Flower essences are vibrational remedies that really shine during dark and challenging times, and can be extremely helpful for your emotional well-being during an evacuation or similar crisis.
Having been evacuated multiple times due to California wildfires, I have some thoughts on what’s helpful to have in your bag.
Two mandatory evacuations in less than a year
In October 2019, the Kinkade fire burned 78,000 acres in Sonoma County, California and ultimately caused the unprecedented evacuation of 190,000 people.
This was my first mandatory evacuation experience and it struck when I wasn’t home, but actually attending a flower essence workshop in the next county over.
That situation really illustrated the need to always keep a crisis formula like Rescue Remedy / Five Flower Formula readily available (in the car, handbag, etc.). Like me, you may not be at home when a crisis happens. You can hear me talk about that experience on The Flower Essence Podcast, FEP12 – Emergency Essences for Crisis.
Last month (August 2020), a freak lightening storm caused hundreds of fires in California overnight, including the Wallbridge fire which was very close to my home. This time I was home and a little more prepared.
Packing for evacuation is like packing for a vacation in hell
Have you ever tried to pack for a trip, but you don’t know where you’re going or how long you will be there?
Let me tell you, it already takes me a long time to pack for a regular trip. As an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) with chronic illness, my brain goes nuts calculating all the possible things I might need depending on weather, activities, etc. Packing for an “evacu-vacation” is like that on steroids, and an exercise in hard-core decision making under the most stressful of circumstances.
Not only do you have to figure out what items are essential to live, you also have to decide what possessions of yours you’d like to save from the natural disaster that is on its way to your home.
All these items have to fit in your vehicle, or even on your back if you don’t have a vehicle. Hard choices have to be made.
Hopefully if you live in a potential wildfire area, you have already done some of this preparation ahead of time. Depending on the amount of warning you get, you may or may not have time do it once the fire is moving. And the more under-the-gun you are, the less likely you will be able to make good decisions.
After the 2017 Tubbs fire – the fast moving wildland fire that entered the highly populated city of Santa Rosa, California in the middle of the night and had residents scrambling out of their homes on a moments notice – survivors shared lots of “funny-not-funny” stories of what they grabbed at the last minute while running out of their houses. It was humorous in retrospect because of the complete absurdity of the choices made. Our brains simply cannot make rational decisions at times like these and hence the need for prior preparation.
Top 5 emotional challenges to address during evacuation
After you’ve accounted for all things you need for survival and living away from home for at least a week, consider packing wellness items that will help you cope.
There are some distinct emotional challenges that can manifest during the evacuation process – it can feel like going through all the washing machine cycles and it’s easy to get stuck in spin.
I’ve grouped these challenges into five areas to consider when selecting essences for your go-bag:
1. Immediate Crisis
2. Fear & Anxiousness
3. Energetic Protection
5. Additional Support
I’m recommending pre-made combination formulas for these reasons:
- Combination formulas are going to be more targeted and more versatile than singles – they are both wide and deep in their action.
- They give you more “bang for your buck”, as far as being able to bring more essences in fewer bottles when you have limited space.
- There are some great combinations available on the market that take the guesswork out of making your own. In these crisis situations it’s almost impossible to know what you’ll need unless you’ve been through this before. But if you are so inclined, have the time and have the stock supplies to make your own – by all means, go for it! You can use these commercial blends as inspiration.
1. A Formula for Immediate Crisis
Rescue Remedy / Five Flower Formula
Rescue Remedy and Five Flower Formula refer to the original formula devised by Dr. Bach, now made by various producers. The “Bach original flower remedies” are probably the most recognizable brand on US store shelves, and are now produced by A. Nelson & Co., a large homeopathic medicine manufacturer. The Healing Herbs brand (imported to the US via FES), are still hand-crafted by Julian Barnard, the leading expert on Dr. Bach’s flower remedies and methods.
The crisis formulation (called “Rescue Remedy” by Nelson/Bach and “Five Flower” by FES/Healing Herbs respectively) are comprised of: Clematis, Cherry Plum, Impatiens, Rock Rose, and Star of Bethlehem. It’s used for all kinds of emergencies, crisis, shock, trauma, surprises, accidents, and really any situational stress or mental suffering.
If you can only have one bottle with you, have this. It’s a formula that creates an immediate shift, it “snaps you out it”, whatever “it” is that has thrown you for a loop. It’s extremely obvious in its action when given to a crying child that can’t seem to break out of their upset-ness.
