Letting Go: Using Falling Leaf Essences to Ease Into Autumn

Somehow, we again find ourselves in Autumn. October, to be specific.  And although these past few weeks have felt more like the deep heat of Summer, signs of fall are appending to Summer’s coattails like burs.  The wind now has a rattle to its voice, moving through the dry leaves still clinging to their branches. The clamour of insects has begun to wane, dueting now with crow caws and the overhead honking of Canada geese. Bright yellow buses lead morning traffic through a jolted flow. The sunsets creep in just a bit earlier each passing day…

Summers here can be maddeningly busy. Chlorophyll seems to be the color of movement–when the world is awash in green, we’re in perpetual motion. Now as the daylight decreases and this chlorophyll begins to break down, the verdance gives way to rusts and reds, and the pace of life begins to ease off the throttle. I think that this is something inherently valuable about living in a place with seasons.  We are gently ushered through the creation and death cycles found in the interplay of the elements, through seed, shoot, bloom and decay.

When I walk through the woods in October, I feel a gentle restructuring of my energy body. The sun filtering through feels less urgent, more nurturing. The animals rustling through the understory make me aware that the abundance will soon be gone, and the time of stillness is approaching. I find myself less distracted by my mental projections, more aware of my breath and bones. As above, so below. As the deciduous trees move through their seasonal cycles, so too do we.  We can follow them from the Spring formation of a leaf drawing nutrients through its roots, to Summer’s ravenous grab for sunlight through photosynthesis, into the Autumn, where the tree stops feeding these leaves vital energy and they break down and expose other pigments, and finally into Winter’s partial dormancy. We remember that Autumn is the time to release.

In his book, Falling Leaf Essences: Vibrational Remedies Using Autumn Leaves, Grant R. Lambert, Ph.D., details how creating essences with the leaves falling from the trees during these months can provide nourishing energetic support as we move into the Winter months. He notes that these essences can be used to help us release and let go of blocks physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally.

Below are a few of his recommendations for these falling leaf essences, made from some of the most common leaves found in Vermont.

SELECTED FALLING LEAF ESSENCES (Text drawn from Falling Leaf Essences: Vibrational Remedies Using Autumn Leaves, Grant R. Lambert, PhD):

Silver Birch, Release Struggle. This is a wonderful essence for those who truly believe that life wasn’t meant to be easy.  Wherever there exists an [attachment] to a pattern of struggle in life, with an accompanying belief in scarcity and difficulty, this essence is called for.  It releases these preconceived notions of difficulty and unblocks emotional barriers to abundance.

Aspen, Release Loneliness. Feelings of loneliness are very common.  Aspen deals with intense feelings of loneliness that are disabling in some aspect of life.  It enables one to face the world alone and without fear.  In that sense, it confers full maturity and independence.

Crab Apple, Elixir of Youth.  Crab Apple lessens a person’s emotional and mental difficulties that may have worn him or her down, opens the mind and emotions to new possibilities, and gives a new zest for life.  It restores one’s vigor for life on every level.  It is appropriate for those who are experiencing a stagnation in life that constantly inhibits them from extending themselves into new areas.

Sugar Maple, Veins/Capillaries. This essence promotes better circulation through surface (varicose) veins and capillaries… in the mental realm, Sugar Maple assists with bringing to a person’s awareness the mental and/or emotional restrictions that have possibly allowed this circulatory imbalance to develop.

HOW TO MAKE THE FALLING LEAF ESSENCE: (Adapted from How to Make Personal Flower Essences, by Katherine Turcotte)

You’ll need: a clear glass bowl, a pint of spring water or good well water, ~4 oz. brandy

Step 1 – Choose and Gather Your leaves
Explain to the tree(s) what you plan to do and ask for permission to gather leaves. You won’t need many leaves. You can choose leaves from a single tree or make a blended essence with a combination. Gathering leaves in freefall is the ideal and takes good timing! (Alternately, leaves from the tree or clean ground beneath could be used.) Touch the leaves as little as possible from tree to bowl (step 2). Spend some time communing with your chosen tree/leaves. Remember that your energy goes into each essence, along with the trees.

