Essential oils are the foundation for our line of blends – the medicine and magic that act as the building blocks for your personal inspiration and mantra. We want to inspire you to learn more about these amazing, multi-dimensional healers, relate our passion for whole plant medicinethat can touch every aspect of your being: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
There’s no doubt about it: Essential oils are proven physical healers – many of them documented to have reversed symptoms of cancer, virulent viral infections, major bone & muscle injuries. All of our blends capitalize on these irrefutably powerful, inherent properties.
That said, we also like to call on the more mystic, energetic properties of the oils. These are often the less tangible aspects of each essential oil that will affect you on subtle, though equally vital, levels. If you take the time to learn more about these energetics and wrap that wisdom into your application ritual, we’re pretty certain that you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the accompanying boost in potency and result.
So have at it – get to know a few of our favorites here!
Angelica (angelica archangelica)
Though this is an ‘angelic,’ delicate-looking plant, it is anything but fragile in its medicine. This plant has been used for centuries to address a wide range of ailments and to uplift the psyche of those feeling spiritual or emotional confusion. It is a tremendously complex oil that can address the most subtle of conditions and will always bring depth and complexity when blended with other oils.
Because Angelica is most often distilled from the root of the plant, it is physically viscous – a quality that that perfectly counterbalances its high vibration. This is why I love this oil as one that can present so softly, but carries the weight of the powerful medicine that it is. Though this plant does help very directly with some physiological aspects – it cleanses the blood, supports the respiratory systems, and is used to balance female hormones and promote fertility – I use it almost exclusively for its ability to address the energy body.
From an energetic standpoint, Angelica travels into deep layers of the psyche to release its healing properties without being bossy. It is very much like a wise grandmother that offers advice that cannot be ignored or disputed. As it travels through the body, it will self-direct to find the areas that have energetic blocks or sluggishness, and will slowly do its work to unwind and redirect those areas. Even as it works on specific areas of stagnation or over-developed density, Angelica will often result in an all-body rewiring at the same time. Just as rewiring one broken fixture in a room can then lend more light to the entire room.
If you want to raise the vibration in the body or mind, this is the essential oil to use. In situations where we are feeling heavy or lacking a sense of clarity, Angelica will help to break up that weight and bring more lightness and insight. If depression, listlessness or despair are present, Angelica can be used to uplift and help return us to our self-knowing and strength.
Bergamot (citrus aurant bergamia)
The fruit from which Bergamot is derived – the bitter orange – belies its decidedly un-bitter properties. This oil brings a level of balance and grace to the systems of the body for which it is intended, patiently delivering its medicine without being too harsh or too subtle. It carries a complexity that its citrus counterparts generally do not, delivering its wisdom by deftly weaving its way into the deepest, inner workings of the body. The result is often that Bergamot stays in the system much longer than many oils, tracing its way through physical and energetic layers with great composure and certainty of purpose.
This oil certainly has the uplifting and clarifying characteristics of its citrus cousins, having no problem cutting through excess and stagnation. However, it doesn’t have the same laser-like quality that most citrus does; its actions are more diffuse and less-insistent. Not that it won’t get down to the business of breaking up areas that are stuck, but it will do it with a bit more patience and persistence over time. It will slowly chip away at areas that aren’t flowing freely, eroding resistance and density with the slow-and-steady approach.
Which makes this a perfect oil to work with when you are feeling tender and overwhelmed. Bergamot won’t push you over the edge or create more instability by insisting that you move at break-neck speed. It would rather work in tandem with where you are, still coaxing and nudging you forward with kindness and quiet determination. However, be aware that it won’t steer you toward feeling of pure nurturing and ease – as you will find with Neroli, derived from the blossoms of the very same bitter orange tree – for it still has enough of an edge to require that some work be done in its presence.
Black Pepper (piper nigrum)
Black Pepper is one of the hidden gems on my personal list of essential oil must-haves. So easily passed over due to its often mis-understood intensity, this precious oil will bring a level of wisdom and fire to your oil blends that no other plant can. Black Pepper works very plainly in the physical realm, bringing added circulation and heat where required. In the energetic realm, it has a more mischievous bent that will draw you into explorations that feel forbidden and tempting at the same time.
Black Pepper is the secret ingredient that will seduce the unexplored, hidden territory of the psyche to come forward. Unlike some of the other mystical oils, like Angelica and Myrrh, that work in the more dream-like realms, Black Pepper tends toward the Freudian, Adam-and-Eve chambers of the system. It lets flow the juices and longings that we so often repress, inviting us to parts of ourselves that we hold at bay because they feel inappropriate or scary. However, Black Pepper’s design is not to take you to places that are truly dark and frightening, but to unlock doors that have been erected because of irrational or mis-place fear. It knows how to sniff out the areas where these fears lie, knowing that what lies beyond is something wild and wonderful, liberating and exhilarating.
