Essential Oils, Part Three: Blending Essential Oils According to Sound, Fragrance and Color
By Mary Elizabeth Wakefield, LAc, Dipl. Ac., MS, MM and MichelAngelo , MFA, CTM
In part two of this series, we provided an overview of the use of essential oils in classical Chinese medicine, and how they facilitate treatments that involve the three constitutional levels.
Other topics covered included the use of carrier oils, the Doctrine of Signatures, their different "notes" (which are determined by the rate of evaporation), and, finally, application guidelines for your practice.
Blending Essential Oils: Tuning the "Aromatic Orchestra"
As we discovered in the first part of this article, Septimus Piesse, in his book The Art of Perfumery, drew a compelling parallel between musical tone and the "gamut of colors" exhibited by essential oils. He recognized how sound (musical notes), smell (fragrance) and color (as it relates to essential oils) could all be viewed as different types of vibrational waves, or qi.
We might profitably draw an analogy here between the 45-octave frequency range of color associated with essential oils and a piano keyboard; however, the keyboard of this particular instrument, this pianoforte aromatico, this "Steinway of smell," would be almost eight times the length of that found in your living room. Additionally, in order to witness the gradual transition of color from the darkest to the palest oil, their olfactory "modulation," we would open our special piano and look inside. Each oil would then be represented by a unique string somewhere along this "sounding board" of fragrant color.
This musical construct makes it possible for us to envision blending these oils in a different way, instead of combining them according to family groupings, as below:
We will, rather, blend them according to the precepts of our friend Piesse, using color and sound (frequency), producing a chord of three different "notes," and then further their potency with sound resonance (via tuning forks) and color (light gels).
Essential oils are customarily classified into the following colors:
Complementary colors are characterized by wavelengths that naturally attract each other. When one color is present, it pulls the other color in like a magnet.
none; harmonizes with green
Examples of complementary oils:
linden blossoms (yellow)
clary sage (magenta)
A Chorus of De Scent: The Yin and Yang of Essential Oils
Essential oils are also classified as yin or yang, according to their frequency (wavelength) and their notes, or the rate of evaporation. Let's use another musical analogy, and peek in at a rehearsal of our oily "ensemble" practicing a classic English madrigal. Here's how the "conductor" might arrange the participants from left to right:
basses / baritones
tenors / altos
Type of Oil:
red / orange
yellow / green / white
blue / violet / magenta
Bulgarian rose (red)
A Guide to "Mix-Oil-Ogy"
As we have seen, essential oils can be associated in a variety of ways. We can then blend them according to these same attributes. For example:
Mix two oils of the same color, e.g., two oranges or two reds
Mix two oils of neighboring color, e.g., orange can mix with red or yellow
Mix oils of differing "notes," making a chord, e.g., red, yellow and blue
Mix oils by their yin and yang qualities
Blend two essential oils, e.g., two yellows and one orange
Green mixes well with all oils, because of its neutral nature, e.g., geranium
Mix oils of complementary colors, e.g., orange and indigo, or red and blue
The Art of Aroma
Let's make a chord from three different oils.
Base note: Bulgarian rose (red) Middle note: geranium (green) High note: violet (lavender)
With this combination of oils, we have concocted a miniature "vibraroma" of fragrance and color, which responds as well to sound waves. We have also balanced the yin and yang qualities of the respective oils:
Yang: Bulgarian rose (red) Neutral: geranium (green) Yin: lavender (violet)
Let us now look in depth at a specific example of three oils working together in concert, and how their various healing attributes are relevant to a constitutional skin treatment.
Dry and mature skin; it balances sebum, helps eczema, burns, congested and oily skin. It improves blood flow and livens up a pale complexion. It is excellent for cellulite caused by poor circulation or fluid retention.
In part two of this series, we learned that it is important to use a carrier oil, such as apricot seed or grapeseed, to "ground" the other oils.
Into the carrier oil, add 1 drop of red Bulgarian rose into a 5 ml essential oil bottle; then apply a red theatrical color gel (see references), and pass a tuning fork tuned to C, the frequency of the oil, three times over the bottle. You can also visualize the red color, and can add your own voice to the resonant mix. This application of color and sound is in accordance with the principle of like attracts like, activates the vibratory nature of the plants, and potentizes qi.
Now add 1 drop of geranium to the carrier oil, and potentize it in the same way with green and the tuning fork tuned to C.
Finally, add 2 drops of lavender, and potentize your formula with a violet gel and the note A.
Close the essential oil bottle, turn it over and pat it on the bottom, like you would a newborn baby, to bring the life-giving breath into its lungs. Voila! You have created a powerful plant formula that is wonderfully effective for most skin types.
Although this might seem an unorthodox manner in which to work with essential oils, mixing them in this fashion, according to color, has been a common practice in the United Kingdom and France for over a century. However, it was the genius of Septimus Piesse, who, having made the intuitive connection between these disparate sensory media, has paved the way for us to access a deeper level of healing. This dynamic synergy of fragrance, the vibratory energies of sound, via the tuning forks, and color, not only in the colors of the oils themselves, but also via the added dimension of color light, mirrors in a profound way the ebb and flow of qi and the infinite nature of the Tao. Such an approach is entirely apropos for healing practitioners in this new age of vibratory medicine. We encourage you to experiment with these techniques.
Piesse GW Septimus. The Art of Perfumery, and the Methods of Obtaining the Odours of Plants (out of print).
Dinshah D. Let There Be Light, 7th edition. Malaga, NJ: Dinshah Health Society, 2003.
Chiazzari S. Color Scents. Saffron Walden, UK: The C. W. Daniel Company, Ltd., 1998.