Empowered over Devoured: The midwife archetype

Empowered not Devoured

The Midwife archetype

We placed a drop of Bergamot oil on our index finger, rubbed our thumb, then pinched the Shen Men acupressure site on our ears. We smiled at each other as we inhaled this beautiful oil and felt the release of the day’s worries. This was the opening move for Peter Holmes’s lecture at the Alliance of International Aromatherapists conference in Minneapolis this past week, and it was incredible. Shen Men is the Chinese alternative medicine acupressure point called the “heavenly gate”. Shen means “mind” and “spirit”. When pressed a few times, Shen Men acts as a gateway to general wellness. This simple action took no time, it took no effort, yet the effects were immediate and powerful. It was the perfect way to introduce two ancient yet effective tools to help us relax.

Acupressure site Shen Men

At times, the world can devour our energy and self-esteem. Life events can get the better of us, and at these times we need to slow down and practice self-care and celebrate our gifts and talents. The simple act of using oils with Shen Men reminded me of my days as a nurse-midwife. Let’s explore this midwife archetype.

Adversity is the midwife of genius.

Napoleon Bonaparte

The word ‘midwife’ technically means ‘with woman’, but I add ‘with man and woman’. Midwives have been around for centuries providing comfort to women before, during and after childbirth. However, the midwife’s role does not end there. Midwives provide comfort and care to the entire family from birth to death, men and children included. Aromatherapy is a very important tool in the midwife’s birth bag. It is used to soothe, comfort and calm. Wise midwives teach the younger midwives how to massage and use pressure points on a woman’s body to help relieve stress during the process of labor. Midwives follow the natural energies of the human body and will not interfere unless absolutely necessary. Historically, essential oil blends were used by the midwife even during active dying and death. Midwives are taught how to minister using these tools in both birth and death. We aromatherapists tapped into that midwife archetype to empower each other, and we will use this wonderful archetype in our clinical practices wherever we are across the globe. 

Prayer is the midwife of mercy, that helps to bring it forth.
Matthew Henry

But how can you midwife yourself to calm and soothe your spirit and soul? Use the tools of essential oils reverently and respectfully to deal with stress at work, a difficult relationship weighing on your heart, or when you have difficulty praying or forgiving yourself or another.  Midwife your heart into a new life. Choose to die to a resentment. Make yourself a midwife blend. One of my favorite midwife blends is blended of Frankincense Boswellia carterii, Lavender Lavendula augustifolia and  Palmarosa Cymbopogon martinii at 1% to 2% dilution in organic jojoba oil. Frankincense monoterpenes aid with grief, fatigue, and pessimism, (Holmes, 2019, p. 212). Lavender has been the mother of comfort and harmonizes the central nervous system, (Battaglia, 2018, p.367). Palmarosa geraniol restores the energy of the heart and is useful in prayer for discernment. This blend supports the heart mind and spirit together. You can place a few drops of this blend in your hands, rub until you feel the warmth, and inhale 3 times. Don’t inhale more than that. It can be overwhelming, and you simply don’t need to. Less is more with this very effective blend. Try this with one or two of your close friends in your home or office. Anointing a community with essential oils is not only a powerful act but a truly sacred gift that we would do well to give more often. 

Tapping into the midwife archetype is empowering.  Self-care for our spirit is empowering and grows our self-esteem.  Being aware and witnessing how we respond to essential oils to calm and ground us into the moment is a great act of labor and birth. May you midwife yourself today with your own midwife blend of oils.  May you experience what the collective group of aromatherapist felt as we midwived ourselves that morning placing the oil on our “pressure point” of Shen Men. Let us midwife ourselves into the heavenly gate …..the present moment. 


Battaglia, Salvatore, (2019). Aromatree; a holistic guide to understanding and using aromatherapy. Black Pepper Creative publishing: Banyo, QLD.

Davis, Elizabeth, & Leonard, Carol, (2012). The Women’s Wheel of Life, 4th edition. Bad Beaver Publishing: USA.

Holmes, Peter, (2016). Aromatic; A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics: Volume 1: Principles and Profiles; Philadelphia & London; Singing Dragon Publishing.

Holmes, Peter, (2019). Aromatic; A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics: Volume 2: Applications and Profiles; Philadelphia & London; Singing Dragon Publishing.

Gaskin, Ina May, (1990). Spiritual Midwifery, 3rd edition. The Book Publishing Company: Summertown, TN.

Mojay, Gabriel, (1997). Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit; Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance with Essential Oils. Rochester, Vermont; Healing Arts Press.

https://www.midwife.org/Our-Philosophy-of-Care, American College of Nurse-Midwives 

Pictures from Unsplash, thank you!

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