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Blossoming Potential: The Transformative Power of Flower Essence

The class that stands out the most of all the classes I took in college is Dendrology. Dendrology is the scientific study of trees. Some trees stood out more than others. I clearly remember when I first heard its name, Cornus florida, Flowering Dogwood. Having previously lived in Florida, and being a novice in botanical Latin, I wondered why florida was part of its name. I quickly learned that ‘florida’, in Cornus florida, means ‘flowering’. Interestingly, the 'flowers' of the Flowering dogwood aren’t actually flowers at all, they’re modified leaves. It just so happened that I had a Flowering dogwood tree in my front yard, so I asked my professor about it. I was shocked when he said that it was a “trash tree” used for landscaping.

Fast forward a few years of developing relationships with plant and tree life around me, including my lovely Flowering dogwood, that brought me so much joy simply standing in my front yard. By this time, I had also studied metalsmithing for a couple of years in college and was specializing in botanical jewelry. My love for plants and trees merged into my metalsmithing with ease and excitement. It was around this time that I was called to circle back to botany and deepen my studies in medicinal plants and was awarded a scholarship to a wonderful herbal school, Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine.

Prior to and concurrently with my medicinal plants training I was immersed in shamanic arts and curanderismo and I loved how they went hand in hand. A couple of years into my studies I came across the shamanic practice of ‘plant dieta’. A master plant dieta is a fundamental part of Amazonian shamanism wherein the ‘dietero’ follows a very specific diet, enters isolation in the forest, and ingests a liquid preparation of a plant in order to receive the teaching and healing powers that the plant’s spirit holds. For me this ritual involved consuming and communing with the plant or tree ally that called me closer, in every way that I was inspired and intuitively guided to do so.

I knew that communication from Nature would come in through signs and synchronicities, so I knew what to look for. Flowering dogwood had been drawing me in, with its showy flowers indicating the first signs of Spring. From my window, through the seasons, it drew me closer. I admired it from my window in Winter, with cardinals perched upon its bare branches. I sat with it in Spring, as its flowers bloomed above me.

It took me a while but once I understood that it carried medicine I needed on a soul level, I started to work more intentionally with it in all ways. I made a Flower essence and began microdosing its spirit medicine. I read and learned about its traditional medicinal uses such as the bark being used as a quinine substitute for treating malaria and fevers and how some tribes used the roots to make a scarlet dye for coloring porcupine quills and eagle feathers. I learned about Appalachian folklore such as dogwood being strongly tied with Christian mythology, since the flowers form a cross shape and that the wood was used to form crosses for crucifixion. Another version of this folk tale is that Jesus was said to be nailed to a cross of dogwood, and dogwood decided to never again grow tall enough to be made into a cross again. I continued to study it closely and made sterling silver and brass dogwood pendants, that quickly flew off the shelves.

About two months after initiating the plant dieta with dogwood I was invited to help resituate a Trash Trout that needed tending at a local waterway near my home. (Trash Trouts are waterway litter traps. They capture and hold stormwater litter, making river cleanup faster and more efficient, and protecting downstream waterways). After we fixed whatever it was that needed tending we were invited to pick up any trash from the river. This waterway is situated directly across from a trash and recycling center and dump trucks drive beside it daily.

On the way out of the river I picked up what looked like a broken dish or vessel. I was shocked when I looked closer and noticed a beautiful image of a dogwood flower! How could it be, what are the odds, I thought to myself. I was overcome with joy and gratitude to the Universe and Spirit, to Nature communication and the miraculous ways it comes through. I always keep this little broken vessel nearby and share this story when Spirit guides me to do so.

In time I realized that I needed this nod from the Universe. As a quadruple Capricorn I’ve always been one of those “see it to believe it” type person. I was just beginning my Herbalist path and was unsure if the plants actually had the power to heal and transform our lives. Dogwood was supporting me, and WE WERE in relationship. I needed to see it through a physical representation. So much has changed in my inner and outer landscape since those early days of my Natural Resources studies. I have deepened my relationship with so many plants and trees in the past few years.

It’s interesting that in academia we are taught to talk about the trees as natural resources, an asset we can use for our benefit. Through this deepening I have learned that trees, plants, animals, waterways, mountains, and everything here on Mother Earth has consciousness and personhood. What they give us are gifts, not assets to be used carelessly and without thought, without giving something back in return. This idea of sacred reciprocity (giving back) is now a teaching that I incorporate into every offering I share- from the plant workshops to the healing arts and forest experiences- this worldview is infused into everything I do.

The Flowering dogwood essence I made is intended to amplify the ability to withstand difficult challenges in life during a time of spiritual rebirth or awakening. It supports you when healing deep seated emotional trauma and amplifies emotional intelligence and resiliency.

Some other flower essences you may be feeling called to try:


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