Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Live Classes are back at the Perfumery!

FINALLY, I am so happy to share that the live classes are now back at the perfumery!! If there is something specific you are looking for that I did not cover, use the contact page on the website. Space is limited so don't hesitate in grabbing your velvet chair.

To my online students: the intention is to add advanced classes will be added to Aromatic Studies in November. Inch by inch.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Trees, a re-occuring theme

As a freshman in high school I was encouraged to join the Speech club, so I did. I chose to memorize and tell the Shel Silverstein story the Giving Tree. Fast forward, approximately forty years later I presented the Tree of Life at the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy conference at Bastyr University.

Gosh, I realized I've bee telling the same story since high school not only speaking to groups but also with the fragrances I make. Perhaps you've come to the same realization at one of those rare moments when we see ourselves beyond the veils of this illusionary world we live in.

We have just entered the Celtic Tree Ogham of the Ivy which makes it an auspicious time to anoint ourselves with the green, mossy, forest fragrance Hedera helix, now back in stock as both a liquid and a solid.

Here is a YouTube video with Shel Silverstein reading the story:

The video Greg created of The Tree of Life presentation delivered at the Beyond Aromatics conference at Bastyr can be found here. I'm presenting "Scent and the Honey Bee" at this years conference, please join me on Sunday, October 23rd. My presentation will be soul enriching and you will have the opportunity to surround yourself with an inspiring community. Find details here.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Burning Bright

The autumn festival of Michaelmas, one of the ancient holy days, has come back around. Michaelmas Day is considered the feast of the Archangel Saint Michael and/or the feast of all the Angels. The celebration appears to come out of the Christian tradition. If you dig deeper, you will find references and similar stories coming out of the Vedas in India.

In Waldorf schools, Michaelmas is celebrated by honoring the brave knight St. George when, with the assistance of the Archangel Michael, he conquered the dragon. There is lots of symbolism woven through out this story, the main one being how we need to slay, train or master the dragon within us. The dragon can be seen as our lower chakra, the self that acts out of fear, using our primal brain over our higher awareness and the dark. Carl Jung views a dragon as a symbol of the universal unconscious. The main message of the story of St. George and the Dragon, no matter which version(s) you may subscribe to, is that ultimately good prevails over evil.

After looking at many paintings from the 14th through 19th century depicting this story I noticed something interesting that was not evident to me in the past. Look closely, and you will see a maiden in almost all these depictions. Thus another symbol here is that the brave knight is rescuing a damsel in distress, or the divine feminine, from the monster. I'm thinking about the Netflix series Stranger Things here, but that's another post!  The feminine is the aspect of our self that is centered on love, the right brain, circular form of being/thinking. She is not necessarily a "woman", we are looking at the symbol here. There are loads of women in our society that have severed themselves from their feminine side. The symbol is about balancing our selves and the dualistic nature of this reality that pulls us away from the truth.

The alchemists interpreted this aspect as Sol y Luna, the sun and moon, who in the process of transformation are balanced and become one.

In the story of Vespertina, she is a truth seeker, a lover of the ultimate truth hidden behind the veils of reality. She is struggling with many dualistic principals throughout her epic journey.

I've selected Vespertina as our collective anointing balm since she is a female hero and the perfume contains lots of the resin frankincense. I see the resins as holding the light, just as we are beckoned to do here in the Northern hemisphere as the light begins to dwindle and the dark rises.

More posts on Michaelmas here.

Gustave Moreau, St. George and the Dragon, c. 1870. Oil on canvas. The National Gallery, London
Alchemical Image
Photograph of Vespertina Round Compact, Roxana Villa

Friday, September 23, 2016

Vera Solid Natural Perfume is Back!

Three different lavenders and white sage grown and distilled in Ojai are combined with orange blossom and thirty one other plant essences with two of my own complex chords go into Vera. The labyrinthine orchestration results in a sparkling, sunny, uplifting yet calming pure fume, evocative of the location in Southern California where the inspiration began.

Breath deep, connect to the land, the sunshine, the air, the plants, the honey bees—all guides to our inner sanctum of knowing and peace.

Read more about Vera at these posts here at the journal

The liquid and Eau de Parfum version of Vera is coming along with other fragrances that are sold out and the intoxicating Summer jasmine perfume. I also have To Bee and Blanc as an Eau de Parfum to unveil, which by the way, are fabulous layered over each other. The synergy gives conveys a deep, rich honey note.

