Today it is with great pleasure that I light the candle for an individual who has illuminated many of the hallways of my ol'factory. Her name is Jade Shutes, she is the one I choose to study professional aromatherapy with way back when Eve was the age of Jades sweet, little son Soren.
There are moments that I am brought to my knees or weep. I've learned to acknowledge those incidents as sign posts to my own core nature and purpose. In all honesty, I am not entirely clear why this contribution has affected me so profoundly. If I let go of the mind and contemplate it from the heart, I have a little clarity and see that it is because Jade is one of my soul sisters and mentors. I believe there is also an elemnet of the heroine triumphing against all odds here. You know, like in a book or film, when the hero has gone through all the elemental fires and claims victory in the end. That is who Jade is to me. It is a gift to feature her at this journal and share her passion for aromatics, the plants and life with you.
“Plants mean nothing in isolation;
they are a life-form rooted in and identified by their community,
by their relationships to and interactions with all other life on Earth."
I have just returned from the Holiday Faire at Emerson Waldorf School in Chapel Hill, NC. A grand gathering of artisans, children, parents and teachers all dedicated to the passion and excitement of learning and discovery. Since I had been pondering how to weave the growth of community in this advent writing it was perfect to begin the morning with active participation in a community.
Like plants, humans also mean nothing in isolation. We are a life-form rooted in and identified by our community, by our relationships to and interactions with all other life on earth. During the holiday season between Thanksgiving and Christmas (and St. Nicholas day) we are called to reflect on our earthly community: the minerals, plants, animals, elements, and humans of the world.
In my own reflections of community I ask myself: how may I be instrumental in creating community? How may I be of service? How may I share my knowledge and time in communities which need it the most? How does community build the idea of service? The tide of the holidays is strong and in its strength it can sometimes divide more than bring together, it can isolate the self in the fear of ‘not having’, how can I be a representative that what we have inside is of far greater value than what we can obtain outside ourselves? And how can I contribute to the creations of individuals rather than those of large corporations?
Since I entered the aromatic community over 20 years ago it has been a fascinating experience to witness the growth of so many dynamic aspects of the field. The aromatic community includes artisan natural perfumers, clinical aromatherapists, bath and body care product developers and makers, candle and soap makers, herbalists, psychologists, nurses, lay practitioners, and on and on. It is a large community, encompassing many philosophies, approaches, applications and beliefs.
I believe this diversity reflects the diversity found in the world of natural aromas and in the plants which give them forth. What unites this diversity in our community is the love, the passion and the dedication to plants and the natural world.
Unification, diversity, community: ah, what a great blend. In searching for an aromatic representation of this unification, diversity and community, the following comes forth:
A seed to be planted, in hopes of calling forth true intention in community: Carrot seed
A root to ground and center us in our community and in life: Vetiver.
A grass to clear our path: Lemongrass
A wood to provide strength in difficult and challenging times: Cedar
A berry to bring laughter and joy to our spirit: Juniper
A fruit to cleanse, release and uplift the weary heart: Bergamot
A leaf to move the breath of life throughout and within: Eucalyptus
A resin to heal our sorrows and our wounds: Frankincense
A flower to hold our love together: Rose
In closing, I would like to thank Roxana for her ability to gather community in a common cause and purpose and for her always eloquent and thought provoking writing.
Happiness is a perfume which you cannot pour on someone without getting some on yourself.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Jade Shutes of The East West School for Herbal and Aromatic Studies.
Images: ADVENTure blogging banner and Pollinate painting by Roxana Villa. Pollinate ©Roxana Villa.