Ever wonder how we got from Dr. Bach’s research to where we are today? In the late 1970s and 80s there was a simultaneous explosion of new flower essences being discovered, researched, and produced around the world. Yet, this “second wave” of producers didn’t initially know about one another until the first international conference was held.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler came on the scene just as these gatherings began to happen, and she became a major importer of essences into Brazil at that time. In this episode, we have the honor of hearing her stories and adventures — how she met the people and visited the places of the FES, Alaskan, Australian essences, and more, in these early days of the post-Bach flower essence renaissance.
Join us for this rare treat and glimpse into the modern history of flower essences.
Flower Essence makers and companies discussed during the show:
- The Flower Essence Society, Richard Katz and Patricia Kaminsky
- Pacific Essences, Sabina Pettitt
- Living Essences, Vasudeva and Kadambii Barnoo
- Spirit In Nature, Lila Devi
- Perelandra, Machaelle Small Wright
- Alaskan Essences, Steve Johnson, Shabd-Sangeet Khalsa
- Desert Alchemy, Cynthia Kemp
- Bush Essences, Ian White
- Delta Gardens, David Dalton
- Bloesem Remedies, Bram Zaalberg
- Philippe Deroide
- Dr Rupa Shah
Bonus for listeners!
Recently, we’ve been reflecting on how much we appreciate all you listeners out there, and we decided to create a bonus video for you. This video is a recording on flower essences for stress and anxiety, and we hope you’ll benefit from it in these very anxious times.
Simply go to floweressencestudies.com/podbonus to claim your listener bonus!
Registration is OPEN for the Flower Essence Practitioner Certification Program 🎉
Many of you have been eagerly awaiting this news!
We’re honored and excited that our co-founder Ruth Toledo Altschuler has brought her online FES Practitioner Certification Training Program to the School for Flower Essence Studies.
We’ve partnered together to expand the already amazing content and bring even more support to students.
Whether you’re an aspiring enthusiast looking to begin a practice, or a seasoned practitioner wanting to expand your knowledge, Ruth teaches in-depth flower essence therapy and optionally qualifies you for certification by the Flower Essence Society.
Start 2024 with a BLOOM 🏵️
Our Winter 2024 cohort is right around the corner! Training opens up January 1st and live sessions run from January 11th to February 17th.
Other important dates for you to know about:
⏱️ Early Bird Registration begins NOW (Save $300!)
⏳ Early Bird price ends on December 15th
Check out the registration page for the curriculum, schedule, pricing, and all the details.
Rochana Felde: [00:00:42] Welcome back to The Flower Essence Podcast. This is Rochana, and I’m here with Kathleen Aspenns and Ruth Toledo Altschuler, and we have been working on a new Practitioner Certification Program for our school, The School for Flower Essence Studies. And as we’ve been developing content, we had a really interesting conversation together, the three of us about the sort of explosion of modern flower essences that seem to simultaneously sprout up around the world about the same time in the late ’70s and early ’80s. And we started hearing some stories from Ruth who has been around in this industry since this explosion. And we really wanted to capture her stories and hear this history of how we got where we are today and all of the players that you may have heard of in the flower essence industry and their lines, and you may use some of their lines, but I just find it really fascinating how it all came about. And so we wanted to get Ruth on, and we’re welcoming her back to the podcast.
So for those who aren’t familiar with Ruth’s work, she is a certified flower essence practitioner, an educator, and a mentor in practice for over three decades. She has a unique combination of experience unparalleled in the field. Originally from Brazil, Ruth was instrumental in developing flower essence therapy as a widely accepted modality in that country. She’s an authorized instructor for the FES Practitioner Certification Program, the creator of Essence Mentoring and Essence Circles, and of course, our co-founder in The School for Flower Essence Studies. Welcome, Ruth.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler: [00:02:48] Thank you so much and thanks so much for the opportunity of telling these stories. It’s something that I always think about. Stories need to be told so that they can be retold as time evolves. And so this is how I was actually first told about the story of how all this let’s say second wave of research on flower essences originated. And it was only perhaps a decade after that I got into the fold and started having a big role in what happened in Brazil. So the reason why I got into this, and I’m actually going to quote from a piece that I wrote that was part of my blog on having history registered, it’s about what happened in Brazil. What happened during those years was truly astonishing on what concerns flower essences. Nothing of this magnitude has happened before or after in any other country that I know of, a passion for flower essences was lighting many hearts. In a contagious intensity between ’87 and around 1994, we watched this passionate enthusiasm taking over. I know how mine felt, how it lit me up and I would recognize it in numerous individuals. Different groups emerged simultaneously. Eventually, we became a big and somewhat interconnected countrywide community. Brazilians were ready and open towards flower essences, while in many other countries in the world the interest on this has been localized and specific, in Brazil at that time, the interest on flower essences spread like quick fire. And this was not only a person-to-person phenomenon or one of restricted to limited circles. During those years I was interviewed for numerous articles in the media. My explanations on what are flower essences and how they could help people got published in magazines, newspapers, TV interviews. They knew their public was eager to know about flower essences. So this was making the news. And there was a landmark. In September 22 and 23 of 1990, the first encounter of Bach essences gathered more than 1,200 participants, an exuberant moment happening on the opening of the Southern Hemisphere spring in 1990, an event organized by two families with a multitude of people registering. So they didn’t have room for everyone. They had rented a room for 8,000. They had to rent an additional room with TV screens. And so that was the kind of explosive interest in flower essences that was brewing in Brazil, and I was part of it. And at that time, I was already a practitioner with a waiting list, and I couldn’t keep up with the clients that I had to see, which is something that continued for many years.
