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The Nature of Trees

Archeus Hawthorn tree

Have you thought about how attributes of trees and plants can help you with different issues, fears or worries? Ever get that feeling out in nature of the energy coming from the living matter around you: trees, plants, birds?

Edward Bach spent much of the 1920s developing a system known as Bach Flower Remedies, where he identified 35 plants that he felt would work energetically to help counter different negative states of mind such as anxiety, fear, worry, anger and exhaustion. Today many people reach for Bach's Rescue Remedy at times of stress.

I love the idea of this and the more I work with plants the more I sense that they have their own distinct energies and attributes. Archeus is situated on our five acre lifestyle block which is teaming with many different plants and and trees. Over time I am really getting to know these plants and trees and can see that no two plants of the same species are alike. It's a bit like people or animals - each has its own distinct personality.

For example there are  three hawthorn trees on our property that I feel have very different natures.

Hawthorn (botanical name Crataegus) has been used over centuries as a heart medicine. Its leaves are also used to draw splinters from under skin. Its blood red fruits make a lovely jelly and fruit and flowers and leaf make a nice tea.

In the same way as hawthorn can help regulate blood pressure, I like to think it can help keep one steady through times of stress. I like to think that its cloak of thorns that protect its own heart, its centre, can do the same for us. It gives courage and protection and is a steadying force in a time of crisis. I love these generous heart attributes of hawthorn and so I am making a plant essence from each of these trees to use in skin care products and textiles I am making.

I have noticed that each of the three hawthorn trees on the property here grow quite differently. The one in the main photo of this blog is a beautiful tree with few thorns and many fruits. She is generous with her many gifts. I think of her as the 'grandmother tree' as she has wide open boughs, open leaves and a mass of scarlet berries in autumn - if she were a person she would be the archetypal big bosomy grandmother waiting to envelope you in hugs and home baking. She offers unconditional love. She is generous in every way from fruit to the reach of her boughs. This is a tree that says 'have courage little one, everything will be OK and here have something to eat'. The lichen growing on some of her branches suggest age, the silvery gray hair of the crone. My three muscovy ducks: Mathilda, Flossie and Daisy gather under this tree - women's circle!

The next tree along the hillside has many thorns and fewer fruits. She feels almost turned in on herself. She has deeply tangled and very thorny branches that protect her core, her heart. She does not bear much fruit and much of the time she is in shadow. Her leaves grow close together and they are also curled in on themselves and thrusting upwards as if trying to push everything away. Yet this is also the tree that I have seen fantails flit in and around and at its base I have seen rabbits lolloping around (very Walt Disney I know!). I feel like this tree needs love! She is scared of being hurt or used, she feels somehow less than the others and there is an anger, a sadness. But when I see the fantail deep within her branches I know she has a good heart and looks after those she cares about. For this reason I think her essence would be helpful for when you need to let down your walls a bit but still need protection. I think of her as 'the hurting tree' and I often take a little gift for her so she feels appreciated. I think she would be a lovely plant essence for the hurting and the brokenhearted.

The last of this heartful trio is a mix of the two. She will let you take leaf and fruit but has a knack of hiding her thorns which will give you a sharp and sudden spike if she thinks you are taking liberties with her! However if you treat her with respect she will let you in to her underbelly and her heart as her trunk is actually quite exposed, but gains shelter from the steep hill she grows on. I call her the 'touchy tree' and admire her spikey-when-goaded character. I think that Edward Bach who created the Bach Flower remedy system would think her a fine remedy for people who need a bit of courage to stand up for themselves and not feel so much like they are taken for granted!

Gradually I am building up a 'library' of plant essences from around the property and will make them available to customers via my website. I can picture single 'simples' or blends from these trees for those wanting a little hand with courage, protection and the mending of a broken heart.

Getting closer to nature helps us to be truer to ourselves. 

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