Tag Archives: perfume

Wassail

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Wassail“Wassail! Wassail!  All over the town,
Our toast, it is white, and our beer, it is brown”

I first learned about Wassailing when my school chorus sang this traditional Wassailing Song from the Middle Ages.  It was explained to me as a tradition akin to modern day caroling, going door to door, singing to your neighbors.  The wassailing tradition is quite a bit more than that, of course, but it’s a convenient starting point.

Wassail comes from the Old English Waes Hael, which means “to your health”, and is a blessing offered when drinking a spicy, often alcoholic version of hot mulled cider.  It was traditionally served with dry toast, which would be soaked in the cider.  In pre-Christian  southern England, where apple orchards were an important source of food, the residents would travel from orchard to orchard at mid-winter, singing and drinking to the health of the trees, soaking their toast with the fruits of the recent harvest, and offering it to the trees in blessing.  This tradition endured in various forms throughout the Christianizing of Europe, and continues today as caroling and toasting to our health with an upraised glass .  I don’t know anyone who soaks real toast in their cider anymore, but the word “toast” now means the act of raising your glass to wish good fortune for another.  “Wassail” has come to mean both the beverage and the verbal toast, and it is a great toast to offer at Yuletide, for it wishes health and good cheer to all.

With the desire to wish health and good cheer to those I love, I decided to create a perfume blend of essential oils that would capture the spirit of Wassail.

Not having any apple-derived essential oils on hand, I began with the next scent most strongly associated to Yule for me: Pine.  I selected the light and sweet Scotch Pine, which evokes the remembrance of fresh-cut Yule trees and wreaths.  Energetically, Pine is psychologically fortifying, instills positivity and helps to restore self-confidence.  It counteracts pessimism and reawakens our instinctive connection to life.

I paired the Scotch Pine with Ginger Root, a warmly invigorating oil that can awaken the spark in our personal dark spots.  This is a good oil for New Year’s blends, for it can stimulate will power and resolve, and helps boost confidence and morale.  It’s warm spiciness merges with Pine’s sweet brightness in a smooth fit.

Because I’m trying to create a blend that both energetically supports good cheer, and a blend that will also make a beautiful perfume, I considered but dismissed several oils that might do the job but not smell as lovely.  I didn’t include Cinnamon, for example, because even though it may be a traditional spice in Wassail, it can easily overwhelm a perfume blend, and can be a skin and respiratory irritant to others. It’s important to consider safety factors when selecting oils for a blend.

Instead, I went next to Sweet Orange, which is a traditional ingredient in Wassail, and embodies the energy of good cheer.  Sweet Orange essential oil is expressed from the peel of the orange, so it smells exactly like a freshly peeled orange. Who can resist a smile at that? Bright and sweetly scented, Orange conveys joy and positivity, dispersing the moodiness and irritability that takes hold when  energy stagnates.

The blend was almost there, but my nose said it still needed something more, something that would hold onto the brightness of the orange and help anchor its sweetness into the blend.  I recently acquired some precious Osmanthus blossom from my supplier, Nature’s Gift.  Osmanthus is said to bring new things into your life—new opportunities, surprising synchronicities, and prosperity. Exotic and rare, it strengthens the will and focuses resolutions for the accomplishment of goals that have been sitting on the back burner for awhile. Osmanthus encourages positivity and hope for the future.   It seemed like the perfect addition for a Wassail blessing.

The result is a sweet and uplifting perfume with spicy undertones that anchor the complex sweet tones at the top.  I’m very pleased with this result, and pleased to offer it as a gift to my loved ones.

Wassail Perfume Oil
Designed to bring you good cheer!

Essential Oils ratios:
4 Scotch Pine
3 Ginger
2 sweet Orange
1 Osmanthus
Carrier Oil:  fractionated Coconut

Qualities:
Pine is psychologically fortifying, instills positivity and helps to restore self-confidence.
Ginger oil is essentially warming, invigorating, and can help to boost confidence and morale.
Orange conveys joy and positivity, dispersing moodiness and irritability.
Osmanthus encourages positivity and hope for the future.

 May this mid-winter Solstice season, howsoever you may celebrate it, bring you health and good cheer.  Wassail!

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Fire Within

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“Holy Fire” by Alex Grey. This is an excerpt from a larger piece. See the complete work http://alexgrey.com/a-gallery/h-fr.html.

In my ongoing search for enlightenment, I seek balance through aligning  myself to the rhythms of the earth and the natural world around me.  The solstices and equinoxes offer me an excellent opportunity to reflect on the cycles of nature and my place within them.  By tuning into these rhythms of life, I’m more aware of myself as a piece of nature, subject to my own unique cycles and rhythms.  It makes sense to me that my search for harmony and balance must include placing myself in balance with the world around me.

I celebrate the summer solstice for its abundance of sunshine and energy.  Today’s weather certainly cooperated with that ideal.  It was the first real scorcher of summer, and it came right on cue for the summer solstice.  I stood outside in the sunshine this afternoon, eyes closed, palms opened toward the  light.  I bathed in the light, feeling it penetrate my skin, sparkling fragments of light sinking into me and setting each cell of my body alight.  My solar plexus glowed with an inner sun that grew brighter with each breath I took.  I strained every fiber of my being to embrace the light until I glowed.
(Note: I found the accompanying artwork by Alex Grey only after writing this description, but it looks like the artist and I had the same experience.)

