August 10, 2012

Night Blooming Cereus Close Up

There are twenty different species of the Night-Blooming Cereus. Also called Moonlight Cactus, some species grow in the jungle and some grow in the desert. They’re native to tropics of the the Americas and also widely grown in Central and South America. Some night-blooming cereus plants can be grown indoors as houseplants, and in the hotter climates like Arizona they grow in the ground. One type of night-blooming cereus called Hylocereus, is cultivated in Asia for its fruits! You’ve probably tried it or heard of it: the dragon fruit, known for it’s fuchsia and lime-colored skin with a fleshy white and black polka-dotted fruit on the inside.

However, all of these flower species bloom only at night, and many of them only bloom once each year. The cereus featured in our elixir is the Cereus candicans, also known as the Argentine Giant and grows in Arizona. Other names for this flower are Princess of the Night or Queen of the Night. It blooms once each year in springtime, on the full moon or new moon. It blooms during the night – for one night only – and by the mid-morning it has already begun to wilt. You can imagine how strong this flower’s energy is, as it only has one night to blossom.

The Night-Blooming Cereus Flower is about 6-7 inches wide in diameter, and starts blooming at about 9 or 10pm at night – it unfolds its creamy white petals and is intoxicatingly fragrant. Inside the shimmery, feather-like petals, there are green and yellow pollen-filled stamen.

At the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona, there are special nighttime tours in May, where you can see and photograph these rare beauties.

sphinx moth

Did you know … that any flower that blooms at night cannot be pollinated by bees or hummingbirds? Instead they are pollinated by sphinx moths and sometimes bats.

Night-Blooming Cereus

I discovered this flower by chance, as I was walking out of an appointment and saw the huge bud on the cactus and knew it was about to bloom. So many years living in Arizona and I had never seen the flower before! But looking at it I just felt in my bones that it was ready to pop and that it was a very special flower.

Though I had collected my own flower essences for years, I was just starting my product business and was really hitting some walls. I had gone to a massive trade show called the Natural Products Expo in California. We made our booth out of pvc pipe and raw silk and drove six hours to set up among hundreds of other vendors. I collected over 300 business cards in over an exhausting three days. When I got home I hired an assistant to help me call and email every single person I had met. I think we got two small orders.

So even though at the time a whole region of Whole Foods was courting us … there were some obstacles. And I just felt that the health food industry wasn’t the right place for us. I couldn’t figure out where we belonged, or where the people were who wanted or needed our flower elixirs. But I knew that there were people all over the world that needed our elixirs. So I made wishes … to find my people.

Several weeks later I found myself in a meeting with the opening hospitality team of what was to be the largest spa in Arizona. They had been building from the ground up – they were opening in six months and needed ‘signature’ products. I had never really spent much time in spas. I used to give talks and set up at spa events, but I had never gotten a spa treatment! But I knew about healing, flower remedies, aromatherapy and herbs. So I worked day and night creating new potions, lotions, soaps, scrubs, aromatherapy scents, drinks, oils and elixirs.

I came in every few days and laid out a huge spread of goodies for everyone to try. They wanted the perfect ‘signature scent’, so I also created a TON of exquisite essential oils formulas for them to choose from. It was a huge team, with diverse interests and the only parameters were that everyone had to love it (Hard! Everyone’s tastes are so different!) and it had to fall in line with their Moroccan and Spanish concept. The Italian general manager fell so in love with a tea that I had made for them that he asked me to make a scent like the tea. So on one full moon in May at their press event, I trotted in with several gallons of tea and some aromatherapy scents in my pocket. After the event we had a meeting and the entire team fell in love with this new spicy citrus floral scent. After months of work I was officially hired – to roll that signature scent out into fifteen different retail products and design the signature treatments for the spa menu.

