Cancer and Aromatherapy- "Bringing
Light to Darkness"
When your body is injured, even if it is a simple cut, the cells surrounding the cut reproduce to replace the ones that have been harmed. These cells "know" to stop reproducing once they have filled in the injured area.
Sometimes, however, a cell begins to reproduce for no obvious reason. It seems to mysteriously "go out of control", almost as if it does not know its purpose within the organism. The daughter cells that it produces form a lump or growth that the body does not recognize as a foreign invader. This is cancer. As if trying to find its identity, a cell from this lump or tumor spreads to another part of the body and begins reproduction there. The most prominent and destructive characteristic of most types of cancer cells is that they are not receptive like normal cells to "turn off" or stop reproducing and die. Eventually, cancers abnormal tissues and activities interfere with the bodys cell and organ functions to perform properly, and illness or death can result.
There are many theories, but no one knows exactly why some cells behave in this way. It is known, however, that certain things increase the likelihood of certain types of cancer. Environmental factors and diet are widely believed to be two of the major causes of cancer. Many believe factors such as cigarette smoking and poor dietary habits increase the risk of cancer because they impair the immune system. In addition to blaming diet and environmental pollutants, many experts link cancer to stress.
At age 40 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, I caught it early. There is breast cancer in my family, so I had been going in for my yearly mammograms since age 35. The previous 7 10 years were very stressful for me. Looking closely at my life one might say that I brought the stress on to myself as I went through years of personal turmoil trying to determine my identity or an identity that I felt satisfied with. I went through a divorce, took on school and a couple of part-time jobs, to support my handicapped daughter and myself. Then one day I decided to pack up and move to another town. My diagnosis of breast cancer came three difficult years later. It turned out to be a three-year struggle resulting in a bi-lateral mastectomy and chemotherapy. I became exhausted, frustrated and quite frankly was at the "end of my rope".
I went to see a Chiropractor that was very knowledgeable in nutrition. Dr. Carl Jelstrup at Family Health, in Bellevue, gave me very individualized counseling regarding my diet. He also used kinesiology or muscle testing to determine my nutritional need or what supplement my body was lacking. Whatever he recommended for me worked and I started to feel better. There was hope. (Just a note, as a plug for Chiropractic even during Chemotherapy, Steve Mathewson, one of Dr. Jelstrups partners, gave me a chiropractic adjustment at least twice weekly. My overall health remained strong and I had a sense that my immune system was given a boost in spite of the harshness of the chemotherapy drugs).
Once, when I was in to see Dr. Jelstrup for an adjustment, I had a terrible toothache. I was just beginning Chemotherapy at the time and did not feel I could endure dental work. Dr. Jelstrup recommended the essential oil of Oregano to be diluted with olive oil and applied to my tooth where there was pain. He said that the essential oil of oregano was highly anti-bacterial. I had never heard of such a thing, but I did it and the results were absolutely incredible! The pain completely disappeared during the night. I had to know more about essential oils and started reading everything I could find about essential oils and Aromatherapy. Lavender, of course, was the next marvel that I discovered for my insomnia and anxiety.
My next discovery was in the area of "Energy Healing" or "Natural Force Healing", created by Dr. Ken and Lisa Davis in New Jersey, and performed here by Jeanne Kreider, one of the practitioners in Dr. Jelstrups office. "Natural Force Healing" is a method or practice of balancing a persons electrical energy field, which is based on the principal of the triune of well-being. When utilized it can obtain optimal balance of the body, mind and spirit. Every person is a triangle of well-being. If one aspect of the triune is out of balance, all aspects distort, creating side effects such as physical pain, disease, depression, fear, stress, or lack of faith. It is interesting to note that in this modality of healing it is believed that the physical aspect or body of the triangle accounts for just 1% of the breakdown, the mind or emotions 9%, and the remaining 90% originates from the spiritual aspect of our well being. Its no wonder that it would be prudent to look deeper into our souls when disease becomes apparent in our lives!
