In Spiritual PhytoEssencing (SPE), the term archetype refers to a unique intangible construct of the soul that is a storehouse and generator of a specific pattern of psycho-spiritual and physical expressions.
In Jungian psychology, archetypes are considered to be inherited patterns of thought or symbolic imagery, present in the individual unconscious, that derive from the infinite inventory of past experiences stored within the collective unconscious.
One of the effects of a Spiritual PhytoEssencing essential oil blend is to help the “I” within a person’s soul reestablish its governing influence.
The “I” is the immortal aspect of the soul which journeys through the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. It carries with it the “DNA” of past life qualities and brings them to the portal of rebirth where it picks up new ones.
The “I” is core of being. It is that which is aware. Its full assertion is required for the potential to achieve wholeness of being via engagement in soul-to-soul relationships with people, animals, plants, essential oils and all the other inspirited elements of the natural universe.
As all of these are imbued with a level of divine consciousness, it is only through this ongoing pattern of developing relation with the other ensouled components of the natural universe that can one can overcome the inertial stuckness associated with estrangement from one’s true self—the living soul.
In the journey through the cycle of birth, death and rebirth, as well as through genetic transfer and the constitutional adaptations that take place as we stray from the realm of the true self into the arena of the manufactured survival personality, the “I” acquires a unique collection of archetypal components.
Accordingly, particular identifiable patterns of emotions and physical predispositions can be viewed as tangible expressions of these underlying soul archetypal components. In other words, these outward expressions are “archetypal images” of specific underlying archetypes, which, like an atom’s electrons, have come to orbit around the nucleus of the “I.”
Essential Oils and Direct Engagement with the Soul
SPE is an art that employs essential oils for deep psycho-spiritual healing. One of its basic tenets is that in order for healing work with essential oils to be consistently effective and life changing, direct interface with an individual’s innermost realm—the soul, must be achieved.
As someone’s unique archetypal construct represents the actual fabric of his or her soul, the starting point for developing a customized, soul-healing essential oil blend for someone is to identify the central archetypal disturbances that underlie the outwardly expressed archetypal images (e.g., anxiety, depression, discouragement, disease) of his or her core disharmony and conflict.
Focusing exclusively upon the amelioration of symptoms (i.e., the archetypal images), while perhaps providing a degree of relief, exerts no lasting impression upon the dynamics of the disharmonious archetypal state that constitutes the central disturbance in most cases of chronic disease and/or discontentment.
The only way to achieve fundamental transformation on a true-self level is via direct engagement of the soul’s archetypal components.
Elements As Archetypes
One of the central archetypal models of SPE is the Six Element Paradigm. In the development of the Six Element Paradigm, I relied primarily upon the Five Element Theory of Chinese medicine for orientation. Hence, much of the material regarding the various elements in the Six Element Paradigm has been derived from the Chinese Five Element model.
Anthroposophical medicine, the Kabbalah and to a lesser extent, the yogic chakra system and Native American spiritual understanding served as secondary, yet nonetheless crucial, influences in my design of the Six Element Paradigm.
From the perspective of the Five Element Theory Of Chinese medicine: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, the fundamental interdependent elements of the material world, underlie all the relationships between the human body and the natural environment as well as between normal physiological activity and pathological developments.
While, in western science, the constitutional role of the elements within the human being is unacknowledged, if we extrapolate an aspect of the Kabbalistic model of the emergence of the material world from the spiritual world, the idea of the elements being foundation stones of the mind/body organism makes logical sense.
According to the Kabbalah, during the process of Creation, divine qualities such as wisdom, understanding, unconditional love and reasoned restraint were transmitted from the spiritual world into the natural world so as to be available for incorporation into the spirit body of all ensouled beings.
All the phenomena in the natural world are reflections of qualities and processes which exist in potentia in the spiritual world. Furthermore, from a metaphysical perspective, it is perfectly rational to assume that the elements that underlie the operations of the natural universe would likewise be incorporated into the wholly integrated smaller world of a living being wherein they serve as one of the dynamic mechanisms that powers the workings of soul, mind and body.
The Six Element Paradigm
The main focus of Six Element Paradigm is the role of the six elements as intermediaries between rational consciousness and the workings of the higher soul. I have also tailored the Six Element Paradigm to be more consistent with other aspects of the foundation theoretical constructs of sou-level healing work with essential oils.
Thus, in the Six Element Paradigm the Fire element has been divided into independently operative Warmth and Light elements. Additionally, Metal is one the primary elements in the Five Element Theory, with Air considered to be a component of Metal. On the other hand, in the Six Element Paradigm, Air is considered to be a primary element, and Metal to be a sub-element that is a hybrid of certain aspects of Air and Earth.
In this article, I will present a description of the Air element and provide a list of some of the essential oils whose inner nature being strongly influenced by the Air element, has potential value for engaging with the Air element archetype within a given human soul.
In order to better understand the operations of the Air element within humans as well as the character of the “Air element individual,” it is useful to have some familiarity with the concept of the astral body.
The physical body is only the material aspect of the human organism. Lacking the intervention of higher forces the physical body would remain an inert mass of organic matter, incapable of either sophisticated physiological activity or kinetic consciousness. It is the action of supra-sensible higher forces that raises the body out of the mineral realm into aliveness and imbues it with a living soul.
While all of these higher forces ultimately originate in the spirit world, as each has different qualities and exerts different actions, they can be viewed, for the purpose of rational understanding, as unique forces.
One of these, the astral body, can be defined as the “animal principle,” derived largely from certain cosmic regions that comes into the living organism as an active psychic force and is responsible for all instincts, desires, passions, attractions, repulsions and movement.
