Our previous season’s Essentially Solstice event was well presented, and we hope that Aromatherapists and Aromalovers will be able to attend future events that we are offering at each of the festivals on our Lady’s Wheel. These sessions are jointly presented by Stephanie Mathivet (a Goddess House Aromatherapist) and Karen Elliot (Core Business Manager at Fragrant Earth International). For each season, we are guided by the essential qualities of the Goddess and the meaning of her festival to select oils that resonate their essential nature to that. It’s purely intuitive, but we think it works, even if we do need to stretch that aromatic imagination a little.

Essentially Imbolc picks up some of the themes associated with this time and with Brighde. She is associated with the expression inner child and inspiration, with new beginnings and with the inner flame of the earth that sparking the cycle of life back into manifestation. There is a connection, too, with Brighde’s sacred wells for our healing, through clean, uncontaminated water for drinking as well as for washing and cooking. Brighde is also a protectress of mothers giving birth and therefore with maternal care of babies and young children. Her green mantle can be a metaphor for the green earth and for the green plants that grow for our healing and our pleasure. So, with these themes in mind, and without giving away too many spoilers (for we would like you to come along to the workshop to experience rather than just read) we will be looking at the Lavenders and othe green herbs from the Labiatae and Asteraceae families.

The name Lavender comes from the Latin ‘lavare’ meaning to wash. Lavenders are also art of the Labiatae family although they are shrubs which rest, rather than die, in winter.  Lavender is a great cleanser and promotes good hygiene, so perhaps then it is a wonderful oil for Brighde’s healing work. It is also one of the few oils that can be safely used, in very low doses, with babies and children. There are so many different types of Lavender – French, Bulgarian, Alpine, True, Spike and then there are the Lavandins – Grosso, Abrialis, and Super. What is the difference and how do they act differently on the body and mind? I also love Lavender Absolute, so what is the difference there? We will be sampling these different Lavenders and finding out more about them in answer to these questions. Did you know that Lavender is one of the most adulterated oils on the market? This is because there is simply not enough plant grown to supply the market on an industrial scale, so large suppliers inevitably adulterate, although the result is can still be an effective product. Providing a percentage of the oil is the real deal, suppliers can still market it as ‘pure’. It is helpful to know these things when selecting our suppliers, which is why we love working with Fragrant Earth, who are small and personally connected to their growers, seeking out organic and wildcrafted plants for the very best oils.

I also mentioned the Latin names for some of the common plant families and perhaps these need explaining. The Asteraceae family, if you think of daisies, comprise those plants whose flowers fan out like a sundial and there are a great many of them. They are mostly annuals or perennials, following the cycle of the year. At Imbolc these are beginning to stir in the ground as their growth cycle begins. We will be looking at the various Camomile types, their differences and their uses, especially as this plant also has properties that can be helpful for babies, so also having an association with Brighde. The Labiatae or Lamiaceae family is also huge and includes plants that have a flower in a 3:2 formation and is most often associated with the mint group – also cleansing and refreshing herbs. Many of our other culinary and healing herbs come from this family too, such as Basil, Clary Sage, Oregano, Marjoram Rosemary and the Thyme group, some of which are also annuals, and begin their new growing season at this time.

Our workshops are quite short. They begin with a visualisation using a blend from our seasonal oil set to tune you into the magic of the Goddess energy of the season. We then introduce you to the oils in turn, giving ample time to discuss and learn about their safe use. If you wish to purchase any of the oils Fragrant Earth are offering a generous 10% off all orders made on the day. They are then bottled to order for you to collect or posted to you.

Essentially Imbolc will be held on Wednesday 30th January from 2-4pm in the Brighde Room in the Goddess House. £5 donation. If you cannot attend this event, look out for our programme of Essentially Aroma workshops throughout the year.