The history of Indian attars goes back for five-thousand years, to the dawn of perfumery. Because they are distilled so gently, attars are like no other perfumes in the world. They retain the vibrational essence of the flowers, and of Mother Earth herself.
Long before the word “aromatherapy” was invented, people recognized the healing attributes of attars. For example, Gulab, or Rose Attar, supports a woman’s femininity on all levels. Mitti is grounding and calming. Kewda is clarifying, helpful for mental fatigue and creative blocks.
For thousands of years, Attars have also been used to enhance meditation and spiritual growth. They still have value for these things to this day. The olfactory part of the brain completely bypasses the thinking part of the brain. When one is having trouble centering and staying focused, wearing an attar can be just what is needed to create a blissful meditation. For those fortunate ones who have an easy time meditating, attars can take them to the next level.
Here are some of my favorite attars for meditation:
Known as the “Oil of Tranquility”, Vetiver is cooling and soothing. In India, the pure hydrodistilled oil of Vetiver is called Ruh Khus. It is quite strong and may be better appreciated when diluted to 10-15% in jojoba oil. A rich emerald green, this beautiful oil can take your scattered mind and help pinpoint it to a calm, still center.
Genda Attar is made from humble marigolds of gold and orange, but its fragrance is gloriously “green”! Genda is used to make garlands and curtains that help to purify the surrounding air. When worn, you feel its purifying effect in the lungs and sinuses. As you wear Genda, you may find yourself taking long, deep breaths (inspiring) without effort. Thus, Genda attar is a wonderful aid to pranayama, or breathing exercises. It literally helps us feel “inspired”!
You may be familiar with Nag Champa incense, made from golden flowers of the Michelia Champaka tree. A botanical “cousin” to the magnolia, golden champa flowers exude a rich, sweet, etheric perfume. These magnificent trees are so beautiful, so beloved, that they are often planted near temples to fragrance the air all around them.
When worn as an attar, the sandalwood base gives Champa a balance and depth that is truly beautiful. For meditation, Champa Attar helps to reconnect us with Divine Love and Abundance.
Another amazing attar for meditation is a fairly recent one: White Lotus Attar. Only in recent years have people been able to extract the elusive fragrant oils from the lotus flower. There are three kinds of lotus flowers used for oil production: pink, blue and white. This author finds the White Lotus to be most appealing, both as a perfume and as an aid to meditation.
Of the three lotus perfumes, White Lotus has the most etheric effect on the mind. It works directly on the Crown chakra. It opens the crown chakra and locks your attention there, so meditation at that level becomes effortless.
The aromatic balance of White Lotus with Sandalwood oil also provides an energetic balance of etheric and grounding energies. Thus, White Lotus Attar can be an excellent aid for astral projection and other psychic work.
Depending on one’s mood and need, Indian Attars are gentle gifts of nature. They bring great joy and help us attain our highest spiritual potential.