ready to chat.  After his many solo adventures, he was glad to rest, talk and join in their fun, music and laughter.  But unbeknownst to him, this was the final dragon in a most subtle form – the distraction of entertainment and socialising seducing him from his quest.  He lost all track of time, so glad was he to have pleasant company after such a long, lonely quest and, beguiled by their charm, the dancing and drinking, he at last fell asleep. 

When he woke he was cold and alone.  Of the young people there was no indication they had ever been present at all.  What was worse, though he searched everywhere, he couldn’t find his way out of the wood.  Every path seemed to offer the possibility of escape but merely returned full circle.  He lost count of the days walking and searching but failing to find the way out.  The locket provided no clues at all.  Had he exhausted all its help? Or was it under the same strange spell that kept him captive here? Suffering from exposure, he nearly died from starvation, accidents, pain and illness.  Only a pool fed by an underground stream, and some wild berries, nuts and mushrooms kept him alive, along with his indomitable will to survive and finish his quest.                                       

Episode 11 There will always be flowers 

One morning, waking and knowing he could not survive much longer, he held the locket for any last comfort it could offer.  The chain had worn thin by now and he worried about losing it. Then he smelled cowslips. Standing up he saw a line of them – Peter’s Keys – leading away from him. He followed them eagerly and they led him straight out of the wood and down the hill into open fields.

Basking in the sunshine lay a little cottage. 

Slowly he walked through a beautiful garden full of birdsong and trees, butterflies and flowers.  He saw statues around the garden and each was in the likeness of a dragon he had overcome.  The youngsters in the wood were now all the paving stones of the path.  The wild horses ornamented an iron gate. The ogres formed the uprights for a pergola covered in vines and wild rose. The stone bull was lying down with a trough of flowers on his back.  The slaver held up the basin of a fountain which continually washed her clean.  The scorpion dragon’s scaly tail stood tall enough for clematis and honeysuckle to climb up it. Herbs such as scleranthus and centaury were laid out in a maze, at the centre of which fabulous beasts carved from dead trees were placed. None of them could hurt him now.

He has come to the right place. His intuition tells him this garden belongs to the lady he has sought for so long. He reaches for the locket, certain that it will give him a final answer, but it falls from his neck.  As he bends to pick it up, it turns into a watering can, so until she arrives, he just carries on watering the flowers.                                   





Saturday, June 24, 2023

Rock Rose for panic

Cartoon used with permission of Jonny Hawkins

 Rock Rose is for the ‘panic button’ feeling of fear. As Mechthild Scheffer puts it, “The state has been aptly described as ‘a punch in the stomach,’ for the solar plexus has been overstrained … the central nervous system is unable to cope.”  

We have all experienced the terror – such as during a road accident – where we know we are so close to panic we doubt if we can prevent it from taking over. This is when we need Rock Rose and why it is one of the five essences in the crisis formula (eg Rescue Remedy).

The rock rose flower itself demonstrates the condition of being almost at the point of collapse.  It only needs an insect to land on it and the flower head falls over.  It has a frail grip on life – each flower only lasts a day and its petals often fall by noon. It is almost as though, as Julian Barnard has said*, it hovers between life and death; as ready to leave this life as we would be in facing a bomb attack or a gun massacre.  Anytime we are panicked beyond thinking clearly or rationally, the Rock Rose essence is helpful, including when someone wakes up terrified from a nightmare.

But the fact that the rock rose plant thrives on shallow chalky soil with little water and few nutrients demonstrates its huge tenacity for life, a strength and courage in the face of adversity – and these are the blessings it bestows on us when we take the Rock Rose Flower Remedy.

