A publication of the
World Wide Essence Society
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©1997 by Cynthia Athina Kemp Scherer
This excerpt condensed from the book "The Alchemy of the Desert". Reprinted here with permission of the author.
In our unique desert environment, water is a valued element. Water is a life giving force of nature. It is a feminine receptive element. It holds feelings, emotions, desires, unconscious dreams and visions. Water represents compassion, the ability to flow with our feeling nature, and the ability to understand other people's feelings by recognizing them in ourselves. Water is the element of unconscious bliss and ecstasy, the deep enjoyment of the heart and the flow of love.
Is it any wonder that we revere our cactus plants that have found ways to protect and store this precious element in the desert? Cardon (Pachycereus pringlei) is huge and treelike, known to be the largest cactus in the world. As much as ninety percent of a Cardon's weight can be from the water it stores. It can survive for one to two years on its liquid reserves.
Cardon Cactus is a night bloomer. Its main pollinators are long nosed bats who love the nectar. Like all the cactus flower essences, Cardon works very deeply within us. In the darkness, the Cardon blooms. In our inner darkness we can bloom as well.
All of us have aspects of ourselves that we do not like. We think of these things as dark parts of ourselves. None of us likes to think about how we sometimes tell a lie, or how we sometimes have a thought or take an action that are unkind or nasty. Yet we all do.
Just as the huge arms of the Cardon split off from the trunk, so we attempt to split off from parts of ourselves that we don't like. We try not to notice these unacceptable things about ourselves. We hide these traits somewhere in our vast inner darkness.
From time to time, hints of them will emerge from our dark pool. We feel and think thoughts like the following: I am inferior; I am not true; I am deficient; I have not made it; I will not make it; I am a phony; I am ugly.
These dark aspects of ourselves are mirrored to us through other people. We perceive others as having negative or unacceptable behavior and we tend to think that it is their essential nature. What we see in others is a reflection of our own selves. When we recognize dark things in others, we can ask ourselves what it is showing us about our own selves.
Cardon can help us to see and accept things about ourselves with which we are uncomfortable. Its flower is a light in the darkness. It helps us to face our own inner darkness. We find that although there are things about ourselves that we don't like, we do not have to identify ourselves as being the darkness itself. Then we are released from feelings of inferiority and shame. The cause of our pain can be added to our repertory of strength. Once we can accept our own dark side, we can understand and feel compassion for others.
Cardon supports us in seeing that adversity doesn't weaken us. It is what makes us strong and helps us find our dignity. Adversity can let us see just how much we want to survive. We feel pain, but we find that our pain reveals to us our strength. The old saying goes, "Whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger." Cardon can help us to recognize this while we are in the midst of our trials.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cynthia Athina Kemp Scherer is an experienced flower essence practitioner, researcher, and the founder of Desert Alchemy (R) flower essences. She is the author of "The Alchemy of the Desert", a comprehensive guide to using desert flower essences for self-help and professional use, and "Desert Voice", a flower essence practitioner's subscription newsletter.