Plants and Their Spiritual Nature
An excerpt from
Aromatherapy for the Soul: Healing the Spirit wth Fragrance and Essential Oils
by Valerie Ann Worwood
Reprinted by Permission of the publisher,
New World Library, Novato, CA.
As each day dawns, pure sunlight sparkles in dewdrops, shimmering on the grass,
and on the leaves and flowers of the world. As we walk through the woods, light
filters through the leaves, creating a green haven of peace. The plant world
is just full of beautiful sights; there isnt a tree or flower that doesnt
However, providing aesthetic pleasure is not the most important function of
plants. By taking carbon dioxide and water from the air and, with light, converting
it into carbohydrates, plants are the ultimate production machine, purifying
the air and providing food and medicine for humans and animals, even ultimately
for carnivores. Plants are both the lungs and the larder of the earth. They
are the conduit between the light of the heavens and the dark of the earth,
channeling energy from the sky above into the crystalline structures of Mother
Plants are magnificent. The tallest tree in Redwood National Park, California,
is over 368 feet high; redwoods can live to be almost four thousand years old.
The size and longevity of these masterpieces of creation are humbling, but to
actually walk among the immense trees of an ancient forest is more humbling
The smallest seed is awesome in its capacity to create another plant,
perfect in every detail, including providing more seeds for future generations.
Plant seeds that have been found in archaeological sites and grown, thousands
of years after they were dropped there, are a testament to the monumental capacity
of tiny seeds to hold life.
Most of us live in a concrete jungle, not a living, breathing one. Essential
oils can restore this balance somewhat, bringing the essence of plants into
our homes. To understand them fully we need to reacquaint ourselves with their
heritage, their source plants in their natural habitat.
The Singing Forest
The trees are the teachers of the law.
In the 1950s something happened in an ancient North American forest. It was
so poignant it went down in folklore, but, due to the Chinese whispers
effect over the years, there are now two versions of the story. In one, the
central character is a U.S. Forest Service employee, and in the other version
he is a PhD student conducting research for his thesis on the age of trees in
a bristlecone pine forest. The story goes something like this . . .
The man walked deep into the forest for many days until he found a tree he
thought might be the oldest. He planned to extract a sample using a core drill
so he could count its rings and date it, but the drill didnt work. For
some days he tried to fix it, without success. He also had a saw. He looked
at the saw and he looked at the tree.
He thought about the long walk back to
get another core drill and about the importance of his research. He cut down
the tree and dated it. It was four thousand years old old enough to have
lived through most of known human history. When Moses was a baby, this tree
was already five hundred years old.
People have different relationships with nature. Some, like the man in this
story, dont treat it with the respect it deserves, making it a sacrifice
to the human ego. Others claim that plants have intelligence, soul, and the
capacity to communicate, and would no more cut down an ancient tree than cut
down a grandmother. Attitudes differ. Some people hear the forest sing, some
One hundred forty million years ago, most of the Northern Hemisphere was covered
in redwood and other trees. Human beings made their appearance maybe two hundred
thousand years ago and have, especially in the last two hundred years, remorselessly
cut the forest down. As early as 1905, American congressman William Kent and
his wife, Elizabeth, recognized the potential ecological danger, and bought
295 acres of redwood forest in California and named it Muir Woods, after the
conservationist John Muir.
He wrote to the Kents, You have done me great
honor, and I am proud of it. To them all, we owe thanks because today
Muir Woods is one of the few remaining enclaves where you can stand among these
magnificent trees without hearing the sound of a distant saw, indicating that
clear-cut logging is heading your way.
It is a humbling experience to stand under ancient redwood trees. In Muir Woods,
I felt like a three-year-old in the presence of very large, old, and wise men
with long white beards in awe yet certain I would be completely protected.
I did not want to leave their presence. Leaning on a redwood that extended too
high into the sky for me to see, I felt the energy flooding into me, a cosmic
river of refreshment for the soul.
I heard the drone of a distant saw, but knew in this protected forest island
it must only be someone cutting deadwood and undergrowth to clear the ground.
