Dreams, Drawings and Essences

When I first learned about flower therapy, I was taught to use lists of questions in order to choose essences. Although the lists were very rational, patients usually felt they needed many of the Bach Flower essences. Choosing from the list left me feeling like I making a Flower Therapy Supermarket shopping list. Sometimes I just talked for along time to the patient, but setting priorities among the possible choices was occasionally difficult.

I do use my intuition, mostly in setting priorities between remedies, but I rely even more extensively now on clients‘ drawings and dreams. In working with patients, I provide color pencils and paper in the waiting room and encourage the patient to feel free to draw whatever he or she wants. We begin the interview as usual, but toward the middle, we discuss the drawings, and I show them Bach flower photos from a deck of cards as a way of choosing an essence.

The Self always tries to maintain the system‘s equilibrium, and often does so through dreams. Our soul speaks to us this way as it shows us balances and imbalances in archetypal energy. When working with flower essences, the client will probably receive strong confirmatory dreams in archetypal language. Archetypal dreams often feature vivid colors, smells, touch sensations or even tastes. There is a sense of wisdom, completeness, and strong feelings of peace, love, equilibrium and confidence.

Archetypes are psychic and structural elements of the collective unconsciousness. They can be found in dreams, art work, fairy tales, psychotic delusions and religious rituals. The Seven Archetype Theory developed by Carl Jung states that the self is in the core, and there are six other „cosmic“ interconnected centers of energies: The Hero, the Shadow, Death/Rebirth, the Journey, the Anima (feminine energy) and the Animus (masculine energy).

For example, we might dream of our cruelty (The Shadow Archetype) if we think of ourselves as always good (The Hero Archetype). We might even dream that someone else is being cruel, for the unconscious mind is a powerful doorkeeper to the Self, disguising threats and conflicts as images. The language used to communicate between the Self and the Archetypes is metaphor, which uses symbols and images in much the same way we use words to form sentences.

Each of these archetypes is related to certain essences. For example, if the client dreams of a beautiful ship on a river -- representing the Journey Archetype -- you might think of Walnut. Here are some others:

  • THE HERO (facing adversity): Elm, Vervain
  • THE SHADOW: Black-Eyed Susan, Agrimony, Crab Apple and Pretty Face (ugliness), Holly (hate), Mustard and Borage (depression)
  • DEATH/REBIRTH (crisis and revolution): Sweet Chestnut, Victoria Regia, Rescue Remedy
  • THE JOURNEY (evolving, advancing): Walnut, Amazonian Essence, Cayenne
  • THE ANIMA (feminine energy): Pomegranate, Mariposa Lily, Chicory, Venus Orchid
  • THE ANIMUS (masculine energy): Sunflower, Sun Orchid, Tiger Lily
  • THE SELF (integrating energy): Higher Self Orchid, Self Heal, Lotus

A lot of new patients draw houses at their first appointment. I have found that patients who draw houses have difficulty in connecting to their emotions in intimate or domestic maters. The house can be analyzed as a metaphor of the self. Look for closed or opened windows, and let the patient speak about the roof and the sky (mental state). Are there flowers or trees? Ask if it is easy to get to the house or to go inside. Does it seem lonely? In follow-up sessions, as people begin to appear in the house drawings, we can connect easily to the patient‘s relationships.

For instance, a male patient came to my office in the middle of a divorce. He drew a house which seemed quite empty and plain. I asked him to draw inside a circle and then he wrote: „I love her. I miss her. I can‘t forget her. I don‘t like her lies, her personality and her mess.“ He was given several mixtures over a period of months. The first one was Rescue Remedy only. The others -- all Bach remedies -- included Walnut, Honeysuckle, White Chestnut, Red Chestnut and Sweet Chestnut. Before making the last bottle, we discussed his Moon sign, which was Scorpio, so we included Chicory for possessiveness and Beech for intolerance. The archetypes involved with these essences would be: Resistance to The journey (Walnut, Honeysuckle, White Chestnut); Facing the Shadow (Red Chestnut, Beech); The All-Giving Mother (Chicory); Death/Rebirth (Sweet Chestnut, Rescue Remedy).

Another patient, a social worker by profession, came in the middle of a crisis at Christmas. She also had a chronic cough that nobody could find a medical explanation for. She made a nice drawing of big straight trees in a sunny forest, with water instead of land. There was a couple on its border, and people in the center of the forest, but no one had faces or arms, which seemed quite significant. Finally she revealed that she was having an illicit relationship.

The remedies that seemed appropriate were Elm, Rock Water, Pine, and Venus Orchid. Elm was given because of her Hero job; Rock Water would give her flexibility in The Journey; Pine represented the Inner Adversary; Venus Orchid could heal her Anima.

Then she began coughing, and at that moment, I asked her: „What issue is constantly repeated in your life?“ She answered: „Bad relationships.“ So Chestnut Bud and was added to the mixture, to help her learn from her mistakes. She came a few months later with a complete change of appearance, looking relaxed. The cough had disappeared, and she had kept the boyfriend.

Drawing and dreams are two powerful tools to connect us to our intuitive/right hemisphere mind. It is easier to connect to emotions with this hemisphere than with the rational, educated left hemisphere. There always seems to be a direct connection between my patients‘ drawings or the dreams they report and the remedies they need. It is very simple in follow-up appointments to see the changes from drawing to drawing or dream to dream, and so I have come to have a great deal of confidence in this method of selecting remedies.

© Leda Moreno 2004

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Leda Abril Moreno, well-known nuclear physician and children‘s writer in her native Panama, opened her first flower therapy clinic in 1998, after learning the Bach System in France. She combines alternative and allopathic medicine, giving workshops on dreams, symbolism and writing, flower essences, drawing analysis and stress reduction to universities, health practitioners and the general public. Leda can be reached at ledabril - at - hotmail.com.

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