Art Project at Núcleo Mãe Maria


A report by Rosana Vieira & Jann Garitty

Flower remedies themselves are wonderful instruments to plant and seed love in the world. This is the basis from which I work and represents what I am trying to do and also teach my students in their practice.


The Project Honoring Dr. Bach and his Legacy

The work with “The Story of the Travellers”

Choosing essences according to their own needs or real circumstances

Expanding the project to other children through flower essence therapy

Following is a report and photographs by Rosana Vieira regarding a new art program initiated at Núcleo Mãe Maria in Campinas, Brazil. This project, originally proposed by Rosana to honor the 120th birthday of Dr. Bach, has given her great joy while observing the excitement of the children, their motivation in doing the art exercises and also the benefits it has provided them.  

Rosana has also found that it has provided her with further tools to enhance and enrich her role as a therapist in relationship with the children. The plant observation exercise in which they were asked to draw an Impatiens plant exactly as they saw it, from their own perspectives and their own realities, provided an opportunity for Rosana to closely observe their behaviors. The flower chosen to be drawn by each of the children after listening to Bach’s “The Story of the Travellers” also provided helpful information for her therapy with them. In addition, the assistants who help during the art class take notes for Rosana regarding what the children speak of in class which helps Rosanna in her work.

Above photos: the perception exercise

The children were asked to draw exactly what they saw and from the angle they were seated. This was a very important exercise to increase their perception from their own realities. In addition to having contact with the plant, it helped to improve their learning skills. Afterwards, the teacher conducted a discussion regarding their different angles of perception, and they themselves evaluated their work. (We worked with a different species of Impatiens because the English species doesn't grow in Brazil.)

“The children learn about the essences in a playful way. … Now they are very anxious to know about the remedies they’re taking and are interested in talking with me about them. ... and, they are interested in knowing and changing their behaviors. This is a seed for the future, it is rewarding to see their curiosity… I think this is really wonderful for we know that the first step in achieving true healing is to have consciousness of our needs. So, I think this kind of curiosity will lead them to a deeper healing. It also may enhance the actuation of the essences as they continue to take them.” 

Nineteen children are participating in the art program; they are divided into two classes with fifteen and four children respectively. The class of four children is comprised of the most challenging children attending Núcleo Mãe Maria (NMM). According to Rosana, “The majority of the children at NMM show some sort of difficulty either in learning or behavior. We deal with children from a very poor community and some of them face domestic situations which include violence, abandonment or abuse.  

“These four children are in very critical condition – at school and at home. They are very aggressive, hyperactive and have difficulty accepting any requests made of them. That is why they are separated from the others. It is very difficult to work with them.  

“All of the children attending this project are taking flower remedies. They are either my clients or Teca’s (Tereza Cristina), a flower essence therapist on our team.”

The Project Honoring Dr. Bach and his Legacy

I have been experiencing moments of great Joy lately. Joy for I could have never imagined that a simple idea would flourish in such a beautiful way and also Joy, to realize that this can be done on a large scale in the future.

Last year, after watching the children's performance at Núcleo Mãe Maria at the end of our activities, I decided to propose to the art teacher, Neide Mafra, a joint project to honor Dr. Bach’s 120th birthday. (Read about the forthcoming Cromer Conference to be held in celebration of Dr. Bach.) Other members of our project team include Wilma Lúcia Nanni and Renata M. Machado, Neide’s assistants, and Teca Oliveira, another flower essence therapist who works with the children.

Gratitude is what seals my commitment to Dr. Bach’s work and to spreading the benefits of his legacy: gratitude in many ways – for my own personal development, for the results for my family and clients, for the chance to help disadvantaged children to have a better future and above all, gratitude for his own suffering and determination in leaving us a healing modality able to help us restore love and peace on earth.

My first intention was to work the signature of some of the Bach remedies with the children. Instead of pretending to be a rock star or a singer, they could pretend to be Oak, Mimulus and so on, bringing the healing qualities of the remedies to their lives in a different way, rather than just by taking the remedies. Certainly, they would recognize the “flowers” in those around them, while at the same time they would look at Nature and the flowers themselves in a different manner.