So I got contacted by this woman who was going to open a healing center and I was going to participate in a flower essence conference in Victoria. And then I’m going to tell the rest of the story as we go. But this was going to be the second flower essence international conference, and I was to go there and this woman contacted me and said, “I want you to curate and buy a good amount of flower essences for my store.” She gave me a substantial amount in cash, and she gave me the responsibility of selecting flower essences from the best producers that I decided to choose. And so I landed at this conference to which I had also been invited to be a speaker because I was the only one who applied as a speaker and was from South America and Sabina Pettitt invited me to be a speaker there. And that’s when I started learning about what had happened before. So I was told that a year before for the first time, all these flower essence producers had gathered in France for a first flower essence conference, and as they get together, they find out that almost simultaneously, at the same time, they had all started their research. So the history of the whole thing is that in the late ’70s and early to mid ’80s, almost simultaneously in different places around the Earth, in different ecosystems, these people felt the calling to begin preparing flower essences from flowers that grew around in the places that they lived. And so we had. First around the same time Vasudeva and Kadambii Barnoo in Western Australia, and Richard Katz, soon to be joined by Patricia Kaminski in California. So that was in the late 1970s. And then in the early 1980s, we have a whole succession of people. Well, in around the same time, there was also Lila Devi in California as well. There was Machaelle Small Wright of Perelandra in a different place in the United States. And none of these people knew about each other, but they were all at the same time emerging with their research being called by the plants to prepare flower essences of plants growing close to them. So when we met in that second conference Sabina Pettitt put together a table, a panel that was led by Steve Johnson, the founder of the Alaskan Essences. And he started the second opening of the conference after that keynote speaker, first lecture saying, “The family comes together again.” And this was welling tears on both the ones who were sitting at this panel table and everyone in the audience because there’s something about the calling of the work with flower essences that really brings something, a light within people’s soul. So there’s more to this story, but these are some pieces that I wanted to start off with.
Kathleen Aspenns: [00:40:23] And as an educator for so many years training practitioners in Brazil in real-life experiences, you are finding it elegantly available to train people online and that you’re bringing this education to somebody anywhere they might happen to be without having to travel, without having to drop their lives so that they can participate in Practitioner Training. I’d love to hear a little bit about how you see the value of learning to be a practitioner through an online experience.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler: [00:41:07] Yeah, I would say that it’s wonderful if you can go to the ecosystem where the plants grow and if you can be with the plants that are being taught about and I highly recommend that as well. But I have to say that the online experience, because we don’t have to spend time traveling and with all the preparation and all the logistics, etc., and we’re totally focused in learning from and with each plant, this brings an ability for us to focus and to be together in that experience and to examine the images of these plants with a lot of attention, but it also allows us to have access to those recordings and go back and listen again and again. And that’s one of the things that I have been finding that the students who have taken these trainings that I’ve offered, the really dedicated ones, they keep going through the recordings and watching and looking at the slides again and observing, and they get so much from it. So that’s the other side that even though a lot of people say, oh, I don’t like to be on the computer too much, but there are some gifts and some blessings that are being offered through this technology that we have access to these days. And I think the fact that we can transmit even the soulful messaging through this live transmission at a distance is a reality. It really does happen. Some people might think, oh, you can’t really do it through this technology, but I can assure you that it touches us very deeply, and the experience that we can have is very powerful as well, both in terms of learning as well as in terms of our own healing journey.
Rochana Felde: [00:43:46] This has been a fantastic conversation and we are just so thrilled to be partnered with you, Ruth. I know I’ve already said it, but I’m saying it again, and really excited to bring your Practitioner Training course to The School for Flower Essence Studies. And it’s coming in January 2024, so we have more information coming on that soon. But if you’re interested, sign up for our mailing list at floweressencestudies.com and you will be notified when that’s open for registration.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler: [00:44:30] Thank you so much. And I can’t say just how thrilled I am to be doing this work in collaboration with the two of us. It just makes a world of difference to me and it just makes me so much happier. So, thank you.
Kathleen Aspenns: [00:44:51] We’re doing this, all of us flower lovers are bringing this together to help this work spread as it’s kind of been a little dormant in the US for some time. And now you’re here living in the US and bringing all that energy and enthusiasm and experience so that we can benefit from it and build a really well-trained and heartful group of practitioners into the United States and beyond because your students, they’re coming in from everywhere. So we’re all over as flower essence people. Come join us at the next training. And we’d like to throw a little bonus in for listeners. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for being a part of the podcast, of listening and telling us how much you enjoy the podcast and sharing it with your friends. We wanted to send you a little thank you. So we have a little bonus video available. It’s a recording on essences for stress and anxiety. I’m sure that’s probably a coherent topic for right now. A lot of us are feeling a lot of stress and anxiety about the world, so simply go to floweressencestudies.com/podbonus and you can get that and watch the video. We’d love to hear what you think.
Rochana Felde: [00:46:17] Yeah. And its Podbonus, P-O-D-B-O-N-U-S, all one word, floweressencestudies.com/podbonus and get your gift. Thank you, everyone.
Kathleen Aspenns: [00:46:32] Thanks for being with us, Ruth. Bye-bye now.
This podcast is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. We are not physicians and do not diagnose, prescribe, or treat medical conditions. Please consult with your own physician or healthcare practitioner regarding the suggestions and recommendations made by the hosts and guests of The Flower Essence Podcast.