Essential Oil Essentials: 5 Supportive Oils For Turning Inwards

Winter is the time for introspection. It’s when we need to send some gentle energy to the seeds we’ve planted so that they’ll germinate in the new year. By seeds, I mean goals, aspirations, intentions, and such.  Here are five supportive scents to help put you in touch with yourself and your path…


Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)

The grounding and uplifting qualities of frankincense make it a great meditation oil, and, in fact, the scent of frankincense has been used for meditation and prayer for millennia. Frankincense is an ally for those seeking insight.  Both scenting your space with  distilled essential oil and burning the resin works. The scents will be a bit different but either will be very recognizable as frankincense.

Frankincense combines well with any of the other oils included here, in terms of both scent and function. 

Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum

Aromatherapists use helichrysum to enhance intuition and access the unconscious.  Helichrysum can promote dreaming and encourage creativity along with awareness.  Physiologically, helichrysum increases “abdominal breathing”…deep breathing that promotes relaxation rather than tension.  So, it’s another good meditation oil!

Helichrysum is expensive, but, luckily, it’s so strong that you don’t need much.  If combining with frankincense, use about 6-8 drops frankincense per drop of helichrysum, otherwise the frank will be overpowered. 

Juniper (Juniperus communis)

There is no shortage of juniper in the Four Corners area where I live. It’s a gorgeous and tough high desert and mountain denizen.  I gather the berries for medicinal use but also for incense making.  They smell incredible…the balsamic, somewhat sharp scent we associate with juniper, but also a fruitiness that I’ve not encountered to the same extent in the purified essential oil. That said, the oil is useful and lovely-smelling.

Juniper is turned to for inner vision and for “seeing” in the large sense.  It’s a great protective scent for use during meditation (as is frankincense); helpful when digging deep into oneself.  Juniper is also good support when nightmares are a problem and can assist with sleep. But, keep in mind, those nightmares may be there to impart some insight. 

Lemon (Citrus limon)

I love, love, love lemon!  It’s a sunny, happy scent for the cold, dark times of the year (if you live somewhere where there are cold, dark months, that is…). Lemon is used for clarity, focus, and awareness. If you’re a fan of concentration-based meditation practices, lemon is your friend.  It may deepen your meditation and help you to let go of your “story.”

Don’t have the essential oil?  No worries, just use some fresh lemon peel.  One of my favorite ways to use lemon is first thing in the morning…a drop of lemon oil and a drop of rosemary oil on a washcloth in the shower. Or on a cotton ball that you keep with you through the morning. 

Labdanum (Cistus ladaniferus, C. incanus)

Labdanum is a dark resin excreted by rockrose, native to Spain and Greece.  Thousands of years ago, some lucky goat herders grew wealthy when they started harvesting the aromatic resin that was sticking to their goats.  The goats would walk through fields of rockrose and accumulate the sticky resin on their beards as they grazed—handy resin collectors!

You may not have heard of labdanum before. The resin and the distilled oil smells warm, spicy, rich, balsamic, and a bit musky. It’s a centering and calming scent, great for raising consciousness and intuition and yet another wonderful tool for meditation.  Some people even use it to encourage visions and prophetic dreams.  Labdanum, along with frankincense, is one of my favorite base notes to use in perfumery. 

Rather than diffusing your chosen oil all day long, consider using one or more during a meditation or add a drop to a cotton ball and stuff it in your pillow case for encouraging some insight from your dreams.





  • Keville & Green (2009) Aromatherapy: A complete guide to the healing art
  • Tisserand (1977) The Art of Aromatherapy
  • Davis (1991)  Subtle Aromatherapy
  • Worwood (1999) The Fragrant Heavens