In my first book, there is a chapter entitled The Magic of Making Bush Essences. I wanted to share the incredible synchronicity and undeniable guidance so evident during the making up of all the remedies.
There is no essence where this is more evident than with Sturt Desert Pea. Every time I have prepared the mother tincture of this flower in its natural habitat, there has been an incredible story – and magic – connected to the Australian plant. I had just returned from an Essence-making trip that included making Sturt Desert Pea in a very remote area of South Australia, over 700km north of Adelaide. Again, the magic was flowing to get this Essence created!
Drought can certainly play havoc with your Australian Native essence-making plans. The last few times I’ve been making Sturt Desert Pea, it has been in the far north-west area of NSW, which necessitates a 13-hour drive to get there. Fortunately, I am in contact with Daryl, a ranger in this area, who knows when and where to find this elusive flower. However, this area has been in a drought, and Sturt Desert Pea hasn’t flowered there this particular year. Daryl had advised me on one occasion the very day before I was about to fly up to make it, that there had been a hailstorm the previous night, which had wiped out all the Sturt Desert Peas.
On this recent expedition, which I had booked well in advance, all my enquiries, made the week or so before departing, regarding finding some Sturt Desert Pea were met with, ‘We’re in a drought, we haven’t seen any for a long time. Anyway, I took the chance to travel up to the Flinders Ranges to see if I might be lucky. On arrival, I checked in with a local ranger, who again assured me there was none around. As it so happened, standing behind me was a woman waiting to check in to the campground with the ranger. She overheard my conversation and told me that she had just come back from an area 4 hours north that day and had come across some Sturt Desert Pea on a walk. Very excitedly, I got her to point out on a map exactly where she had seen them. The only problem was it was a very rough dirt road I had to take to get there, and I was in a rental sedan with a very low wheelbase. Nevertheless, nothing was stopping me on my quest, even though there were many times when a high patch of rocks struck the underneath of the car, and I was convinced I had lost the muffler.
Where the Sturt Desert Pea was made
After 2 hours of rather torturous driving, a message popped up saying the engine had lost power, and then we seemed to be going relatively slow. There had been no cars coming in the other direction that whole time, and I did wonder what would happen if we broke down. After 4 hours we reached a large private station where someone with some mechanical skills was found and had a look at the car. He thought it would be OK but was concerned the engine light had come on, and we still had another hour to drive. Fortunately, we got there, and luckily we had been told to start the 7-hour walk clockwise rather than anti-clockwise as we were able to find the Sturt Desert Pea after about 45 minutes.
Travelling there had taken a long time, but it worked out that I could do the preparation and make the Essence - with just 45 minutes of light remaining. I was convinced this was the only Sturt Desert Pea in the whole of South Australia and very grateful for all the unseen help and guidance that is present when I am trying to prepare an Essence – especially the Sturt Desert Pea. This gratitude and the most stunning sunsets more than consoled me for the very long drive back along the same route, even though it was much slower this time with it being dark and harder to look for big, jagged rocks on the road. Fortunately, the various wallabies and kangaroos we saw – driving at night is not recommended in the outback – didn’t decide to jump out in front of the car, and we eventually got back – very late, to our base camp. Another typical day in the office!
Whilst preparing the mother tincture, I received some new insights about the Sturt Desert Pea. If you look at the flower, there’s a little stem directly behind the red and the black part of the flower, which holds it up. It is almost like a mask is being held out in front of them. Sturt Desert Pea is for someone putting on a brave show, but underneath there’s a lot of sorrow, which they don’t want people to see. They’re trying to put on a bright and happy front, but there’s that blackness, the unexpressed sorrow in the very core of their being, which is still there and which you can see in their eyes.
'Almost like a mask is being held out in front of them.'
The very upright vertical stems of the Sturt Desert Pea
The flower grows very upright and vertical from the main stem. This essence will help give people the bravery and courage to stand up and address their deep unresolved hurts and sorrow. Sturt Desert Pea is such a deep and powerful essence. Usually, I just prescribe it by itself; however, last year, I added it to our new combination remedies, Boost and Men’s, as it was known, well indicated and pertinent for both. It was the first time I had ever added it in a combination.
On another occasion when making up the Sturt Desert Pea mother tincture, I had not found any after much searching in the southern part of the Northern Territory. Someone suggested contacting the police station just over the border in South Australia – Sturt Desert Pea is the floral emblem of South Australia. The police mentioned there had been a good patch of it, but a tourist had picked it all to decorate their car! They mentioned that the drought had really restricted the flowering, and they hadn’t seen the flower anywhere else though they suggested trying to contact a particular indigenous woman who lived in a community outside of Marla. I would, however, have to get a permit to enter this community. Though tracking down this woman wasn’t an easy task when I did make it to the community.
Finally, I was told where I could locate her and found two Telecommunication workmen working at the front of her property. I mentioned to them that I was trying to contact her and asked if they had seen her. At that point, an old car came reversing up the driveway at a very fast speed. One of the men thought it was her and knowing my urgency, I bravely jumped in front of the car, which fortunately stopped. I quickly introduced myself and told her about my mission to find the Sturt Desert Pea. She smiled and said I would find some just past the golf course out of town. I can assure you that neither Tiger Woods nor his colleagues would ever call this a golf course! It was just a barren piece of desert. Though, as she said, at the very end of the golf course, there was a little ditch, and there was Sturt Desert Pea growing. Again, because of the drought, I would undoubtedly swear that this was the only patch of Sturt Desert Pea in the whole of the Centre of Australia.
The Sturt Desert Pea near the 'golf course.actings'
Below is an excerpt from my book Australian Bush Flower Essences about the story of making up this wonderful Essence for the very first time.
Where I first found Sturt Desert Pea in 1987
Travelling by the side of the Ghan tracks
Making the essence for the first time