Given that I work with over 200 flower essences, it is easy to get confused about what they all mean. It makes life simpler when I can group essences into "families" with common themes and energies. These families of flowers have certain ideas that pertain to all of them, but each flower also has its own individual significance within the larger picture.
There are 5 remedies in the Bach and FES repertoires that make up the Mimulus family. The common theme in this family is the notion of fear and anxiety vs. courage. This can be viewed as a wide spectrum of personality traits from fear to courage. We commonly think of fear as a "negative" trait and courage as "positive", but I think those terms are very misleading. What is important is whether these traits are in balance. Fear is a normal and even necessary part of our psyches. It keeps us out of danger and minimizes foolish mistakes. Unbalanced fear, on the other hand, leads to paralysis and stagnation in life, which cuts us off from the vitality of our souls and the life force. Similarly, courage is a normal aspect of our psyches -- it helps us to take risks and break out of ruts. Unbalanced courage leads to foolish recklessness. The healthy part of the spectrum is where these traits are in balance, not any of the extremes.
However, each of these 5 flowers has its own unique story to tell. These differences reflect the way the life force works in plants and people as described by the Doctrine of Signatures. This doctrine says the plant itself is telling us what its medicinal properties are, if we know how to listen properly.
The first member of this family is the Bach remedy called Mimulus; the 4 FES remedies are called Monkeyflowers. Mimulus was first used by Dr. Bach for fears of a known origin or about everyday matters. Concerns about how to get through each day and whether you can "make it" are the realm of Mimulus. (Unknown or vague fears are more an Aspen theme.) If this anxiety gets out of control, the person withdraws from life and shrinks from achieving their full potential. This anxiety often affects the solar plexus chakra, the seat of willpower and the "fire in the belly". This can be felt physically as a queasy or knotted stomach, perhaps even digestive problems. The essence from these yellow flowers (yellow symbolizes the solar plexus energy) helps balance fear with courage so you can approach life with confidence and vitality.
Scarlet Monkeyflower, obviously, has red flowers. Red is the color of the root chakra, the seat of our survival instincts and the energy of being incarnated in a physical body. The emotions connected with these instincts (the so-called "base feelings"), especially anger, are very powerful and threatening. The tendency among "proper folk" is to distance ourselves from these overwhelming emotions and banish them to our shadow sides (the "dark side" of the psyche). The Scarlet Monkeyflower person is so afraid of expressing these feelings, he bottles them up inside. Of course, stifling emotions only makes them stronger and more fearsome -- repressed anger bursts out as blind rage. The remedy gives a person the courage to face these shadow feelings and give them a natural place in life. By acknowledging the motivating role of healthy anger, for instance, these fearsome emotions lose their fangs.
Sticky Monkeyflower's orange blossoms refer to the second chakra. This energy center is the drive to intimacy and relationship, especially in the form of sexuality. For a Sticky Monkeyflower person, the fear of opeining up to another person emotionally and sexually causes them to withdraw into isolation or casual affairs. The awesome, soul-changing experience of true intimacy is simply avoided. This flower helps these people to be fully open and present with another. Sexuality is no longer so threatening and the courage to explore the spiritual dimensions of sexual intimacy replaces the fear.
The blossoms of Pink Monkeyflower work on the heart center. There is a fear of intimacy here (without the sexual overtones) based on deep-seated shame. The person feels hopelessly unworthy or wounded inside and is afraid others will see "how terrible I am" if they get too close. They recoil from intimacy because they don't want to feel exposed to others. There is often a "dirty little secret" in their past that they feel must be hidden. Pink Monkeyflower tells such a person "welcome back to the human race" and gives them the courage to be themselves. It helps them understand people will accept them just the way they are. It lets them open their hearts to others.
Purple Monkeyflower (introduced recently by FES) relates to the upper spiritual centers, especially the crown chakra. Frequently, experiences of the higher realms can be frightening or disorienting; there's often resistance when these experiences contradict traditional religious teachings. This flower addresses the fears and concerns encountered along the spiritual growth process itself. This is perhaps the ultimate opening up a person can achieve, making a connection with the Infinite. It is just as threatening as sexual intimacy, in its own way; the temptation to hold back is strong. Purple Monkeyflower gives the courage to follow your path, wherever it may lead. It helps you embrace living life as a spiritual being in a calm, balanced way. I suspect this remedy will become increasingly popular as more people open up to higher states of consciousness.
These essences in the Mimulus family are exciting tools for enhancing your life. Don't be afraid to try them!