Utilizing Black-Eyed Susan Flower Essence for Illuminating Shadow Aspects of the Self


Marisa Raggio is a Jungian Psychologist who utilizes Black-Eyed Susan flower essence for illuminating shadow aspects of the self

By Jann Garitty; based on an interview with and writings by Marisa Raggio

Read an in-depth client case featuring the use of Black-Eyed Susan flower essence: Black-Eyed Susan Reveals the Shadows of an Addictive Relationship

“Black-Eyed Susan offers a great contribution to the therapeutic process, especially as motivation: I think of it is as leading efforts towards the dark center in us, illuminating the darkness.”

As a flower essence therapist incorporating Jungian psychology with her practice, Marisa Raggio typically associates her clients with archetypes in Greek mythology. When beginning with a new client, if she does not clearly recognize some traits of their character, she compares the person with archetypes to discover what is lacking or is clearly present in the client’s character.

Particularly because Greek archetypes are very integral to Italian history, mythology and culture, utilizing this approach is instrumental for both Marisa and her clients in their work together. The archetypes are well-known or familiar to most Italians and are easily recognized and understood as to their character traits.
The Shadow and Black-Eyed Susan as related to the Persephone mythology

Marisa explains that work with regard to the shadow aspect of the self echoes or reflects the goddess Persephone as shown in the second part of her myth, by which time she had become independent from her mother, Demeter, and was married to Hades, the king of the underworld. According to the ancient Greek myth, it was Persephone, who illuminated the darkness with her torch, guiding the heroes on their initiatory journeys underground.

Persephone and Hades

To be effective with clients, Marisa believes the exploration of the shadow is an indispensable initiation for any therapist. She says, “Without this initiation, without the knowledge and forgiveness toward the shadow aspects of ourselves, relationships and work with clients will be increasingly potentially at risk for not actually "seeing" the Other, looking only at our "projections.”

As a teacher of flower essence therapy, Marisa covers topics such as the relationship with the client, the management of interviews, and the concepts of “transfer” and “counter-transfer.” In her teachings, the concept and theme of the shadow is at the heart of the material, and she introduces the important role of the Black-Eyed Susan flower essence. Marisa elaborates, “Black-Eyed Susan offers a great contribution to the therapeutic process, especially as motivation: I think of it is as leading efforts towards the dark center in us, illuminating the darkness.”

As such, Marisa often uses Black-Eyed Susan as a starting point for her work with clients. After her own personal experience with Black-Eyed Susan, she abandoned her reservations in regard to using it early on in the therapeutic process with clients. She had initially thought that it might be too powerful a remedy without prior foundational work. She came to realize that the essence is an invaluable tool, especially when she feels that the client is blocked and doesn’t want to realize deeply their problems and issues.

“I myself used Black-Eyed Susan and it helped me to recognize my own ‘mask.’ In a period of my life when all of my securities were completely destroyed, Black-Eyed Susan brought me to see that I viewed myself as a very strong, aggressive woman. I realized that it was simply a construction, an idea about myself. However, with Black-Eyed Susan, I began to recognize that the baby, the child, the girl inside me was ashamed. So, from that point on, I didn’t hesitate to use it at any time with my clients.”

Indications for all of the flower essences mentioned below can be found here.

FES spoke further with Marisa Raggio to elaborate on the use of Black-Eyed Susan flower essence—

FES: Do you always use Black-Eyed Susan with clients, or only with those for whom you can’t recognize the shadow?

“I don’t always use Black-Eyed Susan when beginning with a client, but later on if a person arrives at a certain level and then is not able to go on. In these cases, I use Black-Eyed Susan because it helps me and the client—especially the client—to see beyond the surface. For me, the center of my work with Black-Eyed Susan is the work with the shadow, which basically is the part of ourselves that we do not recognize and accept.”

FES: If someone is unaware of their shadow aspects, and all of a sudden with Black-Eyed Susan they have an awareness, what types of emotional reactions do you see and what essences are important to support that process?