Step 2 – Add Your Leaves to Water
Pour your spring water into your bowl and then add leaves to the surface of the water, face up so that they cover the surface of the water, but don’t overlap. Rock the bowl gently several times to recreate the experience of freefall, if you like. Place the bowl near the trees you gathered from and leave it undisturbed in the sun for approximately three to four hours.

Step 3 – Remove Your Leaves
Using another leaf, remove the leaves from the water, avoiding contact with the essence. Place them under the plant you have gathered them from and offer some of the essence back to the plant, along with thanks.

Pour the essence (called the Mother) into a bottle (1 or 2 oz is plenty), diluting it by half with brandy to preserve it. Label with tree, date and any other details that inspire you (e.g. moon sign, animals nearby).

Step 4 – Prepare Your Stock Bottle
Add half brandy and half spring water to a one-ounce bottle. Add four to seven drops of the Mother Essence to this bottle, called the Stock. Activate the essence by vigorously shaking the bottle and tapping it against your palm, dispersing the molecules into the water. Be sure to shake the essences each time before using. Store away from light and heat.

Step 5 – Use Your Falling Leaf Essence
To make a dosage bottle, repeat the same dilution process into a third 1-ounce dropper bottle filled with half brandy, half spring water. Alternately, you can use 3-9 drops of Stock essence in your daily water bottle or in other tinctures or teas you are taking regularly.

Start by working with a single essence. As you gain experience, you can then combine three to six essences focusing on key concerns. If needed, increase the frequency of the essence, not the dose size.  Engage in activities that work synergistically with the essences, such as journaling and time in nature.

7 thoughts on “Letting Go: Using Falling Leaf Essences to Ease Into Autumn

    1. Glycerites are sweet herbal tinctures which use vegetable glycerin to extract the medicinal constituents and flavor from a herb. Herbal tinctures are typically made from alcohol, but glycerin is a good alternative for children, animals, and adults when palatability and alcohol sensitivities are primary considerations. While not as potent as alcohol-based tinctures, glycerites are still quite effective – certainly more so than trying to administer a dose of alcohol-based tincture to a tight-lipped child! Glycerites are effective no matter what reason you have for wanting to make tinctures without alcohol as the base.


      1. How to Make a Glycerite
        Glycerites can be made using fresh or dried plant material, as follows:

        Fill a clean jar with clean, chopped fresh plant material or half-full of ground dried plant material (dried material will expand as it absorbs liquid).
        For successful preservation, a glycerine tincture should contain at least 55% glycerin (Cech, 2000). For fresh plants, add enough glycerin to fully cover the plant material and fill jar to within one inch of the top. For dried plants, dilute glycerin with distilled water in a 3:1 ratio (3 parts glycerin to one part water) and fill jar with mixture to within one inch of the top.
        Use a knife or chopstick to poke into plant material and release air bubbles while adding glycerin or glycerin/water mixture.
        Cap and label jar, and set the jar in a dark location at room temperature. Let macerate for 4-6 weeks, shaking the bottle every day or two to mix. Top off with glycerin as necessary if plant material pokes above the top of the liquid.
        After 4-6 weeks, decant glycerite into a jar or bowl by pouring through a strainer lined with a few layers of cheesecloth. With clean hands, gather corners of cheesecloth together and squeeze herb material to express every last drop of glycerite.
        Bottle and label glycerite.
        Glycerites have a shelf life of approximately one to two years if stored in a cool, dark place. Adult dosage is typically approximately 30-60 drops (1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon), 3 times daily, taken in a little water.

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      2. For the highest quality glycerite, look for an organic, sustainably harvested, non-GMO glycerin. (Mountain Rose Herbs offers an organic, soy-based glycerin.)


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