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Always Loved a Lilac — Can’t Say I loved the Essence!

Posted by admin on Jul 17, 2009

©2009 by Annabeth Meister

Editor’s Note: The process of thoroughly testing a new essence is meant to be–but seldom is–a rigorous one, and collecting notes like Annabeth’s from many volunteers  is a part of the process.  See a collection of articles about how to do it here: Making and Testing Essences — A Virtual Booklet.

One common reaction to beginning an essence is a  brief catharsis in which issues and emotions the essence is intended to address come to the surface in a strong response called a healing crisis.  That’s what appears to have happened as Annabeth took Lilac.  See articles about it at The Healing Crisis in Flower Essence Treatment and Three More Perspectives on the Healing Crisis: A Panel Discussion. Here’s Annabeth’s report.lilacsvase-a2d

Growing up with a forbidding mother and floundering father who weren’t meant to be parents, I found a haven in my grandmother’s house. She gave richly of her love, and her yard was an island of peace. To this day, my favorite plants are the ones that grew there-irises, willows, and, most especially for those few fragrant weeks in spring, the lilacs. At a particularly rough time in my 40s, an aunt pressed some of grandma’s lilacs and sent them to me, and it was incredibly moving to touch them once more and inhale their scent.

Among the essences, Iris and Willow have been profound catalysts for me over the years, but Lilac is not a standard offering by the companies I use. Recently, Peggy Malnati was kind enough to send me a stock bottle of an essence from an ancient stand of lilacs on the remnants of the old farm in Michigan where she lives. (Peggy writes on metaphysical topics, and I’ve gotten to know her through her excellent blog, WalkSoftly2)

It was made from a mixture of white and lavender blooms, and when she asked what I thought the combination might mean, I recalled that in the Victorian Language of Flowers, (www.floweressencemagazine.com/aug07/languageofflowers.html) white blossoms often stood for loved ones who’d passed on.  In lightwork, lavender is a color for transforming guilt into compassion for the self and others. There being scant description of the uses of Lilac in flower essence literature, I’d agreed to record my experiences as I took it.

If I may say so, it was not a pleasant experience. I was an essence practitioner for over 30 years before retiring, so I was well familiar with the healing crisis and have supported hundreds of clients through them. Still, I was unprepared for the emotional and physical storms that ensued with Lilac. Please understand that I’m not saying the essence caused these issues–they’d been brewing for quite some time, but I’d been doing a remarkable job of ignoring them. As part of the healing process, however, an essence may act as a catalyst by bringing an issue front and center so we can address it.

The issue that this essence from a very old stand of lilacs evoked was that I am really getting old…the kind of old you can’t deny or ignore any more.  I’ve spent a number of years saying I was an elder but not an oldster.  I’m in good shape, not all decrepit, and I’m living a full, rich retirement. Thawomanoldhat-a2dt’s all true, and my mind is sharp and clear most days, and I’m definitely not going to croak any time soon.

Suddenly, over the past six months, the face in the mirror is that of an old woman.  Despite using moisture lotion several times a day, my skin is withered now, lines deeply etched. I’ve been fighting new battles with my body, odd things going wrong and then healing extremely slowly.  I am actually walking with a cane but keep telling myself that it’s temporary.  But old, no, not me.  I expected DECADES to pass before I was truly old.

I am a top-notch ignorer of unpleasantries, one who can soldier on through any hardship life puts in my path, but within a day or so of beginning the Lilac essence, my denial crashed. I was horrified at what I saw in the mirror, but couldn’t look away.  At one point, I caught myself furtively Googling the prices of face lifts.  That’s how ridiculous it got!womanvold-a2d
There were crying jags over life dreams that never materialized, loved ones who’d passed on, and beloved situations that no longer were part of my reality.  I began obsessing about what it would be like to be extremely old and in a nursing home, picturing it in vivid detail. How would the staff react to my collection of eccentricities, and would they be kind if I was crying like this?

I took shots of Lilac straight out of the stock bottle-which is NOT recommended on the FAQ you’ll see at the side of this blog.  Nonetheless, it brought some solace through these storms. Then the crisis went one level deeper, into my body.  I hurt everywhere!  I’m not entirely sure Vibration’s editors will allow me to say this, but there was an arthritic flare-up from hell.

