Heidi Smith has written a gorgeous book (with full-color illustrations by Chelsea Granger) that describes the many gifts of connecting to plant medicine through flower essences. For those who are flower essence practitioners and producers, as I am, I found there is still lots for me to learn. For those unfamiliar with the term “flower essence,” a whole new world awaits. In the book, Smith covers relaxation, self-care, ritual, and being of service as well as the many aspects of flower essences.
A flower essence is made from the petals of a flower, usually placed in the sunshine so the water becomes infused with the energy of the particular flower. The spring water becomes the mother tincture when it’s preserved in brandy. A flower essence is taken orally, applied to the skin or made into a mist. Flowers “are here to help us in [a] rebalancing mission since much of the disease states we experience are a result of [a] separation from divinity, from nature, and from our true selves,” Smith says.
Smith tells of her own introduction to flower essences when her brother committed suicide in 2007. She has learned much since that time, working with various teachers, integrating flower essences into her private practice and sharing her knowledge in this book.
The purpose of the book, she says, “is to bridge cosmic insights from the divine feminine and the flowers in an accessible language for people who are not afraid to excavate in order to heal deep below the surface.” She has done that very well.
I appreciate that one of the main themes of the book “involves balancing duality, which means challenging the perpetuation of oppressive systems.” Smith suggests practitioners (and readers could be included too, I think) ask themselves: “How is my work a function of my privilege? Where are my blind spots? Does my practice truly support inclusivity, diversity, and accessibility?”
Dr. Edward Bach is “the founder of modern flower essences as we know them.” Others who were at the “foundation of flower essence therapy” going back to Paracelsus (1493 – 1541), are included. Smith makes note of present-day flower essence producers and the type of essences which would be good for various purposes, such as “inviting grounding, safety, and protection,” for instance.
The book includes directions for making a flower essence and describes “women healers throughout history.” I learned that Harriet Tubman, born Araminta Ross (circa 1822), known for her rescue of slaves, “was also a gifted herbalist and nurse.” “Women-identified healers” are often missing from history books and “even more scarce are queer and trans people of color (QTPOC) with the codex of Western medical history,” Smith says.
This is a marvelous book with so much to think about and acknowledge. Whether one uses flower essences or not, the book is a beautiful reminder of our connection to nature and how even a walk through a garden can have many healing benefits.