Neide showed great receptivity to my idea. At the beginning of the school year, we set an appointment to discuss it in more detail. I brought with me many materials pertaining to flower essence therapy, including the Bach photo cards, a poster, Dr. Bach’s photograph and so on. We spent a whole morning brainstorming ideas.

It is easy to work with an art teacher! They are so creative! My “little” idea turned out to be the Art Project at NMM this year: a whole project including sessions of storytelling featuring Dr. Bach’s life, some of his remedy stories, the drawing of what the children perceived they heard, plant observation exercises, and essays on some of the essences. They also learned of different painters who have painted flowers, and much else as well. Neide expanded the initial idea in so many ways that they will have a whole year-long program mixing art with the study of flower essences.

In addition, I have invited her to attend the course I teach this year so that she can learn to use the Bach remedies, in order to make it easier for her to access the deep meaning of flower essence therapy. This will also help her to have more insights on how to conduct the dynamics of the project as I am not able to be with them often.

The work with “The Story of the Travellers”

Dr. Bach liked to write short stories to illustrate the work of some of the essences. The “Story of the Travellers” was written in 1934 when he had only discovered the 12 Healers and the 4 Helpers. It is a beautiful story and my first idea for the project was that the children might perform as some of the characters from this tale. We still do not know if this will be possible; there are many characters and this might be difficult for them.

The plants turning into people

Neide told this story to the children and asked them to draw what they understood or the character which caught their attention the most. What was the most interesting though, was the fact that they asked the teacher if they could draw the characters as people. And, so they did; they combined plant structures with human bodies, drawing them with stems and leaves instead of legs and so forth. They captured the “essences” of the remedies.

They had no idea that Rock Water wasn’t a flower – but they captured the essence of Rock Water: the Rock Water drawing is fantastic for it is not usual for them to see people in suits – this shows the idea of formality, straightness, a person who does things in a correct manner.

Water Violet, too, was represented in the drawings and this also is a result of the effects of a rough home environment upon a very sensitive child who either retreats due to fear or due to the need to take care of himself. Some of these children have learned from a very young age not to count on anyone else to take care of them.

Clockwise: Clematis, the trembling Rock Rose and Chicory

This child reproduced clearly the nature of many of the children’s home environments which often includes violence: Rock Rose—undulating/wavy legs and arms, lack of or presence of a very repressive mother—Chicory, and a tendency to escape from their realities—Clematis. These situations are often responsible for some of the learning disorders among the children attending NMM. In this drawing though, Clematis is shown on its positive side—well anchored to the earth, there’s even grass on the ground, and Chicory is shown with open arms.

It was very interesting to notice that many children chose to draw Chicory. In some drawings, Chicory was placed in a prominent position (second drawing above). Some children even wrote dialogs for the characters showing their connection with the Chicory healing qualities – “the nurturing mother.” Are you hungry? (drawing above). Do you feel any pain? (drawing below).  The children lack nurturing mothers and environments. In Vila Brandina, older brothers or sisters sometimes play the role of the mother or the children are left alone at home while their mothers work. That’s why Chicory is so important for them.

Scleranthus, the “decision flower,” also caught the attention of some of the children (second from right with "v" in dialog box, drawing below). Making good choices in their own lives or choosing the right way, is a challenge some of them face very early in life, either in or outside of their homes.

Choosing essences according to their own needs or real circumstances

The art teacher and I will use our intuition and select which essences to work with the children. They won’t be learning about all of them, just enough of them to make sure that they understand the real meaning of flower essence therapy. Our intention though, is to work with the essences that they can easily recognize to be among their own needs.

For example, recently, we have been faced with great social conflict resulting in panic not only in our city, Campinas, but also in other cities and the capital of Brazil due to conflicts involving the numerous killings of policemen and also riots in the prisons, all of which have been commanded by the chiefs of drug trafficing in our country.

The community of Vila Brandina where NMM is situated, is a place where drug trafficers are known to rule; the community was under alert and everything was shut down. We were closed for two days because it wasn’t safe to be there, though our children live in the community. When we were able to return to our activities, the art teacher decided the children should work with Rock Rose and this worked very well for them.

The children understood the purpose of the essence and they began to speak about their own fears and intense terror; they recognized in Rock Rose the fear they even have in their own homes.

