Monday, September 10, 2018


After my last blog post rant about the mañana quality of Santa Fe, I am thrilled to share that the chandeliers and bookshelves went up last Tuesday—Hallelujah!

Since then Greg and I have been classifying all the books, first by putting them into different subject or genre piles followed by another layer of organizing once we determined where they would be placed on the shelf.

Yesterday's new moon in Virgo makes it a very auspicious time for details, especially if you, like me, are a detail-ist! Sometimes I feel like I can spend hours, days, weeks on all the teeny, tiny elements that go into creating beauty and harmony.

The new space is divided into three parts, like in Agoura, although much larger. The bottom level contains the boutique area and the school, which is where the shelves for the books are.

My lab/studio is up the stairs in a large loft type space where my three white tables are as well as a couch, a new rectangular worktable in the center of the space and a sink, yes a sink!! I've never had a sink in my studio before, this makes the cleaning up of lab equipment, mixing bowls, etc. quite easy. Once the space is more organized with fewer packing boxes I'll share photos that show more of the macro and less micro. Although, I tend to focus and photograph more of the micro, as you know.

Although we sold and gave away many of our books before leaving Los Angeles, we still have quite a large library, perfect for staring a school! Although I did not order enough shelves (ugh!) thus one more item to attend to while continuing to do the juggle dance of getting the new space in order.

We've decided to do a soft opening, "by invitation" only, on Saturday, September 22nd. This will be followed by a formal opening on October 20th which will be in conjunction with an event happening here at Lena Street Lofts, where the perfumery/school is located. Details on that event will follow as soon as I have the information.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Magnify, Sanctify

Everyday I work on the new perfumery space tirelessly, sometimes obsessively, sandwiched between other pressing responsibilities and distractions.

We're ebbing toward an opening on the Autumnal Equinox, September 22nd. Santa Fe has a mañana quality which can be frustrating for those of us who arrive here from big cities, which reminds you that is both a virtue and a hashtag patience. One arrives here with intentions but the land has her own ideas and will easily crush or spit you out ,if flexibility ain't part of your paradigm.

As of this evening I'm intending to get the electrician back here to finally hang the chandeliers and get all the book shelves up, both by the end of this week. We have, what seems like, hundreds of boxes of books to organize into different sections and make sure they all fit.

I'll check in here next week and let you know how things are coming along, in the meantime, mark your calendars—September 22nd is what we're aiming for, come hell or floods! So get those plane or rail tickets and head to the land of enchantment. While you're here I recommend daily hikes in the crystal clear mountain air, sunset gazing, soaking at Ten Thousand Waves & Ojo Caliente, savoring the diversity of tastes in this foodie town and just unwinding.

Saturday, September 1, 2018


Mid morning, one year ago on September 1st we continued on our trajectory toward Santa Fe from Tucson in my sea green Prius packed to the gills with suitcases and boxes. The trip originated from Los Angeles with a stop at the University of Arizona where Greg shared principals of Artist as Brand for two classes.

The drive toward the enchanted lands of New Mexico were both bitter and sweet as we embarked on a the new adventure. Traveling across the beautiful, expansive desert landscapes toward our destination was awe inspiring as we looked out on a completely different palette of colors than those we knew so intimately in Southern California.

Later that afternoon I received a text from the landlord of our casita in Tesuque suggesting we stay the night in Albuquerque since it was the night of the burning festival of Zozobra. Neither Greg nor I had a clue as to what Zozobra was, what we were absolutely clear on is that we were fed up with hotels and yearned to begin our new life. Thus, we choose to do some research on the festival and proceed with our plans.

Zozobra is a giant 50 ft marionette called "Old Man Gloom" that is burned at the start of whats termed Fiesta season. The burning of the effigy has become a symbolic gesture of burning away all our challenges of the year. Individuals write their "glooms" on papers that are placed in a gloom box that is to be burned along with the grotesque looking old man. I read one story that mentioned Zozobra looking like Nixon in the 70's which made me think of another US President that would make a perfect symbol for  a pagan-like torching of a marionette.

