Valentine’s Day History – Part 2 (and More Essential Oil Blends for Valentine’s Day)

Valentine's Day History - Part 2 and more essential oil blends for valentine's day

Recap From Last Week

Hello

Valentine’s Day is getting closer now. I’ve been researching the history around this celebration that many of us take part in. Last week’s article covered the ancient Roman celebration called Lupercalia. Some historians believe this festivity was likely the origin of what we call Valentine’s Day.

Valentine's Day History - Part 2, and more essential oil blends. youraromatherapystore.com
Valentine’s Day History – Part 2

One could say Lupercalia and Valentine’s Day are related but do differ greatly. If you didn’t catch the article from last week, feel free to check it out. It’s pretty interesting. 🙂

This week I have written Valentine’s Day History Part 2. We will move ahead in history from what we know about Lupercalia and early Rome and take a look at some events that changed Lupercalia into the celebration of Valentine’s Day.

I also spent some time this week making a list of oils that are known to be especially enjoyed by men. The scents are earthy and less floral. Many women will love them too, I just thought it would be nice to focus on something for the guys! (Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day 🙂 )

OK, let’s look at how Valentine’s Day came to be.

Lupercalia Becomes Valentine’s Day

With the onset of Christianity Lupercalia slowly evolved, becoming a little more civilized in nature. For instance, they started to wear clothes during ceremonies and the festivities were less sexual. The celebration was toned down considerably.

In the 3rd century A.D. Lupercalia took the backseat to a celebration honoring more than one Christian martyr that was beheaded by the Roman Emperor Claudius. At least this is how the story goes.

History is complicated and there are differing opinions by historians. There are a couple different stories about two different men with the name Valentine, they were both executed by Emperor Claudius on the 14th of February in different years.

The common story says that a man by the name of St. Valentine was imprisoned because he was helping persecuted Christians and marrying couples that were in love. It is said that Valentine tried to convert Claudius to Christianity. Claudius became enraged and demanded Valentine renounce his faith. He would not and was beheaded.

Additionally, this man Valentine may have fallen in love with a woman and before being beheaded he wrote her a letter ending with the phrase “From Your Valentine.”

The Christian Church at this time set aside February 14th
as Valentine’s Day, a day to remember the St. Valentine(s) that was beheaded for his faith. The celebration of Lupercalia fell to the side and Valentine’s Day was born.

Eventually, in Rome, Lupercalia became banned by Pope Gelasius I (494-496 A.D.). It was said that it may have continued to be celebrated in Constantinople and other areas until the 10th Century.

Like I said, there are differing opinions surrounding the details and the authenticity about this story, but there it is. 🙂


Where Did Cupid Come From?

white silhouette of Cupid on a red background
Cupid

Cupid, that little angel with bow in hand, where did this iconic figure come from? We see him everywhere especially on Valentine’s Day.

Cupid is known in both Roman and Greek Mythology, however, in Greek he goes by the name Eros. Cupid (meaning desire) was the god of desire, affection and erotic love. He is thought to be the son of the love Goddess Venus.

Cupid is often shown with arrows and a quiver. Did you know he has two kinds of arrows? He carries sharp golden tipped arrows and blunt lead tipped arrows. Anyone struck with the golden arrow is filled with uncontrollable desire, if you are struck with the lead tipped arrow you are filled with aversion and the desire to run away. This was new to me.

There are various pieces of old literature where Cupid is mentioned. The most detailed literary source is found within an ancient Roman collection of stories called Metamorphoses.

One story I found most interesting is called Cupid and Psyche. A story from as far back as the 4th Century B.C. it tells the tale of Cupid and Psyche and their struggles leading up to their marriage.

Cupid and Psyche Statue

Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss, a sculpture by Antonio Canova.

Cupid remains popular into our modern times, I am glad I did some research about the origin of Cupid. I learned some interesting stuff. 🙂


Essential Oils for the Guys

dark hair, beard and mustache

People have been using essential oils for thousands of years for mental, physical and even sexual health. Using certain essential oils for increased sensuality is not a new idea. As humans, we are strongly impacted by aroma and fragrance. Scents have proven to arouse the senses and increase desire.

I thought it might be nice to make a list of oils that are generally known to be liked by men. These oils are not flowery but rather more spicy, woody, and earthy in nature. These oils, and there are many others, are known to help us feel good, happy, energetic and in love. 🙂 Lots of women like them too!!

Sandalwood

Sandalwood is very popular, its aroma could be described as very woody, creamy, smooth, vanilla-like, and exotic. It’s said to promote emotional openness. Great as a base or middle note in blends.