The unexpected thing about Black Pepper in blends is that it doesn’t insist on being front and center, even though it could very well do that, with all of its punch. But, unlike many oils that will take the reigns without apology, riding herd over things with their singular power, Black Pepper seems to know that it plays an invaluable supporting role. And that playing a secondary – or even tertiary – part is how it will shine best.
Frankincense (boswellia carteri)
Frankincense has often been referred to as a miracle resin. Healing the deepest wounds, uplifting from the deepest despair, bringing calm and quiet to chaos, and transporting to the realm of Gods and Goddesses. This is no exaggeration. In fact, it is one of the hardest oils to describe in words, it is so all-encompassing in its power. Frankincense is in a class unto itself, working in realms of seeming paradox to equalize and heal, always seeking our state of natural alignment.
One of the greatest paradoxes that Frankincense embodies is that of being able to ground and uplift at the same time. This oil will help us to find our seat more fully, dropping deeply into our connection with Earth, while lifting us up to the heavens, beyond the mind, to the state of consciousness that transcends the human condition. This is the magic of Frankincense, for it will find where we are most imbalanced between these two states and bring us to a place of equilibrium. What is even more brilliant is that Frankincense knows that everyone’s state of equilibrium is different; the elements of balance for me will not necessarily match the elements of balance for you. Hence, the innate ability of Frankincense to calibrate us individually is one of its most powerful and exceptional traits.
On the whole, whether Frankincense is uplifting or grounding, it is always purifying. Its sole purpose is to purify the system of anything that it doesn’t need, particularly the excess that we carry – those things that obscure our true, clear path in life. While some essential oils use heat as a way to burn off excess, Frankincense uses what I call the ‘patient erosion’ method. It steps up to our extra baggage – whether that’s in the form of physical illness or emotional overwhelm – and slowly whittles away until the purification is complete. That isn’t to say that Frankincense isn’t potent. There is nothing namby-pamby about this oil. It just likes concentrate its power into a methodical, measured application.
Geranium (pelargonium graveolens)
Geranium is the great midwife in the world of essential oils, offering kind and knowing ways with fierceness and unwavering focus on what lies ahead. It is skilled at moving the system toward a place of equilibrium, deftly balancing wide extremes of experience that can arise as we trek toward that center place. When you want to throw in the towel and return to your comfort zone, Geranium will remind you why it is important to continue and break free of old patterns. When you want to break down into tears, Geranium will hold you as you weep, while whispering in your ear that these tears are helping you to move forward. When you want to scream out in rage, Geranium will patiently harness the fire of your anger and use it to help you break through to the other side.
One of my favorite things about Geranium is that it is a powerful activator, but doesn’t sport sharp edges to get the job done. It is much like the ocean, allowing its broad, wide waves to wash over you as it cleanses, moves, shifts, and re-shapes what needs attention, rather than drawing a sword or pointed thorn to do its work. In the body, I often view Geranium like a bottle of spilled ink: it will slowly spread out from the source of the spill and markedly touch everything in its expanding path. Similarly, Geranium will spread consistently and slowly outward from the point of application, tending both to the point of origin as well as to ancillary systems that are impacting that source-point.
Geranium has been used for centuries to attend to all sorts of skin conditions, including eczema, rashes, and varicose veins, while acting as a prized elixir for keeping the skin young and supple looking. The irony here is that Geranium’s energetic actions go well beyond the surface, traveling beyond what is only skin deep. It targets blocks and patterns in the system that drain you of your inherent lifeforce and vibrancy, acting as both a siphon to remove those obstacles and as a salve to heal the after-effects of the extraction process. For example, it will lift you from depression that ages the system more rapidly, cleanse the primary energy channels of anything that keeps you from feeling fully charged, and heal old psychological wounds that keep you from living as your fullest self.
Jasmine (jasminum grandiflorum)
This heady, flower-derived oil can lighten the heart, the emotions, and reawaken your relationship to sensuality. You can’t mistake Jasmine when it is used; its power is obvious and direct. It is extremely aromatic, bringing endless waves of its pure, flowery aroma when applied. Just a few drops of Jasmine will open pathways in the body that are longing to reawaken and experience the beauty in everything.
