The flower essences, herbal decoctions or infusions prepared from the flowering parts of a plant and used to facilitate emotional wellness (and impact mental outlook), were pioneered by Dr. Edward Bach to be pro-active responses to the body’s quest for balance (health). Dr. Bach believed that the roots of disease can begin within the mental/emotional realm and, over time, when a pattern of disharmony develops and becomes pathological, it can amplify and begin to manifest in the realm of the physical body. This pattern of disharmony, he postulated, originates when a person’s inner and outer worlds- the “I’ one experiences, versus the persona one creates for family, friends, and the outer world- fall out of sync. I understand this to mean that when I am not true to myself- when my actions contradict what I actually believe, aspire to, and love- a disconnect occurs and I start to lose internal harmony and energy. Eventually this carries over into my physical well being. Bach’s study of flowers was aimed at being able to prevent disease in the body, or- in flower terms- “nip it in the bud”. In comtemplating Dr. Bach’s work, and how others have carried it on, I am fascinated and compelled to learn more.
A friend recently recommended the flower essence mimulus to me, and I have to share what a powerful little punch this flower essence packs! A superficial study of mimulus yields, likewise, superficial results- it is, according to the “sound byte” summary on Bach’s Flower Essence chart, “Fear of worldly things, illness, pain, accidents, poverty, of dark, of being alone, of misfortune. The fears of everyday life. These people quietly and secretly bear their dread; they do not freely speak of it to others.”
In trying to define this plant’s powers in terms of treating a stereotypical ‘mimulus’ personality, though, I think many who would benefit from mimulus are thrown off the trail of discovery of this little gem. I am persuaded that many of us, at certain junctures of our lives, can also benefit greatly from mimulus. The first fascinating fact about mimulus is that, from what I can tell in researching Dr. Bach and flower essences, it was one of the first flowers Dr. Edward Bach studied. It was the flower that aided his undertaking, his “bridge to destiny”. Dr. Bach was coming from a traditional medical establishment, and was an expert on vaccination. He began to have misgivings and see flaws in the medical establishment he was a member of, and left his respected position to accept a post at a Homeopathic Hospital. It is not hard to imagine him being worried and full of misgivings over such a dramatic turning of the table. How would he be received in trying to create a new health discipline based on “energetic” flower water?! And yet, he began and his ideas became a worldwide phenomenon. He lived a dedicated, fulfilled life and was truly passionate about his work, feeling he had indeed hit upon his destiny and made the most of it. I hope I will be able to say that at the end of my sojourn on this earth!
There are many varieties of the mimulus, or “monkeyflower”, genus, and mimulus guttatus- the type of mimulus Bach worked with- addresses fears associated with the solar plexus- “gut-level” fears that pertain to everyday life (not emergency or crisis-inspired fears). If you are familiar with the law of signatures- one of the ancient methods herbalists used to consider plants and their purpose or therapeutic value based on physical characteristics (such as habitat, color, shape, etc.)- mimulus guttatus is a bright, lively, yellow. Yellow relates it to the solar plexus chakra- an action chakra, the “seat of the will”; and to the idea of a sunny, cheerful outlook in contrast to the cloudy fears it dismisses. It is like bringing a handful of sunbeams within. If your fears have darkened your inner light and caused you to lose touch with your true self, the light of mimulus may help you find and retrieve what has been temporarily lost. The very word mimulus comes from the latin root word for “mime”. Mimes wear a painted mask and cannot give audible voice to their story, instead they must convey it with great dramatization. Mimulus invites you to take off the mask and give voice to your drama. Dr. Bach was very specific that mimulus helps with fears that one holds in and does not wish to, or feel ready to talk about. But being able to identify and articulate our fears is often what helps us process and deal with them.
Mimulus also prefers to grow near water, especially clean, well-oxygenated moving water. Its’ flower heads nod vigorously in the wind. This suggests it has a proclivity for forward movement, and I believe, positive acceptance of circumstances.
When my dear friend recommended mimulus to me, she spoke of destiny and “a shift”. She had been warned, when she first accepted a recommendation for mimulus, that it was powerful stuff. I definitely felt a shift in my life very shortly after taking it, and it did give me courage for the tasks that seemed fearful in my life. I also felt like it set me in forward movement, whereas I had been stuck in a “spiritual park n’ ride”. A path unfolded before me. I actually dreamt a very specific dream about a bridge, and being prepared to cross it. Dr. Bach once said “We have much to do, but we must not be afraid of the task.” I think this sums up mimulus aptly. If known fears, anxieties, and dread are keeping you stuck, preventing you from reaching your potential, weighing you down- perhaps mimulus can help you shift forward and give you courage for your task.
Courage does not mean our fears disappear. It means we are able to recognize our fear in a more objective way so that we can act as we will to, in spite of the fear. If we give our power to fear, it will take mastery of us. When we hold our power, when we embody our will, we can look past fear and remember it is just one emotional perspective with which to view our circumstances. Sometimes, our fears serve as valid signals that guide us away from danger or from taking “wrong turns” in life. Sometimes, because of past negative or traumatic experiences, ignorance, or a plethora of other invalid associations and ideas, fear manifests in less productive ways. It is part of our soul’s developmental process to deal with such fears and act with courage. Our task is to decide whether our fears are hindering or protecting us, and deal with them in accordance.
Mimulus, as mentioned earlier, has any different varieties and comes in a rainbow of colors. Work has been done to understand how these different varieties manifest as plant healers, and several have been identified that address fears related to their specific color chakra. For instance, scarlet monkeyflower is associated with fears related to sense of personal power (first chakra), and the orange sticky monkeyflower is related to fears associated with intimacy/sexuality (second chakra)- more about that here. I look forward to trying those as well!