What is a healing crisis in the course of flower essence treatment? Is it the same as a homeopathic "aggravation?" It is an important question to ask, for if the flower essence community is to borrow language from the field of homeopathy, we must do so with respect for the differences between the two disciplines. The more we understand what is unique about flower essences, the more effective our practice will become, as well as our appreciation for the complementary nature of these two modalities.
Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, used the terms "aggravation" and "healing crisis" interchangeably. Homeopathy, based on the law of similars, proposes that "like cures like." This means a remedy that can create symptoms similar to a disease in a healthy person will cure that same disease in a patient in poor health. For instance, Rhus Toxicodendron will cure poison ivy if you have it but cause you to have red, itchy skin if you don't.
A healing crisis or aggravation, to a homeopath, is a temporary worsening of the patient's symptoms during successive stages of homeopathic treatment. The healing crisis is considered a good sign. It suggests that the energetic remedy chosen to fight off the disease has adequately stimulated the body's vital forces.
Flower Essences Awareness Crisis
On the other hand, flower essences operate according to the law of opposites. In this case, a positive quality is introduced that will oppose and drive out the negative state of mind. For example, you are impatient by nature, so you take the Impatiens flower essence. Over time, you notice that you are more relaxed and your pace is less hurried. This is because the vibration of Impatiens has awakened the dormant soul quality of patience within you. According to Dr. Bach, in his address "Ye Suffer from Yourselves", this is true healing:
True healing is one stage higher [than like curing like]:
Love and all its attributes driving out wrong. (Collected Writings of Edward Bach, p. 122, 1998)
Flower essences can also strengthen soul qualities that we already possess, as well. Perhaps you are patient by nature but find your patience challenged by a current difficulty. In that case, Impatiens will support a state of mind with which you are familiar. You are not likely to experience a healing crisis.
A healing crisis is more likely to happen when we have been avoiding something in our "shadow personality". Flower essences do not cause aggravations in the homeopathic sense of the word. If you were a patient person, taking Impatiens would not make you short-tempered. However, a well-chosen remedy may increase awareness of an undesirable personality trait, especially if we have been ignoring it.
Increased awareness is the hallmark of the flower essence healing crisis. In fact, the healing crisis may be more aptly called the "awareness crisis", a phrase coined by Patricia Kaminski in her book Flowers That Heal. The genius of the flower "awareness crisis" is not that it makes symptoms worse, but makes us more aware. Greater self-awareness strengthens our sense of Self, enhances self worth and potential, points towards a solution, and creates a general sense of positive well being. It restores our free will -- knowing that we are not victims of our thoughts, feelings and behaviors, we can choose to think, feel and act in alignment with our true natures.
Because homeopathy is designed primarily with the treatment of illness in mind, a homeopathic aggravation unearths "memory" on the etheric and physical planes. This "memory" does not enlighten on the emotional or mental planes so much as exaggerate negative thoughts and feelings. There may be an increased awareness of what is unhealthy, but not a concurrent awakening of what is spiritually, emotionally or mentally sound.
However, precisely because flower essences resonate with our emotions and thoughts, enlightenment does occur. Like a mirror, the awareness crisis reflects back to us what we are capable of becoming. In fact, enlightenment (seeing ourselves in a new light) is the very proof of a flower essence's effectiveness. Homeopathy shows us a static picture of ourselves and where the problem lies. Flower essences, and the crises they sometimes engender, show us our greatness.
Helping the Client Cope with Crisis
Clients may find the idea of a healing or awareness crisis threatening. It is useful to explore their fears. The most common ones are the fear of being overcome by strong emotion ("I'm afraid I'll start crying and never stop"), being exposed ("If you knew this about me, you would hate me"), and annihilation ("What if feeling this destroys me, or I destroy myself or someone else?"). Even if a person has never felt suicidal, this last fear can emerge.
Expressing the fears alone often helps to calm them. You can further allay them with several reassurances. One, it is important to let the client know you are available by phone or for emergency sessions should the need arise. Two, let the client have as much control over the use of an essence as possible. Cutting back to one dose a day or stopping for several days can help him or her create a comfortable pace of transformation. Three, be willing to adjust the remedy. Sometimes a blend is simply too powerful. You may find that a person can only process the energy of one essence at a time. Four, know when it is time to make an appropriate referral. Have a list of competent health practitioners you can use for this purpose.
Finally, recommend your clients to take advantage of an awareness crisis. Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz, founders of the Flower Essence Society, teach that tools of awareness such as journaling, artistic expression, dreamwork, prayer, meditation and counseling, can ameliorate a painful awareness crisis. They also point out that using such tools acts to further potentize the flower essence in its interaction with the psyche.
You are midwife to a spiritual birth. Lila Devi of Master's Flower Essences describes this stage of flower essence transformation as the "awareness celebration".
"...(f)or the release of the most painfully buried memories can be accompanied by an even deeper joy. This is the joy of freedom: liberation from stored pain, and growth from acknowledging that the truth of who we are is, and always has been untouched by that pain." (The Essential Flower Essence Handbook, p. 30)
Remind your client that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, which is not only surcease of pain but also the beginning of joy -- this is both reassuring and ennobling to the spirit.
Editor's Note: See our panel discussion on this same subject later in this issue of Vibration.
Can Flower Essences Help A Homeopathic Aggravation?|
According to Dr. Bach, the answer is yes. A homeopathic remedy will drive out error, but leave behind a spiritual vacuum. Flower Essences fill that vacuum with the missing asset.
Recently, I took the homeopathic remedy Calcarea Carbonica (200c) under my homeopath's guidance. We were treating a variety of physical symptoms, but being sensitive to homeopathy's impact on the mind, I was not surprised when my mood soured considerably within a day.
First I began to feel suspicious and withdrawn. Unable to shake it, I took Aspen. The suspicious feelings and thoughts quickly disappeared. Then I developed extreme tenderness in the coccyx. According to Dietmar Kramer's book New Bach Flower Body Maps, Sweet Chestnut is recommended for that area. I applied the essence topically. Within several hours the pain had all but gone. But I still felt that the aggravation had triggered a "Sweet Chestnut" crisis, and continued to take that essence for several days. I found that it deepened my resolve to live hopefully.
I felt that responding to the aggravation with flower essences added depth and meaning to my experience. It is a marriage of modalities worth exploring.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rose Mattax, MS LCPC is an energy psychotherapist and certified flower essence practitioner. Learn more about Rose and flower essences at www.RoseMattaxLCPC.com.
ART CREDITS: Word of Mouth Web Design and ArtToday.
The World Wide Essence Society does not mean to imply any recommendation of nor give certification to any individuals or companies above. This article is provided purely for informational purposes. We ask consumers to make their own determination as to quality of the services and products offered above. This article is not meant to be advice, and the information is not meant to replace medical or psychological treatment.