The wounded healer archetype has its origins in Greek mythology and shamanic traditions. Images of the wounded healer permeate religion, philosophy, and art and are now used in psychotherapy, counselling, and medicine.
Zerubavel et al. state the ‘wounded healer’ has been misunderstood, discounted, or romanticized and has received minimal academic attention. However, at the same time, many psychotherapists arrive at their profession of choice through a journey that involves a history of pain or suffering.
It is not surprising that childhood experiences of woundedness have often been cited as the primary motivation for becoming a therapist. A high percentage of therapists (75 to 87%, in contrast to 25% of the general population) have participated in therapy, some to meet required training needs, but most to seek help for psychological, interpersonal, or substance abuse problems.1
The metaphor of the wounded healer is now adapted by healthcare professionals in a wide range of disciplines including psychology, psychotherapy, nursing medicine, teaching, social work, and mental health.
The wounded healer is also acknowledged as being an important aspect of the education and training of many health care professionals. A recent paper explored how the wounded healer archetype can guide learning and teaching in social work and human services. The authors of this paper written by scholars at Queensland University of Technology, believes that Jung’s interpretation of the wounded healer can be applied to understanding the learning needs of social work and human services students with histories of abuse, neglect, or other childhood adversity.2
What are archetypes?
Kirmayer states the notion of an archetype implies an elemental and universal quality of experience that seems to stand outside space and time, perhaps because archetypes reflect basic processes of pattern generation and recognition in the nervous system. He describes archetypes as universal processes of making meaning that give rise to similar images and narratives in diverse human cultures.3
Archetypes reflect any aspect of human experience that is universal. It may be biologically based processes, but can equally be associated with birth, attachment, desire, imagination, illness, suffering and death. Kirmayer states the overarching patterns of behaviour and experience that result from these universal existential facts are reflected in a culture’s myths, folktales, art, and dreams.3
Krimayer believes much of the confusion surrounding Jung’s use of the terms archetype and collective consciousness can be resolved by locating the collective, not in the deepest layers of the psyche, but in the social and cultural surround. He believes the role of myths, folktales, fairytales, and dreams are personalized re-telling of the experiential facts that provide answers to the questions posed by our consciousness of our own existential predicaments.3
Smink reminds us that archetypes are dynamic because they are not only embedded in ancient understanding of human nature but also continually redefined throughout the ages. In discussing the role of the caregiver, he states;
Contemporary nurses, firefighters, physicians, educators, chaplains, coaches, and safety officers might recognize that they carry on the traditions of generations past, but they must adapt these traditions to their current historical context.
Archetypes are also alive in mythologies – not only in the collective understanding of a profession, but also in the individual myths each person brings to the profession.4
Embracing your shadow
An important principle to understand archetypes is the ability to embrace the ‘shadow’ rather than thinking of the shadow as bad, ineffective, or wrong. According to Jung, it is necessary to accept and embrace the shadow as a step towards self-actualization. For example, consider the origins of the word ‘heal’ which derives from the Anglo-Saxon word Hal, meaning, whole.
Smith Crusalis states another side of the wounded healer that must be dealt with is unresolved conflict. A healer’s own neglected wounds can result in an inability to activate the inner healer in both the therapist and the patient and in the pathologizing of a patient by the therapist.5
Therapists must also be mindful of their own motivations in the counselling relationship and identify whether their wish to help is really motivated by immature narcissism.5
The greatest challenge for healers may be accept their brokenness as a blessing rather than a curse.5
Smink states the shadow of the caregiver is the caretaker. While the caregiver is deeply nourished by the soulful activity of caregiving; the caretaker experiences caring as a repetitive and burdensome task which starves rather than feeds.4
Smink tells us his own personal story and warns us not to call upon the qualities of a single archetype or worse, identify with the archetype itself as we will lose the totality of who we are. For example, if we identify with the caregiving qualities, we risk burnout and becoming fatigued, which leads to the resentment of ourselves and those we care for.4
He explains to recover his soul, which he referred to as ‘the interior spark within’, he had to learn to cultivate the qualities of the Hero archetype such as determination, discipline, and courage to establish firm boundaries for the sake of his overall health and wellbeing.4
Another archetype he drew strength from was the Explorer or Seeker who helped him envision new pathways, evaluate multiple options, define the most promising terrain, and make appropriate choices when necessary. He describes how working with more than one archetype helped him;
These archetypes, working in tandem with the Caregiver and influenced my Soul, helped me to regain a healthy level of control over my life.
