Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sanguine



I have always associated the word Sanguine with one of the four humors as theorized by the Alchemists. Pondering the term the other day I had a thought that the word must also have a related meaning to blood, since in Spanish the word for blood is sangre.

Sure enough, upon exploration, I discovered that the etymology of the word stems from the Middle English 1275–1325 "Sanguyne" meaning a blood-red cloth. I also found a reference to Heraldry, a reddish-purple tincture. At the mention of "tincture" I became curious and that took me down an entirely different rabbit hole that has to do with the colors of Coats of Arms.

Getting back to Sanguine, Hippocrates furthered the idea of humors by developing a theory on human beings as each having a temperament or humor which was relevant to each element and/or season. Galen, Steiner and Eysenck evolved the theory and added new perspectives. The Spring temperament is referred to as Sanguine. Those born with a soul imprint of the celestial sphere of Spring tend to be painted by nature with vibrant tonalities and have a temperament which is social, vibrant and friendly.

When the Greek physicians evolved the idea of the humors theory they attributed human moods, emotions and behaviors with by bodily fluids. The Sanguine personality was thought to have a predominance of blood and thus a ruddy complexion. The Latin word for blood being sanguis hence leading us back to Sanguine.

Olfactory wise, fresh blood contains a metallic note due to the high levels of iron. Metallic notes in the fine art of botanical perfume are those containing camphorous and phenolic components, often found in the leather fragrance family. Some leather notes are Birch, Cade, Calamus, Cassia, Costus Root, Davana, Mastic, Myrtle, Spikenard, Styrax Tarragon and Opoponax. I have a leather accord/chord which has three other accords/chords contained within it. Nothing like a little complexity.

Other references to blood in the natural perfume palette are the delicious euphoric blood orange essential oil and pure dragons blood latex. I utilized fresh, liquid, dragons blood resin, Croton lechleri, from a fast growing Ecuadorian tree in the newly released Phoenix Myster.

Here is a link to a Tropical Plant Database with a reference to Sangre de Drago as a substance with kills cancer cells!

Other posts here on this blog that you may find of interest and related are:
the Shadow
Samhain unguent

A very Happy All Hallows to you!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Picturesque

Ever so witful Tom has written about the Phoenix Myster over at Perfume Smellin' Things tis day. What a grand surprise, thank you Tom, I am truly humbled. Here is the link for your reading pleasure. Although be prepared, it will make you long a bit for the glorious beauty that takes place on the East coast this time of year. I miss it so.

My memories take me back about twenty years ago to a visit in Vermont, where the leaves were so vibrant the landscape looked utterly surreal to me. I remember buying fresh maple syrup at a little farmers market and being completely enchanted with the picturesque beauty of the landscape.

The first edition of the Phoenix Myster is available here, where you can read the little chant I wrote for it borrowing from the master bard himself.

In this myster I used Sangre de Drago which translates as Dragons Blood that I got while in the Amazon this summer. This plant shares the same common name as many others, although goes by a completely different Latin name, Croton lechleri . There seemed to have been a tendency to call any bright red resin Dragons Blood. When the bark of the tree is cut it exudes a dark, reddish, resinous latex. The indigenous people of the Ecuadorian Amazon use it specifically for wound healing. Upon further research I have discovered that it is fabulous indeed for wound healing, especially applied to a burned area, as well as a variety of other dis-eases of the body.

Read more about the ingredients in this mister here at this link at my shop on Etsy.

Monday, October 26, 2009

All Souls Night



Words by music by Loreena McKennitt

Bonfires dot the rolling hills
Figures dance around and around
To drums that pulse out echoes of darkness
Moving to the pagan sound.

Somewhere in a hidden memory
Images float before my eyes
Of fragrant nights of straw and of bonfires
And dancing till the next sunrise.

CHORUS
I can see lights in the distance
Trembling in the dark cloak of night
Candles and lanterns are dancing, dancing
A waltz on All Souls Night.

Figures of cornstalks bend in the shadows
Held up tall as the flames leap high
The green knight holds the holly bush
To mark where the old year passes by.

CHORUS

Bonfires dot the rolling hillsides
Figures dance around and around
To drums that pulse out echoes of darkness
And moving to the pagan sound.
Standing on the bridge that crosses
The river that goes out to the sea
The wind is full of a thousand voices
They pass by the bridge and me

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Giving Tree


Once there were four large oak trees and three smaller ones in a grove and they loved a girl. And everyday the girl looked out at the trees but didn't really see them. Until one day, the girl learned about the value of native plants and old growth oak trees.

