The Art Of Anointing
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Written by Felicia M. Tomasko, RN   


Aromatic Alchemy With Essential Oils

“You were calling for a lot of tulsi in this blend,” aromatic alchemist Allison Stillman said to me with a lilting voice gazing with wise eyes as she handed me a small blue bottle containing a customized blend of essential oils. She created the concoction in the midst of our anointing session. We may be familiar with the use of aromatherapeutic oils to relax, change a state of mind or mood and for their powerful medicinal properties. Yet there is another important, and ancient, use of these potent substances for practices that range from the spiritual to the transformational. Anointing with essential oils is an art coming more to the forefront as we reclaim our ritual power.

In Stillman’s words, “The word ‘anoint’ means to use oils in a rite or ceremony of consecration. When we consecrate, we make or declare one sacred or divine.” Anointing has been used in cultures around the world as an aid to meditation, to connect a person with their inner divine nature, in coming of age or rite of passage ceremonies, to prepare for ritual and to facilitate meaningful events such as giving birth, marriage or to mark the seasons. The Bible frequently mentions the use of precious essential oils to anoint parts of the body. The Egyptians were fond of anointing and had a comprehensive use of scent both for use during life and then to prepare the body after death for the afterworld with intricate combinations of oils. During a recent Winter Solstice ceremony I attended, Stillman anointed all of the participants with a blend of sacred oils, including the powerful and spiritually charged oil from the resin of frankincense, a Middle Eastern tree, which was one of the three valuable gifts presented by the Wise Men to the Christ child.

The spicy, heady, thick and distinctive fragrance of frankincense was one of the inspirations for Stillman’s journey into the philosophy, history and present-day practice of anointing. She was introduced to the pure essential oil of frankincense in a workshop (with aromatherapist Valerie Ann Worwood). The smell initiated an experience where she was transported across time and space.

Scent has a way of doing this. Of all of our senses, the physical mechanics that allow us to perceive and interpret the messages from aromatic and volatile molecules travel on an express superhighway direct to the limbic system of the brain, the emotional center of our nervous system. Many other bits of information that we process travel through relay stations or the thinking center of the brain’s cortex and neo-cortex making them subject to slowing down, to second-guessing the information they contain. Not aroma. Many scents also directly affect the hypothalamus, which is a part of the brain that serves as a communication bridge between the nervous and endocrine systems, allowing essential oils to directly affect hormones.

The miniscule, often oil-soluble chemicals that carry scent have an ability to travel deep into the body, penetrating the permeability of cell membranes, and as Stillman explained to me, their size and biochemically potent action can affect DNANA and our genetic expression.

As an aromatic alchemist, Stillman’s sessions incorporate the use of oils, intuitively chosen for the anointing application, meditation, sound therapy and journeying and bodywork to allow the oils to create profound and lasting change on the levels of the body, psyche and soul. In my case, the use of tulsi, according to Stillman, evokes the feminine, seems to come up when people are seeking to get more in touch with their own femininity. It resonated for me, and the timing is perfect as we’re heading into the season of the heart. I’m still continuing my relationship with tulsi, anointing every day to take me into the dream state of sleep and the space of creating the words on these pages.

Anointing Ritual For Opening The Heart

By Allison Stillman

Throughout history, essential oils from plants, flowers and trees, have symbolized devotion and have traditionally been used to invite more love into one’s life. These include rose, geranium, sandalwood, ylang ylang and jasmine. Whether we use a single oil or a blended combination, we can anoint our selves and our loved ones to balance and harmonize the heart chakra (energy center) and usher in a more profound awareness of love in our lives. Anointing with essential oils is also a powerful tool to help heal the wounds of a broken heart.

To create an anointing ceremony, find a calm, serene setting, perhaps where you practice Yoga or meditate, since regular practice charges a space. You can create an altar dedicated to love, with significant objects placed upon or around it such as images of deities, pictures of loved ones, sacred objects, crystals or anything with special meaning or memories. Light candles on the altar or in the room to evoke the flame of love. Place fresh flowers on the altar as an offering of gratitude for the blessings bestowed through the anointing. Use your voice with a prayer or mantra to add sound as a means of ceremoniously calling in more love and light.

Then take the chosen anointing oil or blend and place a few drops in the palm of your hand. Gently massage and rub onto your heart center. Hold your hand over your heart while inhaling deeply of the aromatic fragrance and allow the oils to transport you deep into the deep heart of love.

Allison Stillman is the author of The Sacred Art of Anointing. Learn more about the alchemy of anointing at:

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