Aromatherapy 101 with Charmed Botanical’s Athena Ziegler

Aromatherapy, Charmed Botanicals, Columns, Interviews, The Throat Chakra

Meet Athena Ziegler, aromatherapy goddess and Chakra Center’s newest contributor!

An accomplished and talented aromatherapist, Athena creates custom, organic Aromatherapy blends for all purposes through her company, Charmed Botanicals. She uses only 100% pure organic, wild crafted or unsprayed therapeutic grade essential oils.

I was first introduced to Athena’s work through Charis Melina Brown as the fairy who creates the magical blends for the Bliss Out retreats. While prepping for the Park City retreat, I  sampled the euphoric slice of heaven Athena blended for “Blissing Out with the Elves” and was completely transported to another realm. Her craft is pure medicinal magic!

After experiencing Athena’s aromatherapy spell, I couldn’t resist asking her to come on board. We are so excited to have her join our team here at Chakra Center!

To give you a taste of her awesomeness, we asked Athena to share a little bit about her journey into the world of aromatherapy, and exactly what she’s been up to over at Charmed Botanicals!

How did you get started in essential oils and aromatherapy? 

My background is deeply rooted in the idea of using plants for healing and medicine. Growing up I always had a strong connection with nature. It was an integral part of my family life. Both of my parents are incredibly talented at growing and identifying plants for medicinal use. My childhood home was literally a jungle.

We had plants from all corners of the earth. I loved waking up in the mornings and seeing the sun shine on the beautiful plants my mother expertly cared for everyday. I remember the smell in our house: always fresh, earthy, humid and alive. My Father frequently took my siblings and me on nature walks to teach us which plants were edible, poisonous, and medicinal. And he always seemed to know where to find the most magical wildflowers.

I believe Aromatherapy has been calling to me my whole life. It was patiently waiting for the right time when all pieces could fall into place. That time was when I was in college. I was studying Anthropology with an emphasis in Archaeology and I was completely spellbound by nature based cultures, modern and ancient. These people’s knowledge and connection with nature is mind shattering. They revere plants as the ultimate medicine for mind, body, and spirit health.

Seeing case study after case study of effective plant based treatments was what solidified the notion that I was going to be a natural healer. I was absolutely blown away with the scale of healing that could be done with plants and essential oils.

I came to realize that essences of plants, fruits, flowers, barks and resins were very special. They can physically heal the body effectively and heal the mind and spirit at the same time. After I graduated I immediately became a Certified Aromatherapist and began practicing. It’s second nature to me and I know this was the Universe’s plan for me all along. Everyday my love and respect for these amazing precious gifts of nature deepens. They were given to us to heal the world.

What role have essential oils played in your awakening journey?

They played a vital role in my awakening. Essential oils are meant to guide us. These incredible earth essences elevate and enlighten one’s consciousness to Gaia’s mystical energies. Each one is a precious guide to a deeper awareness of life, energy, and spirituality. They allowed me to break free of the cultural chains and societal norms that urged me to stay comfortable and closed off. They encouraged me to dive deeper into the unknown and embrace it.

Essential oils gave me courage to continue on this unknown path. I deeply THANK sandalwood for keeping me grounded and bringing me peace when I needed it the most. Lavender for calming me and stabilizing my physical, etheric and astral bodies. Rosewood for blessing me with incredible spiritual healing. Frankincense for spiritual liberation and allowing my spirit to soar.

I don’t think I would have ever fully awakened without essential oils. The complexity and multiple layers of magic that essential oils invoke amaze me every day. They are a part of my daily ritual guiding me on my ever flowing journey.

How long have humans been using essential oils?

The history of essential oils is impossible to compile into a few paragraphs. It is vast and never ending. I can share with you a few points of interest:

I believe humans have been using aromatherapy since the beginning of time. In caves that date back to over 50,000 years ago there is evidence of lavender flowers in the sleeping area and rosemary in the common areas. Many archaeologists, me included, believe this is evidence of early aromatherapy.