The girl learned that the trees grow very slowly from the fruit of the trees, acorns. Once a long, long time ago before man came to the wooded hills there was a vast forest of oaks in the village where the girl now lives.

As the girl learned about the trees they began to talk with her and share their secrets. The trees were happy that the girl would listen to them. The girl was happy that the trees spoke to her. She promised to create a beautiful native garden in their honor.

Then one day a contractor came and said he would cut down the trees and build a huge mansion in their place. The girl began to cry and didn't know what to do.

Looking out at the trees the girl had an idea. On the high Celtic holiday known as Beltane she asked the trees permission and gathered some leaves. She cleaned each leaf by hand and put them into her organic grain alcohol with the intention that her new tree friends would be saved.

The girl asked her best friend to join her in the mission and together they asked more friends to form a circle around the trees to protect them. The high council listened to the concern and the petition from the villagers.

In the meantime, the girl, took her tinctured oak leaves and created a botanical perfume devoted to the California native oaks.

The high council has deemed that the trees add distinction to their location and the trees remain in tact. And the girl was happy.

The End

The above is a true story reconstructed in a similar manner to Shel Silverstein children's book The Giving Tree. As a student in high school I was a member of the Speech Club and told the story of The Giving Tree in competitions.


The perfume is titled "Q" for Quercus agrifolia, the botanical name of the oak. The girl shares profits from each 7 gram flacon and solid perfume compact that is sold with the California Oak Foundation.


Plant the seed of truth, and watch it grow
and when it spreads it's branches,
come with us, and sit under the blossoms.

There, your eyes will open to the secret of truth.

~ Rumi

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Two Left Hands Winner!


Thank you so very much to Liz and all the participants who journeyed over this way for the Two Left Hands feature.

Are you ready? Drrrrrrrrum roll please...the winner of the sweet Little Forest Mossie is...the Jack of Clubs from the Red deck. That card was assigned to DG, it was the blog follow that won her the Mossie. DG's favorite items from Two Left Hands are Hansel and Gretal and the witch, pictured above and below.


Enjoy DG!!! A very happy All Hallows to each of you.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fire burn and cauldron bubble



A gypsy fire is on the hearth,
Sign of the carnival of mirth;
Through the dun fields and from the glade
Flash merry folk in masquerade,
For this is Hallowe'en!
~Author Unknown

All Hallows Eve approaches and a few of my fellow team members of the Etsy Green and Clean Guild invite you to our Halloween challenge. Come visit our specially handmade tricks and treats for all you girls and ghouls. Be sure to vote for my contribution, #6 the Phoenix Myster. By voting you are automatically entered in a draw to win a bottle of the brand new natural perfume spritzer. Vote here at this link.


Round about the cauldron go:
In the fragrance rhizomes throw,
Egg shells, tinctured not in fat
Days and nights has one year sat
Dragons blood in Amazon got,
Drop by drop in the water pot.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Orchid bean I take,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Nut of meg and rind of fruit.
Buds of clove from trades of route.
Celtic fire burn so bright,
In the middle of the night,
Summers end and day of dead,
Make a fire, like a bed:
Nest of myrrh, an apis brew,
Alchemy to be born anew.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Accords of spices I thee make,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Barks of wood and leaf of bay,
Nard of spike and charm from Fey,
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Adapted from William Shakespeare, Witches Chant from Macbeth

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Nest of Myrrh


"Corn and grain, corn and grain,
All that falls shall rise again."
~ Wiccan Harvest Chant

The deep and dark gnarled roots of Halloween, All Hallows Eve, go back to the Samhain celebrations of the Druids. Samhain is one of the Celtic fire festival where much chaos, mischief and celebration take place. It is the end of the harvest and a time to prepare for the new year. Sacred bonfires are lit to celebrate the darkness of the yet to be born new year. Since the veils between the worlds are at their thinnest, it is an auspicious time to communicate with the spirits of those who have passed over.

Beginning at sunset on October 31st fires are kindled anew for the coming of the dark. Rituals of purification abound, in order to clear away what no longer serves and make room for what is to come.

I've created a room/body spray to celebrate Samhain and greet the New year. Like the fire holiday the fragrance is warm, spicy and tinged with smoky, golden embers. I call this new creation the Phoenix Myster.