Even so, it reminded me of other areas of the world where international logging
consortiums are destroying huge areas of precious forest, and I felt the overwhelming
emotions of sadness and guilt. I apologized to the trees on behalf of human
beings. Strange as it may seem, the trees spoke to me, directly, without voice,
from their heart to mine. They conveyed to me their resignation, deep sadness,
and incomprehension as to why we should want to do such things.
Having a conversation with a tree might seem like a strange thing to do, especially
when you live in a large city, a long way away from trees. But when actually
out among them, it seems like the most natural thing in the world to do. I can
fully understand why traditional Native Americans, when planning to cut down
a tree to make a totem pole or boat, asked permission and gave thanks directly
to the tree making the sacrifice.
My love of trees started when I lived in Switzerland and used to take my dog
for a walk in the forest late at night. When the moon and stars illuminated
our path we walked on and on, for my pleasure rather than the dogs convenience,
as the silence and majesty of the forest filled me with feelings of reassurance
and gratitude. It was there, high in the mountains, that I first sensed the
living connection between the night sky, the trees, and the earth.
Many years later, in ancient redwood and cedar forests in North America, this impression
was reinforced. Standing under a thick canopy of stars illuminating the sky,
I sensed that trees, particularly very tall, ancient trees, in some way act
as planetary antennae. The very tops of the trees seem to attract starlight
and other cosmic energies to them, earthing those energies as they
travel down through the trunks, into the roots, and earth.
I also wonder if the trees dont also transmit information back into the sky, sending vibrational
energy, including human thought energy, out into the cosmos. I have no scientific
proof, of course, but the thought remains: These giant trees are receivers and
transmitters of energy, crucial even to cosmic balance and human spiritual growth.
Anyone who studies trees knows that there is still a great deal to learn about
them, especially in terms of energy and communication. Even in terms of mechanics
and chemistry, an area we think we know so much about, new discoveries are being
made all the time. Scientists of the British Columbia Ministry of Forests only
recently found that certain tree species can share resources using an underground
network of fungal threads.
Seedlings of Douglas fir, paper birch, and western
red cedar were subjected to carbon dioxide containing different carbon isotopes.
Two years later, 10 percent of the carbon-type fed to the birch was found in
the fir. Both species share a mycorrhizal fungi that created the network of
threads between them, and the carbon traveled along this complex connection.
Because this same fungi does not connect with cedar, its particular experimental
carbon composition was unaffected.
Meanwhile, in Kenya, scientists have discovered
that, as well as sucking water up from the deep earth, a substantial
amount of water is transported downward by trees, to the dry subsurface. These
are fundamental discoveries about the mechanical workings of trees, an area
we thought we already understood.
In British Columbia, Canada, the drive to harvest large-dimension lumber is
in full gear, as logging companies race to bring down the last remaining trees
before politicians accept what environmentalists have been telling them for
years, and bring the harvest to an end. Standing in these forests is scary.
You can hear the drone of mechanical saws and know youre standing among
Here are these magnificent trees, silently performing crucial
ecological tasks for the whole living planet, trees that have lived through
so much of human history yet are helpless to stop our saws from cutting through
their bases. This helplessness, coming from such powerful, massive living things,
is infinitely sad. Strangely, the trees are not angry. Perhaps they mumble to
themselves, Forgive them, for they know not what they do.
With my experience of ancient and wise trees, I was intrigued when I heard
about a woman living deep in a forest in British Columbia who claims to have
heard the forest sing. Where the loggers cut one-thousand-year-old trees, Gladys
McIntyre earns a living planting seedling trees. In June 1990, in a part of
the cedarwood forest called Howser Creek, Gladys found herself thinking about
the immense verticality of the trees when a profound vertical
alignment took place in me in response; and suddenly I felt about twelve feet
I wondered for a moment if this was soulic consciousness, then I was struck
in my solar plexus by an impact of sound. It grew to an upwelling, crescendoing
symphony of sound, in range and tone unlike anything I had ever heard before!
Emanating from the forested hillsides across the valley, it was unquestionably
a great hymn of adoration, of joy in creation and praise to the creator! Words
cannot possibly express the magnitude of this joyous sound, nor my absolute
awe at witnessing it.
