Knowing The Way - Direction.
This weekend it feels like the honourable thing to do is to acknowledge the inaugural, pioneering essence of the Allies Of Nature range of flower essences. For on the 6th April 2019 the Blackthorn flower essence was created. At the time, it was a Saturday, it was a new moon, it was the start of the financial year, the Grand National was taking place, and there was no hint of any global pandemic being in the twinkling of Mother Nature's eye, or any other eye for that matter also.
As an essence the Blackthorn has proved to be a pioneer in many ways for me. The message it wanted to convey to me on capturing it was 'knowing the way'. Thus it has shown me how to collect an essence, educated me on how spirit wants to communicate messages through its flowers to me and taught me that not everything about an essence can necessarily be revealed at the point of collection. A greater depth of understanding needs to be accumulated about it over a period of time.
A year on for instance, we are in very contrasting circumstances to when the essence was collected. Coronavirus has spread across the planet, there are no sporting events taking place and we are all under lockdown. We are also at a very different point in the moon cycle it must be added too, somewhere between a waxing half moon and a full moon. This illustrates that when a 'Mother Essence' is created it is very much born out of the spirit of the moment and cannot be wholly reproduced in the same way ever again.
There will always be nuances between essence collections of the same flower. Other distinct scenarios will be playing out within nature and society at the time, new influences will be at work, one could be guided to collect the essence on a totally different day or phase of the moon cycle, the planets themselves will all be aligned differently. This will give a slightly contrasting accent to the language being communicated to the practitioner from the flower itself.
Indeed alternative interpretations can be extracted from the initial flower essence collection when more than one practitioner is involved too. When studying at the Chalice Well we would often collect an essence together and each person's understanding of it would be slightly different. There would however be a common theme running throughout the process. Links and connections within the web of information being accumulated would be the same or similar and this would point to an overall knowledge of what the essence was ultimately about. A golden thread of understanding would then eventually come to light.
Subtle differences can exist from range to range too when comparing like for like flowers or very similar ones. When I collected the Wild Rose essence last summer solstice and got the quality of 'enthusiasm' from it, it was very reassuring for me to know that when I came into contact with the Wild Rose from the Bach Flower Essences, some time later, that its quality was one of 'enthusiasm' too. This exact match however may not always be the case and our job is then to enquire further as to why such a difference may exist and see where the common ground lies.
It is good to approach essence making with what we say in the shamanic tradition is 'beginners mind', i.e. we haven't totally drawn a conclusion at the outset of the essence creation, or the journey thereafter, as to what that essence is wholly about. We endeavour to remain open to other thought processes, inspirations and revelations that might come that are reflective of what is happening with the essence as the process unfolds, layer by layer. We will always then have an opportunity to deepen our understanding of what we are being presented with.
That said however, there will always be this overall theme, this golden thread within it, something 'special' about this particular flower and what its purpose is to be upon the planet at this moment in time. This is what the spirit of the plant or flower deva wants to convey to us in allowing us to connect with its unique flower essence in the first place.
What I have found in my own journeying with the flower essences, and revisiting them for a second time through the calendar wheel, is that they only want to deepen their connection with us and help us understand the original information given about their essence more intimately.
With Blackthorn, its message twelve months prior of 'knowing the way' had been illustrated to me by way of its pioneering spirit breaking new ground with its blossoms in an otherwise barren hedgerow. It was giving all the other plants 'direction' in so doing, as it would give ourselves 'direction' when we connected with its essence also. How then would that message be further ingrained within us in 2020 when visiting with it again?
On the Blackthorn Medicine Walk that I completed recently in my own back garden, due to the lockdown regulations, I was able to connect with the original tree I got the essence from again. I asked it the question as to what will give us the opportunity of 'knowing the way' forward given our current very restrictive Coronavirus circumstances?
The answer that came back to me seemed to be connected to finding our own inner peace, and then from that place being able to honour all of the other three peaces too, creating peace with others, our community and the planet. We cannot have peace in the world if we have conflict within ourselves.
This further message from Blackthorn ties into the message from the Bluebell as mentioned in my previous blog, that of gaining an 'inner-sense' of ourselves, it being the next essence in the sequence of the Allies Of Nature range of flower essences. This further emphasises the connection between the essences as they go through the year. There is a beauty to this unfolding, a poetry, where there is a story to be told which isn't always obvious when each essence is originally collected.
I feel that the spirit of Blackthorn in 'knowing the way' is continually with me as I learn more and more about the flowers and their essences, in how they are captured, manufactured and are then to be used at a personal or planetary level. I can always rely on Blackthorn to give me 'direction' throughout my entire essence journey.
If you care to comment on this blog with regards to any issues or feelings it brings up for you then please feel free to do so below.
Overcoming Bullying To Discover My True Identity.
At 33 I sought counselling for the first time, I discovered that up to that point I had been letting other people rule my life. I had been brow beaten from birth, I had a difficult childhood and was severely bullied at school, this continued right through college and into the workplace.