When the time of transformation arrives for the mythical phoenix he builds his next of twigs of myrrh and then lights up in flame. Burning away all that no longer serves, from the dark ashes an egg manifests which will birth the newly reborn Phoenix. Purged of the old, a spirit is born, fresh and ready for the new phase.


The essences contained in the Phoenix Myster include Vanilla, Benzoin, Myrrh for the nest, a spice accord I created termed Garam Masala, Orange and the embers of smoldering ashes. I also included the Dragons Blood resin I picked up at the indigenous native village while in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The formulation also contains tinctured egg shells from last Samhain. Warming like a cup of spice tea, the Phoenix Myster, is exhilarating and uplifting.

The muse for this fragrance is Tom of the perfume blog Perfume Smellin' Things. Years ago I was contacted by e-mail and asked if I created room sprays. I answered saying that one was in development but was not yet ready. The e-mail was from Tom and the fragrance in development was the Phoenix Myster. Thank you Tom for your wit, your way with words and the support you give to the niche perfumers of the world.

Here is an interesting link for creating an alchemical egg tincture:
The Egg and It's Uses by Sue House


Phoenix Myster comes in a one ounce amber glass bottle with fine mist sprayer with waterproof label available at my Etsy shop. Here are the details from the listing, some of it is repetitive.

A natural perfume aromatic spray for the home and body.
The Phoenix Myster is a fine spray mister for your home and or body.
We use ours to naturally scent the room, our sheets, pillows, curtains and our selves.

Ring in the Celtic new year with the Phoenix Myster
created specifically for All Hallow Eve, also known as Samhain.

The warm, spicy, invigorating aroma has been weaved like a complex perfume.
The botanical perfume synergy contains:
  • Vanilla: warm and inviting
  • Benzoin: purification, when combined with spice acts an an attractor
  • Myrrh:enhances contemplation
  • Dragons Blood Resin from a small indigenous village in the Amazon.
  • Spices: invigorating, energizing, spell enhancing and uplifting
  • Orange: uplifting
I use pure, vital plant essences: essential oils, absolutes, C02 extracts
and oleoresins in my aromatic preparations as well as properties of magic.
I also create my own accords, infusions and tinctures.

Samhain, the Celtic New Year Fire festival, abounds with celebrations of purification
and renewel. Like the phoenix, we build our nest of myrrh and consciously step into transformation to be birthed anew.

Phoenix Image from the Abeerdeen Bestiary, Phoenix Myster photo by Roxana Villa

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Aromatic Journey: Vanilla


I am so thrilled to announce that I will be a regular contributor on the blog Lillyella. The series we have devised is called Aromatic Journeys. My first contribution went up today. It is a step by step lesson in creating an infused Vanilla oil which can be applied to other materials. An infused oil base has a wide application in botanical perfume, aromatherapy and the culinary arts. Please hop on over and leave a comment if you fell inspired.

Nicole of Lillyella is a talented, inspirational artist I met in the Etsy community. Perhaps you have heard me mentioned her here at this journal before. I consider her a muse in the realm of marketing, she is quite brilliant as well as being creating really pretty jewelry.

Artist Feature and Giveaway: Two Left Hands



As we move into the holiday season it seemed fitting to feature an artist who lovingly creates sweet little beings joyously celebrating life. I came across our featured Etsy artist Liz of Two Left Hands auspiciously through, of all things, The Big Bad Wolf (pictured below).


I clearly recall seeing him on the front page of Etsy and immediately marking him as a favorite. I adored the sweet essence of this fellow, he seemed so happy and carefree. To me, he was very reminiscent of the handwork I would see at my daughter's Waldorf School.

Liz lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with her husband and two dogs Muffie and Poker. Let's get to know Liz a bit shall we? She is quite busy this time of year, so her answers are quite concise and to the point. I am super grateful she consented to being here with us. Please give her your complete and devoted attention.


1.) What is the one thing you find most inspiring to feed your creative spirit?

People

2.) What is your favorite scent from the natural world?

Freshly, cut grass

3.) If you were Queen of a village what would you wish for your kingdom?

Health, peace and happiness

4.) How did you find yourself doing your particular craft and what made you name your shop Two Left Hands?

I have been making dolls since my girls were babies, and always made them one for Christmas. My Mossies are what I love to make the most, and my head is always swarming with new ideas. They are derived from Salley Mavor's "Wee felt Folk" book.

My shop name is pretty simple, I am clumsy by nature and I trip on things that aren't even in my way. I am a true lefthander, my right hand is pretty useless! The name TwoLeftHands, seemed pretty appropriate!

