As the Wheel of the Year turns now to the fullness of Summer’s lush ripening, we continue on our Graceland journey — that is, our year-long exploration of the gifts of the ancient Goddesses of Grace, Virtue and Art. Beloved Thalia, Grace of Mirth and Flowering, continues to teach us. In the hot, summery days ahead, She will be introducing us to a bit of the wisdom of the Green Allies.
In the Summer, beneath the most direct rays of the Sun, the oils and medicines of our Green Allies reach their most potent time. For untold thousands of years, some of man’s greatest allies have been the beings of the Green realms. Not only do they provide our food and shelter, but plants, particularly herbs and flowers, generously share their gifts of healing and magic for those who are willing to learn their ways.
In many regions, the ancient herb, lavender, is now at its peak. Cultivated for many centuries, some people associate the scent of lavender with the lavender water of prim little old ladies with a tendency to prudishness. In fact, there are people for whom these associations are so strong, they actually dislike the fragrance of lavender.
But after years of developing a friendship and knowledge of this versatile, powerful plant, I know it quite differently. It is in fact a great irony that such a healing, loving plant being should be associated with persons who shun the rambunctious, creative spirit of living.
For lavender is a gentle, but nearly invincible ally. Many people appreciate lavender (Lavandula angustifolia or Lavandula officinalis) for its aromatic fragrance. It is used in many soaps, shampoos, and sachets for scenting clothes.
The name lavender comes from the Latin root lavare , which means “to wash.” Lavender most likely earned this name because it was frequently used in baths to help purify the body and spirit.
Lavender is a very effective ally for a variety of needs. Clinical studies have reported that lavender essential oil may be beneficial for treatment of insomnia, alopecia (hair loss), anxiety, stress, postoperative pain, and as an antibacterial and antiviral agent.
This herb is also considered a natural remedy for a range of ailments including depression and mood disturbances because research has confirmed that lavender produces calming, soothing, and sedative effects.
More about this gentle, powerful Green Ally tomorrow!