Use of flower essences in conjunction with art work


A Case Study by Maki Shimamura

The first words I heard from her...were “I am pregnant!”

Editor’s note: this is an edited version of a case study presented by Maki Shimamura of Chiba, Japan, for the FES certification program. This is an exemplary case showing how the soul foresees its own future and how the essences combined with artwork can be quite powerful; the artwork speaks of what is stirred within the soul.


Keiko came to our sessions to clear her path forward. Her life feels “stuck.” She has a job but she knows it's not her life work. She wants to be creative, but she forgot the joy of being creative. She has a boyfriend, but she is not sure she would like to marry him.

She lives with her family, parents and a brother. Her grandmother used to live with them until she passed away. Her mother is a quite sunny character and she likes her father too. There seems to be no conflict with them.

Everybody thinks she and her boyfriend will get married. They met at a university of agriculture. They are in a good relationship. However, she is not sure that she would like to be married to him. Her boyfriend is ready to get married.

She works as a helper for people with disabilities. She said “I can do this job and I am enjoying it, but I still ask myself, ‘Is this what I really want to do?’”

Also, she is interested in weaving and dyeing. However this seems to be a difficult way to make a living. As a child, she loved painting and drawing.

She is concerned about her cigarette smoking habit of nine years.

When she was at university, her major interest was in agriculture. After graduation, she went to Hokkaido to work with a farmer. However, after one year, her grandmother became ill and her family wanted her to return home to help them. So she gave up her dream and went back. After her grandmother passed away, an acquaintance introduced her to her current job.

She describes herself as easily being affected by others. "I do not want to quarrel with others. I am always pretending that I am a nice girl" She also said "I want to do something only I can do."

I was surprised to know that a person can ignore her anger so completely. Young Japanese women tend to hide their anger and try to keep smiling. Her case taught me that many women in Japan need Centaury at least one time.

Obviously, our long-term goal is to find her path for the future, including job and her relationship with her boyfriend. The short-term goal is to take a look into her inner life. She had never had private sessions like this. What is her soul telling her? What is she really feeling or thinking? These were major questions. A medium-term goal is to connect her to her inner joy, a energy of creation. I thought if we open up the closed door of her creation, she would be more energetic.

Because this was her first try to look at her inner self, she would meet her own soul with her hidden emotions. Her physical body seemed to be weak, even though she does not have any medical problems. So I thought she needed her body to be more grounded and vitalized.

After hearing about her present situation, I chose the following essences:

Agrimony – for her hidden emotions. The most obvious feature is her smile. Keiko keeps smiling even when she talks about her concern for the future. She smiles almost unconsciously.

Centaury – for her devotion to family. She had to leave an important opportunity to go back home because of her grandmother's illness. She works at her present job even though she knows that it's not her real life work.

Indian Paintbrush – to stimulate her creativity

Cayenne – to counteract her stagnation

At the first sessions, she submitted very weak impression drawings with pale colors and a lot of empty space. There is a small thing in the center and nothing in the surroundings.

Session 2

She seemed to enjoy seeing me again after a month. She said she had never taken the same essence combination for an entire month before. However, Keiko felt very irritated and anxious during the month. She described it as her negative parts just breaking to the surface (Agrimony and Cayenne). What most impressed her was that she realized how tired she was. She had been sick with throat pain and was not in good condition.

She had two interesting dreams in the first part of this month. One is the dream she had on the night she started taking flower essence. In the dream, she was in underground shopping center. There she had a feeling that a big earthquake would happen. Then she ran away with terror.

The second dream was of finding a badly wounded cat in the space under her house porch. The cat seemed to be dying and she knew it. She wanted her to die in a comfortable space but the cat did not react to her calling.

I think these dreams represent her anxiety to look into her inner self. She had been hiding her own true feelings, as though badly wounded like the cat under the porch. Going underground is also a symbol to go into unconsciousness.

In a real life, she had been working with two persons with severe physical disabilities. Sometimes they were very selfish. (They also appeared in her dreams) Keiko had never complained about it. But this month, she expressed her anger to her co-worker. She did not like her co-worker’s response and became angry. Surprising to her, her co-worker did not seem to be annoyed, but rather showed sympathy to Keiko. From this exchange, she realized it's she herself who prohibits anger, because she is afraid. Keiko said "I had been affected even by my own thoughts." (Centaury)

She said she used more time to paint or weave. She described this "it's like playing with colors. Kid's play."(Indian Paintbrush)

After realizing how easily she was affected by others, she said “I want to confront my own feelings. I do not want to run from them any more. For a long time, I had been deceiving my feelings. What I had been trying was to act natural, but now I know it's all fake…”

And we discussed and agreed that she needs to be more grounded. Her drawing of a tree without roots (below) seems to be speaking its need.

