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|Posted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 3:18 pm Post subject: *The Soul Of The Rose
|*The Soul Of The Rose - attars/essential oil healing remedies
It is narrated that Prophet Solomon (Sulayman a.s.) was the first one to learn the healing properties of herbs and flowers. One day as he was standing for prayer in the masjid, a flower sprung up before him* and said, “Peace be upon you, Hazrat Sulayman!” Hazrat Sulayman returned the greeting and then asked, “What are you doing here? What are you for?” And the flower answered him that it was a remedy for such-and-such a disease. The next day, a different flower sprung up and told Hazrat Sulayman the disease for which it was a remedy. Over a course of a time, all the medicinal flowers appeared and told Hazrat Sulayman their healing properties. And he was the first to have this knowledge, which is of divine origin.
The absolute of the essence of God is called dhat. We express this unfathomable absolute with the pronoun Hu. Our human minds are incapable of conceiving of or expressing the full reality of God Almighty. And in considering the nature of God, we must look to the manifold forms of His creation and know Him by His signs.
This notion of an absolute essence also applies to the human being in relation to the soul (ruh). This intimate relationship between absolute essence and manifold forms of that essence is duplicated in all of nature. Each flower, tree, and shrub has its physical form and also its essence. The seed of an oak will not produce a willow. All of the specific characteristics of the flowers are contained within the seed, within its essence: the height of the plant, the shape of its leaves and flowers, the plant’s periods of dormancy, color, fragrance, and even its healing characteristics.
Our own human absolute essence, or soul, is extracted at the moment of death. God has inspired various of His Prophets (peace be upon them all) to discover the methods of extracting the souls (ruh) from flowers, and this knowledge has been preserved in Islam.
A prominent example is what is called ruh-i gulab, or soul of the rose. It is considered that the absolute perfected essence of the rose exists within the flower itself, just as the absolute perfected essence or soul of a human exists within the body. These essences of flowers are of inestimatable value in correcting imbalances in the human being.
The symbol of Islam itself is the rose, because this flower is considered to be the Mother of Scents and the Queen of the Garden. The placement of the rare and refined beauty and sweetness of the rose blossoms – at the end of a long, stern stem full of prickly thorns – aptly symbolizes the mystic path to God the Almighty!
The 124,000 prophets God has sent to the world with His Guidance had different bodies but the same ‘soul’. Their message to humanity was the same regardless of the physical form they had, the color of their skin, or the language they spoke.
Every prophetic tradition uses flowers and their oils in healing. If we consider the nature of flowers themselves, we realize that they are stimulated into growth and subsist primarily by virtue of their relationship with the light rays from the sun, and my means of the process called photosynthesis gives off the components of oxygen and air that we use for breath. Flowers require this nourishment of light, as well as that of the soil and rain.
The mystical moment of interconnection between life and nonlife – the moment of birth – is when the soul is activated within the body. Our life span is measured between the first breath and the last breath.
The scent of an infant creates the deepest and most profound love and affection in the heart and mind and soul of a person who receives it. It is an irreplaceably unique smell, and one simply cannot get enough of it. It is of an absolute clarity and purity, and it somehow embodies all of the feelings of helpless trust and reliance upon one superior to the infant, which encapsulates our whole relationship with the Creator.
So it must be remembered when we talk about essence of flowers that they are imitating the superior scents of the soul of prophecy, from which they are derived.
The soul of a flower may be extracted in several ways: by pressing the oils of the petals; by distilling water through the petals; or by bonding the oil to a base oil. In all cases, the essence of the flower is drawn out by this process. The word for these essences (or oils containing the essence) is “attar” (from Arabic ‘itr). In the West, these are called essential oils, fragrances, absolutes, and sometimes perfumes.
The addition of alcohol to the essence of a flower will kill that essence and so those oils or remedies containing alcohol are unsuitable for healing purposes.
When applying attars or essential oils, great care must be exercised because they are in such a concentrated form – not only the active physical ingredients, but also the essence is very strong. For this reason, some attars are diluted before use, in a pure base oil such as olive, sandalwood, or sweet almond.
Ideally, one should use the fresh blossom of the rose (or other plants), and place a few ounces in a small bowl of pure charged water for several hours at midday. This will extract the essence, and one need not worry about purity or additives. Or one may eat a few of the fresh petals themselves (with knowledge) as this admits the least alteration of all. But for the sake of convenience and availability, it is sometimes prudent to keep a supply of high-quality pure oil on hand.
Because the rose is considered to have the most refined essence of all flowers, it is often used to absorb and convey the blessings of a saint. People who visit the resting place of saints often place the rose petals on the tomb itself, and then retrieve them for later use in healing. Since the soul of the saint is ‘living’, the rose essence will imbibe the essence of the saint, which can then be consumed and conveyed into any person with uniformly positive results. Many Sufi monasteries (khanagahs) have rose gardens growing nearby. The Sufi also recites various verses of the Holy Qur’an over the rose petals, charging them with even greater healing powers.
