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The Meanings of Frankincense & Myrrh

Submitted by on Thursday, 17 December 2009One Comment

The three Magis brought Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh to Nazareth to give to the child Jesus. Each of these gifts had practical application as well as symbolic meaning. Their significance is timeless and can be a part of your own tradition of spiritual health and well being even today.

While gold brings comfort and symbolizes virtue, Frankincense and Myrrh aromas have been used throughout time as aids for spiritual transcendence and peace, to manifest Heaven on Earth or symbolize  prayer and suffering.

Frankincense and Myrrh are both resinous gums, a fluid that oozes from the bark of shrubby trees. Oils are extracted from the gum, and the purest oils are extracted using steam distillation.   Today, most of the internationally-traded myrrh and frankincense are produced in the southern Arabian peninsula (Oman, Yemen) and in northeast Africa (Somalia).

The oils are experiencing a resurgence recently for traditionalists as well as those celebrating the New Age and the unity of the divine.

As a gift for Jesus, Frankincense was included because it symbolized his priesthood, his stature as a spiritual leader and teacher.

Frankincense can provide profound spiritual benefits, especially the power to focus our spiritual consciousness and help us toward transcendent awareness.

It is known to help us to detach from that which doesn’t have deeper spiritual meaning, such as over-attention to materialism, helping the personality better integrate with the Higher Self.

A beautiful oil for the holiday season, Frankincense helps us ground and become centered on the Earth, with tranquility and clarity about our deeper values.

It also is the oil of choice for the nervous system, supporting the flow of Qi-energy, and giving us a hand when faced with tension, stress and exhaustion.

Myrrh was given as a gift to Jesus as a symbol that he was born to die. Myrrh is so very antibacterial it was often used for embalming the dead as well as being burned at funerals to honour the dead. Myrrh is known to unite Heaven and Earth in a person, the spiritual with the physical. It is aromatherapy for manifestation of the spiritual in oneself. It was drunk by Ancient Hebrews to raise their consciousness. It also helps the Higher Self manifest and transcend the material.

Like with Frankincense, Myrrh works therapeutically on the nervous system, to calm the mind and instill tranquility. It is an aroma to bring peace and inner stillness. Also like Frankincense it is also a very earthy aroma.

Buying Tips
When buying essential oils of these gums make particularly sure that you are buying pure oils. Both Frankincense and Myrrh help calm the nervous system, and you’d be working at cross purposes if you use oils that are blended with synthetic fragrance oils made from neurotoxic chemicals. One way to test for the purity of an oil is to put a drop on a blotting paper. A pure oil will evaporate completely.

Try to buy an oil that is extracted by steam distillation.

Pregnant and lactating women and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before using these oils.

By Annie B. Bond, the best-selling and award-winning author of five healthy/green living books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), Home Enlightenment, Clean & Green (1990), and most recently True Food (National Geographic, 2010 and winner of Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World). She has authored literally thousands of articles and was named “the foremost expert on green living” by Body & Soul magazine (2009).

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One Comment »

  • Great article. I would recommend going one step further and buying only certified organic to ensure there are no pesticides in the oil. Essential oils are highly concentrated and if they aren’t grown organically pesticides can be concentrated as well.

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