Recently, I formulated a new Spiritual PhytoEssencing (SPE) blend (that my students will be blending and working with) called Return To The One that has great relevance in this era of general divisiveness, separation from one’s real self, and estrangement from spirit, nature and the natural laws of health and disease.
I have already prepared the blend. It is constructed of 6 layers plus a finishing SPE alchemy technique called the magic drops. Scent-wise it is kaleidoscopic; its scent notes shift and change every time you encounter it. This is a sign of high plant-soul energetics that lends the blend the quality of having “being.” Its effects are formidable and readily perceived. One feels insulated from the outer turmoil, deeply centered in one’s inner soul nature ─ all the electrons of one’s outer existence drawn in more securely to the centripetal force of that nucleus. A remarkable deep-acting blend.
In addition to using the blend externally in various ways, 2 drops of the blend will be used to prepare a homeopathic-style potentized dilution (approximately a 1 part : 1,000,000,000 dilution) for internal administration.
Thos blend will be used to: a) help reestablish connection between one’s inner, true nature and outer identity; b) help link consistently with the inner point – the point of interface between one’s soul and its origin (the Divine; the Tao; the One, etc.).
In Part I of this discussion, I provide basic orientation regarding the foundational themes that guided my formulation of the Return To The One blend.
In Part II (a follow-up article), I will provide an in-depth view of the essential oil selection process for this blend and insights regarding the SPE blending method.
The architecture of this blend was inspired by my integration of the following foundational themes.
I. The Philosophy of Plotinus
The following excerpts from Return To The One by Brian Hines (from which title I derived the name of the blend) not only provides succinct insight into the philosophy of Plotinus but, vis a vis that, serves as the primary contextualizing construct regarding my Return To The One blend.
“Soul [which emanates from spirit] is spirit’s emissary to the material realm. Soul enables matter to receive the forms [archetypes] which otherwise would eternally remain in the spiritual world.
“When the soul enters the physical universe, the realm of many, it becomes divided.”
At first, soul force is in the stage that kabbalists refer to as the collective soul, wherein all souls are still united as one soul force; then it dividesinto separate, unique, individualized souls.
“To experience materiality a separate body is needed. To live as a separate body, a sense of individuality or ego is needed. To be an individual, memories, perceptions, thoughts, emotions and desires are required. These become the personality; the little bit of the cosmos that has become particularized into you or me.
All that gets added on to the soul—body, ego, personality—eventually becomes so familiar that we can’t remember or even imagine being anything else. Yet there was a time when we were not conscious of being many in matter, but single in spirit.
The higher part of the soul is eternally in the spiritual world. The lower part is temporarily involved in caring for the body and sensing the physical world. The middle or rational part is where the balance of power resides. If our thoughts and desire are primarily directed downward, then that is where our conscious attention will be taken. Alternatively, if a person’s attention is turned toward spirit, his or her lower part will be drawn upward.”
The Kabbalah teaches that the human soul consists of five levels. Accordingly, the soul-natures of specific essential oils correlate to varying degrees with each of these five levels.
Accordingly, the lower three levels of the soul (the lowest of these levels can be viewed as the animal soul component of the human soul) can be understood as degrees of light that enter our bodies. The highest (most spirit-oriented) two levels can be understood as light that encompasses us. Thus, the soul is both an inner, immanent light and an outer, encompassing, transcendent light.
The two highest levels of the soul are so exceedingly sublime that only a very few individuals, the mystics who have achieved an uninterrupted illuminative state, have ever directly experienced their light.
Returning now to the ideas of Plotinus, Brian Hines continues:
“Both pleasure and pain have something to do with physical or psychic distance. When we’re close to what we desire or love, we feel good. When we’re distant, we feel bad. The root of both joy and suffering is separation.
Consciousness is composite. Part of the soul’s awareness remains in touch with spirit while our conscious attention is occupied with affairs of the physical world. Hence we are split off from our own selves and have incessant longing to become whole again.
So long as a person’s conscious attention is directed toward his physical body and the world out there while the unrealized higher part of his soul is subtly communing with spirit in here, his mood is bound to fluctuate.”
The Fundamental Sequence
In the Timaeus, Plato states: “We must make a distinction between the two great forms of being, and ask: What is that which Is and has no becoming, and what is that which is always becoming and never Is?
