Please note: I am not a licensed physician or mental healthcare practitioner. If you feel you need the assistance of a licensed professional or an agency that seeks to protect those in domestic abuse situations, please reach out to those professionals immediately. If you are in danger, have just experienced sexual assault, or feel you may be a danger to yourself or others, please dial 911.
On the word, “sensuality”, as several essential oils associated with the sacral chakra are listed as having an “aphrodisiac” affect, I will address the elephant in aromatherapy when it comes to “embodiment” and “sensuality” as it relates to sacral chakra wounding. For those who have witnessed or endured/survived sexual trauma, feeling connected to the body, let alone one’s sense of sensuality, is a major challenge with potentially many layers of hurt, confusion, and dysfunction. I’m not suggesting that aromatherapy will cure this and highly recommend working with a licensed therapist or at the very least, advocacy group that specializes in this area of trauma.
It is also appreciated that this post is also for women and those who identify as women who may not have reproductive organs. Please consider the representation of the female reproductive system as a powerful metaphorical symbol that belongs to you as you feel comfortable.
The information provided in this post is for educational/inspirational purposes only, is not approved by the FDA, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate disease, substitute mental healthcare, prescription medication, or serve as legal advice. Please see the appropriate professionals and agencies per your specific needs. Always follow essential oil safety best practices when using essential oils. Do not ingest. Research all oils before use to ensure you are safe to use them.
This is the second post in the Aromatherapy for Chakras series. To read about the basics of chakras and the root chakra, click here.
Physician and bestselling author, Christiane Northrop, M.D., writes in Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, “Lower chakra wounds don’t heal until they’re witnessed.”
The body has a way of keeping score. We don’t often realize this, though, until we’ve arrived at the threshold of chronic pain. Studies and anecdotal evidence suggest if a wound inflicted upon the emotional and physical body (including deep cultural, socio-economic, religious, and ancestral negative conditioning and wounding) is left unwitnessed or denied, unnamed, and unreleased, it may manifest as dis-ease in the body. (Northrop, 94-95). This dis-ease may manifest as chakra imbalance, affecting energy within the location of the body these wounds are physically and emotionally stored.
The uterus, ovaries, vulva, vagina, cervix, large intestine, lower vertebrae, and pelvis are all within the domain of the sacral chakra. (Northrop, 83). It’s said in yoga, the hips are the emotional junk drawers of the body. Many yoga teachers will tell you as we stretch and focus attention on muscle groups in this area, which don’t normally get a lot of attention, it’s not uncommon for someone to cry during a hip-opening pose . I notice when entering pigeon pose, I eventually feel free once I’m able to find release into the posture, but there’s always a struggle with tension in getting there. “Ah, bitter hips,” noted one of my yoga instructors.
Language is important. Let’s take a minute to reflect on the connection between “emotional junk drawers” and the female body, specifically hips and the organs housed in the sacral chakra. What associations, images, and feelings come to mind for you? Take a few minutes to write these out, if you feel comfortable.
From the every day micro-aggressions and devaluation of our time, feelings, talents, etc. to the trauma we either witness or live through, it’s all important and it all has an affect on us. And it’s all felt at some level, at some time. It’s not junk and it is not our job or duty to carry this shit around with us. We are not junk drawers, utility bags carrying other people’s trash. We are not objects for which projected desire and childbearing expectations land. We are the sovereign rulers of our bodies.
The Empress is the archetype of the sacral chakra. Though one-dimensional, she is an example of personal power. She surrounds herself with beauty, expresses herself beautifully and powerfully outwardly and inwardly as feels authentic to herself. She not only feels deserving of this personal power and expression, but entitled to it. Completely aligned with it. She has a deep connection with her body, her senses, and is therefore quick to recognize when a place, experience, paradigm, or person is not aligned with her overall well-being (or the well-being of her sisters). She enjoys and feels entitled to experience pleasure and creative expression. Likewise, she is wise to know her limits and recognizes the need/time for enjoyment, work, and boundary. Not only does she honor this balance in her own life, but in others’ as well. She understands the difference between the need and time to serve the greater good and having one’s personhood being taken advantage of.
Sacral Chakra Emotional Challenges
Though not an exhaustive list, those with a blocked sacral chakra typically may experience feelings such as:
- Resentment or anger of personal hurtful experiences not being heard, validated, or believed
- Helplessness or lack of entitlement in changing their situation
- Pressure or cultural/religious expectation to place the needs of all others before themselves
- Disconnection with their body
- Disconnection with their senses
- Disconnection with their authentic self
- Shame or guilt in feeling pleasure, experiencing beauty, experiencing and exerting personal power
- Shame or guilt for wanting more for themselves
In order to move past these feelings, which, when chronic, takes time to unravel with the help of a qualified therapist, we must first, as Northrop suggests, WITNESS, NAME, and RELEASE these feelings and their source, one at a time or as feels manageable to each of us. There is no linear path to healing these wounds or paradigms. As is often said, healing is cyclical and we are welcome to circle around to these themes as often as necessary to pick up new meaning, new revelation, and refreshed empowerment, deepening our healing here.
It is OK to be the sovereign of your personal power. The Empress! It is your right to be heard. It is OK to feel entitled to enjoy your life and all the way beauty seeks expression. It is OK to be yourself. It is OK to have boundaries that protect your personhood, time, talents, and feelings. This is YOUR RIGHT.
