Glory! To The Flowers:
An Interview with Maggie Davis & Cara Raymaker
by T. M. D'illon
Maggie Steincrohn Davis is the publisher of Heartsong Books. She lives, writes and publishes, "amidst rocks and moss and wildflowers," in a cabin she built years ago, in the woods in East Blue Hill, Maine. Author of over ten books for people of all ages, Maggie is a lay-herbalist, flower essence practitioner and Reiki II practitioner who works by donation and as needed in her community.
Maggie is also a co-founder of Neighborcare, a "volunteer-run, joyful band of neighbors who, free-of-charge, are pleased to assist individuals of every circumstance who fall between the cracks of the health-care system."
"I have been using flower essences for nearly a decade. Each of us using these gentle gifts has many "miracle" stories, and I am one of those stories! The joyful and unwavering decision to create Heartsong Books was made just days after I began taking, four times a day, a power manifestation formula I fashioned for myself--this at a time, at age fifty, when I felt I was ready to make a great leap in my life but was not sure what that leap might best be."
She said Glory! To The Flowers was inspired specifically by watching A Messenger of Beauty, a video on the life and work of Nicholas Roerich, during the FES Practitioner Intensive in 1991. "The sun was setting. When the video was over I just sat there for a few minutes, stunned. I knew something was going to happen after that. I felt I wanted to write a book celebrating flowers — and Edward Bach--for young people." (For more information about the book, click here to access her web site.)
Flowers and trees embody the living essence of love, Maggie believes. "They are so beautiful yet ask nothing from us. My hope in writing Glory! To The Flowers was not only to introduce young people to flower essences and to Edward Bach, but to inspire them to look at flowers in an entirely different way, using the gifts of the flowers to fine tune themselves to be all they are for the sake of all of us."
Such a special vision needed an equally special person to provide illustrations. Maggie received a tremendous blessing when young, artist Cara Raymaker entered her life. Aged 14 at the time of the project, Cara may have been the youngest illustrator ever of a full-color, trade children's book.
"I got a call from a teacher in Cara's school," Maggie explained, "who told me about a young woman there who was beyond gifted. Cara's teachers didn't know quite what to do with her and wondered if I would be interested in being her mentor. I said ‘why don't we first see if Cara wants me to be her mentor?' A meeting was set up at Cara's school. Cara and I took to each other right away."
The two met one Saturday a month at Maggie's cabin. As Maggie made soup and wrote, Cara drew. Serendipity came into play when the original illustrator of Glory! To The Flowers was unable to complete the project. "I was impressed with Cara's work and I knew she liked Glory! To The Flowers because I'd read it to her," Maggie recalled, "so I asked if she'd like to do the book with me. ‘Cool!' she said. ‘Rad!' and I knew that meant yes!"
"I've always had my own strong will and vision about myself and my art," explained Cara, who is now 19 and an illustration major at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. "My relationship with Maggie clicked right off the bat. She has these magical things all around the cabin--the flowers, the rocks, the gemstones. Being in that setting and interacting close to her gave my illustrations a different dimension."
"I showed Cara the ideas I had in mind for Glory! To The Flowers. I then wove her feedback into my initial designs for the book," Maggie said. "She did the art work right in front of me as I shared my impressions. It was quite a magnificent experience."
Cara said the creative give-and-take-process "felt like a dance. I had always appreciated and liked beautiful things I had never really drawn flowers before, but now I do them all of the time. Art is healing just to look at. Creating it is even more so. A lot of people don't understand the healing importance of art, or the importance of art in its many, many forms. How art, in general, affects every aspect of our lives, in all levels of our lives — that's the message I want to put out."
Maggie concurs. "Nature provides a healing palette we can draw from for each person, individually — and for ourselves, whether the ‘paint' we use be flower essences, or Reiki, or prayer, or gentle touch...whatever suits a person at the time. Flower essences are such an important part of the palette because they are so gentle."
"We live in a holographic universe," she continued, "where the smallest part contains all of the elements of the whole; likewise, our tiniest action can affect the universe in ways we are only just beginning to imagine. One day we will know we have all we need to be whole and sound. Inside us, we already have every element — every gift — we need. We are just awakening to these gifts now, and to our own ‘flower-likeness.' Our brain even looks like a flower — a cauliflower! And don't the words ‘brain stem' inspire us to think of flowers? There is a wonderful illustration Cara drew in Glory! To The Flowers of people reaching for the sun. The seekers heads are crowned with flowers — implying that, like flowers, we, too, take in the sun's energy, in both physical and more spiritual ways."
The overriding theme of Glory! To The Flowers is respect. Maggie said if there is any single concept she would want children to take away from Glory! To The Flowers, it would be to see flowers, trees and plants not just as beautiful and pretty, but also as very much alive and vital. "I hope that after reading my book children will look at flowers with a different eye. Imagine a world where we had respect for every life and saw every life as family. Who could we harm then? Who wouldn't we love?. All of my recent books have had everything to do with seeing deeply the story of everything that lives, then acting from what we see."
"The books, the web site, the Neighborcare work, they are all an expression of this all-embracing vision of interconnectedness. If you subscribe to such a vision, then it can lead you anywhere, with no one — and nothing — left behind."
Maggie Davis has been a mediator, counselor, teacher, trainer, waitress, poet, editor, radio talk show host, co-owner/founder of a nationally-known concert-café. She is wife, mother, and grandmother in a lively "Brady Bunch" family. Her just-published book, "Caring in Remembered Ways", is featured on the Heartsong Books website.
Upon completion of her college degree, Cara Raymaker hopes to write and illustrate books, "perhaps more children's books." She is also interested in art therapy
P.O. Box 459, Nevada City, CA 95959
800-736-9222 (US & Canada)
tel: 530-265-9163 fax: 530-265-0584
Copyright © by the Flower Essence Society.
All rights reserved.