Aromas to rejuvenate and refresh
The Spring Equinox was heralded on 20th March with the amazing Lunar eclipse, sadly not visible in the South East due to cloudy skies. This shot was taken (by a passenger) from an Easy Jet flight over the Faroe Islands - super eerie and amazing!!
Spring heralds new beginnings and provides us with the opportunity to cleanse, revive, rejuvenate and connect with nature, so I thought it appropriate to celebrate with a few aromatic rituals to welcome the new Season in.
With the clocks going forward today, why not make use of the longer daylight hours and join me, harnessing that Spring-like effervescence and connect with Nature's creativity, by including one of these simple activities into your routine to rest, reflect, rejuvenate and inspire.
1. Mind the Flowers
This week I have smelt heady, sweet Hyacinths, beautiful peppery-green, buttery Daffodils and fleshy, sweet, earthy-green Tuberose - the flower itself smells less narcotic and heavy than the absolute or wax - soooo heavenly!
Seek out a spot to find some spring flowers to gaze at, to smell, or buy a bunch to place in a vase where you can see them first thing in the morning.
For myself I have bought some Hyacinth bulbs - blue and white, super fragrant - I just have to wait for them to bloom (if they can survive my 'black-thumb', my success rate with keeping plants alive is poor!).
In the meantime, I can gaze at this on my porch, 'tis a salve for my soul when I leave and return to the house each day.
2. Light My Fire
I do not feel like writing today
but as I light my censer with myrrh , frankincense and jasmine
words suddenly bloom from my heart
like flowers in a garden.
Incense has been used for centuries to cleanse space, honour the Gods; offer thanks; aid inspiration, mediation and reflection. I love to burn incense for different occasions, but at the moment I like to use it in the evening when I am relaxing or working on creative projects.
Although you can buy incense sticks, I much prefer to use loose resins, especially blends that I have created myself . The amazing variety of resins have long, intriguing and sometimes outlandish histories and uses.
For my Spring rituals, I am using COPAL and COLOPHONY (Pine resin), combined and separately, my Geminian nature likes to have flexibility!
Copal (Pinus contorta)
It is available in various colours (white, gold, black). I have the white Copal which comes from South America, its a relative of Frankincense and shares some of its citrus/pine like odour, but the one I have has a tropical fruit, sour, herbal note - beautifully fresh and cleansing. It aids self-awareness, insight and divination.
Pine or Colophony (Pinus sylvestris)
Pine signifies the Spring Equinox, fertility, regeneration and new beginnings. This has a fresh-pine, balsamic, spicy-green aroma. A symbol oflight and life, it is fitting that this fresh, uplifting aroma can be used for grounding, clearing and gives courage. Useful for starting new projects and clearing your space of old, stagnant energies, especially if you have been confined to your sick bed with a winter bug!
If you do not have a fancy Incense burner, a simple tip is to fill a small heat-proof ramekin with normal table salt (I recycle those dessert ones from supermarkets !), light a piece of charcoal - once it starts crackling, place the charcoal onto the salt-filled ramekin. The charcoal should go a grey-ish white before you place a few grains of your incense resin on top. Allow to sizzle, the vapour will transport and inspire you in your endeavours!
3. Diffuse and Essential oil
When I want a smoke-free alternative to incense, I love to diffuse essential oils. I have an oil burner and one of the new ionic diffusers which deliver a very fine vapour of diffused aroma, cleaner and safer to use than the trusty 'tea-light powered' burners!
Today, I have been kept myself out of the blustery wind and rain and used the wonderful, unique Galbanum (Ferula galbanifula) essential oil, which is distilled from the resin, just 3 drops in the resevoir was enough, the aroma is quite intense and diffuses well.
Galbanum was a traditional incense to burn at the Spring equinox, it is purifying, protecting and for me the aroma of intense green-ness and its mysterious earthy undertone is ideal to enhance contemplation, uplift the mind and shift stagnant energy .
A profile will be coming soon, but this plant has sacred and ancient history, I love this quote, but of course us mere mortals can use it for our own selfish needs:
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take fragrant spices—gum resin, onycha and galbanum—and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts, and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred. Grind some of it to powder and place it in front of the ark of the covenant law in the tent of meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you. Do not make any incense with this formula for yourselves; consider it holy to the Lord.”
I have also blended Galbanum essential oil with Geranium bourbon and a smidgen of Mint, I like Cornmint it has a cool and piercing quality, I have one from Nepal and it seems less harsh than a Peppermint. This combination provides a lovely, nose buried in a 'florist-shop-bouquet', its great for diffusing on weekend mornings to give you a bit of joie-de-vivre.
Wishing you fragrant reveries, join me next week for a few more sensory, aromatic tips!