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I have a myrtle bush in my garden; it’s evergreen, with tiny dark leaves and reddish woody stems. When it puts on full new growth it is a vibrant bush, full of energy, with a beautiful scent around it… and if I pick a few leaves and rub them on my fingers, the aroma is fresh, clean, light… a combination of eucalyptus and citrus notes. In the summer, the bush produces hundreds of tiny creamy-white flowers with centres like tiny golden stars. I can see why Myrtle used to be used in wedding bouquets – when it is in flower, the whole bush looks like a bride.

Myrtle is just one example of a beautiful aromatic bush with many uses; it has been celebrated since antiquity when it was sacred to the goddess Diana. The leaves can be brewed as tea – it is a very refreshing taste and a good internal cleansing infusion. The flowers, in summer, can be picked and sprinkled in warm water to gently wash the face. As the bush grows vigorously and in profusion, cutting back is often necessary – but the stems need not be wasted. Placed on hot coals, they release a glorious sweet smoke like incense. Myrtle and other aromatic shrubs like juniper or herbs like rosemary were the incense ingredients of ancient Greece… with their purifying and uplifting aromas.

The best quality Myrtle essential oil is reddish in colour, from the leaves and young twigs. It is another of my favorites…instantly opening the lungs, it goes deeper than eucalyptus, it has a warmth and fire that travel to the heart, for courage, strength, ‘taking a deep breath.’ The aroma has this unique combination of pungent yet light fresh citrus notes.  For me, it links the heart to heaven, it clears my emotions and my mind and brings peace and harmony.  As an anointing essential oil it is an important choice in blends to celebrate the Divine Feminine, the Goddess in all her forms.

Divine Myrtle, indeed.

Myrtus communis tarentina

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