Have you ever felt “out of sorts,” like you’re “living in your head,” “ungrounded” or tightly clenching to concepts, ideas or possessions? It may be a sign to start tending to the roots of your private garden, your root chakra. This is an energy vortex at base of your spine and seated at the perineum; your figurative anchor to the earth. Though our gardens are nourished through both spiritual and earthly practices it is often necessary to fortify the root chakra with tangible, earthly things we can feel.
Can you imagine or even feel your sciatic nerves? These large nerves come out of the plexi of the lower body and travel down the expanse of our legs, allowing us to ebb, flow and resonate with the electromagnetic field generated by Earth’s molten core. This molten iron core is metaphorically like the iron needed to make up every heme group in our blood cells. (A heme group binds oxygen (O2) to blood). Oxygen could not readily circulate through our bodies without the heme group). Even more symbolic is how the root chakra’s color is red, synonymous with life giving blood.
Root-Earth energy is associated with matter, the ultimate expression of ideas put into action which is often called manifestation. I like to associate this with what I call “doing the work”: cooking, cleaning, eating, bathing and sleeping. An oft cited Zen saying goes: “Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water.” Yup. We always need to “do the work” to sustain ourselves.
Root energy is very human. Stuff we can hold and touch. It is “yin,” wet, heavy. Associated with the pelvic floor and perineum it is linked to here-and-now stuff like birth, eating, digestion, elimination, sexuality and sex, letting go, death. If we feel safe we can let go, if we don’t feel safe we may cling, grasp or lash out. Supported root energy allows us to trust that Earth will provide for us.
Fear and anger may dominate when our core self is not safe and secure in fundamental, unalienable rights such as shelter, food, clothing and LOVE. This is rightfully so—these are basic rights every human and sentient being are worthy of. If these needs are not met the body and soul cannot thrive and grow. This is big stuff—not having enough. This is not about being dissatisfied with not having the newest gadgets. It is about having enough security to live to your potential and love yourself enough to let go and just BE. When life is messy and disorganized, and it often is, one of the biggest gifts we can give ourselves is routine, no matter how small. Structure is our vessel and container for support. As a tool, Aromatherapy may create touch points and gaps for creative self-care routines.
Essential oils are tools that may inherently help reconcile our mind-body connection, to connect us with nature, to interact with our own vulnerable and messy bodies. They make the doorway to self-care a little bit larger and wider, inviting us to pause, notice and maybe pause and notice again. Following are two suggested essential oil synergies blended with the intention to support cleansing, grounding and manifesting. You may consider using them (and modifying as desired) in the suggested “Root Ritual” routine outlined below.
I created this blend to support washing away fear and anger and bringing in calming love.
- 9 drops Nagarmotha (Cyperus scariosus)
- 14 drops Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)
- 3 drop Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)
- 6 drops Rose maroc (Rosa damascena-Absolute)*
- *Note: I chose to use Rose maroc as this is a wash-off application.
- 9 drops Benzoin (Styrax tonkinensis)
This blend combines soothing, balsamic qualities with warm, vanilla-like heat. It is deep, grounding and settling—perfect for easing into the end of the day.
- 3 drops Angelica root (Angelica archangelica)
- 8 drops Sandalwood (Santalum album)
- 3 drops Vetiver “Rhu khus” (Vetiveria zizanioides)
- 4 drops Peru balsam (Myroxylon pereirae)
- 2 drops Cinnamon leaf (Cinnamomum verum)
To be honest, choose any essential oil or oils that make you feel comfortable, safe, at-home and in touch with yourself. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, start exploring essential oils obtained from aromatic roots. You may notice Vetiver, Angelica root and Nagarmotha are foundational oils in the synergies shared in this article: roots for the root chakra.
Aromatic Root Ritual
Following is an aromatic routine I invite you to try over the next four weeks. I do this every Monday evening though you may choose to do this more often (e.g., 2 to 3 times a week). Routine is an operative word here. It is hard but important to form a relationship with yourself and your rituals, otherwise they will not effectively work. Honoring your body with rituals such as the one below is to honor your flesh, bone, blood, nerves and every other part of your body that is the vehicle of your entire being.
What You’ll Need:
- Yourself! It may be fun exchanging foot massages with a partner but alone-time is just as precious.
- 15-20 minutes. Yeah, you have the time for this. Trust me.
- A foot soak container (e.g., bucket, I use a copper tub) that can hold enough warm water where the water level is at least a few inches above your ankles.
- A cup of Magnesium chloride or Epsom salt
- Optional: A half cup of hydrosol (I keep it simple and generally use rose or lavender as I always have those on-hand)
- A towel, a cozy blanket and cozy socks
- Both essential oil synergies described in this article (“Loving Security” and “Grounding Warmth”)
- Keep “Loving Security” in an easy to use bottle with orifice reducer (or another blending bottle of your choice) to use “neat” as a “friction”
- Add 20 drops of “Grounding Warmth” to a base product (e.g., nut/seed oil, butter or aloe jelly) you will apply to your feet and legs after the soak
Pick a time where you can set aside 15 to 20 minutes. I do this around 8pm with my spouse when we watch the “Antiques Roadshow.”
Take off your shoes and socks. Now. Seriously. Literally ground with the earth to take its low, grounding vibration and feel it supporting you. Note: You don’t have to go outside to do this! It is winter as I write this. Instead of going outside I enjoy walking around barefoot on the wooden floors in my apartment. If you’re warm enough, keep your feet bare as you prepare your aromatic routine (your feet will thank you).
Set up your foot soak area with the materials listed above and fill your soaking container with lukewarm or hot water. A hot water foot soak stimulates circulation in the lower abdomen down to the feet.
Once the water level is where you need it to be, add the salts and optional hydrosol. Bring the soaking container to your seating area, put your feet in and cover your legs and container with the blanket. Be sure to swish your feet around to disperse the salts and hydrosol.
Sit for 5 minutes and relax, feeling your feet touching the container. Breathe. Breathe again. Deeply. Imagining the in-breath taking earth and water energy up into your entire body and the out-breath releasing tension and fear into the ground below you.
After ~5 minutes, put the blanket to the side and open your bottle of “Loving Security.” Place 2-3 drops on a palm, rub your palms together and massage the oil onto one leg and foot, using water to give added slip. Enjoy this for a good 30 seconds and then repeat with the other leg and foot.
Wipe your hands on the towel then cover your legs and soaking container with the blanket. Sit back and relax another 5 minutes.
Check in: How do you feel?
Taking your time, remove the blanket and wipe your feet and legs with the towel. Set the soaking container aside. Take a small amount of your “Grounding Warmth” massage product and massage it onto the bottoms and tops of each foot and leg. Take your time.
Wipe your hands on the towel. Put on your cozy socks and enjoy the lightness of your feet. How do you feel? What is the first word that comes to mind? Write it down. Make an appointment with yourself to do this routine again either the same time next week or even sooner. Just be consistent.
You matter and have a right to be here. Your body is your home. Take care of it. I don’t know about you but I need to remind myself of this quite often. The practice doesn’t have to be elaborate. Chop wood, carry water, heat up the water. Soak and massage feet with aromatic goodness. Pause. That’s enough. But do this enough, often enough, so it becomes a habit. Call it a ritual if you’d like. Regardless, continue the practice of honoring your right to be here. Do the work. Chop wood. Carry water. Soak.