This article is Part I of a series of articles in which I will demonstrate how I am taking certain mystical qualities and symbolism associated with scriptural archetypal maternal figures such as Eve (of Adam and Eve) and translating these into essential oil selections for inclusion in the Maternal Essence blend.
Maternal Essence Blend
As discussed in previous issues of this journal, I have designed a collaborative blending project for the attendees of my Essential Oils And Soul 3-Class Teleseminar Series that is certain to be a source of very deep inner connection and soul-to-soul relation. My intent is to not only help improve the students’ blending skills but also to take them into the heart of soul-level healing work with essential oils.
The students are being taught in a step-by-step manner how a soul-level essential oil blend is designed, formulated, blended and used. This blend will not only serve as a unique Mother’s Day gift but also, via personal use of the blend, as a catalyst for targeted, deep soul-level exploration.
The Maternal Essence blend can be prepared every year to mark Mother’s Day or can be used throughout the year in accordance with the dynamics of one’s individualized journey inward toward the root of his or her soul.
This blend will not simply reflect a Norman Rockwell image of Mom and apple pie, although certainly that element of maternal nurturing will be encoded into the blend’s inner meaning. In addition to this nurturing theme and other central elements of the mother/child relationship such as birthing and maternal understanding and guidance, the symbolic and mystical qualities associated with particular maternal archetypes will serve as nuclei for the development of the blend.
Construction Of The Blend
As there is a hard and fast deadline that has to be met, I am limiting my focus to only two archetypal maternal figures. This year Mother’s Day falls on May 10th. Thus, I have to finalize the formula and share it with my students no later than the last week in April in order to give them sufficient time to obtain the oils and prepare the blend.
While I generally use up to 25 oils in the custom blends I prepare for my clients and 30 oils for my Kabbalah Series Blends, the Maternal Essence blend will contain no more than 13 oils. Using fewer than 13 oils would make this an easier blend to prepare. However, this would restrict the dynamic of the blend and thus diminish the potential of its psycho-spiritual impact upon the user.
On the other hand, I am limiting the number of oils in the blend to no more than 13 because many of my newer students do not yet have sufficient blending experience to be able to effectively manage the intermingling soul energies of a larger number of essential oils. Indeed, even orchestrating the energies of 13 unique plant souls requires deep focus.
My intention is to select 3 to 4 oils relative to each of the two archetypal maternal figures plus a few miscellaneous oils that are relevant regarding mothering and the mother/child relationship. As with every Spiritual PhytoEssencing blend, lavender oil will be included because it is the only essential oil that has the ability to serve as an organizing and harmonizing nucleus for all the other oils in the blend.
To date I have written 106+ essential oil chapters in Berkowsky’s Synthesis Materia Medica/Spiritualis of Essential Oils. Some of the lesser-known oils may be difficult to source within a small window of time. Therefore, in this blend, I am avoiding inclusion of any of the less common essential oils, such as olive leaf or seaweed, which some of the students may find challenging to quickly source.
Using Scriptural Figures as Models for Essential Oil Selection:
This being the first of a series of articles, I need at the outset to clarify my perspective regarding the use of characters from religious texts as archetypal models for blend formulation.
Although my spirituality is strongly influenced by Jewish spiritual and mystical teachings, I am not religious in the conventional sense. The Torah is certainly a wellspring of divine wisdom, but biblical scholars and etymologists have clearly demonstrated that it was composed by a variety of sages over the course of several centuries. Hence, I don’t feel it is particularly useful to debate whether a scriptural character such as Eve ever existed. In fact, I neither believe that she did, nor that the authors of the Torah believed so either.
It should be borne in mind that at the time the Torah was written, the Jews were an Earth-centered tribal people. Like the sages of the Earth-centered peoples the world over such as Native Americans, Australian Aborigines, etc., the ancient Jewish sages had a much more highly developed consciousness of, and greater access to, the mystery and meaning contained within the natural universe and upper world than do we inhabitants of the modern, industrialized, depersonalized world.
Stephen Harrod Buhner in Sacred Plant Medicine writes: “To Earth-centered peoples the sacred is immediate. It is present in all parts of the world and one may, simply by being willing to be in relationship with the deeper aspects of a part of the Earth, attain closer relationship with Spirit…Through this deeper relationship over time one can gain power to evoke the sacred through ceremony, to shape its course into human affairs to benefit the community, to heal and instruct, to uplift.”
