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Edition 116: Imbolc - 1 August 2019

Edition 116: Imbolc - 1 August 2019

Special Feature: The Energetic Nature of Essential Oils

Interconnectedness

Plant help for transformation
PLANTS AND Human beings are both expressions of cosmic intelligence, fashioned from different combinations of the elements, as well as expressions of everything with which they react.
Our uniqueness is born of activity, potency and organisation of the five elements (known as the panchatattva); however the pattern within each plant and our own constitution will have its own dominant element.
Through the multi-layered combinations of these basic elemental powers, the human being with its highly complex organ, nerve and brain functions comes into existence; and the psyche and mind is formed.
In this same way the plant comes into being; the structure of plants illustrates well the five elements constituting matter.
Roots correspond to earth; the stem and branches correspond to water, which they carry.
The flowers relate to fire, which manifests light and colour. Leaves relate to air, which carries the wind.
The fruit is connected to ether, the subtlest of elements, and the seed that contains the whole plant potential within contains all five elements.
The elements in plants communicate with the elements in our bodies through a resonant field.

Whatever gives pleasure is the fragrance of the friend. Whatever makes us wonder comes from the light. What’s inside the ground begins to sprout because you spilled wine there. What dies in autumn comes up in spring because this way of saying no becomes in spring, your praise song yes. - Rumi

The plant part from whence it came

God, in His infinite wisdom, neglected nothing and if we would eat our food without trying to improve, change or refine it, thereby destroying its life-giving elements, it would meet all requirements of the body. - Jethro Kloss

These four basic plant parts - roots, leaves, flower and fruit/seed - each corresponds to a different type of healing. Then there are the volatile essential oils that derive from each part (or multiple parts).
We find there is a basic symbolic association on a metaphysical level, in that the part of the plant that is used will reflect the energetic quality to which our bodies respond.
Some plants host a variety of healing influences, each harboured in its individual parts.
For instance, the common parsley plant - with its frilly green tops - gives us a nutrient-rich herb to eat that is worth more than its common use as a mere garnish.
Rich in vitamins, iron and other minerals it is food stuff in it self.
The seeds help assuage flatulence, while the root is useful for treating chronic liver and gallbladder diseases because it has diuretic, blood-purifying and hepatic qualities.
Yet the parsley’s root is to be carefully administered for pregnant women as it can act as an abortifacient.

It’s supposed to be a secret, but I’ll tell you anyway. We doctors do nothing. We only help and encourage the doctor within.  - Albert Schweitzer, MD

Take rhubarb (Rheum rhaponticum) for instance, with its long history of herbal usage.
The primary action of the rhubarb root is a positive and balancing effect upon the digestive system.
The taste is astringent and somewhat nauseous with a characteristic odour and yellow colour, which indicate liver tonic properties and cathartic laxative qualities in larger dosage.
The rhubarb stalk is a deep red vegetable that resembles celery and provides a nutritious bland food, yet the large leaves of the rhubarb plant are poisonous due to their oxalic acid content.
Umbelliferae plant parts are bountiful providers. Their seeds - fennel, caraway, anise, chervil, coriander, fennel, celery, lovage and carrot - produce valued spices and essential oils.
The leaves also produce vegetables and the roots of some, such as carrot, fennel and lovage, are also nutritious

All that will ultimately grow out of the seed is now secretly enfolded within it as the force of the whole plant.  - Rudolf Steiner

Oils embody principal of transformed energy

We can look to the different parts of each plant or tree from which the essential oil was distilled to understand the energetic nature of the essential oils and how they work on the subtler bodies of the human organism.
Essential oils are to be found in all parts of a plant, which indicates how intensively a plant combines itself with light and heat energy and how deeply it incorporates those within itself.
In many cases it is has not been possible to determine where in the plant the essential oil is actually produced; they quite suddenly make an appearance in the cell plasma and are then transported to certain organs.
Both the content and the transfer of oil to and from these organs are influenced by cosmic rhythms.
Essential oils have an effect on us because they embody the principle of transformed energy, in concentrated form from the sun and planets and as such are able to affect the different levels of consciousness within us, which are related to certain powers and faculties.
This implies that consciousness is like a plant that grows and thrives within us, depending on how we develop these inherent powers and faculties.
It really completes the whole picture of an essential oil profile to know from which part of the plant it is extracted.

Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light. - Theodore Roethke


Essential oil parts and their qualities

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass - grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence . . . We need silence to be able to touch souls. - Mother Teresa

HERE ARE a few examples of the types of associations we might make about oils and their origins in the plant.
The root essential oils are nutrient-rich remedies that help to ground us, stabilising flighty emotional states.
These grounding oils are the deep, tenacious fixatives that provide the earthy and enduring base for a blend.
Fruit oils work more on a more cellular level with their healing qualities; they are less introspective in character than the base oils, but are more uplifting and refreshing on the nervous system and boost immunity.
They assist in cleansing both spiritually and physically, while building immunity for the psychic bodies to cleanse out old or unwanted energies.

Flowers are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out-values all the utilities of the world. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The blossoms or flowers are the reproductive part of most plants and unsurprisingly, flower oils enhance our own sexuality and are considered supreme aphrodisiacs.  
The scent of the flowers is without doubt the most sublime and represents the most elevated human emotions; they render us carefree and joyful, providing us elevating aromatic antidotes against stress.
The seed is a mature ovule, an embryo full of potential energy and ready to sprout, grow and thrive.
The seed has within all the nutrients it needs to grow until a time when it can produce its own food through photosynthesis.
Seed essential oils represent the food source and consequently aid digestion, while balancing and nurturing the digestive system. These essential oils encourage self-expression and self-exploration, through feeding and nourishing the Soul.

Plant character exerts its essence

The fragrance always remains in the hand that gives the rose. - Heda Bejar

The steam-distilled leaves and needles of plants usually assist us in respiratory ailments, clearing respiratory blocks, mucous, catarrh and constrictions in the air passages.
The leaf is the centre of many activities of the plant, including photosynthesis, and its energy is very cleansing physically and emotionally, while clearing mental activity.
Leaf essential oils open us to the currents of life, balancing and regulating the cardio-vascular system and the flow of women’s menstrual cycles.
Resins are the gummy exudates from trees and shrubs.
Like tears, they are the organism’s protective response to cuts. They coat the wound with powerful antiseptics, shielding it like a plaster from further damage.
We too use the resinous oils such as myrrh, benzoin and frankincense as potent anti-microbials to treat wounds effectively. The resins have deeply relaxing qualities, which soothe nervous tension and alleviate exhaustion.
Aromatic resins are burned to cleanse negative or harmful energies. Their perfume is believed to please the Gods, or nature spirits.
Fennel produces its essential oil in the root and divides rather than stores it; secondarily in the green plant and in the blossoms with fruit and seeds.
In this umbellate family, the root organs make the composition of the essential oil and give the whole plant a root-like character - earthy and damp. Its scent notes are deeper and darker, with a stimulating effect on the digestive system in an earthy, nourishing way.
Because these essential oils are developed in the root and secondarily into upper parts of the plant, they need a longer root growth and development. Accordingly, leaves of this kind of plant only smell after the roots are fully developed.
Oils extracted from the whole plant tend to be multi-taskers because they affect the entire body; they balance and regulate activity on the central nervous system and the endocrine system, regulating and balancing the hormones.
They enhance all aspects of therapy for the body holistically, having a tonic effect on the senses to calm and relax the physical body.
The labiatae are often multi-taskers: lavender, thyme and rosemary are good examples of flowering plants that utilise the whole plant for distillation into essential oils. Metaphysically, this means that these oils could be used for whole systems in the body and for general overall health.
Lavender certainly is one of the most versatile oils and can be used for a wide variety of ailments as well as for well-being.
Rosemary and thyme are powerful alteratives, stimulating antibacterial activity as well as exerting whatever change is required from the nervous and hormonal systems to affect the whole body.
The leaves deliver essential oil to the blossoms; the floral oil has a leaf character because the leaves are the place of development for the oil and not the flowers.
A proof of this is that the leaves always smell, whether the plant blooms or not.

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