As part of a research project for my graduate program at Pacifica Graduate Institute, an intentional community worked with three primary flower essence remedies over the course of a month — from the August new moon through the September Harvest full moon and to the Fall Equinox — exploring what came up for us.
Early on in our gatherings, a few people mentioned being curious to know more about the elements associated with each of the flower essence blends we partnered with in this experience.
The practitioner who creates these blends, Lindsay Fauntleroy, is also an acupuncturist and an expert on Five Element Theory. This way of thinking about the five elements - wood, fire, earth, metal, and water – comes from Chinese philosophy. In this school of thought, the five elements are a fundamental part of literally everything in the world and the universe, including the relationship between and among things. Understanding the elements means understanding how different things interact and are in relationship with each other.
The qualities of the elements in Five Element Theory are different from other schools of thought, so it’s helpful to let go of other philosophies – for example – the characteristic of “Fire Signs” associated with Astrology aren’t directly paralleled in the Five Element Theory. That being said, I’ve personally found Five Element Theory to be a useful frame of reference that adds deeper consideration to my own Neo-Pagan way of relating to nature and its cycles. In this post, I’ll provide some of the basics, and if it sparks your interest in Five Element Theory and/or flower essences, I highly recommend checking out Lindsay’s book, In Our Element. She also has a course that begins in just a few weeks which has the same name and incorporates both Five Element Theory and flower essences. Speaking from experience, it’s an incredible class and there are scholarships available (check out spiritseed.org for more info)!
Here is a basic summary of the elements as I understand them:
Wood - associated with Spring; carries themes around the process of a seed bursting through soil and growing, the freedom to expand into the full expression of our destinies. The seed needs space to push toward the light and bloom, otherwise one may feel frustration, anger, resignation, and more. (For all my astrology folks out there, Wood has some similarities to archetypes of astrology’s Fire)
Fire - associated with Summer; themes around blossoming, connection, and an open heart. This could be connection to others, connection to spirit, the joy that comes from love and connection, or similar experiences. Fire is about *being* in full bloom (no longer about pushing forward or striving to get there).
Earth - associated with Late Summer and/or transitions between all seasons; themes around empathy, groundedness, and community connection. There is an energetic sense of “home” and caring for the land, the self, and others associated with the Earth element.
Metal - associated with Autumn; its themes are often around grief, presence, and letting go. If we don’t let go, we can’t move forward, and so Metal is heavily anchored in release. Personally, I’ve found this season and element supportive when it comes to letting go of the material/temporal nature of life, creating a sense of acceptance and seeing behind the here and now.
Water - associated with Winter; its themes are around introspection and wisdom, as well as a sense of stillness and incubation. Consider the way a seed already has the design for whatever it will bloom into, but it’s not yet about “what’s coming”/growing/blossoming and instead is about being with its tremendous potential. We could also consider our dream and subconscious worlds.
When working with flower essences, you don’t necessarily need to match the time of year representing the element to the time of year that you’re in, although that can sometimes be very supportive. Rather, if you lean into the archetypal qualities of the elements and what you’re experiencing in your life, you can find the one that is most supportive for you.
Some of my own reflections: In particular, I really related to the yearly rhythm cycle of seasons and elements, with Earth emerging in every seasonal transition. To me, working with these elements feels like jazz, where Fire, Metal, Water, and Wood are their own melodies that come forward with solos at different times, and the Earth is the bass guitar or drums, whatever instrument is keeping some creative and ever-changing rhythm, an always present ~vibration~ for all the other musicians to relate to. With this metaphor playing out for me, it makes sense that the seasons aren’t perfectly fixed, for example if the Water element is a saxophone and is taking a longer solo in a particular jam session, that’s welcome, awesome and doesn’t take away from the trumpet’s turn to shine. During the next set, maybe the trumpet takes up a bit more space, and that’s what’s right for that particular song. It also feels related to my own practice of always needing to come back to the Earth, over and over and over again.
Folks who participated in this flower essences experience shared some beautiful photos they took that resonated with their remedy blend. The photos come from many different places — these are a few from the Pacific Northwest, Bordeaux, Minneapolis, and New York.
Sacred Source: associated with the Water element
Open: associated with the Fire element
Reconnect: associated with the Earth element