The Milan Flower Essence Conference, 2017
Wednesday, August 23, 2017 at 01:24PM
[Chris Phillips]

In June I visited Milan for four days of intensive talks by several prominent essence makers. Some I hadn't seen for 10 years, and two of them - Cynthia Athina Kemp Scherer of Desert Alchemy in Tucson, Arizona, and Vasudeva Barnao of Living Essences of Australia - I hadn't met at all, although I been using some of their essences for a dozen years.

Cynthia Scherer and The Alchemy of the Desert

Nowadays, makers frequently combine their individual essences into combinations or formulas, which no longer carry the plant names. Instead these composite essences are given functional names such as Abundance, or Relationship, or Calm and Clear to give us a clue as to what the composite essence seeks to do.

Cynthia Scherer has carried this process further than most. She now has a range of 47 formulas, each given a detailed description in her excellent, chunky handbook The Alchemy of the Desert.

At the moment I'm working with two of Cynthia's 'kits' - the Celebration of Womanhood (14 formulas), and the Gift of the Masculine (12 formulas). And these essences are proving really, really useful. Some of their names are self-explanatory: Birthing Harmony, New Mother's Formula and Making And Honouring Boundaries, for example. Others need some interpretation. Thus, Owning The Level formula is made up of the individual flowers of Hedgehog Cactus, Rainbow Cactus (Tucson really is in the desert), and Star Leaf. Together, the composite helps us to identify and do whatever we have the greatest talent for doing; the thing it seems that we were put on Earth for. If we can identify this, and then achieve it, we have the best possible opportunity for finding perfect health and happiness.

Scherer's most popular formulas

So far so good with these formulas. Wild Women has proved popular. "She who dances with mud on her body", writes Cynthia, "the Wild Woman, is totally wild and free from any constraints or restrictions". You can see how throwing off constraints can be an important precursor essence to Owning The Level.

Two others are worth noting. The Husband Formula is placed in the Gift of the Masculine kit, but it is at least as applicable for women wanting to find a husband or learn to husband their resources as it is for men wanting to become husbands.

And the Saguaro-Queen formula, which is made by combining the essences of Saguaro Cactus and Queen of the Night Cactus, is a balancing essence for masculine and feminine qualities in both men and women.

Desert Alchemy is at, and their European distributor is Der Essenzenladen.

The gem elixirs of Ann Callaghan

My thoughts are now beginning to turn towards the composite formulas made by another essence master, Ann Callaghan of Indigo, in Ireland. Ann makes 'gem elixirs' - vibrational essences prepare from rocks and crystals. And she does this with direct input from children because the essences are made particularly with children in mind. Gem elixirs are noted for their qualities of grounding and stability. Qualities which children need in various flavours. Of course she has combined her individual gem elixirs - with names like Hematite and Hiddenite/Kunzite - into formulas with more child-friendly names such as Plurk (Play and Work). Ann's site is at and her UK distributor is Universal Essences.

Article originally appeared on Flower Therapy (
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