Embracing Flower Medicine

Aug 08, 2019

Embracing Flower Medicine

The other morning as I stepped out my back door, I was greeted by the cool fresh air that announces that summer is just beginning to wane. From somewhere in the neighbourhood, there came a whiff of wood smoke. Immediately, I was transported back to Oaxaca, Mexico and memories of my days spent there over the years escaping the Canadian cold. It’s so interesting how memories are connected to our senses - especially smell. The combination of cool, fresh air and wood fire scent immediately brought back memories of my days in Oaxaca, where being a mountainous area, the mornings are always crisp and the scent of wood smoke common.

Flowers Are a Gift from Spirit

Moments laterI ventured into the garden, as I do most mornings, to visit the plants and remark on the beauty of the greenery, the riot of colours and shapes, and the intricate creativity of nature. My years spent in Mexico included tapping into the healing traditions there. Part of the Mexico healing traditions includes the use of flowers. I’ve come to call it “flower medicine.” Not only do flowers stimulate the senses with their colours, shapes and smells, but they also, to use an old fashion phrase “gladden the heart!”

In the Oaxaca region, one recognizes the “healer’s house” by the gardens full of flowers, herbs and chickens. The medicinal use of eggs will be a story for another time! The healer picks and prepares a bouquet of flowers and herbs to use in their most common healing ceremony called a Limpia. The healer will begin by brushing the client down using the bundle of flowers to clear the energy field before the real healing begins. Sometimes the flowers are used in conjunction with mescal to absorb stagnant or negative energies that one may have pick-up through the stressors of day-to-day living. Then she places the bundle of plant material on the floor, and the client puts their bare feet on the bundle. This gesture helps create the grounding one needs to receive the rest of the healing ceremony.

Using Flowers for Healing

In one particularly vigorous healing I received, the healer soaked the flowers in mescal and macerated the flowers in her strong hands. She then used this to scrub me clean and clear, especially in the heart-lung area. Then she stuffed the wade of crushed flowers into my shirt and told me to keep it over my heart for several days. Interestingly, I was wearing a white t-shirt, and when I removed the flowers a few days later, a heart-shaped stain was left where the flowers had been. The colours and shape did fade over the years, but I still treasure it.
These experiences with flowers were not my first foray into the healing power of plants. In my 30s, I studied herbalism as one of my first ventures into modalities of alternative medicine. I still turn to plants first for the common day-to-day ailments of my ageing body. Back then, I learned about plant spirit medicine and how each plant carries a particular healing medicine, particular to each person.

Since my experiences in Oaxaca, I have never been able to look at flowers the same way. Flowers are not just beautiful and lovely to see and smell and have in one’s environment, but they are also spirit medicine! They are a gift from spirit and carry medicine to nourish our soul. Their essence is to remind us of beauty, inside and out. They remind us of the vibrancy and power that comes in the form of beauty, and when truly received can create resilience.

Receive the Medicine of Flowers

As we enjoy this final phase of summer, I invite you to get out and pay more attention to flowers.  Not just the one’s cultivated in your garden, or the one’s you bring home from the market to adorn your table, but also the wild flowers that grow in profusion everywhere.  Spend time with them, tune into the medicine in the color, shape and scent. Let it sink in and effect you.  Slow down to notice the effect of their presence and essence on your energy system. Receive their medicine; which is another way to say - Notice how they nourish you with their presence.  

I’d love to hear about your experiences with the flowers!  Please share with me.

Next entry: Taking Stock of Pleasure

Previous entry: The Fasting Path

“Loved the “slow medicine of it”

Workshop attendee