5) I see that Etsy has become a family affair for you. Can you share the benefits of having so many in your family all on Etsy together?

My daughter, Natalie (humbleBea.etsy.com) joined Etsy first and it has been so much fun having Etsy in common with her. We call each other if we list something new, if one of us is lucky enough to be on the front page, and if the treasuries are coming! We are both treasury addicts! I love seeing my grandson Noah (darksiderules.etsy.com) selling his little pocket books and ACEO"s, and my Mom (ohruthie.etsy.com) is having a ball making hats and blankets. She is 80 years old and Natalie and I tend her shop. She keeps a little book and writes down her sales and where we have shipped them to! My son-in-law Gary (humbleboy.etsy.com) has been very supportive and enthusiastic about Etsy since we joined and just opened a fabric shop. We do have to control what we talk about when we are around non-etsians, because they just don't understand us!



What an amazing group of talent in one family! Thank you so much Liz for taking some time out of your work so that we could get to know you and your family a bit.

NOW...the Giveaway!

When I asked Liz id she would be willing to be featured and do a giveaway she answered, "I don't usually do give aways, but I would be willing to part with this little guy." Wow, lucky the individual who wins this Little Forest Mossie!" Here is the description from the item listing:

This little Mossie is wearing a hand-embroidered tunic made of olive wool felt. The embroidery is done in tan and peach thread with little pearl buttons. His pants are orange wool felt with green and tan embroidery.
His face is hand painted and his hair is orange wool roving topped with an acorn cap. He is attached to a disk that I painted green and topped in moss. He is about 4 1/2" tall.
My "Mossies" are derived from a Salley Mavor pattern.

Here's how to enter:

Please note this Giveaway is for those in the US and Canada only.

1. Begin by leaving a comment on this post mentioning your favorite item at Liz's shop on Etsy, Two Left Hands. You will receive one entry by leaving a comment, you must include your first name -and- etsy username or email address with each entry or it will not be included.

For additional entries you can do the following and post in the comments to let me know:

(2 extra) Twitter this Giveaway and supply your twitter name. You may do this every day, each tweet counts as another entry if you submit them individually.
(3 extra) Purchase an item of $25 or more from Two Left Hands during this Giveaway. Please let me know what you purchased and when.
(1 extra) Follow my blog (if you already follow, just let me know)

If you do any of these you must let me know for your additional entries to be included. You got the let me know part right?



More fine print, learned along the way
1. If we cannot contact you we will give your prize away to someone else.
2. The featured seller will do their very best to mail the winners package in a timely manner, please contact them directly if you have any questions.
3. Each entry is assigned a card from several decks here at the house, I then shuffle all the cards and have someone handy (like my daughter or husband) choose a card for the winner and a runner up.
4. If you have won the Artist Feature and Giveaway in the past you may enter again.
5. Please don't make up any new guidelines, what is outlined above is what we follow.

The giveaway ends Sunday, October 18th at 1opm PST with the winner announced on Tuesday, October 20th. Please help us get the word out. Anyone who posts comments after 10pm on October 18th will not be entered in the draw.

Good Luck, I look forward to see who wins this Little Forest Mossie, who in my opinion probably likes his botanical perfume rich with Oakmoss.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tricks and Treats


No tricks today only sweet delicious treats, in the way of a perfume review and rain. Indeed, rain has arrived to the dry arid climate of the City of Angels. Along with the aroma of wet, vegetative earth is the "full, bodied dark roast" of Lyra being reviewed today by Sasha Muradali over at the Little Pink Book PR blog.


Sasha describes the botanical perfume Lyra as "...sweet and floral, but evokes thoughts of a glowing Autumn night and perhaps some crisp November air." Rather auspiciously, one of the main notes in Lyra is Vanilla, which is one of over six ingredients in the Amber accord I created for the formula. How to make a Vanilla bean infusion will be featured at Lillyella's blog tomorrow.

Wafting gratitude to Sasha for her review on this percipient day.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Shadow Dance


“The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves.” ~ Carl Jung

This concept is vividly portrayed in a film we watched last night titled Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus. The first thing I learned is that Diane in this case is pronounced Dee Ann. Secondly, until seeing the film I knew very little of the artist because I'd never been attracted to her photos. Even now I find myself more interested in the artist and the woman than her work.

