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Latin Name: Calluna vulgaris
Group: Seven helpers
Emotional Group: Loneliness
Chronic condition: Talkative
Those who are always seeking the companionship of anyone who may be available, as they find it necessary to discuss their own affairs with others, no matter who it may be. They are very unhappy if they have to be alone for any length of time. [Bach: Twelve Healers and Other Remedies 1936]
We must steadfastly practice peace, imagining our minds as a lake ever to be kept calm, without waves, or even ripples, to disturb its tranquillity and gradually develop this state of peace until no event of life, no circumstance, no other personality is able under any circumstances to ruffle the surface of that lake. [Bach]
The characteristic of the Heather people is that they worry over the troubles of others, not the big things of life, but the affairs of everyday. They try all means in their power to persuade or even compel others to do what they think right. Their diseases are often not very severe until towards old age, but they may suffer a considerable amount of inconvenience and interference with their daily life for years at a time through minor maladies. They are inclined also to be a little afraid for themselves if they get even slight trouble. They like people to be dependent upon them, and they take pleasure in feeling that they are being of use and help to any in difficulty. Heather people are often well-built and of high colour, full-blooded, strong in body and full of energy and activity, and are unsparing of themselves in exertions for others. [Bach]
Heathers like acidity and tolerate wet, boggy ground and dry sandy heaths. They are most obviously found in mountains and moorland.
Heathers grow on many infertile soils throughout Britain. Bach mentions the mountains of Scotland and Wales although Devon or Yorkshire would do equally well.
These people have become lonely and they react by talking obsessively about themselves to anyone who will listen. From the earliest commentary upon this remedy, written by Victor Bullen in 1956, we learn that any one of us may suffer from this at times. We feel that we must talk about ourselves, becoming unduly self-concerned, despite knowing that we are boring to others. If we think about it for a moment we see that it is another of the ways to react to our chronic life problems. We may talk obsessively about our divorce, about our bereavement, about our illness, leg operation, whatever. Just as with Oak and Gorse, this happens, said Bach, because we have lost hope, although we may not be conscious of that as the cause. When anxiety begins to replace our normal healthy optimism then some of us may find ourselves in the Heather state.
This thought is implicit in Bach’s own written account of how he found the Heather remedy for a woman he knew. She was ‘self-centred and utterly worldly’ and he said ‘what do you think is the most beautiful sight in the world? Have you ever seen anything that makes you think it possible that there is a God?’ Her reply was ‘yes, the mountains covered with heather’. She associated the wilderness landscape and the flowering Heather with the immanent Godhead. Bringing God into this may not simplify the matter! Or perhaps for some people it does. The sense of isolation that drives us towards the Heather state is based upon an anxiety about meaning in life; we become insecure, we are secretly worried about life and death.