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This collection of 21 flower essences represents some of the most sacred, most culturally and spiritually important plants in the world. All make it possible for us to modify the way we see our reality. Some are benign, some are toxic - even deadly in the wrong hands - but even the most poisonous are providing the modern world with important medicines.

Prepared as biologically inactive vibrational essences, the energy signature or "spirit" of the plant can be experienced first-hand - without the problems associated with ingestion of the actual plant material.

An assessment of the healing function of each essence is given, but the main intent it to provide the means for a closer investigation of the plant essences within a ritual, ceremonial or shamanistic context.

Use each essence as if you were meeting an ambassador from another world - with honour, respect and curiosity - and you are more likely to experience the powerful presence of each plant.

Although these essences contain no biologically active material, sensitive individuals may experience some sudden shifts of awareness and unusual perceptions.

The image accompanying each essence description represents the 'energy dance' of that plant in visual form. It acts as a key, resonating with the spirit of the plant and with the heart of the observer. Please note - the 'Plant Spirit' abstract images are the copyright of Simon H Lilly ©2005

1. Belladonna (Belladonna atropa)
Highly poisonous member of the important Solanaceae family, used in many shamanic and witches brews throughout Europe and an important pharmacological and homoeopathic preparation.
Deadly Nightshade. Dwaleberry. Devil's Herb. Witches Berry
The Essence: a balanced point from which to grow. Clears away self-deceptions which gives access to the deepest levels of awareness. This can release one's own demons or lead to transformation of the self. The possibility of clarity within physical existence.
2. Brugmansia (Brugmansia ssp)
A major sacred plant of the Andes it is thought that the many varieties existent today are ancient cultivars. Very similar to closely-related datura species but is more violent in its action and toxic in its effects. The huge trumpet flowers open in the evening and have exquisite, complex scents, seductive, powerful.
Floripondio. Borachero. Huacacachu. Huanto. Maicoa. Toa. Tonga. Angel's Trumpet
The Essence: Increased energy to the superconscious; contact with spirit worlds; recognising symbolic image; profound cleansing of beliefs and constructs - maybe producing old symptoms and visions as they release. Fundamental personal patterning is energised.
3. Coleus (Coleus blumei)
Native to the Philippine Islands, these plants are recorded as being used by the Mazatec Indians of Mexico as a divinatory tool. Together with many other sacred power plants Coleus has found an important niche in western horticulture. Active ingredients have not been isolated.
El Nene. El Ahijado. El Macho
The Essence: there is a relaxation of personal masks and an acceptance of the underlying Emptiness behind Form. A quietness and flow of energy that links to universal patterns. Ability to comprehend fine concepts, gestalts and apparent paradox. Meditative states easily established. Energy spins to crown chakra and above.
4. Desfontainia (Desfontainia spinosa)
A very holly-like plant from the Andes with tubular, waxy, red and yellow flowers. Used by shamans in Chile and Colombia as a tea to diagnose disease and to enter non-ordinary reality.
Borrachero. Taique
The Essence: at emotional levels fear of unknown things is eased which allows freer exploration of new states and phases of consciousness. Breakthrough to new levels is possible, with increased spiritual strength and discipline. Mental stability after shock and trauma. Positive outlook.

5. Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria)
The striking red and white spotted mushroom is native across all northern temperate zones. Its use as a sacred power plant is recorded from Siberia into India, Finland to Northern and Middle America.
Wapaq. Mukhomor. Soma.Miskwedo
The Essence: an increased sense of freedom, broader perceptions and an increase in experiencing fine levels of communication. There is a release of stress, more clarity and inner knowledge. Relaxation and happiness. Peace, understanding, flow of information.
6. Henbane (Hyocyamus niger)
A witches plant of the same family as Mandrake and Belladona. Known to the Egyptians, Greeks and Indians. Used as a painkiller, it induces oblivion, altered states and death, depending on use. Henbane was also an admixture in the beer among the German tribes!
Hogs bean. Symphonica. Cassilago. Henbell
The Essence: stimulates emotional involvement, helps one to integrate with activity. Excesses of energy are directed to avoid a build-up of frustration and awareness is drawn from the core of things and multi-level worlds.
8. Mandrake (Mandragora officinarum)
The quintessential magical plant, feared and valued for its peculiar root and powerful narcotic properties. Scopolamine is the main hallucinogenic ingredient used by shamans, witches and healers.
Man Dragon. Mandragora. Satan's Apple
The Essence: most effective when placed on top of the head. It creates a very strong link with the levels of awareness that interface human and plant worlds. Strong transformation, practical change. Clarifies reasons for emotional outbursts. Visionary flow, creative ideas. Increase in dynamism and energy application.
9. Mistletoe (Viscum album)
Like most sacred plants, mistletoe is proving to be medicinally valuable in treating serious disease. One of the most sacred of Druid plants it dwells between states: neither in earth nor sky, looking both like the sun and moon, bearing opposite leaves, symbolising the union of heaven and earth.
The Essence: brings a balance to the mind where old patterns can be released. Positive inspiration. Body awareness increases: lessening confusion and nervousness. Better self-image, ability to cope with emotions and strong feelings. Quietens emotions to allow creative imagination to flourish.
10. Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
The foremost sacred plant among Anglo-Saxons. Named "the Mother of All Plants" and "oldest of herbs", mugwort was connected in Greece with the Mother Goddess. The name means "to warm and strengthen". A common roadside plant that is medicinally useful and shamanically powerful.
Artemisia. Sage brush. Felon herb. Una. Thorwort. Powerwort. Solstice Girdle. Womb's wort
The Essence: expansion of personal power with balance. Increase in joy and serenity, emotional blocks freed. Ability to keep one's boundaries secure. Stimulates new ideas and new methods. Flexibility and potential. Very strong links to underlying universal flows of energy.
11. Petunia (Petunia ssp)
This common cultivated flower is reportedly used in South America in a sacred shamanic context but no details are available apart from suggestions that it is used for soul or astral travelling. Petunia is a member of the Solanaceae family, related to the tabaccos.
The Essence: works primarily on the heart, can help to activate and energise the Heart chakra. The Heart meridian is rebalanced where there is insecurity related to new experiences that break or re-define old boundaries. Suppressed feelings release smoothly, increasing peacefulness. Brings a deep insight into finer levels of spiritual states.
12. Peyote (Lophophora williamsii)
Perhaps the best known of the many sacred plants of Mexico. The main sacrament of the Huichol Indians, during the last century its use has become widespread among from the Native American Churches of North America where its sacramental use is legal. Apart from its visionary capabilities, Peyote is regarded as a great healer and spiritual messenger.
The Essence: most effective when taken during darkness and is particularly activating when a drop is placed at the crown of the head. The crown chakra is cleansed and purified allowing greater creative discrimination. Inner conflicts ease - allowing a finer experience of spirit realms (especially plant realms). Links to the heart of the cosmos, via the clear crown chakra; calms confusion and fear, increases inner harmony.
13. Pipil-Tzin-Tzintli (Salvia divinorum)
A rare sage that grows in the hidden ravines of Oaxaca, Mexico and used by the Mazatec Indians for ritual divinations.
Diviner's Sage. Herb of the Shepherdess. Herb of the Virgin
The Essence: Recognising and working with subtle energy systems. Making the intangible, tangible. Mind is calmed and peaceful. Understanding the multiplicity of creation by direct experience. Flexibility of understanding.

