The poetry of aromatherapy

This post is intended to inspire those interested in exploring aromatherapy’s therapeutic and/or metaphysical applications. It is not intended to diagnose or treat illness. Please see your physician for questions or concerns. Please always follow important safety guidelines before working with essential oils. Never ingest essential oils.

Making a poem is neither a wholly conscious activity nor an act of unconscious handstranscription – it is a way for new thinking and feeling to come into existence, a way in which disparate modes of meaning and being may join. This is why the process of revising a poem is no arbitrary tinkering, but a continued honing of the self at the deepest level. Jane Hirshfield

A friend asked me the other day, “What oils go well together.” She was just beginning to explore essential oils and the myriad ways they come together in a healing chorus. I love this question, but I probably don’t offer the querent what they’re looking for, exactly – recipes, formulas, step-by-step blending instructions. Rather, I hope to inspire them to approach the art of aromatherapy with a sense of wonder, patience, curiosity, and poetry – a honing of the self at the deepest level.

Aromatherapy is an ancient art of self and spiritual care that deserves one’s full attention and appreciation. If one allows, aromatherapy can become an opening to the soul, an inspired vehicle to explore the heart’s questions and yearnings, and a means to process complicated emotions. In so many ways, the art of aromatherapy is like writing poetry. And like approaching a blank sheet of paper, I see people come toward the oils with refreshing curiosity, but ultimately, with trepidation and the fear of getting it wrong.

While there are many important mechanics or “rules” to learn in any art, at its purest, art is creative play and exploration, an expression of the soul – our soul, our neighbor’s soul, the soul of the earth and all who dwell here, the soul of the oceans and the heavens. In play and exploration, there are very few rules to follow, except to do no harm, otherwise, why not make a mess? Why not find out for yourselves what oils combined just don’t sing well together and which oils bring out the beauty in each other? Why not learn from trial and error, observation, and experience? Why not ask yourself “why” along the way?

Why does Ravensara make me think of stars?
Why does Neroli make me homesick?
Why do I detest Citronella so damn much?

The experience of receiving inspiration for a blend is different for everyone, but the source or Muse for me is Spirit. Whether I’m making a blend for myself or for another, the process is the same – I take inventory of the complaints and any important safety information and health issues I may need to consider and then I sit in meditation for some time. I try to quiet the mind and focus on a loving energy where the intention is to explore, not “fix”. To create a blend that will “fix” either myself or others is to assume we are broken, which is not accurate. We explore and, in exploring, sometimes we get ourselves turned around, but we are never lost. Certainly, we are never broken, though it may feel like it some days. With my mind’s eye, I see what floats to the surface, usually one or two oils that show themselves as the main leaders in a blend with supporting helpers popping up along the way as I reach for a piece of paper and pen to jot potential oil combinations down. And then I explore my way through the oils using my resources and intuition until I feel my questions have been answered and I’ve achieved a scent that I love and hope others will love, too.

There is one last thing I like to do before putting the cap on any blend and that is to bless the oil with positive intention. Whether it’s for myself or another, I pray that the blend helps whoever experiences it to have the courage to explore their hearts. I pray they find the courage to discover the right answers for themselves and I pray they discover within themselves the love, peace, beauty, and brilliance inherent in all of us.

You can do this, too.


 

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