(Pterocarpus santalinus) red sandalwood tree at IG Zoo Park in Visakhapatnam 03

Patchouli

The aroma of Patchouli can be described as strong, slightly sweet, dark, woody, musky, and earthy. Mixes well in blends, most commonly used a middle to base note. Known to improve the spirit making us more open to love.

Pogostemon cablin (DITSL)

Vetiver

Related to lemongrass and citronella. The aroma is deep, earthy, and woody, like newly tilled soil. Vetiver has a soothing effect on the senses and has been used for thousands of years. Known as a middle to base note.

Ethiopia 2008 vetiver grass

Citrus

Citrus essential oils like orange, lemon, and grapefruit are uplifting and energizing. These oils are top notes and blend nicely with many other EOs.

Orange, lemon and lime

Black Pepper

Reminiscent of peppercorns with a hint of green and floral scents. Black Pepper essential oil won’t make you sneeze or bother your eyes. This oil can stimulate both your appetite for food and love! Known as a top to middle note.

black peppercorns

Cinnamon

Sweet and spicy, warm and uplifting, cinnamon improves circulation and blood flow. Known as a middle to base note.

a pile of cinnamon sitcks

Black Pepper and Cinnamon are known as Warm/Hot Oils. This means they can increase blood flow and make you feel warm.

For further information about the meaning of top, middle and base notes, check out the Related Articles section below.

Making the Most of Your Essential Oils

Have fun with your essential oils. Mix it up and experiment to find a blend that you like. The most popular way to use essential oils is in a diffuser. Check your diffuser manual for recommendations regarding how many drops you should use. Amounts will vary depending on the size of your diffuser. My diffuser is 100ml, I usually add 10-12 drops total. Preferences will vary.

Essential oil blends for him

Topical application is another great way to use your oils. Mix 10-12 drops into 1 ounce of your chosen carrier oil. (Coconut, Jojoba, Olive, Sweet Almond and Grapeseed are great carrier oils). Enjoy your favorite scents while giving or receiving a relaxing massage. It will feel great and you will even boost your immunity and improve your physical and mental health. Sounds great, doesn’t it? 🙂

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Use essential oils in the tub to create a relaxing romantic atmosphere. Mix 10-12 drops of EO into 1 ounce of carrier oil and mix into your bath water before entering.

Most oils can be used safely in the bath. Additional care should be taken with oils that are considered hot/warm however as these particular oils may cause skin irritation if not used properly. We are all different and we experience essential oils in our own way. Some people may not be bothered by hot/warm oils and other individuals may want to use them sparingly.


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Conclusion

I sure hope you enjoyed Valentine’s Day History Part 2. I’ve learned a lot while preparing these two articles. History is fascinating and it’s sure interesting to try to figure out where some of our customs come from. I know more now about Valentine’s Day than I did before.

I hope everyone has a very nice Valentine’s Day. No matter how you celebrate this day, be sure to tell those you love how you feel.

It’s always nice to hear from people. If you have any comments or questions about this article please use the boxes below. It would be so cool to hear from you.

Stay happy and healthy.

Angela (founder of Your Aromatherapy Store)

Related Articles

References

http://www.boston-catholic-journal.com/roman-martrylogy-in-english/roman-martyrology-february-in-english.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cupid

https://www.thoughtco.com/the-roman-festival-of-lupercalia-121029

https://www.aromaweb.com/essentialoils/essentialoilsformen.asp

I would like to remind you that essential oils are very POTENT and should be used with common sense and caution. Always read the labels. If you are currently taking any prescribed medication it is recommended that you speak to your doctor before using essential oils.

If you are concerned about allergies, you may want to perform a patch test on your skin.

It is also good to be aware that some essential oils are photo toxic. Avoid the sun as necessary when using these oils.

Please know that some oils are not recommended if you are pregnant or nursing.

Essential oils are considered “complementary and alternative medicines” and are not always a substitute for professional medical intervention and advice. If you are experiencing severe physical or mental illness it is best to contact a medical professional.

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What is Imbolc? – Some Ancient History

Imbolc

Hello,

Since starting this website I have had so much fun researching different topics. I’ve discovered that I love learning about ancient history, nature, seasons, celebrations, cultures and of course, anything essential oil related.

This week’s topic is Imbolc. Are you familiar with what this is? If you said an ancient celebration, you would be correct! Imbolc was celebrated by our Celtic ancestors to honor the arrival of spring. Although the exact day may vary slightly, it was generally recognized around February 2nd. This celebration is mentioned in some of the oldest Irish literature. Cool!