One origin story of the ritual states that it began in 1924 by the artist Gustave Baumann, a marionette maker who collaborated with his friend William Howard Shuster, Jr.  They decided to create a giant effigy resembling a conquistador using the Spanish word for anxiety, Zozobra, as its name. The concept was influenced by the Yaqui Indians of Mexico where large papier-mâché sculptures are exploded along with an effigy of Judas as a symbolic gesture expelling evil from the community and oneself. Me thinks Burning Man may have evolved from this event.

While there are multiple stories to the tale of how the fiesta came to be, the event has now been woven into the historic La Fiesta de Santa Fe, a Catholic celebration begun over 300 years ago, commemorating the reconquering of the area by the Spanish on Sept. 14, 1692, after their ousting by local Pueblo Indians 12 years earlier. Regrettably this is a bit of a mockery of the commentary the artists were attempting to make, but, as we know, history can be a bit of a shape shifter.

Instead of attending the burning along with the thousands who stream into the normally peaceful city, we headed up the Ten Thousands Waves to celebrate our year anniversary in Santa Fe. Soaking in the healing hot waters of the communal tub, which was unusually sparse that night, we watched a fantastic lightning storm overhead while feeling gratitude for living in such a beautiful place, amongst nature and crystalline air.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A Visit From John Steele

I had some real quality time with one of my favorite peeps visiting from California today, Mr. John Steele, the man who introduced me to the realm of perfume back in the mid 90’s.

We started the day with a tour of the perfumery, lab & school and a taste of honey from our girls in Topanga. Then a simple meal at Iconik, followed by listening to the new tracks of Memory of a Cosmic with @GregSpalenka while sipping some of @KymiaArts gold elixir in water. 

After that I had him smell three pure fumes, Figure 1: Noir, one his favorites, the perfume temporarily titled Muse (which he refers to as "Agua Dulce for the Soul") and a Tuberose solifleur.

The photo of John and I is from the LA Fragrance Event held at the Santa Monica Convention Center in September 2012.

Sunday, July 22, 2018


It’s a 22 day, a master number associated with the end of a cycle and divine creation and also auspiciously the first day of Leo. Number 22 is considered a master "builder" number, as it is 11, another master number, multiplied by two but with its energetic power magnified by four.

"Number 22 is one of the power numbers. The color associated with it are cream and coral, the symbol is the cross. The keyword of this number is Light, harmony and co-operation, when the vibration is found, there is the co-operation to work with Sources plan on Earth."1

We can dig deep and find all sorts of interesting references about this number, here are a few. Each of us will be attracted to different items on this list depending on where we stand and our belief systems. I tend to like to observe these things and then put the ones that resonate and feel most authentic into my magical backpack.

