The day I set out to make the milk thistle essence was the perfect day for flower essence making. It was a peaceful sunny day in 2011 with clear blue skies and the air was fresh and just the right temperature. I had spied these milk thistle plants a few weeks earlier in the yard behind where my clinic was located at the time and was looking forward to creating a flower essence with them.
Milk thistle is commonly used in natural medicine in tincture or tablet form to help support and strengthen the liver. In Chinese medicine, the liver is said to govern the emotions of anger and rage, and I assumed that this milk thistle essence would help transform and transmute these emotions, bringing greater peace to the person taking it. My experience in essence making on this particular day showed me that it does this… and so much more.
A bit more about milk thistle
Many people see these spiky plants as a “weed” that needs to be eradicated, yet when I look upon milk thistle I can’t help but be drawn in by how beautifully complex they are. When I found a patch of milk thistle growing at the edge of my yard last summer, I felt excited rather than annoyed. I didn’t once consider removing this plant from where it had chosen to grow. (Of course, my excitement at having this plant show up in my yard may be due to my experience with making the essence… I admit I am a bit biased towards it now).
Milk thistle plants grow to be between 1-1.5 metres tall and have prickly spines along the stem and leaves. At the end of each stem there is a cute little “head” with really cool soft purple “hair”. I am one of those weird people that just can’t help but want to touch the soft hair whenever I see a milk thistle plant.
Back to my essence making adventure
Once I had completed the process and had the milk thistle plants sweetly swimming in the spring water in a crystal bowl in the sun, I returned inside to put away my supplies and catch up on a few things while I waited for alchemical process to be completed (if you are interested, you can read a bit more about how nature essences work in my blog post here).
Within a few minutes of returning inside, the sky went completely overcast. I couldn’t believe it! There had been no clouds in sight a short while before. Without the sun, I was sure my essence would be ruined. I considered my options for a few moments and then disappointingly returned outdoors to discard what I thought would by my failed attempt at making a milk thistle essence.
As I reached down to pick up the bowl, prepared to discard the contents and consider this a failed attempt at essence making, I felt the plant say “Don’t. Leave us here. This is what we want.” I shook my head, decided I had nothing to lose, and left the bowl where it was.
For the next hour and a half, the sky remained mostly overcast, with the occasional bit of sun peeking through here and there. I struggled internally with the question of whether or not I would be able to use the finished product, since the sun is such an integral part of essence making. Would it still work? Would it still be as effective? What the heck was I going to be left with in the end?
What happened next was unexpected and taught me the importance of trust…