Aromatherapy for the Sacral Chakra
Okay, cool, so how does aromatherapy help us access this personal power thing when at the ground floor of healing this dysfunction? Changing your life in order to stake your personal ground is not easy and is often a painful personal process as there can be many layers to witness, name, and release. Many people choose to bypass this process because it is emotionally taxing, sometimes (oftentimes) exhausting, and has the potential to change several dynamics in their personal and/or professional life. We tend to hold onto what feels comfortable, even if we feel it’s “not that bad” in order to keep the peace. So, how does that feel? How has that worked out for you? Write that down, too.
Constituents in essential oils serve to assist many therapeutic actions in the body and mind, but for emotional purposes, they serve to: regulate, relax, or restore (and oftentimes a combination of these three). The oils themselves don’t “heal” our traumas and issues. Rather, the constituents within essential oils are thought to affect different areas of the brain (Deep Limbic System, Basal Ganglia, Prefrontal Cortex, for example) so that we might experience a sense of emotional equilibrium from which to safely recognize feelings, discern what to do with them, how to express them, and make good decisions for our overall wellbeing in the moment and moving forward. (Holmes, 2016)
Essential oils that are typically aligned with the sacral chakra serve to help us:
- Create a connection between our senses and emotions (embodiment)
- Promote mood upliftment and balance
- Encourage a sense of release of difficult emotions
- Promotes discernment and foresight
Though there are many essential oils that can assist in creating balance in the sacral chakra, here are a few of my go-tos.
Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea): The green, sweet, herbal scent of clary sage helps to promote a sense of relaxation and euphoria, helping to balance the mood thereby creating a bridge between what we feel and sense. Clary sage, the herb (not the essential oil), was known as “clear eye” and commonly used to address eye complaints during the Middle Ages. Metaphorically and energetically speaking, clary sage assist us when connecting with our intuition. Aromatherapist, herbalist, acupuncturist, and author Gabriel Mojay writes of clary sage in Aromatherapy for Healing The Spirit, “When the Bodily Soul is afflicted by despondency or worry, we can lose a “felt instinct” for our life’s true purpose, unable to “see” clearly in the here and now. Absorbed by the deliberations of a restless, searching mind, we are distracted from the Spirit and its intuitive insight.” (1997)
Clary sage assists us when the bird of intuition is pecking at our window, wanting us to see a situation for what it is, ground these feelings (which can feel unnerving), and communicate what we see/feel with clarity and tact, even if only to ourselves to start. So, wouldn’t this be more aligned with the third eye chakra? Yes, clary also can be used to help bring balance to the third eye chakra, but she also helps to restore balance to the female reproductive system, the sacred space for creative design and wisdom in the physical or metaphysical form.
Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum): The woody, sweet scent of sandalwood deeply calms the nerves and helps promote a sense of focus, creating a bridge between thinking and feeling, inviting the creative muse and potentially promoting a sense of safe sensuality.
Sandalwood is known as a sacred oil that helps quiet the harsh inner critic in order for the inner Divine to be heard. Its gift is alignment. Peter Holmes notes in Aromatica: vol 2, that sandalwood helps to reduce cingulate system hyperfunctioning, which when overactive presents as a preoccupation with negativity in thought and action, repetitive worried thoughts, obsessions, inflexibility with error and change, and other behaviors. (Demos, 2005) Sandalwood helps connect us with our most beautiful innermost truths, encouraging us to see them, name them, express them in ways that serve to place us in our seat of creative power. And to feel and enjoy every moment of it.
Neroli (Citrus aurantium var amara): The sweet, gently floral scent of neroli is famous for helping to stabilize the emotions, especially when the shock of traumatic memories is present, in order to access and release them.
Neroli not only helps us to feel a sense of calm equilibrium from which we might begin our personal healing work, but also encourages a sense of personal responsibility. As veteran aromatherapist, Valerie Ann Worwood writes in Aromatherapy for the Soul (1999), “Our pain and sorrow is sometimes brought about because we have not seen how we might have affected others and inadvertently caused a rift or hurt others. Neroli allows the reflection that can throw a light on the wounds that tie us to old patterns of relating.” Embodying the Empress archetype is not just about accessing and exercising our personal power but also being responsible with it.
Northrop writes of the final stage of releasing sacral chakra wounds, “Forgiveness and acceptance is now required for both herself and others.” (95) What does this look like for you? Write it down.
The Empress doesn’t live for herself alone but lives in alignment with her personal, feminine, divine power while also being a contributing member of her private and professional communities. We know who she is when she enters a room, when we learn from her, when she shares her creative vision. Unique unto herself, master of her time and talents, she is authentically beautiful and holds her space in a way that is nothing short of inspiring.
What does this look like for you? Write it down.
Demos, J. N. (2005). Getting started with neurofeedback. W.W. Norton.
Holmes, P., Majoy, G., Tiffany Carole Pollard, Lev, C., & Camp, M. (2016). Aromatica : a clinical guide to essential oil therapeutics. Singing Dragon.
Holmes, P. (2019). Aromatica Volume 2: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics. Applications and Profiles. Singing Dragon.
Mojay, G., 2000. Aromatherapy for healing the spirit: Restoring emotional and mental balance with essential oils, Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.
Northrup, C., 2006. Women’s bodies, women’s wisdom: Creating physical and emotional health and healing, New York: Bantam Books.
Worwood, V.A. & Worwood, V.A., 2006. Aromatherapy for the soul: Healing the spirit with fragrance and essential oils, Novato, CA: New World Library.