healing herbs bach flower research programme

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healing herbs bach flower remedies

Visual arts

We welcome contributions from painters, illustrators, photographers and film-makers; from artists working in any medium including botanical studies, embroidery, tapestry, carpet design and pottery decoration; from craft to the exploration of geometry and the study of plant growth, form and symmetry.

Observation of the individual flowers that make up the unique Bach healing system has found form and expression in different cultures throughout history. Please share your discoveries.


Leonardo da Vinci 1452-1519


Leonardo da Vinci's drawing of the Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum) combines accurate depiction of the geometrically-perfect flowers with a symbolic presentation of the leaves as a swirling vortex of lines. Could this picture be emblematic of the spirit (crystalline flower) born into the material world (turbulent leaves)? The significance of this interpretation for the Star of Bethlehem as a remedy is discussed at greater length in Bach Flower Remedies Form and Function by Julian Barnard (see bibliography).

Remedy link: Star of Bethlehem


Pierre Prins 1838-1913

Spoken of as the ‘forgotten Impressionist’, Prins is best known for pastel drawings. Here a solitary figure sits in an apple orchard at dawn. The brightness of the blossom is more grey than white, drawn as it is against the light (contre-jour). Nonetheless the overwhelming sense of radiance in the blossoms of the trees is powerfully evoked. Although this is a fruit orchard, probably in Normandy in France, it still conveys the impression of Crab Apple with its blazing light.

Remedy link: Crab Apple

Cecil Collins 1908-1989

The visionary artist Cecil Collins painted ‘Angel with Adam’ in 1950. It depicts Adam sitting in Paradise gazing towards the sun. Behind him an angel, with wings outstretched, seems to protect and shield him. The third element in the painting is a tree. The tree is still forming, undifferentiated as yet into species. The branches form a cross (intimating crucifixion and death?) and the bark seems to be full of eyes, the eyes of consciousness. The leaves tumble in spirals, falling like water.

In his pre-lapsarian state Adam seems troubled and yet drawn to a future which we cannot see: his incarnation on earth. Here separation occurs, separation into individuality. Bach spoke of the soul coming into life with knowledge of what must be learned and done. This is a picture anticipating experience.

This sense of anticipation is wonderfully captured in the very last lines of Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost (published 1667-1674). Adam and Eve are cast out of the innocence of Eden into the challenging world of experience, where the pain of free will and choice will force them to grow as individuals.

They looking back, all the eastern side beheld
Of Paradise, so late their happy seat,
Waved over by that flaming brand, the gate
With dreadful faces thronged and fiery arms:
Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon;
The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and providence their guide:
They hand in hand with wandering steps and slow,

Through Eden took their solitary way.