Flower Essence Practitioner and Educator, Loyola Colebeck, returns to the podcast to share her insights on using Bach flower essences within the lens of Chinese Medicine. Our conversation ranges from the overarching cosmology to how the organs in that system correlate to certain emotions, such as the Spleen and worry. Join us for this fascinating discussion.
Flower Essences discussed during the show:
- Star of Bethlehem – Bach
- Rock Rose – Bach
- Elm – Bach
- White Chestnut – Bach
- Centaury – Bach
- Gentian – Bach
- Olive – Bach
- Cerato – Bach
Book: Bach Flower Essences and Chinese Medicine, by Pablo Noriega, translated by Loey Colebeck
Book: New Bach Flower Body Maps by Kramer and Wild
Welcome back, flower lovers. We’re glad to have you here with us today. Today, we have a special guest and we’re going to have a really interesting conversation on how flower essences and Chinese medicine intersect. Loyola Colebeck is a flower essence therapist providing professional training and NCCAOM PDA provider, lecturer, and the English translator of Pablo Noriega’s excellent book, Bach Flower Essences and Chinese Medicine. Loey studied Clinical Flower Essence Therapy in Barcelona at the Superior Institute of Traditional Medicine, Anthemon Institute, SEDIBAC, and Aula Bach and has been professionally accredited through SEDIBAC. She’s also trained in family constellations and identity-oriented psycho-trauma therapy, also known as IOPT. In her practice, she provides a gentle, trauma-informed, and Daoist approach to therapy and to support an organic healing process. Loey has spoken with us before on Episode 32 on Trauma. In today’s podcast, we are diving into flower essences and Chinese medicine. Thanks for being with us here.
Loyola Colebeck: [00:01:52] Thank you.
Rochana Felde: [00:01:54] It’s great to see you again, Loey. It was such a pleasure talking to you on that last episode with trauma. And I know today we’re going to talk more about the Chinese medicine aspect and specifically dive into a little bit of the concepts in the Pablo Noriega book that you translated Bach Flower Essences and Chinese Medicine. And just to get some grounding and kind of get us started in this whole kind of sometimes intimidating concept about Chinese medicine and all that entails, maybe you can just start at that very beginning place of what is it? What is Chinese medicine? What is it that we’re talking about when we say that?
Loyola Colebeck: [00:02:37] Yeah. Thank you. I want to say I really enjoyed our conversation last time, too, and thanks for having me back. Chinese medicine, before I had a concept of it, it was just like this enigmatic big thing that I had no idea about. And so I remember how that felt. I think maybe one simple way to explain it is that it’s rooted in Daoism, which is indigenous to China and ancient and Daoism, observed nature and the relationships in nature and everything in nature is interrelated and observing the cycles of, for example, summer and winter, hot and cold, those translated into yin and yang, light and heavy, and the dualistic nature of life on earth. And those all are experienced and happen, those phenomena form our bodies and our minds. And then the cycle of nature because it’s ever-changing and evolving, what is– it’s she or energy or life force, we could probably use those terms interchangeably, life force, Chi energy as at the base of all of it, and it takes on all these different forms. When it’s light, it is like in summertime and it rises and it’s like water that turns to vapor. And then as it condenses, it becomes water again, and then it freezes in winter. So we can think of energy as something that can be light like thoughts or dense like bones, and it’s ever-changing and ever-fluid.
And then Chinese medicine also has over thousands of years been able to track in more detail, the changes in that cycle and relationships in more parts. For example, not just summer and winter, but also spring and fall and the organs that are related to all of those seasons. What is more center is another place, so we have a circle or a cycle, and around it, there’s a central force which is also considered in Chinese medicine. Pablo Noriega, when I– when I took a workshop from him, it was like four hours kind of describing the basics of Chinese medicine to flower essence practitioners, he said– got out the whiteboard and drew a circle and he said, in the beginning, there was nothing. Then, he put a dot in the middle, and then there was something. And then he put a squiggly line through that and said and then that something divided into two parts and the light stuff ascended and the heavy stuff fell. And what he had drawn a picture of was the yin yang symbol, the tai chi symbol. So that’s where that symbol comes from, is that interdependent, interconnected, constantly changing movement of chi from heavy to light, dark to light, thick, thin, right, Ether, Marrow. And everything that we know can be cataloged into five different categories, which are the movements or phases of that cycle of chi, or seasons is another really useful way for us to conceptualize it. How’s that?
Kathleen Aspenns: [00:06:31] It’s like a wonderful start. And it’s such a– it’s such a rich and such a faceted concept of the world that I love how you’ve summarized it. It’s– I think that makes a lot of sense. One of the things that I so appreciate about insights from Chinese medicine in my practice and in my life is how there is no rigid boundary between me and the world around me. The season, the weather, the emotions, the cultural moments are all playing out in the soil of my being. And so recognizing that this is a Metal Ox year right, and how that brings an aspect of grief into this whole year, into our lives and our experiences. And so when we notice these things, when we are looking for them, then we can feel, oh, it’s resonating through me, or when the seasons change, you feel these changes within yourself and maybe it helps you work in certain processes and aspects of your life, there’s more opportunity for shift. It’s just– it’s such a wonderful way. It’s a lens of looking at the world that is so deep and valuable and interesting. I have– I just– I adore it and can’t imagine living without it anymore and in my practice as well, to be able to see my clients through this lens, and to describe their lives and maybe their experiences through this lens, it’s so supportive and healing, right?
Loyola Colebeck: [00:08:25] Yeah, it’s really helpful when people see that there are– there are thousands of years of documentation creating a map for the understanding of how, as you mentioned, like metal and grief and how the Lung is related to autumn time. When we’re losing the abundance of summer and we’re paring down and the trees are losing their leaves and so that we can go down inside deep into what’s essential, which is bringing energy inside the body, down into the kidneys, which is our battery, which we nourish through rest at night and in winter, and so when people understand a relationship between the organ and an emotion, which is really core in our flower essence work, then it’s something– it’s something solid. It’s something– there’s a bit of a map there.
And what is more, when we go into classical Chinese medicine, which looks at a larger cosmological sort of picture and includes some of the spiritual aspects, then we can also look at what’s called the visceral spirits, which are really, I’m not going to say what they really are actually, but the visceral spirits related to each of the five organs in Chinese medicine have virtues. And when– and when we are– when our organism is in balance and energy is in center, I’ll explain that a little bit better in a minute, but then the organs express their virtues and the virtues are what we are fomenting through flower essence therapy. Flower essences help us express the virtues of the organs rather than the emotions, which there’s nothing wrong with emotions, but when they’re extreme or chronic, they can create illnesses. And so through flower essence therapy, we get to catalyze the virtues, the expression of the organ’s virtue. And that’s something really useful in our work with clients, in our work with ourselves is recognizing, am I in the emotion? Am I in the virtue? And I’m not going to– and I don’t need to use my mind to or my intellect to force it to happen. The flower essences can help me organically develop this.
Rochana Felde: [00:11:06] And before we get too far into the details of that, there is a concept in the book that I really liked and that was the three different levels of illness or knowledge. And I was wondering if you could talk about that a little bit.