Aromatic Support for Honoring Change

by Miriam Carl

“They say the fit survive, But I invoke the spirits of the lost.”
D.H. Lawrence, Cypresses

The end of October and early November is a time when many cultures honor the connection between the living and the dead. Samhain, Day of the Dead, and Halloween are different but related holidays that share a similar theme. At this liminal time, it is believed that the veils between the worlds are at their thinnest, and the boundary between this world and the otherworld can more readily be crossed. Some believed that spirits or fairies could more easily come into the world during this season. It’s a time to honor and remember our ancestors, family members, friends, pets, and other loved ones who have passed on. It’s fitting that the sun is in Scorpio at this time; a sign that relates to death, change, and transformation. All of life is in the process of withdrawing now, but there will be new beginnings ahead!

At this deep, dark time of year, Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) is a fitting plant ally. Cypress essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves, twigs, and cones of the Cypress tree. Cypress is an evergreen, coniferous tree with a fresh, woody, resinous, green, and balsamic aroma. This oil has many physical health applications, but also has fascinating energetic qualities.

The ancient Greeks dedicated the Cypress tree to Pluto, the planet of change and transformation. Cypress trees are often used as a symbol of immortality, hope, and mourning due to their shape that points upwards to the sky and therefore heaven.

This tall, strong evergreen helps one understand that death is merely a continuum from one existence into another. In fact, the species name: sempervirens can be translated to mean ‘ever-living’. As we become more in touch with the seasons, plants, and nature, we realize that there is a constant life/death/life cycle that is always unfolding. There has to be an ending before you can have a new beginning. The aroma of Cypress keeps us strong and centered as we accept and cope with difficult life changes. It can be a source of spiritual strength for the individual who feels stuck and struggles with self doubt. The scent of this tree can support one to overcome fears, such as fear of the unknown, fear of death, and fear of the dark. Instead of fearing this void, we can see darkness as an opportunity for regeneration and renewal. Cypress gives us the fortitude to transition into the winter months. We can honor what has finished and completed, and then, when the time comes, we will be prepared to embrace new beginnings.

Aromatic Autumn Ritual

In the evening, open up your windows so you can hear the wind in the trees and the sounds of nature. Add 3-7 drops of Cypress essential oil to your favorite diffuser. Notice your thoughts, feelings, and inner state. Reflect on the loved ones who have come before you. They are not forgotten; they are loved, honored, and appreciated. This is also a wonderful time to journal about the year so far. Allow yourself to accept the support that is here for you and embrace this powerful time of change.