As I finish this post I hope you are all enjoying the festivities whether you celebrate Yule, Christmas, Hannukah, some combination or none and just enjoy a bit of a slow down in the darkest part of the year.
I am also aware that many are gearing up to celebrate the turning of the calendar year and the start of 2014. Our New Year generally starts at the Winter Solstice and for many of our friends it starts on 1 November as the wheel of the year turns on from Samhain (Halloween).
It’s a bit difficult to escape the build up to the “festive season” and we can sometimes feel we have to buy into everyone else’s experience and expression at this time of year. As a family we celebrate a mixture of Yule and Christmas depending on who we are seeing and sharing this time with and we have created traditions of our own over the last few years as we continue to clarify our choices for these celebrations. We choose to keep what works for us as a family and let go of what doesn’t work for us any more.
It is interesting that aromatically, at least in the UK it seems, the scents and energies that lift us at this time are very similar regardless of tradition and spiritual path.
So with all that in mind I’m going to take a brief look at some of the aromatics that we enjoy at this time of the year. Aromatics that seem to commonly occur are Clove, Cinnamon, Sweet Orange (indeed all citrus), Sage, Rosemary, Pine, Frankincense.
Generally speaking these aromas are cleansing, protective, purifying, warming and uplifting. Most of these aromas work well on a variety of energy centres notably our Base and Solar Plexus which sits well with the energy of this part of the year but also with the mind (Third Eye) and Crown.
Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis var dulcis) and aromas such as Clementine are associated with Joy and, although imported into the UK, are in season in Southern Europe at this time of year. I remember as a child making ornaments out of oranges stuck with clove buds. They smell wonderful and look pretty good too. There is a rather good looking one here. Orange is gently energizing and supports self-confidence, courage and creativity.
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) is almost inextricably linked with the season. It features in many recipes and seasonal bakes from around Europe (especially the northern countries) and indeed other parts of the world. Cinnamon is warming and energizing. As an essential oil applied to the skin it stimulates blood flow and may help alleviate pain. It has been found that cinnamon can help blood sugar and lipid control. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/26/12/3215.long While larger studies are more robust these results are encouraging.
Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) is also found in numerous recipes used at this time of year. It is expansive, protective and again warming and energizing. Possibly more so than cinnamon. Again applied locally as a diluted essential oil it stimulates blood flow.
Frankincense has long been associated with the season being one of the gifts the Magi are reputed to have brought to the baby Jesus along with Myrrh and Gold. It is generally recognised as a “spiritual” aroma having been used for devotional purposes for thousands of years across a variety of cultures.
Pine (Pinus sylvestris) – okay think forests, clear, crisp air, maybe snow and possibly a sighting of reindeer. Pine is cleansing and clearing, good for debugging the environment – who really wants a cold over the festive season – and expansive to the chest area.
Sage (Salvia officinalis) – another great cleanser which energetically also supports the throat and chest area. Sage for many of us, especially here in the UK, features heavily in stuffing balls or loaves. One of the reasons it works so well with the rich meats often eaten at this time of year is that it helps to cut through the greasiness. In so doing it supports digestion too.
So lots of delicious aromatics to play with either in the environment in incense; vaporised; or in pot pourri or for some in our foods. Having taken a brief look at some of our seasonal favourites I will cover them individually in more depth as I am able.
With love, peace and blessings to you all