Healing Men's Psyches

In the holistic view of healing, health is much more than the absence of physical illness. A state of strength, vibrancy, adaptability and integrity must be present not only at the level of the physical body, but also at the psycho-emotional and spiritual levels of our being for true health to be ours. Flower essences (vibrational remedies made from the energies of medicinal flowers) can be a vital part of this quest for healing in our lives. While they can have effects on the material body, their real focus is the resolution of psycho-emotional problems and spiritual growth. Since the energy of Life moves from the inner to the outer, by soothing the spirit, many problems of the body can simply be avoided.

When I first started thinking about essences and men's health, I must admit I ran into a few roadblocks. First of all, while there are many flower remedies primarily "for women," the number of essences "for men" is surprisingly small. Indeed, most remedies are simply "for people," regardless of gender. And in practice, even flowers suited mostly for one gender can still find their uses with either sex (I'll give an example below). When it comes down to specific cases, nearly any remedy may be the key one. Also, whenever you start talking about men and women, or masculine/feminine, you invariably run into stereotypes that don't hold water and can blind you to many healing possibilities. Especially in these times when sex roles are becoming less rigid, such generalities are often useless or even dangerous. For example, if you look in the FES Repertory (a standard reference book used by flower essence therapists) under "masculine" and "feminine," all the old stereotypes are present (so much for healers being more "enlightened" than everyone else!). Despite these issues (which are too involved to go into here), let me share a few remedies that are useful for many men today.

In our culture, the opportunities for men to experience the emotional life is still markedly less than for women. Men frequently are inept and limited in the areas of expressing emotion and intimacy. It's hard for us to open ourselves fully to another person and make a deep, soul to soul contact with them. This can show not only as distance or coldness in close relationships at a feeling level, but also an aversion to physical expressions of intimacy. In the extreme, touch and sexuality can be very frightening. There's a lovely flower from Australia, known as Flannel Flower, that can address this shrinking back from contact with others. It helps a man become more comfortable with his feelings and with being close to another. A common use of Flannel Flower is for instances of sexual abuse as a child, which can teach one that physical touch is dangerous and threatening. We usually think of abuse victims as mostly girls, but a surprising number of boys have also been subjected to abuse. Flannel Flower can often help them feel at ease with love, again.

Since a boy's first model of masculinity is his own father, the father-son relationship is a crucial influence on his development. Unfortunately, for many reasons, it's often an impoverished or outright negative relationship. Ideally, the father's role is to help you discover your role in the wider world, to develop a sense of self-worth and a feeling of "the world is a safe place for me," and to find your own power and authority. All too often, the child is left with a sense the world is unsafe and threatening to them, especially if the father is abusive and unpredictable (common when alcoholism is involved). The very similar remedies Red Helmet Orchid and Baby Blue Eyes can address this deep-seated discomfort, allowing a person to "father" himself in the absence of a good relationship with his own father. Curiously, the remedies also work the other way, helping a father develop a deeper and more nurturing bond with his children when the demands of fatherhood are too great. Many families could benefit from these remedies, contributing to a healthier society all around.

The flower essence Pomegranate seems like an unlikely remedy for men. Its traditional usage is for women who are having trouble balancing the many feminine roles available, such as the conflict between having a family and a career. Yet each man has an "inner woman" in his psyche (known to Jungians as the "anima"), just as each woman has an "inner man" (the "animus"). I had one young man come to me describing a conflict at the level of this inner woman, a confusion over whether to express her simply as the power of sexual attraction to women or whether to explore her more "spiritual" dimensions. Both aspects are important functions of the anima. Just on a whim (I check out "vague whims" often in this work), I tested Pomegranate on him, on the notion that "she" was having trouble balancing feminine roles. I was quite surprised to find the remedy fit him very well in this situation. I guess this goes to show you shouldn't let preconceived ideas of sexual stereotypes blind you to non-obvious uses of these essences, especially in "deep psyche" work.

The range of essences available for men's healing is much greater than these short portraits can convey. I would encourage you to explore them further, particularly if the spiritual and mental aspects of healing appeal to you. Flower essence therapy is simple and easy to use, even though it can take you deep into the mysteries of your being. They are a wonderful self-help tool, although I would heartily recommend seeing a professional consultant for more complicated situations. They literally are a gift of Life from the flowers to help us heal the "Wrongs of Living" that keep us from true health and happiness. To Life!