  • "The 22 elements by which God created the world.
  • At his Ascension, by twenty-two times Jesus blesses the creation.
  • The Word of God is at the 22th level of conscience. The cosmic conscience would subdivide indeed into 24 dimensional or spiritual levels. The maximal conscience level, the 24th, would be attributable only to the God-Father and the 23th level would be considered as being an energy protective area surrounding the level 24. The 22th level of conscience would be also that of the antique Elohim also named the 24 Ancients.
  • Twenty-two is the number of biblical books of the Old Testament - Hebrews and Protestants. This number is obtained by counting for only one book the twelve minor prophets, as well as the Judges, the Kings, Ezra, the Chronicles (each one being generally divided into two books). It is also necessary to integrate Ruth with the Judges and the Lamentations with Jeremiah. And it is thanks to this last restriction that we obtain finally 22 instead of 24. Flavius Joseph (Against Apion, I, 8, 1st s.) is the first one to have proposed a distribution in 22 books.
  • The Mezuzah contains fifteen verses of the last book the Old Testament, the Deuteronomy, VI, 4-9 and XI, 13-21, for a total of 170 words, always written in 22 lines. This small roll is inserted in a tube of wood or metal and is attached to the superior right side on the frame of a door, according to the commandment of the Bible: "And you will write them on the frame of the door of your house" .
  • The 22 chapters of the Vendidad, book of the Avesta, written by Zarathustra.
  • The 22 prayers ("Yeshts") of the "Khorda-Avesta".
  • The Chronos god was surrounded by 22 main assistants and 22 secondary, according to the Phoenician Sanchoniaton.
  • For the Muslives, the Koran is the recording of the oral revelation authorized by the grace of God to the Prophet of Islam during almost 22 years, in the beginning of the seventh century of the Christian era - from 610 to 632.
  • According to S. Doucet and J.-P. Larosee, the man is composed twenty-two evolutionary bodies gathered in four categories: subtle body, energy body, galactic body and temporal body. Each one of these 22 bodies is formed of 1296 "partitions" that they call circumferences, vibrating each one at a precise frequency. This number 1296 is called "Energizing number", since it is the product of 12 (Cosmic number) and 108 (Universal number). By multiplying 22 by 1296, they obtain the total number of 28512 circumferences composing the 22 evolutionary bodies of the man, that is according to them the number of the man and also that of Infinite Energy.
  • Several old alphabets had twenty-two letters: Chaldean, Sabean, Roman, Copt and Hebraic. The letters of the Hebraic alphabet are divided into three mother letters (Aleph, Mem, Shin), seven double letters (Beth, Guimel, Daleth, Kaph, Phe, Resh, Tau) twelve simple letters (He, Waw, Zain, Heth, Teth, Yod, Lamed, Nun, Samekh, Ayin, Tzade, Qoph).
  • According to saint Yves of Alveydre, the primitive alphabet of all the humanity, at the period of "Ram" (adam alphabet or "Watan"), would have comprised 22 signs.
  • Salemi points out that the Hebrew Candelabra includes 22 chalices, 22 apples and 22 flowers by counting the point superior of the axis.
  • "From the twenty-two great Masters that counted the "Templiers Order" since its creation to its term, seven lost the life in combats; five died of their wounds, one of voluntary fast, having fallen to hands of infidels. Finally, James Molay had to be burnt alive under Philip the Bel, but the Order was dissolved when this crime occurred. It is therefore on the whole thirteen great Masters in function who paid of their existence the honor to command the soldiers of Christ." (John Carpentier)
  • The 22 cards of the Tarot - 22 mysteries major.
  • The Cosmos would shelter 22 Super-Universe.
  • The totality of mystical knowledge is contained in the symbolic of the first twenty-two numbers, according to Bambaras.
  • The initiation of Pythagoras with the Egyptian priests lasted 22 years.
  • The twenty-two channels linking the ten "Sephiroth" between them in the "sephirotic Tree" of the Cabal.
  • According to some mediumnic revelations, it would exist 22 main stars where all the entities will pass to achieve the complete cycle of their evolution.
  • Twenty-two is the number of writable regular polygons in an Euclidiean circle: 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 24, 30, 36, 40, 45, 60, 72, 90, 120, 180, 360. These are twenty-two of the twenty-four dividers of 360, the two first, 1 and 2, not defining polygons.
  • Length of the cubit in number of fingers, for Bambaras, which corresponds to the totality of the categories of the creation: this cubit from Bambaras represents therefore the universe.
  • Number of total stars of which is composed the Little Bear. However, only seven of them are visible to the naked eye.
  • 22 divided by 7 gives the number "pi", which represents the mysterious and approximate ratio of the perimeter of a circle to its diameter.
  • The head of the man is constituted of 22 bones: 8 for the cranium and 14 for the face." 2

1 SpiritualUnite
Riding the Beast

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Sovereignty, Lady Liberty and the Land

I first came across the word "Sovereignty" during a Celtic Shamanism internship in the mid 90's. The reference was to the Goddess by the same name in the Mabinogion, the first written collection of Welsh-Celtic-Gaelic Mythos.

