It was in the early 1990s that I first came across the Dr Bach's Flower remedies. I was introducing a speaker from the Bach Centre to an Association of Reflexologists Meeting.
I found the whole talk fascinating, and so began my journey with the essences. Like most people, although I did my best to learn as much as I could about the individual essences, I did find that sometimes I struggled to identify the appropriate essence, or was unable to decide between differing explanations. I also found it very hard to suggest to someone that they might require say Heather (often described as the Emotional Vampire!), or Willow (Poor Me), often finding resistance in clients to what may be plain to others.
In 1992 Phil (my now partner and soon to be husband Philip Salmon) suggested that I teach his Reflexology Course with him. One of the reasons I was keen to do so was that he had incorporated the use of Journal work and Bach Flower essences into the self development side of the course. Our students have always been introduced to the essences and encouraged to use them. They found them helpful, but many only used them when they were with us, or would ask for direction as to which ones to take. They would find 38 essences too many to be able to decide which was appropriate. It helped when we introduced using the positive qualities, but many still found it a struggle.
Phil had had a conversation with an old friend a few years before who had said that he was sure the groups Dr Bach put the remedies in were related to the Chakras, but as he didn't say how or mention it again, Phil had not thought about it until we were looking for a way to help our students to use them more easily.
Phil is a Colour Therapist among his other many qualifications, and I had spent a lot of time studying the chakras and we were both drawn to the coincidence of there being 7 groups. When we looked carefully at the names of the groups – we began to see that, in fact, the name given to a group seemed to be the expression of the Chakra, as it would manifest when out of balance. We went through them with a mixture of meditation, prayer, brain storming, and what I now recognize as channelling. When we were finished, we decided the best way to check it out was to work with the system and see if it helped. We were very encouraged by how much more easily our students were able to find the appropriate essence and adopt it as a therapeutic tool.
We were encouraged and a little dismayed when we checked our hypothesis against Dr Bach's Chart. We were encouraged, even elated, that his chart, still reproduced today, deemed the groups important enough for him to deliberately specify the colours for each. With the exception of one, they are the generally accepted rainbow colours of the chakras. Our dismay was the one colour which did not appear to be correct. There are a couple of explanations that we feel are reasonable. On the chart below you see that the Brow Chakra is denoted as Turquoise on Dr Bach's chart, while the traditional Brow chakra colour is Indigo. Dr Bach was a very intuitive man and also worked very much from the heart; we feel he could have understood his intuition to be centred at the thymus chakra area, and so used the colour of that chakra. It is also possible that his 'code' had an error written into it, as a check that someone interpreting it would understand what the whole picture should look like, or very mundanely he might have been told that the printer could not use indigo as the printed words would not show up! Who knows, take your pick.
This is a very small snap shot of the way the groups relate to the chakras. Within each group there are more subtle relationships to the different strands of emotion at each level. We wrote all the relationships up in 1996 and our book was self published in 1998. The latest edition was published in 2006 and is Dr Bach's Flower Remedies – tapping into the positive emotional qualities of the chakras. We have been fortunate to be asked to write and teach the Bach Essence Course for Ainsworths, the Homeopathic Pharmacy that produce their own wonderful range of Bach Essences. On the courses, we teach a traditional understanding in Bach Flower 1. In Bach Flower 2 we work with the chakras and the groups. It is a very popular aspect to the courses.
As an example let's take the smallest group of Loneliness which we see as the Crown Chakra. There are 3 essences in this group. The Chakra quality is our connection to the Divine. It is our real sense of being a soul presence, not being just an earthly soul, but that there is 'something more'. When we are cut off from that understanding, we experience a profound feeling of loneliness. Even with friends and family around us, we feel there is no one who can help us or who understands.
When we look individually at the essences, there are three within the group, Water Violet, Impatiens and Heather. We see Water Violet as being the essence that most closely resembles the energy of the Lotus Flower. It has its roots in the earth below water, and then grows through the water, into the air (using fire energy) and then blossoms at the point of realization or change and healing. We can imagine it as representing the 'staff of life' through the Caduceus. The two other essences are the polarities of yin and yang at the crown chakra point. Impatiens represents the active energy which is patient and understanding while connected, but can become impatient with others when over energized. Heather, on the other hand, is the more receptive energy, a good listener and a supporting influence, which when disconnected, loses empowerment or is under energized, and becomes reliant on others to enliven them.
