Most would agree: wearing jewelry is a luxurious healing method. But, imagine the added luxury of anointing your jewelry with fragrant, exotic essential oils to amplify its healing effects. The very act of preparing, anointing, and wearing your jewelry can provide a soothing, centering practice that enables you to consciously direct your deepest aspects of Self.
While most texts on Ayurvedic healing cover the use of herbal remedies, what seems to be less well known, at least in the West, are healing practices using metals, gems, and even colors. In his book, Ayurveda: The Science of Self-Healing, Dr. Vasant Lad explains.
In addition to the use of herbs as medicinals, Ayurveda utilizes the healing properties of metals, gems and stones. Ayurvedic teachings hold that everything in existence is endowed with the energy of Universal Consciousness. All forms of matter are simply the outer manifestations of this energy. Prana, the vital force of life, flows from this universal energy which is the essence of all matter. Thus metals, stones and gems are the outer manifestations of certain forms of energy and these materials contain pranic energy reservoirs that may be drawn upon for healing . . .
Adverse influences upon the normal functions of the body, mind and consciousness may be counteracted through the use of gems and metals. When they are applied to the skin, they induce an electromagnetic influence that acts upon the physical cells and deeper tissues. For example, by wearing an armlet of silver and lead, one may avoid impending liver trouble (1984, pp. 141-142).
Ayurvedic thought also stipulates that the Universe is composed of the Five Great Elements – ether, air, fire, water, and earth. Tantric philosophy shares these same principles of energy and matter, referring to these elements as the five tattvas (or tattwas); indicating that at the gross level, these tattvas (elements) constitute all forms of matter, or physical reality, and that at the subtle level, “they should be regarded as a consequence of light and sound emanations which are created by different energy or pranic vibrations . . . that have a major influence on our personality, mind, emotions and . . . spiritual experience” (Satyasangananda, p. 56).
These elements also form the basis of other fundamental Ayurvedic concepts, namely the chakras (energy centers that house specific behavioral traits), and the doshas (the three basic constitutional types). Therefore, through the knowledge and use of these elements, we are able to profoundly influence both our physical and subtle bodies.
Thus, what I propose in this article is a holistic practice that combines the use of metals, gems, and stones, in the form of sacred jewelry; along with the use of botanicals, in the form of essential oils (and carrier oils). This practice is specifically designed to leverage the underlying elemental (tattvic, and thus pranic) energies of the amulets and oils. To further amplify the combined benefits of jewelry and oils, I present a means for imbuing them with the power of focused intent in order to precisely direct their energies for shaping our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and behaviors.
Before I present the practice, let’s take a brief look at the relationships between the elements, chakras, and doshas. In the following table, each row lists a dosha, its basic traits, which chakras give rise to the dosha, and which elemental energies give rise to the chakras. The elemental energies represent the most primal aspects of Self, which give rise to the more refined chakral energies within the physical body, which in turn manifest physically as the doshas (and their associated physical characteristics).
|Vata||Cold and dry||5th and 4th||Ether, seed of Air|
|Pitta||Hot and moist||3rd and 2nd||Fire, seed of Water|
|Kapha||Cool and moist||1st and 2nd||Earth, seed of Water|
According to Ayurveda, in order to work with your chakras and doshas, you must understand your own elemental arrangement along with the elemental arrangement of the matter with which you interact. You can use this information to direct energy precisely within your body and promote wellbeing through balance. For example, since we will be using jewelry, the following table briefly shows how gold, silver, and copper affect the doshas, and the energetic traits of these metals.
|Metal||Affect on the Doshas||Energetic Traits|
|Gold||Stabilizes vata (when used in small amounts), increases pitta, reduces kapha||Refinement, masculine, expression of understanding, hot and dry.|
|Silver||Balances vata (when used in small amounts), reduces pitta, increases kapha.||Introspection, feminine, exploration of the unknown, cold and moist.|
|Copper||Balances kapha. Neutral for vata and pitta||Self-awareness, brings equilibrium|
You probably own a mix of gold, silver, copper and gem jewelry, but in addition to wearing it for aesthetic value, imagine understanding and utilizing the inherent healing vibrations of such jewelry in order to cultivate desirable traits, such as the following:
- Truth, expression, clarity, communication, and understanding of life’s purpose
- Unconditional love, generosity, compassion, forgiveness, and peace
- Personal power, leadership, courage, action, and self-worth
- Healthy sexuality, creativity, and mental and emotional flexibility
- Stability, security, grounded calmness, and connection to your surroundings
Well, you can do this! The groups of traits above correspond to the energies of ether, air, fire, water, and earth, respectively. Anointing sacred jewelry with botanicals is a dynamic way to stimulate, heal, open, and work with these energies in the body. Each metal, gem, and plant in the Vedic system has a specific vibrational pattern that you can call upon to cultivate specific states. This concept relates to the Western discipline of flower essence therapy, which is based upon the understanding that every item from nature has a unique vibrational resonance that can be leveraged to access an individual’s sympathetic vibration.
