We are lying on our backs with our eyes closed in a mandala of human forms, cushioned by a carpet of dun-colored pine needles, sunlight dappling our faces and bodies as a gentle breeze plays in the boughs of the three gentle giants, the Ponderosa elders standing guard around us. We each receive a misting of PINEal hydrosol, a drop of Ponderosa cone essential oil on the forehead, a light brushing down arms and legs with a Pine frond, and a weighty cone placed in our hands. The gurgle of the creek nearby and the soft, repetitive rhythm of an elk-hide frame drum coax our capable intellects into relaxation, and we open to our impressions. We simply are for a space in time. Our heartbeats find a steady groove held within the pulse of Life in everything around us.
When we return to sitting, each one of us is invited to share from our experience with the Ponderosa Pine. The points of similarity become threads of themes in this circle, and from group to group we have brought to this place. We are amazed and delighted at how our stories weave us together and into the fabric of the natural world. The palpable sense of connection to these wise beings evokes awe, that rare emotion that flashes through us like a wisp of feathered lightning, and gratitude flows easily into the opening it leaves in its wake. It is subtle, but it’s powerful.
The distillation workshops we held this year brought together vibrant and varied groups of people from Arizona, Califonia, Colorado, Oregon, Texas, and Utah. Each person brought something to the group that no-one else could – as we worked together, talked together, listened together, ate together, thought, dreamed and laughed together, and shared in the collaborative creative process with the Plants, the Stones, the Fire, the Water, the Earth, the Air, and our human heads, hands and hearts.
What a joy it always is to see the smiling faces of wonderful people, who want to learn about where essential oils come from, arriving at our driveway. What a gift it is for us to share and learn together with each of you! And what a blessing to watch each unique group of precious individuals drive away knowing that our lives are changed forever by each other’s presence.