Keiko's dream had a lot of symbolic images and it helped me to choose the next flower essence formula—

Agrimony, Centaury and Indian Paintbrush – for the same reasons as the prior session

Buttercup – to find her own light; she seems to have lost confidence

Corn – for grounding, to help her stand on her own two feet

Angelica – for her anxiety. She seems to need angelic help in her initial process of transformation. She told me that Angelica is one of her favorite essences.

She started using more colors with less empty spaces.

Session 3

In our next meeting I learned that interestingly, Keiko had a lot of dreams in which sisters, children and men who are not her own family members, appeared. (Angelica)

Her relationship with the people she worked with was getting better. Sometimes she got angry with her co-workers, but she felt a lot of energy coming out from her along with the anger. Now she is learning to express her emotions in a straightforward manner. (Agrimony)

She said "I realized that I wanted to be recognized and appreciated by everyone." With this awareness, she recognized when she tended to become dominated by others. (Centaury)

Keiko had been enjoying her painting. She said, "Something is stopped up in my chest." Just before starting to paint, she always got irritated. To release these blocks would require a lot of energy, I thought Indian Paintbrush.

She drew a wonderful picture which represents the blocking.

One of the new themes for next month is to grow up. She said "it's time to get mature. I want to be an expert in something. I love to weave and dye, but it does not make enough money! I should do something about it."

It's hard for her to make a living with only weaving and dyeing, but at the same time, her current job is not the one she wants to be an expert at. She also wants to be of service to the world. Another theme concerns her smoking habit; at this session, she told me she is a smoker. All her family members smoke and she started smoking when she was a high-school student. She said she smokes to avoid issues.

The flower essence formula for the next cycle was—

Indian Paintbrush – I thought perhaps to use an essence for life work, such as Wild Oat, but my intuition told me that she can find her life work once she finds and re-connects to her creativity. So I chose Indian Paintbrush again for one more “push.”

Corn – for the same reason as previously

Angelica – I felt she needed a little more help from angelic energy

Nicotiana – to deal with her smoking. She already knew that she smokes when she has a difficult time. Together with Corn, I thought it would help her to accept her emotions.

I have excluded Agrimony which worked as a key essence together with Centaury so far. Prior to this session, she still felt anxiety with regard to expressing anger. But this time, she also felt the release of energy when she expressed anger. I think the energy was able to release because it comes from her own source.

Also I told her to take flower essences instead of cigarettes when she wants to smoke.

The motif of baby-like object appeared repeatedly in her drawings.

Session 4

When we met again, the number of cigarettes she had smoked decreasd. She was amazed to know how much she had done painting and weaving. It seems to have given her a lot of confidence in herself.

She said “I used to be unable to say ‘I want to do this’ clearly, because I was always anxious. But now something is trying to light a fire in me. Now I can say that my current job is not my vocation. And I do not have to hurry toward marriage.”

During this month, she felt certain of the existence of those who protect her. She felt being pushed forward every time she felt anxious; it came from both outside and inside of herself. One day she had to work with someone she does not like, and she went directly to bed when she went home. Just before she slept, she heard a young man’s voice saying "It's a good opportunity to stop smoking. Let's stop it. It's going to be okay." (Angelica)

We agreed that her next step is to be fully in her body, so that she could be more creative using her own body. She said she wants to acknowledge her body and embrace it. The formula I chose included:

Indian Paintbrush – to accept her body more

Crab Apple – for her dislike of her body

Blackberry – to help her visions take form

Corn – to help her be more grounded; she feels uneasy in cities

Angelica – to continue to help her with transformation

Nicotiana – for the same reason as previously

Again,I told her to take flower essences instead of cigarettes when she wants to smoke.

Session 5

The first words I heard from her at this session were “I am pregnant!” She decided to quit her job and she was slowly decreasing her work. She is still enjoying dyeing and weaving. She just decided to quit everything that she HAS to do. “It's my first time to have nothing I have to do. I am so happy. I really want to start something new. Yes, I will.”

She said she was happy when she realized she was pregnant. Her boyfriend is also glad and they decided to get married without hesitation. Also, she quit smoking for the baby. She said Nicotiana helped her to realize she is sensitive. Now she is wondering with joy how to use her sensitivity for good things. She said Indian Paintbrush and Angelica mean a lot to her.

Comments on the case by Patricia Kaminski:

I was impressed to see how the artwork presages the event of her becoming pregnant...a number of pieces show various aspects of “womb enclosure” or “spirit making contact” – these were drawn before Keiko got pregnant but when she was taking flower essences to work with the various soul issues.

I think Angelica and Indian Paintbrush [were] very pivotal in her case – helping her to align creative forces – which for her particular creative destiny brought her to bringing a child into the world.

Maki Shimamura attended the 2003 Practitioner Training at Lake Tahoe. She recently completed her certification case studies and is now an FES certified practitioner of flower essence therapy. She is also a Reiki teacher and a certificated EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) practitioner. Maki lives in Chiba, Japan and has a practice called Earth Embracement. If versed in the Japanese language you can visit her website at



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