Skip to content

Facing Death with Aromatherapy

Morbid, right? Why would I want to write about essential oils for death? Well, lin Sept 2010 I had the honor of holding a healing space as a friend transitioned through to the Light. Although she was old and ailing, the actual passing had come more quickly than expected. I dropped by to visit and found my dear friend surrounded by family and friends, imminently leaving us for the ‘other side’. Had I known how close she was to death, I wondered could I have been better prepared by bringing some essential oils to burn in the background to ease her passing? Or maybe I could have had soothing essential oils wafting through the house after my friend had passed? Or maybe I could have made up essential oil remedies for the family to help in the lead up and the aftermath of the passing? But no, I hadn’t expected the demise to be so sudden so I came empty-handed, no essential oils in my bag.

But here’s an interesting possibility – we know that everything is made up of energy and that thought creates energy, which can then lead to manifestation… So, even though I showed up without essential oils, I felt I could, just by intention, bring the oils’ healing energies into the room. After all, energy is nothing more than frequency and essential oils certainly vibrate at a high frequency. So that’s what I did. I held the intent of the healing vibration of the essential oil as a resonance in my hands, then transmitted the frequency to my friend using a ‘hands-on healing’ technique. I have worked with essential oils for over 20 years and know them so intimately that not only do I consider the oils my friends, but also I know exactly what frequency signature each vibrates on. So it was easy for me to feel the oil’s vibratory signature resonate through my hands.

Using essential oils in an aroma lamp when someone is in the process of passing over can be intense for the dying one, especially if they are on strong drugs that make scents more potent and difficult to tolerate. I’ve heard that patients on chemotherapy and other chemical cocktails have a hard time with powerful scents like perfume and disinfectants. Although essential oils are pure and not chemically based, they still can be overwhelming when someone is trying to gather up their energies to leave this world. In cases where burning oils isn’t appropriate, it would be wonderful to invoke the healing frequency of an essential oil and hold that resonance around the person without the smell. One way is to put a drop or two of essential oil onto your palms and rub the energies into your hands; the scent will dissipate but the frequency will still remain energized in your palms. You can then hold your healing hands on or close to the loved one to ease their passing. It’s all in the intention and anyone can do it! Essential oils that will encourage detachment from the physical body during transition are jasmine, rose, geranium, neroli and lavender. These oils have a gentle persuasion, almost a quiet invitation to release, rather than a demand to let go. Even *frankincense*, which usually is so forceful in pushing a situation towards resolution, can be soft and caring around a deathbed, so is appropriate to use.

One of the things I did for my dying friend was a visualization of a cleansing ritual. I have understood from my study of the death process, that often when there is a lot of pain at the end, the person transitions with their ‘pain body’. It’s as if the pain has been so intense or of such long duration or has been so identified as part of the person, that an energetic body is created that mirrors the body of pain. This then becomes an individuated energetic body called the “pain body”, which when/if they come back in their next life, will often come with them causing the same pain miasm to be present in the future body. It’s as if the cellular memory of the energy body carries the disease or trauma with it and it manifests in a later life. In this visualization, I wanted to separate the pain body from the spirit that is transitioning. In my mind’s eye, I imagined a beautiful waterfall or a sparkling shower of Light. This water is impregnated with the vibration of a cleansing essential oil and as I see it flow down and over the person, the pain begins to wash away and dissolve under the cleansing vibration. I usually repeat the flow of water over the body many times, sometimes changing the essential oil frequency that I am using. The oils I might choose to use in a cleansing ritual are lemon, tea tree, rosemary, eucalyptus, vetiver and melissa.

Often, when one is transitioning, there is a lot of fear and trepidation in the room. Those gathered around the one dying are usually running their own fears about death and mortality. Having a space outside the room with an aroma lamp burning calming essential oils can help quell the tide of fears. Some comforting oils that work with fear are chamomile, lavender, geranium, marjoram, bergamot, frankincense, neroli, and sandalwood. These will encourage peace and strength in those supporting the one dying. Other oils such as fennel, ylang-ylang, elemi, peppermint and cypress can certainly calm the nervous system and relax the frayed mind to bring back equilibrium and balance.

Grief is natural at the time of passing. Loosing a loved one, acknowledging the impending emptiness, knowing you’ll never be able to hold them again can bring on deep despair. Oils that help in this movement forward are Sudanese black rose, neroli, rose otto, melissa, frankincense, rose Maroc, and geranium. Dotting a hankie or a tissue with these oils either singularly or in combination and then sniffing them can ease the burden of the emotion and lighten the spirits. And of course, these essential oils can be used in the bath, in an aroma lamp, in massage oil or added to a face/body cream for support in any of the stages of grieving. In Chinese Five Element theory, the lungs are associated with grief. It is common for a person who has experienced a deep loss to contract the flu or other lung ailment within 6 months to a year of the trauma. This seems to be the body’s way of energetically clearing out the effects of the emotional contraction in that organ. Oils that help expel phlegm and congestion are tea tree, eucalyptus, cajuput, sandalwood, peppermint and rosemary. Steam inhalation (head over a bowl full of oil impregnated hot water) works wonders to clear mucus and inflammation of the pleural cavity. Rubbing the chest with essential oils in a carrier oil also assists in breaking up stagnation in the lungs as does immersing in a warm bath of oils.

I felt very blessed to hold witness to my friend’s journey to the Light. Her passing taught me so much about transitioning from body to Spirit and how graceful the letting go process can be. I love her dearly and know she is still very much alive in her clear, beautiful Light body. This shell we call the physical body just houses us for a while, but the magnificence of the Soul goes on forever. Blessings, my dear friend. Shine on!