When we think of roses, the picture that first comes to mind is the blood-red flower, though there are many colored variations. This is fitting, for there are many tales of the rose that relate it to blood. In varying mythologies, it is said to have risen from the blood of Venus or from the blood of Adonis.
Commonly known as a key ingredient in cleaners and disinfectants, its therapeutic value parallels its household use. Easily recognized as the fragrance of “clean,” it can also be used to cleanse the body and mind.
Not one of the more common oils, spikenard nevertheless has had a long history of usage. There is a bible story that relates the tale of a devoted wo-man who anointed the feet of Christ with precious oil believed to be spikenard. Even at that time, as much as 2,000 years ago, this aromatic essential was dear to obtain. In today’s money, it would have cost $300-$400 for a small container of the scent.
Sandalwood is an age-old source for fragrant usage, both for religious and for therapeutic purpose. Ancient writings dating as far back as the fifth century b.c. substantiate its common usage in the land we now recognize as India. And while it is still a very popular Asian aromatic, sandalwood has become commonplace worldwide.
Both the flower and the leaf may be used to produce violet oil. This is another fragrance that’s readily available in artificial form, as the natural product is cost prohibitive. While it is true that the leaf essential is less expensive to produce than the flower oil, neither one is cheaply manufactured. As its application affects the mental status more than the physical, violet oil is more commonly used for magical rather than therapeutic purpose, though it is not without value in treating some conditions of the mind.
Common to the city dweller as well as the farm worker, vanilla spurs on many pleasantries of childhood memory. Whether it is a fragrance reminiscent of Grandma’s baking or the scent of ice cream being freshly cranked, almost everyone will recall pleasant times filled with the fragrance of vanilla. Some may remember it as the aroma of snow cream, the poor folks’ ice cream concocted from vanilla, a few common kitchen staples, and some freshly fallen snow. Most commonly vanilla is used in extract form for culinary pursuits, but it is also available in essential oil form. These days it has adopted a varied complement of uses, from the cosmetic preparations including shampoos, skin creams, and massage oils to the magical, therapeutic, and flavor applications.
Although the fruit of the strawberry is not un-common, many of the available essential oils are synthetic. Although the purists may find some degree of impatience with the wide usage of artificial scent, this particular essential remains an extremely popular fragrance and stubbornly endures above the continued object-ions of the naturalist advocates.
A common scent in candies, wintergreen has developed a strong following as an externally applied treatment as well as an inhalant for aromatherapy treatment. Magically, its uses are limited and restricted to certain cultural boundaries. The oil is one of the few that are strictly American in origin. However, the-rapeutically, it is gaining in popularity and use. One caution in regard to this refreshing fragrance: wintergreen should never be taken internally. Although this book does not promote the use of any of the listed substances through ingestion, wintergreen is poisonous enough that it is worth a special mention.
Vetivert offers a grassy, woody scent that is very clean and refreshing, like the scent of newly mown hay. It is produced from the rootstock of certain grasses and has significant appli-cation in both magickal and healing venues.
Planetary Influence: Jupiter
Secondary Planet: Uranus
Elemental Association: Earth
Secondary Element: Water
Zodiac Influence: Taurus, Scorpio
Mental/Emotional Effects: Lifts fear, strengthens against temptation
Healing Properties: Reduces anxiety, helps to relieve obsessions, mild sedative effect.
Magical Properties: Protection against enemies, magical or otherwise.
As far as the actual physical preparation of an aromatherapy blend is concerned, the original method learned twenty years ago is as valid and workable in my own practice as it ever was. Personal preference demands that blending be done in small quantities. Although many essential oils have a considerably lengthy shelf life, my own preference is to have each blend as fresh as possible. For this reason, no more than one dram of oil is prepared at a time.