Radio To The Other Side: In search of the Real McCoy - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Radio To The Other Side: In search of the Real McCoy

Radio To The Other Side: In search of the Real McCoy

Published August 5, 2009

“What are you smiling about?” asks Kristbjörg, pouring a cup of jasmine tea infused with a few drops of ‘Bliss’ essence: (number 39) the wild flower Valerian.
    “Oh, nothing really,” I say, looking out the window. Lupine sways in a breeze, eider ducks skim the lake; the vibe here is utterly intoxicating. Honestly, it really doesn’t get better than this. Except—I am dying for a cigarette; I drink the tea hoping that soon ‘Bliss’ will negate my nicotine addiction.
    Tucked behind Rauðholar, a cluster of 4600 year-old rust-red, iron-rich cratered hillocks on the outskirts of Reykjavik, is the idyllic lake Elliðaárvatn; over a bridge, nestled in a crèche of trees on the second floor of a timber house, is Kristbjörg Elín Kristmundsdóttir’s office-come-alchemist-studio. From here, you can’t hear anything resembling Kentucky Fried civilisation, just branches rustling, birds chirping. If ever there were a place predestined for Zen meditation, this would surely be it. It makes sense that Kristbjörg spends her days here in this hidden nook communing with plant and nature entities: collective conscious spirits in flowers, rocks, water, even glacier ice. No, these aren’t elves or huldufólk (the hidden people), they’re beings of pure cosmic energy.
    Over twenty years ago Kristbjörg discovered the power of flowers when a friend introduced her to British Bach flower essences. She tried them on her organic farm with her livestock and crops and has never looked back since. Soon enough she was developing her own unique Icelandic flower alchemy, creating healing tinctures for humans. She now has a fully-fledged homeopathic business, supplying essences to customers as far away as California.
    Of course, energy-aligned herbal healing techniques have been going on since time immemorial. Ancient Chinese medicine, based on remedies consisting of all kinds of processed plant and animal matter—including some pretty gory stuff—is still very much alive. In fact, in recent years it has become so commercialised that you now have KFC-style medicine chains with flashy gold logos sprouting up all over China. Bet you wondered where all those armadillo testicles were going? The Chinese say, as a general rule, to heal your Chi, look for something that symbolically represents that which you need to heal. For example, for increased male sexual prowess you can’t do any better than a lug of ginseng juice; in its complete form the root looks a little like the male genitals. Canadian-Swiss anthropologist Jeremy Narby has travelled to the furthest reaches of the Amazon jungle in search of shamans who talk with plants.  Based on his experiences, Amazon shamans are able to communicate through induced trance, often receiving messages from the plant in the form of symbolic DNA, which provide essential clues to the plant’s healing properties.  Apparently, it really works. Narby speculates that all plants may be innately intelligent; only, most of us are too blinkered to get the messages.
    Kristbjörg says, “Everything has its own vibration, its own soul, its very own music and colour. Each plant holds a specific range of vibration, and because plants and humans are related, the essences reach deep into the core of being. All things are imbued with this universal power; and plants, flowers in particular, are able to correct or assist in diminishing energy patterns—or chakras.”
    Kristbjörg is so in-tune with the Elementals—fire, water, earth, sky, space—all she has to do is to empty her mind, and in a blink she’s one-on-one with the plants.  
    “The Elementals are essential, they help me connect, because every living thing is comprised of them.  In turn, the flowers themselves tell me where in the nature I can find them, what aliments their energies are good for.
    “Everything in our Cosmos is energy,” she says. “Our consciousness creates the physical appearance of all matter—and consciousness, the soul of things—is the constant vibration of energy into matter, back and forth. This soul-consciousness is the channel through which I communicate with them.”
    The fundamentals of quantum physics flash back to me—newer pseudo-scientific theories talk about our entire Universe being nothing but a hologram that pulses from the very origin of the Cosmos. And, of course, here we have those ancient Indian Sanskrit Vedas all over again.
    I take another sip of tea, and ask: “So you see them—er, manifested in some sort of physical form, these—flower spirits?”
    Kristbjörg crosses her legs into a pretzel-perfect lotus position. “Yes, only there are many levels:  there are the flower elves (blómálfar), they are like the protectors of the plant; then you have the soul of the individual plant; beyond this, you have the collective consciousness of the plant within that region—say, the Pansies of Hafnarfjarðarbær; finally you have the collective of Pansies throughout Iceland. Sometimes I see the collective as a face, sometimes many faces; sometimes they manifest themselves just like pure light energy. We don’t really use words, it’s more—telepathic.”
    An entire hierarchy of flower consciousness?
    “So how do you find them? The right flower for the right essence?”
    “Honestly, it’s all up to the plants.  I don’t really do anything much, I just follow the collective’s instructions. It’s as if I’m suddenly compelled to go out into the countryside. I can feel it in the pit of my stomach, deep down. Many times, I’ll just start driving, and suddenly I’m there in right in front of the plant. Then, in a manner of automatic writing, I take down what the flower is communicating with me. As I write, I can see the entity, the personification of the collective, right in my mind’s eye.”
    All in all, at present, Kristbjörg has 160 essences, mostly they are flowers, but recently, glaciers have been calling too.
    “I was drawn to Hofsjökull. There are huge beings—giants, which live there. As I neared the glacier, vibrations were stirring in the air.  When I set foot in the ice, there were these great whooshing sounds. At first I thought a crevasse was opening up beneath us. Then, I knew something was checking us out, so I meditated, and I could see these creatures: they were like glacier snowboarders—dwarves: the protectors of the glacier.”
    “Now this, Kristbjörg, I really gotta see.”
    “Sure, next time, you can come along if you like. Only, be warned, sometimes they don’t take well to strangers.”
    Lucky for me, Kristbjörg’s flower essence number 40, Wild Camomile (Matricaria recuita), provides inner peace, deep clarity and understanding. I’ll be taking a bottle or two with me.

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