The days are noticeably longer for those of us residing in the Northern Hemisphere-signifying Earth’s transition into the realm of Beltane. Also called “May Day”, this marks the mid-point between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. We are ready to welcome summer with its promise of sun, growth and fruition. The sun is in the sign of Taurus where daylight continues to increase and life focuses on building. Like a seed in the ground, you may have spent the winter and early spring months resting and planning-now is the time to manifest those plans into action.
Have you noticed how colors are so saturated and vibrant this time of year? Oh, do take time to luxuriate in the lushness before it is washed out by the sun! You may notice how the flowers are out, boldly announcing themselves to needed pollinators through sight and smell; offering the sweet reward of life-giving nectar in exchange for the transfer of pollen. The perfection of these symbiotic relationships is a reminder how connected everything is on this earthly plane. Life is active. Life begets life. Beltane reinforces this: it is a celebration of unity. It is a benevolent time of the calendar year, where love, life, vitality, growth, abundance, fecundity, and sexuality reign supreme.
Symbolically, Beltane is when the triple goddess (in her maiden form) and the sun god unite and transform: she, becoming the mother and he, the warrior. This is the apogee of sacred sexuality; the circle of life is consummated. Historically, many communities would erect a maypole1 at their town’s center to offer celebratory dance and festivities believed to encourage fertility of the land, growth and harvest.
I have fond memories of the maypole dance when I was in grammar school. The older children would don colorful clothing and gleefully dance around the maypole, tightly interweaving the colorful ribbons2 around it. It was such a dance of joy and how I longed to participate! Another tradition is to hang a May Basket on the front doors’ of friends and neighbors or a love interest. Have you ever done this? It is a tradition worth bringing back to foster a sense of belonging in our increasingly fragmented communities.
With that I give you food for thought: embody Beltane by embracing nature-earth-life and vocalizing your love for those in your life. Share hugs and the gift of your smile. Enjoy the building energy of Taurus and the abundant harvests that awaits us!
And what better way is there to make your smile shine than to create something amazing for a part of you that is forever expressing: your face! Following is a recipe for a gentle, exfoliating facial scrub inspired by flowers and fruits. Imagine how including flowers, the memory of their faces looking at the sun, may enhance the glow of your skin. Radiant you!
Thrive and Glow: Fruit & Flower Face Scrub
What you need:
- One small (1 – 2 ounce) glass jar with lid
- One (5 ml) glass bottle with cap and orifice reducer
- 18 drops Combava peel (Citrus hystrix) essential oil3
- 14 drops Ylang ylang complete (Cananga odorata)
- 4 drops German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) essential oil
- 1.5 tsp chickpea flour
- 1.5 tsp rice bran powder
- 1.5 tsp fruit powder of your choice (I used blueberry)
- 1.5 tsp flower powder of your choice (I used chamomile powder)
A wet ingredient to “activate” your scrub such as distilled water, a hydrosol (lavender, rose or neroli would be lovely), yogurt, vegetable glycerin or celebrate the bees by using honey.4
How to make:
Measure out the dry ingredients into the glass jar. Affix the cap then shake well to incorporate the dry materials. Combine the essential oils in a 5 ml (or similar sized) bottle and affix the orifice reducer and cap. Label both jar and essential oil bottles appropriately. (This makes enough dry material for ~3 uses or 1 weeks’ worth and enough synergy for 1 months’ worth.)
How to use:
- Add enough of your chosen wet ingredients (1 tsp to 1.5 tsp) to a small glass or ceramic bowl; to this stir in 3 drops of the essential oil synergy.
- Add 2 tsp of the powder to the aromatic base to make a paste, stirring well to ensure the ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Dampen your face with warm water to open your skin’s pores. You may choose to wash beforehand with a gentle cleanser.
- Take the paste and massage it onto your face in small, circular motions. Enjoy doing this for 30 to 90 seconds, avoiding the delicate eye area.
- Rinse the scrub off of your face.
- Now you’ve prepared your face to accept a gentle toner (hydrosols are great for this!) followed by your favorite facial cream or serum.
- Note: use the scrub up to 3x/week as part of your skincare regiment.
Check out Amy Galper and Christina Daigneault’s book “Plant-Powered Beauty” for more amazing ideas on DIY beauty using natural ingredients.
Are you looking for another opportunity to tap into your creativity? Join me on Wednesday, May 9th from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm EST for a class that focuses on the fruits and flowers of aromatherapy: we will smell and discuss several essential oils, sip on a floral infusion and discuss how essential oils from flowers are wonderful for skin care (and more!).
Written by: Amy Anthony
(Aromatic Studies Instructor)
Amy Anthony B.A, is a certified Aromatherapist with a private practice in Manhattan, NY. Her focus is on customized aromatherapy and education: she consults with clients and teaches workshops at the NYIOA and around the NY metro area. Amy also enjoys formulating and devising delivery methods that encourage the safe, practical use of aromatherapy—like fizzing bath balls, shower bars and sleep mists.
Amy has been a gardener since the age of 5 and has continually found ways to connect with plants since moving to NYC in 1999. Her knowledge of plants brings a holistic, plant-based approach to her teaching and practice of aromatherapy. Amy is also a certified master composter, has volunteered at Saint George’s Common Table since 2012 and is a trained doula. More can be found about her aromatherapy practice at http://nycaroma.com.
1 Traditionally made out of a tall tree that is stripped of its branches and adorned with flowers and greenery, the maypole is a phallic symbol of fertility, the base buried deeply into the earth.
2 A tradition thought to originate during Victorian times.
3 Note: use any non-photosensitizing citrus such as Yuzu peel (Citrus junos)
4 I prefer the body that yogurt or a humectant like glycerin give to the final mixture, making it easier to use as the final product is less crumbly.