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World Wide Essence Society
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©2000 By Donna Cunningham, MSW
One aspect of essence studies that has always fascinated me is why an essence from a single plant may be defined in very different terms by different makers. A lover of puzzles and mysteries, when confronted by this conundrum, I like to try to tease out a common kernel of meaning in these varied descriptions.
One example is everyday, garden-style Corn, which is made by at least ten companies. (If you are curious, they are: the Flower Essence Society, Masters, Perelandra, Pegasus, Green Hope Farm, Korte Phi, Elementals Farm, Peaks Island, Starmen, and Taliloquay, most of which are available through the Flower Essence Pharmacy.)
Part of why these differences occur is because of the variety of ways essence makers arrive at their descriptions. The sources of descriptions are not usually noted in the companies' printed materials, but I have discussed the question with many of the makers. Some are primarily intuitive, gaining their insights through meditation and attunement to the flower spirits for each plant, which are known as devas. While these direct transmissions from our co-creators in the nature kingdom provide vital clues, they require testing on actual users for validation. (See here for a discussion of how the World Wide Essence Society recommends that essences be tested by makers.)
Other makers rely heavily on the medieval Doctrine of Signatures, in which the form of the plant provides clues to its uses. To apply the same reasoning to corn, it is a long, tall plant, reaching for the heavens and yet with thick, powerful roots. Thus, a number of makers say Corn essence helps achieve a balance between heaven and earth -- a grounded sort of spirituality.
For example, with the Flower Essence Society's usual eloquence and wisdom, the Flower Essence Repertory says that Corn, "helps in alignment with the Earth, especially through the body and feet, giving a grounded presence."
Describing the Corn character type, the Repertory goes on to say that it helps Old Souls who find modern, urban living painful and uncomfortable, yet their depth and experience is badly needed in our society. Corn helps them cope with urban living in order to be part of our modern world. (pp.306-7)
A slightly different -- yet not inconsistent -- view of the essence's properties is given by Perelanda, maker of a number of garden essences. The description from their literature says that Corn stabilizes people during universal/spiritual expansion and assists transition of these experiences into useful, pertinent understanding and action. This is a slight twist in perspective, suggesting its use during peak spiritual experiences or initiations, yet the core is quite similar.
Some of the same elements are present in the description of the Corn essence made by Elementals Farm Essences, yet there are also some new elements: "Helpful when feeling overcrowded or overstimulated. Increases ability to see value and harmony in diversity. Focusing when facing new life directions. Balances reliance on advice of others."
What can we deduce when descriptions by two companies match nearly word for word, like a number of the write-ups for Corn? Would it show that the true meaning of the remedy has been found -- the essence of the essence? Maybe so, if both companies have tested the remedy thoroughly, observing its effects on many users. If each has noted consistent results -- and pondered the exceptions -- while digesting the feedback over time, then I would have more confidence in the definition.
Unfortunately, such thorough testing methods are far from the norm in our field. When descriptions are virtually identical, some later makers may have simply copied from the earlier ones, often without permission. Besides suggesting a certain lack of initiative, this practice can lead to being sued for copyright infringement.
The description of Corn by Master's Essences is quite different from others. It is cited as useful for those who are sluggish and prone to procrastination, lack mental vitality, and need initiative and energy to complete projects. (Given in The Encyclopedia of Flower Remedies: The Healing Power of Flowers Essences from Around the World by Clare G. Harvey and Amanda Cochrane, Thorsens, London, 1995, p. 141).
As different as this portrayal of Corn essence is, it may also be quite valid. Given the Old Soul Corn type of personality portrayed earlier, might not sluggishness and lack of mental vitality be the response to stressful urban living? (For more about Master's version of the properties of Corn essence, see the article in this issue by Lila Devi.)
Another reason why essence descriptions for various makers may differ is because there are so many varieties of each plant. There are hundreds of strains of corn, for instance, including sweet corn for eating, hard kernel corn for feeding farm animals, popcorn for popping, and multi-colored Indian corn used mostly for decoration. When made into essences, these different varieties can have anywhere from slightly different to vastly different uses. We had an example of such reasoning in Joyce Mason's article on the differences between three colors of yarrow. In terms of the Corn essences, however, we are not always told which kinds of corn were used.
I have often likened varied essence descriptions to the tale of four blind men asked to feel and describe an elephant. One felt an ear, one grabbed the trunk, one touched the side, and one took hold of the tail. Their experiences were very different, yet each was actually perceiving one part of the elephant. Likewise, each essence may also have many facets and applications, and each maker may be describing only one part of the more complex whole. Here may lie the solution to our CORN-undrum!
NOTE: If making and testing essences is an interest of yours, you may wish to consult our index of past issues for related articles.
BIO: DONNA CUNNINGHAM, one of the editors of this e-zine, has a master's degree in social work from Columbia University and is also an internationally-respected astrologer, the author of thirteen metaphysical books. Her FLOWER REMEDIES HANDBOOK can be ordered on our book page. Click here to visit her web page or to send her e-mail.
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.
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