There is a long history of Essential oils being used for spiritual purposes and in rituals. Incense is just one example of spiritual essential oils being used in religious ceremonies and for inducing a ‘spiritual’ environment.
The historical use of aromatic oils and resins goes back many thousands of years in human history and traverses many cultures and civilizations on our planet.
In China, incense was burned to purify the atmosphere and rid the environment of evil spirits, in India, incense was and is used in all temples of all persuasions to sanctify the devotions; in Mexico, incenses were used in rituals to induce trance-like states in the participants to make them more accepting in their role of living sacrifice to the Gods; in Northern Europe the Druids used incenses which were sacred to the Earth Mother; the Greeks and Romans also used essential oils and fragrant herbs in all aspects of their daily lives, and many of their practices were learned from the Egyptians and Mesopotamians who were without doubt, the absolute masters in the Art of “Aromatherapy”.
The first people to dispense aromatics as medicines in Ancient Egypt were the priests – they were the first Aromatherapists. As the use of aromatic substances became more common, they were also used by the physicians.
At Heliopolis, the city dedicated to Ra the Sun-God, incense was burned 3 times a day: sunrise, noon, and sunset. This incense was called Kuphi or Kyphi and contained 16 ingredients including cassia, Calamus, Citronella, Cinnamon, Peppermint, Pistacia, Juniper, Acacia, Henna, Cypress, Myrrh, Raisins, Frankincense, and Morning Glory.
Aromatherapy was used in the healing temples in both Egypt and later in Greece, which also incorporated the use of colour healing utilizing solar light. Great glass windows of various colours were built in to the ceilings of these temples at specific points, corresponding with the journey of the sun across the sky. The patient was placed in the stream of coloured light and incense was burned or oils applied to the patient as need dictated. This form of healing is called Heliotherapy.
Even as recently as the Middle Ages in Europe, fragrant herbs were known to possess special healing properties by virtue of their fragrances, and were burned in the streets to counteract the odour and ill effects of the poor hygiene of the times. During the time of the Great Plague this method was also used to antisepticise the air. Essential Oils, via their own innate LIFE FORCE ENERGY, can help change energy imbalances in our Aura (Etheric body). They can adjust the way in which we perceive, feel and think about both ourselves and our environment working from the Spiritual Level `downwards’.
They can help us have a more positive, relaxed or energetic mood, help us to concentrate better, develop our “psychic awareness”, and act as a bridge to help us access “deeper” or “higher” levels of consciousness. This function of Essential Oils overlaps with the effects oils have on the Brain, but it must be remembered that the Nervous and Hormonal Systems are the physical “translators” of the Etheric dimensions.
The use of Aromatic plants as Incense in religious and ritual practices is based on this knowledge. Incense purifies, acts as a libation or gesture of respect to higher intelligences and gives us a “doorway” for entry into the Astral realms.
It is believed that Essential Oils, when used in the form of “incensing”, are signals to those other dimensions where we find our Guardian Angels, Spirit Guides, Gods and Goddesses and states of pure “Cosmic Consciousness” and form a means whereby we can show our intention or willingness to open our consciousness to those realities. The result being that these Beings are able to communicate with us or through us more easily.
By developing our sensitivity to other levels of energy/being and other levels of our own consciousness, we are better able to develop our healing powers and accelerate our own personal/spiritual growth.
Because we are conditioned from birth to relate primarily to the physical plane of existence we tend to have some degree of difficulty in shifting to the spiritual levels without some assistance. Essential oils can help us with this.
THE SENSE OF SMELL AND ETHERIC ENERGY
From an energy point of view, the sense of smell relates to the Element called AKASHA or ETHER. This is the Universal and All-Pervading element, the Element of Spirit, and it has the ability to transform itself into anyone of the forms of Elemental Energy. It is also closely related to the Element of Air, which is related to the sense of taste.
Man’s sense of smell is not as acute as that of a dog or a moth, however, it is never the less quite acute, and man is capable of distinguishing many thousands of odours. The exact way in which odour perception takes place is still quite a mystery to medical science. There is sound knowledge of the structures involved in odour perception, but the function itself still has many unanswered questions.
By developing the sense of smell we are provided with a means by which we may use essences and aromatic substances to create a mood, a feeling, an atmosphere, or change our state of being to one which is more in harmony with our True Selves, and which aids the development of our higher senses. Most people think of incense in the context of ‘joss sticks’. To many people, incense is something that gives a nice fragrance to an environment and little more. But the act of burning incense is more than this, and fragrances have quite profound effects.
Perfumes and aroma have a great power to influence the mind and to lift the consciousness. They can arouse memory and distant recollections, as well as soul memories (past lives). Use of incense sharpens the perception beyond the ordinary and encourages better powers of discrimination.
When we decide to extend our consciousness we must first pass through the different layers of our own psychological makeup. `Incense’ helps to ease the passage through these layers of self to the Universal light, creating a link or channel between us and the formative energies of the Universe and our own Being.
When essential oils, resins or gums are burned, their substance `etherealises’ and passes to the subtler planes opening the way for the return flow of energy. By being consciously aware of the incense or oil we are using, and by being aware of its properties, and in tune with our intention, we can work more effectively and more powerfully, whether it be in healing or meditation techniques.
Essential oils form a bridge commonly used by Auric Healers to set a communication link between the physical and etheric bodies. The radiations from natural aromatic substances also nourish our natural energies and spirit. Odours are known to give off vibrations which fit into the known electromagnetic scale and are thought to vibrate in the Infra-Red end of the colour spectrum. This is also known as the “invisible colours’.
Colours and odours are said to have a parallel, also odours and music, and odour and shape. The notes of the Diatonic Scale (A,G,C,B,D,F,) have been correlated to odours, and various compounds in aromatic molecules are known to have certain shapes, e.g. round molecules tend to have a camphor-like smell, disc shapes to have a floral odour, and wedge shapes to have a Peppermint fragrance.
These facts present a definite argument in favour of the `Vibration’ theory, and the way odours have an effect on the “Sixth Sense”. Taking these correspondences a little further it is of interest to note that some essential oils are pigmented, which often relates to their therapeutic properties, for example:
– Benzoin is red and is used to promote healing; – Bergamot is green and is used in the treatment of urinary tract disorders; – Lemon is yellow and is used in the treatment of the digestive system; – Chamomile is blue and is used against inflammation of the skin and mucous membranes of the body.
These colours also have therapeutic applications in colour therapy, in which red is considered an energizing and warming colour, green is balancing and harmonizing, yellow stimulates the digestion, and blue is relaxing and cooling.
YIN being those characteristics of passive, contracting, inwards looking, empty, dark, cold, moist, sedating, inhaling, venous blood, parasympathetic nervous system, fear, caution, and the colour blue.
YANG being those characteristics of active, outward going, expanding, opening, full, light, hot, dry, stimulating, arterial blood, sympathetic nerves, also anger, courage and the colour red. The qualities of Yin and Yang represent the forces or energies of opposites in the natural world.
- There are 3 things to remember when using essential oils and aromatic substances in meditations and Psychic Healing:
- Be aware of your breathing. This can be accomplished through the practice of simple breathing techniques, in which you can calm your thoughts and emotions by slowing and deepening your breathing cycle.
- Choose oils which will enhance your experience and balance your energies.
When using oils as `incense’, remember that the “incense” becomes charged with your personal energy. Purity of motive and purpose, and sincerity are essential requirements in the art of censing. Clearness of intention is also important.