These ancient ancestors long ago made the connection that lavender was relaxing and useful in supporting a good night sleep and that rosemary is invigorating and strengthening to the mind, helping to relieve exhaustion (which explains why it was found in the common area around the fire).

The first actual archaeological evidence of essential oils can be dated back to approximately 5550 BCE. Clay tablets inscribed by ancient Sumerians left detailed descriptions on how to extract essential oils, methods of use and dosages. These oils were used in all facets of daily life including secular, religious, and medical. One common theme in history is that essential oils equaled wealth and power in civilizations.

Ancient Egyptians’ economy flourished because of their exceptional perfumes which were made from essential oils and resins. They had extensive trade routes all over the ancient world to allow them to gather expensive and exotic spices, resins and herbs to blend into their highly demanded perfumes.

In Europe, rosemary was burnt and sprigs were laid on floors in sick rooms and hospitals because of its powerful antiseptic properties. During the Middle Ages when plagues were common, it was noted many times that perfumers (aromatherapists) always seemed untouched by the plague and widespread illnesses.

Modern science proved that there was a scientific reason for this. A large amount of essential oils have exceptional antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial and repellent qualities. Leaving the air in their apocatheratheries incredibly clean and healing. Unfortunately this amazing knowledge died out when the use of synthetic “cheap” scents became popular. The field of aromatherapy dwindled and the revitalization didn’t happen until quite recently.

The birth of Modern Aromatherapy was considered to have taken place in the nineteenth century. René-Maurice Gattefossé, a French doctor, coined the term Aromatherapy in 1928. He was working in his family’s perfumery business and severely burned his hand. He plunged his hand into a bowl of lavender oil, mistaking it for water. He was amazed at how fast his hand healed with no blistering. This drove him into the field of therapeutic aromatherapy and essentially the rest of the modern world.

What are some of the health benefits of essential oils?

Essential oils are a powerful form of medicine. They have been used for thousands of years to treat depression, reduce stress, improve sleep, assist in meditation, improve complexion, treat all type of skin maladies, and eliminate stomachaches, headaches and all types of aches! Just to name a few benefits.

They are also a very safe alternative to modern medicine. They enter the body with great efficiency and are noninvasive. Essential oils treat the target effectively and leave the body completely with no trace and no toxins left behind in a matter of three to six hours in a healthy body. They stimulate the body’s electromagnetic fields contributing to the stimulation of the body’s own natural healing mechanisms.

Exactly how aromatherapy works is still a mystery. Specifically, aromatherapy through inhalation has forever boggled scientist’s minds. Some researchers speculate that odors influence feelings because the nasal passage opens directly to the part of the brain that controls emotions and memory.

Some psychic healers believe that essential oils work on the subtle, still-undiscovered energies of the body. Scientists cannot say for sure why these physical and emotional responses happen in the body when inhaling essential oils, but they have documented them and proven in studies that they always elicit similar responses. Examples such as by merely smelling an essential oil it can alter hormone production, brain chemistry, stress levels and general metabolism. Powerful indeed!

The physical application of essential oils is much more straightforward. Scientists have mapped out hundreds of possible individual chemical components that each essential oil could possess via gas chromatography and mass spectrometry reports. Each chemical component has its own therapeutic property. On average every essential oil contains over 100 chemical components. With this in mind, you can begin the see the complexity of essential oils and why they are such powerful healers.

Tell us a little bit about Charmed Botanicals (what is your method, what do you focus on, etc)?

I blend based off intuition, life-long education, and with the help of my spirit guides. I also have a deep connection with all my lovely oils. They “speak” to me in subtle ways letting me know which one is right. I like to speak with a client in person or over the phone. It helps me understand their energy and guide me to create exactly what they need.

I blend for all purposes, but my main area of focus and interest is spiritual healing, enhancing and enlightening one’s self. I want my clients to benefit from the same wonderful guidance I have received and help them on their own personal journey.

Aside from custom blending, in the near future, the Charmed Botanicals website will be getting a slight facelift to make a room for some new products! They will be available for purchase directly on my site. I will be featuring four seasonal blends that help with the transition of each season, chakra specific blends, zodiac blends, full moon blend and much more!