As I learned to take care of myself on every level – emotionally, physically, and spiritually – began to enjoy my work and my life with a deeper fulfillment than I ever thought possible.4
Who is a wounded healer?
Smink suggests we are all wounded healers, as to be human guarantees that one will experience suffering, limitations, and imperfections. The ancients struggled with this notion as we still do now. To be mortal signifies boundaries, imperfections and woundedness. These wounds may be emotional, psychological, or spiritual and may involve depression, alienation, post-traumatic stress, abuse, and lack of meaning in one’s life.4
Used as a metaphor, woundedness can refer to something complex as a broken relationship, a loss of reputation, divorce, or loss of employment and in the case of illness, woundedness may involve physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual experiences.4
Smink reminds us that some wounds will heal, others will not.4
Jung believed that woundedness is an integral aspect of the dynamic process of self-actualisation and individuation, Smink reminds us that Jung reflected on his personal suffering, searching for meaning, and a desire to heal. Personal growth requires us to acknowledge our weakness, vulnerability, incompleteness, and woundedness, and reflecting on and embracing these very struggles lead to insight, wisdom, and the ability to heal others.4
The wounded healer and the caregiver
The term wounded healer has recently become synonymous with burnout or impairment of caregivers in the healing profession.
Daneault author of The wounded healer: can this idea be of use to family physicians? asks whether the wounded healer archetype can assist the physician. Daneault believes the wounded healer is a person who has become a source of great wisdom, healing, and inspiration because of the suffering they have endured.6
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed so much attention on the notion of a ‘wounded healer’. The term is now used to describe a health professional such as a nurse or doctor who places their own need aside in order to help others and experiences burnout. This was obviously the catalyst for psychiatrist and trauma counselor, Omar Reda in writing The Wounded Healer – the pain and joy of caregiving, in 2022.
For those of you who are health professionals, I encourage you to read this incredible book as it provides us with so much practical advice on dealing with caregiver’s burnout and those who have experienced trauma.
He modestly tells his personal story as a war survivor and refugee, revealing his personal courage for dealing with a traumatic past. He writes with so much compassion. This reflects his passion to not only raise awareness of the stigma often attached to caregivers who experience exhaustion and fatigue, but to also provide sound advice on how to deal with such matters. He states that the wounded healer is very much an unacknowledged reality in the healthcare field.7
He reminds us that prolonged exposure to human suffering is not without risks and many caregivers score poorly on burnout and quality-of-life questionnaires.7
Reda explains when exhausted, rather than talking about their needs and proactively taking steps to deal with the challenge a caregiver might take their fatigue and negative energy out on themselves or their loved ones. He explains that caregiver fatigue and toxic stress take their toll on the soul, on physical and mental health, on family bonds, on social life, and on the ability to be at our best.7
He talks about healthy caregivers and how they blossom when given a chance to meet their full potential. He claims that self-care is neither an elusive goal nor an empty promise that is preached but not practiced, and it should never be considered as a luxury or be a source of guilt or shame.7
This is when I get excited, as essential oils play such an important role in self-care and nurturing the wounded healer and this is indeed the premise of this webinar.
Reda is concerned that some caregivers refuse to reach out for help with attitudes such as ‘I can do it on my own’ or ‘I do not want to be a burden’. Such a stance, he states is counterproductive and not conducive to self-healing.7
Reda cites The Encyclopedia of Trauma which describes trauma as an attack on the soul;
After its first three effects: the initial impact, exhaustion, and grief, the fourth and most crucial impact of traumatic stress is on the soul.
Belief injuries can permanently disrupt assumptions of love, kindness, forgiveness, religion, meaning, and purpose. Burnout unfolds from repeated traumatic assaults on the psyche.7
While Reda’s book is written for health professionals, he suggests that we are all caregivers;
We are all caregivers in one way or another: parents as their children grow up, children when their parents get older, family members of those with physical and mental disabilities,
teachers, community and religious leaders, law enforcement officers, first responders, and the many more invisible heroes on the frontlines serving as the glue that holds their families and communities together.7
While the book is written for caregivers in the healthcare system the tools and advice provided in this book will help all caregivers, regardless of their professional background.
Reda refers to another book that he describes as profoundly beautiful and powerful, The Soul of Caregiving by Edward Smink (2018).7
This book is also such an amazing book for anyone who is a caregiver.