*References: Julian Barnard on the Healing Herbs website; Mechthild Scheffer in Bach Flower Therapy.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Quantum physics and Bach Flower Remedies

The beauty of quantum field theory is that, in essence, it is stunningly simple.  It considers that the universe is basically just force fields of energy. If we imagine them as fluids[1], you and I and are just waves on the ocean of existence.  Where the ocean ‘ripples’ into clusters, there we have particles which in turn form the building blocks we call atoms and molecules. These coalesce into forms we call the 120+ elements of the Periodic Table, of which everything – human and non-human – is constructed.[2]

For the last few centuries the scientific approach was to try and analyse everything down to its smallest possible components – atoms of oxygen, carbon and so on.  This concept – identify and measure everything – isolated and placed humans above the rest of the living world and formed the basis of classical physics.[3]

But opening our minds to other possibilities has prompted us (latterly) to consider the universe as one living entity; and quantum physics is the science working to prove that, via intricate and breathtakingly complicated mathematical equations.  Quantum theory is taking the credit for iterating an ages-old idea that we are all One[4], and so is every other life-form and sub-life form (rocks, gases, etc) in existence. We thought we were discrete objects in space; turns out we are space – since atoms are almost wholly space – as is every other creature or object. As Albert Einstein phrased it so lyrically, “We are slowed-down sound and light waves, a walking bundle of frequencies tuned into the cosmos.”

What does this mean for us in the field of flower essences? Along with homeopathic remedies, flower essences have been accused of being placebo, incapable of having any effect as they consist of ‘nothing’.  The sceptics have dismissed their effectiveness as impossible on the basis that, containing no molecules of any active ingredients, they can have no effect.  Their argument is deeply rooted in the old Newtonian science that only physical items can affect something physical such as the human body; if there’s no physical mass, there’s no existence.

Quantum physics provides a different answer.  It tells us that ‘mass is nothing but a form of energy’[5]. Particles are not things but processes or happenings. Nothing exists without having an (energetic) effect on something (or everything) else;[6] even observing an experiment while it’s underway will affect the outcome.

Compared to other life-forms, human senses are very restricted, we only see 5% of everything there is. But even though we can’t sense them, we are still subject to the universe’s energy fields. We know for instance that some vibrations can affect us: other people’s grumpiness, menace, or fear etc is palpable.

What we’re less conscious of is the energetic vibration of ‘wholeness’, which exists in everything because it’s the ‘law’ of the universe[7]. So when we are in close proximity to a vibration which is in tune with the Infinite we cannot help but feel the effect. If our individual wholeness is temporarily depleted by anger, say, the loss can often be restored by anything that is essentially Wholeness – beauty in any form, the natural world, music, a flower remedy. (Whole and healing stem from the same word.) It’s as though we are each an orchestra and if the second violin is absent, the energy field of the flower remedies flows into the empty space and makes us complete. If the cello is out of tune, Beech floods in … Nothing exists separately from us; everything, including humanity, is part of the energy called Unity.

“The development of love brings us to the realisation of Unity, of the Truth that one and all of us are of the one great Creation,” Dr Bach wrote. And also, ”We each have a Divine mission in this world, and our souls use our minds and our bodies as instruments to do this work, so that when all these are working in unison the result is perfect health and perfect happiness.”[8]

Unity, health, happiness – what we do for ourselves (with the aid of flower remedies) we do for everyone. That’s our real work, and quantum physics demonstrates how in lifting our own vibrations we are able to raise those of all living things, ultimately to the benefit of the entire world.


For further (easy) reading on quantum theory and energy medicines, read Biology of  Belief by Bruce Lipton or The Basic Code of the Universe by Massimo Citro.

[1] David Tong’s lecture, Quantum Fields: the real building blocks of the Universe, on YouTube

[2] “Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.” Niels Bohr, atomic physicist

[3] “[Newton and Descartes] attempted to place ‘man’ at the centre of the stage… to prove to him that he need not be a bystander in a world governed by unfathomable forces.” The dancing Wu Li masters, Gary Zukav

[4] “Quantum theory thus reveals a basic oneness of the universe.” Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics

 [5] Fritjof Capra.  Also “… mass, according to Einstein’s special theory of relativity is energy and energy is mass.” The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav.

[6] “The properties of a particle can only be understood in terms of… its interaction with the surrounding environment and … cannot be seen as an isolated entity but … an integrated part of the whole.” The Tao of Physics

[7] Ultimately, the entire universe… has to be understood as a single undivided whole.” David Bohm, theoretical physicist.

[8] Free Thyself, chapter 2.

Monday, June 5, 2023

Heather and the need to satisfy an emotional hunger

Heather is the essence for the emotional state where our loss of connection with others is so great that we are consumed by the urge to restore it – and then we gorge ourselves on attention like a starving person.  I was reminded of this when I first heard Rumi’s poem last week*:

“The Worm's Waking”

This is How a Human Being can change:

There’s a worm addicted to eating
grape leaves.