We walked out of that meeting and on the way to the car is when I noticed this huge cactus bud … 

So I did what anybody would do and snuck back on the property at 10:30 at night. I found the cactus and sure enough this flower was in full bloom! Massive and almost glowing. I realized I had forgotten my camera. I called my best friend Lisa and asked her to bring it. I got about as far as making some water and Tibetan incense offerings when the security guard started circling me like a shark in his golf cart. Lisa arrived and held him at bay discussing fishing, while I gathered the flower into a huge glass bowl of water. I had hoped to make the flower essence there, but it’s a really sensitive process and I didn’t want anybody’s funky energy to affect the essence. So I brought the flower home and set it out in the full moon light starting the process of making the flower remedy.

Night-Blooming Cereus, Argentine Giant

Usually flowers that bloom at night are for helping us see a side of ourselves that we don’t usually look at. The magic of night-blooming flowers is that they illuminate different shadow aspects of ourselves that we don’t often see. This particular flower digs deep into fear patterns. It unearths self-limiting habits or thoughts having to do with fear – any kind of fear. It’s generally a type of fear that you’re not aware of – it’s running in the background, in the shadows and oftentimes it affects your behavior, but you’re not aware of it on a conscious level.

Specifically it’s a type of fear that is in some way holding you back from being your greatest self. It’s not about your fear of spiders or snakes or falling off a fifteen-story building, rather it’s related to the fears that would prevent you from getting out of your comfort zone and taking a big leap towards reaching for your full potential. For each person, what comes up is different, because we all have our favorite flavor of what subtly holds us back.

Personally, in my case, the first time that I took the Night-Blooming Cereus Elixir (continuously for one month), I looked at fears of being seen, being left out, being looked over, not being enough – all sorts of illusory fears. Fears that are simply not real, even though they feel real.

Note: flower essences like this sometimes amplify your feelings (that would otherwise be subconscious) so that you can be aware of them. It’s certainly not inevitable, but it can happen that while taking this flower remedy, you have a day or two of heightened emotions. 

For example, during the first month that I took this elixir I had an argument with my best friend, who I had known for many, many years, and we had never had an argument in the 7 years we had known each other. She was taking the same elixir. It had a sort of purging effect on both of us (most likely because we’re so alike) and after that we were totally done with whatever that issue was – it never reared its ugly head again!

Night Blooming Cereus1

Since then, each time I’ve used the Cereus Elixir I’ve never had such a strong purging effect, in fact it gives me a lot of strength and calm. I share all this because I think it’s helpful to know in advance, because if you do have what’s traditionally called ‘a healing crisis’, then you’ll be prepared. You can just keep calm, quiet and take some extra time for yourself to be alone and observe everything coming up. By observing what arises, you’ll not only learn a lot about what kind of self-limiting patterns were at play in the background, but you can also start to feel a little distance between all of that and you.

Because in essence, none of those patterns are you, it’s like bugs getting stuck on the windshield when you’re driving down that beautiful country road of life. You are still a pristine piece of glass and the process of observing what arises gives you the ability to see more clearly and dissolve those limiting patterns.

Transformation is messy. I had always thought that when a caterpillar cocooned, it was hibernating and growing itself a pair of fancy wings onto that cute little caterpillar body. Nope! Get this: as the caterpillar is turning into a butterfly, there is a time where literally the entire caterpillar melts into a sort of liquid – completely dissolving itself, before re-forming itself as an entirely new being!

So yeah, transformation is messy and sometimes we have to dissolve everything in order to come out more beautiful and lovely on the other side. In any case, dive in & see what happens.

Experience the magic of the Night-Blooming Cereus!

Night Blooming Cereus

{Magnifies} Realization of your true gifts; recognition of your beauty; fearlessness; recognition of the preciousness of life; deepened appreciation of precious moments; deeper understanding of your shadow side; openness to unexpected gifts and great leaps toward reaching your potential in life; reaching for the highest outcome and highest potential; enhanced listening and being aware of the right moment; striving and knowing the precise moment to go for it; fearless calm; purification from the inside-out of all limitations necessary to accomplish the highest goal

{Dissolves} Old habits and patterns; illusions, illusory appearances; negativity, allowing it to bubble it to the surface; eliminates fear and grasping to fears, so that you can see and perceive them as illusions; dissolves attachment; paranoia; helps you find a balance between inferiority complex and superiority complex.

Love + flower petals,





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