This is a little-known variation of lily of the valley. On last researching its origin several years ago, it became apparent that this scent has become obscure enough to have escaped from the minds of many actively working perfumers and aromatherapists. The raw flower from which the essential oil would be derived apparently grows only in a small area in France. Because of its rarity, it is seldom seen in a true essential.
The vision of a mimosa, with its soft branches and delicate blooms, presents a dreamy picture much attuned with the magickal uses of its essential fragrance. Like the specter of its appearance, the scent of the mimosa carries us somewhere between the worlds of dream and reality to the lands rich with imagination, where poets and prophets dwell.
Native to the Atlantic and Gulf coast states, the magnolia has taken a place in American history. The scent of this flower is highly favored throughout the South but especially in New Orleans, where it was a treasured fragrance of the women who worked in the Louisiana brothels through-out the first century of American history.
Myrrh is one of the oldest fragrances employed in therapeutic and ritual aromatherapy pursuits. Its home is in ancient Babylonia and the biblical lands. It was no stranger to the temples of the great Egyptian culture, and was offered equally reverently to the gods who took residence on Mount Olympus. The oil is produced from the yellow-orange gum of the myrrh bush, and has been an especially favored scent for incense in ancient times. Although it is not the sweetest of fragrances (it has a musty, smoky sort of aroma), its sacred nature and ready availability in the cradle lands of religion have made it a key fragrance for perfume as well as religious observance in civilizations past.
Originally produced from the musk glands of animals, musk is one of the earliest fragrance aphrodisiacs. Today, with a greater awareness of preserving nature’s balance and an increased kindness to the creatures who inhabit the earth, most available musk oil is synthetic. There are many variations of musk oil on the market. In fact, there is one manufacturer that lists seven different types of musk in its catalog. Most people who utilize the oil settle on one of the more adaptable versions, like sweet musk, and use it in all blends for which it is appropriate. Within my own complement of oils there are two different types of musk oil: sweet musk and earthy musk. (However, I have also come across oils presented as Egyptian musk, black musk, and African musk.) This is largely a matter of personal preference and a desire to be able to fine-tune the resulting blend rather than for absolute necessity.
Oakmoss grows on the trunks of oak trees. The essential product is rich with the aromas of nature, a delicate balance of sweetness and musty woods. It has hints of both soil and sea in its aroma and, though considered a basically masculine scent, has a soft undertone to its fragrance.
Patchouli is native to India but is now cultivated throughout the world. It is a very potent aromatic as it is musty-sweet in small quantities yet overpowering in high volume. In the United States, the fragrance gained notable popularity as an incense and essential oil in the 1960s and 1970s.
However, it first made its mark in the fashion world. In the 1800s, the scent of patchouli was used to scent woven shawls imported into the United Kingdom from India. In marketing these garments it was discovered that, while the scented garments experienced a great deal of popularity, the same product offered for sale without the scent of patchouli remained on the shelf unsold.
Like some of the other fruity scents, the orange essential can be derived from the fruit, the blossom, or a combination of both. A pure blossom essential is often recognized by the name neroli. More often the fragrant oil known as orange is produced from the aromatic skin of the fruit. Like its citrus family relatives, the lemon and the lime, orange oil is employed in a great variety of ways, from the kitchen to the cosmetic to the therapeutic and magical.
Peppermint is another plant that has the honor of mythological creation in ancient Greece. According to the legend, there was once a nymph called Mentha who was beloved of Pluto. Persephone, the mate of the underworld god, pursued the nymph in a fit of jealousy. On finding her, the goddess trampled the nymph into the ground.
One of the more common cooking spices, rosemary has also been long employed as a medicinal remedy. The therapeutic benefits of rosemary were heralded by many of the seventeenth and eighteenth century English herbalists, and the essential oil has been in common use for more than a hundred years. In modern times, there are many aro-matherapists who view rosemary as a sort of heal-all remedy, good for many of the ailments that plague humankind and as a promoter of general health and well-being.