Homeopathy Book Reviews

The Secret Teachings of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature

Written by David A. Johnson

The Secret Teachings of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature

Author – Stephen Buhner
Publisher – Bear & Company
ISBN 9781591430353
Price $18.95

‘I had long been convinced that there was nothing new under the sun and that one can find hints in transmitted knowledge of what we ourselves are just discovering, thinking about, and even producing.  We are original only because we know so little.’  Goethe

Contemporary homeopathic practice relies predominately on provings to reveal nature’s energies, with clinical experience serving to verify and ground the proving information. Some homeopaths have extrapolated information through family relationships, and others have noted how the process of triturating a source material amplifies the intensity of its energetic field, creating additional avenues of experience and understanding.

Experiencing that same continuum of energy has conveyed similar information to other healers throughout history. In ‘The Secret Teachings of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature’, author Stephen Buhner describes common practices and experiences by which all cultures have interacted with nature. He speaks from 30 years of experience as an herbalist and intuitive healer, and correlates his experience with liberal quotations by Goethe, Paracelsus, Thoreau, Luther Burbank, Bose, George Washington Carver and others. By describing how one learns directly from plants, Buhner provides the foundation for developing and employing that same sensitivity with clients.

One intriguing homeopath who Buhner could have included was Robert Cooper, a 19th century Irishman who cured numerous cancers using “arbovital remedies”.  He learned the properties of “small” or unproven remedies by ‘studying the habits and minds of plants’, and by studying the common proving symptoms within plant families.  As Margaret Tyler wrote in the British Homeopathic Journal (1932): ‘Dr. Cooper had an uncanny genius for discovering unusual remedies; some of these he got, no doubt, from old herbals; but it has been said that he used to lie down before a flowering plant by the hour, dragging from it its virtues of healing.’

Curious to develop the skills Cooper was using? It appears he was influenced by Paracelsus and possibly Goethe, both of whom recognized the limits of “linear” thinking, and advocated further learning by appealing to nature herself:
‘Seeking for truth I considered within myself that if there were no teachers of medicine in this world, how would I set to learn the art?  Not otherwise than in the great book of nature, written with the finger of God.  I am accused and denounced for not having entered in at the right door of the art. But which is the right one? Galen, Avicenna, Mesue, Rhasi, or honest nature?  Through this last door I entered, and the light of nature, and no apothecary’s lamp directed me on my way’.  Paracelsus

In homeopathic case-taking students are advised to ‘listen not only with the mind, but also with the heart’. Buhner writes: ‘Each molecular structure a plant makes is surrounded by its own, unique electromagnetic field.  Each electromagnetic field is encoded with meaning and each can be perceived… To develop this skill you must become highly sensitive to the living field of your heart, to notice any alterations that occur within it as it comes into contact with other living fields, and figure out just what each of those alterations mean.’

‘Nature understands no jesting; she is always true, always serious, always severe; she is always right . . . only to the apt, the pure, and the true, does she resign herself and reveal her secrets.’  Goethe

Along with traditional sources of information, “Secret Teachings” offers homeopaths complementary methods to understanding and experiencing energetic fields. Buhner essentially leads the reader step-by-step through the process, describing the path and pitfalls, and how one can assess progress. By interacting with nature without preconception, we develop our perceptive capacities in general, and heightened sensitivity to energy fields ultimately expands our case-taking skills. Hahnemann’s admonition to be an unprejudiced observer is mirrored in Goethe’s practical skill for learning from nature:

‘Above all, true researchers must observe themselves and see to it that their organs remain plastic, and also remain plastic in their way of seeing.  So that one does not always rudely insist on one mode of explanation, but rather in each case knows how to select the most appropriate, that which is most analogous to the point of view and the contemplation’.   Goethe

In conclusion, Hahnemann encouraged homeopaths to conduct provings on themselves, in effect leading to the direct experience of energy fields. He also instructed very sensitive individuals to simply inhale the “energy” of the remedy. “Secret Teachings” discusses a similar process as described throughout history–one which simply exists on the same energetic continuum. For homeopaths seeking to enhance their sensitivity to nature’s energies, and to complement their understanding of existing proving information, “Secret Teachings” is an enlightening guide.

About the author

David A. Johnson

David Johnson, CCH, RSHom(NA) is a homeopath residing in the southern Wisconsin area of the US. He is the author of “Radiance, Resonance and Healing: The Homeopathic Periodic Table” (Emryss Publishing) which is based on his 20 years of experience of matching the theoretical schema of Series and Stages with the words of clients. His email is [email protected]


  • Nice Article David! Agree’d there is more to the art of “Energy healing ” than most Homeopaths are fully able to grasp.They often “FORGET” homeopathic remedies are not material Matter but pure “energy”.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Gina. It’s a very unique book, with the quotations by Goethe alone worth the price. There are also numerous quotations by others describing a similar communication with nature.

  • Very pleased with the review. I have just now ordered the book. Is it in any way related to Autonomic reflex testing ? Please reply,

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