But from being a song in praise of the Creator, the song abruptly changed from
overwhelming joy to abject sorrow. Gladys writes, My cognitive
mental faculty seemed to be translating information received by my soul from
that incredible presence at worship over there. It said, Oh noble
and worthy, exploiters and conquerors, have mercy, have mercy, do not end our
singing, which allows the conditions necessary to all life on the planet as
you know it.
Reports as powerful as this can easily be dismissed as the workings of an overactive
imagination, so I went to visit Gladys to try to get closer to the truth. I
found her living with her husband, Vince, deep in the forest. They grow vegetables
that are exquisitely formed, massive, with a delicious, vibrant taste. Those
vegetables were like something out of a Walt Disney movie! They positively vibrated
and shone in pure, verdant, colorful perfection, well loved and content. Gladys
is a person clearly in touch with the laws of nature, and as sane as you or
I came away thinking that if the forest does communicate, Gladys is the right
person to hear it. But she is not the only one. In another ancient forest, a
young woman and her boyfriend went to sit on a splendid mountain ridge to admire
the forest view. But instead of feeling glad to be in the splendor, the girl
became overcome with the feeling of panic and fear coming from the forest. Sick
with anguish, she had to return home. Days passed but the sadness wouldnt
leave her. The girl felt driven to return to that part of the forest, to try
to understand why she had been so affected. She was horrified and stunned to
discover the whole area had been clear-cut to the ground.
Although to civilized people, communicating with trees may sound
bizarre, its something thats been going on a very long time. Indeed,
trees have long been central to spiritual culture. In ancient Egypt, the world
tree was associated with a sycamore, possibly the sycamore
fig that gave shade to the goddess worshippers in their groves. Kabbalah, the
mystical aspect of Judaism, with its Tree of Life, has traditionally been taught
to men over forty while they sat under trees. In the last book of the New Testament,
Revelation 22:2, we hear that the Tree of Life is in the midst of the
street in heaven.
Buddha received enlightenment while sitting under a
tree. The ancient Assyrians had many tree cults, with the Tree of Life sometimes
being depicted as a cedar, fir, date, or pomegranate. The Chinese associated
the Tree of Life with the peach, and in later times the cassia, while in Norse
mythology it was the ash. A Polynesian legend says, Out of this magic
bread-fruit tree a great goddess was made. The sacredness of trees is
universal, and this may not simply be because they routinely offer up their
bounty, but because they have a spirit we can feel.
Plants That Feel and Speak
When we suddenly remember to water our plants, is it because the plants send
us a message across the room, Hey, dont forget about us! Why
shouldnt they talk to us? We talk to them. People in their high-rise apartments,
or in their gardens, say to their plants, You look lovely today,
or Whats up, youre looking a bit off-color, and then
fuss around them, administering love and fertilizer organic, of course.
Chatting to plants is a regular occurrence, even for royalty, and some plant
aficionados play them music, taking care to choose something they like.
Edward Bach, the man who invented Bach Flower Remedies, attributed certain
medicinal qualities to plants because the plants themselves told him what they
were. An entire Western healing system is thus based on plant communication,
and it has gone on to inspire much more plant-human exploration. Meanwhile,
in many indigenous cultures, it is considered wrong to become a healer without
first having dreams or visions relating to the plants used to heal.
In other words, the spiritual realm is seen as the source of accurate information. Cultures
that are very much in touch with the earth and all that grows on it believe
totally that plants have a spirit. Obviously a plant doesnt have a voice
box and mouth with which to chat, so to communicate we have to get into the
common space we share, the spiritual one. If you want to know what a plant can
do, go to the source and ask it.
To indigenous peoples, thats the logical
thing to do. There are variations on this cultural theme: some people believe
the spirit of the individual plant conveys the information; some believe each
species of plant has a kind of overall spirit that communicates; some believe
there are a variety of nature spirits; others believe it is the voice of the
Creator who speaks. These are all variations on a theme: you can speak to, or
through, a plant.
The Yaqui people of northwestern Mexico have an oral tradition going back four
thousand years, to 2000 bce. Around 1500 ce, because of the oppressive actions
of the Spanish conquistadors, the sacred traditions had to become secret. Seven
lineages were chosen to preserve them, through sacred oral and family traditions.
