Botanically known as Ferula gummosa, galbanum is mentioned in Exodus 30:34: “And the Lord said unto Moses, ‘Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense of each shall there be a like weight.’” Botanists have written that galbanum’s odor is strongly balsamic, pungent, and disagreeable when burned. There is an interesting suggestion in the Jewish Talmud as to why this powerful, less-than-fragrant resin was used in the holy incense: Every communal fast that does not include sinners of Israel is not a fast. This has been linked to the fact that incense included spices or perfumes with lovely fragrances, but was not complete without one spice: galbanum. With its earthy odor, galbanum is used for its cleansing and body-supporting properties. As we read the account of the anointing oil, we see that galbanum was included in the formula. This suggests that the compounding of these oils is what is really specific and where the strength really lies.
Perhaps one reason why ancient cultures esteemed galbanum may have been due to its ability to affect emotions, which is why some people today use this oil to help gather and concentrate their thoughts. This is one reason why galbanum is a primary oil in the formulation of the blend called Gathering™. It is powerful in its ability to elevate spiritual awareness and communication.
The oil of cypress originated from a tree so durable that the doors of St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome are made from it and show no signs of decay even after 1,200 years. The mighty cypress groves of Lebanon were described in the Apocryphal book of Ecclesiasticus as trees which “groweth up to the clouds.” Some Bible scholars believe that cypress may be the gopher wood used to build Noah’s ark. Cypress was historically used to support the circulatory system and is mentioned in Isaiah 44:14: “He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest.” Traditional texts refer to cypress as a decongestant for the veins and the lymphatic system, and as a support for the nervous system and pancreas. However, modern research has yet to verify these properties. Cypress may have also been used in ancient times for the treatment of pulmonary complaints, as well as other conditions, although these uses are not yet confirmed.
Aren’t these oils enthralling? I can’t wait until next time when I will discuss the rich history of cedarwood!