For this project, Neide proposed a different form of art work. They have prepared round wooden panels on which they will reproduce the image of Rock Rose on the ground, as seen from above – as though the flowers were scattered gold coins. First they will sculpt texture onto the boards along with the drawings and when it is dry they will paint them.

Expanding the project to other children through flower essence therapy

Núcleo Mãe Maria has many children who are not attending the art classes. In order to not leave these children completely out of what is happening with their peers, I have started using the FES affirmation cards with them when they come to see me for their consultations. I ask them to intuitively pick six cards from the group. Afterwards, I usually explain to them a little about flower essence therapy, what the flowers can do for us and we discuss the healing qualities of the ones they have chosen. I also ask them if they think the flowers they have chosen have something to do with them. Then I ask them to choose the one they would most like to draw.

This has been very helpful in my practice for sometimes I could never have imagined a certain essence would be suitable for that child. This process also allows them to become familiar with themselves.

In addition, the children are becoming acquainted with flowers that are not in the Bach repertoire, expanding the idea that each flower has a unique healing purpose and there are many flowers in the world that can help us. This is my way to help them and instruct them further.

It is wonderful to teach the children about the flower remedies. These are disadvantaged children with many hindrances; however, it is working! It is great to hear them pronounce Dr. Bach’s name, knowing who he was. We are sowing seeds for the future.

I think we are facing a new unfolding of Edward Bach’s work. I think this experience at NMM may show us that the healing with flowers may be taught all along as we grow up. In the same way we learn how to write or read, we can be trained to learn the language of flowers and nature with respect and reverence. I think also, children can help us understand this in a very simple way.

What should have been just a project to honor Dr. Bach revealed itself as a very promising path to reach his dreams. Teaching about the Bach remedies to children and teens from an approach centered in plant observation, uniting art-education to the use of the remedies is a possibility for a healthy growth in harmony with the Whole. Would this be the way to rescue the triple view supported by Edward Bach’s proposal: healing pain, helping evolution and eradicating ignorance? Would that be the path towards the medicine of the future?

“The medical school of the future will not particularly interest itself in the ultimate results and products of disease, nor will it pay so much attention to actual physical lesions, or administer drugs and chemicals merely for the sake of palliating our symptoms, but knowing the true cause of sickness and aware that the obvious physical results are merely secondary it will concentrate its efforts upon bringing about the harmony between body, mind, and soul which results in the relief and cure of the disease. And in such cases as are undertaken early enough the correction of the mind will avert the imminent illness.”

Dr. Edward Bach


If you liked this report, you might wish to read:

Flower Essences: Reaching Out to Children in Need on the Streets of Brazil
by Denise Robles

Volunteer Work with Families at Acortar Distancias
A report by Denise Paillaud

Working with Flower Essence Therapy in Chile: A Report by Teresita Espinoza Woters

Working with Handicapped Students in India
an interview with Ms. Shalini Ramesh

Using Flower Essences in Villa el Salvador, Lima, Peru by Jann Garitty based on reports from Ellen Turgasen, Dr. Carlos Hilares and Consuelo Rio

About Rosana:

Rosana Souto Sobral Vieira has trained widely in the field of healing arts, including astrology and flower essence therapy. In 1990, she left her original career as a chemical engineer (State University of Rio de Janeiro, 1977) to dedicate her life to helping others. She is a flower essence therapist, teacher and a leader in establishing social service programs with flower essences. Read more about Rosana and her work here.

Write to Rosana.

Núcleo Mãe Maria is a social institution maintained by Os Seareiros, a religious charity that organizes professional volunteer teams of health practitioners and educators to serve the needs of about 350 families in the Vila Brandina community of Campinas, Brazil. This region is a major drug center of the city, marked by violence as well as poverty. Children grow up in an atmosphere of great terror. Almost every child we help has witnessed murder and other extreme brutality. On the other hand, Vila Brandina is also the home of decent poor people who work hard, and must leave their children with either relatives or alone in the home while at work.

From Rosana Vieira, “Healing Fear and Finding Love: Flower Therapy for Disadvantaged Children in Campinas, Brazil, Calix: International Journal of Flower Essence Therapy, vol. 1


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