It’s mid-festival, Ladies and Gentlemen, here at AMDD and on this glorious day (hottest day of the year I believe so far in parts of Ireland and England) I thought we could all do with a little pampering…a little TLC. So here is the second part of Yoga instructor and Aromatherapist Jessica Powers’ article for the Summer Solstice, full of soothing and uplifting aromatherapy recipes.
My favourite thing to do after a day like this is to take a long soak in the bath and I make my own bath salts to enhance the experience. Here is my recipe (based on informations from Star Khechara’s ‘The Holistic Beauty Book’…brilliant resource for those you like handmade beauty products) for ‘Spoil Yourself’ bath salts.
- 1 generous handful of coarse sea salt
- 2 tblsp of oats
- 2 tblsp dried rose petals
- 2 tblsp finely grated cocoa butter
- 1 vanilla pod
- optional: 10 drops of Ylang Ylang essential oil
Place the sea salt, oats, rose petals and grated cocoa butter in a bowl. Split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape the seeds into the bowl as well. Mix everything throughly. If the scent of vanilla and rose is enough, leave it at that. I personally like a few drops of Ylang Ylang, which you would add now, blending throughly. Place the mixture in a pretty glass jar and leave to infuse for a few days.
To use sprinkle some in your bath, swishing about until the salt dissolves. If you don’t like bits floating round you, place it in a muslin bag or clean pop sock and use like a teabag for your bath :)
The oats make your bath milky and are very soothing for dry or sensitive skin (they’re supposedly meant to be great for eczema too). The cocoa butter will melt and moisturise your skin and the rose petals will make you feel like you’re in a John William Waterhouse painting! AAAhhhhhhhhh!
Summer Solstice Aromatherapy
by Jessica Powers
Now that you’ve had some time to tap into your inner creativity, enjoy mixing up the following potions, to help soothe you after too much time in the sunlight, or assist you in recalling that same brilliance later on in the year. Your local health food store should have the basic ingredients, but try to be mindful of your purchases: buy local if you can, and definitely buy organic. Two good organic retail brands of essential oils available online are listed in the Resources.
Sun Soothing Summer Spritzer
Cool and refresh your body and heart after days spent enjoying the heat and light with this combination of calming hydrosol (the water left over from the steam distillation of essential oils) and balancing essential oils.
- 50ml Rose Hydrosol, Rosa centifolia if possible
- 5 drops Lavender, Lavandula angustifolia
- 3 drops Bergamot, Citrus bergamia
- 1 drop Peppermint, Mentha piperita
- 1 drop Roman Chamomile, Anthemis nobilis
Place all ingredients in a spray bottle and store in refrigerator. Shake before use and take care to close eyes before spritzing on face. Essential oils will ‘marry’ over time and the resulting fragrance may differ from your original mix, feel free to add more oils, conservatively, to the blend to create a spritzer that lightens your spirit with its scent.
Contraindications: Bergamot is photosensitizing, so be sure to slip/slop/slather the SPF on after using this oil; Peppermint can be sensitizing to the skin and is not appropriate if using homeopathics, during pregnancy or for individuals with epilepsy, circulatory conditions or pace makers. Lavender may not be appropriate for those with low blood pressure or during pregnancy.
Summer Soles Salt Bath
Got hot feet? Dunk them in this fragrant salt blend to refresh and restore.
- 1 cup Epsom salts
- 8 drops Grapefruit, Citrus paradisi
- 5 drops Lavender, Lavandula angustifolia
- 2 drops Peppermint, Metha piperita
Stir and shake the salts and oils together in a tightly sealed glass container (old pasta jars are good for making a large batch). When you are ready to treat yourself, get a chair softly padded with pillows, lay a towel on the ground in front of it, and place a large container of warm water on top. If your water is hot, allow it to cool just enough that you can place your feet in comfortably, soaking both or one at a time depending on the size of your bowl or dish. You want to put several generous scoops of the salts in along with your feet, this way you’ll get the most fragrant foot bath possible.
Soak as long as you like, dry your feet off, pour the water out on a tree or in your garden with a blessing of gratitude, and go about your day with more spring in your step!
