It’s autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. Just as the leaves of the trees dry up and fall to the ground, autumn tends to bring drier skin, cooler weather and more exposure to wind. Our natural tendency is to bundle up, to protect our selves from the elements, to spend time “under wraps,” under warm covers, and indoors.
As the fall weather changes, I always integrate an ayurvedic self-care practice into my routine called abhyanga, or warm oil massage. When the winds kick up, pricking my nervous system, and stimulating mental energy (not always welcome) I remember to get out my favorite oil. Washing yourself with warm oil is comforting, grounding, warming and soothing. In Sanskrit, the word sneha means both oil and love. It’s like bringing a protective layer of golden love around you.
It’s nice to do a full bath, but a shower works, too. I bring the bottle into the shower with me so the warm water warms the oil (cold oil is no fun), or I fill the sink with warm oil and put the bottle in there for five minutes, then massage liberal amounts of oil all over, from head to toe (from hair to bottoms of feet), if I’m ambitious. If I don’t want to commit to oily hair and skin I will forego my head. Don’t deny your self the full decadent pleasure by listening to your internalized parent say you’re using “way too much oil”. Drench your self. Ayurvedic masseurs use gallons of the stuff. Here’s my favorite oil. I also like this company.
I learned to do abhyanga before bathing, because the hot water allows the oil to penetrate into the skin, which you may not want to if you’re planning on soaping up. Note that this is also a well-known detoxification practice, so assess your energy accordingly. Ayurvedics say you should not do this if you’re sick or on your cycle.
The other day I incorporated a protection visualization into my abhyanga. It felt appropriate for the Mars energies in the transiting sky, and my chart. I imagined the golden oil as golden light protecting my energy for the day. Water rolls of a duck’s back because the feathers are well oiled, and that’s how my energy body feels after doing this- like any negative energy I encounter will roll right off me.
Any protective, fortifying self-care ritual is good for Scorpio Sun season we’re in!
Read more about the practice right here.