At a recent class a student was concerned about her young daughter. She felt her daughter was a very sensitive child and very self aware. She loved colours and crystals. She was concerned that her daughter did not make friends easily and tended to withdraw at school. Her teachers had said the other children found her to be a bit stand offish, although when in the presence of family she was confident and outgoing. I suggested Water Violet and the student emailed me a few weeks later saying that there was a profound difference in her daughter at school. She had joined the drama group and was also inviting 'friends' home to tea. Usually Water Violet is always very aware of their place in universe – their problem, especially for children, can be to understand those that are not so aware. They find it difficult to relate to them and so withdraw, often being misinterpreted as being aloof and stand offish. This is an example of how quickly children can change as their energy is light and adaptable.
I personally have a long and happy relationship with Impatiens. I use it in a very different way. It is what I would call one of my Core issue essences, and I accept that I will probably still be taking it in my dotage!
I have lots of ideas (yes I also use Clematis) and have lots of energy, but I do sometimes get irritated by those that work at a less intense level or at a slower pace. I can be very impatient when things do not progress as quickly as I would like. Having said that – I do find I run to the bottle (of Impatiens) less often than I used to. I now tend to suggest a walk rather than chase some elusive result. This is definitely a change for the better.
Before I give you an example of Heather I must explain a further development in the way we have been working with the essences. If you are aware that someone is behaving in a way that indicates they may need a specific essence, we can further empower ourselves by accepting that if we create our own reality, it follows that we have attracted that experience to help us. If we then take the essence ourselves we clear that energy, and the person will no longer inflict that negativity onto us. In other words 'you have no client but yourselves'.
In one class a student was trying to decide which essence she wanted to try in the Crown group and I had one in my hand which I said, try this. I did not know which it was. She gasped – It's Heather! And promptly burst into tears. It transpired that she was being bullied at work and had got to the point of intending to leave. I suggested she take the remedy; she contacted me several weeks later and reported that her aggressor had been on holiday when she returned to work. Left to her own devices she realized that she really enjoyed her job. Out of the blue, the colleague was moved to another department and is now no problem.
We have had some interesting conversations as to whether Edward Bach knew that the seven groups he put his essences into related to the chakras. As an intuitive man it is perfectly possible that his guidance was without his realization. However, we do know that he was a student of Paracelsus work, and as a Mason would have esoteric understanding. He knew there was a link to the astrological forces and a letter published in Collected Writings of Edward Bach gives us an insight into his attitude to further work being done into the essences. In a letter probably addressed to The Naturopathic Journal sent on 29th October 1933 he wrote '........I am being cautious as regards astrology, and that is why one left out the signs and the months in the first Twelve Healers. This work is decidedly going to assist vastly in the purification and understanding of Astrology, but my part seems to be to give general principles, whereby people like you who have a more detailed knowledge, may discover a great truth......'
We regard the Essences as a complete system of healing – that is they require no other essences to be added to their number. Bach did seem from the above to feel that there were levels of relationships that he had not yet entirely understood, and therefore he did not want to be too rigid in the presentation of his ideas.
This has enabled us to develop the work even further, and we are aware that there are also ways in which the essences balance the energy as it travels into consciousness, and then back up through the chakras with a predominant yin or Yang action. Once we can relate the essences to the chakras, it opens up several new ways to use them. For instance, as our consciousness travels up from the base chakra towards higher consciousness, we can identify the seven ages of man and which essences would be appropriate to help release shock and trauma at any particular point in life. The one I am most excited about is tracking the energy flow from Inspiration to Manifestation, which enables us to identify seven levels of energy we must create if we want to achieve any outcome. This is not significant for those who are accomplished creators! However it is helpful for those that have problems even manifesting the simplest things, to be able to not only see where they are blocking energy flow, but to then take an essence or essences that will help to release the block! I have called this process the 'Annasation Technique' as the Bach Essences are one of the ways we use to clear these blocks.
As Dr Bach found, there will always be people who would prefer that someone else will 'put them right' and as such there is now a thriving 'Practitioner world' out there; however, we are committed to encouraging people from all walks of life to use the Essences themselves – for themselves and their families. Any way of being able to easily choose appropriate essences, seems to us to be a positive force.