The mind-body connection DOES have something to do with setbacks like these. I do have arthritic joints, visible on x-ray, but I seldom experience pain from them, so I don’t consider myself An Arthritic. Though younger people have it too, arthritis is traditionally an Old Person’s Disease, so I was confronted with one more undeniable bit of evidence that I was, indeed, getting old.

Fortunately, as I allowed the emotional storms to rage, processed what I was feeling, and kept on taking Lilac, the inflammation receded in a few days. I guess my body was having a good cry, too.

I haven’t taken Lilac long enough to have a final report for you…I don’t even know if I WANT to keep taking it. Someone else might not have an eruption of the same concerns and in the same magnitude that I did. In fact, they’d be more likely to have to look at and process an entirely different set of their very own long-standing emotional boogie men.

In studying what Lilac essence is for, it’s important not to form a conclusion on the basis of only a single report.  It would be premature to decide, for instance, that it had to do with issues around aging. Maybe aging only came up for me because these particular lilacs were ancient bushes from a very old farm. That is to say, it’s possible that this was also in part an environmental essence, strongly imprinted by the place itself and by the decades of family life there. Maybe that imprint rather than the lilacs themselves triggered issues around aging–and family life–that I was refusing to face. lilacsvase2-a2d

We might wonder how a pubescent teen, complete with raging hormones, would respond–or a new mother with raging hormones–or a menopausal woman with raging hormones.  It’s entirely possible that Lilac is a life-stage catalyst that helps us face and process issues around our own particular age. We simply cannot know enough about this new essence from a single report or even several. Further testing is needed.

When I sent this report to Peggy, she said her experience was that it helped her to be more accepting of circumstances that were occurring. Hopefully that will be my outcome as well-Lord knows there’s nothing much to do about aging but to accept it!

FOLLOWUP REPORT FROM ANNABETH: Luckily, I’m an experienced enough hand at the essences (going on 30 years) that I know not to take these healing crises too seriously, for they’re over quickly and provide a bit of a needed catharsis. A few days after the report above was written, I was fine both emotionally and physically and was able to feel that in retirement, I have a blessed life.  I’m still not thrilled with what I see in the mirror, but it does take a bit of getting used to.

Editors’ Note:

We heartily agree with Annabeth about the need for testing and documenting the results, so if you’re making essences of your own, do have a look at Making and Testing Essences – A Virtual Booklet, before marketing them to the public. One previous article about an untested Lilac essence was For the Love of Lilacs. It’s interesting to compare Annabeth’s notes to the experiences there.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ANNABETH MEISTER is a longtime essence practitioner and therapist now retired into private life. She occasionally graces Vibration with articles based on her many years of experience, and we’re always glad when she does. See her previous contributions here.


Anne Ryan:

I loved this article and it was very helpful. I think we need reminding that these crisis do occur and for me being in a similar life space, it elicited smiles of ah yes.Thank you for continuing to share your wisdom. its a ppreciated.

July 18th, 2009 | 9:25 pm

This is a beautiful article, Annabeth. Thank you so much for sharing your feelings about aging and your memories of your grandmother. Like Anne, I had quite a few “Ah, yes” moments, too.

Scott Cunningham, herbalist, says Lilac falls under the rulership of Venus, goddess of beauty and love.

In the language of flowers, purple lilacs represent the first emotions of love and white lilacs represent youthful innocence.


“Your voiceless lips, O flowers, are living preachers–
Each cup a pulpit, and each leaf a book.” — Horace Smith

July 19th, 2009 | 3:29 am

I have a Lilac essence in my range and over the years have used it particularly for healing inner child stuff. I find all Lilacs particularly helpful for that and for use with children.
For the healing crisis described above, I would have recommended Wisteria which is perfect for the above-mentioned issues.

July 19th, 2009 | 12:53 pm

Thanks, all who replied. Annabeth doesn’t live here, but we’ll pass your comments along. It’s interesting what you say about Wisteria, Elly. To me it feels like an extremely nostalgic vine–the very essence of old-fashionedness. Donna

July 19th, 2009 | 6:31 pm