On the ridge top here at Hunter Moon Homestead the views are ever changing and always amazing. Today the thermometer reads 14 degrees, and the snow falls lightly. Winter in Chinese Medicine is ruled by the element of water. I thought it fitting to talk more at this time about why we use floral waters (hydrosols) in place of water in our products, the power of these infused waters, and how they treat not only the skin, but our overall being.
I was inspired by my recent interview with the herbalist Phelicia Okon Magnusson, as she spoke with me about plants having their own consciousness, and how, as a young woman, she was unbelieving of the experiences she was having using subtle types of plant medicine. She pointed out that in clinical herbalism, the emotional/spiritual impacts of plants were never spoken about or addressed. It is so easy for us to be caught up in the gross aspects of living and surviving, that we don’t take the time to acknowledge or tune into the subtle aspects of being human. We do have a very great capacity to see beyond the seen and to tap into the deeper and subtler realms of consciousness, but most of us either don’t believe it or don’t take the time to develop our innate ability to observe what is not immediately obvious.
A floral water, or hydrosol, is the water portion of the distillation process. The herbs or plant material go into the still along with spring water. The still is heated and the plant materials break down and are released into the the captured steam. The hydrophilic (liquid) molecules are suspended into the hydrosol and the lipophilic (oil) molecules float on top of the hydrosols as essential oils.
Years ago as I was formulating products for EAA, I was very drawn to using hydrosols in place of water, but I really had no idea, at the time, just how powerful they are as agents of healing. I wanted to have a direct experience of making the hydrosols myself, so I signed up for a course taught by Cathy Skipper. Cathy introduced me to a powerful ritual to tap into the healing qualities of the plants I was distilling.
As the plant was being alchemized during distillation I would take a small amount coming out of the still. I would calm myself and mentally invite the plant hydrosol to share with me. I did this for every distillation and I often invited others to encounter the plant with me. We took separate notes and compared afterward. Always, the information was very similar. It was clear to me we were each being introduced to the same energy contained in the plant. I was quite delighted and a bit surprised at how verbal and forthcoming these plant encounters were!
Cathy teaches that the water portion of the distillation process is very powerful and subtle in its effects. It is a very soft energy that can be tolerated by everyone including babies and elders. It can be used safely internally as well as topically. Perhaps it is the yin or feminine quality of the water that renders it a gentle healer and good for addressing both physical and emotional concerns. Cathy’s partner Florian Birkmayer is a psychiatrist and uses hydrosols in his practice of treating PTSD, and other mental health issues.
I'd like to share the notes I gathered from a hydrosol encounter from May of 2016, for a distillation of Rose Geranium (a key ingredient in our Hydrate tonifying mist):
The energy coming through is feminine. She is part of a sisterhood, a “sacred club”. She tells me, “just be who you are”. There is a physical feeling of cleansing. A brushing down my body like a petting and it feels like energy is being sloughed off, removing what is jammed up or stuck. There is then a feeling of uplifting, cooling, and inspiring energy. There is a sweet connection to the energies around my heart.
We don’t often share with all of you the profound healing EAA products address on the more subtle bodies, but please know you are treating more than just your skin when you apply them to your physical bodies. Feel free to make these "encounters" part of your daily skin care routine as you breathe in the smells and feel them absorbed into your skin!