Guest blog post by the lovely Jenn from www.rune-journeys.com
The Earth is ever generous. Plants grow, flowers continue to blossom from climbing vines and this far into the summer, many people are enjoying the fruits of their gardening labors. One of my core beliefs is that nature never disappoints us and is ever present to support our well-being on all levels of body, mind and spirit. When I walk down to the sea, and watch the waves rolling in without end I think, here is my constant companion. Any blues I’m feeling can be consoled by the rain, changed by a crashing thunderstorm, or lifted off by a clear sky, one of those days when the horizon blends perfectly with the ocean. That blue is only interrupted by flights of sea gulls. Sinking feet into sand, soil, thick carpets of verdant moss or stepping across the smooth stones of a rushing river, we are balanced, restored and find relief from racing and turbulent thoughts.
Amazingly, there over 300,000 different species of plants on Earth, adapted to life just about everywhere. All are busy with the process of photosynthesis, by which they create energy for themselves and produce oxygen. Naturalist and author John Muir said, “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” We can bring the forest home and carry it with us with essential oils, extracts from plants, aromatic compounds that provide so many benefits to the plants, and then likewise, to us. The emotional support we can derive in the midst of chaotic life by putting just a drop of oil on our wrist and breathing in the scent is more powerful than you might think. Our sense of smell is so fundamental a part of our daily experience.
As Diane Ackerman writes in a Natural History of the Senses, “There is a furnace in our cells, and when we breathe we pass the world through our bodies, brew it lightly, and turn it loose again, gently altered for having known us (6).” So this work goes in both directions. We breathe the whole world in and out and while a human’s olfactory system may not be as enhanced as other animals, we lose vital ability to process information without it. She also points out, “Weightlessness makes astronauts lose taste and smell in space. In the absence of gravity, molecules cannot be volatile, so few of them get into our noses deeply enough to register as odors. This is a problem for nutritionists designing space food (13).” Earth is marvelous, we need gravity to taste and enjoy that deeply sensual and fulfilling sensory experience of eating delicious food.
Essential oils are important to the kitchen, because when tiny amounts are added to a cup of tea with honey, or to a bowl of fresh berries, a fresh sauce gently simmering, or peppermint to chocolate, the scent and taste work in synergy, to heighten the flavors and increase pleasurable feelings. The side-effects are, but not limited to, happiness, laughter and stress relief.
I love essential oils for their purity, complexity, and the simple truth that they connect me deeply to nature. We can be poetic and say they are the “life blood of the plant” and we’re putting that on our skin, inhaling transportive aromas, and tasting a drop on the tongue. In a very practical sense, some blends I can’t live without because they stop my sea-sickness. I’d be in abject misery during family sailing activities otherwise! They are heady, powerful and purely natural.
Myrrh is a precious oil that has been in the human experience for thousands of years. It’s mentioned in ancient Egyptian texts and the bible numerous times. It is a perfume, an incense, a preservative and a natural insect repellent. A five meter tall tree, myrrh is a succulent and able to withstand long periods of drought. Its trunk is swollen and covered with a peeling, papery bark that hides a bright green under bark. Sharp spines adorn it. The sap, when bled from the tree, coagulates quickly, then it scars over and the bark covers the wound over until even the scars disappear. The gum is purified to make the essential oil, and it takes a lot to achieve the final purified sample.
This is one of my favorite oils, it has a woody very earthy aroma. It’s thick coming out of the bottle and we can add it to lotions to support smooth skin and diffuse it for its soothing benefits. Emotionally, it helps us feel nurtured, held, you feel the strength of a mother’s love, and the archetype of the Divine Mother. It heals wounds quickly and no scars are left behind, it has those sharp thorns to protect it. All of these properties can be taken symbolically and in a deep soulful way, we can imagine myrrh helping us to move beyond our own wounds. We all have them, our scars, even if they don’t show on the outside, go back to experiences that shaped us for better or worse. Sometimes the scarification process leaves behind tight skin that pains us still. What follows is a guided meditation to myrrh, one of many essential oils that can be accessed in this way, to help support emotional well being.