Jasmine, at its core, is all about sensuality. It will open your senses wide and invite you to experience life through heightened taste, touch, smell, sound, and sight. If you are feeling disconnected from your body, from your ability to appreciate and feel all that surrounds you, Jasmine will help you to return to your body and invigorate your zest for sensation. It will welcome you back to the physical, human experience, which is meant to be stimulating, voluptuous, and sense-oriented.
Because of its strong aromatic profile, Jasmine taps right into the systems of the brain that stimulate feelings of kindness and open-heartedness. There is nothing harsh or hard-edged about Jasmine. It prefers to help us look at everything with a soft heart, to bring willingness and graciousness to all of our interactions. This doesn’t mean that you will end up being a doormat when you use Jasmine. Rather, you will simply be more able to respond to things from a place of ease and detachment, with compassion leading the way.
Jasmine has long been used in perfume and skin preparations, highly prized for its ability to highlight the beauty of any woman. Likewise, in the energy body, Jasmine will light up the Feminine, strengthening all aspects of your Woman. (Men, this doesn’t mean that you can’t use Jasmine, though you likely won’t find it all that appealing, no matter how in touch with your feminine you are!)
Lavender (lavendula angustifolia)
Ah, Lavender! Perhaps the most well known of all essential oils, hailed for its calming effects and ability to tend to even the most sensitive of bodies with great kindness. So kind, in fact, it is one of the few essential oils that can be safely used on infants. Lavender has long been used as a remedy for burns, abrasions and mild skin conditions. It will soothe a frayed nervous system and slow a palpitating heart. In fact, for any disruption in the system that needs to be settled or subdued, Lavender is a pretty good bet.
But the buck doesn’t stop there. We could easily espouse the calming benefits of Lavender for pages and pages. However, we don’t want to overlook the other merits of this powerhouse oil, for its strengths extend well beyond those that are the most obvious and celebrated.
My favorite thing to underscore about Lavender is its patience. I believe it is the most patient essential oil out there. It never gives up. But not in a cloying, smothering kind of way that makes you want to run. It moves at a steady, quiet pace, effortlessly matching your natural rhythms while moving you forward almost imperceptibly… until you realize, all of a sudden, that something has shifted in a big way. Simply put, Lavender stays in the tissues with grace and a light touch, slowly unwinding whatever it is that needs to be unwound, all the way to the very end.
Now, don’t get the idea that Lavender is wimpy. Not by any stretch. Just because it is gentle and orients toward a state of ease doesn’t mean that it can’t handle the big stuff. Quite the opposite. Because of its patient, resolution-seeking nature, Lavender will stay in the game longer than many other oils might. It will show its strength not through brawn, but through constancy.
Lemongrass (cymbopogon citratus)
This distinctive, reedy plant inserts itself seamlessly into the complex layers that lie beneath obvious, surface symptoms. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the Lemongrass reed, for its complexity is what makes the extractions some of the most diverse and powerful in the world of essential oils. Lemongrass, much like Lemon, loves to purify and awaken. However, it has the ability to get into the more complex and hard-to-reach areas of the body systems, as its vibration is more complex and chameleon-like than its citrus friend. The finesse of Lemongrass allows it to start in one area of treatment and land in two or three others by the time its done. Understanding this aspect of Lemongrass will allow you to best harness its fullest healing.
Wherever there is confusion, mixed messages, or seemingly unconnected symptoms in the physical or emotional bodies, Lemongrass can be used to help untangle the maze. In these cases, it has an uncanny ability to act as both an M.D. and skilled psychotherapist all at once. It will comb through the tight web of confusion, helping to isolate and identify the true culprit.
But don’t be intimidated by the roaming, chameleon-like ways of Lemongrass. Though its methods sometimes feel circuitous, the end result of using Lemongrass will be a sense of clarity and focus. It’s much like working through a complex mathematical equation that covers an entire page with strange symbols and calculations, but that ends up boiling down to a single number in the end. Patience is required, as well as an open mind.
Neroli (citrus aurantium)
You will find nothing but grace, calm and quiet feminine strength with this oil. Distilled from the precious blossoms of the bitter orange tree, this oil feels just like its flowers appear: beautiful, delicate, easy. It takes action through quiet, non-invasive means, drawing us away from toxic, frantic ways of being through its seductive aroma. This seduction is what gives Neroli its underlying strength, a temptation that is nearly impossible to ignore, that will coax you into a state of calm and easy wonder that can seem almost other-worldly.
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Working with Neroli is much like walking through exotic botanic gardens that can seem almost surreal, easily drawing us into its magic world of simplicity and beauty. It provides a platform for moving out of our distracted mind and ego-based world, back to our more natural, centered self. However, unlike many other calming essential oils, Neroli moves at a high frequency, so the resulting sensations and feelings are light and easy. The energy of Neroli matches more directly that of butterflies and floating cottonwood seeds than the earth and loam of a garden.
