Cypress, Oil of Transition

Apr 19, 11:12 PM

by Katharine Koeppen, RA

Change. Some of us embrace it, but it is our nature to resist it. I've certainly had more of my share lately, with Aromaceuticals preparing to move into a new office, a private practice that is shifting more and more towards somato-spiritual aromatherapy, a flurry of speaking engagements, and a new set of friends in my personal life. All these changes are very positive, yet a bit overwhelming since they're occurring at warp speed. To move through these transitions with ease and grace, I've been reaching for cypress essential oil (Cupressus sempervirens).

The ancients named this tree sempervirens, or everlasting life, and dedicated it to the Underworld. For ages throughout Europe and the Middle East, cypress was placed in and around graveyards as the tree was thought to assist souls in their journey to the afterworld. Cypress is exceptionally long-lived, and some of these trees still stand near cemeteries today... 2,000 years after they were planted!

Cupressus sempervirens has a distinctive tall, flame-like shape which has been associated with the flame of eternal life. Archetypally, cypress is remniscent of the Hermit, one who has spent a long period in deep inner exploration and is ready to bring his knowledge and wisdom to the world in the service of higher good. The oil is helpful for those who must sublimate temporal desires for higher spiritual purpose, and cypress wood was used in the fashioning of staves and sceptres (symbols of authority and wisdom) for priests of various ancient Mediterranean religions.

Emotionally and spiritually, the essential oil lends strength to those who are navigating a period of profound change. It is useful for individuals experiencing major life transitions such as a switch of career, divorce, death of a loved one, moving to a new home, adopting a child, etc. Cypress provides emotional support, fortifying the soul and purifying the psyche by releasing fear of the shadows. It assists us in accepting difficult or profound inner and outer change by easing our insecurities. The oil is lovely in meditation blends for those who are searching for new values and meaning as they evolve on their life path. It is exceptionally useful in hospice and palliative care.

Cypress sprigs and wood were burnt as a traditional incense associated with purification and consecration. For the uses suggested above, the essential oil combines nicely with Atlas cedar, frankincense, vetivert, spikenard, juniper, elemi, rose otto, sweet marjoram or bay laurel.

When change hits fast and furiously, soothe the transition with cypress. You'll swim through with flying colours!

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