Barbara Tries Flower Essences
co-authored by Sharon Callahan
and Carol Buckley

     Barbara used to spend up to eighteen hours chained in a stall being fed only once a day. Now she spends her days freely grazing the pastures of The Elephant Sanctuary.  Where she is carefully watched after by the director of The Elephant Sanctuary, Carol Buckley and her assistant, Scott Blais. (Scott is shown to the left with Barbara).  Treatment with Anaflora Flower Essence Therapy is being administered by Sharon Callahan to improve Barbara's emotional state, health and social behavior.

     Barbara is a female Asian elephant born in 1972 in the wilds of Southeast Asia. In 1974 at barely two years old Barbara was captured by Asian elephant trainers, known as mahouts. Barbara was singled out because of her age, beauty and disposition. The mahouts riding on trained elephants walked into the herd and dropped ropes around Barbara's neck and legs dragging her from her family and jungle home. Barbara was taken to a logging camp and tied to a tree for several weeks while she learned to tolerate life in captivity. She was then loaded into a wooden crate and sent to America, having been purchased along with seven other elephants by a circus.

     For several months Barbara and her new family were taught a variety of tricks such as standing on their hind legs, holding one another's tails and lying on their sides. Due to their great intelligence the tricks were not difficult for Barbara and the other elephants, but the work was unnatural and very stressful. For the next twelve years Barbara and her new elephant family performed in traveling circuses throughout the United States.

     At fourteen years of age Barbara and the other elephants were retired to a breeding farm in Florida. During this time Barbara began to loose weight. Many test were performed, but all came up negative and no answer could be found for her loss of weight. Barbara suffered with this weight loss condition for the next twelve years, ultimately loosing a total of 2000 pounds. Several baby elephants were born during this time, but none to Barbara.

     In 1995 Barbara and her family were moved to a new breeding facility. Because of her emaciated appearance, Barbara was separated from her family and put in solitary confinement. This enforced separation caused Barbara to enter a deep depression.

     On April 25, 1996 Barbara was permanently relocated to The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald Tennessee. She became the second resident of the nations only natural habitat refuge for Asian elephants. There with Jenny and Tarra, the Sanctuary's other residents, she is free to roam pastures and bathe in spring fed streams. Barbara is coming into a sense of herself now, although she doesn't speak, maybe she never has. To this day, she wears a one inch wide and deep ring around her neck a testament to her struggle as she was dragged from her family by the ropes of the mahouts. Perhaps her larynx was damaged - or perhaps she has been silenced by grief.

February 23,1997

     In February of 1997, Sharon Callahan of Anaflora Flower Essence Therapy was put in touch with Carol Buckley and she was asked to assist in attempting to improve Barbara's emotional state, health concerns and social behavior. After an initial telepathic communication session with Sharon, Barbara was with her permission, put on Anaflora Recovery Remedy as were Jenny and Tarra, the sanctuary's other elephants. In a group situation, the same remedy is often given to all of the animals to utilize the power of the group healing energy and to foster continued group harmony.

     The Anaflora Recovery Remedy formula contains; Star of Bethlehem, Morning Glory, Comfrey, Arnica, Fringed Violet and St. John's Wort. An additional essence, Red Clover, was added. This particular flower essence formula was selected to assist in the release of past trauma and to prepare Barbara for some up coming medical tests that might be additionally traumatic. Barbara came through the testing with ease and she relaxed a bit in an over-all sense. Carol Buckley, Barbara's friend and handler said that after the first treatment all three elephants would open their mouths and stick out their tongues when she approached with the essence bottles. Essence formulas were prepared in extra large bottles with spray tops, as Barbara had said during her communication session that the best way to give her the essences was to rub them on her tongue.

March 1, 1997

     Barbara, along with the other elephants, was started on Anaflora Return to Joy Formula developed to assist animals that come from abusive backgrounds. Return to Joy contains: Bleeding, Heart, Sweet Chestnut, Gorse Echinacea, Shooting Star, Flannel Flower and Lady's Slipper. A few days later Barbara trumpeted - perhaps for the first time in her entire life. She was observed bathing and playing in a mud hole like a bird at a bird bath. When offered words of encouragement, Barbara responded with more playful gestures. Barbara, who had been tentative about touching and physical affection ever since her arrival at the sanctuary, will now lean into Carol when she strokes Barbara. She now seems anxious to explore a more intimate relationship with Tarra, Jenny and Carol and has become much more playful and vocal! She will continue on the Return to Joy Formula for two more weeks. We will then re-evaluate and modify treatment accordingly.

