Saturday, June 10, 2017

In Motion


The day has come where juggling making perfume with the house renovation and moving has become way to complicated! Thus, for the moment I have put the Etsy shop in vacation mode and put all the product listings on my website at zero.

I am putting together some pretty awesome classes, which will appear shortly—make sure to sign up for my newsletter, follow this blog or my instagram account for the latest news.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Sir Leaf and Madame Berry


In the 90's when I began my aromatherapy long distance learning class, I created a simple Bay Rum cologne which I re-made at several different points as gifts for the men in my life. The formula was based on putting bay leaves, allspice and cloves into a high quality rum and then adding bay laurel essential oil. The more times I made it the more complex the formula became and the more I was able to discern how I wanted to continue to expand, deepen and refine the notes.

The original Bay Rum cologne was most likely created by an inventive soul who infused the fragrant bay leaves from the West Indies, known as Pimenta racemosa, into local rum. Another story says that the cologne was derived by the co-distillation of the leaves into rum. Regardless, what we know to be true are:
  1. The cologne originates from the West Indies. 
  2. Bay leaves, Pimenta racemosa, were added to rum
  3. The pairing was popularized by sailors who then took it to other parts of the world.
A few years ago I started noticing that I had several bottles of the tincture in my studio and the fridge, so I put all of them together as a cologne. I first shared it at the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy conference at Bastyr in Washington, but kept it more of a secret for those who knew about it.


Since we are now in the middle of packing the house to move I thought it was a good time to share with a bigger network. I decided on the name Sir Leaf and Madame Berry while I was editing the photos yesterday, the words just popped into my sphere and I liked it. The fragrance features tinctures and essential oils of bay leaves, woods and spices, with a bit of Jamaican rum. The scent contains the characteristic warm fragrance notes of a traditional Island Bay Rum. Here's a review from a client...

"I’ve mostly used synthetic colognes in the past, which for me, were ok. But putting on Roxana’s amazing Bay Rum fragrance is like wearing a piece of art. There is a warmth, soul and personality to it that could only come through in something that is crafted with the care and passion that Roxana puts into her products. I love to sail and Bay Rum evokes thoughts of exotic spice islands, warm breezes and the sea." ~ Jeff Burne

Although traditionally worn by sailors and then promoted for men, the aroma is very uni-sexy, especially for todays modern gender neutral paradigm. As with all my potions, this item has been handmade with essential oils and plant tinctures which have been documented to contain numerous wellness attributes promoting inner peace and improved circulation.


Sir Leaf and Madame Berry is part of a giveaway I have started today (Monday) and is also listed on website. FYI, this is a limited edition with no written formula to follow, so if you fall in love with it make sure to stock up.

At the moment the bottles are slight different but all the same basic size and style and there are no dedicated cards to go along with it, just the two generic ones.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Phase Two: GREEN


Now that the perfumery has been moved and set up at home, I am in phase two of our move which consists of sifting through and packing up of our lives with a clear intent of putting this very cute mid century modern house on the market.

Although I mostly feel excited about the fertile adventure ahead, going through all "my stuff" has been quite depleting physically, mentally and emotionally! Not only am I in awe of how much I have amassed in the last seventeen years but mostly in the last three years since having the perfume workspace outside of the house. The furniture is all in storage for the moment. The decor items, many from Estate sales, thrift stores, received as gifts or found on the street are being evaluated. I definitely don't need so much lab glass (!), thus that's being put aside for a garage sale.

The most astonishing collection of items is amber bottles filled with different volatile liquids from finished perfumes, chords, individual essential oils, experiments, etc. Thus, I have decided to start including items in orders. Each week, beginning on Monday, I will share what will be offered on facebook, instagram and here at the journal. If it is something you would like get it included free with an order or purchase larger sizes until it is sold out.



The theme for this Monday is GREEN and I will be offering:

  • Spearmint and/or Cucumber/Lime hydrosol distilled late last Summer, both organic
  • A perfume experiment I called Verde, read more on Verde further in the post.
  • A BayRum cologne which includes essential oils along with tinctures of spices and herbs.
To receive the items above spend:
  • $25 choose a one ounce bottle of a hydrosol. 
  • $50 choose two bottles of hydrosols or a solid sample of Verde.
  • $100 choose four bottles of hydrosol, a 1 gram vial of Verde or a 4 gram bottle of the BayRum.
For orders over $100, use the criteria above to create your list, make sure to leave your selection in the "Notes to Seller" area when checking out or e-mail me.

Be aware that I may add items spontaneously as I find them while packing. Once an item is sold out there is no more, unless I have the formula and can re-create it.

I will also post the hydrosols, Verde and the BayRum on the site to be ordered individually.