My default, survival strategy had been to absorb and collapse, making myself as small as possible in order to disappear and go unnoticed. I was a good boy, quiet, timid and shy. I had no voice.
Consequently, by the time I reached adolescence, I had little confidence when it came to women and it felt impossible to speak to the girls I really liked. I had a lot of shame around my sexuality and I felt emasculated. It took me until the age of 30 before I had any meaningful relationship with a woman and then ended up being with more maternal types that liked me more than I did them.
Adopting a nodding dog style of communication, giving away my power to others, I also made poor career choices, not right for me. I was creative, and my tutors advised me to follow a textile design route when I really wanted to do graphic design. It took me 9 years to get back to where I wanted to be in the first place. By the time I had been made redundant from my second textile job in 1995 I had lost all faith in the system and decided that I would take responsibility for my own learning and development in the future.
My counsellor showed me an alternative way to live. I received my first tools in order to try and create change in my life and I began to realise the true power of personal development.
It was more difficult than I first thought however and the Universe needed to intervene to get me back on track. I had a car crash. I came across a farm boy going Mach 3 with his hair on fire in the back lanes of Liskeard and there was nothing I could do but watch him hurtle at 60 mph right towards me. Fortunately I had the foresight to let the handbrake off so my car was able to absorb some of the impact, but it was a write off and I had the effects of whiplash for 2 years afterward.
This was enough to make me think about how I was living my life and whether it was truly rewarding enough for me. I still felt as if I was being bullied, in a way, because I wasn’t being paid well, even within my graphic design career. But then, I didn’t really know my true worth or where I was heading then so how could I expect anyone else to know that either?
In a dark night of the soul moment I reached out to my network and a marketing lady I knew asked me if I was aware of the work of Neil Crofts. He was a life coach, who had written a book called ‘Authentic - How To Make A Living By Being Yourself’. His was the first book I had ever read that spoke to me as if I’d written it myself. He used nature based techniques in his teachings and I took a Medicine Walk with him one day out in nature and discovered that I was to become a spiritual guide.
I followed him to Majorca to attend a transformation course he was running out there but even before the course had started I encountered a beautiful butterfly in the garden, the like of which I had not seen since my early childhood, a swallowtail. It was a truly magical moment as I glimpsed a reflection of my own identity I thought and I was filled with a spiritual energy like I had never encountered before, an explosion of heat was released from my lower spine right up over my head as if I was being touched by god. I was experiencing a kundalini (spiritual) awakening. This prompted me to become a life coach too.
As a result, I started to care more about nature and the planet. I joined environmental organisations like the Transition Town Network where I was able to sit in circles and begin to speak my truth. In time I headed up my own initiative and started more formal public speaking. I started to take on a number of coaching clients too and I helped people feel less anxious about their life, increased their confidence, gave them permission to be themselves and helped them establish their own life purpose, my own confidence soared also as a result.
Personally though, I was still struggling to share my heart with those with whom I liked the most. A seven year journey of unrequited love ended in disaster and I rather naively made mistakes with other women too. I had an affair with a coach of mine and a relationship with an ex-client too. Neither ended well even though I never wished either of them anything but love. I realised I had to work on my boundaries!
At this point I began to question my own ability to be a life coach and I withdrew from the profession. I felt as though a rug was being pulled from beneath me and I was devastated.
I chose to take time out to properly heal. I went to work in a finance department and even followed my passion for sailing for a while.
Finally, I saved enough money to complete three years of training to become a Shamanic Practitioner with Northern Drum and a one year training to become a qualified Accredited Flower Essence Practitioner with The Chalice Well too.
It feels like I have been blessed, I am thankful for it all, even the bullying! I continue to learn about our true allies of nature; the flora and fauna around us. I have found my masculinity, my true self and my medicine name, ‘Swallowtail.’
Best of all, I am now ready to help others to overcome similar issues to that I have encountered myself and I have launched my own flower essence and shamanic practice, Allies Of Nature, which incorporates a range of flower essences too.
I work with my clients, in nature, to help them overcome the effects of bullying to discover their true identity, using nature as an ally to move them from a place of fear to one of love, helping them to live their lives more in harmony with the rest of the planet.
We engage in transformational conversations and sessions together which take place in all kinds of natural locations: on a hill-top, by a river, at the beach or in a forest. Our natural surroundings help us to go deep and discover the way to heal.
The flower essences are here to assist us in that process, proving to be magnificent teachers in their own right bringing their own individual restorative qualities via each flower essence in the range in order to help everyone come back into a state of balance and become the best they can be through improved emotional wellbeing.
When you’re ready to discover your own true identity and become an ally of nature yourself, I’ll be here to help you with my flower essence and shamanic practice to guide you towards fulfilling your greatest potential.
If you care to comment on this blog with regards to any issues or feelings it brings up for you please feel free to do so below.