(excerpt from Andrew’s new book, Lead Us To A Place ~ your spiritual journey through life’s seasons)

Spirituality comes when you are ready to look at it. In truth, our connection to spirit comes by way of looking inward. Yet subtle clues can come from external sources that intrigue us or connect to our emotions.

Nature holds the secrets to so many lessons in spirituality. Not only does our connection to spirit express itself through nature, it is the fundamental building blocks of life’s answers.

Essential oils are the actual essence or spirit of nature’s gifts. They are extracted from the flowers and herbs by way of either cold-pressing as with citrus fruits or by steam distillation as with plants and flowers.

These pure oil extracts have therapeutic properties to be used in many different forms of healing and health. Recalling a certain scent from a specific memory or special time in your life is a transforming experience.

Rose: (Rosa damascena) The mother of all flowers, the Rose has amazing powers of love, trust and self-acceptance. Roses are representative of faith, hope and love and have the qualities to restore the very center of one’s being. A gentle tonic of the heart, rose oil’s psychological properties lie mainly in its effect on the mind, the center of our emotional being. Rose oil calms and supports the heart and helps to nourish the soul!

Lavender: (Lavender cassia) is one of the most accepted and most notable essential oils in the Materia Aromatica. This flower oil is used as an antiseptic, antibiotic, anti-depressant, and immune stimulant. It helps with issues of sleep or anxiety due to its sedative properties.  Best known for treating burns and blisters, wounds (cell regenerator, minimizes swelling and scarring), insect bites, stings and heat exhaustion.  Avoid during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Peppermint: (Mentha piperita) is the most extensively used of all the volatile oils, both medicinally and commercially. The characteristic antispasmodic action of this essential oil is most often used and greatly adds to its power of relieving pain. From its stimulating, stomachic and carminative properties, it is valuable in certain forms of dyspepsia, being mostly used for flatulence and colic. It may also be used for other sudden pains and for cramps in the abdomen, as well as headaches.

Cedarwood: (Cedrus atlantica): has a rich warm, woody, sweet fragrance. The oil is extracted from wood by the process of steam distillation. This rich, soothing oil can be used in the treatment of respiratory issues. It has antiseptic properties and is effective against coughs, bronchitis and beneficial in the treatment of dandruff, eczema and acne.   The oil is particularly useful in treating stress and tension.

Sweet Orange: (Citrus sinensis) is obtained from the rind of the fruit and used principally as a flavoring agent. Orange oil is an anti-depressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative and digestive tonic. Orange oil helps spreads sunshine when gloomy thoughts or depression set in. It has a very comforting and warming effect and dispels tension and stress. It has a beneficial effect on colds, bronchitis and fever when rubbed into the head and chest. Helps with anxiety and insomnia. Orange oil helps dry skin conditions softening wrinkles and dermatitis. An excellent skin tonic. Orange oil can make the skin photo-sensitive to sunlight.

How to Use These Oils

Essential oils can be utilized in hundreds of different ways. You can create massage blends, inhalants, rubs, compresses, diffuser blends or perfume blends.  Choose the form which fits into your lifestyle and suits you best.

How to Create Your Recipe Blends  

*Bath Blend: Add 15 to 20 drops of essential oils to a bathtub already filled with warm water.  Disperse the oil in the warm water with your hand.  Soak in the bath for up to twenty minutes.  Repeat as needed, then cleanse your tub.

*Massage Blend: Add 10-15 drops of chosen essential oil to 4 ounces of a carrier base oil such as sunflower, safflower, jojoba, or canola oil. Pour a quarter size drop into the palm of your hand and bring your palms together.  Disperse the oil over the area you want to massage and rub in a circular, clockwise motion.  Gently massage the area for 10-20 minutes or over the entire body for a total body massage.

*Diffuser Blend: Place 8-10 drops of essential oil in the diffuser bowl filled with water.  Most diffusers use a tea candle. As the candle warms the bowl, the aroma from the blend diffuses into the air. This blend can also be placed in any lamp ring or automatic diffuser.

*Inhalant Blend: You may blend several essential oils together or use one particular oil. Simply uncap the bottle and place it up to one nostril. Close the other nostril with your finger as you inhale deeply. Switch nostrils and inhale once more. Be sure to close the opposite nostril as you inhale. Try not to touch the bottle to the nostril for the area under the nose is very sensitive and the oil may slightly burn or irritate the area.  Repeat as often as needed.

*Rub Blend: In 1 tablespoon of carrier base oil, add 8-10 drops essential oil. Massage the rub into appropriate areas for 5-10 minutes. Repeat as needed.

*Compress Blend: Blend 5 -10 drops essential oil in a quart of cold water.  Saturate a cloth with the water/blend mixture and apply to the affected area for at least 10 minutes. Repeat treatment often.

*Perfume Blend: Blending 2 to 3 essential oils together in jojoba or sunflower oil can make a lovely perfume. Dab this delicate, concentrated mixture on your pulse points of the sides of the neck, inside of the wrists or tops of the feet.

Remember the rule: Less is more.