©2007 by Patricia Meyer
South African born, I have lived in the USA since 1981. A homeopath friend introduced me to the Bach Flowers in the early 70s. Soon after arriving in the Bay Area, I discovered the California FES and became certified as a practitioner in 1988. However, South Africa is and will always be a part of me. At various times, I have been called to make essences, and found myself mostly attracted to indigenous South African plants during my trips "home".
I made many essences during my various trips there. Each co-creative experience has been memorable and unique, with magical touches that endorse the guidance that graces my journeying. In 1992 I traveled to Springbok, a tiny town in the Namaqualand desert, to catch the spring flowerings. Millions of daisies of all colors, great varieties of succulents, lilies, irises appear miraculously after the first spring rains.
NAMAQUALAND DAISY: (photo, right) I drove off to make an essence, left the highway and traversed several farms to find an unfrequented area. As far as the eye could see, and beyond, fields of the ubiquitous and prolific orange NAMAQUALAND DAISIES (Dimorphotheca sinuata) bobbed in the breeze. More than 2 inches across its composite face, its rayed petals surround a dark center with a circle of tiny golden lights. As the first flower I had seen when we arrived, it felt an appropriate choice for my first South African Flower Essence. Some gathering clouds and drizzle that cause the blooms to close as they do at night, magically moved off, and the sun shone brightly -- and I was alone.
Wandering among the flowers, far from any road, I discovered the small dried vertebrae of an animal, and knew this was the place I sought. I set up the glass bowl among the bones, filled the water with picked flowers, and sat down to wait, writing my every experience. Ants foraged, birds called and I enjoyed the solitude, meditating and noting the thoughts evoked by the flowers around me, and the total experience of being there. Several hours later, as I was collecting the essence, an iridescent green Malachite Sunbird with a long curved beak suddenly landed close by to witness the deed. I also passed a large eagle resting on a wooden fence as I departed the area.
ATTUNEMENT: My feeling is that the Namaqualand Daisy is about intercultural relationships, and seeing the lighter (positive) parts when we tend to focus on the dark. Intercultural stress was so polarized in SA, although it is rife in many other countries as well. Do people need some other group to disapprove of, dislike, or even hate? Black is not only the "dark unknown" -- it holds the quality of incredible spirit power, the "yet unknown", the moon side, the YIN, the creative side. Instead of the "dark" being projected "out there" into others with fear, the flower's energy teaches us to see its part within oneself.
BAOBAB TREE: (photo, below right) In 2005, traveling north to Tchipese Hot Spring Resort, our highway crossed the Tropic of Capricorn. The massive and strange shaped BAOBABS, like prehistoric mastodons of the past, reached well above the regular horizon of bush vegetation and umbrella-shaped acacias. I had long sought to make an essence from these, and was delighted to find them flourishing and flowering within the resort. Flowering for the first time after two decades, the white saucer-sized pendulous flowers with numerous stamens open at sunset, their odor attracting fruit bats, which pollinate them.
Known as the "TREE OF LIFE", the Baobab creates its own ecosystem. It supports the lives of countless creatures, from the largest mammals (elephants) to the thousands of tiny creatures existing in its crevices. Bushveld birds from weavers, rollers, hornbills to larger owls, eagles, storks and vultures choose Baobabs for nesting. The enormous hollow trunks of living trees have been used as storage space, homes, places of refuge or religious worship, and even as tombs or prisons.
TRADITIONAL MEDICINE utilizes many parts -- its pulp treats fevers and diarrhea, the leaves induce perspiration against fever, and are also an astringent. Powdered seeds provide a hiccup remedy for children. Bark and leaves treat malaria, dysentery, urinary disorders and even mild diarrhea.
It is thought that Baobabs may be the oldest life forms on the continent, with carbon dating calculating that some are as old as 3,000 years.
MYTHS and SUPERSTITIONS abound! Bare of leaves, the Baobab's branches resemble roots sticking up into the sky, as if it was planted upside down. An African Bushmen legend tells of how the god Thora, taking a dislike to the Baobab in his garden, threw it over the Wall of Paradise to Earth below. Although it landed upside down, the tree continued to grow!
ATTUNEMENT: I sensed a communication between the Baobabs, as if they are the message carriers sharing information from one to the other. Also that they offer a watchful protection over the northern reaches of this fair country, and with their great age have accumulated a vast wisdom. They have borne witness to over 3000 years of history, watching as mere mortals adventured into new territories and made human mistakes. Man always seeks outside of himself for answers. The Baobab holds knowledge within, and knows the power of inner strength. They also teach how simple it is for vast numbers of different species to live together in community, without strife.
QUEEN PROTEA: We'd spent several days glorying in the gracious and nurturing qualities of the Napa Valley-like environments of Cape Town. Many varieties of Protea and other incredible forms of the unique South African Flower Kingdom called Fynbos grow there. After getting permission from the (rather puzzled gentleman) curator, we made QUEEN PROTEA essence there.
ATTUNEMENT: There is something imperious about the Queen Protea essence. It is a force to be reckoned with. A sort of roto-rooter of the chakra system, it cleared all that blocked its way. I have found it useful for supporting the journey of self-actualizing women. Brings out the inner queen!
CLIVIA LILY: (photo, right) In 1995, I was at Kirstenbosch, and the beautiful shade-loving orange CLIVIA LILY essence was born under the soft leafy boughs of the Camphor trees. The smaller CLIVIA (miniata) is much sought after by the Xhosa and Zulu people as a remedy for snakebite. It is also used to treat fever, and helps with childbirth.
ATTUNEMENT: Orange is the second chakra color for creativity. A lily with its large bulb in the earth, symbolizing the female uterus, organ of creating new life. It flowers each spring, celebrating new fertility after the dark winter, the large bud exploding into an orange crown of radiating flowers.
In 2004, on a family visit back "home", I found the new racially integrated South Africa so energetically
exciting, that I was inspired to arrange a first group tour: A Healing Journey to SA for November 2005.
Its obvious success led to a second Journey planned for this September 2007. Highlights for Flower lovers
include Cape Town's world-renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, and later Namaqualand, the desert
where spring rains bring remarkable flower displays. Traditional healing practices are another interest.
These journeys also offer opportunities to support orphaned children of AIDS victims during a special
visit to Soweto Township near Johannesburg. (Travel details are on my web site:
I am a true child of Africa. Sharing my magnificent country South Africa thrills me. Every trip has magically enhanced my inner strength, and it seems that of others too. Just being there feels so right, I feel honored by the plants, trees, rocks or environments as they become an essence for healing our world.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Soon after arriving in the Bay Area, Patricia Meyer discovered the California FES, and attended their 1987 Summer Intensive Program. She became certified as a practitioner in 1988. In Victoria, BC for the 1991 Second International FE Symposium, she enjoyed connecting with many major flower essence producers, developing retail outlets for their essences. She pursued her practice, began teaching workshops, holding monthly Share Shops, and generally building Essence Consciousness wherever possible. To this end, she also introduced a bi-annual newsletter: The Essential Flower. Back and current copies are available on her web site, www.PatsGarden.com, along with the information about ordering the essences. You may email her at: email@example.com.
ART CREDITS: The art used in the border for this article is with permission of Pacific Northwest Native American artist, Lillian Pitt. To see more of her art, visit her web page. The Namaqualand Daisies courtesy of the author. Other photos from ClipArt.comPage design by Donna Cunningham of Word of Mouth Web Design.