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Cypress: Essential Support for Transition

Transition is change on a life bending scale. The act of it, and the passage it requires, reshapes our lives, as well as parts of who we are. To struggle against it is normal. But the goal is to pull it into our being and honor the passage. To truly grow from the experience is to accept the frustration, and pain, with the hope that there is freedom and joy. That does not mean we need don a smile and walk through with bliss. It means that it is life. We strive to maintain wholeness, and make the passage to the best of our ability with strength and integrity.

The practice of aromatherapy, which uses pure essential oils for healing, is excellent support in times of great life change. When used therapeutically and for a period of time, essential oils have the ability to shift energy in our physical and etheric body, and change our mind about how we feel very quickly. I recommend them for use in the form of healing baths, sprays for the home and body, and application to certain points on the body for a desired affect.

While there are many essential oils that are essential for transitional periods, cypress oil is in nearly every formula I make. The essential oil of cypress is a steam distillation of the needles and twigs. It has been an escort through time for those dealing with transition. The wood has provided transportation and shelter while the oil has provided relief, and passage to a different place in ourselves, and to other worlds. Read more…

Namesake and History

Cupressus sempervirens is an evergreen tree that is originally of the Mediterranean, and Middle East. The Latin meaning of cupressus translates as cypress. Sempervirens can mean “always green”, or “ever living”. And while the cypress tree is an evergreen, it is practically ever living. Some trees have been found to live for up to 1000 years.

Many cultures have used the cypress tree through history. The wood was found to have the ability to withstand rot, and repel insects, thus maintaining its integrity. The Greeks used the wood of the cypress to build statues of their gods. The Phoenicians built ships and houses from cypress, while the Ancient Egyptians built coffins.

It was the Ancient Egyptians that believed cypress to be the tree of transition, especially from life to death. The scent of the wood and distilled essential oil was believed to calm the mind, and unearth fears that hinder transition and block change. These qualities were to aid the dead in crossing over into the afterlife. For those living with the loss of their loved ones, cypress brought comfort to relieve the sadness.

As the essential oil provided emotional and spiritual comfort, water extracts made with the leaves proved to have great medicinal benefit as well. The Ancient Egyptians found it to be anti-inflammatory when used topically. Preparations were made for inflammation of the eyes, muscles and respiratory tract.

Spiritual and Emotional Use of the Plant

Cypress is a much welcome old timer to our modern day woes. As the ancient symbol of solace, it is strong, and unbending, supporting us when we can bend no further. The scent calms, and is specific to grief, anger and sadness, just as it was historically used. Cypress gives a place to stand so that we may feel difficult emotions in balance, and not be overwhelmed by them. When transitions begin to shatter our protected inner world, it calms the waters, and we are escorted by cypress through our own sea of over emotions.

When life transitions, there is a sense of loss. We must pick up the pieces of ourselves that have fallen, and move forward. Post transition, we are different, as are our motivations, and how we relate to things. The color and texture of our world changes, for our relationship to ourselves has changed. To integrate our experience, and ease our personal process at this time, I recommend a bath formula that is based on an Ancient Egyptian anointing oil. It is made with essential oils of cypress, frankincense, atlas cedar wood, bergamont and rose. It eases grief, anger and sadness associated with change. It inspires courage and wholeness.


The deep work of cypress for spiritual and emotional use compliments its medicinal attributes. Cypress has effect on organ systems that are shaken by the anger, grief and sadness associated with transition. It provides support for the lungs, reproductive system, liver, lymph and muscles. It teaches us the interconnectedness of these body functions, and all that can go wrong in the event of emotional events in life.

Respiratory Tract

It is known that grief and deep sadness vibrate and affect the health of the respiratory tract. Many clients come with respiratory illness or weakness while going through great change or emotional upheaval. Cypress is anti-bacterial, protecting the lungs from ill health. It acts as a respiratory sedative and decongestant, and therefore aids spastic cough, and excess fluid. Its anti-inflammatory action combined with its ability to relax muscles aids tightness in the chest, and inflammation caused by irritation and infection. Cypress is commonly used for respiratory problems, such as emphysema, influenza and bronchitis. One formula that essential oil of cypress finds great affinity with is frankincense and eucalyptus globulus in a carrier oil of Mullen leaf or flower oil. If a more sedative effect is desired, add lavender, sweet marjoram or spikenard. Apply this formula to the soles of the feet and on the chest.


Anger affects the function of the liver. There is often the tendency toward liver weakness already in play when the turmoil of anger comes along. Cypress essential oil has been found to aid inflammation of the liver, and has a profound affect when used externally in combination with a few other liver resonating oils. One formula I recommend that has very few contraindications is lemon, juniper, rose, and cypress. This formula aids detoxification of the liver, inflammation, jaundice and balances function. Take 1 oz. of almond oil and add 2 drops of lemon, 2 of juniper, 3 of rose and 7 of cypress pure essential oils. From a reflexology chart, find the liver, and lymphatic points on the feet. Apply to these points 3-4 times daily. Also apply directly over the liver.

While external application to support liver function is unusual, it is a therapy that is useful when internal support cannot be used. There is no proof that essential oils used topically treat liver conditions, but I have found that they do improve liver function and the health of the individual. I believe there are chemical processes at work strong enough to have a positive effect on liver function. I also believe the vibrational energy of essential oils can influence the organ. One cannot negate the emotional relief that essential oils bring, and the positive effect that has on physiological function.


Cypress as an anti-inflammatory and decongestant in the respiratory tract has the same action on the lymphatic system and for swollen veins and lymph nodes. It shuffles out toxins where there is lymphatic swelling, or swelling in the veins, including varicose veins, and hemorrhoids. A great formula for this is juniper, grapefruit, cypress and frankincense. Add 3 drops of each to 1 oz. of almond oil, and apply to the area in need 3-4 times daily.


Cypress essential oil provides relief from muscular cramps, menstrual cramps, and arthritic aches and pains. It is great in combination with other oils that are anti-spasmodic. Try a combination of cypress with ginger, eucalyptus and rosemary pure essential oil.

The use of cypress essential oil to ease life circumstances is an old practice. It is an oil of change. It anticipates how our physical body reacts to emotional and spiritual stress, and gives the appropriate support. While the passage of transition takes many unexpected twists, we are given with it an opportunity for growth and renewal. Support is essential, and cypress is support.


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