14. San Pedro Cactus (Trichocereus pachanoi)
Widespread in Peru, this cactus has at least 3000 years of use. It is always associated with many animal spirits and is used by shamans and healers to cure sickness, addiction and work many sorts of magic.
Huachuma. Achuma. Aguacolla. Giganton
The Essence: calming of strong emotions, understanding strong drives. Calms aggressive states. Release of stress from Sacral chakra: issues of sensitivity and sensuality. Passionate expression of life-energy. Relationship of self to whole.
15. Sun Opener (Heimia salicifolia)
A waterside plant with large papery yellow flowers growing in the warmer parts of Central and South America. Used to induce trance states, especially for memory and communication with ancestors.
Sinichuichi. Herb of Life
The Essence: harmonious flow of mind that increases communication and listening skills. Quietens in order to hear others and understand. Emotional burdens lifted from the heart. Joy, creativity. Clearer decision-making, choice of direction. Deep satisfaction and experience of harmony.
16. Thorn Apple (Datura stramonium)
There are many species of Datura throughout the world. All have similar characteristics and appearances with large trumpet flowers that open in the evening - spikey, shiny seed capsules and strong smelling leaves. This species is known in both the Old and New Worlds and has been used as a medicinal, magical and sacred plant.
Datura. Jimsonweed. Angel's Trumpet. Devil's Apple. Wysoccan
The Essence: reduces anxiety, subdues an over-active mind. Stabilises emotions, particularly reassuring and calm to do with possible futures. Increases relaxation, releasing 'the morning after the night before' feelings.
17. Tlit-Liltzin (Ipomoea violacea)
Morning Glory and related species were sacred to the Aztecs. It is still in use as a means of divination and healing among the Zapotec Indians. Like many sacred vines there are direct links to snake spirits and the wisdom of many worlds.
Badoh Negro. Badungas. Seed of the Virgin. Mary's Plant
The Essence: stability and clarity during times of change and transformation. Brow chakra cleared of confusion; increase in joy and inner knowing. Self-worth. Increase in personal connection, kindness and clarity of emotion.

18. Toloache (Datura metaloides)
This species of Datura is of great importance among the native tribes of the southwest of the USA. It is used for communication with the spirits, for initiation rites, divination, finding power animals and for healing.
Toloache D.inoxia. Tanayin. Toloatzin
The Essence: a clear flow of energy, a frictionless flow between Self and the Universe. Resolution of self-doubts and self-limitations. Universe becomes your comfortable body. Quietening of the mental processes to a state of receptivity and peace.
19. Vervain (Verbena officinalis)
One of the most sacred plants of the Celtic Druids, who used it as a protective and blessing plant. For improved "sight" and mental clarity.
Herb of Grace
The Essence: a quietening of thought, clarity of awareness in the present. State of clear awareness. An increase of hope, happiness and mental stability, calming after shock or trauma. The decreased mental chatter makes one more observant and an easier contact with spirit worlds - particularly those close to the physical - can occur.

20. Wild Tobacco (Nicotiniana rustica)
This is one of two species that were employed for purification and shamanic use by Native Americans. Commercial tobacco growers favoured the breeds with more sedative and less psychoactive effects. Tobacco was the primary power plant among North American tribes who saw it as the most effective offering to the spirits.
The Essence: an increase in self-confidence and assertiveness. Practical problem solving and goal-defining. Better contact with hidden, core aspects of the Self, releasing a resource of energy with great healing potential. Spiritual awareness heightened. Ability to understand extremes of experience with clarity and lack of confusion from a balanced spiritual perspective.

21. Woad (Insatis tinctoria)
This can help when needing to adopting appropriate behaviour, especially to protect from harm. Protective when opening to spiritual forces. Helping to change how you are seen by dropping usual personal habits. Aiding the adoption of the shadow self.
Y/ES, 3
22. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Purification at any level, physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. Lays the foundation for all other states of health and awareness. Protection, focus