Dr. Berkowsky’s Synthesis Materia Medica Spiritualis of Essential Oils is the central reference text for Spiritual PhytoEssencing™ in which each of the essential oils are profiled with respect to their inner soul-nature. He utilizes knowledge from a number of different modalities and schools of thought to base his information on including: Historical Use and Folklore; Herbal; Aromatherapy; Anthroposophy; Traditional Chinese Medicine; Homeopathy and the Jewish Kabbalah. His information is further based on the homeopathic concept of Miasms; the Anthroposophical concepts of the Three Fold Organism and Constitutional Elements of humans and the Kabbalah Tree of Life and its 10 Sefirot. Today I am highlighting the next sefirah, Binah

The third Sifirah, Binah is visualized on the left side of the head of Adam Kadmon, also the left brain. It can be thought of as the Sefirah of human beliefs and ideas expressed through speech and action. Its attribute is Understanding and it is associated with Mother. In its simplest form it constitutes our understanding of the ‘ways of the world’ developed from ordinary everyday experiences. Binah is also referred to as the place where the Throne of God is located, the place from which God expresses concern for His creation. All understanding comes from God and it is within Binah that God ‘lowers’ Himself so that He can be accessible to us.

Psychologically Binah is said to perform a reconciliation between the ‘desire’ of Keter and the ‘intellect’ of Chokma. In Binah we see that it is the dialectical blending of will and wisdom, as well as emotion and intellect that brings understanding. Binah has also been associated with repentance and is thought of as a source of restraint.

Binah is the full expression of the creative power of femininity. Binah receives the stream of Supernal Light from above and continually gives birth to the externalization of the Divine Energy that sustains the seven lower Sefirot, therefore, Binah is viewed as the mother of the seven Sefirot below her. Binah is also viewed as the Mother of the Universe. Binah is the prototype of the wise mother, seat of understanding, judicious restriction and objective judgment. Binah is also known as the ‘Source of Life’ because it is the Sefirah, which, in the process of emanation, elucidates the inner world and expresses it as a coherent, active force. Binah is also called ‘Return’ (in Hebrew Teshuvah) because everything that began in the ‘Source of Life’ returns to it in the end.

Teshuvah also refers to redemption and Binah is considered the sphere of redemption and atonement. It is said to sweeten all powers of judgment, neutralizing the bitterness. Chokma is linked to running and Binah to returning. Repentance or teshuvah is seen as a way of returning to God and to the more noble vision of oneself. Teshuvah exists outside of time and it is said that it was created before the world itself. It is outside and unbound by time. The concept of teshuvah is most commonly related, by Jewish theologians, to the undoing of that which comes through knowledge of the sin. Through Binah, Understanding is transformed into a longing for righteousness. In the physical world one cannot go back and undo what was once done, the existence outside the realm of time of teshuvah make it possible to undo a past sin on a spiritual level. Rooting oneself in Returning enables one to ascend, do the goodness rooted in that process, and so transform bad deeds into good.

Shekhinah, the female aspect of God, is the presence of the divine in the material world, the animation of the concealed divine. Upper Shekhinah is identified with Binah.

The color traditionally associated with Binah is green. Also the planet Saturn, the astrological sign of Capricorn (Dec 22 – Jan 20) and the Archangel Tzaphkiel, Angel of Spiritual Strife against Evil.
The three essential oils associated with Binah that I will highlight today are Grapefruit, Frankincense and Rose.


Psychologically, grapefruit has been found to have wonderfully uplifting but calming properties. It can be helpful in cases of depression, nervous exhaustion, performance stress, jet lag, PMS, alcohol and drug withdrawal. It can give one a feeling of euphoria. On the physiological level it has antiseptic, calming, diuretic and stimulating properties. Used in a mister or diffuser it can be an excellent air antiseptic while used topically or in the bath it can help ease muscle stiffness as well as increase the circulation and stimulate the lymph system. It has also been found helpful as a digestive aid and has been used by sufferers of anorexia and bulimia as well as people wanting to lose weight. On a subtle level, Grapefruit helps to calm mental chatter. It dissolves emotional energy blocks especially frustration and self-blame. It promotes confidence, as well as increasing intuition and mental clarity. It brings inspiration. It can be used when the ego gets in one’s way. It can assist in the digestion of new concepts or ideas. It can be used for clearing and to remove negativity. It is a powerful purifier.
Cautions: According to Leung and Foster, dermatological studies have indicated grapefruit oil to be non-irritating, non-sensitizing and non-phototoxic to humans based on a report by DLJ Opdyke, in Food Cosmetics Toxicology. However, some sources classify grapefruit as a mild photosensitizer.

Spiritual PhytoEssencing Themes: Grapefruit has a strong theme of the desire for redemption.


Psychologically, Frankincense has calming and relaxing properties. It can be helpful with stress, anxiety, depression, irritability and panic. It is said that it can bring peace and is very useful in meditation. On the physiological level it has expectorant and mucolytic properties and can be helpful when dealing with coughs, bronchitis, colds and flu. It deepens the breathing. Its calming properties can also be used on skin complaints and it is thought to be helpful with dry and mature skins. On a subtle level, Frankincense can be used to awaken one’s spiritual purpose. Using this oil can guide and reconnect one to the Divine presence. Frankincense calms, comforts and centers. It also stabilizes emotions. It is very grounding and quiets and clarifies the mind. When used in meditation it promotes a state in which one is better able to receive and integrate healing energies. It has long been considered a sacred oil which helps to heal the spirit and comfort the heart.
Caution: Generally considered non-toxic, non-irritating and non-sensitizing. Avoid during the first trimester of pregnancy

Spiritual PhytoEssencing Themes: Frankincense helps to break obsessive attachments to the past.
Frankincense has long been considered to be sacred and is helpful in healing the spirit and comforting the heart.
Frankincense slows down breathing and deepens the breath.


Psychologically rose has aphrodisiac, relaxing and anti-depressant properties. It soothes the emotions and is often used in cases of anxiety, depression, nervous tension and stress-related disorders. It can be helpful in dealing with anger, anxiety, sadness, disappointment and heartache. While on the physiological level rose has analgesic, astringent and tonic properties; it can fight infection, reduce inflammation and relieve muscle spasms. Its use could be considered for: all skin types especially acne, dry sensitive skin and mature skin; poor circulation; menstrual problems, menopause and PMS; to aid digestion and regulate bowel movements. On a subtle level, Rose is associated with unconditional love, as well as Divine Love. Rose brings in positive energy. It can gently fill in auric holes and seal the auric field after healing work. It promotes a sense of well being. Rose is very healing for emotional wounds, especially grief. It promotes love, compassion, hope and patience. It also promotes a sense of spiritual connection. It can be helpful in healing work as it is thought to energetically connect the hand chakras to the heart. Rose can help one to forgive others as well as one’s self. Rose enhances one’s connection to all creativity, the arts, and beauty. Rose is used in blends designed to attract love, confer peace, stimulate sexual desires and enhance beauty.
Generally considered non-toxic, non-irritating, non-sensitizing and non-phototoxic.

Spiritual PhytoEssencing Themes: Rose is specific for the heart and helps one to listen to one’s own wise counsel.
Love is a strong theme in Rose.


Sephirah in the Kabbalah Tree of Life