All Earth-centered peoples use mythology and symbolism to both reveal and guard the divine mysteries that were fully integrated into the fabric of their existences. Mythology and symbols are also instruments through which they communicated with the higher world.
The same is true of the authors of the Torah and the original elaborators of the Kabbalah. Therefore, while many believe that a literal interpretation of the scriptures is the only legitimate one, I feel that those who actually wrote them would find that perspective to be an alarming obstruction to the revelation of the true inner meaning-the spiritual wisdom from the higher worlds- they were determined to communicate to humankind.
Viewing the story of Creation as set forth in the Book of Genesis as being an accurate description of how events actually unfolded not only discounts a mountain of scientific evidence to the contrary, it also prevents the harvesting of the spiritual knowledge of the nature of the universe and of the soul which is embedded within its rich symbolism.
One of the most important early Kabbalistic works is entitled the Pardes Rimmonim (Orchard of Pomegranates or Garden Of Pomegranates) written by 16th century Kabbalist, Rabbi Moses ben Jacob Cordovero. This title refers to Song of Songs 4:13: “Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates.” In reference to Pardes Rimmonim the pomegranate with its great number of seeds symbolizes the multiplicity of meanings inherent to scriptural passages. The Hebrew word pardes has four consonants (p, r, d, s). P correlates with pshat-the literal meaning, r with remez-the symbolic meaning, d with derash-the allegorical meaning, s with sod-the mystical or Kabbalistic meaning.
It may be no coincidence that the title chosen for this work by a great kabbalist highlights the word pardes (which refers not only to “garden” but also contains the etymological root for the word “paradise”), to emphasize the allegory, symbolism and mystical knowledge embedded within scriptural passages such as the story of Adam and Eve.
Clearly, I don’t ascribe to the literal interpretation of the Garden of Eden saga but I am convinced that every aspect of that story represents the communication of eternal spiritual knowledge via a uniquely eloquent form of allegory and symbolism. Hence, if, like spiritual archaeologists, we dig below the surface of the mythological Eve we can uncover archetypal elements that point us to the very center of the maternal essence.
The Use Of Mythology For Selecting Essential Oils for Soul-Level Blends
Given the strong influence of religious literalists upon our culture, most people have come to view the Garden of Eden story as either a description of the actual events of Creation and/or a moralistic precautionary tale of good and evil. Thus, at the very least from a kabbalistic perspective, the story is perhaps the most widely misinterpreted allegorical myth.
It should be noted that the a myth is not a tall tale but rather a story shared within a group, that is a part of that group’s cultural or spiritual identity. Myths typically involve supernatural explanations of natural phenomena and the nature of life and spirit.
Mythologist Joseph Campbell, the author of The Masks Of God, writes: “Myths orient people to the metaphysical dimension, explain the origins and nature of the cosmos, validate social issues, and, on the psychological plane, address themselves to the innermost depths of the psyche.”
Hence, referring to the “Garden of Eden myth” or the “mythological Eve” is not a dismissive description that in any way diminishes their central importance to our understanding of the nature of the soul’s journey and its relationship with the spiritual world.
Selective Perspectives Regarding Eve:
Archetypal Maternal Figure #1 for Blend Development
The story of Adam and Eve is a familiar one to most people and so does not require a complete recounting. My goal here is to come to an understanding of the compositional archetypal elements of Eve, that the Jewish mystics were both revealing and veiling through allegory and symbolism, and translate these elements into essential oil correlates. Toward this goal, I have selected specific aspects of the Garden of Eden story as it relates to Eve to serve as focal points for the selection of specific essential oils for the Maternal Essence blend.
About ten years ago I came across the book God, Sex and Kabbalah by Rabbi Allen S. Maller. Rabbi Maller covers a lot of ground including a compelling discussion of the inner meaning of the story of the Garden of Eden and Eve. Thus, in Part II of this series I will be presenting excerpts from that discussion and demonstrate the process by which I used them to lead me to the selection of key essential oils for inclusion in the Maternal Essence blend.