What are some of your favorite essential oils to work with?

Lavender is a very special oil. It’s one of the most versatile essential oils. I use Lavender on a daily basis. I put a drop on my pillow at night for peaceful dreams (sedative), scent my dresser drawers (insecticide) with a few drops, I use it on cuts and burns (antiseptic and analgesic), diffuse in the evening to unwind (restorative), make cleaning sprays with it (antibacterial properties). Plus many more amazing useful purposes.

Jasmine is another oil I have a strong connection with. I literally melt  when I smell it. It’s intoxicating, euphoric and pure magic. Jasmine is incredibly calming to the nerves and warming to the emotions. Ahhh I can smell it now.

Ylang-Ylang is another oil I adore. It always puts a smile on my face no matter what I’m feeling. It regulates adrenaline flow and relaxes the nervous system, resulting in a wonderful sense of joy.

Are essential oils for everyone?

Essential oils are safe for most people to use when directed by a Certified Aromatherapist. There are some situations and conditions that generate areas of concern. If you are pregnant, have a heart condition, are taking prescription drugs or are epileptic you need to make Certified Aromatherapist aware of these health concerns. I would also avoid readymade blends since the dilution percentage is usually based off a healthy individual.

How can people order a custom blend from you?

I love doing custom blends. I feel they really speak to the individual on so many levels that I can’t even fully understand. Having a custom blend made for you will be a magical experience. I have a form on my website www.charmedbotanicals.com to open up communication.

Or you can email me directly athena@charmedbotanicals.com. Another way to connect is through Facebook. Private message me at http://www.facebook.com/Athenaz. After the initial connection I usually like to speak with a client. It helps me understand their energy and guide me to create the perfect blend.

Anything else you want to share?

I love books. Aromatherapy. Nature. Tea. History. Moon. Stars. Pearls. Jasmine. Owls. Chocolate. Bonfires. Butterflies. Ocean. Candles. Moonstones. Lilacs. Trees. Sun. Beaches. Houseplants. Reiki. Fairies. Waterfalls. Apple cider.

Athena is heading-up our newest column at Chakra Center, named after her company, Charmed Botanicals.  Submit questions or any topics you’re interested in exploring about aromatherapy to the Contact Us section of this website, attention Athena Ziegler.

Welcome, Athena! We are thrilled to have you as part of the Chakra Center team!

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Finding Purpose in the Past: An Interview with Teal Swan

Interviews, Teal Scott, The Heart Chakra

‎”Oh yes, the past can hurt. But, you can either run from it, or learn from it.”     -Rafiki, (The Lion King)

“What is my purpose?” It was the name of a Teal Scott video I randomly clicked on YouTube. The question was pacing my mind just moments before the title appeared, so I took the synchronicity as a sign. I knew nothing of Teal Scott. Yet that was all about to change…

But let me back up.

I had just arrived in the States after spending six months in Italy – a place I thought would be a permanent residence, until one afternoon while meditating upon a particularly mournful cloud wandering in the Florentine sky, Spirit said to me: “Go home.”

Home?! What home? Prior to Italy I had spent the past 10 years in Portland, Oregon – the weirdest and most liberating place I had ever been. Portland is full of tall trees, wide rivers, and farmer’s markets – plus it’s considered the most “un-Churched” city in America – my favorite part about it.

Apart from grey skies, I could handle going back to the land of hipsters and hippies, but Portland wasn’t the Spirit’s call, and I knew it. My insides tightened at the thought of what was coming…Utah. The word hung in the air like the moody cloud drooping above my head. How could God want me back there?!

Don’t get me wrong, Utah is not a bad place. The mountains possess a noble, native magic, and the summer skies are full of violent purple, and thunderous mountain tops. But the vast, dry valley carries my own shadows, and memories I’d rather avoid.

My father was a Mormon polygamist.  Between three wives he managed to have 16 children (of which I am the youngest).

