The Vitruvian Man & Morphology

From Leonardo’s “Book of the Waters”
(Manuscript A, 55V.)

“Man is said to be the mirror world by the ancients and this is surely well reckoned, in as much as man is made of earth, water, fire and air. His body is the bone as a support and armour for the flesh, the earth has stones as a support for the soil. Where man has a pool of blood, wherein the breathing lung increases and decreases the earth’s body has it’s ocean sea that also floods and ebbs every six hours to let the earth breathe. Where the blood vessels branch out from the mentioned pool of blood [heart] through the human body, likewise the ocean sea fills the earths body with countless bodies of water.”

This paragraph was taken from my daughter’s seventh grade main lesson book on “Physiology and Nutrition” with her teacher Ms. Schmidt. I was looking for a picture of Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man for an illustration job. Within a few days of this one of my dear artist friends contacted me asking for suggestions on “specific floral/plant essences for the aide to specific parts of the body.” My answer was a resounding YES, Morphology!

When I began to formerly study aromatherapy I was struck by how inspiring the material was and the amount of visual imagery that flooded my mind during the course work. (Typical for an visual artist.) The area of study where this was most prevalent Morphology. We learned about Morphology as one of the methods of classification for essential oils. Essential oils are organic, volatile substances that occur in plants. Morphology is a form of classifying essential oils “by shared anatomical features, ie. leaves, flowers, fruits, etc.”1 In Aromatherapy we might utilize Morphology for creating therapeutic blends. Current scientific studies continue to reinforce the idea that “everything pulsates with energy and that energy contains information. Our physical bodies are surrounded with by an energy field which interact with the energy field of essential oils”2 Thus, an essential oil from a specific part of a plant can be viewed as containing a message relating to a particular part of the body, similar to Leonardo’s manuscript from The Book of Waters. The human body is a microcosm of the earth.

More on Morphology tomorrow, stay tuned.

1 Jade Shutes, The Blending Manual, The Institute of Dymanic Aromatherapy, Canada, Chapter One, p.102 Jade Shutes, The Blending Manual, The Institute of Dymanic Aromatherapy, Canada, Chapter Two, p.4

The image above was created using a pencil drawing on paper (see at right) overlaid onto a piece of parchment digitally. Both images are ©Roxana Villa.

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