The soul of caregiving
Smink sees caregiving as an act of love and a spiritual practice. He refers to our response to trauma as ‘shadows’ and invites us, when we are depleted, to notice them and embrace them with compassion;
When you meet a shadow, practice forgiveness.4
Smink states that working with the wounded, the afflicted, the diseased and the dying enriches our soul’s stamina, quality, and resilience. However, fatigue flattens our compassion and our scars become an invitation to rediscover our soul.4
Smink suggests that caregiving is a divine practice;
Caregivers are hosts, they treat their guests with hospitality, sharing the best of what they have. Hospitality entertains curiosity about the guest’s story without neglecting that of the host.
Welcome the interior movements of your soul. At the heart of compassion is hospitality. As you welcome the stranger, your own humanity and dignity get restored. To care for a guest is to welcome the divine.4
However, when the shadow takes over, the caregiver becomes the caretaker. When you lose the soul of caregiving, it becomes a job, a paycheck and it becomes a burden. Burnout, leads to soul ache and he stresses the need for restorative practices, honest and serious soul-searching, and a renewed, constant, and consistent commitment to self-care.4
Advice for caregivers
Reda provides us with some practical advice when dealing with individuals in distress;7
1. Authenticity: our clients recover quickly if we genuinely care about them.
2. Curiosity: we must show interest in them as humans. Not as statistics, or judge them based on labels assigned to symptoms.
3. Flexibility: we must be ready to adjust our way of thinking ad in doing so, be better able to meet their unique needs.
4. Humility: we must maintain an attitude of a student, keen to learn from each encounter.
Reda states that he was advised to call his book The Warrior Healer, rather than The Wounded Healer. He explained while we are indeed warrior healers, he decided to stick with the current title, because a wound for him is a mark of courage, not a sign of weakness. To be wounded, he claims is a privilege, not a judgement.7
While some caregivers use dissociation as a defense mechanism to protect themselves, Reda provides us with a wonderful list of how a caregiver helps people;7
• Find safety – by fostering hope in the future and instilling faith in humanity;
• Finding voice – by building a safe space that allows people permission to talk;
• Finding meaning – by working with survivors of trauma on repairing shattered core beliefs about safety, trust, and common goodness and helping them realize that they are not broken because of the trauma they have endured;
• Finding forgiveness – by emphasizing unconditional self-forgiveness, which means making and receiving amends, and helping those we care for appreciate that they have done their best given the circumstances;
• Finding healing – by harnessing resilience, promoting self-care, and encouraging altruism and community service;
• Finding closure – by helping them mourn past relationships and redefining or reconstructing new ones;
• Finding beauty - by integrating the trauma story so they may find beauty in themselves, in their families, in others, and in the world all around them. There is beauty despite suffering.
Henri Nouwen, a Catholic priest and psychologist and author of the book, The Wounded Healer reminds ministerial counselors to make their own emotional wounds a source of healing for those they counselled.8
The myths of the wounded healer
In Greek mythology, healers were portrayed as inseparable from their own persistent wounds.
The Greek Gods and healers, Chiron and Asklepius were themselves wounded.
Chiron, a centaur, and master of the healing arts, was hit with a poisoned arrow by Heracles. He could not heal himself and thus gave up his immortality. Asklepius is struck by lightning while trying to raise the dead, while Asklepius’ son is wounded in battle while healing others.6
According to the Greek mythology, Chiron the centaur was taught medicine by Apollo and Artemis. Chiron was wounded by an arrow from Heracles bow. He did not die because Gods are immortal; however, he suffered excruciating pain for the rest of his eternal days. It was because of his grievous wound that Chiron became known as a legendary healer in ancient Greece. Chiron later took an orphaned child, Asclepius, into his care who was son of Apollo and a mortal named Coronis.6 Asclepius had been spared certain death when Apollo snatched him from his dead mother’s breast just before she burst into flames. Chiron taught Asclepius everything he knew about the healing arts. Asclepius is referred to as one of the founding fathers of Western medicine.6
It was Jung who first used the term wounded healer. Jung believed that disease of the soul could be best training for a healer. Jung wrote that a wounded physician could heal effectively and in doing so drew on the myth of Chiron, making the wounded healer one of the most fundamental archetypes of human history and modern medicine.6
The M&M effect
Morgan Gonzales in her heartfelt article about the wounded healer, tells us how as an oncology clinician, she rejected the notion of the wounded healer;9
I prided myself on being able to hold boundaries with patients and with myself. My response to this was, ‘well, if you can’t handle it, then you should not do this work.’
