FES notes: This case shows a notable metamorphosis in P.E.’s dealing with the loss of his father and older brother, and his place in the family, with his drawings as their own language showing increasing clarity, inner strength and resolve. With the loss of his father through death, and older brother through moving, this young boy is finding his own masculine self, and inner sense of strength. Mariposa Lily and Baby Blue Eyes were foundational for P.E. In the concluding portion of his therapy, he writes firm and clear “I am smart…fast…strong…creative…friendly.”
Please note: click on images to see larger images of the drawings.
P.E. is an eight year old biracial boy. His mother is white American and his father was African from Nigeria. Just over a year prior to starting flower essences, P.E.’s 51 year old father who had been the primary caretaker, had died suddenly while at work. Approximately a year prior to his father dying, his oldest brother who had lived with them for as long as P.E. could remember, moved across the country to live with his mother. P.E.’s mother says the reason she likes him to have flower essences is for “an overall feeling of getting support and attention.” She states he is stubborn and has had tantrums when wound up. The main areas he exhibits difficulty in are his relationships with siblings, co-operation, friends, and compassion.
The major issues in this case are feelings of loss of self: finding his place in community and family, P.E.’s feelings around the death of his father, and the loss of his oldest brother living in the same household along with his difficulty in verbalizing these feelings. While he expressed anger, somewhat at his mother and a lot at his older brother with whom he lives, he did not talk about feelings in depth, which is not surprising considering his developmental stage of life. We are able to gain deeper glimpses into his process of going through the stages of grief and other feelings through his drawings, and interactions talking about what he would like from the remedies he takes. The main issues he spoke about directly were complaints of having nightmares and being afraid of monsters, and anger and fear towards his older brother. He also spoke about missing his oldest brother.
P.E. is very active in sports, and feelings were sometimes expressed through how he sees himself performing in sports and fantasy games. During his second cycle session, he talked about having been stronger, and faster and better all around in sports when he was five. (His father died when he was 6 years old, and his oldest brother left the family home when he was 5 years old). During sessions, he repeatedly requested to be stronger and faster and smarter. By the last session he expressed confidence in his performance in sports and in overall strength and ability following his flower essences.
Baby Blue Eyes and Mariposa Lily are two essences that were used throughout the cycles. It very much felt like P.E.’s talk about his physical abilities were a shell he is wrapping himself in. Mariposa Lily is used at any time there may be feelings of neglect from the mother. While the mom here is reaching out and expresses much love and concern, she works long hours and is not always able to be present. For the first seven years of his life, his father was in the “mothering” role of preparing him for school, getting many of the meals together, taking him to school, arranging playdates, etc.
I started this session with showing P.E. some figurines of royalty, knights, and other fighters and some mythical creatures. P.E. was drawn to the centaur and said that it was his favourite. It was interesting that the one figure that is part human and part animal, rather monster like, is the one that he chose as his favourite. (Most of the figures were humans or fey).
P.E. mentioned having more nightmares. He talked about a person growing a horse head with shark teeth. I asked P.E. if he would like to draw for me. He eagerly accepted the paper and colored pencils.
When I asked him to tell me about it, he told me it was an Alligator Hunting. When I asked if it had anything to do with his dream, he denied it.
The second drawing:
When he first finished drawing the picture, there was only the one stick figure with a sword on the head of the monster. I asked him if he was in the picture, and he told me he wasn’t. The figure on the monster’s name is Sean. I asked if he knows a Sean, and he denied knowing anyone by that name. I asked him where he was in the picture, and he drew himself on the Cyclop’s sword.
P.E. also talked about his relationship with his older brother a little, saying his relationship was “worse with N.E.” and says that “he laughs and says now you're starting to talk about your emotions,” and that N.E. lies about P.E. saying he hits him on purpose. His brother is a lot bigger, and looking at the picture, I also wonder if Sean is actually his brother, large and looming on top while P.E. sees himself as being lower and smaller.
There were many big changes for this family since I last saw them. The Mom was in a relationship with a man she had dated years earlier. She was talking about spending time with him.
