Tag Archives: pine

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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The Power of Intention

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Brains are funny things, and the psychology of how they work is utterly fascinating to me.  It is particularly interesting to me how we are able to harness the power of belief to create the circumstances of our life.

The study of psychology has come a long way since Freud first speculated on the nature of a cigar.  We still don’t have a predictable rule book for how the mind works, but we’ve learned about ways of thinking that do not serve us, and developed strategies for helping people find mental stability in an unpredictable world.  But as far as we’ve come, the mind and its operations are still the realm of mystery and speculation.  No two of us are alike, and it is our minds that make us unique.

Our beliefs power the operating system of our brains.  We tend to see what we expect to see, and not notice what we aren’t expecting.  People who have trained themselves to be especially observant to unexpected cues seem extraordinary to us, like Sherlock Holmes.  Our expectations create filters that help our brains sort and process the otherwise overwhelming flood of information that we are exposed to each day.  We make certain assumptions about how the world works and what will happen next, and our experiences generally conform to these expectations.

But expectations don’t just give us help in planning our days; expectations have the powerful ability to influence outcomes.  Expectations, and the filters that are formed by them, have the power to shape our experiences.  Expectations influence results, so it’s important to set our expectations with intention.

As an example, look up “Double-Slit Experiment” and prepare to be blown away.  If you haven’t already heard about this, it’s an experiment with results that confound current science.  In a nutshell, the experiment proves that particles behave differently if they are being observed.  The act of observation changes the outcome.  Think about that a moment.  The physical world – the part that can be observed and measured – changes depending on whether or not someone is watching.  So when I assert that expectations influence results, I’m talking about a measurable phenomenon.

Water treated with the word “Love”

There is a controversial set of experiments that I find utterly fascinating.  Conducted by Masaru Emoto of Japan, he made the startling assertion that the physical properties of water change visibly depending on the source of the water and the intention of the person handling the sample.  For example, clean water and polluted water display different crystalline structures when frozen and viewed under a high-powered microscope.  Well, that’s believable.  What begins to strain credulity is when he exposed clean water samples to words written on the containers.  Positive words such as “love” created beautiful crystalline structures, whereas negative words such as “hate” created distorted ice crystals.  Startling, eh?

Emoto has done many experiments with water, and while his results are controversial within the scientific community, he has concluded that water molecules store information and can respond to environmental stimuli.  In other words, if you speak loving thoughts to your glass of water before you drink it, the water you drink will be measurably different than if you said, “I hate water” before you gulped it down.  Expectations influence results.

So where am I going with all this?  I have come to believe that our intentions and expectations, shaped by our words, can have the power to influence outcomes.  Consequently, we should guard against persistently negative states of mind, because we will tend to create the negative circumstances we are dwelling on.  But conversely, there is great value in learning how to cultivate a more positive state of mind, for it will likewise tend to create a more positive environment for us.  Attitude is everything, and we have the power to choose our attitude.

Part science, part psychology, part magic, I use this principle when working with essential oils.  If water has the power to change and record our intentions, I believe that essential oils are likewise capable of being “programmed” with intention.  Furthermore, because they are complex chemical compounds already, each essential oil already has predetermined energetic properties that can be enhanced by our intentions.  For example, lavender has inherent sedative properties, but if I additionally add the word “peace” when handling the oil, then I believe I might be enhancing the properties and effects of this oil by the power of my intention.  So now when I use the enhanced lavender oil, it will be more likely inspire peaceful rest.

Can I prove it?  Well, only anecdotally.  I don’t have a lab nor the expertise to conduct an experiment that would satisfy a scientist, but I don’t need that for myself.  Expectations influence results, and *that* is a truth that is already well established.  If I expect an oil to help me in a specific psychological way, then it most assuredly will.

Potion makers and magic users seem to have grasped this truth long ago.  Each substance in nature has inherent properties that can be combined and then enhanced with words, ie, a spell.  While I don’t generally consider my essential oil blends to be potions, I have no problem with them being thought of as such.  You don’t need to believe in magic to believe in the psychological benefits of positive thinking.  If you expect an oil blend to have a particular psychological result (peace, confidence, clarity), then you are far more likely to get what you expect.  From what I can see, magic is all about harnessing the power of intention and expectation.

This is the principle that underlies most of the work I do with essential oils.  You start with a goal, shape it into an intention, and select oils whose properties can support that intention.  Then you hold that intention in mind while blending the oil, and revisit that expectation each time you use the oil.  We know that scent is one of the most powerful memory triggers around, so by linking an aroma to a well-rehearsed intention, our expectations have the ability to affect the world.  I don’t necessarily believe it is the chemical properties of an oil alone that makes it effective.  It is the interaction of the oils with the powers of the mind that creates the effect.  But go ahead and call it magic if you like.  Like the well-documented double-slit experiment, it certainly seems like magic.

Here’s an oil blend that I recently created based on the principles outlined above.  I wanted to blend an oil that would help my mind stay focused on prosperity and abundance, rather than on limitation and lack.  I selected four oils that already have the properties desired, and then I “charged” them with my intention using an affirmation.

Prosperity Blend
Sweet Orange Essential Oil – luck, money, joy, the sun
Pine Needle Essential Oil – prosperity, purification, confidence
Ginger Essential Oil – Success, money, power, confidence
Patchouli Essential Oil – prosperity, money, clears obstacles

I blended equal amounts of each oil into a carrier oil base of organic virgin olive oil that had been heated by the summer sun. Additionally, as an experiment in oil blending, I also collected fresh whole ingredients, dried them in the sun, ground them up, and infused them into the oil.  The result is delightful.

I rub a little bit of the oil between my palms each day while saying the affirmation, “My life is filled with prosperity and abundance.”  While I don’t believe the oil itself will help me win the lottery or anything quite as dramatic as that, I do believe that this oil is one more tool to help me refocus my thoughts on the positive outcomes I desire, rather than staying stuck in unproductive negative thinking.

In the past few weeks, I have already seen the benefits of this practice.  I am better able to recognize the blessings I have and the many ways abundance has manifested in my life.  It is easier for me to see the ways in which I prosper, and to be grateful for all I have.  It is a much happier and healthier frame of mind to be operating from, but I needed help to achieve it. This is the power and gift of intention.

UPDATE: Less than two weeks after writing this post, and after continuing to use the oil and affirmations, I got a job offer for a fantastic position at a great organization I’ve been trying to get into for the past several years.  I feel truly blessed by this process.