Contraindications: Grapefruit is photosensitizing and negates homeopathic medicines and oral contraceptives. Peppermint is not recommended when using homeopathic treatments, during pregnancy or for individuals with epilepsy, circulatory issues or pacemakers, and can be skin sensitizing. Also, Lavender is not suggested for those with low blood pressure or during pregnancy.
Litha Solar Oil Anointing Blend
A blend to bring you into alignment with the height of the Sun’s power.
Litha, the common term Neo-Pagans use for this Solstice, is a time to celebrate the strength of the Divine Masculine and the fertility of the Divine Feminine. Whether we are male or female, putting our body in this form enables connection to the creativity that resides within us. Whether your work is focused towards creating a new life, a piece of art, a loaf of bread; uses two needles, one hook, or a needle and thread; involves writing words, composing music, choreographing a dance, staging a play, or starting a business; harvesting organic foods, reducing excess consumption, increasing loving-kindness, or furthering global shifts towards peace: the ability of your creative spirit to manifest in this world is fully supported at this time of year.
Charge this oil outside so that you can call on its strength and inspiration throughout the year.
- 10ml Infused Calendula Oil, Calendula officinalis – thought to be most potent at the midsummer, if you are really keen – grow, harvest, and infuse your own!
- or 10ml Sunflower Oil, Helianthus annus
- 8 drops Orange, Citrus sinensis
- 8 drops Grapefruit, Citrus paradisi
- 3 drops Black Pepper, Piper nigrum
- 1 drop Cedar, Juniperus virginiana or Cedrus atlantica
Blend all ingredients in a 10ml dark glass bottle and place outside, nestled in the shaded abundance of Summer’s green growth, for an hour at noon. Shake and store away from light in a cool location. The bathroom is not recommended due to the heat and moisture there. Be mindful that Cedar is a base note and may overtake the others; the essential oils will meld and the fragrance may alter significantly within 24 hours, if this occurs, you can add a small amount extra of whichever oil you would like to smell more of.
Usage: anointing blends are used in small quantities on energy centers and pulse points, somewhat similar to perfume oils. Try dabbing this blend right onto your fingers and then on your temples, third eye (between the eyebrows), the wrists, solar plexus, sacrum, and bottom of the feet for an energetic realignment and calling in of solar power. During the dark of winter it is very helpful to create a simple morning ritual applying the oil to these spots, or those of your choosing, to maintain the brightness of your inner sunshine when the outside world may be dark and draining. If you have a regular home Yoga practice, try anointing yourself before the practice begins or before you take your final relaxation pose and tap into the solar energy through both body and scent. If you are a meditation practitioner a few drops before you sit would also draw in the benefits of the charged oil. One drop diluted in a base of Shea butter (Butyrospermum parkii) or a small amount of unscented lotion will make a lovely foot rub after your foot soak.
Or, dilute 5 or more drops into 10ml of carrier oil (sunflower or other) for a softly scented full body application.
Contraindications: citrus oils are photosensitizing – be sure to apply SPF when going in the sun within 12 hours of putting on this blend. If anointing yourself in the morning on your face, apply your SPF first and wait 30 minutes before using the oil blend. Because SPF is so important during the day, it is recommended that full body oil application only be done in the evenings. Grapefruit is photosensitizing and negates homeopathic medicines and oral contraceptives. Also, citrus can be drying to delicate skins, and along with Black Pepper can be sensitizing to skin so take care and remember that a little oil with a lot of intention goes very, very far indeed. Black Pepper negates homeopathic medicines. Cedar oil is not recommended during pregnancy or for individuals with epilepsy.
- Battaglia, Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, 2nd edition. Queensland AU: International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy, 2003.
- Loughran, Joni and Bull, Ruah. Aromatherapy Anointing Oils: Spiritual Blessings, Ceremonies and Affirmations. California: Frog Ltd., 2001.
- Mojay, Gabriel. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance with Essential Oils. Rochester VT: Healing Arts Press, 1997.
Yoga instructor and Aromatherapist, Jessica Powers is a native of the Pacific Northwest currently training to jump through hoops and join her partner in New Zealand. Keeping her sane in during this endeavour are her cats, Yoga practice, scented potions, and copious amounts of yarn. While sometimes there are only cat photos, she does blogs regularly at www.knottyknickers.typepad.com. Jessica can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions related to the practice and recipes provided here.