Sagebrush is THE essential oil that we use for the alchemical stage ‘sublimatio’ and so it features in our “Alchemy: the Medicine of the Soul” online class kits. We have sold a lot of these classes during the recent lockdown and so Florian decided to distill some of the sagebrush that grows around us here in Taos hoping we would get some essential oil.
Florian collected the sagebrush with mindfulness and saying prayers of gratitude every step of the way. He made offerings and the sagebrush was at the perfect stage, still juicy and moist from recent spring rains and not yet hardened and concentrated by the long dry periods later in the year.
What a wonderful surprise this morning when he gave me some of the oil. It is the best I have ever smelled. Florian is an amazing distiller and his talent along with the aroma of sagebrush in the spring has given us an essential oil that smells as if we have bottled the actual plant. It isn’t dusty like the summer distillations can be. The freshness and coolness of this time of year has encouraged the subtler, floral, more fragile and sweeter aromas to stay around.
Sagebrush is a plant that we are deeply intimate with, because we have worked with it in teaching and consultations. Sagebrush is a strong survivor that thrives here in the harsh high desert of northern New Mexico where we live. It grows where nothing else does. Its high level of ketones not only make sure that it has no competitors for the precious and limited supply of nutrients and humidity in these desert soils but also enable its soul to survive in this extremely harsh environment by being only partly here. While its body looks frail, with branches like fraying rope, most of its being is invisible in the air above, which gives the sky here a uniquely powerful presence and light. We call it ‘the master of air.’
Highly ketonic plants don’t have the lush greens of most plants. They are most often greyish with a thin white veil covering them, e.g. absinthe, mugwort, helichrysum, the sages and spike lavender. These plants, due to their ketones, are not fully incarnated. It’s as if they have one foot in the material world and one foot above it.
This is why we use this oil, by only smelling it, for the alchemical stage Sublimatio. The sixth chakra, called Ajna, is related to vision and seeing and is often called the third eye. It is located on our forehead between and above our eyes. It is sometimes pictured as an eye in a pyramid (the pyramid being a symbol of the body or spinal column). In our opinion, due to its qualities of seeing things from a higher perspective, this chakra relates best to the stage of sublimatio. The idea of rising above everything in order to get a view of the whole of one’s life from a higher perspective shows us what exists but as Anodea Judith says in her book about the chakras, ‘only the inner sight can tell us what it is’. The chakra of the third eye relates to inner perception.
“The third eye witnesses the internal screen where memory and fantasy, images and archetypes, intuition and imagination intertwine in endless display. By watching the contents of this screen, we create meaning and bring it to consciousness. The purpose of the sixth chakra is to see the way and bring the light of consciousness to all that exists within and around us”. (1)
Ketone-rich plants are also used to purify the system. Many of them are used for internal parasites. Their action of dissolving mucus, phlegm and cellulite highlights their ability to take things from the physical realm towards the airy, disembodied and spiritual. It is interesting to note that many recent studies have shown that ketones help to increase health and mental clarity in old age. Could this be because they have this natural ability to make the link between the physical and the spiritual, which gets more important as we age?
In essential oil use, the ketone-rich plants have been at the center of heated discussions about the danger of using essential oils internally as they can be neurotoxic and abortive when taken in large quantities. In France, a country where the internal use of essential oils for certain pathologies is common, the ketone-rich essential oils are not available over the counter, but only by prescription, to avoid any accidents or harm due to misuse. After having really worked with these essential oils on a subtle level as in the exercise you are about to discover, it seems that their role is definitely one of helping us connect to our subtle bodies and spiritual selves. There seems little need to take them in any other way than just smelling them. They reveal their full power, and more, simply by inhaling.
Smell sagebrush and feel yourself getting lighter and rising above your physical body. It helps us get an eagle’s view of our lives, a new and larger perspective. This can be helpful when you feel stuck in the daily grind, finding it difficult to see further than the end of your nose. In order to make life changing decisions, we need to see things from a wider perspective: How we got to where we are, what needs to go and where we are heading. This essential oil is the perfect ally for helping us do this. We are very excited to share this beautiful aroma with you. It is extremely alive. As it is a spring distillation, it has a newness and floral bouquet to it that is often lost in summer distillations. We also have it available as a hydrosol from the same distillation.
- Eastern Body Western Mind, psychology and the chakra system as a path to the self by Anodea Judith (revised edition)