How to Make Flower Essences

Welcome to the #HealYourSelfCare series!

Self care is the basis of any healing journey, and is one of the first things we forget — usually when we need it most. These posts will offer you new ways to care for yourself with ritual and sweetness, and be a guide when your brain just won't calm down.

Don't miss the rest of the series:
Post 1: How To Use Tarot for Self Care
Post 2: HALT in the Name of Self Care
Post 3: What are Flower Essences?
Post 5: Ask the Experts: Personal Self-Care Rituals

Flower essences are an energetic remedy that combine affirmation, placebo, and magic for subtle yet profound transformation. (If you aren't quite sure what I mean by that check out this blog post.) The true beauty of essences lies in their simplicity; a flower floated in water left under the sun for a couple of hours is all it takes. While you can dress it up in as much ceremony as you like, at the core flower essences are easy. And they should be! The modern discoverer/codifier of flower essences, Dr. Edward Bach, put forth this mode of healing as something easily understood and readily accessible for all. 

Engaging with the creation of our own flower essences is truly a radical act of taking our own health and wellbeing back into our hands. There is no deeper self care than creating the space and method of our own healing. 

The traditional method requires a crystal bowl filled with spring water, the surface of which is covered with blooms that have been cut and placed without touching them. This is left under the full sun for several hours before being strained and preserved with brandy.

My method is a little more low key. No crystal bowls here! I use whatever glass I have around, and many a Heal Yourself essence has been made in a mason jar. I also do not heed to the prohibition on touching the flower; if I believe that energy flows freely and can be preserved in water then keeping my fingers off of the flower isn't going to prevent my imprint from becoming part of the essence! In fact, the primary reason I purchase essences from small producers is because I want the energy of the maker as part of the medicine. 

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Also, water. This seems to be a hot topic. I use whatever I have. In NYC that was frequently what flows from the tap. Spring water is lovely, but I believe it should be filtered (the Sawyer mini is a good and inexpensive option that makes it easy to filter the water when you harvest it) to ensure that any tingling in your tummy comes from energetic rebalancing and not giardia. At my new home I have beautiful filtered well water which comes from my land and seems like a natural fit. But don't let the water you have access to stop you. I find that whenever there is a rule requiring something not easily available to most modern folk it is just another way to keep us from the connection that is our birthright. So use whatever water makes sense for you. I personally would choose tap over bottled because shipping spring water in plastic seems silly, but go with your (parasite-free) gut.

So you have a container, water, a flower friend, and a sunny day. Now what? Mix them all up and say hello! As your flower and water are making magic, enter into a meditation or try journaling to see what pops up. This is a beautiful time to talk to the flower and see what medicine it may want to offer you. While you can certainly cross-reference with known essence meanings (the Flower Essence Society has impressive resources), I believe it is important to see what the flower is offering you. If chatting with your flower feels like a stretch, or you don't quite have faith in the messages you are receiving, pull a tarot card for the essence and use that as your gateway to connection.

Once your flower has been hanging in the water for a while, filter the water through muslin and fill up half of a bottle (I use 2 oz dropper bottles, but many commercial essences come in 1/2 or 1 oz) with the water and the other half with a preservative (alcohol, vinegar, or glycerine). Any leftover water can be gifted back to the land. Your bottled magic is your Mother Essence. From the mother you will be able to make many more bottles of essence through dilution. The reason for dilution was discussed in Part 1 of our flower essence exploration if you want a refresher.

The first dilution is to make a Stock Bottle. Take a new dropper bottle (again, 1 or 2 oz works well), add a few drops of the mother, and fill the bottle half with water and half with your preservative. Voila! Stock Bottle! Repeat the process by taking a few drops from stock bottle into a new dropper bottle to make a Dosage Bottle. 

In my practice, the Mother Bottle is used for creating Stock Bottles and is not something I usually take directly. You could, but you miss out on some of the benefits of dilution and would use up your essence more quickly. I primarily use and sell stock bottles of my own remedies, and when I purchase stock bottles I usually make dosage bottles from them for myself and my clients.

So far we have been speaking about making and taking one essence. What if you have multiple imbalances you want to address, or want to create a more integrated form of support? Why, you mix them! You can do this at either the stock or dosage bottle level by adding a few drops of each essence you desire. One or two is a good place to start, but I usually feel comfortable adding up to four essences in a blend. Any more than that and things start to get muddy. Nothing bad will happen, but it will be hard to tell which – if any – are working.

Starting with the essences you are called to make is a beautiful way to begin the journey. If you have a particular imbalance you want to address, calling on resources from the Flower Essence Society and other research centers is highly recommended. Need more help figuring out what essences to work with? Schedule a Shift Session to explore the alchemy between tarot and energetic essences. We'll dig into the magic of flower essences and tools to connect with them in a future post. But above all, as always, trust your own intuition. You know what is best to heal yourself. 

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