Using Plotinus’ model, the fundamental sequence of being and becoming proceeds along the following pathway:
Source (transcendental aspect of God; the Tao; Ein Sof; The One)
Body and Soul (Nature)
Either Illusion (perpetual state of becoming) or back to Source (i.e., return to the One; perpetual state of being).
Whether a person becomes immersed in illusion or maintains connection to what is real (Spirit; The One) ultimately determines whether:
a) a person lives in the fragments, because his or her perpetual becoming is estranged from actual being.
b) a person achieves the wholeness that can only derive from becoming continuously infused by being (ongoing inspiration and direction by spirit).
Illusion represents complete immersion in apparent existence, mistaking that for absolute being. Nevertheless, as everything ultimately derives from archetypes that originate in spirit, even illusion is tinctured by spirit to one degree or another.
II. Hegel’s Model of the Dialectical Process
The 19th century German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel used the term dialectical to refer to a process wherein a concept merges with its opposite, causing the distinctions between the two to dissolve. In the course of this merger, some of the original distinctions between the polar opposites remain intact; however these are overcome in such a way to reveal not only the original spiritual root of each oppositional entity, but also, what appeared to be opposites were actually mutually dependent. In other words, this melding of opposites represents the very essence of creativity.
Hegel felt that as everything is a product of an interaction between opposing elements, actual comprehension of the essence of a manifestation requires an awareness of the interaction of the opposing, determinant forces that produced its apparent unity.
Hegel stresses the paradoxical nature of consciousness. The mind seeks to identify the whole truth, but thought consciousness operates via drawing distinctions and establishing dualities. Accordingly, it focuses alternately on the components of the duality, until it finally attunes to the distinction itself.
A thesis can be viewed as a single idea. The idea contains a form of incompleteness that gives rise to the antithesis, a conflicting idea. A third point of view, a synthesis, arises from mediation of this conflict and overcomes the conflict by reconciling the truths contained at a higher level in the thesis and antithesis.
The central dialectical brought into focus in the formulation of this blend is separation and unity. The synthesis of this thesis/antithesis helps facilitate the descent of spirit into matter.
III. Oceanic Feeling
In Ecomysticism, Carl Von Essen, M.D. writes: “Deeper consciousness can lead to a transcendent communion with Nature. Spinoza felt that the universe contained creative forces that can be comprehended only through deep intuition rather than mathematics.
Goethe discussed the pathway from the sensation of observation to the subconscious imagination [referred to in SPE as imaginal consciousness]. In other words, imagination [imaginal consciousness] is actually an instrument of scientific observation. It represents a conscious cultivation of the “oceanic feeling.”
Oceanic feeling is a psychological term coined by Romain Rolland and popularized by Sigmund Freud in his books The Future of an Illusion (1927) and Civilization and Its Discontents (1929/1930) the “oceanic” feeling of limitlessness. According to Rolland’s definition of oceanic feeling- a feeling of unbounded oneness with the universe – is the source of all the spiritual energy that permeates religion.”
Rolland introduced this term in a biography that he wrote about the Indian philosopher Ramakrishna.
“The whole scene [of his surroundings] vanished. It seemed that nothing existed anymore. Instead I saw an ocean, boundless and dazzling. In whatever direction I looked, great luminous waves were rising. They bore down on me with a great roar, as if to swallow me; they broke over me, they engulfed me. Around me rolled an ocean of ineffable joy. And in the depths of my being I was conscious of the presence of the Divine Mother.” – from The Life of Ramakrishna by Romain Rolland
“What occurs in the oceanic feeling is a spontaneous expansion of consciousness in which natural phenomena acquire unaccustomed depth, being charged with meaning and seem to lose their separateness both from each other and the observer and appear in all their intense relatedness.”
Oceanic feeling is actually an inherent feature of the SPE blending process. There are four windows of knowing: sensing, feeling, thinking and connection to spirit. While thinking dominates the formulation process, sensing, feeling and connection to spirit are emphasized in the blending process.
SPE blending does not simply involve static drop-counts for each oil used, but rather it is a fluid process that involves conscious soul-to-soul connection to each oil. Additionally, in SPE, deep acting blends are built in layers in order to create a
3-dimensional dynamic and to reflect the lower-to-higher layered nature of the soul.
Within the actual structure of the Return To The One blend, rosemary, neroli and cistus serve in various ways, including having the unique role of connecting to the oceanic milieu.