Through many generations the sacred way of the Yaqui was kept underground, as
the bullets flew overhead. Now that we are older and wiser, hopefully, the knowledge
can be revealed. Indeed, it is time for us to know it.
A man who carries this knowledge, passed to him by his father and mother, is
Yaqui traditional healer Cachora Guitemea, a highly respected Native American
elder. It was, then, a great privilege for me to be invited to spend a few days
in the Mexican desert with Cachora to learn about sacred plant medicine. We
were accompanied by both our daughters and the mutual friend who introduced
Although Cachora is more than eighty years old and has white hair, you would
never guess his age either from his appearance or from his extraordinary
energy. His face is lit up with a joy that defies time. And despite his boyish
love of jokes, you never forget that you are in the presence of great wisdom
and positive intent.
Cachora teaches that we must respect plants. Permission must be sought from
the plant before picking it, and if the plant is required for ceremonial purposes,
sacred chants and mantras are said aloud, in honor of the plant or tree. All
plants have souls and spirits that guard and protect the species. It is not
that every individual plant has its own, but that there is a species-spirit
that has a place within plant hierarchy, depending on the sacredness of the
purpose the plant is put to.
Many plants also have animal spirits attached to them, says Cachora. The connection
may be derived from the fact that an animal eats from the plants and thus distributes
the seeds, because the animal eats smaller animal pests upon the plants, or
because the animal uses the plants as food and medicine.
Cachora is quite plain about the underlying principle of healing herbs. He
says that healing takes place when a person connects into the plant spirit,
becoming the plant and understanding its personality. Using spirit as the method
of transference, the plants energy or healing properties are transmitted
to the person. First, the spirit of a particular species has to become known,
its use and purposes memorized, its strengths and weaknesses understood. Then
in times of ill health, as body, mind, and spirit are one, healing can take
place by calling on the spirit and taking into ones mind the spiritual
essence of the plant.
Plant life must be respected and spoken to, says Cachora, for it is part of
the universe, part of ourselves, part of our heritage. I understand this to
mean that everyone evolved through the plant, and through the plant cycle of
crystalline life. We are all part of the same consciousness pool. Getting to
know plants involves looking at them closely, communicating with them with honesty,
integrity, gentleness. Human thought is the greatest obstacle to plant communication.
You have to get beyond thought, into empathy and feeling through focus and concentration.
On this amazing journey, I encountered a magnificent six-foot-tall white sage
bush, a grandfather of the species, having seeded many generations of plants,
an elder in its own right. It was so vibrant the leaves seemed to send out showers
of sparks, but I was rather taken aback when the large bush bowed its body to
greet us. As there was not a hint of a breeze, I turned to my friend beside
me to verify what had happened, and could tell from her wide-open eyes that
she had witnessed the same action! Then the sage spoke to me, in a silent block
of communication, clear and precise.
There are many indigenous peoples in the world who feel the spirit in nature,
and work with it. Certain themes emerge. There is the idea that some plants
should not be picked because they are too sacred, that is, too old and valuable
to their tribe. Just like us, plants need their wise elders. They
say you should ask a plant if it is okay to pick it. A plant may say no or it
may agree, but it is respectful to explain who the plant is for, and what is
wrong with the person. The plant will then know it is not being sacrificed for
no good reason.
There is also the general idea that the spirit of the plant
is a communal one, that it is not an individual plant that has a spirit but
the species as a whole. When you communicate with a plant you communicate with
its species-spirit, which at the same time can be expressed as an individual.
So, when I spoke to the large sage bush I spoke to the spirit of the species,
but through the wise old bush who, from experience, happens to hold a great
deal of communal species wisdom and can express more information, more clearly.
When you think about it, this is not dissimilar to the way horticulturists
and gardeners view the plants in their care. Older plants have an authority
that seedlings do not. Also, each species has its own character, and individuals
within the species have their particular character. We speak of animals in much
the same way, saying a breed of dog might be generally good with children,
but individuals within the species might be good, or not, with children in general
or with a particular child.