This oil is also wonderful for drawing us out of states of depression or heaviness. With its natural lightness of being and finesse, Neroli will gently move you from a state of dullness to a state of serenity and acceptance. The twist here is that this essence is not about ‘making you more positive.’ Neroli is much more subtle than that. It will help you to remember that part of yourself that has been carefully hidden away, the one that knows the beauty of simply being. It will go into the brain level of the system, with absolute singularity of purpose to shift the neurological pathways toward feelings of acceptance and ease.
Peppermint (mentha piperita)
A well-known scent and flavor, Peppermint is the sweetheart of stimulating and uplifting oils. Used in preparations for sinus and respiratory relief, breath freshening, digestive ailments, and sore muscles, Peppermint is a wide-reaching curative worthy of any medicinal cabinet. It is a simple oil that gets right to its tasks, with very little fuss or complex schemes.
For this reason, Peppermint is a perfect oil to use when you need some clarification without going through extensive process. Peppermint is not about digging deep into psychological wounds or navigating the complexities of confusion emotions. It truly prefers to stay out of the fray and do the simple work of clearing and stimulating so that you can be more effective and directed on your path.
This doesn’t mean that Peppermint doesn’t pack a punch. It most certainly does. With its high menthol content, Peppermint will increase circulation in a jiff, take out the cobwebs in a single swoop, and brighten dark corners instantly. Most of us are familiar with salves for muscle soreness that heat up on contact – Peppermint is usually one of the constituents responsible for that heat. Similarly, when you need some additional circulation in any part of the energy system, just a touch of Peppermint will do the trick.
Spruce (tsuga canadensis)
Spruce truly is an ancient medicine. It has been used for centuries to work with sore, aching muscles, stimulate circulation, relieve specific respiratory symptoms, and clear mucous that presents during certain illnesses. Many cultures, many tribes have called on the stalwart medicine of this plant, keeping a stash of a Spruce derivative on-hand, knowing that it is a consistent and loyal healer.
These qualities translate directly into the essential oil of Spruce; there are not many oils that inherently carry as much depth and breadth as this one. Much like the trees themselves, which can live for centuries, this oil naturally carries – and imparts – the wisdom of generations.
When you are working with something that is deeply-rooted in your system, Spruce is an ideal companion. It moves slowly and with methodical intention. It doesn’t hurry to make things happen, nor does it jump to conclusions. It possesses a patience that makes it ideal for helping to unwind things in the body and spirit that take time to shift, supporting you in long-term inquiry. It will act as the great grandparent, listening and watching from a place of accumulated wisdom before it responds and takes action.
When it does take action, look out! You will feel the primordial energy of this oil, as it calls on years of encyclopedic experience to heal you. It carries a force that is a once gentle – much like the graceful shape of the tree – and intense. You may feel as if you are sitting in a powerful circle of wise ancestors that won’t let you off the hook. That will, in fact, hold your feet to the fire, not to harm you, but to heal you. Spruce acts in this way: helping you to dig down to the root system of whatever it is that you are attending, with equal parts equanimity and quiet fierceness.
Vetiver (vetiveria zizanoides)
If it’s Earth you want, Earth you will get with Vetiver. There is no other oil quite like it in the spectrum of plant-based scents and medicines covered in this book. Distilled from the root of an innocuous-looking grass, this oil is anything but innocuous. It has a very directed, potent designto draw energy back to Earth, asking us to not only settle back into our natural roots and slower rhythms, but to develop those root systems to be even more broad and wide.
The look and feel of Vetiver matches its energy: thick, brown, viscous. It moves slowly – literally – and is marked by an unusually high density level. What this translates to energetically is in service to its grounding qualities, for it coaxes the body and mind to slow down. The brillance of this oil is its pace. It isn’t a jarring, fast-action oil, asking you to immediately and head-spinningly slow down. It moves like molasses through the body, slowly turning down the volume dials of any parts of the system that are hyperactive or over-stimulated. Through its natural action, it teaches us how to find relaxation through careful, methodical attention, rather than abrupt or ungentle actions.
Once you begin to align with the frequency of Vetiver, you will be invited to explore yourself from a centered place. Much like we can see more of an action scene in a movie when it is slowed down, so can we better understand the workings of our physical and emotional environments when the mind slows down and we are able to feel more fully what is happening. When viewing your life and body from this slowed-down perspective, you will naturally be able to more finely calibrate your responses and choices, rather than acting from a harried, reactive place.