The genus name Rosmarinus (rosemary’s Latin genus and species name is Rosmarinus officinalis) was compounded by the Roman scholar Pliny from the Latin words ros, meaning “foam,” and marinus, meaning “sea.” This was based upon his observation that rosemary grew so close to the seashores that it was continually being sprayed with sea water. Some writers translate Rosmarinus as “sea dew.” Regardless of the variations in translation, the important signature here is rosemary’s association with proximity to the sea and sea water.
Neroli is one of the few essential oils in the SPE Repertory of Essential Oils found in the rubrics: dreams of water; dreams of swimming; dreams of waves breaking over her.
As far as I know, cistus is one of the only oils with an historical relation to whales. Perfumers consider the resin to be an acceptable substitute for ambergris (obtained from the sperm whale).
Many believe that Cistus ladanifer is the biblical Rose of Sharon (mentioned in Song of Songs 2:1), and it can still be found today flowering on Mount Carmel. There is a diversity of opinion regarding the identity of the Rose of Sharon with some of the other candidates, including a type of crocus (Hibiscus syriacus), a tulip-like flower (Tulipa montana or Tulipa agenensis) and a lily (Lilium candidum). Nevertheless, the prominence of C. ladanifer on this list of candidates justifies the correlation of cistus oil with the scriptural symbolism associated with the Rose of Sharon.
The Plain of Sharon is the coastal plain located between the Mediterranean Sea and mountains to the east, which runs from near the modern Tel Aviv to just south of Mount Carmel. One meaning of the Hebrew word sharon (pronounced shar’-un) is wetlands. The plain is crisscrossed with streams, with four of these transporting water from the western slopes of the mountains to the sea. Water is plentiful below the surface of the plain as well, and a functional well can be dug almost anywhere within its bounds. The Crusaders dug deep, finely built wells near some of the villages that are still in operation today.
IV. Kabbalah: Separation and Judgment are the Source of Evil
A central feature of Lurianic Kabbalism (the Kabbalistic system based upon the teachings of Rabbi Isaac Luria, a great 16th century Kabbalist) is the concept of tsimtsum: God’s withdrawal from the central point of the universe which resulted in a Vacated Space in which finite Creation could unfold. Once this Vacated Space formed, a ray of divine light was infused into it that carried all the potentialities for the infinity of matter and energy that constitutes the created universe and finite existence.
From the perspective of the Kabbalah, evil is always either good which has become separated from its proper place, or something which enters into a relation for which it is not intended.
This withdrawal or self-banishment of God’s essence into itself is the primordial exile that, while facilitating Creation, is the template for all the forms of separation and exile that underlie the existence of harsh judgment and evil.
After the tsimtsum, the powers of judgment, which in God’s essence were united in infinite harmony with the ‘roots’ of all other potencies, separate from this state of homogeneity and concentrate in the Vacated Space. The Kabbalah views evil as a hypertrophy of the powers of judgment.
Gershom Scholem in On The Kabbalah And Its Symbolism writes: “The restoration of the ideal order, which forms the original aim of Creation, is also the secret purpose of existence. Salvation means actually nothing but restitution, reintegration of the original whole, or Tikkun [Restoration].”
One of the ways this foundational theme was worked into the architecture of the Return To The One blend formulation was by the use of the rubric (in the SPE Repertory of Essential Oils) Malkhut, sefirah of. One of the meanings of the Hebrew word malkhut is sea. Accordingly, being the lowest vessel on the Kabbalah’s Tree of Life, it is the “sea” into which flows the river of downward-streaming divine light. It is the domain of the material world ─ the place of the actualization of the entire revelation that began as a single point of “waters of Light” trickling into the Vacated Space.
Malkhut is the gateway through which the uncreated light, originating in the Infinite and shaped by the higher Tree of Life vessels, flows from the hidden, inner-realm of pure potential into the outer, material world. Malkhut not only sustains us in the material world but serves as the point of embarkation for ascent to the non-material realm of unity and enlightenment.
The theme of separation is inherent in Malkhut. According to the Kabbalah, Adam’s sin precipitated a “cutting of the shoots” that represented the severing of the unity between the Creator and creation. In effect, Adam caused the vessel of Malkhut, the plane of material existence, to lose its absolute divinity and thus become isolated from the other vessels. This isolation is referred to as the “exile of the Shekhinah (the immanent presence of God ─the Cosmic Mother, hidden within all the manifestations of the natural universe).” Accordingly, the full repair of the world through the offices of human spirituality will be facilitated, in part, by the reascension of Malkhut and thus its unification with the other vessels.
