[Author note: This article was originally published in 2010 elsewhere. I know some people consider Cunningham outdated or fluffy but I've always found his work to be balanced and evergreen, so I'm republishing the review here. The review was written for people who may not have heard of many of the concepts. I hope you find it of use.]
Scent can evoke an emotional response both positive and negative. That response can be used in magic to create change.
Author Scott Cunningham provides an introduction to using aromatherapy effectively in magic and ritual to create desired changes in the magician's life in Magical Aromatherapy: The Power of Scent.
Essential Oils for Magic
Aromatherapy is a complex subject and is used as an alternative medicine treatment for physical and emotional health. Magical Aromatherapy is not a manual on how to treat health problems with essential oils but how to use them and other items such as flowers in magic.
Cunningham provides listings for many common and some less common oils. While the physical attributes are given, his focus is magical and he explains what magic the scent is best for including prosperity, love, protection or increasing psychic ability.
He gives examples of techniques to be used including visualization and inhalation for what he terms "programming of personal energy." This is called sympathetic magic and utilizes the concept that like attracts like.
The Use of Magical Tables With Aromatherapy
Magic tables are used to choose correspondences that relate to the magical operation at hand and increase the potential for sympathetic magic. For instance, a witch may want to know the best time of month to perform a love spell and be given a choice of appropriate crystals, incense, and zodiac correspondences to use for that spell. Below are the tables the author provides for this purpose:
- Days of the week
- Lunar cycles
He also provides substitutes for hard-to-find essential oils or when the scents called for in a spell aren't otherwise readily available. Some plant materials don't lend themselves to being used for essential oils and Cunningham has tables for what oils are generally artificial and those that are real.
About Author Scott Cunningham
Scott Cunningham is most well known for his books on Wicca. In fact, according to the publisher's website, his book Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner first published in 1988 has sold over 600,000 copies. Because of the book's availability and popularity, it's often one of the first introductory texts that new Wiccans learn from.
He was known for his down-to-earth writing style and ability to clearly explain Wicca to beginners which he also demonstrates in Magical Aromatherapy. He's often one of the people credited with bringing Wicca to the mainstream, something he also has been criticized for by people who believe it should remain an initiatory religion. He believed that Wicca should be more open to seekers. Sadly, an AIDS-related illness claimed his life at the young age of 36 in 1993.
Magical Aromatherapy is part of his impressive bibliography (over 20 books) which encourages people to learn and practice at their own pace as well as trust their own judgment. As stated, it's not an in-depth introduction to aromatherapy but a good resource for those who want to make aromatherapy a part of their magical practice.
© Trish Deneen
FTC Disclosure: I write honest reviews of products I've tried. I purchased this book and I have not received compensation from the publisher for this review. I do, however, receive a small percentage from purchases made on Amazon through links on this blog. Your support of this sometime-blogger/content writer is much appreciated. Thank you.