Taiwan Collection Blog Series — Bleeding Heart Vine

This blog begins a series of blogs that Sarah will be doing on our new Taiwan Collection of Flower Essences. We hope this will be a fun way to become more acquainted with the essences, especially those which seem obscure or inaccessible!

Before I begin, I wanted to share a little bit about some of the collection’s themes and some particularities about Taiwan.

Sun from Taiwanese flag
The 12-pointed sun from the flag of the Republic of China (Taiwan)

This collection is very much about breaking down the barriers of human-constructed concepts, such as those that separate us by race and language, to reveal a truer truth beyond words and translation. In bringing together information about this collection each flower had a Latin name, English name, and Chinese name. To see each flower through the lens of these various labels was illuminating and allowed us to uncover meanings that are clearly informed by, but ultimately transcend ideas of culture, geography, and society.

Map of flowers showing where Taiwan is
Flower Map of Taiwan

Taiwan is a contested piece of land located off the coast of mainland China in the East China Sea. Taiwan was ruled by the Japanese for a period of 50 years from 1895-1945, before the Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party) fled there during the Chinese civil war in the 40’s and 50’s. The island continues to be a politically tense region as the debate with China over the sovereignty of Taiwan rages on. As I am writing this blog there is a story in the news of escalating tension between the Taiwanese and the Chinese over military activity in the troubled waters between them. This seems to be the case on a weekly basis. All of these complicated dynamics are coexisting on this land, and I haven’t even mentioned the issue of Taiwanese aborigines. These peoples are the original inhabitants of the island and have a language (part of the Austronesian group that encompasses Madagascar, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Hawaii) and culture that is completely distinct from the rest of East Asia.

Look at JiuFen from Keelung Mountain
On Keelung Mountain by the sea, looking back at the village of JiuFen

As many of you may know, we have often been called to make flower essences from island-inhabiting flowers. The Taiwan Collection is another piece in this island puzzle and the Flower Essences in this collection hold a unique wisdom from the land and people that have developed alongside the floral kingdom there. There is some feeling on the farm that right now is an important time for information coming from the East. I suggest that you take a look at Molly’s earlier blogs here and here.  Also, Himalayan Balsam may be of particular help in opening ourselves up to these essences, especially if they seem strange or different to us. The fear and illusion of difference melt away to reveal the more universal truth of unity and love.

Take, for instance, Bleeding Heart Vine.

Bleeding Heart Vine
Clerodendrum thomsoniae

Bleeding Heart Vine — ?????

I AM full even when I feel empty.

~~Clearing, cleansing, release~~

The affirmation of this essence reminds me of the often paradoxical nature of our lived experience. We are in this world but not of it, apparently diverse but actually one, and we are full even when we feel empty. One way that I interpret this affirmation is that we are filled with and surrounded by love, even when we feel our most hopeless and wretched.

When identifying this flower, I was equally fascinated by its English and Chinese names. In English, ‘bleeding heart’ is suggestive of emotional release. The cathartic theme of this essence is echoed in the Chinese name which includes the phrase “spitting dragon.” The Chinese word ‘to spit’ can also mean ‘to vomit’. When looking at the flower, you can clearly see where this name has come from. Winged red petals extend from fuscia calyxes, further projecting their stamen in what appears to be a projectile vomit of sorts! Thinking of vomiting as a metaphor, I think, reveals something of what this flower has to teach us. Personally, I dread vomiting. Even talking about it is unpleasant and can bring on the much despised gag reflex. But actually, when our bodies have the impulse to throw up, it is because they have detected something virulent within us that we would be better off by getting out of our system.

Prolonging this purge leads only to more discomfort and is not in our best interest. We often experience great relief after we let our bodies do this cleansing work, despite how visceral and unpleasant we feel in the moment.

cluster of Bleeding Heart Vine flowers
Bleeding Heart Vine cluster

Bleeding Heart Vine can be thought of as the antidote to denial. In the short term, denial seems a happy and favorable alternative to experiencing painful emotions. But, in the long term, it becomes a suffocating constraint that prevents any and all progress and evolution. Contrarily, catharsis is extremely difficult in the moment, but it allows us to move on and cease to be dictated to by our unfelt emotions.

Being able to feel and experience our emotions in balance is a skill that this essences can help us with. Failing to process our emotions leaves us feeling boxed-in by them, while living in a constant stream of extreme emotion is equally restrictive. Either way, this essence embodies a refusal to be fenced in, especially by our own emotional or etheric baggage.

This permission to feel, experience, and express (as in, to extract) our emotions in a healthy way is not often emphasized to us. In fact, there is much kowtowing* to the act of ignoring, suppressing, and outright denying our emotions. Bleeding Heart Vine helps to move us beyond these stagnating habits. We would love to hear from you about your experience with this essence, or other questions you may have about our new Flower Friends from Taiwan!

Until next time,

xo Sarah


*self-debasing acquiescence, rigid obedience (Keep your eyes out for a blog on this concept coming soon!)