“Most often, I combine Black-Eyed Susan with the flowers for fear in the Bach system, such as Mimulus, Rock Rose, etc. Though sometimes, I also use essences such as Mountain Pride and Penstemon for courage, to help the person be stronger. It is necessary to have a lot of courage to dip your hands in the shadow. It is important to support the process, which can be very powerful and frightening for someone to all of a sudden confront what they have repressed for so long.”

FES: Are there other flower essences in addition to Black-Eyed Susan, and essences for fear and courage, that support the shadow work?

“Sometimes when using Black-Eyed Susan, one of the themes that emerges is addiction. Often addiction is connected to relationships. In these cases, I utilize Black-Eyed Susan and Black Cohosh. However, they are not used together but separately; first used is Black-Eyed Susan and then Black Cohosh.”

“An example of this is a client, to whom I eventually was able to express my observation regarding her addiction after using these essences. In the beginning, the addiction was for food and alcohol. But then, it was for a man. Her addiction passed from alcohol to love. She had taken Black-Eyed Susan for three months, and then afterward, I felt that I was able to speak about the problem of addiction. It took quite some time. But, ultimately, I decided that Milkweed was the best essence for her.”

FES: What was your reasoning for using Milkweed; what were your thoughts about that?

“I believed it was a very old, old attitude to the addiction and close to her history from when she was a baby. The client had an important dream: she dreamt that she had a little electric-blue cat. The cat was dying because she didn’t give him any food. The cat had a wound in the heart/chest area. She took it and brought it up to her breast. She then woke up.”

“I intuited that this dream was connected to a lack of nourishment that she experienced when she was a child. I then suggested to her to think again about the blue cat and to feed him milk and some food that she herself loved to eat. She said that she loved salmon. I told her, ‘Give him some salmon and milk on two different plates.’ In my experience, milk is not necessarily good for cats, even though it is commonly thought to be so. With my realization about her, however, I believed she had to give milk to the cat. So, I arrived at Milkweed flower essence for her.”

FES: After using Black-Eyed Susan, how does the awareness of particular issues manifest? You mentioned through dreams, but how else do you see clients begin to discover what it is that is deeply hidden?

“I have recognized a pattern: the meetings with clients go well for a time, there are improvements, but sometimes a block occurs. However, the nature of the block is not clear. It seems to be masked. Sometimes the client also begins to lie to me, little white lies. I know this because, for instance, the client will cancel the next meeting, for no seemingly valid reason. Or, sometimes the client shows an Agrimony side; I’ll ask, ‘How are you doing?’ And she or he smiles, or appears to be happy, or has a positive attitude. But on the contrary, probably they are not being honest and telling the truth.”

“At that point, I start adding Black-Eyed Susan to the formula bottle. I have found that the flower needs some time to produce results; it is not immediate. The answer often comes with a dream or a struggle with someone, or a Holly behavior, such as rage or an aggressive attitude. Sometimes there is a controversy between me and the client, such as when I try to repeat what the person said, the person says, ‘No, that’s not correct, you have not understood.’”

“This is the key point of the transition—something is going to happen. It is clear to me that the remedy is working and I will go on with it. Together with Black-Eyed Susan, I will use the fear remedies, or even Larch for confidence to persist on the healing journey. Most of the time, there is a dream that is underlying this transition—something is moving. And ironically, normally people do not tell me about the dream during a session, but afterward, almost at the end of our meeting or on the door step, they may say, ‘I just want to tell you about my dream…’ This is because they are not aware of what is going to happen for them, but for me, it is very clear, this is the discovery of a very key point in the healing process.”

Read an in-depth client case featuring the use of Black-Eyed Susan flower essence: Black-Eyed Susan Reveals the Shadows of an Addictive Relationship

About Marisa Raggio

Marisa Raggio majored in cultural anthropology and today is a counselor and flower essence therapist. She also teaches courses in flower essence therapy at Unione Di Floriterapia, in Milan, Italy.

Marisa has attended many seminars in Italy and abroad, deepening her knowledge of flower essences and their uses.

Write to Marisa Raggio.


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