The story begins in the woods one drizzly day in May 2009.
I didn’t know why I needed to attend a woodland photography workshop with Jason Smalley but I had to honour the inner prompting that insisted I go. Although I’d never been interested in photography before, I was called to that workshop so loudly that I couldn’t ignore the impulse.
It takes faith to follow our inner promptings when they make no sense to the logical mind.
It takes courage to listen to our hearts when we have no idea what we’re doing or why.
Within moments of arriving at the workshop, it became clear why my heart had led me there. Jason connects with nature through photography in the same way that a flower essence practitioner connects with nature. We share the same depth of presence; the same sense of love and reverence for the unseen realms, elementals and devas.
We both live our lives in conscious communication with the very soul of Nature herself. While I capture these qualities when making an essence, Jason captures them in a photograph.
By the next day we were already making plans to create a sumptuous book together, combining the energy of the Bach Flower Remedy plants through Jason’s images with my knowledge of essences.
Over the next two years we travelled the length and breadth of England to capture images of Bach Flower Remedy plants growing in wild, sacred, obscure and unexpected locations! We travelled to Dr Edward Bach’s garden at the Bach Centre in Oxfordshire to photograph Scleranthus and Cerato.
I sat at Edward Bach’s desk on a chair made with his own hands and cried with a heart full of gratitude for him and his legacy. Later I laid on Bach’s grave, mourning the fact I never met him while he was alive but grateful that I feel his guidance nevertheless.
I promised Dr Bach I would honour his work.
We approached publishers and agents with our proposal for a full colour photographic book exploring the Bach Flower Remedies, but received multiple rejections and decided to put plans on hold. Life took us in different directions until eventually a new idea emerged – to publish the images as a set of cards instead of a book.
Jason was clearly guided from the outset that we needed to capture images of the Bach Flower Remedy plants on a white background as well as in their natural habitat. If you’ve ever photographed a flower you’ll know that the background is always visible in your shot unless you cut the flower and place it on a plain background (e.g. a piece of paper or fabric).
Jason was adamant that cutting the flowers for a typical indoor studio shot with the perfect white background and lighting required to achieve those types of images would not honour the wild beating heart of this project.
He insisted that all the images were to be taken of living plants, and it took him some time to find a creative solution that would enable us to have a set of Bach Flower Remedy images on white backgrounds as well as a set of images on nature backgrounds.
We didn’t know why we needed both, but the guidance was clear. Both were needed and no plants were to be damaged in the making of these cards!
We trusted the inner promptings without knowing the reasons why.
As I began to use the images in sessions with people, a pattern emerged. Some people were drawn predominantly to the images on white backgrounds, others to the images on nature.
It was common for someone to go through a journey during a consultation where they experienced energetic shifts, insights and emotional release by connecting first with one image of the flower that related to their core issue and then connecting with the other image of the same flower.
I could see that people were moving through a process using these images – a dynamic energetic experience that shifted their emotional state from confusion and distress into greater balance and wholeness.
One woman told me that when she was experiencing the energy of one image it was exactly how she felt when she was in the state that Bach flower remedy treated; when her unbalanced emotions, patterns, beliefs and stories were triggered.
Then when she connected with the other image of the same flower, she felt a shift and was able to embody the inherent positive qualities of that essence because she could feel how that image held the energetic template for balance.
That was a real Aha! moment for me. She gave me a framework to understand what I sensed was happening when I used the images in sessions with people. Since then, the feedback I’ve had from essence practitioners, shamanic teachers and other people who work with energy is that these images are dynamic tools that help to bring about shifts in emotional states and changes in consciousness.
The flowers were photographed in sacred communion with nature with the intention of capturing the essence of the Bach Flower Remedies themselves.
These images have their own vital energy that can be felt. The cards speak to the soul in the same way that essences do, reaching into those wordless places where emotions can get stuck and soul longings are held.
We will be publishing the images as two separate decks that can be used individually or together for spiritual insights and energetic shifts. The Wild Embodiment Deck contains all the images on natural backgrounds, and the Inner Clarity Deck contains all the images on white backgrounds.
My explorations using the different sets of images with clients suggests that each set relates to different aspects of our being. The Wild Embodiment Deck helps you to get in touch with and release emotions and beliefs in a dynamic way. The Inner Clarity Deck provides a wider perspective on what you’re experiencing so you identify less with the story and experience greater spiritual understanding.
Soon the cards will be available for pre-sale and it feels like the start of something special. I’m excited about the journey everyone who resonates with these cards will go on together. We will use them in ways that cards like these are traditionally used (e.g. to select essences, and to receive guidance on the big questions about life), and we will use them in new ways as energy tools to bring about emotional shifts and inner transformation.
I don’t know exactly how this is going to unfold but I do know that publishing these cards is the next piece of a story that began on that drizzly May day in the woodland. Or maybe the story really began with Edward Bach walking through the fields over 80 years ago seeking a new system of healing from nature.
I’m sitting here with the Wild Embodiment Deck and the Inner Clarity Deck spread out next to me and the energy from these images reduces me to tears. The kind of tears that open your heart in gratitude and joy. I cannot wait to share them with you!
Yet I know that I’ve only been given part of the story of why these cards have been created and what they will do. My job is to physically bring them into being by publishing the decks and sharing everything I’m learning about using them.
We are on the cusp of co-creating the next part of this story together through the ways in which you will use the cards to bring this work alive. Together we will discover how these images open new doors in the heart of human consciousness. You will be guided to use them in ways I haven’t considered. You will have experiences with them that will have messages for us all.
We are about to travel on a beautiful journey together, learning how these images take us deeper into the energy of the heart so we can be guided by the wisdom of our souls.
Dr Bach tells me that together we will be taking his work to a different level that was not possible during his lifetime. We are ready now to work with the energy of the Bach Flower Remedies embodied in these images in new ways to co-create a world that thrives on Love. In the words of Charles Eisenstein, the time has come to create the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.
Soon, I’ll be sharing the next piece of the story, and I hope you’ll join me so we can co-create a beautiful new story together. Watch this space! In the meantime, join me on Facebook or Instagram where I’ll be sharing the wild beauty of these images plus inspiring ways to work with their energy.
All images © Jason Smalley from the Bach Flower Spirit Cards. Connect with Jason at www.earthlight-images.com