Although there are perhaps fifty or sixty thousand different plants from which essential oils can be extracted, there are a few which are recommended upon divine information. The attars that will be discussed are amber, frankincense, myrrh, violet, sandalwood, musk, rose, jasmine, hina, ‘ud, and jannat al-fardaws. All are pure oils except the last, which is a blend. In addition, the following is just a modest amount of information on the plants vast characteristics.
It is important to learn to use a few oils very well than not know much at all about hundreds of oils. Even with these ten oils, there are more than one hundred trillion combinations!
Oil of amber (kahrabah in Persian), or liquid amber, as it is sometimes called, is derived from a species of pine tree (Pincea succinfera). Many people have had contact with amber stones and beads, and it is this same basic substance that is used in healing. But the stones have hardened for several million more years than the resin, which is used to manufacture the oil.
There are only three locales in the world where authentic amber can be found. Its color varies anywhere from a light, translucent pink to a heavy, dark brown. When we realize that the essential sap of these trees, to become amber, has been preserved for one to six million years, we understand that we are tapping into a very ancient healing energy. Some people use the sap from trees and distill out the essence. But others, realizing this ancient energy within, prefer to grind down the stones into powder and then heat it to retrieve the essence. This latter form of amber is better for healing, but very, very difficult to locate.
Although the best amber comes from the Near East, Russia, and the Dominican Republic, frequently it is taken to other parts of the world for processing out its essences, making it into attar. Amber processed in Tunis and the Sudan is remarkably pure, clear, and healing. The Sudanese variety is much hotter than the Tunisian, and thus stronger in effect. It is so thick that it will not pour and must be heated to get it out of the bottle.
A Cake Amber available from Afghanistan is the best in the world, and not so expensive if purchased in that country. Unfortunately, it is difficult to obtain it at present.
Amber is recommended specifically for any kind of disease or problem associated with the heart. While the rose is considered the Mother of Scents, amber is called the Father (or King) of Scents.
Very little use is made of amber in the Western healing today, although it used to be commonly prescribed for heart conditions by medical doctors in the 1920s!
An excellent method of using amber is to put one drop on the tip of the finger and apply it to the point of the ‘Third Eye’ (Brow –i.e. Not in the physical eyes, of course). This is absorbed by the body and stimulates the pineal gland, which activates many of our physiological functions.
The word incense comes from the French encens and originally meant “frankincense,” but now refers to any kind of fragrant vapor. Frank was appended to the word incens, to add the meaning of “luxurious” or “expensive.” So, the French, frankincense means the very best fragrance.
The original Latin word for incense was par fumum, meaning “through smoke.” The burning of the oils is common mode of application, because it further refines the essence, releases it into the air, and makes it easy to disperse over a wide area (there is also cold-air diffusers). It is an effective means of administering scent to the insane, children, or others who cannot or will not participate in smelling the scents (&/or for your guests!! )
When an essence is taken in its vaporized form, it travels into the body via the networks of the essences and reaches its goal more easily; whereas if it is swallowed or rubbed on the skin, there are many possibilities that it will not arrive at the desired destination, especially if it goes via the stomach. Digestive juices may annul the healing effects, because alcohol is one of the by-products of normal digestion.
Frankincense is hot in the second degree, but is not quite so hot as amber. It is a little less drying too.
Frankincense is to this day used in the religious ceremonies in the Church, and was one the scents presented to the infant Jesus (a.s.). This is so because frankincense is a very powerful cleanser for the aura and psychic planes.
Myrrh is hot and drying. It was one of the oils commanded by God to Moses (a.s.), and also to Jesus (a.s.) to be one of the ingredients in their healing and holy anointing oil. In ancient times it was used to convey to people a certain internal esoteric teaching, to purify their spiritual environments so that the teachings would have a proper soil in which to be planted.
Myrrh is mentioned in the Qur’an as having specific healing properties. Again, there are several varieties, but that from Tunis and Morocco seems to be of first quality.
Violet is cold and moist in the first degree, and thus can be considered mild in its action. Violet leaves, flowers, and oils are featured in a great number of healing formulas.
Sandal is cold and dry in the second degree. The best and most famous oil of sandal comes from Mysore, India. It is used in many conditions, frequently for genital and urinary tract infections. Sandal is also used as the base oil into which other oils are extracted or blended. It is a very good base because it evaporates very slowly and does not spoil over time. In fact, aged sandalwood is better than fresh.
Sandalwood is recommended whenever serious meditation and spiritual practices are being undertaken, because it is quieting to all of the egotisms of the body, especially those relating to sexual energies.
It was reported in a Hadith that the Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w.s.) was particularly fond of musk oil. Musk is hot and dry. Some people refuse to us it because they object to using any animal substance, for anything. Musk, however, does have a definite place in medicine, particularly in healing heart and sexual problems.
Rose is cold and dry in the second degree. There are perhaps three hundred different species of roses used in aromatherapy. The finest is said by some to be the attar of Bulgarian rose, which retails at about $350 per ounce. Few people to stock it.