I found the film completely captivating. It is, as the title states "An Imagined Portrait" not a biopic piece. The decision to create the film in this way is quite fitting since her work is so surreal. Like the film Amelie by Jean-Pierre Jeunet the production design is rich and gorgeous. Scenes are breath taking in color, concept and imagery. In the HBO mini series on the film's DVD we learn that the production designer Amy Danger added layers of meaning to further boost the concept of an imagined portrait. I won't reveal that here so that you can discover it yourself.




The life and story of Diane Arbus is tragic like Virgina Woolf and Sylvia Plath. I guess my mind has a hard time comprehending why an individual with talent and success would be so utterly depressed as to sever their life cord. Nicole Kidman's portrayal of the sensitive and creative Diane is excellent. Kidman excels in representing tormented female artist's, like Virigia Woolf in The Hours.

Although the film represents the artist becoming conscious of their shadow and aligning themselves with their creative muse, in real life I don't think Diane ever managed to do this. Perhaps the surpression of the shadow was so intense as a child that it was never fully able to integrate itself into a reality.

As far as the critics who rail against the film, get a life! The title states this is an "imagined" portrait and as such it is a conceptual, vivid characterization of a period in a creative individuals life. Cheers to director Steven Shainberg and production designer Amy Danger for going out on the edge to portray an imagined vision of an artist by utilizing creativity to tell a story in a more surreal way like Diane does in her photography.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Dance in the Woods


"First and foremost wood is matter and is in India the symbol of the universal substance, the prima materia. In Ancient Greece, hyle, which carries the meaning of primordial matter literally means "wood". This quote is from my Penguin Dictionary of Symbols book. I placed it here to announce that Chaparral® Botanical liquid perfume has now re-manifested, in it's third edition.


It seems particularly fitting that Chaparral® re-enter this earthly plane now in the Autumn. This is the best season to begin or add to your native California garden. The Theodore Payne Foundation has their once a year sale this month on natives and offers a host of classes to learn how to switch your water loving garden to wonderland of our very own native plants. Chaparral® botanical perfume was created to celebrate and bring attention the benefits of the wild and wonderous world of California natives.


Also the time of year when the trees transition from wearing their green cloaks to a colorful display before being put to rest. Chaparral® perfume is an aromatic song that takes one to the woods, the splendor of the trees and all it's woodland flora and fauna.


In the third edition I simplified and restructured the formula a bit. It took a few formulations to get it to my liking, which is why it has taken so long to release. In my opinion this is the best edition yet, I look forward to hearing what you all think and feel about the latest edition.


The fragrance family is wood, which I hear has become a trend. The main fragrance notes are: Bay, Sage, Frankincense and Wood. The evolution on my skin is particularly interesting as it moves from Citrus and Spice to Herb and dry vegetative Wood. A dance in the woods. I have utilized tinctures that I have made myself using sustainably, wild harvested and organic plant material including Bay and White Sage. There is also a unique Wood accord I created that is in this formula as well as the solid.


The solid and liquid formulas are almost identical, except for the tinctures and a few extra top notes. The solid layers well over the liquid and with other illuminated perfumes. Woods have a way of being somewhat neutral and work in harmony with other notes. Give the layering a try and let me know what your favorite combos are.

The largest selection of Chaparral® in all formats, including samples, are available at the Illuminated Perfume shop on Etsy.


Images: All photos ©RoxanaVilla, The Fairy Feller's Master Stroke painting by Richard Dadd and cowboy image by Greg Spalenka. The college on parchment with old engravings is by me, Roxana Villa.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Flying Potion


"We dance around in a ring and suppose, but the secret sits in the middle and knows."
~ Robert Frost

The aroma of decaying leaves is upon us, with it the oaks bear their fruit and pumpkins abound. In the ol' Celtic tradition this was a time of harvest and closure as their year ended. Here in the west the yearly Halloween is now evident in suburban yards decorated with a plethora of surreal imagery married with traditional scenes of harvest.

The Witch, my favorite of the archetypes, is celebrated this time of year. Generally I get a little triggered by the one dimensional, incomplete manner which she is portrayed. Caroline Myss and Clarissa Pinkola Estes shed a much more dynamic perspective that is tied in with the Goddess.

It is the the aspect of the crone of the triple Goddess that we honor at this crossroads. She is wise and powerful and often challenges as a means to encourage our own growth and awareness. Hekate embodies this archtype as the Goddess of the Night and the Wild Places. She guards the gate between the worlds. During Samhein, All Hallows Eve, at twilight is when the veils between the worlds are at their thinnest and meeting Hekate is most auspicious.

