Delta Gardens Pussy Willow Study

by Jennifer Elmore July 02, 2020 19 Comments

Delta Gardens Pussy Willow Study

A big thanks to all the volunteers who participated in the Delta Gardens Pussy Willow study!  I really appreciate their time and willingness to delve into the mystery of a new essence. Their feedback has given us great preliminary information about the essence and its area of influence - a foundation that we’ll continue to build on in months to come.

Making the Essence

I made the Pussy Willow essence at the Parker River Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island, Massachusetts in mid-March, as the coronavirus was beginning to take off in the U.S. The beach was still open at the time and one of few places that felt restorative to me in the midst of so much change and global concern.

I followed a strong inner pull to a remote part of the island where the Parker River winds through marshland to meet the ocean. On my walk, I found a large Pussy Willow tree with an impressive showing of furry catkins. I had a feeling that I should make the essence then - before the catkins came into full flower.

I came back the next day with my essence-making gear and spent a lot of time sitting in the sand with the tree - in an area that’s sometimes submerged when the tide is high. For the first time in a week or two, I felt extraordinarily calm, soothed and protected. The feeling of security was pretty primal - I had visions of being swaddled in a blanket I’d had as a baby. I felt an ease and relaxation through my body, a sense that all would be okay. My time with this particular tree remains a touchstone for me whenever I need to reconnect with feelings of softness and safety.

Because my experience of the Pussy Willow was so personally helpful, I thought it might be worth sharing with others and exploring its effects with a larger group - especially at such an uncertain time.

Feedback From the Community

I’ve received feedback from 12 out of 18 volunteers who offered to be a part of the study. Almost everyone took the essence regularly for 7 days although a couple of people weren’t able to complete the full week. One person felt drawn to explore the essence through shamanic journeying.

I’ve compiled and condensed the responses to make for an easier read. While I was reviewing everyone’s experiences, I was interested to see some recurring themes emerging in the feedback. The overlap helped me assemble a preliminary picture of the essence’s influence - all of the qualities I’ve listed below came up in at least 4-5 different reports.

Italicized text = quotes from participants

1. Deep Softening - Emotionally and Physically

The Pussy Willow essence seems to have a softening effect for many people, relaxing energetic patterns of holding or tightness. Quite a few folks reported a softening around old emotional pain. Several said that they felt grief coming to the surface for release - material that had been locked away, inaccessible or otherwise compacted in the system.

Stimulates yin energy, seems to soften emotions, softening in the body (gallbladder, kidney, head) can be felt as well.

There was a deep softening that occurred within me in connection to the Pussy Willow essence. Like some deep old grief/pain that was lodged is moving. That I have the presence to be with these feelings in new ways.

What I noticed the most is that it was bringing grief to the forefront for me, and I was needing a lot of rest. I felt like it was helping me get in touch with deeper emotions so I could clear them.

I was able to feel emotions I haven’t been able to feel and to cry.

One person experienced release in a physical way - a period of constipation resolved when she started the essence. Many people who experienced some kind of letting-go said they felt clearer afterwards.

2. Peace in the Present Moment

Many reported feeling a sense of calm in the present moment. Taking the essence seemed to quiet worries and anxiety, calm down the fight-or-flight response and generally offer protection from situations or people that would usually be triggering.

I couldn’t sleep with silly worries running through my head. As an experiment, I took the essence and while I didn’t fall back to sleep immediately, the worrisome thoughts disappeared and it took a while to actually remember what the silly thoughts were when I proactively tried to conjure them up again.

The first full day of taking the essence, I immediately felt calmness about me.

Took one drop and put one drop on my cat’s head…I felt a settling in my abdomen. Calm grew until it permeated by body. Cat fell asleep in my lap. Very deep.

It took me from feeling caught in terrible survival mode with incredible actual threats to my survival I have been living, to having an inner sense of it all working out somehow someway.

I have been treated for PTSD for many years. Pussy Willow helped me stay on an even keel.

Feeling that this essence releases stress from the body system. Not a superficial release - from the nervous system!

3. Clear Sight

Several people felt that the essence allowed them to see their present circumstances or the world more clearly or from a new perspective. In some cases, this “clear sight” extended into seeing new possibilities forming in our world and/or seeing beyond the present moment into the past or future (clairvoyance).

