• Vicki Rivard

    March 5, 2022 at 12:46 pm

    I opened my bottle of Black Spruce Essential oil, held it up to my nose, and inhaled. The effect on me was instant. Instant.

    I was young—perhaps 7 years old. I was with my Grampa. We were standing in the forest of my childhood, next to an evergreen tree (it wasn’t Black Spruce, but it was similar). My Grampa used his fingers to peel dried, sticky resin from the bark of the tree. He then put the teardrop-shaped resin marble in his mouth and explained that this resin could be chewed, like gum; that chewing it was good for cleaning the teeth and freshening the breath.

    I asked if I could try a little. He pulled off another small piece and gave it to me. The stickiness surprised me—it had looked smooth and glossy on the tree, but now it was a sticky glob between my fingers. I placed the sticky glob inside of my mouth. It was strong! Very strong! It did not at all taste like the sweet gum I was used to chewing. I spit it out. Grampa laughed. I laughed. We often laughed together.

    This memory is very much alive for me, as I allow the aroma of Black Spruce to permeate my cells. My Grampa is very much alive for me. I am reminded of Lorie’s words: The ancestors are with us. They are always with us.

    I used to think of my Grampa constantly. I used to feel his presence—which I often described as a bird of light perched on my left shoulder—and have entire conversations with him. But for the past few years, he has felt more distant to me, harder to reach. That is, until I started this Mentorship Program.

    As I pondered what to share in my Introduction, a few weeks ago, it is Grampa who showed up and told me to share a bit of our story. When we named our teachers, during our first day of Mentorship, his name—Wilfred Gaboury—found its way out of my heart and into the dreamlike chorus of those who whisper through us. And when I opened that bottle of Black Spruce, there he was again.

    I am so grateful to be reconnecting with him like this.

    Black Spruce feels like my Grampa: tall, strong and solid. Calm. Handsome. Deeply connected to Indigenous wisdom.

    Its aroma makes me feel joyful. Uplifted. Hopeful. (It also reminds me of Christmas—a traditionally happy time in my family.)

    Putting drops of Black Spruce on KD 1 (Bubbling Spring) helps me to feel rooted and steady, able to withstand the hurricane-like winds of these times.

    The first time I put drops on KD 1, I felt immediately called to put drops on LU 1 (Middle Palace) as well. I did, and felt my lungs soften and expand. I had actually been experiencing some shortness of breath, and Black Spruce on LU 1 helped me take my first full, deep breath of the day and settle fully into the stability of my own bones.

    If I had to describe Black Spruce in one word, it would be: Home. This oil carries within it the echoes of my childhood: Grampa, lazy Saturday mornings, forest walks, laughter, safety, love. Home.