When You Wish Upon Aster
by Jack Braunstein
It seemed to me that the Aster awakened a core
Read Jack's plant study on Showy Aster.
"If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change," wrote Buddha about 2,500 years ago. This insight has been echoed over the centuries by many religions, philosophies, and individuals, but have you in your entire lifetime spent an hour or twoor three or moretuning into a single flower? If so, perhaps you have begun to understand "the language of the flowers".
Probing deeply into the individuality of a single plant is called a plant attunement and this exercise was part of my requirement to attain my certification through the Flower Essence Society. I purposely chose a wild aster because its flower is not particularly spectacularat least at a casual glance. Also, at the time of my investigation there had not been any published reports on the flower essence qualities of this plant, so I could also allow my own original insights and observations to come fully into play.
The first part of the exercise involved paying close attention to its habitat, stem, leaves, root system, fragrance, and flower. As the process developed, I began to feel a deeper communion with the plant and could sense many subtle soul qualities, building on the physical foundation of clues that I had gathered.
It seemed to me that the Aster awakened a core part of the spiritual identity, the ability to be true to oneself, and in turn to radiate that truth as a form of love and higher consciousness to others. The Aster seems to quicken the events happening in one's life in the physical world while bridging to other spiritual dimensions. It is as though the seemingly disconnected threads of one's life become more vibrant and reconnect to form a larger whole.
At the time I did the plant attunement, I had been reading Eliot Cowan's book, Plant Spirit Medicine. (Click here to purchase the book.) This book encourages tangible connection with plants in Nature as a pathway to being healed by them. Gratitude for the being of a plant is a fundamental soul quality encouraged by Cowan as a doorway of understanding. I could begin to feel this mood of thankfulness as I worked with the aster. It was indeed grateful for my communication' with it. While I had not expected anything further to happen beyond my work with the plant, I was amazed to experience two major synchronistic life events that unfolded in a manner that was deeply related to the essential soul qualities of the Aster.
A Soul Connection Reawakened
The first event has its beginnings 27 years ago. I was 17, running away from home, hitchhiking on the highway, headed to Pittsburgh from New York. Even though I wasn't aware of it at the time, I can remember now that asters were in full bloom along the highway on that sunny October morning. The third driver to pick me up that day proved to be an important soul connection. His name was Carmine Tedeschi, and I still have a vivid memory of his physical appearance that day. A warmth and trust developed during our conversation. He convinced me to take the train home and "give my father another chance. " He also insisted on giving me the two dollars for the trip home.
Things did calm down at my house and I never attempted to run away again. While I was a senior in high school that year, Carmine and I exchanged letters, and I returned the two-dollar loan. We fell out of touch when I went to college.
Five years later his wife sent a note to my parents' address, asking if I would visit Carmine, who was very ill in the hospital. Even though I was living in New York City where his hospital was located, I was unsure of myself and afraid to deal with anyone's illness. I looked at the letter on my desk for days, then weeks, then months. By that point I feared the worst and didn't even respond to her request. Nearly 10 years elapsed before my soul grew further, and I realized the importance of being there for friends in need. I tried to locate Carmine but all my efforts were in vain. I began accepting that I would have to live with my remorse.
Then, a few days after I did the attunement exercise with the aster, Carmine and his wife were rummaging through papers in their attic. By seeming chance, he discovered a letter I had written to him 27 years earlier! He sent a letter to my home address and my parents forwarded it on to me.
I was shocked! Not only was Carmine alive and well, but he had cherished our meeting as much as I had. What's more, he had forgiven me for not visiting him in the hospital. It seemed significant that I was now 44-years old, the same age Carmine had been when he had given me the ride 27 years earlier. It is also notable that I was 17 at the time, and he was now 71, the same age with the numbers reversed.
Since that time, our friendship continues to develop. I had nurtured a wish in my soul to reconnect with someone who was dear to me. My experience with the Aster flower seemed to draw my own Star more near to me. The old belief that we can wish upon a star, and that wish be fulfilled, no doubt has to do with a deep knowing of how our Spirit Self can be quickened and called into our lives. It seemed this is what had happened to me.
Listening to a Dream
The other synchronous experience that happened during this same time frame involves a friend named "Colette" (not her real name). Colette's husband had passed away two months earlier. They lived far from me, so I met them in person only three times, but the contacts were meaningful and maintained by occasional phone calls. The couple was deeply in love with each other, and true soul mates and healers. Colette experienced profound grief at the passing of her husband.
The night after I did the plant attunement with the aster, Colette's husband appeared in my dream and made me feel it was imperative to call Colette. I did so the very next day, and she revealed that her sorrow had intensified and that she was experiencing the darkest period of her life.
She went on to tell me that on a few occasions since her husband's death, she had come into contact with Dante Gabriel Rossetti's painting of Ophelia, the woman in Shakespeare's Hamlet who goes mad and eventually commits suicide when she believes that Hamlet has died. In the painting, Ophelia is depicted in her delirious state as she floats down a stream on her back with flowers alongside her.
Colette's will to carry on without her husband was waning and in some deep part of her soul she identified with Ophelia's fate. "But what about Hamlet's dying wish that he requests of his friend Laertes!" I implored. I searched for this passage and read it to her. Hamlet's speech was more telling than I had realized:
Things standing thus unknown,
shall live behind me.
Colette and I were in awe. Suddenly we understood why her husband had appeared in my dream. His spirit was trying to speak through me to bring a message to her. He wanted her to hear Hamlet's wish, that one can continue to live on earth and serve the soul story of another.
I prepared a blend of flower essences for Colette that I have developed called, Letting Go, to encourage the individual to move through the stages of grief and separation. Colette steadily emerged from her depression, and within a few weeks she had a completely rejuvenated outlook on her future. The darkness she had experienced had not claimed her soul, but only deepened it.
Today, Colette continues her outstanding work as a healer, helping others through their obstacles and sorrows. The vision of healing and service which had lived in her bond with her husband has been strengthened and lives on in another way. The soul wish of her husband was granted. His "Star" works through her on earth And it was my "Star" that was able to awaken, to listen to my dream and shine my soul truth at a time that could be of service and healing to Colette.
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