Vervain

 

Vervain Verbena officinalis

Positive qualities: Ability to practice moderation, tolerance, and balance; “the middle way”; grounded idealism

Patterns of imbalance: Overbearing or intolerant behavior; overenthusiasm or extreme fanaticism; nervous exhaustion from overstriving


Vervain soul types naturally possess strong forces of passionate idealism. They give themselves fully and completely to the work or cause in which they believe. However, they can become so convinced of the rightness and urgency of their beliefs that their natural charismatic capacities degenerate into those of the zealot or fanatic. Their true leadership ability is afflicted, for the Vervain type's incredible intensity can overwhelm and prevent others from making their own energetic connection to the project or cause which is being promoted. Such an individual can be characterized as possessing not only great intensity but also great physical tension, which results in many nervous and digestive problems, and in extreme cases may lead to nervous breakdown. These persons are usually unaware of their true energy levels, and often push their bodies completely beyond their natural capacities. In fact, there is very little connection to the physical body or to the physical world, because this type lives so fervently in the world of ideas and ideals. Vervain is particularly an embodiment remedy, helping the soul to center and ground its tremendous enthusiasm. In this way, the body becomes a natural regulator and harmonizer for the abundant spiritual forces which pour out of such a person. When the fiery light of Vervain radiates through the medium of the body and the physical world, it becomes more luminous and contained. Such soul ardor is able to inspire, lead, and heal others.
(From the Flower Essence Repertory by Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz, ©Flower Essence Society)

The following are excerpts, short vignettes, regarding Vervain from Bach Flower Remedies Form and Function by Julian Barnard. For a more complete picture of the gesture of the Vervain plant, please refer to the book.

“Vervain is a counterpart to both Chicory and Agrimony. Where Agrimony feels an inner dissatisfaction, Vervain is dissatisfied with the outer world. Both types are distressed by life. But Vervain looks for the cause and for the release by pushing at the external form of things. Bach speaks of this as over-enthusiasm, Puritanism, rigidity:

‘The patient may be too stern, too rigid in principle, too narrow-minded in outlook, endeavoring to mould the world too much to his own ideals. Of highest principle, yet intolerant of faults in others; too severe on himself…’

“Bach noted this when he wrote of Vervains ‘you have within you the power of being a leader and a teacher…’ But, in terms of a soul lesson this type needs to learn tolerance, patience and broadmindedness. Vervains need to realize, said Bach, that ‘the big things of life are done gently and quietly without strain or stress.’

“Vervain types are said to be strong-willed, and, just as Dr. Rudolf Steiner observed that the human will is in the limbs, so in the plant world we may say that the will is represented by the stalk and the stem. So the will in Vervain people is strong and directed; they know what they want to do.

“The flowers express the way Vervain comes to the simplicity and elegance of doing things ‘gently without strain and stress.’ Pale mauve and five-petalled, Vervain flowers are as understated as the foliage is overgrown. Here the plant almost laughs at itself for producing so little after so much effort. As with the Oak, the smallest flowers come from the greatest strength. The mature plant in flower shows the subtle gesture of Vervain: little stars of light create a picture of electric impulses in the brain, tiny explosions of energy which combine to create concept and purpose.

“One other aspect of a plant’s gesture instructs us about the gesture of the human emotional state: the way of dying. A perennial taproot gives continuity below ground and, as we have seen, this may indicate a continuity through life, death and rebirth. But what happens to the plant above ground, when winter comes, indicates the attitude of Vervain types to how they will be seen by others in the future: their reputation and name in the world. …With Vervain, the stalks remain even longer, tough and dry, sticking up when the other plants around have fallen back to earth. Bach saw Vervain people as struggling on ‘long after many would have given up their duties.’ But we can also connect this to a desire which Vervain souls have for reputation and fame: a desire to leave a lasting mark in the world. This twinning of fixed ideas and ambition is readily seen in politicians, many of whom are Vervain souls. But those who wish to change the world often hope more for posthumous fame and recognition: the stalks may be dead, but they show where the plant grew and will act to support the tender shoots of the next generation. Indeed, it is this intention, to be a guide and teacher to the new generation, which characterizes Vervain types: they try to convert people to their point of view and to use their courage and will to convince others.”


 


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