Wednesday, August 04, 2010

California Poppy Flower Essence

© Copyright 2008 Sheryl Karas
California Poppy, the Official California State Flower, is found along the west coast of the United States from Southern Washington to the Baja Peninsula. They are so prevalent in some parts of coastal California that the Spanish explorers named the region the Land of Fire. When California Poppies appear in early spring they create a dazzling display of brilliant color. Before California became as developed as it is today, the hills were so bright with poppies that sailors far out to sea used them as beacons to find their way home.

California Poppies are bright golden yellow and orange flowers with 2-3 inch long soft shiny petals that close at night and reopen in the morning. They turn their deep cup-shaped blossoms to be filled by the sun—another name for the plant is “Cups of Gold”—but otherwise live in the most unnurturing of environments. With dry rocky soil and very little summer rain, the California hills are “golden” but not lush and green.

Medicinally, California Poppy is a hypnotic sedative used as a non-addictive alternative to Opium Poppy although less potent in its effect. It contains very small amounts of codeine and morphine and is useful for those who have trouble sleeping. Coastal California Indian tribes used it as a mild painkiller, especially for toothache. Native women could be expelled from their tribes for doing it but sometimes resorted to using the poppy to charm an unresponsive lover.

Archetypally, one could say this plant represents people so desirous of heavenly light they neglect to pay attention to the quality of the people and situations that attract them. “All that glitters is not gold”. This is true of  an environment as well as for charismatic leaders, spiritual gurus, Hollywood celebrities (California is certainly well known for those!), or specific spiritual practices. The New Age obsession with whatever is “new” and exotic comes to mind. The person who is over-enamored of such things tends to lack judgment or self-esteem. Like a drug user who might be enticed by the notion of using poppies for their sedating effect,  the person who most needs the California Poppy tends to let an outside influence charm them rather than trusting their own knowing. They substitute the sensational for more mundane, less intense, sustained development acquired over time.

California Poppy flower essence is helpful to those individuals so dazzled by spiritual or psychic power that they lose themselves in guru worship, occult ritual, religious cults or drug use. They may be particularly attracted to psychedelic drugs or other mind-altering experiences. This essence helps one develop the ability to develop an inner-directed spirituality that develops gradually and in balance with one's ability to think and make sense of experience. It helps one develop self-responsibility and judgment in regards to spiritual affairs.

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