Aromatherapy: A New Journey

Revised significantly in July 2017

I have recently found myself plunging into an exploration of "The Voices of the Plants" (as my Guides call essential oils); an exploration that has astonished me with its depth, speed, and meaningfulness.

It all started because my wonderful healer and body worker Michelle began introducing me to essential oils in her work with me. As time went on, I began to see the value and potency of them, and it ignited my interest.

A Magical Coalescence

Aromatherapy brings together so many aspects of my life's journey that it's almost uncanny. The elements of my history that are being reawakened by this are:

1. My love affair with chemistry: Chemistry was my primary interest for a good portion of my life (from ages 8 - 22). I read chemistry books like people read novels, any chance I got.

At age of 8, I got my first chemistry set. I explored luminescence (and chemi-luminescence) in grade school, By the time I was a freshman in high school, I was so well-versed in chemistry that even though I'd never taken a course in it, I was already tutoring high school seniors for the chemistry achievement test. I placed out of chem lab in college (instead doing independent studies in chemistry), and did research in neurochemistry in graduate school.

2. My fascination with natural fragrances. In high school, I created a "smell collection" of essential oils and would test my fellow students to see which ones they could identify. Once I started living on my own, I began planting many different kinds of fragrant plants, specializing in varieties of jasmine and rose, but also rare plants like Luculia and Grape-scented sage (Salvia Melissodora)

Grape-scented Sage

Luculia

3. The temple of Nature: Many of my highest experiences (besides my channelling of my Guides) have been in nature. When I leave behind city streets and go to Blake Garden or Limantour beach (in Point Reyes), or hike in Mount Tam, or go camping with friends, my soul takes flight. It's as if Nature reminds me of a Reality much vaster than I normally inhabit, and a way of beingness that is truly transcendent.

4. My Psychic Gifts: Being blessed with the Presence of my Guides, and being a witness to the phenomenal insights and healings they share with others, has been the greatest godsend of my life.

The awareness that they bring to me enables me to feel, see, and experience more than I could have ever done on my own, and has enlivened my sensitivity to the effects on consciousness that aromas elicit.

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Phase One: Finding out about Essential Oils

I have a reputation of diving in "whole hog" into any new interests that I explore, like my delvings into chocolate-making and gourmet teas and Vedic astrology.

In keeping with this, as soon as I began my studies in essential oils, I began collecting really great aromatherapy books. I'm providing links to them in case they appeal to you:

Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit:
Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance with Essential Oils
This book by Gabriel Mojay is absolutely stunning in both form and content. It has amazing information about the oils it covers, the printing and paper are exquisite, and it even integrates Traditional Chinese medicine with aromatherapy.

Ayurveda & Aromatherapy:
The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing

The author's kindness and Light (her name!) permeate this book, which explores which oils are good for which body types (doshas), an amazing array of common and rare oils, and much more. Wonderful!

Aromatica: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics: Volume 1: Principles and Profiles
This stunning book supercedes Peter Holmes previous work, Clinical Aromatherapy - Using Essential Oils for Healing Body and Soul, in that it has four times as much information, is beautifully made, and is truly a master work.

It explores the properties of essential oils, history, constituents, therapeutic nature, psychological functions, physiological functions, topical functions, Chinese Medicine functions and indications, and in many cases much more.

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The above books do something that no other Western aromatherapy books do: they recognize that "One man's meat is another man's poison", i.e. they indicate what body types respond well to what oils.

To me this is crucial and has been borne out in witnessing my friends and clients responses to different oils: they are incredibly individual. One example: I had two bottles of Helichrysum italicum, both from the same company and same origin. One was several years older than the other, and when I compared the two, the older one smelled sweeter to me. But to one of my close friends, who has an equally acute sense of smell, the reverse was true!

Similarly, the sequence in which oils are smelled really alters their scents. If I smell one of my vetivers before another, the second usually doesn't smell as good.

All of the above notwithstanding, here are some other really excellent aromatherapy books:

The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils:
The Science of Advanced Aromatherapy

This book is incredibly valuable because it explores everything from the consciousness of plants to the chemistry of oils to healing blends to the politics of aromatherapy. It is a masterpiece and incredibly comprehensive.

A tome that is filled with an incredible range of information -- the book is the foundation of a complete course in aromatherapy -- is called The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, and while it is an expensive book, it is well worth its price.

Finally, a very rigorous book organized by plant genus which is also exceptionally well-written and packed with studies proving the efficacy of specific oils is called Essential Oils: A Handbook for Aromatherapy Practice.

[Note: I have explored dozens of aromatherapy books, and these are the cream of the crop.]

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End of Part One

(Note: Unlike many websites that "review" essential oils but are actually making a profit by selling oils via affiliations, I have no financial relationship with any aromatherapy company.)

Part Two:
Finding the best essential oils

Part Three:
Early Insights

Part Four:
The different methods of extraction

Part Five:
Exquisite Scents

Part Six:
The Essential Oil Company
I didn't want to love

Part Seven:
How to evaluate essential oils

Part Eight:
A Phenomenally Great Essential Oil Company

and also, my blog on:

The Magical oil called Oud




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