At the Fourth Wholistic Aromatherapy Conference on the Therapeutic Uses of Essential Oils in San Francisco in November of 2000, Dr. Bruce Berkowsky, founder/teacher of the Natural Health Science System, gave a fascinating lecture on "Essential Oils and the Cancer Miasm". I found it absolutely intriguing considering my own experience with cancer and my studies in energy work.
Bruce Berkowsky states that a miasm is a reactional mode, or predisposition, to disease transmitted from generation to generation bioenergetically rather than by a genetic mechanism. (The word miasm comes from the Greek word miasma meaning stain, pollution or defilement) The themes of loss of control and inability to establish ones personal identity are characteristic of the Cancer Miasm. Some of the primary essential oils found effective in treating this miasm are: angelica (Angelica archangelica); geranium (Pelargonium graveolens); lemon (Citrus limonum): pine (Pinus sylvestris).
The identification of an individuals prominent miasmatic influences, and specific essential oil responses to them, assists in differential diagnosis regarding essential oil selection. Also, it opens up a new, heretofore unexplored, dynamic in Aromatherapy which enables the practitioner to more effectively penetrate the layering of superficial symptoms in a case and gain access to the germinal, central disturbance of the dynamic plane from which those symptoms emanate.
The focus of Berkowskys work, which he refers to as Spiritual PhytoEssencing Protocol, is not a direct action upon disease symptoms, but rather a way to find and work upon the core issue that lies beneath the surface or false self which attempts to shelter and contain the weaknesses in the "true self". I interpret this to be very similar to the approach taught at the "Institute of Dynamic Aromatherapy", in which Jade Shutes teaches and encourages her students to look with intuition at what is the core issue beyond the obvious symptoms. The term "Dynamic" Aromatherapy encourages us to look beyond the mere chemistry of essential oils and to begin to develop an understanding of the essential oils based upon their plant signatures or characteristic morphological features.
Anthroposophic Science and Medicine, which is a unique blend of conventional and spiritual science developed by Rudolf Steiner, teaches that plants produce fragrance as a means of absorbing the soul of the sun, which contains the essence of spirit. Rudolf Steiner notes: "Matter is most spiritual in the perfume of the plant. When the spirit most closely approaches the physical earth, then we have the perception of fragrance." Kabbalah scholar Dr. Phillip Berg writes: That which is closer to the source (i.e., The Infinite) is said to be stronger, higher, loftier The seed knows everything about the tree while the roots and branches have a more limited perspective So what is stronger? That which is closest to the source.
Therefore, an essential oil, as the carrier of the plant soul, is a potent storehouse of all aspects of the source plant. On a similar note, Kabbalah scholar Rabbi Yechiel Bar Lev, using fruit as an example, explains: "In order to reach the essence of the fruit we must relate to its innermost aspects, its spiritual dimension. This dimension is called the Godly spark of the object" " each and every object has its Godly dimension, which is the reality revealed when the material aspect is stripped away."
A miasm is a homeopathic concept, believed by many natural health researchers to be of a predisposition or a reactional mode to disease transmitted from generation to generation bioenergetically, rather than by the accepted avenue of genetics and heredity. Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, came up with the theory of miasms after experiencing a great deal of failure in the treatment of chronic diseases. He lamented that: " the disease would continue to progress and the remedies employed would do little or no good."
Hahnemann believes that there are three basic miasms: Psoric, sycotic and syphilitic. Each evolves from an infectious taint that is passed down from generation to generation. His theory is that the Psoric miasm, the most basic miasm, derives from suppressed scabies, the Sycotic, from suppressed gonorrhea, and the Syphilitic, from suppressed syphilis. Over the years, homeopaths have defined the existence of other miasms, which include: Acute, Alcohol, Cancer, Leprous Malarial, Rabies, Radiation, Ringworm, Tubercular and Typhoid. It is believed that the character of the miasm yields the character of the disease or the form of the illness. It is important to differentiate the miasm from the actual disease.