I limited this sun bath to about five minutes, for although I’m clearly a sun worshipper, I also have huge respect for how swiftly the sun can harm my fair skin.  This is part of the reason I pay homage to the sun.  We are totally at the mercy of the sun, and utterly dependent upon it as well.  There would be no life as we know it without our sun.  It is of vital importance to our lives.  I try to remember this, but in the day to day bustle of life we sometimes forget fundamental truths, so the summer solstice is the perfect opportunity to remind myself.

As I stood in the sun, I imagined myself on fire.  (It was about 95 F, so the image came to me easily.)  I pictured flames dancing within me.  Everything – heart, lungs, muscles, veins, blood – all on fire.  I was a forest fire, flames consumed all the dead underbrush of my soul, clearing the way for new ways to grow.  I was incandescent.

After my sun meditation was over, I decided to commemorate the solstice by blending a new essential oil perfume for the occasion.  I wanted it to be fiery.  I wanted it to be bright and spicy.  I wanted it to support my confidence as I emerge from a long period of uncertainty.  I pulled out my oil boxes and got busy.

I decided to use seven different essential oils to correspond to the body’s natural energy points known as chakras.  Some oils fit their assigned chakra better than others, energy-wise, but I let the oils choose themselves and just attempted to guide the process.  Here’s how it turned out:

I have over eighty different essential oils to choose from when blending a custom perfume.

Fire Within
1 drop Sage (Crown)
3 drop Hyssop (3rd Eye)
1 drop Holy Basil (throat)
1 drop Clove Bud (Heart)
3 drop Lemon (Solar Plexus)
2 drop Ginger Root (Belly)
2 drop Ylang Ylang (root)
Diluted into 1 oz. fractionated Coconut oil.

Sage  is one of the sacred herbs associated with wisdom and longevity, and warding against evil. It is renowned for its spiritual cleansing and purification properties, dispelling negativity and cleansing the aura.  Its aroma is herbaceous, sharp, and bright.

Hyssop is an invigorating oil, recommended for melancholy and pessimism.  Its strong, pungent aroma opens the chest and helps us to face the world, counteracting the urge to withdraw. It can strengthen one’s sense of personal boundaries, and defends the individual from negative influences. It can sharpen awareness and consolidate the aura. Its aroma is sweet, warm, and bright.

Holy Basil may aid with anxiety, hysteria and nervous depression. It is a stress reducer without being a sedative. Some sources indicate that, like other basils, it enhances clarity of thought and aid memory retention.  It is sweet and spicy in aroma.

Clove Bud: This herb has been used in various ways, including protection and purification. This Sun scent can help create a feeling of safe warmth and thus a sanctuary in which to do inner work. Clove’s Elemental Fire aspect encourages action and achievement. This botanical fragrance is good for building confidence and unlocking the chains of old ways of thinking. The oil of clove smells just like the cooking variety, sharp and spicy.

Lemon has a clearing, refreshing effect and is particularly useful in the aftermath of emotional storms.  It brightens the mood and helps to restore a sense of optimism and good cheer.  It smells sweet, bright, and citrusy tart.

Ginger root oil is warming and invigorating. It activates will-power, stimulates initiative, and restores determination.  In addition, it can help to boost confidence and morale, making it the ideal catalyst of the Will.  Invoking and enhancing the vital fire, ginger can restore the exhilaration of achievement.  Its aroma is spicy, pungent, warm, sweet and woody.

Ylang Ylang has a calming action on the heart.  It harmonizes the mind while calming the nervous system.  The oil relaxes, uplifts, and helps to reunite our emotional and sensual natures.  It soothes and entices, opens and centers us.  It allows us to inwardly unify and so outwardly merge.  I especially chose the heavy sweetness of ylang ylang to balance the spicy heat of the other oils.  The intensely sweet perfume reminds me of tropical flowers that bloom in the heat of midsummer.

This blend could carry one less drop of lemon, but an extra drop slipped into the bottle in spite of my plan. I always allow for serendipity in my blends. After blending this oil, I immediately tried it out, even though it can often take a day or several for the oils to fully integrate in a blend.  The first scents that are revealed in this blend are the sweet lemony top notes.  As it dries down, the spicier notes are revealed. It felt warming and energizing, exactly as I had hoped. It is my intention that this oil blend will help me in situations when I need to feel my connection to the summer sun, shining brightly in my heart.


Note
: My oil descriptions come from the notes I’ve taken as I’ve studied essential oils over the years.  My notes often synthesize the information I got from several sources, and although I tried to make note of where I learned what, my notes are not complete in that regard.  Still, much of the information on how essential oils can be used spiritually come from Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: A Guide to Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance Through Essential Oils by Gabriel Mojay. http://www.amazon.com/Aromatherapy-Healing-Spirit-Restoring-Emotional/dp/0892818875