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.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Word Rant Wednesday

Wow, it's been since last January when I last hopped onto my bloody soap box and preached about correct word usage and definitions in the perfume industry. Thus, before another year arrives without me raging against the dying light, let's get on with it!

A few months ago a friend sent me a link to a blog post that referred to an iconic herbalist having challenges with essential oils. I won't mention the name since its not important. Out of curiosity I asked my friend and mentor Jade about it and learned that some herbalists believe that we don't need essential oils. From what I was able to discern, this particular point of view argues that since a large quantity of plant material is needed to obtain an essential oil, the end product is very concentrated and thus both wasteful and potentially dangerous.

Different perspectives is a good thing and important, after all, there is no "one size fits all" and variety is what makes life interesting. There are many facets to a diamond, the more facets the more light is reflected.

In fact, after doing my own distillations I can resonate a bit with the "idea" that perhaps the plant material might be better utilized in its whole form and that the amount of water needed might be wasteful. This is particularly poignant here in Southern California where we have a sever drought. However, it really depends on what the plant material is, who is distilling and why, what the end result will be for the item, etc. I personally adore the hydrosols that have been obtained from the plant material from my garden, the farmers market and my other nearby growers. The benefits of the hydrosols have been marvelous and the aromatic waters contain chemicals that are not accessible in the raw plant material, as a tincture, infusion of an essentials oil. Each form will have a different imprint, a specific frequency based on the extraction, and each medium has a different use. For example, I might eat fresh spearmint leaves, use then in a tea, combine them with limes for a refreshing lime-aide on a hot day, or perhaps through them into a soup with fresh english peas. In fact, I have done all of those things in the last thirty days. However, that does not detract from the value of spritzing my face with the hydrosol while typing this blog post, using the essential oil on my temples or inhaling the aromatic molecules from my palms to provide a bit of clarity and energize my thinking or adding a tiny bit of the essential oil into an aromatherapy blend or perfume.

Just like we have many types of aromatics in the palette of perfume, we also have many types of extractions and ways to use them. Throughout history the "Still Room", the distillery room, was a big part of daily life containing herbs from the nearby garden.

"Still Rooms were places where freshly collected plants and flowers were utilised in many ways, and these traditions continued well into the Edwardian period. Herbs could be hung upside down in bunches and dried for household and kitchen use, or pounded to a paste and in their simplest form added to lotions and grease or fats to provide ointments, medicines and poultices, or added to water and allowed to quietly “distill” for bottling as herb-rich medicinal waters. These were strained off into bottles and stoppered with a cork or the fore-runner of today’s “clingfilm” – pig or sheep bladders, stretched tightly to produce an air-tight seal.

Honey-rich syrups were made by infusing herbs previously bruised in a mortar and pestle or by making a strong decoction – both methods requiring heating to reduce the liquid, then strained through muslin and honey added to sweeten. Colds and sore throats were often relieved by a rose-hip and lemon balm decoction with honey added to soothe and heal. In a static display it is difficult to show the process without a fire and bubbling potions reducing away, but we have an old copper full of herbs waiting to be infused with a ladle nearby for bottling – and a couple of completed bottles ready for use."1

According to one herbalist, the case against essential oils is that they are too concentrated and thus cause hormone disruption. This is followed by a reference to lavender oil causing young boys grow breasts. Oh my, really? Please follow this link to a post here at the journal from 2008 where I share insights into this very topic.

Ultimately we each will have to find our own truth, independent from what anyone says, that is the main tenet to the Art of Botanical Perfume course.

“If you meet the Buddha, kill him.”
~ Linji

1 From the The Rye Castle Museum blog post The StillRoom in the Tower

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Summer Essence Event and NEW pure fume!

Join me and the mastery of Jennifer Butler this Sunday, August 7th for an extraordinary community event revolving on the theme of the Summer essence.

I will give a presentation and unveil my newest fragrance. The starting point was the essence of summer with melodies evoking the divine feminine. I’ve weaved fine threads of jasmine and other graceful florals with subtle hints of seashells and the constant rhythmic motion of ancient lunar tides reminding us of home. Diffused notes of a vintage Mysore sandalwood, oakmoss and orris in the base anchor the dreamy, artful nature of twilight with petals of crushed velvet. The mood is relaxed and elegant.