Many Western gardeners tune in to their plants in essentially the
same way as do native peoples. Looking at a bed of roses, next to a bed of hollyhocks,
we might perceive each species to have a different emotional tone. Each looks
different, grows different, has different kinetic qualities, and different characters
in much the same way people do. The more species we grow, and the longer we
work with them, the more our instinct about plants develops (as
instinct develops over time when using essential oils).
The difference between our approach and indigenous peoples is the effort
we put into learning about plants. Well spend time reading gardening books,
while they will sit with a plant for hours, days even, getting to know it. Theyll
bring it little presents, in gratitude for what it offers, in respect, and to
let the plant know they care. They go to plants as a pupil goes to
a wise person, to learn. Western horticulturists, on the other hand,
often feel that they are the holders of information, and that it is their job
to control the plant, which they see as their property.
We know, of course, from the concept of companion gardening that plants can
influence each other in terms of preventing pests and disease. This is often
accomplished through scent, as aroma molecules from one plant waft over another
and exert their beneficial influence. Stephen Harrod Buhners Sacred
Plant Medicine provides an interesting anecdote on this subject. He was
sitting with a lichen called usnea, which has powerful antibiotic qualities,
when suddenly the usually subtle feeling tone of the usnea increased
Buhner felt his personal boundaries dissolving, and the plant appeared
as a youngish man. The plant-man told him that usneas primary role is
to keep the earths lung system healthy, by being an antibiotic for the
trees on which it grows, adding that as a by-product of this intended role,
usnea can be used to treat human lung infections. Imagine how much more we could
learn about plant interaction, and how many new medicines we could discover,
if more of us could hear what plants have to say.
Plants are sensitive, sentient beings. There has been a great deal of re-search
in this area, starting in 1966 with Cleve Backster, then a New York lie detector
expert working for law-enforcement agencies. One classic Backster experiment
involved plant murder. He put two plants next to each other in a room, along
with six of his students who each drew from a hat a piece of paper, one of which
had instructions for the murder.
The people with the five blank pieces of paper
left the room with Backster. In the room, the murderer ripped one
of the plants to shreds. Backster then returned, attached the re-maining plant
to a polygraph machine, and called the students into the room, one by one. There
was no response on the machine to the five innocent students, but when the murderer
entered, the pen flew across the paper as the silent witness recognized
the guilty party.
The implications of Backsters work on plants are staggering enough, but
he has also done experiments with other life-forms including eggs, shrimp, and
human mouth cells the implications of which are equally amazing. Backster
had to conclude that all nature is essentially unified, not separate.
The planet hums. It emits a low-frequency radio signal, the earths vibration,
which is known as the Shumann resonance. It can be detected coming off trees.
Researchers in America were curious to know whether this vibration could be
altered with human thought and feeling, and connected an oak tree to a machine
described as being not unlike those used to measure brain waves in humans.
A group of people circled the tree and, saying a traditional native prayer, sent
it love. Apparently, the signal went off the scale. Although the measurements
cant really say whether the tree was happy to receive this love or wanted
everyone to go away, clearly some form of interaction was taking place.
Plants respond to human thought and to the human energy field, and you can
prove it for yourself. In the thought experiment devised by Marcel Vogel, you
pick three leaves from the same tree or plant and place them by the side
of your bed. Vogel put them on glass, presumably so he could view the underside
without touching the leaves, but a sheet of paper will do. Every morning when
you wake, concentrate on just two of the leaves, sending them love and pleading
with them to live. Imagine them green and healthy looking. Ignore the third
leaf. Dont touch any of them for seven days, by which time the leaves
you concentrated on should still be looking fresh, while the ignored leaf should
Do the experiment when you wake because thats when youre
most physically and mentally relaxed. Its absolutely vital to approach
this with a pure heart, because plants know what you think. Dont try to
fool them because youll only be fooling yourself. Expect the
experiment to work.
