Latin Name: Chicorium intybus
Group: The First Twelve Essences
Emotional Group: Over-care for the welfare of others
Failing: Self- pitying
Those who are very mindful of the needs of others; they tend to be over-full of care for children, relatives, friends, always finding something that should be put right. They are continually correcting what they consider wrong, and enjoy doing so. They desire that those for whom they care should be near them. [Bach: Twelve Healers and Other Remedies 1936]
If we but sufficiently develop the quality of losing ourselves in the love and care of those around us, enjoying the glorious adventure of gaining knowledge and helping others, our personal griefs and sufferings rapidly come to an end. It is the great ultimate aim: the losing of our own interests in the service of humanity. [Bach]
When ill, these people worry over others, children, friends, relatives; are anxious that they are too warm, too cold, not happy, not enjoying themselves. Constantly asking them how they are and what they would like. Over-anxious in efforts to please them. Many questions as to their wishes and requirements. This state brings no peace and strains the patient. Sometimes the patients feel sorry for themselves; feel that they have done nothing to deserve to be ill; they are ill-used and neglected, that others are not caring for them. Often they have a good colour when ill; the people whose looks do not pity them. [Bach]
Chicory grows on wasteground, more particularly at the edges of cultivated land, cornfields, or on roadside verges (when they have not been mowed). On more acid soil the flowers are not such an intense blue – they are sensitive as a litmus paper and at times appear pale or even pink after rain, because of the acidity.
Chicory grows throughout the South of England especially on calcareous soils. In some parts it is grown by farmers.
To understand the true nature of the Chicory type we may need to see them outside and away from their domestic environment. Bach notes this when observing that the soul type wants to love and bless the whole world but feels constrained by those nearest to them.
Like Agrimony, Chicory is a hairy plant, though coarser and less delicate in structure and form. The hairs, again, show sensitivity but the sensitivity of feeling in the Chicory type is more sensing inwardly, not looking outwards. Chicory asks always the question: ‘how do I feel? What are my concerns?’ Clearly a contrast with Agrimony. We see this in the powerful domineering structure of the plant that thrusts others aside. Agrimony is more febrile and delicate, Chicory tough and dominant. At least, the leaves and the stems are tough, the flowers are as fine and delicate as could be. This is the contradiction of Chicory. Chicory is changeable, fussy and contradictory.
To draw together these observations on Chicory we can best look to the plant’s root. The root stands for the past, the family and, for want of a better term, karma. As with Agrimony we can visualize the root as the place where experience from the metabolism of life is stored in order to supply the force for the future. Sir James Edward Smith was unable, child or man, to pull up Chicory’s taproot because the root is so deeply attached to the earth and to the past. This demonstrates the process of family learning that often accompanies Chicory: where there is a Chicory child you will likely find a Chicory parent (or grandparent) from whom the child learns this behaviour. Equally this pattern of manipulation carries over from life to life (in plants from year to year) so that the people are bound into a perpetual drama of restrictive relationships.