Kyphi – An Ancient Spiritual Incense

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Kyphi – An Ancient Spiritual Incense

An image from Egypt depicting a scale & ingredients- pic via frangrantia.com

An image from Egypt depicting a scale & ingredients- pic via frangrantia.com

Kyphi is an incense or perfume made by Egyptian priests to honour the Gods. Here’s an exerpt from my book, Revelation! Reveal Your Destiny with Essential Oils;

“Kyphi has always fascinated me. Even the word makes my heart skip a beat. The word Kyphi is understood as the Greek interpretation of the Egyptian term kp.t. This is a holy incense created by the priests of Egypt – at least a few hundred years before the common era (BCE or BC), but possibly up to 4000 years ago.

Lists of ingredients were found in inscriptions at the Temples of Edfu and Dendera on the West Bank of the Nile in Upper Egypt. Even so, many different variations on the recipe of this sacred perfume are claimed to exist but most agree that the common ingredients were honey, raisins and wine. Some say it was made of 16 ingredients and others claim up to 36.

Honey, raisin, wine, cinnamon and/or cassia, frankincense, myrrh, juniper, cedarwood, cyperus root and sweet flag, mastic, amber, benzoin and labdanum (gums and resins), aspalathos, camel grass, mint and others may have contributed to it’s magical nature.

Plutach the Greek historian, biographer and essayist wrote about the preparation of Kyphi stating:

     “these are compounded, not at random, but while sacred  writingsare being read to the perfumers as they mix the ingredients”.

Mortar and pestle - so alchemical!

Mortar and pestle – so alchemical !

The priest held the intention of the prayers and sacred poems in their entire being as the perfume was mixed. This illustrates the power of intention at work in its finest form. The incense preparation was used as a temple offereingto the Gods so it was necessary to make it in a holy space with a complete energy of divinity. As the incense was burnt in the evening, the message to the Gods was pure.”

The use of the ingredients of Kyphi was methodical

The use of the ingredients of Kyphi was methodical

I love that it was a very methodical procedure. When I make body oils or perfumes, and I’m using a standard recipe it is very important to me to make sure I add the oils in the same order they have been listed in on the recipe. It doesn’t seem like it would make a difference but it does!

When I first started studying aromatherapy my teacher had us all make the same body oil. Of course we all added the drops of the varying oils at different times, and guess what … yep each oil actually smelled different.

And you can understand why I always talk about intention when you are blending – even if you are just chucking oils into a vapouriser, have good thoughts, it will make a difference.

50 ml bespoke body oil made by me

50 ml bespoke body oil made by me

Happy blending and remember to use your intention when you are creating your formulas. See my article about intention.

copryright SR Banks 2014

Natural, Scented and Flavoured Christmassy Things to Make

Oranges and cloves a classic Christmas goodie - pic via jessicalozanointeriors.blogspot.com

Oranges and cloves is a  classic Christmas goodie – pic via jessicalozanointeriors.blogspot.com

Christmas is not always cold! It’s hot in many countries so here’s a list of “cold Chrustmas” and “warm Christmas” things to make.

Hot and Cold Christmas

1. Hey I love the cloves-in-the-orange decoration! It’s an old classic and works for both a southern and northern Christmas. If you’re in a hot Christmas climate this works really well if you hang your orange in a window so the stinking hot southern sun acts as a vapouriser for the cloves and orange rind – instant aromatherapy! If you’re having a cold Christmas hang them near a fire or a heater for a similar effect.

Method: get an orange and stick lots of cloves in the rind. The more cloves the better!

2. Use some the whole spices as a decoration on your Christmas tree – nutmeg (use fine jewelry wire to tie them on), star anise, cinnamon sticks and cassia sticks. Or layer them all in a slim vase for decoration.

Star Anise pic via es.wikipedia.org

Star Anise pic via es.wikipedia.org

Hot Christmas

1. For a summer Christmas try using fresh herbs in a vase instead of flowers – you may also be more inclined to use them in your cooking if they are out on display. Corriander and mint are cooling herbs – isn’t nature marvelous?

Gorgeous herbs in vases pic via lornaslist.com

Gorgeous herbs in vases pic via lornaslist.com

2. For a refreshing, hydrating drink try cold sparkling mineral water, a pinch of sea salt, a piece of lemon and a good splash of rosewater or even orange blossom water. It tastes wonderful!

Add a splash of rosewater to a gin and tonic too – yum! Rose oil and rose water help the body deal with heat – have you ever had a rosewater lassi in India? Why not try and make a rosewater lassi yourself?

Rosewater lassi - pic via ayurvedicwellnesscentre.com.au

Rosewater lassi – pic via ayurvedicwellnesscentre.com.au

Cold Christmas

1. Eggnog – I never really got into it but, not only are you having a nutritious and warming drink, you are also having an aromatherapy treatment at the same time with all those lovely spices! Your house will smell fantastic when you make this traditional drink.

Eggnog - a warming drink best with all the great spices! pic via www.localnomad.com

Eggnog – a warming drink best with all the great spices! pic via http://www.localnomad.com

2. Mulled Wine – same as above. Spices and fruit rinds in wine – doesn’t get much better than that! All the essential oils will infuse into the wine to give you a scented home and a lovely beverage.