However, an encounter with a young breast cancer patient changed her perspective and she realized that she was experiencing the ‘M&M effect’;
I was hard on the outside but soft on the inside. Allowing the M&M effect to occur was impacting my practice with patients; I became hardened and unable to connect with them.
I continued to identify myself as someone who had seen the worst and could deal with whatever came my way.I was proud of not being vulnerable and open to my patients.
I had to realize this was not pride, but a wound so open and deep that I just continued to put salt on it until it developed a hard crust.9
It often appears that therapists remain detached from and avoid their wounds. However, Gonzales explains the great sense of relief in embracing one’s wounds;
I discovered that finding your wounds only comes at a time of deep reflection and meaning-making with yourself. I embraced by wounds and allowed healing to happen.
I made meaning of the wound that I had avoided and detached from. I discovered a way not to allow it to stunt me, but instead to grow from it.9
Gonzales explains the importance of mindfulness in order to identify our wounds;
In embracing our woundedness, we can offer a deep presence that only comes from awareness that our wounds are what make us who we are and connect us to others. To identify our own wounds and become healed, we need to intentionally be present with ourselves, mindful.
If we have intention, purpose, and mindfulness in our time with ourselves and with our patients, we can heal from our own wounds. Healing our wounds can decrease burnout and professional fatigue.
We must find a way to become whole through the sadness, trauma, and death we see daily.9
Gonzales reminds us to challenge ourselves to have intentional self-care. Be present with yourself, take time to reconnect with yourself through mindfulness practice, seeking feedback from your peers, professional education, prayer, or exercise.9
Healing the wounded healer
Kirmayer describes five stages in the development of the wounded healer;3
• The first stage is the healer who will not, cannot, or does not confront their own woundedness and instead identifies with the power of healing, seeing themselves as different from the patient.
• The second stage brings the healer in contact with their own problem and traumas.
• The third stage is when the healer feels overwhelmed by shadow and darkness and identifies themselves with their own wounds. They lose their identity as a healer.
• The fourth stage involves the acceptance of the wound which invokes the inner healer.
• The fifth stage is when the healer realizes the wound can only be partly healed and that they must descend again and again into their suffering. They realise that their strengths and weaknesses are one and the same.
Kirmayer states another side of the wounded healer that must be addresses is unresolved conflict and neglected wounds which can result in the inability to activate the inner healer in both the therapist and the patient that may also leads to the pathologizing of the patient by the therapist. Therapists must also identify their own motivations in the healing relationship and recognize whether a wish to help is really motivated by immature narcissism.3
Nouwen reminds us that healing happens when the healer and the patient can share the depth of pain and together experience the action of rising from it. It is this connection, at its deepest level between the therapist and patient that is responsible for healing the wounds caused by alienation, separation, isolation, and loneliness. He also states the greatest challenge for healers is to learn to live with their brokenness as a blessing rather than a curse.8
Are you a wounded healer?
Roger M. Cahak reminds us that wounded healers do not have all the answers;
We don’t have it all figured out. We content with our own anxiety, self-doubt, shame, relationship issues, and depression. Our family life isn’t perfect just because we know how to help others.
We are still affected by the long-standing roles and rules that have been firmly entrenched in our families for decades and the intergenerational trauma that has been in place for centuries.10
He quotes Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who may has perfectly described the wounded healer when he wrote; ‘to live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.’10
Raab states the wounded healers have many more offerings. They are usually empathetic, possess a great deal of knowledge and can offer others a great deal of hope and fresh perspective – two important features which she states are important for the healing process.11
Raab also suggests that wounded healers do not have to necessarily work in the healing profession. They can be mothers, fathers or found in many other professions. They have to ability to make people feel better. Because they have dealt with their own challenges in the past, they easily understand hardships. They also know, that to help others heal, it is important to instill hope so the person can see the light at the end of their darkness.11
Sometimes people can be so wounded m that they do not know the magnitude until there is a trigger, such a suddenly dealing with mental health challenges such as depression.11
She cites Rosmanysyn who says that the more light we bring to the unconscious, the deeper the darkness of the unconscious becomes.11
Raab lists the following characteristics of the wounded healer;11
• You are a lifelong seeker.
• You have a strong sense of purpose.
• People call on you when in need.