I'm a presenter, once again, at the NAHA Beyond Aromatics conference. Yay! This time, the happening takes place at the University of Utah toward the end of October. Come join me and this dynamic community.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

International Peace Day!

Happy International Day of Peace, while we still have a bit of light here in California! This photo is a sample of a perfume I created back in 2009 as part of a friends vision to create a world musical prayer called "Project Peace on Earth." You can read more about the fragrance and project at the journal by following this search result here.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Number Nine

While working on a new pure fume here at the perfumery, I realized it's a power day! The number nine is composed of three trinities and is often associated with the goddess. Today is the 9th of September (9) and 2016 adds up to 9 making it a very auspicious day to call on the energy of the triple Goddess.

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (1486-1535), the polymath born near Cologne in Germany, dedicated the sacred number to the Muses: Calliope, Urania, Polymnia, Terpsichore, Clio, Melpomene, Erato, Euterpe and Thalia.

Agrippa associated each of the nine Muses to an appropriate the Spheres, by noting that the first resembles the supreme Sphere (the Primum mobile), and descending in order to the Sphere of the Moon, he determined that Calliope is appropriated to the Primum mobile; Urania to the Starry Heaven, Polymnia to Saturn, Terpsichore, to Jupiter, Cleo to Mars, Melpomene to the Sun, Erato to Venus, Euterpe to Mercury, and Thalia to the Moon.1

"We all come from the Goddess…and to her we shall return."

There is also some interesting bit about the number nine and John Lennon which you can read about at the Beatles Bible blog here.

Painting by Edward Burne-Jones titled The Garden of the Hesperides
Agrippa image via Wikipedia
1 Esoterica Archives

Thursday, September 8, 2016

La Dame Blanche

The folklore of medieval Europe contains a wealth of mythical stories where are modern day writers pull inspiration from. Diana Gabaldon, like JK Rowling, was influenced by a few of these legends when she wrote her infamous Outlander series. "La Dame Blanche, literally translated as 'The White Lady'. According to different mythologies the attribution could be a witch, healer, sorceress, spirit or ghost. Some stories say they are benevolent and wise, but others record them as being evil, and often a harbinger of death.1 

In his book The White Goddess, author and poet Robert Graves writes that the deity is the  can be sacred figures who are said to help or hinder those who encounter them.

Claire, the protagonist of the Outlander series, receives the name La Dame Blanche in the second novel of the series titled Dragonfly in Amber.

“What I want to know,” I said, pouring out the chocolate, “is who in bloody hell is La Dame Blanche?”
“La Dame Blanche?” Magnus, leaning over my shoulder with a basket of hot bread, started so abruptly that one of the rolls fell out of the basket. I fielded it neatly and turned round to look up at the butler, who was looking rather shaken.
“Yes, that’s right,” I said. “You’ve heard the name, Magnus?”
“Why, yes, milady,” the old man answered. “La Dame Blanche is une sorcière.”
“A sorceress?” I said incredulously.
Magnus shrugged, tucking in the napkin around the rolls with excessive care, not looking at me.
“The White Lady,” he murmured. “She is called a wisewoman, a healer. And yet … she sees to the center of a man, and can turn his soul to ashes, if evil be found there.” He bobbed his head, turned, and shuffled off hastily in the direction of the kitchen.
I saw his elbow bob, and realized that he was crossing himself as he went.
“Jesus H. Christ,” I said, turning back to Jamie. “Did you ever hear of La Dame Blanche?”
“Um? Oh? Oh, aye, I’ve … heard the stories.”

Excerpt From: Diana Gabaldon. “Dragonfly in Amber.”

La dame blanche is also the name of an an opéra comique, composed by François-Adrien Boieldieu a century after Claire is in Paris, which tells the story of a Scottish love story, a lost heir and a hidden fortune 2,, it is also the name of a perfume commissioned by Beth Schreibman Gehring. Here are a few of her words regarding the fragrance...

"La Dame Blanche is a voluptuous green floral with a heart of rose, jasmine and tuberose. There is a tincture of sapphires and horse hair, amber and wood. It was blended and released on Samhain 2014 and it is as complex, mysterious and voluptuous as the Sorciere herself. It's a gorgeous perfume and the beauty of it is that it doesn't quite make sense...You will  constantly be trying to decipher it's secrets."

The White Lady of the Noldor by the-pre-raphaelite on Polyvore
La Dame Blanche by Greg Spalenka
Photo of silver compact, Roxana Villa

1, 2 Who is La Dame Blanche, published in RadioTimes, be warned there are spoilers.