Portraits in Oils

portraits_oilsMaybe you know where you are on the Myers-Briggs matrix, or DISC profile, or if you are a squiggle, circle, square, or triangle, or red, blue, green or yellow, but do you know which essential oil you are?

This book has really got me thinking: Portraits in Oils: The personality of aromatherapy oils and their link with human temperaments, by Philippe Mailhebiau. Translated from French, but still very “Frenchy” in its perspective (a good thing!), it describes the personalities of 24 major essential oils, giving each detailed and precise characteristics, including personalities/oils that do and don’t blend well. My head nodded, “Yes, yes, yes,” as the descriptions conjured images of people I have known. There is:

• Powerful and engaging, but potentially dangerous, Peppermint (the bad boy we all date at least once)
• Delicate and idealistic Helichrysum (our childhood best friend)
• The loyal and silent protector Cypress (the one we hope to marry)
Lavender, the universal feminine, patient, tireless, nurturing and too-often abused (every good mother)
• Emotional and spiritual Basil, made stronger by life’s ups and downs (uh hem)
• And Rose whose perfect beauty and endless love inspire and lift us (the divine we yearn for)

It’s all in fun, yet the accuracy and depth of these descriptions—of people and of oils—is eerily true. Coincidence? I doubt it. Our connection to plants is older than time and deeper than DNA. We are they, and they are us. Understanding them helps us know ourselves.

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