Mundis Imaginalis of Essential oils: Experiencing mysteries of the divine.
Essential oils are one of the most mysterious natural substances known to us on planet Earth.
Produced by a simple chemical process, the 'essence', 'memory' or 'mystery' of a plant is captured, bottled and used by us.
Used by humans throughout millennia, in Ancient Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Medieval Arab and Modern cultures.
Essences have been reserved only for Pharoahs, Emperors, Royal Indian castes, anointing of Prophets, as gifts to Jesus, purification and burial ceremonies of human and religious deities.
Now, 5,000 years on, they are available for our everyday use. The very same oils of the anointed few - Pachuli, Myrrh, Frankinsence, Labdanum, Rose, we find in our cosmetics, living room diffusers and handbags.
Let's unpack this phenomenon.
Water contains memory, muscles hold emotional memory and our subconscious holds collective memories.
Plants also hold 'information', through a complex system of liquids and chemicals.
Plants have consciousness - a landscape of sensations, imprints, suggestions and symbols that stirs us. When we enter into a relationship with plants, our consciousness is transformed.
Now let's add the factor of time here.
Plants have been used for at least 45,000 years by humans in many spiritual and physical practices. From simply eating them and using them for fuel, to more spiritual practices of purification by their smoke and ingesting to cure or to enter into alternative consciousness.
If plants carry the memory of these ancient spiritual and physical uses in (a collective consciousness) that exists without time and space, or isn't limited by time and space, then when we come into relationship with them we experience a host of ancient information.
Places, people and substances become sacred when we make that our intention.
There is no need to 'believe' in the myths as we have been led to understand the concept of 'belief' as being dogmatic and limiting. Rather, we hold the myths and symbols lightly, use them as guides, lights and mirrors.
A game of presence, imagination and creative participation begins. We step into the story or 'energy' of an essence and allow it to permeate our being.
Just as when listening to a child, we don't look at our mobile, but give our son or daughter the attention she deserves, eye contact and time. Or when watching a film or book, we engage in the story in order to enjoy it; believing in the characters and feeling their emotions as 'real'.
This is what we can describe as active imagination with an essential oil, it's myth and symbols. Sharon Blackie describes this as listening to the dreaming land. Myth is the power of the land speaking. Myth is co-creation: “When we learn to listen to the land, the world of imagination is part of the fabric of reality. As we engage in myth and places (and plants - added by me) we engage in a process of becoming. We build a belonging and mythical resistance to the disenchantment of the world.” Sharon Blackie
So, let's be aware of how we consume essential oils, remembering who and how they have been used before us.
Perhaps we can re-encounter the gods of Apollo or Isis and create holy temples of our own with Laurel or Rose. Let's remember how Jesus was anointed with a holy oil blend by Mary Magdalene and reprimanded by the disciples for wasting money on something so precious instead of spending on the poor. In connecting to these ancient myths with essential oils, we encounter our deeper truths that rise to the surface of our consciousness.
We create our own myths, rituals and sacred spaces in our psyche and homes.
So, how do we do this?
Choose an oil. Perhaps one of your favorite oils to start with. Most often, we are attracted to an oil quite naturally, just because we adore that scent or how it makes us feel.
Read up about the legends and myths surrounding that oil. They might trace back to Ancient Greece or be from local folklore. Lydia Bosson's book 'Energetic Aromatherapy' includes a fantastic selection of oils and Elizabeth Ashley, 'The Secret Healer' has a host of in depth information in her books and blogs.
When you use an oil, do it consciously, mindfully, aware of the information encoded and held by this essence. Open yourself to observing how the oil makes you feel or what you do as you are in the presence of the oil.
Intention: You might create an intention as you engage with an oil. eg "I intend to create a calm home when I burn Lavender", or "I intend to connect to my root chakra with Cade or another tree essence."
Explore: Research essential oils from the plants that you might find living near you or in your garden. Perhaps flowers like Chamomile, Rosemary, the mints, different coniferous trees. As you use their essences, make time to go for a walk where they grow, observe the plants in their 'natural habitat' or plant some in your garden or balcony. You might like to invent a personal ceremony with one of them at a time. Get playful and personal. Plants and their essences love that!
Give the essence your time. Meditate with one oil of your choice. As you inhale the aroma, observe how it first affects your body, then your mental state - do any memories, thoughts, references come to mind? How do you engage emotions with the essence?
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Frances Bartlett, EssencesCat. June 2021