Queen Anne’s Lace:
Plant Signature & Healing Qualities
by Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz
Theresa Melia’s study of the Queen Anne’s Lace is full of sensitive perception and imaginative insight, the fruit of her many years of study of the Goethean principles of plant science. For a practical discussion of Goethean science, click here. For further exploration of Goethean science, consult the following references.
Teresa’s plant study provides an extensive discussion of the characteristics of the Umbelliferae plant family, more recently named the Apiaceae. The traditional name of Umbelliferae well describes the unique gesture of most members of this plant family, with their umbrella-like canopy of flowers, and flower stalks radiating from a single point. Each of these stalks in turn leads to another radiating burst of smaller flower stalks, terminating in five-petaled flowers. These dual levels of radiating umbels create a neural-like network of connections, resulting in an inflorescence that is much fuller than a simple flower.
As Teresa has noted, the air element predominates in the Umbelliferae. Not only does air permeate the flower head, it is evident in the finely-divided feathery leaves, in the air sacs that are appear at the axils of new leaves and in the hollow core of the stem.
The airy structure of the Queen Anne’s Lace allows light to penetrate into the plant and exert unique formative forces. We can observe strong qualities of form in the highly structured geometry of the radiating umbels, creating a spiralic pattern involving the Fibonacci ratio. The plant’s form is not only highly organized, but also intensely dynamic, as revealed in the movement of concavity and convexity, emerging as a cup-like mass of budding flowers, opening into a flat plane, folding back to form a half-spherical flower head, and finally collapsing into the “birds-nest” of the seed-head, similar to the originating concave buds.
The strong qualities of air and light in the upper regions of the plant are striking, but equally impressive is Queen Anne’s Lace activity in the earth pole. The wild carrot has a vigorous central tap root with a finely attenuated system of spreading roots. The air element that we have noted for its dynamic activity above ground, also penetrates into its intricate root system, to enliven and enrich the soil. The root system of the Queen Anne’s Lace is so vigorous and full of life that it can easily survive on abandoned roadsides and other dry places with little water and in poor soils, while continuing to produce ample flowering activity through the long, hot days of summer.
These primary features of the Queen Anne Lace lead us to a core archetypal gesture: the dynamic relationship between the upper and lower regions of the plant. At the very center of the plant’s heavenly white inflorescence is its intriguing single purple flower, a kind of “spiritual eye” that orients itself to the cosmos, while a vibrant, strong root system sustains and grounds its intense activity. The Queen’s Anne Lace, also known as “wild carrot,” is the progenitor of the nutritious food called the carrot. In the development of the carrot, we can see that the earthly polarity of the plant is further emphasized. As the wild carrot has been cultivated and domesticated for food, the spiritual eye is no longer visible, but instead these forces have gone into the further development of the central tap root to become the carrot we love to eat, endowed with golden color and delicious aroma. The carrot is one of the most nourishing of foods, rich in beta-carotene (the precursor of Vitamin A), which is so regenerating for the physical eye, and for the general health of the brain and sensory life.
Holding this archetypal picture, we can understand why the predominant healing quality of the Queen Anne’s Lace flower essence involves balancing the polar relationship between the physical senses and soul consciousness. For example, the Queen Anne’s Lace flower essence can be very helpful for those who suffer from a variety of disturbances in the physical eyesight, especially when the body and soul struggle between unconscious clairvoyance and related psychic experiences, and what is objectively perceived and understood through the conscious mind.
At a deeper level, this struggle for insight and objectivity can lead to a condition called “psychic projection.” Here the personality can be tempted to substitute its own subjectively distorted sense of self-image, rather than the objective reality or truth of one’s situation. This seeing often involves a struggle for consciousness regarding the lower “life pole” energy centers of the body/soul. For example, certain aspects of the personality, particularly with regard to one’s sexuality, may assume unlawful or untruthful presentation. This is a phenomena well-known in our modern day world when teachers, political leaders or spiritual authorities may publicly project a “higher” personality, and yet have another hidden side of sexual activity that runs counter to the more ideal self that has been imaged into the public arena.
Though we can be aware of extreme examples in popular culture, the temptations are common to all who work to unfold higher centers of awareness. As the soul struggles for a more spiritualized form of consciousness, many aspects in the sense/desire nature of the personality must be consciously recognized and brought into harmony with the upper spiritual centers of consciousness. This is why, in traditional spiritual development, the aspirant typically removes her/himself from secular culture and seeks spiritual refuge, along with taking vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. By these external measures, the lower chakras were effectively regulated, or even silenced, so that the upper chakras could be harmoniously and safely opened. This is related to one of the herbal properties Theresa noted in her research on Queen Anne’s Lace — the seeds were used as a natural contraceptive, thereby subduing some of the strong and overpowering reproductive forces of the second chakra.
In our modern age, spiritual opening is possible, alongside daily life responsibilities of work and family. In fact, the modern path of spiritual development does not involve shutting down the lower centers, but rather bringing full spiritual awareness to their activity. We cannot congruently develop higher chakras of perception – especially the energy center that is called the third eye – unless we recognize and take responsibility for the soul’s desires and passions that are operative in the life/metabolic centers. The spiritual eye cannot be opened lawfully through spiritual ambition, personality projection, psychic techniques, or drugs without harm or negative effect to oneself or others. With its ability to integrate both earthly and cosmic poles into dynamic and creative unity, Queen Anne Lace is an outstanding flower essence for harmonious integration of soul consciousness and sensory awareness.
From this point of view we can also see the important role of the two other Umbelliferae flower essences that provide harmonious fusion of the upper and lower poles of the body soul matrix. Angelica flower essence activates the higher awareness of our spiritual faculties so that we feel the protection and guidance of the “guardian angel” or “spiritual witness,” who is there to help fuse the lower personality with the higher. The flower essence of Dill regulates and harmonizes the nerve-sensory impressions we take in, so that they are “digested” and assimilated in the soul consciousness.