P.E. mentioned about having anger sometimes and being mad at his Mom sometimes. He told me “she’s not mean but she says I lose things.” Mariposa Lily seemed even more important now, that the mothers’ mothering was being questioned; and Baby Blue Eyes is also very important to assist with any feelings of not being emotionally supported and the loss of his father. Chicory was introduced into this round to support feelings of abandonment. Star of Bethlehem felt like it would still be supportive, and needed at this point in time for the embrace it is able to impart.
In this session, P.E. was much more communicative. He started out by drawing this picture:
In this picture he drew a light bulb and wrote “more ideas more energy”. It shows a picture of him hitting the punching bag in his home and a picture of him running. There is a feeling of him using his energies in a positive way, perhaps an indication of Mountain Pride’s work. He talked about feeling stronger and faster now. When I asked if he could change anything about what he can do with his body, what would it be, he talked about super powers and wishing he could fly or teleport to the Amazon and see wildlife or go to the Himalayas to skydive. The feeling I had was that he felt more satisfied with his physical body at present.
His mother felt that he had improvement of self-image and personal identity; reduction in general anxiety or stress; generally felt more positive and resilient. He certainly felt more open when talking to me and shared a lot more in this session than in others.
He also talked about “kind of getting along with N.E.” and not having as many fights. He also claims to have had no dreams and no nightmares that he could remember. If felt as if the last remedy of Baby Blue Eyes- Mariposa Lily-Chicory had set up a platform for him feeling more secure within himself.
As he played with the figurines that I brought, he continued to talk. He reported that he felt “kind of happy” and “kind of sad” all of the time. He talked about becoming sad when one of his friends ignores him, a friend he’s had his whole life. When I directly asked him if he thinks about his father, he told me that he thinks about him a lot. Star of Bethlehem-Deerbrush-Chicory energies felt pertinent to his being able to open about his feelings and talk about his father.
P.E.’s mother had some short out of town trips since last seeing me. P.E. tells me that he stays with a friend of his brother’s family. His brother takes him to school often on the city bus, and P.E. is able to walk from the bus stop, across the street from the school by crossing with the light and the crossing guard.
When he originally finished drawing the picture, the top 6 figures were present. I pointed out that the most important person in the family was missing, he looked puzzled and asked: “My Grandma?” I then told him that it was him missing. He took the pad back from me and added himself on the bottom. I asked him what he could tell me about the picture, and as he looked at it he said “my mother is small.”
It was perhaps an error on my part, but I also noticed out loud that he had left the mouths off of his two half sisters on the top and his half brother beside his mother. He grabbed the pad back from me immediately and drew the mouths in. The largest of the figures is his oldest brother.
After we spoke about the picture, we talked about what he would like from the next remedy. He listed three things he would like it to help him be: 1) more friendly, 2) creative and 3) to remember better. He told me he wanted to name the potion ‘Redeem Potion”. I asked him what redeem meant, and he told me it means “to get better at something you did bad so you need to redeem yourself to get better”. I asked if he felt he needed to be redeemed, and told me that he sometimes “feels like he did something wrong” but “can’t remember what I did bad”. Pine was added in the next remedy.
While we talked about his father, he told me that he does feel his father’s presence, and I felt that adding Angelica into the mix would be beneficial. Baby Blue Eyes, Mariposa Lily and Star of Bethlehem all felt as if they continue to be relevant and that their energies would continue to be useful in this mix.
Most of this session's talk revolved around the games and characters from an afterschool program he attends, Brooklyn Game Lab. Many of the games that P.E. plays have a Mythical nature to them and he talks about a show, “The Seven Deadly Sins,” in which there are several races, his favourite being Goddesses, which is what he would choose to be “because they can resurrect the humans.”
His first drawing was this one:
This dragon’s abilities are listed in the drawing above.
