Anointing has been a sacred ritual for thousands of years in many different religions and ethnic groups, as a means of spiritual refreshment and physical invigoration. In the Orthodox tradition, the sacramental act of pouring aromatic oils onto the body, most often the head, is also called unction, and is primarily administered for physical and spiritual ills, although everyone is anointed during Holy Week. In this act of blessing, the aromatic oil used is believed to have both spiritual and physical healing qualities.
I believe that God’s healing love is spiritual, yet can be physical as well, if it be the will of God. Essential oils are the perfect element to guide our spiritual attunement and uplift our hearts. When I use essential oils for healing, I pray for God’s strength and an abiding sense of happiness. This does not necessarily mean the absence or avoidance of pain and suffering, but the mastery within pain and suffering to know and feel in your heart the sacred gifts of peace, joy, beauty and love.
I discovered this paradox through a recent illness where I endured many days of unremitting suffering, and simultaneously unparalleled love and joy. From a place of raw vulnerability, deep love, and humility, I learned a great many truths and discovered renewed strength, courage, and wisdom. Through this experience, one of the gifts bestowed upon me was the conception of a special blend of sacred essential oils for the purpose of anointment. This formulation came to me from both my deep intuitive wisdom of medicine and my connection to the Divine, as I was recovering from my own illness, searching for remedies, and reflecting on my roots as a Franciscan monk. My sacred blend includes frankincense, lavender, Holy basil, rose, nutmeg, myrrh, and sandalwood.
I created the Oil of Anointment as a means to simply assist people in drawing closer to their spiritual essence, or seeking spiritual enlightenment, and especially for the sick, suffering, and those who are ascending (dying), since I often work with people who are terminally ill and seeking peace and connection to God. When we anoint and perform unction, we are calling upon divine influence, a holy emanation, spirit, and the power of God. Unction not only unites us to Spirit, but creates in us renewed Spirit, an inner sanctuary: “and let them make for me a sanctuary and I will dwell in thee.” (Ex. 25:8)
The mystery of unction includes praying before, during and after the anointing. The prayer may be as simple as: “May grace be bestowed upon this spirit and body and let us evoke the Love and will of God in our hearts.” As such, the Oil of Anointment is meant to be used with sacred intent.
Any of the following prayers can be spoken while anointing oneself or another:
“May the Lord bless you and keep you,
May the Lord cause His favor to shine upon you and be gracious unto you,
May the Lord lift His favor unto you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
May the Lord, who is the Prince of peace, bring peace, as well as goodness, blessing, compassion, and healing to each of us and all of the people of the world.
May the Lord ease our suffering and give us the courage and love to be transformed in Agape Love. Amen!
O Heavenly Creator, who art everywhere, you are our Comforter, Spirit of Truth, treasure of Graces, and giver of Life, O come dwell in us, cleanse us of all that is not of you, heal us, renew us, and transform us, with your kindness and Love, O gracious One.
“Praise be you my Lord, for our sister Mother Earth, who nourishes and sustains us all, and brings forth diverse fruits, with many-colored flowers
and herbs.” – St. Francis of Assisi
Let us be still and listen for the whisper, that is Wisdom—which is connected to the Gift, which is the Spirit, which has been sealed with our prayers, anointing, and God’s Grace.
About the Essential Oils in My Sacred Blend for Anointing
Frankincense (Boswellia sacra) Derived from the gum resin of a small tree that grows in Somalia, Oman and Yemen, frankincense resin and essential oil have long been used medicinally and for sacred purposes. Highly revered by the Catholic and Christian Orthodox churches, frankincense is the foundation of the incense used in daily ceremony.
Lavender (Lavendula dentata) A flowering plant in the mint family, lavender is native to the Mediterranean, Middle East, and India. As one of the most popular herbs worldwide, lavender is valued for its sweet scent and myriad uses, which include medicinal, culinary, and aromatherapy. In ancient times, Christians hung a cross of lavender over their doorway for protection.
The aroma of lavender is subtle and floral, providing a perfect balance of relaxing and uplifting characteristics. Lavender is excellent for treating stress, and calming the mind, while uplifting the spirit, and adds an essence of sweetness to the Oil of Anointment.
Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) An aromatic plant native to the Indian subcontinent, holy basil is considered to be one of the most sacred plants in the Hindu culture. Commonly called “Tulsi” (which translates as “the Incomparable One”) holy basil is cultivated for both religious and medicinal uses. Holy basil EO is warming, clarifying and uplifting, and is believed to refine body, mind, and spirit. In Ayurvedic medicine, holy basil is regarded as an adaptogen and is thought to promote longevity.
Rose (Rosa damascena) Regarded as the quintessential symbol of love, roses are widely grown for their beauty and fragrance. Rose essential oil encourages happiness and contentment and is considered a “heart opener.” Rose EO also assists in processing grief, and specifically for grieving the loss of a loved one.
Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) Indigenous to the Spice Islands of Indonesia, nutmeg is obtained from the seed of the nutmeg tree. Because of its pleasant woody fragrance, nutmeg is traditionally used as incense. The essential oil of nutmeg is warming and has sedative properties, and is useful for treating muscular and joint pain. Nutmeg EO is also used to alleviate depression, and allows us to embrace flexibility, spontaneity, and joy so that we can move forward more easily in life or ascend with warmth and comfort.
Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) The aromatic gum resin of a small, thorny tree, myrrh is native to the Arabian Peninsula and northeast Africa. Treasured throughout history as a perfume, incense and medicine, myrrh is used ceremonially in Catholic, Orthodox, and Episcopalian churches. Utilized extensively in Ayurvedic, Unani, and Traditional Chinese Medicine, myrrh possesses anti-infectious and antiviral properties; it also helps to support the immune system.
Sandalwood (Santalum album) Native to South India, the sandalwood tree has a richly fragrant wood; steam distillation produces a precious essential oil. Widely regarded as sacred, sandalwood is used around the world to enhance prayer and meditation, and for healing mind and spirit. Sandalwood EO calms a busy mind, reduces anxiety or worry, and facilitates letting go of mind/ego, all of which create space for the presence of God, especially when applied to the forehead.
Who to Anoint:
- Anyone seeking a blessing of peace, emotional support, or spiritual attunement;
- Adults (and children old enough to understand what is taking place) suffering a serious illness, involved in a serious accident or trauma, facing surgery or major medical tests;
- The elderly, especially when frailty is pronounced – even without serious illness;
- Those suffering chronic physical or mental weakness;
- Those who are in need of healing, comfort, and love, for any reason, especially grieving.