From the Brink of Death...the Central Role of Flower Essences in Healing


Fighting for Life: 26 Surgeries and 6 Episodes of Clinical Death


Post-Trauma Panic: The Soul’s Inability to Re-establish a Physical Anchor


The Remarkable Role of Rock Rose and Rosemary Flower Essences
for Full Body-Mind Stabilization


Helping Others With Post Surgical Trauma: Gabriela Returns to Costa Rica


Gabriela Castillo Holley


Fighting for Life: 26 Surgeries and 6 Episodes of Clinical Death

It may sound astonishing that substances as seemingly gentle as flower essences could save someone’s life, but that is exactly what Venezuelan-born Gabriela Castillo Holley reports to the Flower Essence Society. Gabriela was healthy and free of any major medical conditions until she contracted severe gangrene at age 44, in a hospital in Venezuela, after receiving clinical injections that were contaminated. Sixteen surgeries to alleviate her infections took place at the Centro Internacional de Medicina (CIMA) hospital in San Jose, Costa Rica. Gabriela underwent reconstructive surgery at the Hospital Angeles Pedregal in Mexico City, Mexico, and the bacteria became active yet again. During the course of what resulted in a total of twenty-six devastating surgeries, she endured six different episodes wherein doctors pronounced her “clinically dead.”

Although Gabriela survived these medical ordeals, she was shattered in both body and soul, suffering especially from extreme panic attacks. Desperate to be well and whole again, she realized that standard medicine could provide no help for her full recovery. Gabriela then turned to a flower essence practitioner in Switzerland who guided her to restoration of both body and soul. In particular, she discovered the pivotal roles of Rock Rose and Rosemary flower essences to assist her soul toward reintegration with body, so that she could truly re-establish her physical presence on earth again. This case is also noteworthy for demonstrating the successful use of flower essences for acute intervention, by employing rapidly changing cycles of flower essences and frequent intensive doses.

Post-Trauma Panic: The Soul’s Inability to Re-establish a Physical Anchor

As a consequence of numerous surgeries and anesthetics, Gabriela became disassociated from her body, feeling numb and paralyzed, and no longer interested in physical nutrition. This profound feeling of disembodiment further exacerbated her primal feelings of emotional panic and extreme distress. Gabriela’s soul experienced the fear of not knowing how to find its anchor through grounding in the warmth and safety of her physical body.

Seeking refuge in Switzerland after her final surgeries in Mexico City, Gabriela discovered Belgian osteopath and Reiki practitioner, Bruno Gerard. Dr. Gerard immediately recognized that she was on the brink of physical death due to extreme disassociation from her body.

Dr. Gerard regards flower essence therapy as a centerpiece of his practice, since he believes that all healing involves alignment of the soul with the body. He initiated Gabriela’s intensive flower essence program with a rapidly changing series of formulas every four days, in order to accommodate her precarious, life-threatening condition, with its shifting emotional realities.

The following essence combinations were used in the initial cycles of Gabriela’s therapy:

Rock Rose, Baby Blue Eyes, Evening Primrose, and Chicory

Gorse, Borage, and Baby Blue Eyes

Chicory, Indian Paintbrush, Centaury

Crab Apple, Impatiens, Mimulus

Borage, Evening Primrose, California Wild Rose

Mariposa Lily, Chaparral

Mountain Pennyroyal, Mountain Pride, and Penstemon

The over-all healing themes of Gerard’s therapeutic program involved helping Gabriela find courage, overcome fear, cleanse and re-vitalize the physical body, and feel again the warmth of human love. At the end of Dr. Gerard’s initial program, Gabriela regained her appetite for food. She radiated energy, and her panic attacks had subsided.

The Remarkable Role of Rock Rose and Rosemary Flower Essences for Full Body-Mind Stabilization

About two months following Gabriela’s breakthrough therapy with Dr. Gerard, she experienced a deeper, more fundamental healing crisis. As a survival strategy during her intensive medical crisis, Gabriela’s mind had learned to disconnect from her bodily self. For example, in one of her clinical death episodes following her thirteenth surgery, Gabriella described “floating delightfully like a ghost” outside her body.