In the energy experiment devised by Daphne Beall, you put water in a container
and energize it by putting both hands around it without touching it. Relax and
visualize white-light energy coming out of your hands, into the container. Imagine
the water becoming bright white, and do this for ten minutes. Then put a tomato
in the water. Get a second container, fill it with water, and put another tomato
in it without thinking about it at all. Leave both containers overnight and
in the morning take the tomatoes out of the water and place them where they
can sit for three weeks without being moved. Put labels nearby so you know which
is which, and wait to see what happens!
An energy connects us to plants. In some people it is very obvious, when they
transform a neglected piece of earth, as if with fairy dust, into a resplendent
garden. We say they have a green thumb. But everyone has empathy
for the glory of nature, natural gardeners or not. There is a magnificence there
we can plug into, and do.
It is difficult to see which particular field of study should research the
subject of human-plant interaction. It involves the study of light, physics,
astrophysics, metaphysics, botany, biology, harmonics, electromagnetics, hydrology,
mineralogy, and a dozen other disciplines, plus neurology, philosophy, spirituality,
theology, and psychology, to name a few. Perhaps that is why the field is so
little researched we dont know whose academic territory it is!
The answer may be, of course, that it is everyones territory, because
there is only one territory, in that we are all part of the connecting whole.
The Sanctity of Plants
People have always been spiritual. Indeed, spirituality has been the drive
of much, if not most, culture and art throughout time from Paleolithic
cave art created 30,000 years ago to generations of art objects, temples, sculpture,
and paintings. People used to so sincerely believe in an afterlife that they
made sure their relatives were buried with goods they would need there, including
sometimes a fortune in gold jewelry. Today we may question the existence of
an afterlife and place any jewelry in our will. Sometimes we dont seem
very spiritual at all. Yet even we feel it strongly there must be something
Where does this spirituality come from? What has made people think there is
a life after death and an intelligence that embraces the universe? Some skeptics
would say that spirituality is just a tradition of superstition, that people
dont have spiritual experiences, they just think they do.
These people can point to certain evidence. For example, the crystals in granite,
being radioactive, cause brain stimulation, including hallucinations, which
may explain why granite was used to build the Neolithic dolmens, or
shelters, and to cover the walls of important rooms like the Kings Chamber
in the Cheops pyramid in Egypt. Skeptics say people sat in these places and
tripped out (more or less like an LSD trip) and thought they were
having spiritual experiences, but they were only playing with their own minds.
The same skeptical attitude could be taken toward the spiritual use of sound,
dance, and plants. Sound in the form of chanting, singing, or the repetition
of mantras sets up a vibration that changes brain functioning and can cause
a spaced-out feeling. Dance can do the same thing. Certain plants
are psychoactive they have an effect on the mind or psyche and
have been used by shamans from South America to Siberia for millennia to facilitate
a state of trance and another perception of reality. Some say these activities
give a false impression of spirituality, and fear and superstition do the rest.
This is a very limited point of view, for there are many other types of spiritual
experiences that dont involve stones, sound, dance, or plants. The basic
spiritual experience is love; some people fall in love after knowing each other
a very long time, others fall instantly at the sight of a stranger across a
crowded room. When a loved one is far away, he or she can be thought about,
scanned for in the distant horizon, located, and brought back to our heart through
our spirit. We seem connected in a way that defies the laws of place.
Love is spiritual. Also, nature is spiritual, and many people say their strongest
feeling of spirituality is experienced among nature, on a mountaintop perhaps,
where they are overcome with a strong sense of a beneficent intelligence watching
over us all. Many people have spontaneous spiritual experiences, when they suddenly
Others have near-death experiences, see the other side, and come
back certain of an afterlife. Many people hear voices including some
of the central characters in the Old Testament when theyre just
walking along, not expecting revelation. And people have been bumping into angels
Its because the spiritual realm exists that we have this thing called
spirituality. When people use stones, sound, dance, and plants,
they are seeking to make the connection with something they already
know is there. These things are not the reason for spirituality but a means
to spirituality. People want to reconnect, and they feel they need
When, in the Bible, Aaron burned incense every morning and evening, it was
not to create two little pockets of spiritual experience within
the day. Aaron felt the spirit all day long. He burned incense to concentrate
his mind on the subject ...and because God had told him to. Likewise, Buddhists
dont burn incense to receive the enlightenment of Buddhas words;
they already know them and believe them to be the right path to follow in life.
