“As the year rolls on and autumn arrives, all of nature prepares for fruition and going to seed, or to store up reserves for the winter” (The Language of Plants, Julia Graves)
It’s Autumn Equinox here in the northern hemisphere. Before our energy sinks into the gradually decreasing hours of light, we can find balance in the equal hours of light and dark today. It’s a beautiful time to take stock of the year; while the fields are being harvested, what can you reap from the past months?
As our outer focus shifts from the external pleasures of summer, we turn to a more inward-looking state of being.
The yearly seasons mirror so beautifully, our menstrual cycle, with our pre-menstruum being our inner autumn. But…
If you ask a group of women when their least favourite time in their cycle is, almost always there is a unanimous show of hands for the premenstrual phase.
It’s kind of understandable. We rage. We lose our filters, as the truth speaker in us is unleashed. We may question pretty much everything around us; from our relationships to our ability to do our job, to feeling that nothing we say or do is worthwhile. Without a container of awareness, this phase is disconcerting, disquieting and raw.
Our inner autumn is also the home of the inner critic; part of our shadow side that dances with glee as it feeds our rage, encourages our feelings of worthlessness, and at its worst can have us clinging to our sanity.
With a nod to the Julia Graves quote above, we can genuinely feel as though we are “going to seed” at this point in our cycle. But as the rest of her quote says, autumn is a time when we have the opportunity to store up reserves for winter. In menstrual cycle awareness terms, we can store up reserves for our inner winter, our time of menstruation.
By paying close attention to our needs in our inner autumn, the pre-menstruum can be a deeply potent time in our cycle. We can still be discerning truth speakers, but more directional and with awareness.
We can own this powerful time in our cycle, rather than apologise for it.
To add more juice to the picture, perimenopause is our Life Autumn, often with a more distilled and intense flavour of our premenstrual phase. The oils suggested here would work just as beautifully in perimenopause.
To ease these passages to power, we might need some sturdy support around us. Essential oils can be a firm ally to have by our side if it all goes wobbly.
Enjoy a selection of autumn supportive oils:
Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)
In plant form the flowers of clary sage form a spikey tip to their pinky purple and heart-shaped bloom. The leaves, with their downy hairs, cup the flowers from underneath, in a show of tender support. Perfect for our premenstrual phase.
As an essential oil, clary sage, has a warm, musky and herbaceous aroma. But it’s talent lies in it’s actions – being deeply grounding and holding, yet uplifting. As Gabriel Mojay shares: “The earthy quality of (the oil) reflects its ability to both steady the mind and reassure: while its gentle pungency enlivens the senses and dispels illusion, restoring the clarity echoed by it’s name” (Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit, Gabriel Mojay). The description reads like a balm to the sometimes deeply unkind work of the inner critic.
The pre-menstruum, a time when the outer lights go down and the inner lights brighten, pulls us towards greater intuition. Valerie Ann Worwood invites us to hear the “whisper” of clary sage: “…be at ease, and focus on contacting the inner spirit” (The Fragrant Heavens)
For a beautifully feminine and holding massage blend for inner autumn try: clary sage, geranium and black pepper
Clary sage also enjoys spending time with sandalwood, cypress, bergamot, and grapefruit.
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
Distilled from the resin of the Boswellia tree, with it’s sweet, rich but fresh aroma, the oil holds a special place in my heart. If an essential oil could hold out its arms and offer a hug with genuine love, it would be frankincense.
As Valerie Ann Worwood shares, frankincense is “…like an ever-watchful older friend capable of support in a wide range of circumstances. But, like a vigilant parent, it will not let us go where we are not ready to go.” (The Fragrant Heavens)
The incense resin has it’s place in spiritual tradition, but the essential oil is also “…an ideal aid to mediation, contemplation, and prayer, ceasing mental chatter and stilling the mind. Facilitating a state of single-pointed concentration, it allows the Spirit to soar” (Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit, Gabriel Mojay) When the mental chatter can turn quite vicious, seeking out frankincense can be an act of kindness in your pre-menstruum.
Frankincense cozies up well with so many other oils. But for a supportive inner autumn blend, clary sage, sandalwood (another oil that enjoys offering a nurturing hug) and bergamot will give you a place to ease your premenstrual disquiet.
Pine (Pinus sylvestris)
Picture the scotch pine, with it’s cluster of evergreen needles, the tree and its fresh, crisp and clean essential oil makes it an ally in supporting you when you’re feeling easily “needled” in your premenstrual phase.
Pine encourages us to trust, ease in to more self-confidence and helps to hold the tension, and more. Gabriel Mojay suggests pine as supportive in “Restoring emotional positivity and “boundary”, as well as our ability to “process” experience, pine works to dissipate both negative self-image and feelings of remorse, replacing guilt with forgiveness and self-acceptance” (Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit)
Blending pine with frankincense and clary sage, the other oils explored here, would create a truly holding blend.
For a lighter blend, try vapourising pine, grapefruit and juniper.
Who knows what kind of powerful places you can inhabit, with your psyche supported with these beautiful oils…
To support your inner autumn experience, try vapourising the oils, or mix a few drops with Epsom salt or milk and have a soak in the bath. Or perhaps you would love an an Aromatherapy Massage and have a bespoke massage blend created for you, to meet your needs for that day.
The safety stuff:
- Clary Sage should not be used in pregnancy, unless under the care of an Aromatherapist
- If you have endometriosis, fibroids or other oestrogen led conditions, please consult with an Aromatherapist before using clary sage
- Always dilute essential oils. A 1% dilution is the safest. In 15mls (a tablespoon) of base oil (sunflower oil, coconut oil are popular) add 5 drops of essential oil.
- To make a blend of the oils featured here, you may choose 1 drop of clary sage, 2 drops of frankincense and 2 drops of pine in 15mls of base oil.
- The old adage of less is more holds true when using essential oils, as over time, skin sensitivity can be increased.
- Essential oils should not be ingested, unless under the care of a Clinical Aromatherapist who will prepare the oils to avoid irritation of the digestive system.
- When vapourising, do so in an airy room, for not more than 10-15 minutes.
If you would love to explore your menstrual, fertility or menopause health, with a bespoke blend of essential oils created each time you visit, have a peruse at Aura Mama to see how you can be supported.
And for more information on menstrual cycle awareness enjoy this link