Essence of the Year 2023

These past few years have been turbulent times. They have demanded great adjustment and continue to do so.

In 2022, the Essence of the Year was Ocotillo, which helps us in several ways. One way is when we react to situations around us, rather than being able to experience them and respond to things. Ocotillo is also a flower essence that helps you master self-less service, or offering your service to others without any need of, or desire for, reward.

My intention this year, before invoking the devas of the desert, was to find the most beneficial flower essence that is universally applicable, that will help each of us to be in the most perfect balance possible to support and address the deepest collective need for the year 2023.

The essence that was indicated for 2023 is Queen of the Night Cactus.


Cereus greggii, the botanical name for Queen of the Night, is in the Cereus Family, the same sub-family of cacti as Saguaro Cactus, Cardon Cactus, Senita Cactus, and Organ Pipe Cactus.

Cereus is a Latin name that means torch. I like to think of the flower essences from this family as ones that illumine us to our inner wisdom.

The Evolution of Consciousness

In terms of how the Cactus Family supports us in the evolution of consciousness I have found that flower essences from different sub-families support us in different ways of this evolutionary process.

I think that the flower essences from the Cereus or Candle Cacti Family help us to experience direct perception, an important stage of of evolution. Direct perception is the ability to to uncover wisdom and inner guidance. In this way we learn to find answers inside of us and not spend too much time looking outside ourselves for the answers that are personal to our own journey. Each person has their own inner truth and no matter how much you look outside of you to find answers, they all reside within you.

Queen of the Night Cactus, which is a night-bloomer that opens its gorgeous flowers for one-night only, helps us turn our focus and awareness inside. As the sun sets in the evening, Queen of the Night Cactus slowly opens its beautiful, white flower. It has a musky, desert scent that attract night pollinators. Then, as the sun begins to rise at dawn, the flowers curl up and the pollinating is over until next year.

The vast majority of cacti have very shallow roots. This is so they can absorb water quickly when it rains. The land here in the desert is so dry and hard that it takes water a long time to penetrate the parched earth. So most cacti have vast networks of small roots that exist just inches below the surface.

But Queen of the Night Cactus has a tremendously wide bulbous root. A well developed Queen of the Night Cactus can have a tuber that can weigh up to 100 pounds (45 kilos).

Awareness happens within us. Inside, in the darkness of pure being, a flower of discovery opens and shares its secrets or wisdom within us. For most of us, we were not taught to honor the inner darkness. We were taught to fear it, and to instead fill our awareness with outer focus. We find things too busy our attention with, rather than taking the time to let go and slide into the empty darkness within. Oddly enough, it is from within this inner darkness that the source of light comes. From going within and letting go into the darkness we ultimately find everything. It’s one of the great paradoxes of living.

The Importance of Queen of the Night Cactus

For me, probably the most important gift of Queen of the Night Cactus is that it usually indicates that you have been enticed by your mind to approach things from its perspective and you are not allowing your inner, intuitive qualities to guide you. Your mind is weighing what you can see and ignoring what your intuition is telling you.

I have found that no matter how much I have worked within me to allow all the parts of myself to be equals, my mind, my intuition, and all the different aspects of myself, I do sometimes find myself pulled back into my mind’s dominating interpretation of life and what is happening. Queen of the Night Cactus helps me let go of that dominance and allow the other parts of me to inform my growth in consciousness. Why is this important? Perhaps because of Legacy.

The Legacy of Your Consciousness

What does it mean to leave a legacy? And how is legacy connected with your consciousness?

At one point in my gut-wrenching growth, as I was healing from a myriad of dysfunctional things, I had one of those amazing moments. One of those moments when all of a sudden, your awareness encompasses a truth so deep that you know that you finally realized and integrated something that is important and that changes your perception of things evermore.

I was not a particularly patient person, especially when I was in the process of healing. I wanted it all to be resolved immediately. I thought I should just get on with all this healing work and be done with it so I could go back out into the world and get to work doing something.

One day, a huge realization came over me. I saw that the work that I was doing on myself, that I was spending so much time and energy on, was not selfish at all. As I worked on myself and healed and transformed, my consciousness was raised and that helped everyone else in the world. I saw that indeed, as the scriptures and holy books had said, that we are truly one. What affects the least of us affects all of us. I saw that my greatest gift to the world was in fact this personal work that I was engaged in.

After this realization, I no longer felt selfish if I felt I needed to spend some days in meditation or other activity that supported my journey. And I no longer felt guilty for spending time and money on the pursuits that really supported my awareness.

