Spirituality in Aromatherapy: Essential Oils and the Christian Faith
I'm setting out to answer a really important question when it comes to essential oils. What do they have to do with faith, and should Christians be wary of using them? (I'm intimidated already at answering such big questions!) Hopefully I can start to address this big topic on my humble little blog.
Aromatherapy and SpiritualityFor now, I wanted to point out one thing that's clear about plant essences: they have been used in worship and with careful intent in times of anointing, prayer, and sacrifice for ages. Because God describes the use of specific plant essences, incense, and perfumes to be used in the temple and for worship, I believe that essential oils can bless God when our hearts are doing the same.
So while I believe essential oils have an inherent spiritual significance, it's important to point out that the oils on their own can't do anything in our spiritual lives; God does that. Essential oils simply enhance what God's doing.
There is a spiritual component to true aromatherapy, because it's all about the holistic use of essential oils to support the physical, mental, and spiritual health of the individual. It's an incredible healing modality that addresses each of these aspects of life. In the hands of a Christian, aromatherapy and the use of essential oils are a wonderful thing!
Aromatherapy and the BelieverThe use of essential oils is, of course, not exclusive to any one faith. However, I think they are particularly powerful for Christians. There are so, so many examples of using plants and their fragrant essences in worship that come straight from God. He gave his people recipes of how to make anointing oil and perfumed incense. The Hebrew people used infused oils and resins like frankincense, myrrh, hyssop, cypress, cistus (the rose of Sharon) and much more in their everyday lives as well as for special occasions and religious ceremonies. More importantly, Jesus was blessed by these oils on several occasions.
As a Christian, I'm simply using essential oils as God leads. I love the science behind each one, the aromatic molecules that are packed with all sorts of beneficial properties. To me, these plant essences are beautiful and powerful gifts from God that I get to discover and unwrap on a regular basis. (Using oils is like Christmas EVERY DAY!!)
Yes, there are plenty who practice ayervedic, eastern, and native healing arts that incorporate essential oils. But that is no reason to avoid using them yourself if you are a Christian.
In fact, the spiritual properties of aromatherapy have a very close relationship to the Christian faith. For Christ-followers, essential oils can aid us in prayer and worship, support healing that God is doing in our lives, and add a little extra value and wholeness to our daily walk.
As long as I'm making sure that I don't turn to essential oils, expecting them to address my problems and desires as though they are all I need; as long as I hold Christ in the highest place in my heart and look to God for fulfillment and health, I'm completely free to use essential oils the way I believe God intended when he created them.
My passion as a Christian aromatherapy student is to use essential oils in accordance with my faith, to use them to draw myself, my family, and others closer to God, and to shine light on the fact that aromatherapy and Christianity are not opposed to each other.
Over the next few months, I will be writing more on Christian aromatherapy topics, especially the aromatic oils of the Bible and different aspects of their use in the Old and New Testaments. I'm so excited to share more about how Christianity resonates with aromatherapy!