Written by Sarah Kirton | Updated On November 29, 2022

“Consider The lilies of the field whose bloom is brief:-- We are as they; Like them we fade away As doth a leaf.” - Christina Rossetti

“Consider The lilies of the field whose bloom is brief:-- We are as they; Like them we fade away As doth a leaf.” - Christina Rossetti

Julia Graves is a flower essence practitioner, creator and master herbalist. Julia is the founder of Green Tara Flower Essences which is “dedicated to providing pure, high vibrational flower essences for healers, body workers, and everyone wishing to heal their body-mind emotionally, energetically, and spiritually.” Julia also founded the Haiti Naturopathic Clinic, a free clinic for the poor in Haiti and is the author of The Language of Plants.

Would you say that your journey with plants and herbs began whilst in the womb?

An unequivocal yes. Although, I have to think that it stems even further back than this. Each person in the form of an ovum is present in their grandmother’s womb (in the mother’s ovaries). My mother is still part of the generation of women in Germany who were trained by their mothers and grandmothers in the use of healing with plants. 

In my personal case, and regarding the women in my family, there is an unbroken tradition of using healing plants inside the womb of the family to heal whatever ill might befall whoever is sick. 

When you speak of healing the womb, is this beneficial for all women – being more of a spiritual cleanse?

Cleansing the womb is a very profound issue for women in general. The womb is made to cleanse itself through the shedding of the menstrual blood. Holistic medicine, worldwide in all traditions, has always understood this and has used herbs to support this monthly cleanse. When I talk about the cleansing of the womb in the context of flower essences, I am referring more to energetic debris; emotions and energies that are stuck in the womb – emotions held there such as grief that can occur from sexual assault, past relationships, lost babies… It can also be the purging of energetic residue from harsh gynaecological procedures for example. 

Once I start teaching this to women – healers/practitioners – they really gravitate towards this and can see just how beneficial the cleansing can be and beautiful as an ongoing maintenance. 

Love – devotion – purity and fertility seem to be the most common words associated with the symbolism of lilies. How do these words resonate with you?

The strength and the gift of the botanical lily family is to heal gynaecological issues; to support healthy fertility or to cure infertility, mostly in women but also in men. Of all the botanical plants, it is the one that is the most feminine and best suited for women. It helps to cleanse the entire body through the menstrual blood, so there is a notion of purity – an age old symbolism. These flowers were used to this extent in all cultures across the globe. 

I feel very drawn to the lily family because lilies have such a strong resonance with all women and they really stand for spiritual purity which is why the Madonna lily was also seen as symbolic of the Virgin Mary – the pure Divine Feminine. It is a wonderful archetype to work with for all women. I really enjoy working with this archetype, the lilies and the lily flower essences for this reason. 

Why the Circle of Lilies particularly for the Cycles of Life?

It simply explains how the flower essences from the one botanical family can be arranged in a medicine wheel that represents every step of life; conception, pregnancy, birth, childhood, fertile years, gathering wisdom and transcendence. 

When I started working with lilies, I thought you could make a circle like this with all the plant families, but this is not the case. Most other plant families do not cover the aspect of conception, pregnancy, birth or fertility nor do they necessarily cover the aspect of wisdom and transcendence. 

Which flower essence holds the most power and awe for you on a personal level and why?

I don’t think that I can answer this question because naturally it should shift from life situation to life situation. Whenever there is a new challenge that arises, the essence should shift. If I told you that I had a one and only essence, it would equate to me saying that I was stuck with the same weakness and issue my whole life. 

However, there are essences that you circle back to you in your life. This is what the lily circle stands for. It is symbolic for the one cycle of life but also of all the smaller cycles within life. You revisit certain lilies on the way. 

I keep coming back to the lilies –  I am a woman, I am a Pisces, have always been very intuitive and I meditate…The lilies represent the psychic and spiritual aspects that resonate very well with me. 

Coming from both a ‘conventional’ Western medical background and ethno-medical background, would you say that you have married the two together/drawn energy from both…or?   

I once took a course in the marrying of the two paradigms in New York. The conclusion of the brilliant trainer was that because the two are philosophically polar opposites and contradictory, the two can not really be married. 

I run away from Western medicine because it sees the human body as something that breaks down and can either be mechanically fixed or not. The idea of restoring something from within, and true self healing doesn’t really exist for the most part. It is completely physically oriented and all spiritual, emotional and mental aspects are discarded. I avoid western medicine as much as possible. I do believe however, that emergency surgery holds a place, as this is an integral part of traditional healing too – setting fractured bones for example. For the rest, I prefer to steer clear!

How would you describe in a succinct manner how exactly flower essences heal?

We are beings of energy and this energy exists on a spectrum ranging form the most dense – matter – to the most highly vibrational – our Spirit. Flower essences are vibrational energetic remedies which restore our vibration when it is low. When we speak on the level of aura, if there is a weakness, the vibrance is off, the luminosity isn’t good, we need to find the flower essence that restores this weakness. It is like filling your tank at the filling station. It offers amazing psycho-spiritual healing but thanks to mind over matter, this healing seeps into the physical realm too. 

How do you work with your clients?

Most of my clients are normal people who are sick or who have emotional issues and come to me for help. Most of my students are healers, so I spend a lot of time training healers/practitioners. 

The Language of Plants – a healing with plants bible?

This book was my gift to humanity because I understood that most people don’t understand that plants speak to us (in code) and tell us what they are good for. The plants give us signs of what their healing properties are. With my international travels, I realized that these signs are interpreted in the same way all over the planet. (Being plant illiterate is considered to be one of the biggest weaknesses in native American Indian society).

This book is meant as a field guide for anybody to go out and look at any plant in the world and figure out what their healing properties are. It is the international plant code. We all have this innate ability of pattern recognition in nature. I am trying to restore this gift and remind us that plants – their colors, shapes, forms and every characteristic – are not meaningless but represent a language that is speaking to us. 

About the author
Sarah is a keen and passionate advocate of the spiritual and healing components within the mystical realm of the world we live in. She resides in Cape Town, South Africa, where she enjoys spending time in the outdoors, kite surfing, and playing guitar.