One day a friend sent me a link to an amazing TED Talk called “The Hidden Beauty of Pollination” about which I want to share something that the filmmaker, Louie Schwartzberger, said about why he made his film “Wings of Life”. Louie Schwartzberger is a filmmaker who, outside of his usual work, and for his own enjoyment, would go about filming pollinators up close and personal.

After years of photographing and taking movies of pollinators, Louie said, “Beauty and seduction, I believe, is nature’s tool for survival, because we will protect what we fall in love with.”

Then, Louie wondered why the pollinators had such dedication and magnetism to be pollinating. Louie asked the question to scientists, “What motivates the pollinators?”

The Scientists said, “It’s all about risk and reward.”

— “Why is that?” Louie asked.

— “Because they want to survive,” they answered.

— “Why?”

— “In order to reproduce.”

— “But why?” he asked again.

Then Chip Taylor, his monarch butterfly expert said, “Nothing lasts forever. Everything in the Universe wears out.”

Louie had a great insight after that response. He said, “Nature invented reproduction as a mechanism for life to move forward, as a life force that passes right through us and makes us a link in the evolution of life.”

This resonated deeply within me. It reminded me of the realization I had had so many years previously. And it reminded me again of legacy. We are each of us part of the legacy. How we evolve in consciousness will help those who come after us. We are pollinators of consciousness.

Think about that for a moment. What are the things that throughout your life have pulled you with a magnetism into their orbit and engaged you? Then contemplate how those things changed or opened your consciousness.

Queen of the Night Cactus flower essence can help you when you veer off the track of allowing yourself to be pulled into something meaningful, something that will ultimately open your awareness and help you become more conscious. When life seems to pull you in one direction that “makes sense”, yet something doesn’t feel just right about it, Queen of the Night Cactus can help you open to possibility that you cannot see with your mind alone.

Just as the Queen’s big root ball that exists in the darkness underground holds nutrients and moisture for its growth, so too do you have everything within you that you need, but perhaps cannot see at the moment. Queen of the Night Cactus flower essence helps you look within and find a perspective that makes a difference to you.

One of the patterns of imbalance for Queen of the Night Cactus is when we look for, borrow, or adopt and justification for our existence or a spiritual belonging. Some part of you doesn’t know why you are here and you may be “trying on” different justifications.

From the depth of your being, there is an intelligence that is leading and guiding you to know why you are here and Queen of the Night Cactus can help you surrender to this deeper inner wisdom. Even if you don’t clearly hear the “answer”, this flower essence can help you seat yourself more firmly into acceptance of what has unfolded in your life and help you know you are on the right path. Or, it can help you get out of your head so that you can sense the proper direction in which to continue.

If you feel like a victim of how fragile life is, the essence can help you know that you have been pollinating consciousness, even if you don’t understand exactly what that means. Yes, life is fragile, it has a beginning and an end. But you are a link in the progression of collective consciousness and everything you do and become matters.

One Pattern of Imbalance of Queen of the Night Cactus is feeling you are inadequate in the face of God. Why do we sometimes feel as if we are inadequate? I believe that it is your mind that comes up with the thought and then you begin to believe it.

Queen of the Night Cactus helps you know that the Creator made you, just as you are, so you could have the experiences you are having. There is no mistake, you are just as your Creator intended. If that is true, you must be on the right path.

Resting into this awareness can help you take things one day at a time and let go of your mind’s insistence on knowing everything. Just as Queen of the Night Cactus has the nutrients it needs stored in its large tuberous root, so do you have the answers inside yourself. The essence helps you quiet your mind and listen to your inner awareness to allow the inherent knowing to become obvious.

If you think you cannot access the inner wisdom right at this moment, don’t worry We do not always have answers. But that is because it is not time to know the answers. This is something that your mind truly does not like to hear. But it is the wisdom of the heart to reveal things when the time is perfect.

I did once have a client who had always had a great fear of wide open spaces. She came to the desert and this far was hugely intensified because the desert is just such a wide open space. I gave her Queen of the Night Cactus, not knowing why, but trusting my inner intuition that is was perfect for her. She took it for ten days and by the end of her time here in Tucson she had overcome a fear that felt to her had begun in past lifetimes.

Perhaps this sense of fear of wide open spaces can also be applied to the impression we have of how vast is our inner space of nothingness. In the place of nothingness resides everything. All answers we need arise from this place. Queen of the Night Cactus can help you make friends with your inner world and find everything you need.

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