Essential oils are profound medicine for body, mind and spirit. They have a long history of use dating back at least to ancient Egypt. My particular interest is the use of essential oils as gateways to consiousness, and over the years I have been mapping out the key psychic attributes of oils so that they can be used more effectively for psychic and spiritual wellbeing.
Latin names: Menthe piperita (peppermint), Mentha spicata (spearmint) Mentha arvensis (field mint) Common sources: native to the Mediterranean and western Asia Part of plant used: Leaf Aroma character: minty, grasslike, balsamic, herbal Essential qualities: masculine + feminine, energising, uplifting, mentally stimulating, dynamic, visionary, revitalising. Archetypal image: A young man stands on a cliff overlooking the sea watching seagulls glide on the fresh morning breeze. The bracing wind brightens his eyes as he prepares for the day ahead. Message: I reaffirm your connection to the force of nature that animates life, and invite you to embrace life in the moment in full appreciation for what is happening and unfolding now. I call you to awaken to the muse within, and allow yourself to be uplifted and inspired with possibility and to take action on your inspirations. Collective heritage: The mint family includes peppermint, spearmint and field mint, all of which share a common theme, but with their own individual characters. Used in ancient Egypt as a ritual perfume, and in ancient Greece in funerary rites, it was an ingredient in the psychoactive drink called Kykeon used in the ceremonial rites of the Eleusinian Mysteries, the cult of Demeter and Persephone. Some sources consider that Mentha is derived from the Latin mente, meaning thought. Alternatively the name of the genus could come from the nymph in Greek mythology called Minthe who attempted to seduce Hades, lord of the underworld, but Queen Persephone intervened and transformed her into 'garden mint'. Mint has also been associated with the Greek god Zeus, the lord of the sky and lightning. Traditionaly considered a 'visionary herb' mint is thought to both uplift the spirit and bring dreams of prophecy. Integrated overview: Mint relates to the breath of life and thus to life-force and the urge to live. It quickly and powerfully elevates both the mental and emotional states, quickening and invigorating them, whereupon the thinking function is re-energised with both clarity and openness; mental dullness is swept aside as energy rises up from within, and stagnation, whether mental or emotional, is overcome as energy moves and enlivens us, awakens our receptive capacities for both inspiration and visionary experiences. It has a dual action demonstrating an interesting mix of both feminine and masculine modes; it is dynamically stimulating and elevating, while at the same time calming and centering. This is also reflected at the therapeutic level, for mint is known to be both warming (masculine) and cooling (feminine), although in the long term it ultimately has a cooling effect on the body, which is also mirrored at the psychic level because mint although quick to stimulate and move energy, tends to transition us to a more peaceful and self-reflective place over time. Together these qualities can be very useful when we want to receive clear images from the unconscious; we are both clear headed and receptive at the same time. In this regard, spearmint is more yin/feminine than peppermint, and has a gentler and softer action; more calming and less stimulating to the mental function. The connection to life that mint offers is a significant one; its ability to move us swiftly away from deathly and lifeless states. The myth of Minthe and Hades speaks to this quality, for who but the most lively and vivacious would have the temerity to seduce the Lord of Death himself! In this, one can imagine the innate aliveness of an anima figure like Minthe as a natural polarity energy to the deathly side of nature; it is almost as if she is compelled to bring death itself back into life, without a concern or understanding that she may die in the process. However another anima figure intercedes, probably because its too risky. Persephone although queen of the underworld, is also the daughter of Demeter, an Earth goddess of fertility and abundance, so perhaps her intercession is an act of respect for the life urge, rather than her being really worried by the possible tryst. Mint is cleansing, especially to the mind; it evokes a feeling much like a breeze blowing the cobwebs away.