Even though Gabriela had re-gained a certain level of physical health, she felt her mind no longer fully aligned with her body. A core part of her consciousness craved an independent existence and at times, even harbored suicidal thoughts. These kinds of feelings are common to many who have encountered near death experiences and extreme, life-threatening bodily trauma. (For a further discussion of the many diverse states of consciousness associated with these experiences, please review the literature on the IANDS (International Association for Near Death Studies) website. It was in exactly this often-overlooked area of emotional trauma that Gabriela discovered the distinctive and transformative healing role of the flower essences.

During a particularly acute episode, Gabriela was intuitively guided to use Rock Rose and then Rosemary with intensive frequency. She describes a profound incarnation process with the help of the Rosemary flower essence. “It is as if Rosemary knew when to push me, when I should go, giving me the strength...” The feeling of compression Gabriela had felt in the hospital when her soul re-entered her bodily sheath returned. But now, with the help of the Rosemary flower essence, Gabriela recognized the process as a beneficial one: “I felt pain, like I had thousands of pounds on my chest pushing me down to the bed, cutting off my breath... . The voice that, at the hospital, told me to go back to the box, had come back, but this time to help me.”

During the course of one week of intensive therapy, Gabriela felt a dramatic shift: “Little by little, I started feeling alive, full of energy. I felt gorgeous and even sexy. I went out dancing, running. I was so hungry; I ate like a truck driver. My skin was glowing.”

For a full discussion of Gabriela’s profound experience with Rock Rose and Rosemary flower essence, read an essay in her own words.

 Just before the first course of flower essences from Dr. Gerard  1 day after stabilizing with flower essences

1 week after her intensive use of Rock Rose and Rosemary flower essences

Helping Others With Post Surgical Trauma:
Gabriela Returns to Costa Rica

After studying with Dr. Gerard for several months in Switzerland, Gabriela returned to Costa Rica, taking a kit of flower essences with her. She felt particular sensitivity and compassionate understanding for those suffering surgical post-trauma and panic anxiety. She offers volunteer services at two different hospitals in Costa Rica, who are both very open to her use of flower essences with patients. Many of those she helps have suffered like her with gangrenous open wounds. She notes the following flower essences to be of particular benefit to such patients:

Rock Rose - to address the soul’s need for courage during extreme circumstances

Sweet Chestnut - to calm intense states of despair and loneliness marked by panic, anxiety, and nightmares

Penstemon – to help the body persevere through anguish and hardship, especially when suffering from open wounds

Echinacea - to stimulate immune response, and help the soul establish relationship to the personal self

Holly – to feel once again a sense of unity, love and the wholeness of connection with others following profound isolation

Rosemary and Rock Rose – to be used intensively for one week to establish
complete alignment of the body-soul matrix, dispelling deep-set fear, and learning to trust again in the safety and warmth of the physical body

Nicotiana – to re-establish health connection with the natural world after confinement in the hospital

Regarding the beneficial qualities of Nicotiana, Gabriela notes a particular healing quality that is often overlooked in medical recovery, “Nicotiana gives connection with Mother Earth, helping people to breathe deeper as they do when relaxed in Nature. Indians in the Andes teach that Mother Earth (Pachamama) absorbs all the negative energies through the soles of our bare feet.” She uses this essence with special attention to topical application on wrist pulse points, forehead, and throughout the body as indicated.

Gabriela Castillo Holley

Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Gabriela began her professional career as Director of the National Ballet, at the Teresa Carreño Theater, one of the largest in South America. Later in life, she also became an architect. Gabriel now has a busy international life with her family, husband and healing work in Switzerland, Costa Rica, and San Francisco. Gabriela studied with Dr. Bruno Gerard, completed Bach Center training courses in England, and participated in the 2010 FES Professional Course. Her focus has shifted to working with flower essences and she maintains a small practice in Switzerland. She has a particular interest in working with people who feel as though a part of their lives have been taken away from them, those who have experienced such traumas as kidnapping, innocent people who have been jailed, or people who are dealing with issues such as the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a life-time job. She continues to volunteer at hospitals using essences where ever she can, and where ever they are needed. Based on her own dramatic recovery as well as many others she has helped, Gabriela believes that flower essences—more than any other therapy—address the unity of the mind, personality, and the soul with the body. Write to Gabriela.


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