At the moment I have not found the formula for Verde, thus all I can share is that, to my nose, it is a primarily green scent with notes of sweet tobacco and flowers. Some of the individual essences I am able to discern are fir absolute, choya and a floral component coming from jasmine, ylang ylang, boronia or perhaps all three. However, I could be completely wrong and the floral fruity component might just be the way the fir absolute has melded over time with the other essences. More than likely the formula is in one of the binders that was already boxed up. I never released Verde because I felt it needed more complexity and also I hadn't created a story for the fragrance.


I have also started a fragrance along the same spontaneous way that Impromptu first came about, more on that shortly. Pictured above are a few of the bottles with aromatic liquids that have been poured into a larger bottle. So far ten different bottles have been poured out and into a perfume in the making which will, obviously, be a one of a kind.

Also, keep in mind that we are on a fast track to pack, fix up the house, stage it and sell. Since there are so many unknown factors with my workspace in flux over the next few months, please be patient and restock your favorite scents now.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday Muse: Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta


Todays muse is the absolutely stunning Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta, a glorious example of how exquisite type & image can dance together. Even more impressive is that the two parts were created approximately thirty years apart!


The gem of a book was begun in 1561 under rule of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I king of Bohemia, Hungary and Croatia. Georg Bocksay, the secretary of the king, created the book in Vienna to demonstrate his inventiveness and technical superiority over other scribes.


Later, under the rule of Ferdinand's grandson, Emperor Rudolph II, Joris Hoefnagel was commissioned to illuminate Bocskay's book. "Hoefnagel added fruit, flowers, and insects to nearly every page, composing them so as to enhance the unity and balance of the page's design. It was one of the most unusual collaborations between scribe and painter in the history of manuscript illumination."1


The books mastery of composition between the beautifully scripted words and carefully placed painted imagery eloquently embodies the conjunction of two art forms uniting in a synergy that together form a whole so much more than the sum of its parts.

This treasure, along with a trip to Austria in August 2003, ultimately inspired me to pair the terms “illuminated” with “perfume” when forming the concepts for my botanical fragrance business. I still feel an inner swoon when I gaze upon the exquisiteness of these pages.

Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta
Joris Hoefnagel (Flemish / Hungarian, 1542 - 1600), and Georg Bocskay (Hungarian, died 1575)
Mira calligraphiae monumenta, fols. 1-129 written 1561 - 1562; illumination added about 1591 - 1596, Tempera colors, watercolors, gold and silver paint, and ink on parchment and paper bound between pasteboard covered with red morocco
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Friday, April 28, 2017

So long, farewell....


On Sunday from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm we are having a little Farewell gathering at the perfumery. We are moving! The next manifestation of Roxana Illuminated Perfume, in a physical form, will be revealed in the near future.


If you’d like to stop by to do some shopping at some point other than this Sunday, please let me know when it would be convenient and I will schedule a 15 minute slot just for you before Wednesday, May 3rd.


I am selling a few pieces of furniture and decor, like the white unit in the photo above. Greg will have his prints and I am bringing my original artwork as well as prints. The intention is to make our load lighter as we transition to the next phase. We are also in the process of fixing up our 1950's ranch style house to put in the market.


A big adventure is on the horizon, it feels a bit like the "Mortificatio" stage of the Alchemical process which is necessary to create something new.


This stage is also referred to as Fermentation and/or Putrefaction. I see it as when a large fallen tree in the forest turns into rich soil so that new trees and life may be birthed.

I leave you with this....


There's a sad sort of clanging
From the clock in the hall
And the bells in the steeple, too
And up in the nursery
An absurd little bird
Is popping out to say coo-coo

coo-coo Regretfully they tell us
coo-coo But firmly they compel us
coo-coo To say goodbye

To you

So long, farewell
Auf wiedersehen, goodnight

I hate to go and leave this pretty sight

So long, farewell
auf Wiedersehen, adieu

Adieu, adieu
To you and you and you


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Aroma, Alchemy and Medicine of the Soul in Words and Images


Last Thursday (I can hardly believe its been a week already!) Cathy Skipper and Florian Birkmayer arrived in Los Angeles from Albuquerque for the transformative Alchemy and Medicine of the Soul classes and experiences beginning with the Panel on Alchemy in Cypress Park.


Originally we had set up the discussion to take place at a friends home in Woodland Hills, but as the RSVP's continued to mount I began searching for a new location. Out of the blue, we had a very generous offer via e-mail from Meike Kopp informing me that we could use her gorgeous space as a venue. Although we lost many attendees from the San Fernando Valley stretching up to Ojai, we gained the same amount back and also had a glorious, large open space which we took advantage to film the event. As soon as the footage has been edited I will share it here at the journal.


