Saturday, September 20, 2014

Why Nicotiana Flower Essence (Flowering Tobacco) for Restful Sleep?

Nicotiana Flower Essence is made from Nicotiana alata, flowering tobacco, which is a close relative of the tobacco we use for cigarettes in the United States (and is used for cigarettes in Iran). Flower Essence practitioners make use of it in formulas intended to help people quit smoking, and I didn't know about other uses when my internal guidance picked it out to be used in the formula I call Restful Sleep.

To make sense of this suggestion it is helpful to remember what Native Americans used tobacco for. Tobacco was thought to be one of the most sacred of plants. Smoking it was a deeply significant ritual, bridging the physical and spiritual dimensions of life. It was thought to bring the user deep into harmony with the healing energies of the Earth, like the roots of the tobacco plant itself. The fire was the energy of life, like the healing fire of the sun. And with the smoke, the energy of a person's prayers and intentions could reach the sky. Sharing the ritual with friends (and enemies) allowed this sense of communion to spread to all who participated. The intention of honoring the relationship between Heaven and Earth (to put it in more Christian terms) was a sacred trust and treaties enacted in this context were never to be broken.  It was a powerful tool for peace and treated as such.

In the context of a healing remedy for problems falling asleep, I'd have to tell you first how I feel when I use it. Deeply, deeply grounded. I feel like my energy gets rooted deep down, low into my body, and since my chronic tendency is to be mostly in my head this has a significant effect. It can be surprisingly calming and if some part of me tries to fight with this energy shift I'll feel nauseated, as if the conflict is a big mistake (and, of course, it is). Best to go with the feeling and off to bed.

This is true for my Restful Sleep formula with or without essential oils added, by the way. My unscented spray version is just as strong.

In terms of what Nicotiana is actually healing, I guess I'd have to say it's the tendency to be tough and just soldier on. We don't have the deep sense of prosperity those who felt deeply connected to the Earth could find by banding together and living in harmony with Nature and with each other. We live with a more mechanized existence, frequently dependent on hierarchical structures that can be exploitative and harsh. Don't fit in? Can't find a job? "Don't come crying to me" our news commentators, politicians and even certain kinds of clergy say. "We're not here to 'enable' people by helping them out. (This isn't an 'Indian' tribe.) It's a failing of your 'moral' character if you're struggling. Suck it up! And better yet," if you're a tobacco company executive, "Suck it in."

Abuse the medicine. Abuse yourself. Until 1975 the troops used to get cigarettes in their rations while they were serving and the image of troops enjoying a smoke while resting on the battlefield is so indelibly etched in the public's mind that young soldiers smoke tobacco more than the general population even if they have to buy it themselves. Numb yourself, carry on. But when they get home, they're not guaranteed a job. Numb yourself and carry on.

When Tobacco was used as a healing power for good, it wasn't just used for its temporarily peaceful effects. It was used with healing intent. It was used to soften the heart and allow feelings to flow so healthful choices (instead of choices made from a numbed perspective) could arise. Choices made for the good of all in the group, for instance. Choices made in alignment with what was good for the Earth, choices made for the good of all concerned. Inner peace comes from the ultimate healing of this disconnect.

And that's what Nicotiana flower essence (a healing infusion of tobacco flower used in homeopathically small doses) is used for. (There is no scientifically detectable amount of nicotine in my formulas, in case you were worried! It's more of an energetic type of effect.)

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