Spreading Phlox vs Heather – Affinity vs emotional co-dependency


by Rosana Souto

Heather and Spreading Phlox are indispensable flower remedies to prepare humanity for a new form of relationship based on the approaching of two wholes, and not the union of two halves. [Gikovate]1

Spreading Phlox is one of the research essences of the Flower Essence Society that is experiencing growing popularity in Brazil. Due to the most varied circumstances in which its effects could be noticed in different people’s lives, it has come to be known and sought as the soul mate flower essence or the affinity flower essence for relationships in general.

All of this because incorporating new forms of seeing the universe allied to the great technological advancement of the beginning of this century, creates a need to reevaluate many of the paradigms that rule the range of our relationships as well.

According to Flávio Gikovate, renowned Brazilian author, doctor and psychotherapist, what we seek today is a relationship compatible with modern times, in which there is individuality, respect, joy and pleasure of being together, and not another dependent relationship, in which one is held responsible for the other’s well-being.

To him, the idea of someone being the remedy to our happiness is fated to disappear in the beginning of this century. Romantic love comes from the notion that we are a fraction and we need to find our other half to feel whole.

The theory of the opposite attraction also stems from this root: the other has to know how to do what I do not know. If I am calm, my partner should be aggressive, and so on. A practical idea of survival, but not quite a romantic one …

The word for this century is partnership. We are exchanging love of need for love of desire. I like and desire his/her company, but I do not need it, which is a very different thing.1

This stimulates the development of our individuality, the need of seeing ourselves as a whole, loving ourselves and knowing how to appreciate our own company. That’s the only way we can be ready to truly relate with others. The one who does not know how to be alone with himself/herself will hardly know how to respect and appreciate the other in his/her individuality, perpetuating a pattern of emotional co-dependency.

For this reason, nowadays, we can verify an increasing number of apparently stable and lasting relationships breaking apart. Still, according to Flávio Gikovate, with the advance in technology, which demands more individual time, people are losing their fear of being alone, and learning to live better with themselves… Man is an animal that is changing the world, and later, has to recycle himself, to adapt to the world he has created. 2

Nature accompanies us in our evolution by offering its gifts through the flowers. When we compare the signatures of Spreading Phlox with that of Heather (Calluna vulgaris), of the Bach system, we can verify the subtle differences that favor our movement towards this new art of relating to ourselves – the art to unite our true Self to the true Self of the other and unite the talents and potentials to generate more benefits to society and/ or to the planet. Today’s relationships aim towards the addition and not the division of individual Selves for a common good.

Heather and Spreading Phlox have a lot in common. Their botanical families belong to the same order of Ericales, with Heather being from the Ericaceae family, while Spreading Phlox belongs to the Polemoniaceae family. Both have the allusion to the fire element in the name. In Heather, heat from the English language, in Spreading Phlox, phlox from the Greek language, meaning flame. Both show great spreading power and their flowers may have similar colors.

However, the way each of these plants choose to relate to the spaces they occupy, tells us a lot about their subtle healing properties as flower essences.

Heather is voracious. It grows in prairies and in hills as well, and in its thirst for company, invades spaces draining all the sweetness from the ground, turning it acid on its way. Its side roots suffocate other vegetal beings it finds in the way and leave them lifeless. Heather invades spaces and the others by draining them until they no longer serve it. Thus, as a person that needs this flower remedy, it goes ahead searching for more without ever getting satisfied. Heather needs the other so much to live that it ends up suffocating the other’s existential freedom. It’s the selfish person who doesn’t have his/her own energy and feeds from the energy that comes from the other, no matter if it’s financial or moral energy.3

On the other hand, Spreading Phlox, besides preferring more elevated altitudes (1220 – 3600 m)4, likes to grow by forming blankets which spread on the rocky and arid surfaces, bringing back the green and decorating these spaces with its little flowers whose color goes from pink or lilac to white. Its spreading strategy is much less aggressive than Heather’s. At first, we can notice small groups of flowers, or even isolated flowers, distant from the denser blankets. With the passing of time these groups or the flowers which have gone “astray”, seem to migrate towards each other, forming new blankets or uniting to the already existing dense masses.

What we notice in the growth of Spreading Phlox is an approximating movement, on the individual and group levels as well, towards its likes, and not an invasive movement like Heather’s.  To Heather it doesn’t matter what it finds along the way, as long as it isn’t alone. On the other hand, Spreading Phlox is selective and this approximation has a noble function – the union of everyone for the common good.

The fire element is associated to light. Light is invariably the emblem of spirit: divine light, the light of love, the light of creation. [BARNARD]5

In the planetary symbolism, the light, the divine conscience, are attributes to Jupiter, as well as the expansion movement. Heather and Spreading Phlox are vegetal beings that show a very significant Jupiterian influence, especially due to their potential to occupy large spaces. However, in their signatures, the other planets are also present, notably Venus, the Goddess of Love and relationships, responsible for our impulse to give and receive love, compelling the union between people in general.

Venus is attraction, the one who brings harmony and beauty. The relationships formed by love are the most stable ones, love lets the other being free to be who he/she really is, it likes the other for what he/she is, and in addition, loves itself as well. Harmony allows the other to move according to his/ her own nature and makes people more aware of themselves, and, therefore, in harmony with the world. [RIBEIRO]6

Heather and Spreading Phlox inherently have all the divine power and particularly, the great capacity of spreading light and love throughout the planet. However, the little balloon-shaped Heather flowers, which are directed towards the ground, show us that in the first place love and the divine conscience should be developed within ourselves, so that we can be ready to love and give our attention to the other with empathy.