Others consider that some of the first-pressing rose oils from India are superior even to the Bulgarian rose. Their price is about $450 per pound in India. It requires almost 60,000 pounds of rose petals to produce one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of first-pressing rose oil.
The Indians reportedly discovered rose oil at the time of the wedding of Shah Jehan, the one who built the Taj Mahal and Shalimar gardens as a testament of his unyielding love for his wife, Noor Jehan. For the wedding day, the emperor had filled the moat surrounding his castle with rose water, over which the wedding guests were to be ferried. As the sun beat down its heat on the rose water, it caused a natural distillation of the oil, which separated off and floated on top of the rose pond. This was skimmed off and the Indians have excelled at producing rose oil ever since.
The rose is the most superior of all scents in the floral realm. Rose works simultaneously on the physical, emotional, and spiritual bodies, purifying and uplifting all three. It is the least toxic oil. One can make a delicious summer drink by adding one drop of rose oil to a gallon of water. Shake it up, and then take one drop of that liquid and add it to another fresh gallon of water. The resulting mixture is highly refreshing. This single drop still carries the power to scent the water, even though it has been diluted almost a million times.
Jasmine is cold and dry. The flowers of jasmine are cold, but the essential oil is heating. This is an important consideration: that not all substances work in the same way in all forms, just as water and ice are chemically the same but quite different in their effects. It is also true that flowers and their oils do not work the same way in humans as they do in animals: what is heating to a human may be cooling to a fish. This fact makes random experimenting on animals a questionable practice at best. Jasmines special quality is its unparalleled ability to uplift the mood and lessen mental depression.
Hina (pronounced heena) is the oil extracted from the flowers of the henna plant. It is considered one of the finest and most refined oils in the world, and its price reflects that. In India, a dram of first-quality hina oil (about a teaspoon) costs about $100. This is because it is usually aged over a long time, and improves with aging. I have seen catalogues advertising it for as much as $1,000 a pound. But one can obtain various hina oils that are blended, thus bringing the price into reach of the average person.
The curious thing about hina (and some of the other oils as well) is that the liking for its fragrance is an acquired one: many people on first smelling it find it repulsive.
The rare and costly oil known as ‘ud is taken from the wood of the aloes-wood tree. The best ‘ud comes from India. Its cost can be as high as $800 per dram. However, those familiar with its effects do not find the price a consideration.
It could be stated that ‘ud is enjoyed only by those of the higher evolutions of the soul; indeed, its application is usually restricted to imbalances of the last three stations.
Although a blend, jannat al-fardaws is very popular among the Sufis. It is said that a Sufi ‘attar, or perfumer, one day entered the Fardaws – the Highest Heaven – in his mystical exertions. Once there, he experienced a particular fragrance. Upon recovering his normal state of mind, he reproduced this fragrance, thus the name: Gateway to the Highest Heaven.
APPLICATION OF OILS
The most common method of using essential oils is to rub a small amount of oil over the extended right hand, palms down. This is the etiquette of receiving oil offered by a scholar. Then the oil is rubbed over the beard or chin, across the front of the shirt (nap of the neck), and onto the wrists.
A second method of applying the oil, particularly when a mental or emotional condition is being treated, is the following: Put one or two drops of the oil onto a piece of cotton about the size of the end of a cotton swab stick (do not use the tick, however). Then insert the cotton wad into the ridge-like ledge of the ear, just above the ear opening (not inside the ear). This must be done in the right ear, not the left. In the right ear, at this point of placement, five cranial nerves come together to form a nerve mass, or ganglia. This is an important point in other systems of medicines as well, such as Chinese acupuncture, where it is called shen wen, one of the important life-regulating points.
Now that we understand something about oils, we can assign the oils to be used in each of the stages of the soul’s evolution – the stages of egotism, heart, soul, divine secrets, proximity, and union.
Some readers may wonder why I do not suggest applying oils internally for physical disease. Although there is a science of utilizing attars and essential oils in this way, I present here the applications that are intended to affect the emotional and spiritual centers because that is where the diseases conditions originate.
Generally speaking, the oils may simply be smelled for effect in all the stations of the soul and their imbalances. However, one will find them also effective when added to massage oils and rubbed over the entire body, in the stations of egotism and the heart. The other stations require simply inhalation of the fragrance.
It should be remembered that the intended result is not to attack a disease, but rather to create an irresistible invitation of kindness and sweetness to the next stage of evolution.
The final thing to remember is that when working with emotional and spiritual actions, the results are is accord with nature; that is, they work in conformity with the body’s own healing energies, and not abruptly. As a great Sufi once said, “Patience is the key to joy.”
~ The book of Sufi Healing
More to come on Bach Flower remedies/
"Cast down what is in your right hand. It will swallow up what they have wrought. Verily they have wrought only a sorcerer's stratagem; and a sorcerer does not succeed (no matter) from whatsoever (skilled group) he may come." (Quran-20:69)
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