Mainstream Mormons do not practice polygamy, so my family history was not exactly dinner conversation with friends. The Church of the First Born convened in Mexico (where polygamy was legal) but a bloody religious war had caused my family to go into “hiding” in Utah.

The killings happened before I was born, but my dad (then an apostle of the church) and family were on a hit list. That’s all I ever knew about it, but I still have memories of church members coming in and out of our house, hushed whispers, and that constant, uneasy feeling that some foundational part of our lives had been shaken.

My mom left the church (and my father) when I was quite young. Luckily she found a small, Christian church to attend, and with it, a relationship with Jesus.

I experienced first-hand the peace that filled her heart (and our house) after her conversion. But some in my family were still attached to inherited belief systems, and with her death when I was 12, came fear among certain family members that God punished her for leaving the “one true faith.”

I didn’t experience the hell my siblings went through, but I resented the religious bondage I felt had been tied around our necks — and something about Utah always reminded me of it.

And now here I was, two weeks after arriving from the heart of the Renaissance, spending a pointless afternoon on the internet, aimless and lazy, and loathing my decision to ever come back.

Enter Teal Swan.

When I first heard her voice, my head tilted slightly sideways and up, the way humans tend to move when they listen intently. Something was familiar. Oddly familiar.

A couple weeks went by and I continued to watch Teal’s videos, incessantly trying to put my finger on what was so vaguely recognizable. Unsatisfied, I headed to her website and was shocked by what I discovered:

One: She grew-up in Utah.

Two: She was abducted into a religious cult at the age of six and ritualistically tortured for 13 years.

I contacted her that day.

Teal Swan was not like other children. It wasn’t long into her young life when it became apparent she had unusual abilities. Spontaneous healing, clairvoyance, clairsentience, clairaudience, manipulating electromagnetic fields, and communicating with entities, were all normal occurrences in her daily life. It wasn’t until word got out in the community, that she understood something about her was very different. And it was a difference she would  pay for.

Mormonism teaches authority to heal, receive direct messages from God, and other gifts Teal was demonstrating,  is only available through the Melchizedek priesthood. If a woman is exhibiting these abilities, the gift is believed not to come from God, but from the devil.

Living in the highly religious community of Logan, Utah, most neighbors became fearful of Teal’s abilities, and forbid her from entering their homes. Children were not allowed to play with her, and her parents received strange messages declaring their daughter was a sign of the second coming.

But there was another group who caught wind of Teal’s extrasensory phenomena. Unlike the Mormons in the area whose response was ostracization, this group (known as The Blood Covenant) believes it is their direct duty to rid the world of evil.

One of the leaders, a sociopath with an extreme case of dissociative identity disorder, infiltrated her family, abducted Teal at the age of six, and ritualistically tortured her for 13 years.

Teal was physically and sexually abused in religious rituals, forced to participate in sacrifices, repeatedly raped and starved, and made to have three abortions of children fathered by her abuser. Tied-up and left in a hole in his backyard, her abuser used her to be photographed for sadomasochistic pornography, prostituted her out of motels and gas station bathrooms, and repeatedly exposed her to electro-shock programming. And the list of abuse goes on.

Yet, despite the horror experienced at the hands of this man, Teal’s message is not one of revenge, but of forgiveness:

“…this book is dedicated to the man who ‘ruined’ my life. I find in retrospect you did not ruin it at all. I see now that we are only ever victims of victims. I am sorry for the pain I know you suffered in your life. I have stopped the cycle, and now I have you to thank because you were my greatest teacher (as difficulty always is). Without you, I would not have even thought to look for the happiness I now possess today. One day you will know that you are free.”

Those are the words Teal Swan wrote to her abductor in the  acknowledgement section of her book, The Sculptor in the Sky. I had read them just moments before she sat down with me for an interview at Café Supernatural, in Salt Lake City. The impact was still palpable.

“I was surprised to discover you lived in Utah,” I said, as  a waitress brought us our juice. “Something about you felt familiar to me the first time I saw one of your videos…but Utah must be it. I think I was picking-up on the Utah energy…”

Teal smiled. “Yes.” she responded, in a way that made me feel she wanted to say more, but thought better of it.