I’ve been feeling that the focus has shifted for me from tension release to one of seeing my life/the world in a different way.  Seeing from new perspectives, not going back to old ways of doing things. I’ve tested for Pussy Willow when beginning new projects and need to see the work in a new light.

Saw a new world under development. Saw all of my chakras spinning…Saw through eyes partially opening to a new world.

I had delightful tingling in the back of my head, the base of my brain, and up into my 3rd eye. It was like small orgasmic waves all through…My eyesight shifted and everything came into focus more and seemed “lighter."

When I connected to the plant, it asked me to take its soft buds and walk with them. As I walked, the plant said it has walked many paths in ancient times…we walked near water and showed me the Native Americans would use them for information about the past and future.

4. Heart & Solar Plexus

While people said that they felt energy in a couple of places in their bodies after taking the essence, the heart area and solar plexus got the most mentions - followed by the head. Those who felt energy shifts in chakras 3 and 4 often described it as an opening or expansion of some kind.

There were 3 alternating waves of rising tension and anxiety followed with a wave of relaxation and release of tension in my body. This happened 3 times.  Afterwards, I felt more space in my chest, like I could breathe in and out more easily.

First dose, I felt a burst open in my mouth. I had been in fear the day before. Sensation went right to my solar plexus. My breathing opened up. As well as my heart chakra.

Took two drops.  Explosion of light in head/brain. Seemed consciousness shattered like glass into many pieces. Traced surge of light to solar plexus…filled with rotating light. Felt energy moving into my heart.

5. Other Notable Dimensions

The Child
Several people mentioned connections to their childhood - remembering scenes from childhood and/or seeing a vision of themselves as a child. A few dreamed about their parents, and one person said she felt childlike after taking the essence.

Deep Sleep
Sleeping soundly seemed to be a feature for many people - a couple of people reported unusual or especially intense dreams.

Transformation
The word “transformation” came up in a few comments. Several volunteers felt that this essence carried some kind of transformative energy - that it helped to usher in a new way of being or doing.  One person repeatedly saw a new world in the making.

New world further develops. Light was filling shadows. Felt and picked up Earth from this new foundation - could feel the life force running through my fingers.


*    *    *    *    * 

Based on what I’ve learned so far from our study group and from my own experience of the tree and essence, here is my sense, so far, of Pussy Willow’s influence.

Pussy Willow ~ I am safe and calm.

Indications
For those who feel worried, anxious or unsafe; enhances feelings of calmness and primal security; softens old grief or wounds buried in the system; for those who wish to clearly see new or greater possibilities beyond fear

*    *    *    *    *

This is a working definition for now - one that I’m sure we’ll continue to refine as we use the essence more and explore its full range. Although I’ve worked at Delta Gardens for 8 years now, this was my first experience of a small-scale flower essence study - and I have to say how fun it’s been to work with volunteers, take in their responses and begin to understand, in a new way, the many layers of a single essence. I was excited and even a little surprised to see patterns emerging in the feedback I received.

I’ve made a number of tree essences this spring and am looking to conduct new studies in weeks/months to come. So if you’d hoped to join this group but were unable to participate this time, there will be more opportunities soon! Stay tuned!  

~ Jennifer

* Post a comment or question by July 15th, and we'll enter your name in a drawing to win a 1/2 ounce bottle of Pussy Willow. Five bottles are up for grabs! Winners will be announced here on the blog on July 16th.



Jennifer Elmore
Jennifer Elmore

Author


19 Responses

Jennifer Elmore
Jennifer Elmore

July 16, 2020

Thank you to everyone who took the time to post a comment! We loved hearing from all of you and getting your feedback on our study. Congratulations to Elissa Nabozny, Alice Bakanowsky, Marianne Hurley, Barbara S and Rochana! Each of our 5 contest winners will receive a free 1/2 ounce bottle of Pussy Willow! There will be more opportunities to join essence studies in months to come – drop me a note at jennifer@deltagardens.com if you’d like to participate!

Dorothy Tod
Dorothy Tod

July 13, 2020

I think about where it grows, how easily a cutting roots to hold the banks along the river, how it is the first to bloom when it is barely spring,and how much the beavers love it. I

Jana
Jana

July 13, 2020

Thank you Jennifer! I loved being a part of this study and it was fun to read some of my comments that made it into the study. I had deep truth chills and a wave of emotion reading your blog post. Seems I am receiving even more pussy willow medicine again (and I finished my bottle back when I took part in the study) just by reading about your study. I am finding deep comfort in reading about the similarities many of us volunteers had while taking this essence. It’s been a couple months since the study but lately I find I able to remain calm and peaceful in the present moment most of the time. Like a deeper nervous system shift has happened. (Granted I’ve been on many different essences as well but I know pussy willow played a vital role). What a beautiful world this would be if we all felt safe, calm and peaceful in the present moment. Just think how different EVERYTHING would be. Thank you!