"Smell is a potent wizard
that transports you across thousands of miles
and all the years you have lived."
~ Helen Keller

The sense of smell has been critical to the survival of human beings. Early in our evolution, when we were on all fours, our smell sense was vital to our survival. As we became upright, olfaction was no longer the dominant system. We still depended on it for locating our food, mating, and hunting however the other sense systems began to play a much larger role.

Some interesting smell facts:
* The sense of smell is 10,000 times stronger than any other sense.
* Every person experiences the same exact odor differently.
* We have a keener sense of smell later in our day.
* Woman have a more acute sense of smell than men. * Olfactory nerves can renew themselves. * Each of us has an individual odor thumb print.
* The right hemisphere of the brain is responsible for odor recognition.
* Smells fall into the following categories:
minty, floral, ethereal, musky, resinous, foul and acrid.

Smell Idioms:
To win by a nose.
The sweet smell of success.
I smell a rat.
Everything is coming up roses.
Smelling like a rose.
The nose knows.
Something smells fishy.
Wake up and smell the coffee!

The word for smell in Spanish and French is "sentir" which means to feel / to smell.


Experience the beauty of clothing and accessories from the comfort of a little piece of Europe in Beverly Hills

In the United States the sense we tend to rely on the most is our sense of sight. Of all the senses in our collective cultural sensorium, "vision" is used to assess and determine situations. Looking back in history it was the modern printing press, introduced in 1440 by the German Johann Gutenberg that began our shift into the "seeing is believing" paradigm. Over the next hundred years it was aided by several other inventions, primarily the microscope. Micro in latin meaning "small" and scope "to see". Philosophical ideas of the new era combined with the shift to a strong patriarchal system. All these factors working together in the shift to a culture primarily based on the sense of sight.


Feel the textures of luxurious fabrics, handmade textiles and learn which ones work best for you.

The sense of touch is the first and last one that we experience. It has the ability to distinguish between something soft, hard, smooth, wet, dry, etc. We experience this sense through receptors located on the skin, some areas being more sensitive than others. The skin is the largest organ of the body, like a sponge it is a porous membrane. In Aromatherapy the skin is one of the pathways we focus on when utilizing pure essential oils therapeutically.


Savor a delicious meal in the company of a tribe of Summer essence individuals at Caffe Roma.

There are almost 10,000 taste buds located in our mouths, which can distinguish five different types of flavors: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and unami. We are all familiar with the tastes of sweet, salty, sour and bitter, but, what is unami? Unami receptors pick up the taste of glutanic acid salts such as MSG.
The sense of taste is the weakest of all our senses and depends in part on the sense of smell. Evident by when we have a cold, and can't taste our food.


Jennifer will share her wisdom on the balance of inner and outer beauty while guiding us on what works best for the vibration of our unique essence.

Hearing, unlike the sense of smell, taste and vision, is a mechanical process. Hearing is based on movement, sounds produce a vibrational wave which is picked up by the ears.


What is the 6th Sense?.......RSVP to find out!

Since you are a reader of this journal receive a special price to attend as my guest! E-mail or contact me for details.

Here is the schedule for the day:
11:00am - 12:30pm  Shopping
12:30am - 1:15pm    Luncheon
  1:15pm - 2:30pm    Presentation
  2:30pm - 2:55pm    Final Selections & Special Orders
  2:55pm - 3:00pm    Adjourn

Monday, August 1, 2016

Sun in Leo

Hello August, the month of Leo the Lion! This mighty yet warm hearted feline is ruled by the sun, like our little alchemist the honey bee. The big, regal cat purrs in the fantasy of ruling the realm, growls and roars when the illusion bursts. Believe me, I know, my sun is in Leo, although countered with lots of Pisces, Virgo and a Taurus rising. 

Leos love to teach and have a generous affectionate heart. Some believe that the great Sphinx was built during the age of Leo looking over the rising Sun. Pure botanical perfumes are perfect for these astute, luxury loving lions since they are made with the gems ✨ of the fragrance industry. Spare no expense on your big cat, they will brighten your day with their hearty laugh, bright smile and or infectious gregarious nature.