Observing The Wonder and Deeper Purpose of This Elemental Intelligence
©2007 Holly Beatie, maker of the High Octave and High Sierra Flower Essences
Sunflowers are fairly easy to grow as long as they have plenty of sun, water, and fertile soil. The Latin name for sunflower is Helianthus annuus. Heliotropic refers to a plant's ability to face and follow the sun from morning to night. Sunflowers also send their roots quite deep, allowing them to pull up and utilize a broad range of nutrients. They take about 90 days to bloom, and have been known to grow as tall as 15 feet.
Sunflower seeds are power-packed with healthy vitamins and minerals, including calcium, fluorine, iodine, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sodium, niacin, thiamine, and Vitamin D. They contain up to 30% protein, with all the amino acids necessary for cell building and repairing. The oil is light, and excellent for culinary uses as well as skin care.
Besides the nutritional offerings of sunflowers, other parts of the plant have historically been used for medicinal purposes by different cultures for codnitions such as malaria, rheumatism, fevers, jaundice, heart conditions, diarrhea, kidney and bladder ailments, snakebite, sore eyes, bronchitis, and other pulmonary difficulties.
There is evidence that Native American Ozark cliff dwellers were cultivating and improving this plant as early as 2300 B.C. and possibly thousands of years before that. Many ancient North American cultures revered the sunflower for its symbolism. The Aztecs, in particular, worshipped Sun Gods and this plant was held sacred within that civilization which spanned most of modern day Mexico in the 1500's. The Zuni people used the blossoms for anthropic worship.
Perhaps part of the allure of the sunflower comes from the specific geometric patterns of the seeds criss-crossing in two sets of spirals. The numbers of spirals correspond to the sacred geometry Fibonacci numbers of 55 and 89.
One of the most fascinating uses of sunflower comes from its flower essence. This is a plant that appears to have a distinct consciousness.
The first thing that needs to be understood about sunflower is that this is one of those ancient plants that just loves to show up on the planet and have a really good time with human beings. Sunflower is a highly communicative plant that sincerely enjoys the dialogue of emotions that it arouses in humans. In as much as it often exists at eye level with humans, it's one of the few plants that actively takes on an equal status, and in doing so asserts a life force that engages people to wonder: "What is the element here?" What's really taking place is that sunflowers are almost like a hidden race that embodies themselves as flowers -- fields in Europe/France speak of this kind of collective identity.
The sunflower is often seen as a source of renewal, radiance, life force, abundance, and prosperity; again, the multiple potentials of the soul to come forward and experience all of life. However, within the essence use of sunflower itself there's a much deeper purpose that it would like to introduce, and that is this: The sunflower is a witness, it observes humans. The sunflower exists as an eye from the elemental realm, comes forward and sees human beings. It's trying to teach humans to observe, witness, digest, and absorb many aspects of the long history of human experience...to begin arriving at neutrality. Ultimately the tonic of the sunflower essence brings the nervous system to neutrality, and to an appreciation of the long history and complexity of human cultures and many forms of intelligence that have been embodied on the planet.
In the multiple seeds that the sunflower presentsm is trying to say: "I have witnessed many forms of human culture and they all are valid. Don't take yourselves too seriously". Sunflower is a tremendously mature wisdom presented through the plant realm. Its strong stalk, while reaching very high, is metaphorical in terms of the ultimate human experience. Being able to observe and witness with neutrality the complexities of the incarnated human experience, while radiating out a sense of gratitude to the Sun -- to the source of life on this planet -- to that which animates life on this planet. These are primal dialogues of eternal gratitude for the creation that manifests physical form on this planet.
One final note about growing sunflowers is that after the splendor of their flowers fade in late summer and they go to seed, they become perfect bird feeders. So, you can take care of your feathered friends as they prepare and stock up for the winter.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Holly Beatie's personal healing journey has led her to discover her inner gifts of ancient knowledge of the plant realm. She develops Flower Essences in the High Sierra Mountains and makes flower essence formulas and other botanical products that utilize this ancient knowledge for profound transformational healing support. For more information about High Sierra Flower Essences and High Sierra Botanicals contact Holly Beatie, PO Box 4275, Truckee, CA 96160. 530-550-0885.
DESIGN CREDITS: This page was designed by Deborah Bier; photos are from Clipart.com.