Incense is burned to experience the enlightenment directly, to connect with
something they know is there.
Certain plants have been chosen as spiritual aids by people living thousands
of miles apart, on different continents, in different millennia. Cedar is a
case in point. The temple of Solomon in Jerusalem was built with Cedar of Lebanon,
and it is possible the Hebrews extracted an oil from the wood. In India, cedar
is used to induce trance, while in Native American culture it is said to have
the ability to counteract negative forces. Why should these and other peoples
choose cedar? Is it because it smells good, or because it does something in
the spiritual realm, or both?
Plant materials have long been used in spiritual practice, and the more fragrant
they were, the more spiritual they were considered to be. This may be because
fragrance transports. You can be in a place or situation and feel very uncomfortable,
with chaos and noise all around you, then close your eyes, inhale a particular
fragrance, and bypass it all, reconnecting with the great cosmic whole. Its
like a private vehicle silently and instantaneously whisking you away to reconnection;
fragrance can be a ticket to the Divine.
Essential Oils: The Unseen Energies
In the usual light photographs of the Milky Way, its shape seems obvious: a
spiral disk, a basically flat circular shape made up of countless white stars.
But when you get on the Internet and look at some of the photographs that have
come back from space, you can see that the reality is much more complex. The
websites to visit are NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center and the University
of Illinois, which display photos of the Milky Way taken using X-ray, infrared,
and radio equipment.
When the frequency is changed, further levels of reality
are exposed. Using computer enhancement and color, different swirls of energy
are highlighted, and bipolar outflows are revealed as coming out
from the center, like two trumpets, perpendicular to the disk of stars. These
exciting new pictures illustrate how much more there is to life than what we
can see with our eyes.
Life on planet Earth certainly seems more benevolent than on the other planets
in the solar system, and more vibrant, but what do people know of its invisible
energies? Human energy fields have been recognized in most, if not all, spiritual
traditions. Eastern traditions talk of prana and chi, the
energies that are vital to health. In Western terminology, we hear of the aura,
or of the etheric body, astral body, mental body, and spiritual body, and a
golden web that connects us all. It is likely that we are dealing with several
energy fields that interact with one another and our physical selves, and they
are said to be the means by which we connect with the Divine.
According to Dr. Valerie Hunt, a physiological scientist and author of The
Infinite Mind: The Science of Human Vibrations, although the electrons
existing in humans and inactive matter are the same, the human field absorbs
and throws off energy, while inert matter is passive. In addition to the electrical
frequencies of the muscle, brain, and heart there is another field of
energy, smaller in amplitude and higher in frequency.
Apparently this energy is electromagnetic, and eight to ten times faster than the other electromagnetic
energy recorded on the bodys surface. Dr. Hunt has done much research
on the human aura, taking measurements when subjects were in the mountains,
near the sea, or after having a swim, a shower, or a barefoot walk on grass,
and in special scientific study environments, such as the Mu and Anechoic rooms
at the University of California in Los Angeles. The Mu room, located in the
physics department, is an environment in which the electromagnetic energy in
air can be altered.
When the electrical aspect of the atmosphere is taken out,
subjects in the room find that they become unaware of the location of their
bodies in space, and the aura becomes scattered. The Anechoic room is designed
to take out sound and light, and thus these sources of electromagnetism, and
subjects lose their sense of time and became unable to operate the instruments
taken in there for research study.
There are few people in the Western world who have carried out as much scientific
research on the human aura as Dr. Hunt, and she writes in The Infinite Mind:
The human field looms as primary to life.
Resonating frequencies are primary physical bonds in nature. For every frequency
or frequency band, there exists natural or created resonators. In other words,
a fields frequency pattern at a given time is a resonating structure
that determines the energy it will absorb or by which it will be affected.
Theoretically, all frequency vibrations exist in the universe (which includes
the body) from sub herzian to as high as modern instruments can measure
billions and trillions of cycles per second.