Guided Journey to Myrrh, Mother of Oils
Listen to the audio here. https://vimeo.com/165633504
Relax. Take three deep, cleansing breaths. Breathing in through your nose and slowly, out through the mouth. Breath IN clean, oxygenated, rejuvenating air, and breath out on the out flow any stress, worries and tension. Close your eyes and become aware of your body at this moment. Know, as you sink into your chair, drop your shoulders, and begin to let go, that Myrrh is expecting you and anticipating this moment.
I’d like you to begin your journey on a windswept beach. Hear the sound of the waves coming up upon the shore. Feel the sand under your bare feet. Do you imagine it is hot? Cool? Feel the warm breeze on your skin, the Sun, warm upon your face. Sound is muted here. The occasional cry of gulls breaks the quiet rush of the waves. This place is a transition zone, where the veils between worlds are thin and we can easily move from one world to the Other World.
Invite your spirit guides now. Who will accompany you on your journey to meet Myrrh. Maybe you have your own, well known guide, but if not, know that Albatross is willing to guide us today, a bird who is well equipped for the journey. Myrrh herself may also be your guide.
Turning from the beautiful waves, you notice a path, an opening in a line of lush and dense vegetation. One step, and another, the path is lined with smooth paving stones, worn from use and weathering. You realize this is an ancient place, that you walk in the steps of many, many before you. The stones are cool and damp in texture. Leaves brush your skin and you are aware of a presence here, in this green verdant place. Animals, birds, life whistle and move through the canopy. You realize the slope of the path is taking you down, down, down… and the light grows dimmer as you go.
Soon, an opening ahead makes itself known, and you quicken your pace. Knowing the end of this part of the journey is near. You can’t wait and surge ahead towards the light. As you burst through the trees, you are astonished at the sight. An open plain goes in all directions, dotted with trees, but mostly a landscape of swaying grasses greets you.
The guides accompany us along, scouting, and showing us the way forward, until again, the stones are beneath your feet, leading the way. There, a few steps further, and the Myrrh tree is before you. She is 5 meters tall. You note her peeling, papery bark, the green stems and sharp thorns twisting in every direction. You greet Myrrh and tell her why you have come, showing her a scar that you have and asking for her support and guidance.
I will give you a few minutes to receive any messages and wisdom from Myrrh.
It is time to make your return journey. Thank Myrrh, the Oil of Mother Earth for the gifts she has shared with you. Know that you can always return to this place, along the stone path.
Go back the way you came, stepping lightly on each stone through the grasslands, and back into the forest. The path takes you up now, and as you ascend, you again feel the leaves brushing your skin, and the animal sounds makes you smile. The air begins to brighten as you get closer to the beach until you see a great light shining from the opening to the sands. Back on the beach, you take a moment to greet the view of the sea and thank your guides for their assistance.
Return your awareness to your body now. Feel the chair or seat underneath you. Wiggle your fingers and toes. Stretch a little. Once you are ready, slowly open your eyes. Welcome Back!
For any of the essential oils, we can go deep into our education like this. Exploring, learning, taking them in and finding out where in our very soul we are touched and pieced back together. I’d love to hear of your experiences with myrrh if you undertake the meditation, do write me! I know, from my own, that she is delighted to meet you.
Jenn Poniatowski offers rune readings, shamanic soul retrieval sessions and classes at www.rune-journeys.com. Herpath as a shaman is rooted in a deep and unshakeable love of nature and the cosmos. She has a particular affinity for Norse shamanism and for that reason has a talent for bringing the old stories to life in such a way that their application and relevance to our modern times is both empowering and practical. Jenn also has a deep understanding of god and goddess archetypes and enjoys teaching classes on Norse runes, essential oils and is accepting pre-registrations for a 9-month shamanic apprenticeship.
Ackerman, Diane. A Natural History of the Senses. New York: Vintage, 1995. Print.