The great thing about this formula is that it’s also an excellent base to add a few other essences to if desired. I like adding Mimulus (4 drops) right into the Rescue bottle to expand the formula to help deal with fear and apprehension (if you don’t have a seperate anxiousness formula, as discussed below).
2. A Formula for Fear & Anxiousness
Fear-Less by FES (or add Mimulus to Five Flower in a pinch)
The first few days of evacuation are when there are a lot of unknowns, and there is nothing more anxiety-producing than not knowing if your home, or town is still standing, or the people you care about are okay.
A nice ready-made formula for anxious states is Fear-Less by FES (Flower Essence Services), containing: Red Clover, Mountain Pride, California Valerian, Oregon Grape, Mimulus, Rock Rose, Green Rose, and trace essential oils (Bergamot, Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Cistus). This can be sprayed either in the mouth or around you as a mist.
“For use during any natural disaster or personal calamity. Works well in tandem or alternation with Five-Flower Formula during the most intense and immediate episodes of panic and chaos. To deal with residual stress and ongoing symptoms, use Post-Trauma Stabilizer.”
Flower Essence Services
Mimulus and Rock Rose are two Dr. Bach flowers that are key for this kind of anxiousness and fear caused by evacuation. If you have the Dr. Bach flowers (either Nelson’s Bach or FES/Healing Herbs) you can add these to a five flower formula/rescue remedy, as mentioned above. Rock Rose is already in the five flower formula, so you don’t technically need to add more, but you can add more in order to focus the blend’s intention..
3. A Formula for Energetic Protection
Yarrow Environmental Solution, Guardian, Calling All Angels or Emergency Protection
Being evacuated usually means being in close quarters with other people, whether at a shelter with strangers, staying in the house of friends or family, camping or “hotel camping” with your companions. It can be difficult to maintain your own space and energetic boundaries, especially if you are highly sensitive.
Also during natural disasters there may be toxic environmental influences (such as smoke during a wildfire), or electronic stress (you may be glued to your media devices the whole time to keep up with the flow of information). These influences can disrupt the integrity of your energy field.
For all these reasons, the Yarrow Environmental Solution a.k.a. YES is a good option as an etheric protection formula. It’s a mixture of Yarrow, Pink Yarrow, Golden Yarrow, Arnica and Echinacea flower essences, along with herbal tinctures of Yarrow and Echinacea, in a sea salt water base. It can be sprayed in the mouth (be prepared for the salty taste), misted around your aura, or spritzed in the corners of your hotel room/tent/cot space.
An excellent option by Alaskan Essences is Guardian (Covellite, Devil’s Club, Round-Leaf Orchid, Stone Circle, White Violet and Yarrow), which “helps you create a powerful force-field of protection in your aura”.
Delta Gardens has a very effective energetic protection formula as well: Emergency Protection (Angelica, Cinquefoil, Pennyroyal, Rue, St. John’s Wort, Yarrow).
Calling all Angels is an Alaskan formula I really like to feel spiritually supported, loved, guided and protected by my guides and angels. It’s a blend of Angelica, Chalice Well, Chiming Bells and Kunzite. I especially love the aura mist which adds essential oils of Lavender, Grapefruit, Rose Otto and Carnation (make sure the scent is agreeable to those sharing your space prior spraying, and don’t spray in a small space with pets). Having considerable training in aromatherapy, a highly sensitive nose, and a highly active allergic response, I am extremely picky about products scented with essential oils and usually don’t like them unless I make myself. Alaskan’s essential oils are high quality and I do love this blend.
As a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) and Empath, I usually have my own protection formula already made up. The ingredients vary, but typically contain Angelica, Yarrow, Pink Yarrow, and Black Tourmaline as core elements.
4. A Formula for Stabilization
Post Trauma Stabilizer
Hopefully you’ll know if your home is still standing within a few days, but even if it is, that doesn’t mean you can go back right away. With wildland fires, you will most likely have to wait for containment and that can take a while – so far each of my evacuations have been a full week. As soon as you are settled in you evacuation spot, it is a good time to begin a stabilization formula to recover and rebuild from the shock and trauma of the situation.
