When in the grip of life’s modern day malaise, we love to turn to not-so-modern natural therapeutic remedies for a little help. Case in point: anointing oils. Applied throughout the day on pulse points, these aroma-therapeutic oils can have a wonderfully transformative effect on our moods! Let’s take a brief look at the history of anointing.
Since the beginning of time, scents and the use of aromatics in religious rites served the purpose of communicating with the spirit world and connecting with the gods. Anointing in itself is the ritual act of pouring aromatic or perfumed oil over someone’s head or body. The actual act of anointing serves different purposes and has a long history in prehistoric and primitive religions. East African Arabs would anoint themselves with sacrificed lion’s fat to gain courage. Anointing the body served the purpose of imparting supernatural qualities to the wearer when it was rubbed on the body. In ancient India, corpses were anointed with turmeric and sandalwood oil, and anointing is still common practice today for government officials, worshippers and idols. The Romans would pour oils over the ashes of the dead, while ancient Egyptians are famous for using copious amounts of oils during their mummification rites.
The ceremonial act of anointing with fragrant oils took on a more sacred and religious aspect throughout Judaism and Christianity – Jews use myrrh as one of the main ingredients of their holy anointing oil, alongside cinnamon and cassia during their consecration of priests. Because of its importance, the High Priest and the king were sometimes called “the Anointed One”. Christians also use consecrated oil known as ‘Chrism’ in various rites, including baptism and confirmation. Later, in medieval times, the practice of anointing the dead was particularly associated with protection against vampires and ghouls who might otherwise take possession of the corpse.
Today, anointing has also been an important ritual in European coronations and is still being practised by British royalty. It is of course also used for the purpose of aromatherapy – our favourite! We’ve raved about aromatherapy for reasons aplenty – in fact, you can read our love letter to essential oils here. You can also check out our favourite #CONTENTapproved aroma-therapeutic products here.
HOW WE USE THEM
Today, we love to use anointing oils as wellbeing mood-regulators throughout the day – the Lotus Wei collection is perfect, as they are handy, purse-size and come in little roller bottles. They are made using a perfumer’s dilution of essential oils and combine flower essences, crystal energy and aromatherapy. As they’re completely natural and free from preservatives, they need to be reapplied every few hours — not that we we mind, it’s actually just the kind of #CONTENTritual we love! We love to use them as a gentle reminder to take some time for ourselves – a little mood manager throughout the day. Each perfume has three core elements – an Experience it creates, a set of Antidote and an Aroma it gives – all aimed at lifting the mood. We love to apply Inner Peace pre-meditation to deepen our practice, or Inspired Action when we’re having a creativity block.
WHY THE EXPERTS LOVE ANOINTING OILS
We’ve asked some of our favourite modern-day plant-based alchemists their thoughts on anointing oils…
Katie Hess, founder of Lotus Wei
“I chose the word ‘anointing’ oil because it reminds us of the preciousness of life – and the preciousness of our bodies. When we see our own bodies as sacred, we begin to see everything in our lives that way, transforming mundane into divine. Everything little thing – a breeze, a leaf, a smile – has depth and meaning. When we ‘anoint’ our bodies, it acknowledges and evokes the pure and divine part of each of us.
A practice to take the ritual even further is to visualize the entire universe inside your body. As you’re anointing yourself with precious botanical oils & elixirs of flowers & gems, you can visualize making offerings of endless fields of flowers, gems and delightful fragrances that awaken minds & make everyone happy. As we visualize everyone, including ourselves, becoming happy and clear, it naturally shifts how we see the world in our everyday life because we activate our broader awareness of all beings in the world and how we’re all interconnected. What we wish for another, we wish for ourselves. A simple act of self-care transforms into a profound prayer for humanity.”
Michelle Roques O’Neill, founder of Therapie Roques O’Neil
“The word anoint has always had a spiritual significance and relates to the pouring or rubbing of a scented oil or urgent onto the body. This idea has always entranced me as a means of in engaging with your sensuality and body with intention. It engages the senses and imbues ones body with sense of sacredness; ultimately, it embodies the idea of honouring and making time for yourself wholly for you. This is something that gets skipped in our time poor world.”