The Sacred Art of Anointing
When I began reading The Sacred Art of Anointing, I was intrigued and impressed by the author's background, writing style and insight.
I greatly enjoyed the author's personal thoughts and historical summary of the use of essential oils and other aromatics for anointing throughout the ages. The quotes that she appropriately scatters throughout the book add an insightful touch.
But after I continued reading, I found the disorganized style of this book (and lack of an index) rather frustrating.
What the author may not have realized is that her book isn't one that will typically be read like a novel. She can't depend on readers reading this book from start to finish. I couldn't even bring myself to complete reading the entire book from start to finish though that is how I did try approaching it.
Chapters 3 - 9 each describe a separate House that she refers to as being equivalent to a Chakra (page 10). If someone has previous familiarity with the Chakras and wants to work with his 7th Chakra, he may want to jump to the relevant chapter. But this book does not accommodate for that, and the anointing section of that chapter vaguely tells the reader to "Use the prescribed formula and instructions for creating the chrism from our previous chapters." [For an introduction to the Chakras, see AromaWeb's Chakras & Aromatherapy series of articles.]
The actual description in how to create an anointing blend and perform an anointing ceremony is contained within the Anointing the House of Essence section of chapter 3. Since this information applies to all Houses, it would be more appropriately included as a separate chapter. I like that Stillman includes information on sound therapy and work with crystals within her book. What I skimmed from each chapter regarding the crystals did seem pretty accurate from my limited but growing knowledge on the subject. Introductory chapters on Sound Therapy and Crystals & Gemstones, however, would also make sense. Be prepared to take lots of notes as you read the book or you may have a hard time going back to find your favorite jewels of information that live within her pages. There is no index.
Since Stillman's writing style implies that she is writing this book with essential oil newcomers in mind, I would have liked to have seen an organized section on essential oil safety and other important introductory information. And I can't help but be bothered that she repeatedly refers to essential oils as "oily" on the first page of chapter 2. Essential oils are not the same as vegetable oils, essential oils don't feel oily like vegetable oils, and these "oily" comments could confuse beginners. As such, I do not recommend this book as a first book for those new to essential oils. I, however, still consider it a beginner-intermediate title. Aromatherapy Anointing Oils and Aromatherapy and Subtle Energy Techniques by Joni Keim Loughran and Ruah Bull are good alternatives.
Despite my concerns, the book is rich in useful information, and many may find that it makes an enlightening secondary book on the subject. I can sense that Stillman is eager to share the blessings and enlightenment that she has received over the course or her time in working with essential oils for anointing, and that energy resonates within the pages. I certainly mirror a number of her experiences/observations including Frankincense's use within meditation and its ability to enhance spiritual consciousness.
I would love to see a revised edition of The Sacred Art of Anointing put into print. With some edits and better organization, this book could prove to be a much more useful and more often referenced guide to the use of essential oils for anointing, meditation, prayer and other spiritual applications.
Table of Contents for The Sacred Art of Anointing:
- 1. The Ancient Art of Anointing
- 2. Sacred Scents
- 3. The House of Essence: Temple of Sensuality
- 4. The House of Water: Temple of Emotions
- 5. The House of Transcendence: Temple of Transmutation
- 6. The House of Heart: Temple of Love
- 7. The House of Growth: Temple of Communication
- 8. The House of Intelligence: Temple of Intuition
- 9. The House of Spirit: Temple of Wisdom
- 10. The Seven Sacraments
- About the Author
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