• You have helped people since you were a child.
• You look at all experiences as an opportunity for growth.
• You can find the calm in the chaos.
The dark night of the soul
In Dark Nights of the Soul, Thomas Moore reminds us that the dark night of the soul is not a psychological syndrome but a quest for meaning during life’s darkest hours. It is an opportunity to restore oneself. He suggests using such a trying time as an opportunity to reflect and delve into our soul’s deepest needs, so one can find a new understanding of life’s meaning.11
The phrase ‘dark night of the soul’ comes from the Spanish Mystic John of the Cross (1541 – 1597). John was a member of the Christian religious order of the Carmelites, who along with St. Teresa of Avila, tried to reform the order.12
The pandemic has changed our lives in so many ways and we may have even encountered what is often termed the ‘dark night of the soul’. This refers to something that changes our life in a profound way and how we respond to this event which may be a major illness, a death in the family or loss of a job. How do we find the strength to deal with the situation. Do we learn to grown from the dark night of the soul, or do we become angry, bitter, and withdrawn from the world?
Not being open to the beauty of the world and life we embrace the dark night of the soul and transcend the mediocrity of life. While psychology and spiritual teaching explore every aspect of living a heathy life, they rarely help us overcome mediocrity.12
What does Moore mean by mediocrity of life?
It is the failure to let the inner brilliance shine. … When the inner genius shows itself in personality, way of life, values, and expression, mediocrity disappears. It is the cloud that prevents the spark from being seen.
Mediocrity is the attitude of ‘do only what is necessary and sufficient,’ the feeling of not having an essence worth showing. It involves giving up on the possibility of living an outstanding life.12
The dark night of the soul plays a role in transcending mediocrity and to encounter the numinous. In much the same way I believe essential oils allow us to deal with the dark night of the soul, and to experience the numinous.12
Moore describes the numinous as that mysterious power of life, seen in nature, people, and in works of craft and art, that inspires a sense of awe. It is the heart of a spiritual experience and involved in the experience of falling in love.12
I love the way Moore reference to Italian Renaissance scholar and philosopher, Marsilio Ficino who suggested wearing glittering jewelry to remind you of your inner spark;
He said that jewels and sparkling stones contain the lights of the stars, as do our very souls. In the East we taught to learn from Lapus Lazuli Radiant Buddha, who represents spiritual healing.
The great magus brought the infant Jesus gold, frankincense, and myrrh, all special substances representing the shine and aroma of the numinous.12
Yes, this is exactly what I propose - that essential oils are like jewels that remind us of our inner spark!
Essential oils allow us to experience the ‘numinous’.
I love this word – it refers to a feeling of awe that we can experience and how we feel reconnected with nature and the rest of humankind. It also reconnects us with our passion and purpose for life.
As Thomas Moore says, when we experience the numinous, we discover the spark that makes us feel alive and gives us the courage to deal positively with the dark night of the soul experience.12
Just smell the evocative aromas of rose or sandalwood or bergamot or frankincense to experience something magical, something numinous. These oils help us to discover that spark that makes us feel alive!
Furthermore, Moore makes a bold statement when he suggests the following;
I realize that I am far out of step with the times in recommending numinosity rather than health as a goal. Ours is still a therapeutic society that values the removal of symptoms over the soul’s sparkle and shine.12
Moore suggests that nothing could be more precious than a dark night of the soul experience. He reminds us that it might be painful, discouraging, and challenging, but it is nevertheless an important revelation of what our life is about;12
You become the wounded healer, someone who has made the descent and knows the territory. You take on depth of color and range of feeling. Your intelligence is now more deeply rooted and not dependent only on facts and reasons.
Your darkness has given you character and color and capacity. Now you are free to make a real contribution. It is a gift of your dark night of the soul!
Let us now explore some of those essential oils that will help you find the spark that makes you feel alive.
Let me start this discussion by reminding you of two very evocative statements made by prominent aromatherapists who succinctly described the true nature of essential oils.
Schnaubelt explains that aromatherapy contributes to the realisation of health that no material science can. It accepts and integrates the phenomena of the soul. He states that Western allopathic medicine is highly alienating, fear-based, and believes in the separation of body and soul; in contrast aromatherapy seeks to unite body and soul.
On the other hand, Fischer-Rizzi suggests essential oils reconnect us with our spirituality when she states essential oils will touch our heart and open the door to our soul. She states they give us the impetus to search for meaning in our life.
