What are Essences?

The definition of essence is ‘the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something’. This definition lends itself so well to what an essence is. Essences are aspects of consciousness. They are a form of energy medicine, plant spirit medicine or as most of my friends call them, ‘magic drops’. We use the amazing gift of water and its ability to hold memory to bring you essences. The subject choice of an essence could be flowers, crystals or trees. Sometimes they are astrological alignments, or they may be channelled. No essence is truly repeatable, because the water captures the moment in time in which it was made - the astrology, mood, energy of that time is unique and this is part of the magic of essences.

Essences have been used for thousands of years and all cultures have some version of essences in their healing traditions. I encourage you to look into your ancestral lineage for how your ancestors engaged with plant medicine! Flower essences were popularized in Europe and North America by Dr. Edward Bach, but most indigenous cultures have been making energetic infusions of flowers and stones long before essences became commercialized.

I believe that essences are an amazing “people’s medicine” because they are affordable and low impact/use very little resources, you can make them yourself, and because they encourage a kind of deep intimacy with the earth, with plants, with yourself, and with each other. They do not rely on pathology or empiricism, extraction or reduction, making them a radical ally for personal and community healing.” - Dori Midnight

Why would I work with Essences?

Every individual essence carries a unique energy and message that activates a journey within the self and soul ~ this could be spiritual, mental, emotional or physical healing, or it could be a lesson we need to learn. Taking essences can be a way of unearthing, re-membering or embodying qualities that we may be denying or suppressing. Essences at their core connect us with truth, beauty and love; making the numinous tangible. They remind us of our essential true nature; connecting us with our gifts, our strengths and our Soul's voice. Essences help reconnect us with ourselves, our values, our truths.

 
We reach for essences to help us work through our emotional responses with more grace and lightness. We use them to help us make sense of life and recollect our ability to respond with awareness. We call on them to help us balance internal truth with external demands and expectations. With them, we perceive easier ways to flow with life - and thus to flower.
— Rachel Singleton
 

How do I work with Essences?

There are numerous ways to work with essences. Here are some suggestions. As always, tune in and listen to your own intuition.

To Make a Dosage Bottle of Cariad Essences:

You will need a sterilised 30ml dropper bottle, spring or mineral water, and a preservative – most people use brandy or vodka, or you can use apple cider vinegar, glycerine or salt if you don't want to use alcohol. Print out the photograph of the essence you wish to work with and create sacred space in whichever way feels right for you. Fill your bottle 50-75% full with the spring water and place your bottle over the photograph for 24hrs, making sure the bottle will be touched with both sunlight and moonlight. Using intention and prayer, ask for the medicine to infuse the water. The energy of the essence has already been anchored on Earth, and wants to be used, so it will be with you. After you feel this process is complete, top up the bottle with your preservative of choice. Close your dropper bottle, shake it, and feel the beauty of your new ally with you. You're then ready to take your essences.

Taking Your Essences:

The most common way of working with essences is to take 4-5 drops on the tongue 2-3 times a day. Or you can add the drops to water and drink throughout the day. During periods of intense emotion, you can have a few drops on the tongue every 15 minutes. It can be tempting to want to take more than this; trust the process. Your energy body is working with the essences; allow them to do their thing.

You can also:

  • place the bottle or drops of the essence on a part of the body to ease physical discomfort or to aid energetic clearing, healing and opening

  • put a couple of drops on your hands, rub them together then run your hands through your aura

  • look at a photograph of an essence, and attune with it in a visual way

  • place a glass of drinking water over a photograph of an essence to program the water with the energies of the essence

  • use the message of an essence as inspiration for affirmations and positive visualisation

  • add drops to a bath, alongside essential oils and salts, give the water a good swoosh and soak in the magic

  • as space clearing – fill a glass bowl with water than add a couple of drops of essence in the bowl to cleanse the energy in the room and help all those who enter this space (with thanks to Ann Callaghan for this method)

  • place a photo or picture of an essence on your altar to help you connect more deeply with its healing; asking it to be with you during meditation etc

  • add drops into your art materials or crafting projects to create soothing and healing art

  • add drops in your hot water bottle to warm and soothe (with thanks to Dori Midnight for this suggestion).

 
When we take an essence, its energy creates a loving container within our hearts, imbued with qualities of presence, spaciousness, and compassionate acceptance. These are the very same qualities that are essential for healing and integration. They are inherent within us all, yet they often get shut down by the ways in which we adapt to modern life - until an essence reawakens them once again.
— Jackie Stewart
 

Storage

It's a good idea to keep your essences somewhere visible so you remember to take them; on your bedside table if you're working with them twice a day is a sensible idea so you can take them before sleep and when you wake. Essences are robust and long lasting if preserved with alcohol. Should you request your essences without alcohol, apple cider vinegar will be used instead. In this instance, keeping your essences in the fridge will ensure they remain fresh for longer. Otherwise, keep them in sight. Like human friends, your energetic friends like to be cherished. Give your bottles a hug and express gratitude for their allyship. Mutual appreciation deepens your relationship and healing.

Which essence(s) do I choose?

There are so many ways of choosing essences. I would always suggest going with your gut instinct - seeing which flowers, trees, stones etc you feel naturally drawn to. Let your intuition lead. You can also dowse or muscle test to help you refine your choice. This can be especially useful if you feel your head gets in the way - and these tools also help with determining dosage.

With thanks to Judith Poelarends of Alaskan Essences for the following clarifying distinctions about the different types of essences:

FLOWER ESSENCES - The plant kingdom brings forth the gift of spiritual consciousness. Essences made from flowers awaken positive qualities of consciousness within, enabling us to look at our life experiences with increased awareness and understanding. Flower Essences both educate and empower the person taking them. They help us transform old ways of thinking, doing, and being that no longer contribute to our highest good.

GEM ELIXIRS - The mineral kingdom helps us to fully anchor and embody changes in consciousness that are catalyzed by the use of flower essences. Just as the rocks and soil of the earth provide structure and stability for the growth of the plant kingdom, gem elixirs stabilize and restructure our energy system so that our physical body can maintain balance as the consciousness within us grows and expands.

ENVIRONMENTAL ESSENCES - The gift of the environment is in its energy for change. The elemental kingdoms, through air, earth, fire, and water, supply vital nourishment for all living things. Essences made from the environment stimulate and support change and transformation at the core level of our beings. They are often used to bring vitality to someone who is not responding to other therapies or modalities due to a lack of energy. Environmental Essences also bring life-force to the healing processes catalyzed by the flowers.