Now that we have briefly covered the concepts, let’s take a closer look at the components of the practice. Once you understand the elemental energies of various metals and oils, you can use whatever jewelry and oils you like. The essential oils we will explore are Agarwood (Gahuaru buaya), Betel Leaf (Piper betle), Galangal (Alpinia galanga), Kaffir Lime Leaf (Citrus hystrix), and Massoia Bark (Cryptocarya massoia). For each oil, the following table shows which elements form the basis of its energetic pattern. The table also shows which chakras arise from the elemental energies, and in turn, which doshas arise (at least partially) from the energies of the chakras. Based on the elemental energies and the characteristics of the plants, the final column indicates how the oil acts as an energetic catalyst.
For example, the table shows that Betel Leaf arises from fire (primary) and ether (secondary), and that these two elements, respectively, are the basis for the 3rd and 5th chakras. In turn, the 3rd chakra partially gives rise to the pitta dosha, and the 5th chakra partially gives rise to the vata dosha. Finally, Betel Leaf is a catalyst for balancing the ego and radical form shift.
|Essential Oil||Element(s)||Chakras||Dosha(s)||Catalyst for…|
|Ether, seed of Water||5th, 2nd||Vata, Kapha, Pitta||introspection and revelation|
|Fire, seed of Ether||3rd, 5th||Pitta, Vata||balancing the ego and radical form shift|
|Earth, seed of Water||1st, 2nd||Kapha||seeing synchronicities and benefiting from them|
|Kaffir Lime Leaf
|Air, seed of Fire||4th, 3rd||Vata, Pitta||energetic protection and energetic cord cutting|
|Earth, seed of Water, seed of Air||1st, 2nd, 4th||Kapha, Vata||peeling back the layers of the false self|
|Vata||Communication, true vocation, unique expression. What is your unique soul purpose to express in the world?|
|Vata||Love, compassion, forgiveness. What can you personally do to heal yourself, community, the world?|
|Pitta||Intellect, personal power, dynamic action. What outward circumstance do you want to manifest?|
|Kapha, Pitta||Graceful change, inner-child, sensuality. What do you want to cleanse or stimulate emotionally?|
|Kapha||Grounding, stability, increase. What do you want to plant in your life?|
Once you understand the energies of the amulets and oils, and your personal elemental energies (represented through your doshas), you can determine which items to work with in order to consciously affect your subtle bodies. The practice itself is then rather straightforward, and involves simply blending your chosen oil(s) with a carrier oil, anointing your chosen amulet(s) (and/or the corresponding chakra centers), and using an affirmation to set your intent. The following table gives some examples of how you might use this approach for achieving various results.
|Jewelry/Chakra||You might want to anoint your jewelry and/or chakra with…|
|Ether/Throat (5th) Lapis lazuli, silver
|Agarwood for penetrating insight into self and what that holds.|
|Air/Energetic heart (4th) amazonite, silver
|Kaffir Lime Leaf to sever limiting patterns that keep you from experiencing unconditional love for self and others.|
|Fire/Solar plexus (3rd) carnelian, gold
|Galangal to be in alignment with fresh opportunities for action.|
|Water/Sacrum (2nd) moonstone, silver
|Massoia Bark after a trying period, to peel away emotional debris.|
|Earth/Coccyx (1st) copper, tigers eye
|Betel Leaf to break free from limiting patterns and for helpful insights into the next steps.|
Of course, there are many ways to combine this information to form a practice. The following are a few suggestions. Keep in mind that, like personal body types, most of nature does not organize as a single element, so look for secondary elements that support your goal:
- You can match element (jewelry) to element (essential oil) to amplify a specific energy you want to work with. For example, if you want to invoke fire energy to support a new undertaking, you could pair a gold (fire) piece with Kaffir Lime Leaf essential oil (air/fire). This is a dynamic pairing for stimulating the mental body, invoking new thought (air) with increased/sustained logic, comprehension, synthesis and expression of the idea (fire).
- You can mix the elements to bring about a desired effect. Remember that each essential oil and gem/metal has its own specific signature (vibrational pattern) in addition to its elemental arrangement. For example, you might anoint a silver, lapis lazuli piece, which holds the energy of a portal into the deep mysteries/void, with Massoia Bark essential oil (earth/water/air), with the specific intent to utilize the plant’s vibrational pattern of being a dynamic catalyst for “peeling back the layers of the false self.” You could use this jewlery/oil pairing in meditations that require more than the logical mind, such as meditating on the koan, “What is my original face?”