Marianne Hurley
Marianne Hurley

July 09, 2020

I have been drawn to Pussy Willow since I was a child – m and that’s a long time! I’m so excited to get to play with her!

Rochana @ The Flower Essence Podcast
Rochana @ The Flower Essence Podcast

July 09, 2020

What a beautiful new essence! I’ve done deep journeying with a larger Salix sp. where I felt protected and held in a safe healing space and saw how Willow helps divine where trauma and pain live in the body. I can see how the Pussy Willow lends a softening effect to that old pain and trauma. Great picture too! I love the progression from bud to bloom on the same branch – the signature almost telling a story of the hard bud, when in a soft safe place, slowly begins to dissolve it’s tight structure and open up to the world, to open to experience once again. Wonderful.

Jennifer May
Jennifer May

July 09, 2020

This feels like a fitting essence for current times. Thank you for all that you continue to create and do. ❤️

Susan
Susan

July 09, 2020

What an amazing story of being called to make a wonderful essence. I would love to try this essence, it sounds amazing.

Elissa Nabozny
Elissa Nabozny

July 08, 2020

I love this approach to making meaning & I felt more calm just reading about other’s experiences! Plum Island is such a special place of comfort, I imagine that energy comes through in the essence. Pussy willow sounds well paired with these times, I’d love the chance to try & will stay tuned for future opportunities to volunteer*

Beverly DiCarlo
Beverly DiCarlo

July 08, 2020

I could only hope to imagine the effects of Pussy Willow essence personally. Childhood backyard where it grew for new tall bouquets bring me solace. Now thinking about an essence far from that garden in time and space excites wonder and possibility. I am of the mind for transformation. Shear delight!

Jennifer Elmore
Jennifer Elmore

July 08, 2020

Holly, I believe 4-5 people mentioned that the essence helped their sleep a bit. Thanks for your question!
Jennifer

Donna
Donna

July 08, 2020

I enjoyed reading what the volunteers of this study had to share as well as how the essence was made. Very beautiful. I look forward to using this essence very soon. This work is so fascinating. Thank you for continuing to explore the wisdom of the plants and to include others in the process.

Zoë
Zoë

July 07, 2020

So funny to see that it brought of childhood for so many folks! Pussy willow was so special to me as a child, very comforting and soothing then, and so it conjures up those memories now.

BarbaraS
BarbaraS

July 07, 2020

I really enjoyed reading about this study and the comments of those that participated. Pussy Willow sounds like a wonderful essence for these times where all “normality” is being unbalanced.

Holly Richardson
Holly Richardson

July 07, 2020

I Feel a Softening deep within me just thinking of and reading about the wondrous gifts of the Pussy Willow! Thank you for sharing!

How many people experienced a deeper sleep as part of this? I will Dowse for myself if it may support my sleep..❤️🧚‍♂️❤️

Alice Bakanowsky
Alice Bakanowsky

July 07, 2020

Lovely! Reminds me of the Pussy Willow outside our front door when I was a kid. The softness always made me feel good.

Janis
Janis

July 06, 2020

Thank you for sharing this! I look forward to reading more of these. Sounds like a helpful essence for many of us right now.

Seán Pádraig O'Donoghue
Seán Pádraig O'Donoghue

July 06, 2020

This brings back memories of gathering Pussy Willows with my mother at the Parker River Wildlife Refuge on walks in March looking for signs of spring. Thank you for sharing this beauty and wisdom and for the integrity you bring to your medicine making. Also, July 16 happens to be my birthday!

Chara Armon
Chara Armon

July 06, 2020

Clearly Pussy Willow transmits a beautiful healing energy. I have always loved the soft catkins, and lately am feeling very drawn to tree essences. Thank you for this exploration of Pussy Willow.

Jasmine
Jasmine

July 03, 2020

What an incredible study! I love reading the patterns and wisdom that emerged from this essence. I felt a softness fall over me from just reading the description & picturing the beautiful tree. Thank you for exploring this important work.

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