The next day the Hydrosol Distillation began at 3pm up on the warm, sunny plateau of Topanga. It was an absolutely gorgeous day which started off with taking Cathy and Florian over to visit the perfumery, lunch at Blue Table, a stop at the house to cut the white sage and then hauling all the gear up the mountain and setting up.

Auspiciously the flowering Salvia apiana, white sage, from my garden had already been pollinated by the honey bees. This was confirmed by Cathy as she used her magnifier to examine the botany of a flower. So, besides her wand, a little medicine bag with crystal offerings for plants and her journal Cathy also has her magnifier at the ready!


"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate."


Saturday and Sunday was the two day workshop, what I consider the main course of the aromatic venue. Each morning everyone arrived and squeezed into the teaching space of the perfumery where Florian lectured about Jung, our collective imagination and shared his point of view on the Alchemical processes as a tool to recognize and move through emotional challenges. Cathy interjected regularly adding her strong intuitive approach and her own personal stories of transformation.



On Sunday we finished traversing all the alchemical processes with some work on our shadow, culminating in creating a blend and a group photo.


Monday evening was the dessert, featuring an encounter of the aromatic kind with sipping gorgeous and very diverse hydrosols. As we inhaled and sipped the high vibrational plant waters we each tuned into the message shared with each of us through the elixir.


The five days were a magical mystery ride with Cathy and Florian as the chauffeurs in partnership with the botanical intelligence from the plant kingdom. Personally, I was able to re-visit work in a very similar vein as an initiate in a Celtic Shaman group. The facilitator, Kaitryne, also had a Jungian psychology background which she had woven with Celtic & Native American shamanistic concepts. Thus there was quite a bit of overlap as well as concepts I had introduced with The Tree Of Life presentation at Bastyr.


Next stop for Cathy and Florian is teaching the two day workshop in Seattle followed by returning to New Mexico to finish up their online course.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Venus Rising


As I was hunting for more imagery for the visuals of the Alchemy Panel this Thursday evening, I stumbled across a blog post about Venus going direct. If you are a reader of this journal, then you know that I prefer to live my life in the Art Spirit and am open to auspicious signs that are mystical in nature. Well, here's an interesting story....

I've been working with a "wound" that presented itself on my ankle last July. At first it looked like a bruise, shaped like an eye. I went to see several alternative health professionals and no one knew what it was, although they each contributed a theory. None of the theories rang true for me, even from the most intuitive of the healers. As I continued to look for answers, including from aromatherapists, the bruise became larger until both Greg and I became very concerned. I was told to "go to an allopathic" doctor which was definitely not something I was ready to do, knowing quite well what a maze of horrors that route can be, especially with my challenged immune system.

I finally came across a local naturopath by way of a biodynamic gardener who had her training at Bastyr. He looked at it and was also a bit perplexed but seemed to really like the challenge. He had me suspend ALL salves and started me on an ozone, light blood therapy and a few other modalities. The wound has stopped expanding and is beginning to heal.

Last week as I was receiving an ozone treatment the doctor massaged the spot and referred to one of my early questions about an "emotion" being trapped in the ankle. He said there might a few things that were locked together and suggested I ask the question this weekend while doing the hot cold therapy he had instructed. Thus, as I sat timing my foot in the hot and cold submersion baths I asked the wound for a revelation. What percolated up in my consciousness were phrases relating to standing...such as "standing in ones power, or truth", "strong foot hold" and all of these. As I continued to meditate on the ankle, the phrases and life events, I was also working with another personal challenge about what I knew to be true. Self worth, forgiveness and standing up for myself, specifically with males and patriarchal systems, became really crystal clear.

Then...I came across this blog post mentioned in the first sentence and everything seemed to come into even more focus, especially as I continue to prep for the Alchemy events and move. The blog post refers to Venus, the archetype of the feminine moving forward on April 15 in Pisces. I happen to have a Pisces moon as well as in a few other placements within my astrological chart and my husband Greg is a Pisces. This is the paragraph that really got me...

"You should have a greater understanding of what something's worth. Of what you're worth. Venus' station is very close to Chiron in Pisces, so this understanding will involve compassionate acceptance of a wound. Moving forward means forgiving yourself or forgiving someone else. Accepting (Pisces) that it/you/they are not perfect. And, you're going to stop reopening the wound. This is crucial. Forgiveness does not mean allowing the hurtful situation to continue. Remember - you're moving forward."

Yes indeed, I am literally moving forward. Notice that in the painting below Hope is stepping forward with her right foot.


The painting is by Evelyn De Morgan (1855–1919)  titled "Hope in a Prison of Despair", it is allegorical depicting Hope gracefully entering a dungeon with a light. Meanwhile Despair is bowed down in grief with a broken chain near her, as if she has been released from her torment. Hope is painted in warm colors with an splendid aura while Despair is portrayed in cool tones adding more symbolic references to the scene.