- If you are saturated with too much of a specific element, you can redirect the energy. For example, if you have too much earth energy, you might stagnate. To move this energy, you would first access the muladhara (earth) center, either through personal anointing or an amulet with a metal that reduces the earth element; then, you might anoint yourself or an amulet with an essential oil featuring fire, water, air, or ether to promote movement in the desired direction. You might choose the desired direction of movement by asking, “What do I want to foster—creativity, comprehension, dynamic action, etc.?” and then selecting the essential oil that supports the pattern(s) you wants to use.
- You can use the essential oils to balance the specific energy of the metal any piece is made from, if it is not in complete harmony with your body type. For example, silver’s energy is cold and moist; vata is also cold, but dry. If a dominant vata type wants to wear the silver amulet for exploration of subconscious emotional patterns (silver rules emotions and the unconscious/subconscious), the cold of the metal could become aggravating. To offset this, you could anoint the silver amulet with an essential oil featuring the fire element, or a heating gemstone like carnelian. The energetic signature of the oil should also support the overall objective.
It is very tempting to think of chakras, doshas, and personal elements in abstract terms. In truth, however, they are the silent motivators for all we do. They flavor our emotions, intelligence, and physical health, so the more you understand your personal makeup, the less you are likely to be manipulated by your elemental self.
For example, I am a vata/kapha body type, and within that I evolve more from air/ether/water and lack much earth. The way I process is heavily influenced by this elemental arrangement. I am naturally very creative and intuitive (air/ether/water), have a healthy inner child (water/air), and am drawn to work with the emotions (water/air) and the subtle self (ether). I also dread routine (air) and have a hard time getting my ideas out of my mind and onto paper (air), but easily translate concepts into daily practice (water).
Since that elemental combination is not always beneficial, I employ many tools to help me energetically craft my elemental makeup, so that I can live a life of balance. The foundational concept of Ayurveda is to create balance within the self. Since I do not naturally have much fire or earth in my makeup, I need to stimulate these energies and avoid feeding too much energy into my water and air aspects; otherwise I will flitter about endlessly without finishing projects, as I become bored and then float to my next idea.
Since the two elements I am most in need of are fire and earth, I can bring my body into balance by using the amulets and essential oils to address this. The Fire amulet in gold gives rise to dynamic action, sharp intellect (ruling the left brain and conventional intelligence) and the bravery of exposing Self. The shadow side of my vata makeup includes being shy to the point of hiding. That is one of my most significant elemental challenges. I anoint the Fire amulet with Kaffir Lime Leaf essential oil to infuse myself with fire energy. This oil helps me overcome the bondage of personally imposed limitations—thoughts like, “I could never do that.” “That is out of my league.” or, “What if they don’t like my idea?” It severs those negative energetic cords.
To help you create your own practice, the following is a general guideline for making an anointing oil blend, applying it to an amulet, and using an affirmation for focused intent. This is a single-serving size, since part of the practice is to connect to and be present with the energy you are working with in the moment.
- 1 tbsp. apricot seed oil
- 1 drop essential oil
- 1 jewelry piece of choice
Pour the apricot seed oil into a small, clean glass bowl (the vibrational pattern of apricot seed oil is accelerated healing). Add 1 drop of essential oil. Mix with your middle finger, using your right hand if using a gold amulet, left hand for a silver one. (According to Vedic thought, the middle finger imparts structure.) Thoroughly anoint your amulet with the oil mixture as you recite a personal affirmation for the energy you are asking to work with. When you are finished, gently buff your amulet to a shine with a clean, soft cloth.
As an example affirmation, when anointing my fire based amulet, I say, “Please help me cultivate single-pointed concentration for my project, grant me the intelligence to see and understand all relevant perspectives, and help me find the words to express what needs to be said clearly. Thank you.” I then put my necklace on with the conviction that my internal elements are organizing themselves to perfectly support the invoked energy pattern of the Fire element.
I hope you find this practice as balancing, healing, and luxurious as I do.
If you find this information interesting you can read more in Candice Covington’s upcoming new book: Essential Oils in Spiritual Practice: Working with Chakras, Archetypes and the Five Great Elements https://www.innertraditions.com/essential-oils-in-spiritual-practice.html
Honoring the Sacred. High vibrational hand made jewelry and gem stone malas http://honoringthesacred.com/
Divine Archetypes. High vibrational hand made essential oils and flower essences https://divinearchetypes.org/
Copyright © 2017 Candice Covington. All rights reserved.
Lad, V. (1984). Ayurveda: The Science of Self-Healing. Wilmot: Lotus Press.
Satyasangananda, S. (1984). Tattwa Shuddhi. Munger: Yoga Publications Trust.