One of the questions people most often ask about flower essences is, "How long will it take them to work?" One could as easily ask this about crystals or any other vibrational tool.
And there's no specific answer I can give to this question because how fast you or I change is an individual issue, based on four vital elements: Intention, focus, commitment, and willingness.
My favorite explanation comes from Dr. Edward Bach, who discovered and developed the Bach Flower Remedies. He believed the source of all illness (whether mental, emotional, or physical) is conflict between one's higher self and the personality (or ego).
"Higher self" is his phrase. I prefer the phrase, "spiritual" self (as distinct from physical self). This is the eternal, nonphysical aspect of each of us. Not only is it our direct connection to universal spirit, it has (for those who believe in reincarnation) been present for each of our visits to physical existence and remembers all we've learned in each incarnation. When we open ourselves up to its wisdom and energy, life on the physical plane can be a powerful and joyful experience.
Think of the connection between your spiritual and physical selves as a channel through which your spiritual self is constantly sending the physical self empowering messages. "You are a worthy person. Love yourself. Appreciate yourself. Celebrate yourself." These messages are spiritual fuel, food to help you grow into someone who enjoys life and easily creates the fulfillment of your dreams.
Most people, however, are not getting this message. The one they hear says, "You made a mistake." "That person doesn't like you." "You won't get a raise." "You'll never find true love." These messages always have emotional components: guilt, self judgment, resentment that other people seem to have easier lives, etc. Our channel becomes blocked with mental and emotional sludge, and the spiritual fuel of the higher self can't get through.
The role of vibrational healing, whether the specific method used is crystals, essences, Reiki, or any other modality, is to dissolve these blockages, thus clearing the channel and restoring the direct connection between the higher self and the physical self.
Choosing to take essences or to work with crystals, deciding which will be most appropriate, and taking the remedies or meditating with crystals on a regular basis are acts of intention. They announce that you want to release a condition/blockage limiting your life, and, in a more general way, that you choose to be happy and attuned to your spiritual nature. Such statements of intention set up a vibration that assists the essences or crystals in doing their work.
Sometimes that's all you need to do. Mild blockages or those recently acquired are more easily and quickly dissolved. Someone who's gone through a brief but intense period of stress and feels overwhelmed is likely to find she doesn't need to do anything more than take Elm for a few weeks to a month (with Star of Bethlehem added, if feelings of trauma accompany the stress), sleep or meditate with an amethyst or aquamarine crystal, or give herself extra Reiki treatments. You can, of course, do all three.
You can most effectively release more deeply rooted and/or longer-held blockages by making a commitment to focus your attention on clearing up the psychic debris and unraveling the patterns that have created the habitual response.
Practical steps for expressing this commitment can include:
Create an Affirmation. This will have most effect when expressed positively, i.e., not. "I don't want to feel guilty any more." Say instead, "I accept myself just as I am."
Meditate with Crystals Relating to Your Issue. Sugilite, for example, is a very good crystal for guilt. Rose quartz fosters love; while citrine and smoky can help to release blockages related to self-esteem. Quartz in all forms help to release any kind of energy blockage.
As you meditate, visualize situations that in the past made you feel guilty. Imagine responding in a self-accepting way to these situations. Imagine yourself releasing any emotional charge these situations bring up and see yourself responding in a self-accepting way. When you do such visualizations, you are creating a future in which, when these situations come up in real life, you will respond in this positive way.
Also, imagine you are clearing up the channel between your spiritual and physical selves. Visualize that channel free of obstruction with any images you choose. Mentally sweep it with a broom, vacuum it, whatever works.
Keep a Dream Journal. Flower essences stimulate powerful dreams, and this is one way in which your being works through emotional blockages and releases them. When you're connected to your creative dream life, you can have insights about the origins of your particular blockage. Insights help to shift energy and dissolve blockages.
Be Aware. Sometimes you know in advance that particular situations may activate the emotions and/or behavior you are working on releasing. If, for example, you've set reasonable boundaries about your children doing work around the house, but feel guilty and give in when they complain, take some time to think about this. Explore the situation in meditation.
Listen to Your Thoughts. This relates to the point above. What thought patterns enter your mind when you choose to act on your commitment to adopt a way of being?
"If I were a better parent, they'd do what they were supposed to do." "I don't want to be strict like my mother." "Why don't they just do the housework?" "It would be easier to do it myself." Bringing these thoughts to the surface helps to weaken their energetic charge, which clears the way for more positive energy to flow through you.
Ask Others to Help. Ask your spouse, partner, or a close friend to tell you when you're sinking into guilt. Don't get angry at them when they keep their promises to do so.
Sometimes people experience healing crises when they take essences, work with crystals, or practice Reiki in order to deal with a long-term emotional way of being. A healing crisis is a positive development that doesn't always feel good.
Energetically speaking, a habitual way of being is embedded in one's being. Think of it as the psychic/emotional equivalent of physical toxins. In order to clear up the passageway to the spiritual self, the toxins have to leave the being.
When one physically detoxifies, the release of the toxins can cause physical symptoms such as headache, nausea, headaches, skin rashes, etc. One feels worse before feeling better. In like manner, one may feel emotionally worse (for example, intensified guilt) before feeling the release of the emotions.
Emotions may also become intensified because one is very aware of them. Because of your commitment to release your particular emotional blockage, you will notice whenever it comes up.
Often, unconscious resistance can create or intensify a healing crisis. As physical beings, our fear of the unknown may be greater than our dislike of of our emotional habits.
At this point, Rescue Remedy (containing Rock Rose for terror), Aspen (for fear of the unknown), and Charoite (for both known and unknown fears) can be very helpful.
I have also found it valuable to "make believe." This means, even if you don't think you've ever experienced the energy and guidance of your spiritual self, you can begin thinking and acting as if it exists. You can say to yourself, "I choose to feel the energy of my spiritual self" or whatever affirmation feels appropriate to you. When you meditate, imagine a greater, eternal you, who's visiting the physical plane.
That's who you really are, and when you go through rough spots in the process of transformation, remind yourself of this.
Or, as your spiritual self might say, "You are a worthy person. Love yourself. Appreciate yourself. Celebrate yourself."
In addition to the crystals and essence I've noted in the course of this article, I find the following invaluable:
Danburite: I have become increasingly appreciative of this crystal. It helps us to view our lives from the soul perspective, and has helped me clean up psychic sludge many times.
Particular forms of quartz can be especially valuable in the work of transformation. Tabular quartz, for example, can act as a bridge between where we are and where we want to be.
Chrysocolla and amethyst are extremely calming crystals, wonderful to have around when nerves begin to fray.
If one of your issues is needing to screen out the negative energies of others, hematite is an especially helpful stone. Its flower essence equivalents are Yarrow (for general screening) and Pink Yarrow (for shielding from the emotions of those close to you).
Rhodochrosite is an indispensable crystal for anxious moments.
Walnut is one of the most popular Bach Flower Remedies, helping to ease traumas associated with transition and transformation.
Three Wild Earth Animal Essences are especially related to transformation in that the animals they are related to go through complete physical transformation several times in their lives.
They are Butterfly, Frog, and Salamander. In my experience, Butterfly helps to achieve a lightness of spirit about the process of transformation; while Frog can aid in emotional release. Salamander is a very subtle essence, which seems to guide one gently through the process of release and transformation.
Beyond the Rainbow