I wanted to say, “I know you from somewhere. I have this strange feeling we’re connected in a way I don’t quite understand. And I think you’re tied to the reason I’m in Utah.”

But what came out was:  “I’d love to hear more about your story…whatever you feel comfortable sharing…”

The details of Teal’s abuse are not the focus of her message. But just as it is difficult to see stars in the day, the backdrop of darkness is necessary to fully appreciate the intensity of her light.

She shared openly, demonstrating a graceful inner strength and conviction. For Teal, there is purpose in the abuse. To her, no part of the pain is meaningless. She sees past suffering as the very catalyst to give and experience healing.

But it shouldn’t have happened that way. It is said that severe psychological abuse is akin to death. In the face of extreme trauma, one is usually written off as irreversibly damaged. Doctors and psychiatrists who evaluated Teal after her escape declared her brain was “dismantled beyond repair.”

Though several years of therapy would prove that not only could Teal come back to a place of wholeness, but she discovered the techniques and visualization she learned through therapy were so successful, she was inspired to write The Sculptor in the Sky, as a guide to healing.

Teal now uses her unique abilities, her story, and her connection to the Source of Love, to inspire change. She’s coined the term, “Spiritual Catalyst,” to describe her work.  With her healing gifts, she acts as a medical intuitive to people with extreme physical conditions and diseases. She holds “syncronicity workshops” around the world to help people understand how to use their thoughts and emotions to raise their vibration and heal their life. She conducts personal consults once a month, and speaks out publically about the unproductive prison and jail systems, stating that “you can’t punish anyone into wellness.” Teal has devoted her life to help humanity heal.

Her story reveals our capacity to overcome, even the most extreme places of darkness. It shows us the way out of powerlessness. It gives a picture of life beyond revenge, and into a place of forgiveness and peace.

As we sat in Café Supernatural, I felt my bitterness toward Utah begin to dissolve. The anger from my own religious past simply faded in the glow of her overwhelming ability to love.

Later in our conversation I would admit I was unsure why I was in Utah. And Teal would respond:

“The reason you’re here is less of a mystery to me. There is a reason I wanted to meet with you in person. It will hit you.”

Watching someone face trauma with love, heal abuse with compassion, and take on anger with forgiveness, helped me let go of bitterness I held toward extremism. I was meant to come back to Utah. I was meant to see her video, and I was meant to talk to her that day. Teal reminded me that I chose Utah, even before I was born. There was purpose in all of it. Everything was exactly how it needed to be.

Teal’s ability to forgive showed me that I had the power to let go, and allow my purpose to be fully restored.

What happened that day when I stumbled upon Teal’s video,  was not a mere act of coincidence. It goes beyond synchronicity. It is bigger than this article, or Spirit’s reason for calling me back to Utah. What I saw that day with Teal, was me. Who I met that day, was myself.  I met  you. I met the whole of humanity, and I saw a glimpse of the future we are capable of entering.

If you asked Teal what healed her, I think she would say, ultimately, it was her faith. To believe beauty can rise from ashes is the impetuous that wills it so.

Every time an Olympic record is set, it changes humanity’s  belief about what is possible. Teal’s story sets a new precedent for the capacity of human love. She shows us we are capable of living beyond mere survival. We have the capacity to be fully restored to the light.

By choosing love, Teal did not only heal the darkness of her own wounds, she healed mine. She healed yours.

Don’t be afraid to open yourself up to the limitless capacity of love. Imagine what the world could be. Imagine what we could overcome.

And so it is with you…

For more information about Teal Scott, visit her website at http://www.thespiritualcatalyst.com/

Teal Swan ,”The Spiritual Catalyst” is a well known Esoteric,  Extrasensory who writes and speaks publicly about spirituality, the meaning of life, God, The Higher Self and the road to health and happiness. Teal is part of the first 1980s wave of indigo children.

Amanda Flaker is a freelance writer, editor, and creator of Chakra Center. She loves to travel the world and write about it.