As we talked about this picture, he explained that Dr. Colloso is part of the Tree Arc, which are elements and similar to magic. The Arc he described as a Weakness. This creature’s strengths are Black Holes, which he explains is Wisdom, Four Legs that Kick, which is Strength (and he has another Four Legs to stand on), and he is Invisible, which provides Stealth.
There was a feeling that he was more light hearted during this visit, also that he wasn’t very interested in talking about personal matters but very interested in talking about his games. There was one final drawing that he started:
This drawing shows legs with 5 long necks and faces on top. Each of the faces has a slightly different expression, ranging from angry to sad and surprised. When asked, P.E. didn’t want to talk about the drawing though, and said he messed it up.
I decide to lay out cards for P.E. to choose. I put down all the cards from his previous remedy: Angelica, Baby Blue Eyes, Mariposa Lily, Star of Bethlehem, Pine, Buttercup and Sweet Pea. I also included Centaury, Rock Rose and Mimulus, Chicory, Deerbrush and Mountain Pride. Of these cards he first chose Angelica, Star of Bethlehem, and Baby Blue Eyes. When I asked if there were any others, he picked Mountain Pride and Deerbrush.
Embracing new-found strength and ability
The overall sense I get from working with P.E. is that he is feeling more supported and safer, all aspects of the workings of Star of Bethlehem which supported all the flowers in bringing calm and restoration after trauma.
When talking about his next remedy, P.E. again talked about wanting Strength to work out more, Agility to be faster when playing soccer and Stamina to help him run longer. I asked him if he would like to draw a picture and he readily agreed. The picture is here:
P.E. describes this picture of a creature called Osborn as part monkey for increased speed and climbing ability, part bat for more balance and ability to hang from stuff, part human for the body and brain, part bird to be able to fly, part frog to give it suction cups to help it land if the bat part doesn’t work, part spider to see more things like danger and part demon to make it stronger.
He told me againabout a show he really likes called the ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ and explained that there are different races. The ones he described to me were Humans, Demons, Goddesses (and Gods), and Fairy. He said he would choose to be of the Goddess race because “they can resurrect the humans and they can’t die.” When I heard him describe this race, I felt that keeping Angelica in the remedy was called for to continue to help him feel connection with his father, who while unable to be resurrected can still offer protection and guidance from the spirit realm.
For the next drawing that P.E. drew, I asked him if he could draw himself. It was quite different from all the others, and he used words in it more than he had in the past.
His words are bold and clear. It certainly shows huge transition from the first drawing of himself when he inserted himself into the picture as an afterthought and barely visible.
In the first session, we talked about wearing armor as protection. In the second session, he talked about feeling less athletically able than he had when he was five years old. During the third session, he talks more about wanting to be more creative and more friendly. By the third session, he is starting to notice fewer bad dreams, and is able to start talking about missing his father when asked. He also shows that he is feeling more confident intellectually when he draws a light bulb and talks about more ideas and more energy. And the picture of himself with the punching bag and running shows him smiling and appearing to be energetic. By the final cycle, in his drawing, he announces: “I am smart. I am fast. I am strong. I am creative. I am friendly.” Through his art work, we are able to see and hear how these remedies are manifesting.
His artwork evolved to show a progression of where he feels he stands in space, from the first drawing of a warrior named Sean who is standing and attacking a monster, where he adds himself much smaller and in a vulnerable place upon the monster’s sword, only as an afterthought, to the final picture of himself standing proudly with the strong words of self knowledge.
By the last session, he is able to identify how he feels in his body when he is scared: “my hair frizzles up”, when he is angry: (sensation) “in my hands.” He is starting to explore with whom he feels he can communicate his feelings, feeling safer with his mother than his older brother, and admitting to being able to tell his oldest brother about his feelings of loneliness and sadness as well.
Katharine James of Alignment Whole Health, Brooklyn, NY, is a certified flower essence practitioner, registered yoga teacher and a registered nurse. She has worked in healthcare for 30 years, with people in all stages of life. She is the mother of three children ranging in age from 19 years to 9 years old and has many years of experience working with children and parents as a mother, volunteer breast feeding support person, yoga teacher and a nurse.
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