If aromatherapy can help the wounded healer, it must as Thomas Moore stated - allow us to experience the numinous. Schnaubelt and Fischer-Rizzi are both suggesting that this is exactly what aromatherapy does!
What are the features of those essential oils that are likely to allow us to experience the numinous?
Essential oils with any of the following properties are high on the list:
• act as a catalyst for transformation;
• dissolving emotional blockages;
• helps focus our mind for meditation and prayer;
• have a purifying effect;
• open our hearts to compassion;
• integrates compassion and spirituality;
• supports our intuition;
• provides us with psychic protection;
• provides us with comfort and love;
• support us on our spiritual journey;
• they often work on the higher energy centres;
• often resonate with the heart chakra and promote compassion;
• often supports and promotes resilience.
You could say almost any essential oil could match these descriptions. However, I have decided to select nine very special oils that I believe play a key role in restoring the soul of the wounded healer.
The essential oil I have chosen are Atlas cedarwood, benzoin, cistus, cypress, everlasting, fragonia, melissa, myrrh and rose.
All the following information can be found in The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy – Volume One, third edition.
Key words – strength, courage, and resilience
Mojay reminds us that Atlas cedarwood oil can give us immovable strength in times of crisis. It will calm the conscious mind and help us to resist powerful emotions that may threaten to undermine our confidence and morale.
Holmes states that Atlas cedarwood has a stabilising influence on our energy which is very useful when one is feeling a disconnection from their surroundings or within themselves.
Robbi Zeck states that Atlas cedarwood brings strength and commitment when we need to make changes in our lives and move forward.
Key words – comfort, love, healing
Keim Loughran & Bull remind us that benzoin provides comfort, love, and support on our spiritual path to compassionate wisdom. It helps us release painful emotions and supports us when we are impatient about our progress on our spiritual path. Benzoin helps us to be aware of our emotional wounds, past and present, and begin the process of healing and releasing them. It teaches us to have compassion for ourselves and our past, helping us to grow slowly and deeply in wisdom.
Worwood states that benzoin allows us to open the heart and mind allowing our soul to speak. She explains benzoin can assist in making choices with the heart by helping us to reconnect with the inner sanctum of the soul.
Key words – comforts emotional or spiritual distress
Fischer-Rizzi states the warm, deep, spicy, and soothing scent of cistus oil conveys a warmth that deeply affects the soul. Cistus oil is recommended for patients who feel, after a traumatic event, cold, empty, or numb.
Worwood beautifully describes how the subtle qualities of cistus can heal the wounded healer;
It provides a vehicle to explore the knowing, and a means by which acknowledging the existence of universal wisdom deep within. The emotions of mortals are touched by labdanum, and it can bring to the forefront of the mind access to the soul level of all living things.
Zeck explains the scent of cistus warms, settles, and quietens the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies. She states that it will comfort in times of emotional stress, shock, or accident or after any traumatic event.
Keywords – change, direction, purifying, transformative
Davis states cypress is helpful at times of transition such as career changes, moving home and is always helpful with painful transitions such as bereavement or ending of close relationships.
Keim Loughran & Bull state that life is filled with changes and transitions. It is not the result that is important but the journey. Cypress will assist with all these life transitions. Cypress helps us to have the courage to surrender our will to a higher purpose – to change, heal, transform, and go through the many deaths that accompany the birth of wisdom.
Worwood states cypress can connect strongly to the human frequencies and thought-forms:
With great direction, cypress helps connection with the wisdom of the universe. It empathizes with suffering, the energies that emanate from a life in sorrow.
It offers strength and energetic protection to those who need protecting, and those who are feeling vulnerable and insecure, and have lost their purpose.
Mojay states cypress has one of the most distinct and profound psychological actions to help us cope and accept even difficult change – of both an inner and outer nature. He also suggests that cypress helps to dissolve remorse and instils optimism and comforts those in bereavement.7
Zeck suggests cypress brings structure, strength, and a sense of protection during times of transition and change:
Major life transitions will often involve a bottoming out emotionally and spiritually, bring a sense of disenchantment and disillusionment. The past and the future seem to be dynamically opposed to the present moment.
During such times, you will be required to navigate a way through a major life transition and identify the resources required for change. Cypress supports and holds the space for the soul to remain in balance. This gives us the opportunity to explore our visions, our symbols, and dreams and for us to move forward.