Suddenly, he wakes up,
call it grace, whatever, something
wakes him, and he’s no longer
a worm.

He’s the entire vineyard,
and the orchard too,
the fruit, the trunks,
a growing wisdom and joy
that doesn’t need
to devour.


I was struck by the idea that our egos are so greedy that we end up trying to devour the very life which sustains us, and as we know in Heather’s case, that very hunger tires out their audience and drives them away.

This need to ‘devour’, to satisfy our wants and fill our emptiness, can also be seen in a number of other flower remedies.  Chicory for instance, with her grasping for others’ affection and attention.  Vervain with their pressurising of others to join in plans and ambitions. Agrimony in their desire for company, cheer and socialising.  Red Chestnut in their near-addiction to keeping loved ones safe; and so on.

When we are emotionally out of balance, feeling lonely, rejected, fearful etc, our needs become ego-centric: it’s all about me rather than them.  This is a very human, survival-driven response but flower remedies help us to recover our equilibrium.  Then we realise, in a burst of insight (like the worm) that we have no need to devour our life-giving world, because in actual fact we are already at one with it.

Photo: Ally Matson

* In Tara Brach’s Youtube, Releasing the habits that imprison your spirit II

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Beech helps us learn how to love

Cartoon by Jonny Hawkins, with his permission

When we are criticising others we look at them, reports Tara Brach, through ‘a narrow aperture’: we don’t allow ourselves to see the wider picture with all their good points. Or how they are doing their best despite trying circumstances or other problems. All we see is what irks us.   We may be able to resist saying something mean or critical out loud, but the intolerant thought is still there and makes itself felt across the space between us.

When we feel superior to others like that, the flower remedy is of course Beech.    We look down our noses from our ivory tower of superiority, just as the Queen of Trees gazes down on its neighbours.  And the beech allows no plants to grow too close, it deliberately distances itself from others. 

Those in the mood requiring Beech are sure they are right and that others are wrong or inferior in some way.  When the need for Beech is particularly strong the afflictive emotion is as close to hate as that of Holly. It’s ‘hate’ because we are ‘othering’ the criticised person, rendering them as someone *other*, someone who is ‘Not one of us.’  Whereas love is selfless, connects and includes everyone, hate is selfish, disconnects and excludes. This is unhealthy and unsustainable because we all need each other in order to survive and thrive.  Social media has a lot to answer for …

Taking Beech helps us to see others in all the glory of their humanity, regardless of their flaws and failings that we have too.  And like us they need understanding, tolerance and compassion to help them get through each difficult day.


Monday, April 24, 2023

Larch for a boost of self-confidence

The emotional state where we need Larch is not about the anxiety of fear. If we are scared of what people might say, of how it might go wrong, that would call for Mimulus rather than Larch.

Larch is closer to imposter syndrome, such that when your boss asks you to lead on a team project, your reaction is that you’re not good enough. Others will do it better or wonder why you were picked.  When we need Larch we decide the risks involved are not worth the attempt.

John O’Donohue tells us, “Risk might be our greatest ally. […] There can be no growth if we do not remain open and vulnerable to what is new and different.  I have never seen anyone take a risk for growth that was not rewarded a thousand times over.“ 

‘Daring’ is a good word to think of in terms of Larch.  Do we dare to become the Chair of a local community group when invited by local residents?  Or give the vote of thanks? Or dare to apply for an overdue promotion?  Daring is a form of courage, ‘to plunge into life,’ as Dr Bach described it, adding ‘… we shall learn but little unless we face realities and seek to our utmost.’  People needing Larch don’t feel very brave because they lack belief in themselves.  They are easily dis–couraged, which is to say their heart is not in it. (Courage and heart share the same word origin.)

When we need Larch we know we can do the job as we have all the experience and expertise necessary, but our lack of self-confidence prevents us from trying. ‘Someone else would do it better.’ Taking Larch reassures us that we can do it, and even giving it a go will be a step towards growth that we never dreamed possible.


Photo: Ally Matson

Black clouds of gloom

The black cloud of gloom which descends for no reason is the emotional state we all associate with the need for Mustard. Dr Bach says in The...