Born and raised in Derbyshire, I lived in a house with a large garden which backed on to the local Allotments. My Dad grew vegetables in the garden which provided us with a steady daily supply, extra produce was given away, swapped or preserved. Fruit trees provided gluts of apples, pears, plums and greengages as summer turned into autumn. The local hedgerows provided extra bounty in the form of elderflowers, rose hips, sloes and elderberries. My Great Uncle was a farmer so often appeared with bags of mushrooms foraged while walking the fields.
Grandad Sid came to live with us when I was about 3 years old. He had an old wooden greenhouse in our garden and an allotment just out of site beyond the orchard where he grew vegetables, fruit and cut flowers. As a child I spent many hours with Grandad Sid in the greenhouse helping to plant seeds in homemade seed boxes, pricking out plants and eating the tiny ripe tomatoes from the ends of the trusses. On his allotment I passed plants while he was planting, watered and the most important job of all was holding his penknife while he grafted apple trees onto what looked like dead twigs.
In 2008 I had a need to deepen my relationship with the earth after losing my Mum. I loved being an aromatherapist and loved my garden but there was a connection missing that would help me fit a piece into a many layered jigsaw.
“All my hurts my garden spade can heal.”– Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Put your ears to the ground, to the sky, to the sun and the moon… tune in to Mother Earth’s sweet song.
She has messages to say, knowledge to relay, inspiration to convey… there is much for you to learn.
Your journey has just begun.” ― Melody Lee, Moon Gypsy
Eating seasonal fresh picked food nourished my body and soul. The concept of terroir wasn’t something that was only applicable to French wine growers. Books on Biodynamics made sense and although I’m not 100% at following them I can see the difference with planting anytime. Visiting Bulgaria for the Rose Harvest I saw a life that was truly holistic, shepherds sat with their flocks, beautiful meadows and a simple lifestyle. I purchased a copper still and began to distil my own hydrosols. Essential oils and hydrosols had lives, spirits, and contained stories of their time in the earth, producing their precious molecules and their journey to the bottle
The Celtic wheel offered an insight focusing on the equinoxes, solstices and marker points of the year. I wasn’t Celtic though. I’m a Derbyshire lass who works at the ‘coal face’ of Aromatherapy. I pondered some more and started to play with pictures on a graphics programme. Showing a colleague, he said, ‘It’s an annulus’. So, I Googled it and the Aromatic Annulus came into being.
More about Me:
I’m Anita James. I was born and raised in Derbyshire, England where I’ve always been surrounded by gardens, allotments and open farmland. The scent of roses takes me straight back to being a child helping my Grandfather in the greenhouse.
After a very stressful and life changing time in 2000, I returned to my love of plants and the natural world in order to grow a new life. It seemed the right path for me. In 2001 I gained an Aromatherapy Diploma with Distinction from Shirley Price Aromatherapy, Essentially Holistic was launched in 2002 and my aromatic journey began. I’m as passionate today about aromatherapy as when I first started training all those years ago.
I am particularly interested in incorporating aromatherapy into everyday situations and in 2003 I set up a project at the local infant school. I now work alongside a specialist programme providing both training to staff and aromatherapy to children requiring additional emotional and behavioural support.
I’m a firm believer in inspiring learners through active learning; in 2005 I began teaching aromatherapy and holistic therapies courses. In 2013 my company Essentially Holistic received accreditation from the IFPA (International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists). In 2016 the course was accepted at a Professional Level by the AIA (Alliance of International Aromatherapists) in the US.
I have spoken about my work at Conferences and presented workshops Worldwide and offer an online aromatherapy course which is accessed by students from many countries. I am the current Vice President of the AIA (Alliance of International Aromatherapists).