“Red sky at night, shepherds’ delight,
Red sky in the morning, shepherds’ warning.”
I am sitting at my desk watching the sun come up among a few clouds and patches of blue sky. Lots of beautifully, gentle golds and pinks and I am reminded that whatever the weather forecasting rhymes say a beautiful sunrise always makes me hopeful for the day to come.
It is also Remembrance Sunday here in the UK – the closest Sunday to Remembrance Day which falls on 11th November. All over the country services will be held to remember those who have fallen not just in the
two World Wars but in all other conflicts in the last 90+ years. It is a time to express respect, honour, gratitude. Often it is a time when people express hope that the current conflict will be the last and that we will not continue to add names to the list of the fallen. For those who have lost members of their family to war or have family members who have survived horrific physical injuries or survived but with mental and emotional scars, this may be a time to grieve further; when the wounds, no matter how deep resurface, so knowing that for a moment they are supported by the energy of countless numbers not just in their own country but around the world can lend a little light in a dark time.
But let’s also remember those who took part as civilians; who made and make it possible for our armed forces to do what they do; who risked their lives for those who were or are far from home. So let’s also remember and honour the contribution of the Merchant Navy and the sailors on the convoy ship, the women in the bomb-making factories, those who took part in the Little Boats evacuation, the resistance movements in occupied territories, those at home who held families together and provided food, shelter, support and still do. We can have lengthy discussions about the rights and wrongs of war and individual or group actions and they may just be interesting points of view. I sometimes ask myself what I would do/would have done in those circumstances recognising the humanity of those involved. So today I will light a candle and some incense in recognition of all of the above and any others I haven’t listed and not forgetting the animals who have faithfully served too.
So what does all that have to do with hope?
Wikipedia defines hope as follows:- “Hope is the state which promotes the desire of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or in the world at large. Despair is often regarded as the opposite of hope. Hope is the “feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best” or the act of “look[ing] forward to something with desire and reasonable confidence” or “feel[ing] that something desired may happen”. Other definitions are “to cherish a desire with anticipation”; “to desire with expectation of obtainment”; or “to expect with confidence”. In the English language the word can be used as either a noun or a verb, although hope as a concept has a similar meaning in either use.“
Hope acknowledges the current state of things without dwelling on it. There is a sense that the expected and desired outcome is achievable. The feeling is positive and uplifting, like a ray of sun through a cloudy sky that shifts perspective and perception. Like the rainbow in a stormy sky.
For me the essential oil that best embodies all this and can contribute to our sense of hope as well as an experience of joy and peace and contentment is Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara), a personal favourite. Neroli is a beautiful oil distilled from the flowers of the Bitter Orange tree, other parts of which give us Petitgrain and Bitter Orange essential oils. The flowers themselves are white. The hydrosol is a beautiful pale orange colour reminiscent of liquid amber. In her book The Fragrant Mind, Valerie Worwood lists the personality of Neroli oil as Spiritual, Pure, Loving and Peaceful. She suggests that it can be used to counteract among other things, sadness, grief, longing, depression, hopelessness and fear bringing in the positive attributes of lightness, connectedness, completeness, understanding, calm and a lifting of sorrows.
So in colour terms we can see strands of white, gold and orange. Breathing in the scent of Neroli is calming and uplifting and brings us back to centredness and oneness. To further enhance Neroli’s ability to connect soul and spirit, the conscious and unconscious blend it with a little Vetiver or Spikenard.
Enjoy the rainbow, the peace and harmony.
Wishing you all blessings and healing at this time of Remembrance