Sharpen the Focus

Often people write to me, saying they can't figure out which flower essences and/or crystals they need. Very often their difficulty lies in their not being specific in terms of the emotion they want to treat.

Emotional Flavors

In the Bach Flower Remedies system, for example, several essences can be used for various expressions of fear and depression. Below, I describe a few general manifestations of each.

Fear, in its broadest interpretation, is either known or unknown. Fear of specific illnesses, various animals, being in a social situation, etc. would be considered known quantities, and would be treated with Mimulus.

Unknown fears, which would include fear of the unknown, can also include superstition (a tricky word, but I use it to include fears that appear to be illogical). An example might be fear of the number 13, a fear that does have a historical origin but one that's unknown to most people who refuse a hotel room on the 13th floor. Unknown fears could also involve being afraid to go to sleep because you don't know what kinds of dreams you might have. Aspen can help alleviate such fears.

Sometimes the differences are subtle. One person might say, "I'm afraid to go to a party because I never know what to say, and I end up sitting in a corner feeling humiliated." Another might say, "I'm afraid to go to a party because I never know who's going to show up. Something awful might happen." One is a known fear, the other unknown.

Depression can also be known or unknown. Someone who says "I'm depressed because I lost my job" knows why they're depressed. Gentian is the Remedy for that condition. Someone else says, "I have a black cloud hanging over me." This calls for Mustard.

Sometimes a cause currently unknown may lurk beneath the known cause. Maybe the person who is depressed over losing a job doesn't remember that her father had a serious breakdown after losing a job and has kept from her awareness the memory of his debilitating depression. Taking Mustard may reveal this hidden memory and its associated fear that she, too, might fall prey to serious depression.

Emotional Colors

The same subtle differences may apply to crystals. When someone is very angry, I often recommend a green stone-but which one? Sometimes we need to cool down overall, and I find that green calcite does the job very effectively.

When we get more specific, we may discover that a person is angry about a health condition that fails to improve. Aventurine, an all-around emotional healing crystal, may be the best choice. The angry person may need some spiritual strength. In that case, I would recommend emerald. See

Often people get angry because they feel people don't understand them. This is a communication problem. Whether or not the other people aren't good listeners, we can always improve our communication abilities.

If your communication has degenerated to a shouting contest, you can soften your tone with blue lace agate. If you want someone to help you with a project, reach for turquoise. If you feel you can't communicate with your inner wisdom, work with aquamarine. See

Find the Emotion Aroused by the Action

Once I was trying to identify the correct flower essence for betrayal. I couldn't quickly come with anything, which surprised me until I rethought my question.

When I did, I realized that betrayal isn't an emotion. The emotion is your response to the act of betrayal. It may vary widely.

Some people get angry. "I'm furious that he betrayed me." (Holly)

Others become depressed. "I feel so miserable because he betrayed me." (Gentian)

Others might respond with resignation and make general statements about humanity. "It goes to show you that you can't trust anyone, so why bother?" (Wild Rose)

Some may feel that they deserved to be betrayed. This is a self-esteem issue. (Larch)

Write It Out

I'm a believer in and practitioner of journaling. The daily recording of thoughts and feelings can catch emotional issues before they become overwhelming. In addition, when you're seeking emotional focus, reading over what you've written can provide invaluable clues.

If you choose this method of discovery, be sure not to censor yourself. Don't worry about how ridiculous a statement sounds. Sometimes the wildest remarks reveal the deepest truths.

Here's an imaginary example, using the issue of betrayal.

"It makes me feel sick to realize what an idiot I was to trust him. I should have known better. You can't trust any man. They're all after what they need, and they could care less about what anyone else needs. Anyone being me. I wonder what's wrong with me: why do I keep on attracting these losers, these takers. I feel like there's a curse on me."

Several Bach Flower Remedies come to mind.

  1. The writer thinks she was an idiot, a definite self-esteem issue that calls for Larch.
  2. The "why do I keep on attracting these losers" statement suggests that the writer re-enacts a pattern. Repeating the same mistake indicates a need for Chestnut Bud.
  3. The statement about a curse speaks Aspen, the Remedy for unknown fears and superstitious fears. It suggests a sense of doom and helplessness before unknown forces.

With focus and practice, you can become a skilled emotional detective, noticing clues that others might miss.

Sharpen Your Skills Even More

The Bach Flower Remedies were developed in a time of economic depression and global uncertainty. Sound familiar? As they have helped countless people since the late 1920s, so they can help you, your friends, and family.

I've designed Bach Flower Remedies: A User-friendly Course to make learning about the Remedies both easy and enjoyable. I provide a special focus on helping students distinguish between similar-sounding Remedies. Graduates range from those who want to apply their learning for themselves, family, and friends, to naturopaths, M.D.s, and Doctors of Oriental Medicine. For an overview of the course and a sample lesson, please visit the information page.

Those interested in getting to know crystals better may want to investigate the Crystals and the Chakras course, a practical and informative way to get to know yourself and crystals most suited to your personal/spiritual growth. You can read more about this course.

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