An Aromatherapist’s “take” on the Red, White and Blue of Independence Day!
Our nation will be celebrating July 4th in a few days, and our thoughts will turn toward what the colors in our flag represent…red for valor, white for purity and blue for justice. But as an aromatherapist, I appreciate, also, how important color is in understanding how to work with essential oils on a very subtle, but powerful, level.
This aspect of choosing an oil came up the other day when one of my clients was asking how I chose essences to support the chakras in my Chakra Balance AromaKit. As I explained my rationale to him, I was surprised how fascinated he was with the information I was sharing…so I decided to devote this Essential Thoughts post to this little-discussed topic, and use the colors associated with the upcoming holiday to demonstrate the different aspects of color consideration.
The main factors I take into account are, first, the color of the essential oil. Because the use of amber or cobalt glass bottles to store oils is common so that light does not penetrate the stored essence, many are unaware of the beautiful and inspiring colors of many of the oils we use, unless it is something dramatic, like Cade (Prickly Juniper), which is virtually black in color. Second, you can consider the color of the plant…the blossom, the leaves, the needles, the bark, etc. It is ALWAYS important to look up images of the plant your essence comes from, as the size, color and shape of the plant will give you important clues as to its nature and uses. Third, you can consider the property associated with the color itself, like, as in the above example, red for valor. So, an essence that may not be red in color, or come from a reddish plant, but is known for its ability to support certain emotions or personality traits…like valor…may be used to enhance that emotion.
So, let’s look at some examples from the world of aromatherapy. I will give 4 examples of each color, in keeping with the “4th”. For many colors, there are many examples, so this is not an exhaustive list.
Red Spruce, Red (Virginia) Cedarwood, Rose Hip Seed – lycotop, and Blood Orange: The word valor (mentioned above), is used synonymously with the word courage…which comes from the word corag, meaning heart, in Old French. All of these essences have a connection to the heart, such as manifesting from the heart (Red Spruce), uplifting the heart (Blood Orange), living authentically from the heart (Red Cedarwood), and heart health/healthy blood pressure (Rose Hip – lycotop). In terms of the color, Red Spruce has a reddish bark and heartwood; Red Cedarwood, also reddish bark and heartwood; Rose Hip – lycotop…only the red rose hip seeds, which are highest in lycopene (anti-cancer agent, among other things), are pressed to produce this deep red oil; and Blood Orange has deep red fruit, and though the oil is pressed from the rind of the orange, that characteristic color imbues the oil with its deep reddish-orange hue.
White Spruce, White Sage, White Fir, Magnolia: All of these have a connection to purity, and spiritually, the White Ray of purification and transformation. White Spruce needles have a silvery-white tinge to them, and the cones have a silvery-white presentation, as well. White Sage is an ancient plant, and many indigenous people burn it so that the smoke carries their prayers to Creator. It has also been used in purification rituals since ancient times. White Fir also has needles with silvery tone, and is used for grounding and centering, but at the same time, keeping one open spiritually. Magnolia essence is made from the beautiful white blossoms of the Magnolia tree. The essence facilitates self-love and finding the beauty in all things. It is about purity of heart guiding all actions.
Blue Spruce, Blue Tansy, Blue Lotus, Blue Yarrow: All of these essences have the ability to enhance our ability to stand up for what is just, to speak from our deepest integrity, and to look within for, and trust, our innate wisdom. Blue Spruce strengthens our throat chakra, allowing us to speak up for ourselves as well as those who do not have a voice. Blue Tansy essential oil is a rich, navy blue color. It is highly calming to the central nervous system, and lets us bring a sense of calm to the most chaotic of situations. Blue Lotus has blue blossoms, and brings a sense of wonder and euphoria to the spirit. Blue Lotus calls forth the Blue Ray of Truth. Blue Yarrow essence is also deeply blue in color, and like Blue Tansy, imparts a deeply calming effect on body, mind and spirit. This sense of calm opens the way for our intuition to offer profound guidance.
So, I hope you have enjoyed this exploration of the role of color in appreciating what the plant and tree essences have to offer. The Red, White and Blue theme gave a sense of cohesion to our discussion, but think of all the fun you will have applying this same model of understanding to Yellow plants and essences, Purple plants and essences…let your interests and curiosity guide you! I am sure you will experience greater insights and understanding of the gifts offered to us by the Plant Kingdom.
Blessings to you this 4th of July holiday, as we reflect upon the promise and challenges to this great democracy of ours. Love, Audre
PS…the 2-day, private Level 1 Medicinal Aromatherapy Class mentioned in the last newsletter did not come together, but, for now, two people will be doing private sessions with me in pursuit of their Level 1 Certification over the next several months! I love that way of teaching and learning, and that works better for them, as well. Thanks to those of you who expressed interest, either as a student or as an auditor, in the announced class.