March 21, 1997

     Barbara continues to blossom. Carol reports that Barbara is "effervescent" and has a twinkle in her eye almost all the time. In telepathic communication with Barbara she had mentioned a fondness for a small dog. The little dog turned out to be one of the Sanctuary dogs with whom Barbara is developing a more playful relationship. Carol says that several days ago Barbara was playing and spinning around on her feet obviously having a great time. When she settled down she began to talk in the way that elephants do when they are contented and happy . . . another first for Barbara. One day this week Carol observed Barbara approach Jenny and in a short time they were lying down side-by-side enjoying each other in true elephant comradery . . . another first.

     Today Barbara, Tarra and Jenny have been started on the Anaflora Harmony Formula containing: Holly, Star Thistle, Papaya, Willow, Zinnia, Yellow Top and Bauhinia. This combination of flower essences will assist Barbara, Tarra and Jenny in overcoming any obstacles to relationship and bonding that presently exist such as jealously and the fear of not enough love to go around. To the Harmony Formula we added the Anaflora Freedom Formula, formulated to assist wild animals that have been raised by humans to adapt to re-introduction to a more natural lifestyle and relationship with others of their species. Connection with the overall uniting animal soul group or species group is enhanced with this formula, so that animals are able to access natural and herd instincts that may have gone dormant.

March 28, 1997

     In addition to the Anaflora Harmony and Freedom Formulas, Barbara has been taking the essences Pink Milkweed, Walnut, Lotus, and Castle Lake Azalea. This combination of essences speak of self nurturance, new beginnings, and "Beauty in the Face of Adversity." Carol reports that Barbara's progress this week has been phenomenal. She is "moving along a million miles an hour!" She will now let Carol rub her all over - even in the scar around her neck that was untouchable before. Carol observed Barbara resting her head on Scott's back. Scott is Carol's partner at the Sanctuary. Barbara is not getting depressed now. Jenny is making progress, too. She has become much more tactile. She wants attention now and is dealing with it better. She will pull Carol over to her for attention.

April 11, 1997

Barbara and Jenny have been observed with their trunks intertwined and they now "head bump" in affection. They often wander off and take naps together. Jenny has befriended one of the Sanctuary dogs, Watson and has begun to enjoy publicity when writers and photographers visit the Sanctuary. Carol says that Tarra is more content than she has ever been and has been doing a lot of trumpeting.

June 6, 1997

     Barbara continues to do grow and expand. She is continuing to gain weight and looks much "fuller" specially around her face and head which appeared emaciated before. Barbara who is usually not interested in bonding has been developing and expanding her relationship with Jenny. They were recently seen scenting each other. Elephants have scent receptors on the roof of their mouths. When on friendly terms, they touch intimate spots on one another with the tip of their trunks and then hold the tip of their trunk to the roof of their mouth to take in the scent. Barbara was observed gently touching Jenny's eyes, ears and cheeks and then she allowed Jenny to do the same to her. They lie down together often now.

     Carol reports that Jenny, who has been on her own flower essence formula, has calmed right down and is very gentle, co-operative and responsive. Higgins, the Sanctuaries new dog came to them from a neglectful and abusive background. He has made great progress since Carol began giving him the Anaflora Return to Joy Formula. She reports that he is much more friendly, better with the other dogs and more relaxed.

October 1997

     Barbara continues to blossom, becoming more and more vocal and expressive. All three "girls" are becoming more social, friendly and well adjusted and are looking forward to the introduction of two new elephants some time this winter or spring. They continue on flower essence formulas to assist their emotional, spiritual and physical well-being.

April 1998

     From October 1997 to the present, Barbara, Tarra and Jenny continue to be treated with Anaflora Flower Essence Formulas both individually and as a group. Emphasis is being placed on Barbara's continued good health and positive emotional state, as well as continued work getting "the girls" ready for the anticipated arrival of some additional members to their elephant family. Barbara, Tarra, Jenny, Carol, Scott and Sharon (by tele-conference from California) recently appeared on a segment of Paramount pictures "Wild Things." One of the areas of discussion was "the girls" treatment with flower essences. We will continue to offer updates on Barbara's progress along with further developments regarding new arrivals at the Elephant Sanctuary. Barbara, Tarra and Jenny have also been treated recently by Lori Tapp, D.V.M. Dr.Tapp practices Veterinary Homeopathy and animal nutrition in North Carolina.