What is Imbolc? youraromatherapystore.com

The Celtic people were very much “in tune” with nature as their survival depended on it. During this time of year, they were noticing the inklings of warmer days ahead.

Are you noticing the little things that are happening in nature right now? The days are getting longer, YAY! In some places you could be noticing the snow slowly melting. We may be having the occasional thought about what to plant in our gardens. I’ve noticed that the stores are selling spring related items already.

The Celtic people believed this was a time to pay respect to their deities and prepare for the spring ahead. The holiday was a festival of hearth and home. They celebrated the lengthening of the days and the little signs in nature that promised that spring was just around the corner.

Have you been thinking about spring lately?


The History of Imbolc

Imbolc is one of the four most important festivals in the Celtic calendar.

Imbolc is celebrated at the beginning of February as this is halfway between winter solstice (shortest day of the year) and spring equinox (the day when night and day are about the same length).

Imbolc was celebrated in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man. Each region had slightly different variations in the customs and names but the basic idea was the same. They all celebrated the onset of spring and new life.

The word Imbolc translates as “in the belly”. Spring, as we all know brings all kinds of new life, life from the earth, life from livestock, in particular ewes (for the Celts), and even new human life. It is said that many women were impregnated at the previous Beltane celebration.

What is Imbolc? Hands with milk dripping from them.
Offering of milk to the earth!

Milk was a big deal at this time of year too. Ewes would be lambing , therefore milk would have been available. This would have been a welcome thing, especially after spending months in the cold winter with a limited food supply. Milk was considered so special that it was poured on the ground in some cases, as offerings to their Gods.

With spring in the air, the days getting longer, and warmer days just around the corner, it was a great reason to celebrate. The Celtic people were happy to have survived the winter and were looking forward to all the good things that Mother Earth had to offer.

Fire played an integral role in the celebrations of the Celtic people. It meant different things at different times. At Samhain large bonfires were lit to ward off evil spirits and at Beltane they offered protection and growth. During Imbolc they were a symbol of the return of the sun. Fires at Imbolc were lit in each home’s hearth; this fire would burn through the night to honor a special deity by the name of Brigid. If the weather permitted, bonfires were lit to chase away frost and welcome the warm weather that was coming.

What is Imbolc? Fire in am hearth.
Hearth

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A Little about Celtic Spirituality

Some Celtic people honored the Goddess Brigid at this time of year. She was the daughter of a significant Celtic deity and was associated with many things, but primarily for fertility and fire (specifically the protective fire of the hearth). To honor her and pay respect, crosses and a small doll-like figure of Brigid were made. The doll was taken from house to house. It was believed that Brigid would visit homes on the night of Imbolc. Food, drink and other items were left out for her to bless. It was also hoped that she would protect and bless the livestock.

What is Imbolc? Picture of a doll made from straw.
Doll-like figure of Brigid.

In Brigid’s honor, fires were left burning all night in every home’s hearth; many candles were also lit. Brigid was a big deal and her presence was much revered during this festival.

The Celtic people were very in tune to nature. They had a great deal of knowledge about the alignment of the sun and stars. Megalithic monuments from the Celtic time period still exist. They are perfectly aligned with the rising of the sun around the dates of Imbolc and Samhain. Very cool! 🙂

What is Imbolc? Picture of standing sotne on isle of lewis, scotland
Standing Stones, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

Some Celtic Imbolc Rituals

Spring Cleaning

Some say that the tradition of “spring cleaning” came from a ritual practiced during Imbolc. During the week leading up to the celebration day everything was white washed, freed from cobwebs, and swept and dusted. Incense was burned in honor of the change in season. Homes were being prepared for the energy, life and growth that accompanies spring.

I think we can all relate to the desire to clean and declutter our homes. Spring is a great time to get this task done. It’s almost as if we feel energized and motivated when we can open the windows and let the fresh spring air in, especially after the long winter of having doors and windows locked up tight to keep out the cold. It feels good to get things fresh and tidy.

Some people like to clean out cupboards, wash curtains, sort clothes, wash walls and all that fun stuff at this time of year. It always feels good to clear out the junk. Donating items you no longer want or use is a great way to help the community!

Walking Around Wells

Walking around a holy well in a sunwise (clockwise) direction was a ritual the Celts took part in. Often they would leave offerings of coins and cloth in hopes they would have good weather and a prosperous growing season.