Nonetheless, each material substance, living or inert, mineral or chemical, has its own vibratory signature
carried in the structure of its field. There are dominant and recessive vibrations
in each field, giving it character. Field interactions result from the strength
and pattern of these field vibrations. These constitute windows, or thoroughfares
A sound general principle states that interaction between fields occurs when
there are compatible harmonic frequencies.
What I believe happens with essential oils is that they are thoroughfares
for transactions they have their own vibrations that connect with
the frequencies in the human energy field, causing effects in the physical,
emotional, and spiritual body. Essential oils have different electrical qualities
and different molecular shape and vibration. Interesting though all the data
is, it does not explain what one might rather vaguely call the energy
of a particular essential oil. New methods of recording are required.
With this in mind, I went to see Harry Oldfield, who coauthored with Roger
Coghill The Dark Side of the Brain, a seminal work on unseen energies
when it was published in 1988. Oldfield has invented an energy field imaging
system that records the invisible aura of energy around all living things, and
I was interested to know what it could reveal about essential oils. According
to Oldfield, the images produced show interference patterns with light, as light
rays and photons get interfered with by the subtle energy effects emanating
from the object or space point. I say space point because there
are atmospheres and places that give off emanations too.
Using this new equipment, which produces moving images on a computer monitor,
colorful and dynamic patterns emerge in the air around the end of the smelling
strip on which the essential oils are placed. With some, such as jasmine and
ginger, the end of the strip appeared bright white, with all the color spectra
in that spot. In others, the whole strip appeared energized, while another showed
The background is generally green but different essential oils make
it explode into color and shape, individual in each case. We saw magenta circles
and squares or predominantly purple, orange, turquoise, or blue ones, all actually
layers of color much like a rainbow. With Eucalyptus citriodora (eucalyptus
lemon), a yellow haze appeared, while with frankincense,
a sudden rocket of energy flew out from the end of the strip, and with neroli,
a blue circle appeared at a distance and started beating like a heart, getting
slightly smaller, then larger a flashing light of life pulsating
seven times before dispersing. The individuality of these essential oil energy
patterns is amazing, and the more you see, the more amazing they are!
What we are seeing, Oldfield believes, is the etheric energy in the fabric
of space itself, going beyond the molecules themselves, an energy that is in
a buffer zone between the physical and higher energies. Some of the essential
oils made very little impression and some were very dramatic, and the differences
were not related to when, in any particular sequence, the image was taken
first or last or in between.
It cannot be said, then, that as the aroma molecules
built up in the atmosphere, things got more dramatic. Sometimes, toward the
end of a session, there would be an essential oil that showed very little activity.
Also, some of the energy fields were very small and remained close to the end
of the strip, while others immediately shot out all around and took up much
space. In some, the energy field seemed to hover above the smelling strip, then
in others it hung below.
Some fields seemed to come toward us, some went out,
some stayed where they were, while others leaped! The kinetic nature of these
events is not captured by the still images reproduced on pages 12528.
In some essential oil recordings, the energy was slow to build up, in others
it built up instantaneously.
Discussing the images observed on the computer screen with the other
people in the room, I realized that we were using the same vocabulary I use
when describing essential oil fragrances in other contexts. Someone would say,
its round or sharp, sparkly, heavy,
light, soft, dynamic, or that it has
It was also very interesting to watch the energy field of the essential oil
mingle with and affect the aura emanating from a person if the person held the
smelling strip or stood nearby. I was reminded of Hunts phrase a
thoroughfare for transactions. Oldfields words were emphatic: They
definitely interact in the human energy field, theres no doubt about it.
The mystery of the life force of essential oils was looking less mysterious
by the minute.
Essential oils are crystalline structures that carry light. They vibrate and
cause selective synchronous vibration; they are electromagnetic, as we are ourselves.
They are thought to travel through the interstitial fluid, the space between
the cells, where the molecules of emotion also travel, as has been shown by
psychoimmunologist Candace Pert.
Watching the energy of the essential oil molecules
was fascinating, and even more so when a human being was included in the image.
Then the energy fields from the essential oil and the person gently connected,
and we saw an expansion of the human aura. Its no wonder that fragrance
has been used since time immemorial to connect people with the Divine, lifting
us to finer, higher vibrations, in touch with wider consciousness.