On the other hand, it’s the profusion of the Heather flowers’ nectar, subtly brought to its flower essence, which makes it able to quench the great need for affection and the thirst for self love, enabling the person to have a compassionate understanding of the other and respect for his/her individual freedom. Heather transforms the need to feed or drain the other into receptiveness and unconditional giving. It’s the cure for selfishness in relationships, of the projection of needing the other to live, through improving the virtue of serving.

The simple Spreading Phlox flowers, with five round flat pink-like turned-up petals, and a central cavity to protect its reproductive parts, translate the search, the opening and the warm receptivity to partners alike, be that on an individual or collective level. Spreading Phlox wants more than just being together. It wants to connect to the other to serve humanity, without being invaded or invading the other in its life path. It’s the flower  essence aligned to the new relationship paradigms for the 21st century when what people search for is the quality of love woven in the spiritual dimension and only understood by the ones who have already rescued their true identity and self love.

Spreading Phlox seeks affinity in its relationships, the “spice” in love’s orbit, that makes us feel connected, as if we belong to a large web of spiritual beings that see a bigger purpose in their earthly journey. Affinity is difficult to describe for it’s something that doesn’t belong to a rational and logical approach to life.

Affinity is something that is felt, it doesn’t matter how different and unique each one of us may be. It’s the feeling of love without distance, without time. It’s the feeling of “it seems like yesterday” even if years had already passed without seeing or being with a certain person.

To Arthur da Távola, Brazilian writer and journalist, affinity is not the brightest, but the subtlest, most delicate and penetrating of the feelings and also the most independent.7
Still, according to him:

When there is affinity, any reencounter retakes the relationship, the dialogue, the conversation, the affection; at the exact point in which it was interrupted. Affinity is not having time mediating life.

It’s a victory of the guessed over the real.

Of the subjective over the objective.

Of the permanent over the superficial.

Having affinity is very rare.
But when it exists, it doesn’t need verbal codes to manifest itself. It existed before knowledge, it irradiates during and remains after people are no longer together.
What is difficult to express to a non-alike person, comes out easily and clear when facing someone who you have affinity with.

Affinity is staying away thinking similarly about the same facts that impress, touch or mobilize.

It’s having a conversation without exchanging a word.

It’s receiving what comes from the other with acceptation prior to understanding.

Affinity is feeling with.
Not feeling against, nor feeling for.

So many people love wildly, but feel against the object of affection.
So many love and feel for the loved being, not for themselves.

Feeling is not having the need to explain what we’re feeling.

It’s looking and realizing.

It’s being silent rather than speaking.

Or when it’s speaking, it’s never explaining, just affirming.8

This way, Heather and Spreading Phlox are indispensable flower remedies to prepare humanity for a new form of relationship based on the approaching of two wholes, and not the union of two halves. The new way of loving, or loving more, has a new face and meaning. It is only possible for the ones who can work their individuality. The more competent to live alone the individual is, the more prepared he/she will be for a good affective relationship.[Gikovate]9

Still, according to Flávio Gikovate, the love of two whole people is much healthier. In this kind of connection, there is coziness, the pleasure of companionship and the respect for the loved

When it comes to practice, the use of Spreading Phlox must be considered after a long cycle of therapeutic work where Heather was necessary in the healing of the emotional co-dependency associated, many times, to: Walnut and Red Chestnut, to release the symbiotic tie by recovering the existential freedom, Bleeding Heart to heal the pain of feeling away from the other, or even, Milkweed, when the other’s dependency pattern is so intense that it compromises everyday tasks.

Red Chestnut
Bleeding Heart

On the other hand, only Heather’s heat – its great capacity of giving love and affection, is able to recover the pleasure of having companionship in those individuals that are already used to living completely alone, whether because of self sufficiency, Water Violet, and/ or because they have given up waiting for someone to accompany them in their life journey, Impatiens. It’s not a surprise that these three flower remedies make up the solitude group. However, it’s Heather’s function to build a loving bridge between sky and earth by recovering the sense of feeling whole and belonging to something bigger.

Water Violet

Spreading Phlox usually acts in a subtle yet surprising way. In some cases it seems to remove a veil that prevents love from manifesting between people we already know, sometimes – a distant relative, a family friend, or even a classmate. In others, it acts by approximating groups that drifted apart due to different life circumstances, but that share the same longings, origins or purpose – as the example of a client who by taking this flower essence, was the instrument to recover the genealogical past of her Italian immigrant family experiencing the joy of discovering relatives all over Brazil.

So, let us take advantage of the healing qualities of these flower essences in order to find our alike beings spread all over the world and that will share the joy of loving and serving our planet’s evolutionary purpose by welcoming, recognizing and respecting us in our individuality and also by eradicating, completely, all the loneliness and isolation feelings.


1, 2, 3, 9 & 10 – GIKOVATE, Flávio – Sobre estar sozinho, www.flaviogikovate.com.br/site/Acervoartigos/101.html

4 – The Flower Essence Society website – www.flowersociety.org – members page

5 – BARNARD, Julian – Bach Flower Remedies Form & Function – 1st edition, p. 245, Flower Remedy Programme, Great Britain,  2002

6 – RIBEIRO, Ana Maria da Costa – Conhecimento da Astrologia – pág 127 – 3a  edição, Ed. Hipocampo, 1988 ]

7 & 8 – TÁVOLA, Arthur – Afinidade – http://www.culturatura.com.br/mensagens/afinidade.htm

About Rosana Souto

Rosana Souto S. Vieira – FES and Bach Healingherbs authorized teacher. Director of Instituto Cosmos de Terapia Floral, Campinas, Brazil. Since 1998, she has been a volunteer and coordinator of flower essence therapy at Os Seareiros/Núcleo Mãe Maria, a social institution, working with children in need with learning disorders.


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