St. Gwenfaen's Well, Rhoscolyn Head, Ynys Gybi. - geograph.org.uk - 108900

Ground Hog Day

Did you ever wonder how Ground Hog Day got started? It’s believed that this somewhat odd ritual began with the ancient Celts.

Since weather played a vital role in the lives of this ancient culture, it was helpful to know if winter was over or if the cold weather was going to continue for a while longer. The following story may seem a little familiar.

If the weather on Imbolc was good, it was believed a female mythical creature by the name of Cailleach would spend the day collecting firewood; it was thought that she was collecting more firewood because the winter wasn’t ending soon. The story goes on to explain that she could only collect firewood if the day was bright and dry. If the weather was wet and windy it meant that Cailleach went back to bed and there was no need to collect extra firewood because warm weather was on its way.

Over time, European cultures took this tradition and changed it a little. People started to look at certain animal hibernation patterns at this time of year in order to predict the weather. The animals varied depending on what country you were in.

Eventually, the tradition made its way to America where we now watch and wait for a ground hog to emerge at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. If the ground hog does not see his shadow, spring is almost here. If he sees his shadow, this is not great and we will have six more weeks of winter.

Gobblers Knob - Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania (6940880814)

I wonder if he will see his shadow this year or not. 🙂


Celebrate Imbolc with Essential Oils

Cleaning up our physical space promotes a healthier state of mind. We feel good when our surroundings are clutter free and in order. We also feel better when we declutter our mind. It’s the time of year for cleaning things up and this can mean your state of mind and your body too.

What is Imbolc? Silhouette of lady in bathtub.
Silhouette of lady in bathtub.

Take a nice long soak in the tub, make it extra special with some calming music and perhaps a candle or two. Relax your mind and body. Some people like to use bathing as a ritual to clean or rinse away negativity. Adding essential oils (always mixed in a carrier oil first) to your bath water is a nice way to make this experience that much better. Rest, relax and breathe in some of your favorite scents!

A good ratio of essential oils to carrier oil is 10-20 drops of EOs to 10 ml of carrier. Add your mixture to the water after your tub has filled up, swish the oils around with your hand before getting in to make sure they have dispersed well.

What is Imbolc? Suggested essential oils for Imbolc. Lavender, lemon, rosemary,cedarwood, rose, chamomile, jasmine
Essential Oil suggestions for Imbolc

The oils mentioned above are just suggestions. There are many EOs that can help you relax and rejuvenate your mind. The important thing is that you take time for yourself, relax and renew your mind and body.

Meditation is a great way to de-clutter your mind. Spend some time focusing on your breath and being silent. (If starting a meditation practice is something you are interested in doing, you can find more information in the related articles’ area below.). Of course, use essential oils when you meditate too! Aromatherapy is beneficial anytime!

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So, what is Imbolc?

In a nutshell, we could say Imbolc is the time of year that we begin to feel the stirrings of spring. Winter is drawing to an end. The thoughts of warmer days pop into our mind.

Paying mindful attention to the changing seasons is one way to help us feel balanced and fully present in our everyday lives. Stop and take note of the little things in life, like those few extra minutes of daylight we are enjoying now. Spring is on its way and we are heading into the lighter part of the year. Awesome!

What is Imbolc? Lady enjoying the view of a city.
A lady enjoying the view of a city!

Do you do anything special on February 2nd? Maybe you pay attention to whether the groundhog sees his shadow or not. I wonder if Cailleach will collect more firewood or if she will go back to sleep. 🙂 I guess we will find out this coming week!

I hope you enjoyed this article. It’s always a great deal of fun to study history. I especially liked learning about the origins of Groundhog Day and even spring cleaning.

I hope everyone has a fantastic week ahead. Take good care and stay happy and healthy!

Angela (founder of Your Aromatherapy Store)


Related articles

I would like to remind you that essential oils are very POTENT and should be used with common sense and caution. Always read the labels. If you are currently taking any prescribed medication it is recommended that you speak to your doctor before using essential oils.

If you are concerned about allergies, you may want to perform a patch test on your skin.

It is also good to be aware that some essential oils are photo toxic. Avoid the sun as necessary when using these oils.

Please know that some oils are not recommended if you are pregnant or nursing.

Essential oils are considered “complementary and alternative medicines” and are not always a substitute for professional medical intervention and advice. If you are experiencing severe physical or mental illness it is best to contact a medical professional.


References

https://www.indigo-herbs.co.uk/blog/imbolc-celebrating-spring

https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standing_stone

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imbolc

https://theuntamedalchemist.com/2015/01/31/recipes-to-refresh-and-clean-your-home-in-celebration-of-imbolc/

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