Key words – comforting, alleviates pain of the soul
When describing the qualities of everlasting, the term “walking wounded” is often used by many aromatherapists. Worwood explains that the fragrance of everlasting opens hearts to the unseen energies that affect our lives here on earth. She states:
It has a special purpose for “the walking wounded” – those who cannot reminisce for fear of the painful emotions that may be brought to the fore. It is also for those who feel their physical self has lost touch with their soul.
Worwood states everlasting allows us to understand that to ‘truly love’ also involves the acceptance of the pain of love – willingly and without compromise.
Holmes explains that everlasting has a profoundly purifying and transformative effect on the emotional body and the heart as an energetic and spiritual organ;
It can therefore potentially heal the core emotional trauma from which distressed feelings and negative emotions arose in the first place. As such, it is also a prime remedy for the closed and deeply wounded heart, whether from loss, betrayal, or any other cause.
Key words – comforting, insight, nurturing
Zeck best describes the energetic qualities of fragonia oil when she states that fragonia is like a candle carrying the light of dignity, nurturing the spirit, and helping you to come to terms and resolve any past traumas and unresolved family issues. Fragonia gently helps remove scars from past emotional pain.
Zeck explains that it helps you build resilience and that it carries a unique energy pattern, bringing the gift of the power of love. Fragonia calls you to that place in your higher consciousness where you are connected to something far greater than yourself. It helps you become more resilient, allowing you to celebrate life despite any illness, disease, and emotional discomfort.
Fragonia oil allows us to see with new eyes, experience profound insight, change our perspective and attitude or receive a vision. It helps us to keep our mind focused on related issues, including the awareness of the benefits to be gained from transcending the purely physical world and opening ourselves up to intuitive sight and wisdom: the ability to learn from experience and emotional intelligence.
Key words – comforting, grace, insight, revitalizing, unconditional love
Davis states melissa oil is of great comfort during bereavement. She explains that the sweet fresh fragrance seems to dispel fear and regret and bring acceptance and understanding as the time of death approaches. Davis also suggests using it to expand feelings of love from the individual towards the total acceptance of unconditional love.
Mojay recommends melissa for people who are easily traumatised by confrontation. They often manifest their strength by attempting to contain, rather than respond to and express their feelings of hurt and anger.
Keim Loughran & Bull explain that melissa oil helps us release emotional blocks and heal the wounds caused by the death of a loved one. It teaches us that death is a part of life, without interfering in the natural grief process.
Worwood explains that melissa oil is a spiritual conduit. She describes the oil as encouraging strength and having a revitalising effect that is especially appreciated before meditation or prayer.
Zeck states melissa oil softens extreme emotions and soothes resentment. It allows us to reflect on all that we have and to be grateful for.
Key words – inner tranquillity, harmony, overwhelmed
Mojay states that myrrh promotes inner stillness and peace. Myrrh strengthening the link between our base chakra and crown chakra and in doing so:
... the dreams and visions of the soul can find a channel for earthly expression, and tap the force they need for their ‘magical’ realization.
Davis states myrrh helps us get through the challenges in life. It helps us to understand and cope with our physical, emotional, and spiritual wounds. It will provide support and protect us. It gives us strength and allows us to connect us with our spirituality.
Keim Loughran & Bull recommend using myrrh whenever we feel exhausted and overwhelmed by our own troubles or the suffering of others or to help us understand, from a spiritual perspective the meaning of emotional challenges.
Key words – unconditional love, emotional harmony, grief
Keim Loughran & Bull state rose is the oil that teaches us the lessons of love. They explain the extraordinary energy of rose assists us in healing our emotional wounds so we can better give and receive love unconditionally. It is said to help us heal the pain of grief and teaches us how to forgive others when they hurt us. Rose also gently seals and protects our energy field so that we are not affected by negativity.
Essential oil blends
These blends may be added directly to a diffuser or add to 10ml of jojoba oil and use in a roller ball bottle.
Seek a new direction
2 drops – cypress
2 drops – fragonia
1 drop – atlas cedarwood
1 drop - neroli
Soul comfort and protection
1 drop – benzoin
2 drops – cistus
2 drops – myrrh
1 drop - rose absolute
Soothe emotional pain
1 drop – everlasting
2 drops – melissa
2 drops – lavender
1 drop - rose otto
Relieve spiritual exhausted
2 drops – sandalwood
1 drops – frankincense
2 drops – atlas cedarwood
1 drop - cistus
The Wounded Healer
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