The following discussion is taken from Vibration's Online Forum, a free message board service which you are all invited to participate in. Regulars find it a stimulating and free-ranging exchange of experiences and concerns about flower essence work.
Essence practitioner Rose Mattax wrote:
Dear Forum, I found that Donna Cunningham's recent article, How Many Essences Are Too Many stimulated me to think about that issue in some new ways. I think the Flower Essence Society folks had originally recommended no more than four to six and then changed it to five to seven. I always thought seven was a bit much.
On the other hand, there is always the exception to the rule. A client came to see me last night who said she'd fallen into a funk over the weekend. Saturday she blended Rescue Remedy (five essences) with Hornbeam, Gentian, Mimulus and Aspen. She took it for the day, went to sleep and woke up feeling absolutely wonderful the next day. So she continued it for four more days until she'd gotten through a doctor's appointment she was nervous about. My hunch is that these bigger blends are only needed for short-term interventions, then back to the deeper work of transformation.
Since studying Lila Devi's Master's Essences, however, I have gotten very fond of the "one essence at a time" method. In this method, up to five essences are selected, each of which are taken individually over the course of a month. Of course, the number of essences may vary as well as the length of time. The critical factor is that only one essence is administered at a time. So, for instance, a "program" might look like this: Pineapple (five days); Orange (six days); Banana (two days); Corn (eight days); Tomato (seven days). This accomplishes two goals: it allows one to benefit from a full "bouquet" of essences over the period of a month while giving one the opportunity to experience the singular impact of one particular essence.
I have found that programs can be just as challenging to put together as a blend. It is still important to select essences that reflect a certain synergy. It is important to use one's intuition to select not only the best essences, but the best order and the best duration for each one.
There have been a couple of times this method has failed me. One in particular was during the first two weeks following the 9/11 disaster. I tried desperately to stick to a single essence, but found it just didn't "cut the mustard." I needed many more to rebalance and restore. However, I found that I only needed a blend for several days; once I felt satisfied with the results, I returned to the single essence method.
On the other hand, I have seen blends backfire, too. I have a client whom I've seen for a while. For months I gave her blends of four to six essences. She would tell me every session that all she had done is cry all month. I finally switched over to the single essence method, and she does much better this way. A very prayerful person, she enjoys the opportunity to meditate with the message of each individual flower.
Another client with chronic fatigue also did much better with the single essence method. A highly sensitive person with extremely yin energy, I think he is just better able to metabolize the energy of one essence at a time.
More often than not, I like to use the single essence method, occasionally using a blend of two essences that support each other well, and larger blends during especially trying times.
Vibration co-Editor Deborah Bier replied:
Looking at it now, I can see that I, too, am much more a one-at-a-time person. And the length of time each is used is generally quite short. A week. A few days. For myself and family, whom I can reconsider and test daily, they might be used for even just a day. If an essence is repeated for a longer time, then other single essences used briefly weave their way in and then back out. I also will use two or three essences in a single day for myself (since I can reconsider and test myself any time I want), but each at different times.
An exception to this is the use of combination essences -- that is, not a blend I put together on the spot, but a blend made by the essence manufacturer. In a way, I consider these to be single essences in that their intelligent blending makes them a unified, balanced entity. However, I am personally less drawn to them than singles, except for generalist essences like Rescue Remedy, Five Flower Formula or Master Harmonizing Mixture, for example. But that's just me; plenty of people have great success with them.
Rose, about people who are in fragile condition, like those with Chronic Fatigue: I find one at a time is a good idea, too. Even if it is one in the morning and a different one at night. They can be SO DARNED SENSITIVE to energies that less is more with these folks.
I agree: when I am called upon to make a dosage bottle with a blend of several essences (generally not more than 5, though there can be exceptions), it is for short term use. I seem to NEVER finish a one ounce bottle when it is for my own use.
Essence maker and researcher Dirk Albrodt discusses the other extreme:
Animation by The Animation Factory. Photos and clip art from Art Today.