It’s the astral body and the conscious state it facilitates that makes animal life possible. Air is the medium of the astral body, which incarnates into the body through breathing. This is one reason why in the Six Element Paradigm the lungs are associated with Air rather than primarily with Metal.
The astral body perceives and internalizes impressions from the external world, which are subsequently exteriorized in the form of behavioral responses and movement.
The astral body has much in common with the Chinese concept of the body’s yang as well as chi and the naturopathic/homeopathic concept of vital force. It is linked to the organism via the element of air and the internalization of light. The astral body utilizes internalized light to activate the nerve pathways.
The transformation of sunlight by the astral body stimulates those processes involved in the nourishment, formation and maintenance of the nervous system. The astral body converts external light: an anabolic entity into internal light: a catabolic entity, which makes room for the soul. Hence, the Six Element Paradigm’s rationale for emphasizing the interaction of Light and Air.
As noted above, an important characteristic of the astral body is that it’s linked to the organism via the element of air. The lungs, via the respiratory process, are perhaps the major sites of uptake of astral body force.
Breathing and Vitalization
The lungs are the organs that interface the internal milieu with the outside world. They do not start to function until birth (i.e., the time of entry into the world). This points toward the lungs’ role in incarnation of the spirit into the physical body.
Full incarnation begins with the first breath. It’s written in Genesis: “God formed man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils a breath of life. Man thus became a living creature.” In this context, the words “living creature” can be interpreted to mean an incarnated one.
The lungs are the route by which the astral and spirit bodies (spirit body is the anthroposophical term for higher soul) enter the body, and thus, connect with the Earth. With the first in-breath, the astral body unites with the physical body. The astral body integrates into every cell of the body via respiration.
The thyroid gland is strongly connected with the astral body, and both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are primarily astral body disorders.
The thyroid gland is both vital to, and dependent upon, oxygenation. Anything that interferes with oxygenation will impact thyroid function. On the other hand, the thyroid increases both the rate and depth of lung respiration and regulates the utilization of oxygen at the cellular level. For this reason, in the Six Element Paradigm, the thyroid gland is associated with the Air element.
Air Element, Astral Body and the Animal Soul
The great 18th century spiritual master, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov teaches: “If breath is lacking, life is lacking. Hence, if one feels something lacking in one’s life, this indicates a shortage of ‘breath,’ the breath which is the spirit of God, which created and sustains everything.”
Rabbi Nachman goes on to explain that deep in-breathing is necessary to eliminate the feeling of “lack” in one’s life, it produces a sense of fulfillment. On the other hand, shallow breathing amplifies any perceived void and psycho-spiritual disequilibrium.
The Kabbalah teaches that the human soul is actually an homogenous mixture of plant, animal and human , or higher, souls. Psycho-spiritual evolvement and physical health are dependent upon the hierarchical dominance of the higher soul.
In general, the astral body parallels the animal soul. According to the Kabbalah, it is on the level of animal soul that one gains an awareness of the body as a receptacle of the soul. This is only possible when the constant stream of restless thoughts and animalistic preoccupations are calmed and quieted.
By cleaving to the human soul, the animal soul can transmit the spiritual imperatives of the higher soul down to the lowest point of the animal soul. Only when the animal soul is so imbued can the totality of the soul achieve a restful state within the organism. When the animal soul is estranged, the soul is restless and the higher soul cannot exert its governance.
The Kabbalah teaches that the animal soul is the vital, vegetative element that motivates and animates every animal being. Much of the disturbance of the Air element either originates in, or profoundly impacts the operations of, the animal soul.
In the wild, animals have freedom and space and experience their existences wholly within the context of the natural universe. On the other hand, for the modern human being, both freedom and space are drastically curtailed and estrangement from the natural universe and its timeless rhythms are fast becoming the rule rather than the exception.
Hence, we are becoming progressively starved of fresh, open air both in a physiological and a metaphorical sense. So we now breath more rapidly and shallowly, feel trapped and oppressed and crave the light-saturated open air of the wild. We yearn for the chance to roam freely and reclaim our true selves which are inextricably bound to the spirit harbored within every component of the natural universe.
Accordingly, when the Air archetypal element within us is insufficiently nourished and disharmonious we are prone to experiences the following emotional symptoms: feelings of oppression, of being hemmed in; persistent feeling that something is lacking in one’s life; anxiety; nervousness; rapid and/or repetitive thoughts; inability to let go of the past or of a contentious issue; repressed wildness; anger; intensity of feelings; consuming desire for change; romantic longing; feeling that time is running out and so there is a need to break free now; yearning to travel.
On a physical level, the Air element has the following organ associations: lungs and respiratory system in general; kidneys; heart; skin; gastrointestinal tract. Disturbances in the function of one or more of these organs may be due in part to weakness or over-activity of the Air element.
Essential Oils Associated with the Air Element
The following essential oils are listed in Berkowsky’s Spiritual PhytoEssencing Repertory Of Essential Oils as having a distinct affinity for the operations of the Air element:
Angelica; bail; benzoin; black pepper; blue cypress; buchu; camphor; caraway; cardamom; cassie; catnip; cayenne; celery seed; clary sage; clove; coffee; cypress; davana; Douglas-fir; elemi; eucalyptus; fennel; frankincense; galbanum; hyssop; laurel; ledum; lemongrass; lovage; marjoram; monarda; myrrh; myrtle; niaouli; olive leaf; oregano; parsley; palmarosa; parsley; patchouli; peppermint; Peru balsam; pine; ravensare; rhododendron; rosewood; sandalwood; silver fir; spearmint; St. John’s wort; tarragon; tea tree; violet.