An individual may show a strong disposition toward the Cancer Miasm but never in their lifetime suffer from cancer. Again, the miasm is not an actual disease state, but a set of constitutional characteristics and reactional tendencies that resemble the pattern of that particular disease. If identification of these miasms can be made and corresponding essential oils are then recommended and applied in treatment, a new dynamic in aromatherapy becomes available: a means by which a practitioner is able to penetrate the layers of superficial symptoms and gain access to the germinal, central disturbance of the dynamic plane from which those symptoms emanate. (As quoted previously by Bruce Berkowsky)
The Cancer Miasm
There are two major themes of the Cancer Miasm. The first is, "Everything is so out of control. I need to bring things under control again, or I will be destroyed". There is a chaos, a sense of breaking away, and the feeling of helplessness that, "I can do nothing about it". This person feels he must stretch to his limits in order to keep things in control. Usually, he tends to be a perfectionist in order to maintain control over himself and his surroundings. A superhuman effort is needed in order to survive.
The second major theme involves the inability to develop a sense of individuality. Those who feature the Cancer Miasm may manifest an enormous difficulty in establishing their own unique, individual identities.
The combination of both Cancer Miasm themes: everything is out of control and the inability to develop a sense if individuality is not unlike the actual cellular pathology associated with cancer. Often, in those cancer cases where emotional factors present themselves as the "core issues" in relationship to the disease, both Cancer Miasm themes are prominent.
Some of the other emotional symptoms and characteristics of the Cancer Miasm individual are: excessive fear and apprehension, melancholia, fear of death, fear of disease, despair of recovery, symptoms worse at night and when alone, symptoms better in company, prostration, contradictory states of mind and body, intensity, restlessness, sense of being unfulfilled, works excessively, desire for travel and excitement, ailments from domination by others, sensitive to admonition, sympathetic, oversensitive, anxiety for others, sentimental, romantic, passionate, feelings of neglect, despair, of being unloved, passion to read, strong sense of duty, love of animals, love of dancing, family history of diabetes, infertility, never well since mononucleosis, history of tonsillitis, desire for chocolate.
In the Cancer Miasm individual there is often a history of high expectations by the parents, excessive parental control, suppression and/or abuse during childhood, strong, deep attachment to the family. The person is trying to be perfect, and in so doing stretches him or herself to the limit and finds no rest or freedom from tension.
The Anthroposophic Perspective of Cancer
According to anthroposophic medicine, which is a unique blend of conventional and spiritual science developed by Rudolf Steiner, the human being consists of a physical body that is energetically governed by three constituent elements of vital force: the etheric body, the astral body, and the spirit body.
The first of these is the etheric body, which is the invisible organization of formative forces that connects the physical body into a living entity. The etheric body houses an exact energetic replica of the physical body, providing a "blueprint". This level is strengthened by water and good health, including physical exercise.
The second element is the astral body which houses our feelings and emotions and our relationships with people, animals, plants, our environment and the universe. It is responsible for all instincts, desires, passions, attractions, repulsions and movement. It is the conscious state that facilitates and makes animal life possible. The astral body perceives and internalizes impressions from the external world, which are then given an expression in the form of behavioral responses and movement. Within the body, air is the operative medium of the astral body.
The third constituent element is the spirit body, which is responsible for higher consciousness and the recognition of "Self". Whereas animals are subject to their instincts and impulses, the spirit body provides human beings with the ability to modify or resist them. The spirit body expresses itself in thinking that allows for introspection, objectivity and the development of spirituality. Truth, beauty and goodness as well as a conscience that differentiates between good and evil evolves here. It connects us to our spiritual self, and by it we are given a certain freedom to shape our own particular path and knowing of ones life purpose.
A state of harmony with the physical body and these three constituent elements: etheric, astral and spiritual bodies, is a prerequisite of true health.
Rosalyn Bruyere, author of Wheels of Light, explains that an abnormality in the auric field can be a warning that something is wrong in the physical body even though there may not yet be any physical symptoms. She also believes that disease manifests first in these subtle bodies on an energetic level, and then condenses to manifest in the physical body. Rudolf Steiner goes on to theorize that, Normal cellular growth can be defined as a process of etheric body-driven multiplication controlled by the sculpturing influences of the astral and spirit bodies. In contrast, cancerous growth is a manifestation of a disequilibrium between the etheric multiplication force and the higher sculpturing forces, resulting in inadequate metamorphosis of the etheric force and withdrawal of the higher form-producing forces.
