By Connie Barrett
Editors' Note: The author teaches Fine Tuning the Bach Flower Remedies through the World Wide Essence Society. The type of helpful differentiation between seemingly close remedies that she covers below is the mainstay of this excellent course.
People frequently get confused between five remedies that seem to deal
with the same issue: discouragement. For this reason I've grouped them
together so that the differences can be made clear.
We will discuss one of these five remedies below, but in brief, they are:
Gentian: For feelings of discouragement and doubt which may be caused by
even small obstacles. The cause of depression is always known. Teaches
faith and trust.
Gorse: For feelings of hopelessness and despair. For those who give up
in the belief that nothing more can be done: often in the case of
chronic illness. Teaches that confidence in a solution or cure is one of
the components of healing, and imparts such confidence.
Sweet Chestnut: For extreme anguish, the feeling that one has reached
the limits of one's endurance. Teaches one to believe that change is
possible, to trust oneself and the benevolence of the universe.
It will help you in choosing a remedy to think of Gentian, Gorse, and
Sweet Chestnut as representing a continuum, with Gentian the mildest,
Gorse more severe, and Sweet Chestnut as the most extreme.
As Gentian is for discouragement and depression of known origin, Mustard
is for depression and discouragement of seemingly unknown origin. Those
who experience this kind of depression speak of a gray cloud that
suddenly closes over them. This feeling may disappear as unexpectedly as
Wild Rose is somewhat different in that feelings have been buried. From
the outside, a person in need of Wild Rose may appear to be depressed.
The important distinction is that there is no struggle, no attempt to
improve matters. The remedy is for resignation and apathy, for those who
make no effort to find joy in their lives.
Sweet Chestnut: The Darkest Hour
Sarah stumbled into the woods that lay between herself and her home.
Even the small pinpoints of light cast by the stars in the black sky
disappeared, blotted out by the dense foliage of the trees.
And what trees! Massive, gnarled, with grasping, twisted branches that
interlocked to form the walls of a narrow, low tunnel that pressed
against her from all sides. The leaves whispered threats and curses at her
as she stumbled along. There was no path, only a thick undergrowth of
looping vines that caught her feet and bushes studded with thorns that
tore at her clothing and skin.
"I'll never get out; I'll just keep wandering and wandering until I'm
exhausted, starving, dying of thirst. They'll find me crumpled beneath
one of these monstrous trees", she thought with growing despair.
From all over the forest, she heard unearthly screeching and screams:
owls pouncing on their prey, or maybe worse, savage creatures with no
names. She stumbled on, looking for a way out, praying that she could
somehow get through this nightmare.
Finally, she saw it, a small circle of light far ahead. Tripping over
tree stumps and logs, she hurried towards it. It grew as the forest
thinned out, and at last she ran into a clearing and fell to her knees in
relief, safe at last.
The Sweet Chestnut State of Mind
In the Sweet Chestnut condition there is often a sense of tumult and
chaos; it is as if the interior emotional landscape is the scene of a
hurricane or tornado. The individual feels despair and anguish, and the
sense that the circumstances of life have become intolerable.
Another element of this despair is a feeling of total isolation. There's
no sense, however distant, that help is on the way, and all sense of
guidance is absent.
People feel a sense of hopelessness (always more deep and acute than in
the Gorse state). The ability to take comfort from memories of the past
or in hopes for the future disappears; there is only the impossible
This condition, which is usually temporary, often represents the
surfacing of awareness. A woman who has endured beatings by her husband
for months or years may one day wake up and realize the horror of her
situation. Someone who has denied the expression of a creative gift or
stayed too long at a stifling job they hated may also have a sudden
Sometimes the destructive relationship is with oneself. One may have
harmful mental or physical habits, negative and damaging thought
patterns, which are creating anguish.
Ultimately, though, the cause of this level of hopelessness is a
complete sense of loss of guidance. Usually, the severance has been
developing for years. On the surface, the person who experiences this
kind of despair might be one who always said, "I don't believe in God, I
don't believe in faith, I don't believe in the soul. There's only me,
and I have to get through life as best I can."
Such a person may get along as long as nothing traumatic happens, but if
disaster strikes, throwing him back on his own resources, he discovers
how limited they are. Since he has designed his belief system to
eliminate the possibility of inner guidance, he literally has nowhere to
For this reason, such deep despair is often a turning point. Sweet
Chestnut can be the state that comes to people just prior to the
initiation of a period of spiritual development. The anguish of this
state often leads one to ask, "Why is this happening?" "What is the
meaning of my life?" Many searching questions may be asked, many
illusions stripped away.
The Sweet Chestnut state can be less painful if one focuses on the
potential for transformation. We might think of the person who's
experiencing it as being similar to the butterfly just about to burst
out of its cocoon. All is dark inside; there is no place to turn. When
the protective illusion of beliefs about oneself and one's life are torn
asunder, the individual can discover the spaciousness of a new life.
In my experience Sweet Chestnut can also be used effectively on a
preventive basis. When you feel the tumult of change beginning to swirl
around you, when you begin to feel as if you can't go on with your present
life, when you are experiencing the longing for a new one, these are all
excellent times to take this flower remedy.
This is particularly true when you are aware of your fears and
resistance, when you are conscious that a part of you is resisting
transformation with all its might. Then Sweet Chestnut helps to lead you
gently out of the darkness and into the dawn of a new self.
In this syndrome, prevention is always the best cure. Are you going it
alone? Has it been so long since you last sensed the whisper of inner
guidance that you only remember it as a bad connection?
This article isn't intended to be a
religious or spiritual treatise. Connecting to one's intuition isn't an
overtly spiritual act. It can be considered a
way of developing the real estate in the right side of your brain.
Meditation is a good way to develop this, for it helps to quiet the
left-brain clamor. At its best, it can help you feel aware of a greater
you, a deeper being.
It will also train you to listen to your intuition. This voice has been
talking to you all along; your only job is to recognize it. Once you do,
begin to notice "coincidences." Appreciate every one you encounter.
This is just the beginning. Your intuition has a lot to tell you, and
all of it is good. You are in for an exciting journey.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Connie Barrett is a frequent contributor to Vibration Magazine. To find out more about her and to link to more of her articles, see her Frequent Contributor Page.
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.