Post-Trauma Stabilizer by FES is an excellent formula I’ve had the unfortunate opportunity of needing several times now and highly recommend. It contains: Arnica, Bleeding Heart, Echinacea, Glassy Hyacinth, Green Cross Gentian, Fireweed, Five Flower Formula, and trace essential oils (Lavender, Yarrow, Hyssop). This is another of FES Flourish Formulas that can be taken internally or used as an aura mist.
“For loss or disruption of any kind that creates bewilderment, numbness or shock in the body-soul complex…loss or disruption to one’s home, community or environment…to address prolonged levels of shock and trauma and to help victims re-build and renew; beneficial for both humans and animals.”
Flower Essence Services
5. Additional Support
Your current personal blend, Soul Support, or whatever you or your companions need for extra support.
Do you or your companions need extra support in a certain area? If you have been working with a flower essence practitioner such as myself, you will already have a customized blend that you are taking for current challenges. Perhaps you have formulated your own blend – either way, you should bring it with you. You may use it less as you focus on your immediate needs with the other formulas, however, you may also need it more, depending on how the crisis and trauma are triggering you. For example, I had a grief formula I recently had made in the aftermath of losing my beloved canine companion, who died just two weeks before the wildfire. While evacuated, that grief didn’t disappear, and there were even times that it intensified.
If you don’t already have a personal blend, think about any area where you or your companions (human or animal) may need extra support during a situation like this. FES, Alaskan Essences, and other makers such as Flora of Asia, Jane Bell, Flora Corona and Desert Alchemy all have collections of targeted combination formulas to fit most needs.
Soul Support is a crisis formula by Alaskan Essences that I like to use in addition to the five flower formula. To me, its action works a little differently than five flower – same outcome but slightly different process. It feels like it sets up a container for the challenge then assists you to move through it, while it has your back. Soul Support contains: Cattail Pollen, Chalice Well, Cotton Grass, Fireweed, Labrador Tea, Malachite, River Beauty, Ruby, and White Fireweed. It comes in both a dropper to be taken internally, and an external aura mist with a really divine Kashmir lavender essential oil added. This is extremely relaxing for most* people, and great before bed.
When I was “hotel camping” during my recent evacuation, I sprayed Soul Support mist directly into my bath water and it helped take my stress down significantly. Using it this way was a revelation! And it didn’t bother my inner aromatherapist:
- The lavender essential oil is already diluted in alcohol, so it’s less likely to float on the water of the bath (a frequent essential oil injury, as oil doesn’t mix with water and can irritate the skin when it comes in direct contact).
- The overall amount of alcohol is minimal compared to a bathtub full of water so I didn’t worry about its drying effects on skin.
It was like having a spa experience in a tub while also getting the energetic effects of bathing in flower essences, which is a really lovely self-care activity. You can hear me talk about that experience on The Flower Essence Podcast, FEP27 – Disaster Fatigue. I will always bring Soul Support mist with me when traveling from now on.
*Note that Lavender essential oil can have an opposite of relaxing effect on some people, especially neurodivergent children. It’s good to know in advance how your family or evacuation companions will react to essential oils before introducing them.
The best time to prepare go-bags are in advance, so don’t delay in collecting what you need NOW.
I hope this list has been helpful for you to prepare for an emergency. Evacuating your home is extremely stressful and I do hope you never have to do it. However, with the increasing climate related intensity of natural disasters, it’s unfortunately becoming a way of life for more and more of us on this planet. It’s best to be prepared.
How are you doing with all this?
I’m going to be honest, this isn’t easy stuff to think about if you haven’t been through it, and triggering if you have, so thanks for hanging in there with me to get to the end of this post!
Personally, I’m still challenged by these events – this year’s evac rekindled the trauma of last year’s evac, and the Wallbridge fire near me is still smoldering. Hotspots just a few miles away flare repeatedly and will probably do so until it rains (usually November). I’m still regularly taking Post Trauma Stabilizer, my grief blend, and my protection blend, and probably will stay on those for some time. I am so grateful to have the support of my flower allies during these times.
Stay tuned, in a future post I’ll talk about herbs and supplements to put in your go-bag.
With love and botanical blessings,
~Rochana (Ro) Feltman
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I offer integrative, holistic wellness coaching with practical tools and personalized flower essence therapy for sensitive souls.
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Listen to The Flower Essence Podcast to hear two Flower Essence Practitioners, Rochana Felde and Kathleen Aspenns talk about everything essences, geek out about plants, have fun, and go deep with tough subjects. Find us where you listen to podcasts! You can also read the transcripts or listen directly on the website: