Vervain Verbena officinalis
Positive qualities: Ability to practice moderation, tolerance, and balance; “the middle way”; grounded idealism
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:
“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.’
“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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