Fragrant Oils in Magical and Spiritual
by Keri Desherite
The power of scent, and the virtues of the oils of various plants, have
been recognized by religious and magical practitioners since ancient
times. Whether through the inducement of subtle and powerful sensory
memory, or the direct stimulation of the body and nervous system through
chemical reaction, scented oils can help to shift consciousness and
enhance psycho-spiritual well-being.
The ancient Egyptians used a compound
called kyphi (the name means "welcome to the gods"), which was
said to induce hypnotic states. Priests in the City of the Sun,
Heliopolis, burned resins in the morning, myrrh at noon and kyphi at
sunset to the sun god Ra. Kyphi had more than religious uses, however.
It could lull one to sleep, alleviate anxieties, increase dreaming,
eliminate sorrow, treat asthma and act as a general antidote for toxins.
("Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art" by Kathi
Keville and Mindy Green). In the Book of Exodus, requirements for the
Tabernacle include fragrant anointing oils and an altar devoted to
burning incense (Exodus 30).
Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki discusses the
psycho-spiritual impact of fragrance in her book "Highways of the
Mind: The Art and History of Pathworking" as she describes how our
brain and neural systems function while doing spiritual work. "The
olfactory sense is the only one that connects immediately with the
mid-brain, with no kind of transformer between the particles coming in
and the actual organ of scent. Much has been written about the memory
stimulation brought about by different smells. It is because of this
direct contact with the hidden 'Halls of the Gods' that incense has
always been of the greatest importance in magical work" (p. 41).
Whether incense, scented candles, or scented oil, stimulation of the
olfactory senses can have a powerful impact on any work involving the
mind. The virtues extend to magical, psychic, and healing work, as well
as psychological adjustments and intellectual pursuits.
What types of uses can fragrant oils been
Anointing is a powerful ritual practice
which conveys blessings on the recipient. Even in modern times, priests
and sovereigns are anointed with sacred oil as part of their
investiture. Magical practitioners frequently anoint themselves with
sacred oil as part of self-blessing or purification prior to doing
ritual work. Sandalwood, myrrh and frankincense are among the oils used
for such rituals.
The connection between love and roses
doesn't end with flowers in a vase. Rose oil is used to heal and open
the heart on the spiritual level, and is a primary component in many
rituals for attracting love. Rose oil is used to anoint candles for love
spells, or worn as a perfume to attract a lover or to induce a more
romantic state of mind in the user.
How else can you use oils and incense to
enhance your own spiritual well-being? The possibilities are almost
endless. First, decide what effect you want to achieve. Do you want to
feel more peaceful? Become more prosperous? Balance your chakras?
Commune with angels or spirit guides? Successful ritual work begins with
a clear, specific intention. Once you have your goal clearly in mind,
consult several of the many books and websites which list
correspondences and find out which oils are associated with your
interest. In many cases there will be more than one listed. For example,
mint, patchouli and pine are all associated with increased prosperity.
Select the scent with the strongest positive associations for you, or
experiment with blends.
Oils work best when coupled with
visualization or ritual work. The scent stimulates the mind and spirit,
and the mental focus and physical gestures reinforce the inherent
virtues of the oils. After the ritual or visualization has been
performed, anointing yourself with the fragrance, putting some on a
diffuser, or using some in your bath can renew the energy raised and
released in the ritual. Just as the smell of fresh-baked cookies can
instantly transport you back to the emotions of childhood, a
ritually-charged scent can trigger the effect over and over again.
About the Author
Keri Desherite, LMP is a practicing
holistic healer. She has worked in the bodywork and health field for
over 20 years. She is a consultant for Taliessen,
Ltd. and has designed most of their aromatherapy
and massage oil