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 their value and potency, 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)
3. The temple of Nature: Many of my highest experiences (besides channelling 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 on 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.
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.
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.
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: their responses 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!
[I have since come to realize that scent is truly unique to each person. Not only can some people register 100,000 times the number of scents than others, but with over a million variations of the 400 smell receptors, everyone senses smell differently.]
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:
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.