Victor Bott, M.D., writes: "When the organizing forces of the spirit and astral bodies withdraw the organ is exposed to external influences and becomes the plaything of chaotic forces." Instead of order maintained by higher constitutional elements, one sees the inner disorder, which occurs, so frequently in our modern world. In reaction to chaos, the cells, instead of working together in an orderly way, begin to live a life of their own proliferating freely and falling prey to influences arising from the physical world. Malignancy is the expression of a disorganizing action of diverse external influences which the internal forces of organization are no longer able to control. The appearance of a tumor is not the beginning of cancer but a sign of its last phase of development. The tumor itself is really only a sign that the cancer illness has become localized.
Edward C. Whitmont writes: We may view illness as the result of resistance to the breaking in of new dissipative energies and informational morphic fields which are potentially meant to differentiate and renew life and awareness. In reference to a breast cancer case, which he describes, Whitmont observes: "What could not lead to psychological growth grew as cancer tissue instead."
This poses an important question: Could it be that cancer (as well as other serious diseases) could be prevented or alleviated to a great degree by simply maintaining harmony on all three of these vital force levels? If so, then I believe that essential oils combined with energetic modalities of natural healing and homeopathy offer a tremendous hope for the treatment of this devastating disease.
Angelica and the Cancer Miasm
The following essential oils are well suited to treat the Cancer Miasmthey include: Angelica (Angelica archangelica), Frankincense (Boswellia carterii), Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), Ginger (Zingiber officinalis), Lemon (Citrus limonum), Neroli (Citrus aurantium), Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin), Pine (Pinus sylvestris), and Violet leaf (Viola odorata). Most of these oils contain the chemical constituent Limonene and related terpenoids, which have been shown to prevent carcinogen-induced mammary cancer. In the discussion that follows, we will look at how angelica can be used to treat the Cancer Miasm.
Angelica (Angelica archangelica) is in the Umbelliferae family whose members have a strong affinity for the process of aeration, reaching out from the watery element from which they thrive and up into the airy element. Angelica is a water loving plant that is found growing near streams and rivers or wetlands. The root of the Angelica plant, in particular, has the strong affinity for water. The umbelliferaes tend to have hollow stems and stalks, inflated leaf sheaths and air-chambered rootstocks. Umbelliferaes, angelica included, strive to bond with the realm of air - the medium of one of the three constituent elements of vital force: the astral body.
As plants are essentially etheric organisms whose formative forces are water-dependent, by reaching out to the airy element and becoming aerated, angelica draws from the astral plane (air) and incorporates it into its fluid nature. This feature of joining air and water / astral and etheric, is the foundation of angelicas clinical benefits. Angelicas essential oils are extracted from either the seeds or the roots of the angelica plant (for this discussion we will refer to the essence extracted from the root).
In anthroposophic science, the root of the plant, due to the diversity of its sensory functions, is associated with the human nerve-sense system and the metabolic limb system. As a root oil, angelica is believed to have very strong associations with both of these systems. It is through the root that the plant confronts the soil "universe". The root must discern the enormous menu of substances in the soil and choose or grasp the ones that it requires for its growth. This selectivity equates to the human consciousness facilitated by the nerve-sense organs of the head, because the head organ shows similar selectivity when sifting through the bombardment of incoming sensory data from the outer world (keep in mind, as earlier discussed, the astral body perceives and internalizes impressions from the external world, which are then given expression in the form of behavioral responses and choice of movement).
Furthermore, the roots ability to select or choose is based upon its sense of Self, as each plant will select different substances in accordance with its individuality as a plant organism. Similarly, the spirit and astral bodies of human beings are charged with establishing a consciousness of Self. The root of the plant absorbs mineral salts out of the earth and utilizes them for growth and nutrition. These salts permeate the plant and make it an earth organism. The human head can be compared to a hardened root, as it must process that which it chooses to consume or absorb. This absorption continues to initiate the process of solidification, and tissue contraction to elimination.