Mulled wine - pic via winemonger.com

Mulled wine – pic via winemonger.com

Both these drinks are traditional winter drinks that have been around for a long time. They are cold tonics for the body and all those lovely spices and foods combine to act like medicine. Remember our medicine today is a far cry from the original medicines from centuries ago that were all natural substances!

So this Christmas wherever you are remember to gather all your natural herbs and spices, and flowers, and use them in your cooking so you are creating a culinary AND scented extravaganza!

Aromatherapy doesn’t have to be difficult – scented delights are all around you!

Really? Perfume for clothes? Yuck!

Scented washing liquid

Scented washing products

In the commercial for this product (a scented fabric softener), the gorgeous woman in her LBD (see my article on the LBD ), has run out of all her glamourous perfumes. She looks everywhere. I think she lives in Paris and wears designer clothes. She’s wearing stockings with a seam at the back and maybe she’s going out for an intimate dinner. Oh no, what is she going to do without her perfume? Here’s a brilliant idea…… take off your dress and wash it with this fragrant product – just like perfume for your clothes. NO!!!!!!

Have you ever smelled these vile, toxic, synthetic, over-scented products? They are so strong and so false, they exude out of the container and assault you when you are walking down the laundry isle in the supermarket. It’s not just this particular brand, but many brands. Clearly I can’t stand them. Any of them. My recommendation is to buy an unperfumed washing soap, and if you really feel you need some fragrance, chuck in a few drops of lemon or eucalyptus essential oil. Or even just the juice of a lemon – and squeeze the rind into the juice too (as this contains the essential oil).

the lovely lemon

the lovely lemon

We have completely gone overboard with synthetic fragrance. It screws with our sense of smell and interferes with healthy living. It prevents us from turning scent into valuable information. It dominates over the beauty of nature and our divine natural connection to the earth. Chemicals are absorbed and stored by our bodies – is it any wonder that western society has sickness and disease? Don’t for one minute think that a little bit of perfume won’t harm you. Extended exposure to toxicity within and without, is bad.

So what could have our glamourous lady from the ad, scented her beautiful skin with? In a couple of minutes our lady –

* could have found some citrus fruit, cut some rind, and squeezed the essential oil on her skin and hair – grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, mandarin.

the amazing vanilla pod

the amazing vanilla pod

* could have used some vanilla extract from the cupboard and dabbed a little on her wrists, behind her ears. Or rubbed a vanilla pod on her wrists.

* could have bought or picked a single scented flower for her hair

Billie Holliday with gardenias in her hair

Billie Holliday with gardenias in her hair

* could have ground up some black pepper, cinnamon or any spice with a little oil, and used that as a perfume. How delicious would a little bit of nutmeg and pepper be?

I’m sure you can think of a few more too. But if she didn’t have the scented fabric softener she probably could have sprayed her highly toxic, scented deodorant all over her – yep that would have worked!

Hey – instead of fabric softener use half a cup of bi-carbonate of soda. It works and you can always add some essential oils to the mix.

Please be mindful, and informed. Choose wisely.

It’s Easy to Make Your Own Body Scrub

Sneakily borrowed from iodizedsalt.india.com

It IS easy. I recommend using sea salt as a base and adding ingredients to that. Use fine grade as the coarse grade will scratch your skin.

If you are a lover of essential oils then try adding about 5 drops (or a few more) of the oils you choose, into 2 cups of salt and slosh in some oil to make a gooey, grainy paste. It can be olive oil, almond oil, coconut oil, sesame oil or anything you have in the cupboard. You could even try coconut milk or coconut cream to take you away on an island holiday in your mind.

Essential Oil Suggestions

Lemon – fresh wonderful scent, alpha hydroxyl acids to help get rid of dead skin

Orange – sweet and gorgeous and also has alpha hydroxyl acids to help get rid of dead skin

Lemongrass – invigorating

Lavender – an all purpose oil which helps skin regeneration and is fortify to the spirit

Peru balsam – great for the skin and has an amazing soft honey-like scent, similar benzoin in it’s healing ability

You can use any oil really so go with your intuition and your vibe. You will be giving yourself a skin scrub and an aromatherapy treatment to nurture your emotions and ease toxic thoughts.

The best way to do your body scrub is in a bath. After a 5 minute soak, stand up in the bath and scrub each part of your body with care. You are not trying to scrub oil off a baking pan so take it easy. The salt is the medium that will ease off old skin so don’t press too hard. After you have completed your ritual you can then soak in the treatment until your heart’s content – or until you get all pruney. If you only have a shower like me, wet yourself first, do the scrub, then shower off.

Get Creative

Cinnamon

This is the fun part. There are so many things you probably have in the house that could turn your salt scrub into a tropical delight. Try:

A teaspoon of vanilla extract

A few tablespoons of almond meal will make the scrub a little milky and leave your skin feeling soft

Grated lemon rind – or the rind of any citrus fruit will really make your scrub zesty, natural and alive with energy.

A tablespoon of coffee – some claim it helps get rid of cellulite and while I’m not sure about that, it will stimulate your skin and your senses

Herbal tea – either grind up a loose leaf tea or rip open a teabag and use the contents

Go on give it a whirl at Spa You. You don’t have to travel very far and it wont cost a fortune. Good luck my friends, scrub on.