Given all of this, the Malkhut rubric in the SPE Repertory of Essential Oils was one of the rubrics I used to help me identify oil candidates for the Return To The One Blend.
MALKHUT, sefirah (i.e., Tree of Life vessel) of:
bergamot; black spruce; blue chamomile; cacao; cedarwood; champaca; citronella; coffee; copaiba; cumin; davana; galbanum; gandhi root; geranium; gingergrass; goldenrod; helichrysum; jasmine; marjoram; myrrh; orris root; rhododendron; Roman chamomile; sandalwood; seaweed; silver fir; St. John’s wort; turmeric; vetivert;
Cistus, clary sage; monarda; patchouli; pemou; rosewood; spikenard
V. Real/Self/Ideal Self Reintegration
The self-actualizing tendency is an innate drive within the soul that is the creative force toward the actualization of one’s inherent potentials. The great psychologist Carl Rogers identified the “real self” as the aspect of one’s being that is founded in this self-actualizing tendency and is guided by organismic valuing ─ the innate capacity to assess and correlate factors in one’s life through feeling and sensing and then make decisions based on what is truly important for oneself and what is essential for fulfillment on an inner core level.
On the other hand, to the extent that one’s milieu inhibits the self-actualizing tendency, is forced to accept conditions of worth set by others that are out of step with one’s own organismic valuing, we develop instead an “ideal self.”
Rogers writes: “Below the level of the problem situation about which the individual is complaining- behind the trouble with studies, or spouse, or employer, or with his or her frightening feelings, lies one central search. At the bottom each person is asking: ‘Who am I really? How can I get in touch with this real self, underlying all my surface behavior? How can I become myself?”
The goal the individual most wishes to achieve, the end which knowingly and unknowingly pursues, is to become oneself.”
To Rogers, the ideal self is something other than real, (i.e., illusory), something that is always out of reach of what is real within us, a standard we cannot sustain indefinitely because it is not grounded in who we really are. This gap between the real self and the ideal self, the “I am” and the “I should” is called incongruity.
The separation of the outer aspect of one’s self-structure from one’s inner spiritual self is due to the centrifugal force created by the locus (i.e., a particular position, point, or place) of valuation being centered in the ideal self.
Overcoming of this separation depends upon a shift of the locus of valuation toward real self/inner spiritual self. This then strengthens the gravitational force of the inner spiritual self.
The permeation of outer self-structure including ego-consciousness by real self, represents a process of creation whereby the individual’s divine spark now becomes mediator of everyday existence.
God achieved self-awareness through introduction of that unique divine spark into a separated, finite world. Similarly, the establishment of real-self consciousness represents the establishment of divine consciousness in the material world and thus achievement of one of the purposes of creation.
For the formulation of Return To The One, I used two rubrics from the SPE Repertory of Essential Oils in order to represent the locus of valuation being centered in the ideal self.
Angelica; benzoin; bergamot; cajuput; caraway; carrot seed; cassie; cedarwood; celery seed; champaca; cinnamon; cistus; coffee; copaiba; coriander; cumin; eucalyptus; fennel; frankincense; galbanum; geranium; ginger; gingergrass; goldenrod; grapefruit; helichrysum; jasmine; juniper; laurel; lemon; lime; lovage; marjoram; mastic; myrrh; neroli; orris root; patchouli; pemou; pine; plai; ravensare; Roman chamomile; rosemary; sage; sandalwood; santolina; saro; savory; seaweed; silver fir; spearmint; tamarack; tarragon; thuja; vetivert; violet; white cloud (kunzea); white spruce; ylang ylang;
Angelica; anise; bitter orange; blue chamomile; calendula; cardamom; carrot seed; celery seed; cilantro; cinnamon; cistus; clove; coffee; copaiba; coriander; frankincense; gandhi root; geranium; ginger; goldenrod; grapefruit; helichrysum; jasmine; juniper; laurel; ledum; lemon; lemongrass; lime; lovage; mastic; melissa; neroli; niaouli; oakmoss; olive leaf; patchouli; pine; Roman chamomile; rosemary; sage; savory; seaweed; silver fir; tarragon; thuja; vetivert; violet; white cloud (kunzea); yarrow; ylang ylang.