Root oils have obvious metabolic associations as well. They are actively involved in the processes of nutritional absorption, and the processes involved with the intake of fluid and hydration. The intestinal system is a type of inner root that draws nutrients and water into the blood. With Angelicas dual air/water affinities, and its link to both upper and lower poles of the body (head and bowel), it lends great potential to integrate the nerve-sense forces (which depend upon air) into the metabolic processes which require a watery medium. Therefore, it may prove an exceptional treatment of mental exhaustion due to nutritional depletion as well as for a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms linked to the failure of the astral body to incarnate from the head into the metabolism. Indicators include indigestion, flatulence and nausea.
Looking at one of the major symptoms in the Cancer Miasm, loss of control, we see a dysfunctional relationship between the astral and etheric bodies. For some recipients, for example, angelica rehydrates or revives volatile emotions like exhaustion and anxiety, and aerates sodden ones such as moodiness, heartache and alcohol addiction. There is an element of violence in the animal nature of the astral body that makes its direct action on the physical body harsh and unfeasible and such actions can result in spasm, pain, tissue destruction and depletion. Therefore, the astral bodys passions and drives must be buffered by, and communicated through, the watery medium of the etheric body.
Angelica is noted as a medicine for gastric ulcers and colicthe former, due to astral passions expending themselves upon stomach tissue, and the latter, due to astral-induced intestinal spasms. As a balancer of air and water, angelica is not only beneficial for excesses of the astral body, but of the etheric body as well.
Again, when the astral body inadequately incarnates into the metabolism, the etheric forces are unchecked, thus, cellular overgrowth and loss of control of the fluid organism may occur. This becomes particularly evident in the glands which are primarily etheric organs. Angelica has proven to be very helpful for swelling, inflammation and swelling of the lymph nodes, especially of the head and neck region.
Angelica oil may also offer a way of responding to the bioenergetic aspect of cancers of the fluid organism such as leukemia and Hodgkins Disease, both of which involve lymphoid tissues and are characterized by etheric hyperproliferation and misguided astral behavior.
Angelica and the Angels
Taking a moment to look at the intriguing nature of Angelica is to examine its name. From the Bible in Genesis 28: 10:-13, Jacobs ladder dream is described: "He had a dream; a ladder was standing on the ground and its top reached toward heaven, and Gods angels were going up and down it. Suddenly he saw God standing over him." Angels are messengers between the heavenly and earthy realms. In the Kabbalah (the Jewish mystical teachings), the rungs of Jacobs ladder represent the levels of the spiritual world, which can only be bound together while they are standing on earth. Rabbi Shoni Labowitz writes: " the angels are continuously ascending and descending the rungs of the spiritual ladder of life. The angels act as receptors, assisting you in implementing ideas and answering needs." The angels balance and harmonize the world of feelings (i.e., physical, etheric and astral bodies) with the world of pure emanation (i.e., spiritual body). Therefore, Angelicas name powerfully indicates its role of reestablishing the governance or order of the spirit body within the human life. Without this governance, there is the loss of control and lack of ability to develop the unique Self, which characterizes the Cancer Miasm.
Almost all organic processes generate energy waves or a frequency. For example, cell division is accompanied by a subtle radiation of light. However, it is known that cancer cells emit no light rays when they undergo cell division. They are withdrawn from the light organism.
This causes me to notice an interesting parallel between darkness and light occurring in the constant process of cell recreation, and the biblical story of the creation of the universe. In Genesis Chapter 1, it reads: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, "Let there be light, and there was light. God saw that the light was good and he separated the light from the darkness." First, there was darkness, and then light was created. After the existence of light, the creation of all living things began.
With discoveries of the powers already existing in nature, we are learning to channel this process of creation directly into the human situation of the Cancer Miasm by encouraging light (harmony/health) to prevent darkness (chaos/cancer). The connection between essential oils and their abilities to bring balance to our whole beingbody, mind and spiritmay be the major breakthrough against cancer that mankind is so desperately searching for.
There is so much meaningless and chaos in our modern life. Most cancer researchers agree that there is no truly definable reason why cancer exists. Perhaps with the beauty and the light that essential oils offer to man, we can utilize them to pierce through the darkness and begin to overcome cancer by achieving balance through a higher, more whole mode of existence.