Myrrh

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The Magic of Myrrh

Myrrh
Myrrh is used in a variety of ritual contexts. Image by Alison Miksch/Taxi/Getty Images

If you do any work at all with aromatherapy, chances are good you’ve encountered the scent of myrrh at some point. Much like frankincense, myrrh is not an herb but a resin, and appears with some relevance in a number of religious and spiritual contexts.

Perhaps the best known of these is in the Christian bible, where myrrh is described as one of the three gifts given by the Magi to the newborn baby Jesus. In the book of Matthew 2:11, it reads, “After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

Myrrh also appears in the book of Exodus as one of the ingredients in the “oil of holy ointment,” and in the book of Esther as an item which was used in the purification of women. Even more interestingly, it’s mentioned as a fairly sensuous perfume in the Song of Solomon. Why was it so important in the early books of the bible? Possibly because it was an item that was sacred to the Hebrew people, and is described in the Tanakh and Talmud. Myrrh was used to make Ketoret, which was an incense blend consecrated and used in the early temples of Jerusalem.

In some forms of Eastern medicine, myrrh is used for its restorative properties. The scent is said to boost the spirits and the soul, and is often used to alleviate the symptoms of nervous system disorders. In the Western world, myrrh sometimes is included as an ingredient in toothpastes and mouthwashes, thanks to its analgesic properties.

In addition to the resin, which is commonly used in spellwork and ritual, myrrh can be purchased as an oil as well. Found in many aromatherapy practices, myrrh oil is used to aid with healing of coughs and colds, insomnia, pain relief, and stimulation of the immune system.

The Alternative Medicine Expert, Cathy Wong, ND, says, “When combined with a carrier oil (such as jojoba, sweet almond, or avocado), myrrh essential oil can be applied directly to the skin or added to baths.

Myrrh essential oil also can be inhaled after sprinkling a few drops of the oil onto a cloth or tissue, or by using an aromatherapy diffuser or vaporizer.”

Keep in mind that like many other essential oils, myrrh oil should not be used internally without the supervision of a healthcare professional.

When it comes to magical uses, myrrh has a wide variety of applications – the possibilities are nearly endless. Because the scent is fairly strong, it’s often used in conjunction with other herbs or resins, like frankincense or sandalwood. Associated with purification and cleansing, you can use myrrh in a number of different ritual and magical contexts. Try one or more of the following:

  • Burn myrrh, combined with frankincense, in rituals related to banishing.
  • In ancient Egypt, myrrh was often used as an offering to the goddess Isis – if you’re doing a ritual calling upon her for assistance, incorporate myrrh into your celebration.
  • Blend myrrh into an incense to use for purifying sacred spaces, or to consecrate magical tools and other items.
  • If you’re feeling stressed out, burn myrrh nearby to help relax and calm your nerves. You can also put it in a pouch and place it under your pillow, to bring about restful sleep.
  • Add myrrh to healing sachets for workings related to wellness.
  • In some magical traditions, myrrh is incorporated into workings to break hexes and curses, or for protection against magical and psychic attack.
  • Use myrrh in incense blends such as Litha Fire Incense or Full Moon Incense.