By Emily Dodi

Scent-sual world

In the hills above Ojai, among the avocado and citrus trees, the sage and wildflowers, is a place where intentions are set in motion. Sometimes there is music playing. Sometimes it’s just the sound of silence, but always there is a sense of meditation while Stacey Moss creates her essential oil blends. Friendly, warm and unassuming, Moss hand-drops every batch of Moss Botanicals aroma body mists and roll-ons herself — just as she has since she first started creating healing blends for family and friends in the late 1990s. A graduate of the College of Botanical Healing Arts in Santa Cruz, Moss founded Moss Botanicals in 2007. By 2012 it had become more than just a hobby, and by 2015 the company had grown so much that she was able to quit her (three) other jobs and devote herself to what she loves most.

Botanical alchemy

Moss explains that the process of hand-dropping allows her to “connect with the plant and honor its journey to its pure, distilled essence.” She uses only organic, fair trade and sustainably sourced essential oils. Her workspace feels like a little oasis, a sort of modern-day apothecary, with amber bottles of essential oils in the fridge, dried flowers hanging from the cabinets and a dog curled up in a chair. Moss begins by clearing the space with sage and approaching her beloved task with a calm mind. She achieves a state of “quiet, active listening,” which allows her to impart the wisdom of the plant into each bottle. She considers herself a messenger of sacred plant medicine, which is the inspiration behind the raven holding a flower on her logo. In folklore and ancient alchemy, the bird is thought to be a messenger between the physical world and the spirit realm.

It’s all about intention

As she works, Moss meditates on the intention behind each blend. There are eleven in all: Balance, Ceremony, Clear, Euphoric, Let Go, Relax, Transform, Calm Heart, Self Love, Intimacy and Ojai — each one created with a specific intention in mind (even if it’s just to recall a peaceful respite in Ojai). Calm Heart, for example, is designed “to defy desperation.” Its blend of blue tansy, lavender, rose and other essential oils supports the nervous system and helps ease insomnia, panic attacks and sadness. The inspiration for a blend often comes from Moss’ own personal experiences. For instance, Let Go came about after her grandparents passed away within a few months of each other. Stricken with grief, Moss needed help moving through this painful time in her life. She turned to essential oils like cypress, frankincense and rose, which aid in healing the emotional and physical manifestations of grief. She created Let Go to help herself and others going through any experience in which they feel caught or out of control.

Emotional intelligence

In some respects, everything to do with essential oils is personal because the sense of smell is the most primal. It connects directly to the limbic system — the emotional center of the brain — and it is the sense that most easily triggers memories. For Moss, the aroma of star jasmine takes her back to childhood summers at the pool; narcissus transports her to her grandmother’s house. Moss’ past, specifically her Native American heritage (her grandmother was Lakota and her grandfather was Yaqui) inspired her to learn about the traditions of healing with plants. “It always comes back to healing,” Moss says, whether it is a busy mom in search of Balance or a couple looking for a deeper connection (and a spicier one, at that) with Intimacy. 

Moss Botanicals can be found at www.mossbotanicals.com, online shops Thrive Market and Lucky Vitamin, and in local retail outlets, including Lassens, Westridge Markets, Rainbow Bridge and Farmer and the Cook.