In Celtic mythology there are many references to powerful and mysterious woman, many as queens, both mortal and divine like Cerridwen, Brigid, Tethys, The White Lady and Branwen (who has been hovering around me lately.)  From the Arthurian stories we have the Lady of the Lake, Igraine, Morgan Le Fay and of course Dame Ragnelle, who teaches Sir Gawain the meaning of Sovereignty. Just in case you are not familiar with that take, here one of the versions I've heard, condensed:
While the young King Arthur is hunting a great deer in the forest an armed knight appears and tells the king that he will spare his life if he finds the answer to the following question, "What is it that women most desire?" If King Arthur fails to provide the correct answer then the knight will cut off his head. King Arthur returns to his castle where he is met by his nephew Sir Gawain who suggests they both go out riding into the country looking for the answer. King Arthur returns to the forest where he is met by a crone who tells him that she will give him the answer if Sir Gawain is to marry her. The distraught king returns to the castle where Sir Gawain agrees to the marriage. Arthur returns to the forest, meets the hag, and once she hears that Sir Gawain has accepted her terms, she  reveals that what women desire most is sovereignty, the ability to choose for themselves. 
Read the entire story here and find out what happens to Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle.
"To the Celts, sovereignty was not about the right to rule over a clan or country; sovereignty was a divine power granted by the goddess of the land. The goddess and the land were one and the same. By union with the goddess, the king became connected to the land and the people. The fate of the land became intertwined with his. Any blemish or unworthy deed of his would be felt by the land and any mistreatment of the land would cause him to lose his kingdom. The gift of sovereignty was NOT shared; instead it was bestowed upon the king by the goddess, and he acted as her representative.

The right to choose, as we saw in the The Marriage of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle, is reflected in all of the Great Queen mythos. The goddess maintains the right to choose her lovers and confer sovereignty on a mate she deems most worthy. She acts in the best interest of the land.

In ancient Celtic times, the rulers were mostly men, which ensured the fertility of the land as the land was personified by the feminine. Any king who ruled out of alignment with the good of the land or kingdom lost the support of the Sovereign Goddess. Only when a kingdom was so out of balance did the Great Queen herself battle to reign the land. What is interesting is that female monarchs were considered to have the ability to directly embody the Lady of the Land, Sovereignty HERself, where male monarchs ruled as her consort or champion and never wielded power directly."1

We celebrate the fourth of July here in the USA today with Lady Liberty standing on her island in the
New York Harbour as fireworks burst around her in celebration of freedom. This magnificent statue, gifted to us by the french perfectly embodies the Goddess Sovereignty. Did you know that when work the statue was begun in the 1870's by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi many conservatives viewed her as a "Pagan Goddess with no right to be in a Christian country." Bartholdi designed her after the Roman goddess Liberty. Libertas, Liberty and liberal come from the root ‘liber’, meaning to be 'free, unrestricted, unimpeded; unbridled, unchecked, licentious’— all of which belong in the domain of the Goddess.2

I wrote this while looking out at Santa Fe's colorful landscape. Sovereignty's image in theses parts is usually depicted in the form of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Greg senses her in the sky where as I sense that she is coiled and slumbering under the earth, waiting for her earthy sister to wake her for the return of the Great Queen.


Fountainhead  @GregSpalenka, find a print here
Statue of Liberty: Photographer Fernique, Albert. 1883, public domain
Santa Fe photo ©RoxanaVilla

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Art of Botanical Perfume is Now Open for Enrollment

One of the worlds most beloved courses on botanical perfume is back and open for registration! It is now streaming 24/7 with downloadable files from anywhere at anytime, on your desktop, mobile device or tablet with lifetime access. A specially designed, essential oil kit created with Eden Botanicals is sent out when you sign up. If you have opted for the payment plan then the kit will be sent upon completing the second payment.

The Art of Botanical Perfume is a pre-requisite to some of the future advanced online courses I've been developing. The seven module course is now open a select number of new students.

 Promo Video by Greg Spalenka