Dr. Tapp can be reached by e-mail at

February 2000

     Barbara has been treated with an array of Anaflora flower essences. Barbara is very sensitive and very telepathic. We are beginning to see a pattern emerging with Barbara's periods of emotional upset and stomach aches. They often seem to coincide with the ill treatment or death of elephants hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles away! For example, Carol noticed that one of Barbara's episodes of sadness and stomach trouble occurred at the time two of her old elephant friends died at a far-away zoo.

     Barbara becomes easily chilled. During 1999 Barbara was treated with Self-Heal, Wild Ginger, Wind-Flower, Chinese Wisteria and Wood Rose to help her body and emotions stabilize so that she would become less prone to mood and body temperature fluctuations. Carol reported that after taking the essences for several weeks that Barbara seemed more emotionally stable and less "chilly." Barbara has also been fitted with a wonderful "sweater" that helps to keep her warm. She is very happy now and bounces back much more easily from life's ups and downs.

     During 1998-99 Barbara, Tarra and Jenny, the original three sanctuary members, were joined by Bunny, Shirley and Sissy. All were treated with Anaflora Harmony and Special Stress Formulas to ease the introductions. "The girls" are still in the getting acquainted process but all is progressing beautifully. Jenny, Bunny Shirley have become quite a "threesome" with Barbara joining in off and on.

     Carol reports that Barbara is less frightened and has not had a stomach ache for over six months. In addition to the Anaflora Flower Essences, Barbara is receiving homeopathy, and flax seed oil which have helped her stomach problems.

     Cissy, the newest elephant at the sanctuary, has just begun treatment with Anaflora flower essences. Stay tuned for her story and her progress.

Barbara Gets a Sweater

     Barbara has always had a difficult time in the cold. During a communication session Barbara asked for a sweater. One that she could take off herself if she got too warm. When we asked her about colors she said anything would do except pink! She thought she would look silly in pink. The ending of the story is that Patagonia (the outdoor clothing company) donated lots and lots (it takes a lot of material to make an elephant a sweater) of expensive breathable fabric for Barbara's sweaters in an array of colors (except pink). Another woman donated her time and made Barbara the sweaters. All of them have a velcro closure at the chest so that Barbara can open them up or take them off if she gets too hot. With the incredible dexterity of an elephants trunk taking off a sweater is a cinch! Barbara loves her sweaters!

     Carol Buckley who formerly trained and performed with elephants is now director of The Elephant Sanctuary at Hohenwald Tennessee. The Sanctuary is intended to be a retirement home for Asian elephants no longer wanted by circuses and theme parks. The Sanctuary is operated on private donations and Carol's savings. To know more about Carol and her work with the elephants, visit The Elephant Sanctuary web site listed below.

     For a profile of Carol Buckley see the article For the Love of Elephants. For messages from the elephants themselves see The Elephants Speak.

Why an Elephant Sanctuary?

  • In the wild, elephants walk 30 to 50 miles a day. Walking is the natural means by which these highly social animals exercise, forage for food and maintain their intricate patterns of group behavior.

  • Because of space limitations, virtually all zoos and circuses severely limit the movement of elephants in their charge. Many captive elephants spend up to eighteen hours a day and sometimes more in chains.

  • As a result, captive elephants become sick and even die. Lack of exercise, pens and the prevalence of hard concrete floors cause many elephants to live in chronic excruciating pain.

  • Zoos and circuses are required, under international regulations for endangered and exotic species, to provide for such animals until their death. Because elephants may live to the age of seventy, careful provision must be made for their long-term care.

  • As an endangered species, Asian elephants are entitled to protection. As highly intelligent animals who have spent their lives serving and entertaining mankind, they are especially deserving of our compassion and respect.


"If I learned anything from my time among the elephants,
it is the extent to which we are kin.
The warmth of their families makes me feel warm.
Their capacity for delight gives me joy.
Their ability to learn and understand things
is a continuous revelation to me.

If a person can't see these qualities
when looking at elephants,
it can only be because he or she doesn't want to.
If a continuum exists between us and such beings,
in terms of anatomy, physiology, social behavior, and
intelligence; it follows that there should also be
some continuum of moral standards. Shouldn't there? "

Douglas H. Chadwick
The Fate of the Elephant

Carol Buckley may be contacted at:
The Elephant Sanctuary at Hohenwald

P.O. Box 393
Hohenwald, Tennessee 38462
Phone: (615) 796 - 6500

  Visit The Elephant Sanctuary Web Site.


Please support the Elephant Sanctuary by donation or simply by prayer.
Your love does makes a difference!

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