Sunday, October 14, 2012

Vine Flower Essence

© Copyright Sheryl Karas
I recently wrote an article about using Vine to loosen the grip of internalized authority figures -- those inflexible inner voices that attempt to obstruct our every move, especially when we're attempting to disrupt the conservative status quo. You know, like Republicans in Congress filibustering everything originating from Obama! Only, in this case, I was talking about our inner Congress and ways to break the deadlock.

That was a week ago but still Vine is on my mind. Julian Barnard, who wrote Bach Flower Remedies -- Form and Function, says that since grapevines are some of the very earliest cultivated plants they need to be viewed as a species that exists in a chronic relationship with human beings. Not only that, their cultivation can be seen as so harsh compared to how they would be in the wild that the relationship should be considered one of great subjugation. In order to force its energy into producing the kind of fruit the farmer wants grapevines are always cut to a stump, two to four shoots are tied to wires or along a trellis while the rest are cut away, and those shoots are constantly tended and pinched back to force its growth in the desired way. At the end of the growing season the plants are cut or burned back to stumps again while poorer producing plants are torn out entirely. It's an extremely harsh life, one that would be deemed intolerable to human beings.

Try to imagine what it would be like to be treated in such a way. Matthew Shepherd, the gay man who was tied to a fence in Laramie, Wyoming and then beaten and killed for being who he was went through that experience. Now imagine what it's like to live this way—the horror and anguish, the deepest fear and despair, and the fury and possibly -- for some people -- the need to control should one escape so it will never happen again. Like a Vine plant they use their tendrils to use whatever means they can to climb to the top. And when they seize power they grasp it with an iron fist, thickening their position and using it to force their will. People who try to dominate and force their positions on others often come from family and societal backgrounds where another's will was forced on them. Their personal self-expression would have been forced into a highly controlled mold by their families, church or, for example, a limited small-town community's point of view. And there's nothing they want to destroy more than a young upstart (like Obama) who would otherwise want to go his own way and force a change they don't want on them again.

When I think about flower essences I always think about the healing of polarity. What's the opposite of tight domineering control? Wild grapevines run free when left to their own devices. They climb here and there wherever they want to go, roaming and exploring far and wide but rarely produce the quantity and quality of food they do in captivity. The fruits they do produce are, of course, sweet and highly prized or humans would not have attempted to cultivate them. In human terms they could make a good living producing fruit like that --they just a need a little discipline! But that's a western civilization point of view. A wild grapevine doesn't have to worry about making a good living -- they just innately live and do what they will with their gifts. But in the society we've created  it seems like not being disciplined enough with one's gifts and talents can lead to subjugation or disaster. If you don't find your own way doing something more "fruitful" you'll wind up working for Walmart or some other minimum wage employer, essentially working for "slave wages" or worse until you do!

But what if the lesson in healing the polarity of Vine -- being a highly subjugated but prolific producer vs living free but not producing so much -- lies in allowing in a more gentle healing version of reality than our western civilization allows? What if the wild grapevine was seen as producing enough by just being itself? What if what you did naturally—whatever you found interesting to explore or do -- could lead to a great life? It might not have to be the highly structured and very stressful but affluent life that you might have been taught to think is the highest pinnacle of success. It might be a modest life or one of incredible affluence: where the achievement of what you most desire and enjoying doing most is the sign of great success and there's no fear that every need will be met. Saturn (structure and control) versus unbridled Bacchanalia? Vine flower essence loosens the hold of the inner and outer demand for authoritative control so the voice of one's Higher Power can heal the dichotomy and lead the way.

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Addendum: It's been a few weeks since I wrote this and I just stopped using Vine flower essence for myself a couple of days ago. I was experimenting with using Vine to deal with an overly authoritarian inner voice and an interesting breakthrough happened: I suddenly had an enormous burst of enthusiasm for a project I've put off for at least a year and have easily mustered the lacking self-discipline to follow through! Ahh, the healing of the dichotomy and not what I would have expected. But the self-discipline that came was of a very different nature from the inner beating I had been trying before. Funny that. Left to my own devices I heard my inner guidance and, instead of rebelling as I had been, I dove into the rather involved task and got started on another set of projects, too.

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