To create a botanical perfume for this time of year consider an herbal flying potion. Flying is not meant literally but refers to astral travel or work in the dream time. Some essences to consider are:
Mugwort is an herb associated with both the dreamtime and the crone. In both aromatherapy and botanical perfume essential oil of mugwort needs to be used with mindfulness and a light hand. Consider making an infusion with the dried herb into oil. The oil can then be utilized as the base for a perfume oil or for solid perfume.
Clary sage is known as clear eye based on the usage of the seeds to clear eye sight. The essential oil has properties associated with facilitating a vivid dream state and providing clarity. Some use clary sage in composing Ambergris accords for botanical perfumery.

Other associated herbs according to The Wicca Garden by Gerina Dunwich are Dittany in equal parts to Benzoin, Sandalwood, Vanilla. Harry at Alchemy Works has a ready made potion titled Herbal Flying Oil available.

I'll leave you with a featurette from the Golden Compass titled Flying Witches with my favorite character Serrafina Pekkala.



Image: The Magic Circle by John Waterhouse.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Snakes & Ladders


We are in one of the two transformative periods of the western seasonal wheel, Autumn, where leaves turn from green to glorious shades of yellow, orange, red and sometimes magenta. I'll never forget the first time I visited Vermont and witnessed the spectacle of Autumnal blaze of color. To me it felt surreal as I gazed on all that spectacular color and texture.

A few weeks ago, verging on a month now, Greg and I were at a party in the Hollywood Hills brewing with visionaries. There was also a psychic hidden away in the dining room where folk had lined up to get readings. I put my name on the list and waited patiently. Lately "Spider" had been manifesting big time in my dreams and my environment. I was curious to get a deeper insight as to what spider was intent on communicating to me. I figured this intuitive fellow would be able to provide a few answers. As people went in and out of the room I spotted a card set on the table with a lightening bolt. There was something about that card deck that called to me.

Finally it was my turn. I sat down and asked about the lightening bolt card set. He told me it was the Animal Medicine Cards. Ah, of course, my dear departed friend Jillian used these as well as the Shaman who I studied with. Perfect doorway into asking about spider. He told me that spider was about creating a sustainable income revenue source, like her web. Hmm, I liked that.

He then did some numerology with my name and birth dates, which indicated ARTISTY. He also told me to speak my truth and that I need to be heard, even if it makes people uncomfortable. Okay, that last one is a reoccurring theme that gets me in trouble. The lesson, in my humble opinion, is to communicate in a gentle but clear and concise manner.

Next he had me choose three cards from the animal deck, one for the past, present and future. The card I choose for the present was snake. His interpretation was that snake symbolized a letting go, shedding off everything I know in order to birth anew. That sounded a bit scary, and exhilarating. Somewhere along this journey I've heard that fear and excitement are the same thing. “Fear is excitement without the breath.” according to the founder of Gestalt therapy Fritz Perls.


Always, always, always, always, always, always,

always do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Snake totem has even more symbolism than just shedding the old though, one friend pointed out that it is the awakening of the kundilini. Duh, somehow I'd forgotten this aspect! The same friend that pointed out the kundalini element with snake also gave me some fabulous suggestions for the next level I plan to take my botanical perfume business.

What aromatic embodies transformation? Snake oil? Snake oil as an essence for natural perfumery does not exist. The original snake oil came from China and was used as a liniment for the joints with primary notes of camphor and spice. In the nineties when I studied Aromatherapy I created a blend for transformation that I remember containing essential oils of Frankincense, Elemi, Grapefruit and Thyme. My little booklet "Aromatherapy for the Family" by Jan Kusmirek lists these essential oils as recommended for Change:
  • coping with: Ylang Ylang
  • difficulty in adjusting to: Clary Sage
  • difficulty in making: Orange
At the moment I am working on a cologne/room spray for this season of transfiguration. I'll reveal more shortly with photos. It has been in the works for quite a number of years and finely feels like the right time, especially amidst shifting realities.

Breathing in the deep transformative energetics as we step into Samhain and morphing into my highest, divine self. Please join me, the more the merrier.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Queen of the Sun


Queen of the Sun is the latest project by Taggart Siegel, the director of "The Real Dirt on Farmer John" a fabulous documentary I mentioned here in September. From the website:

Queen of The Sun is a feature-length documentary that celebrates bees from a perspective of reverence and renewal. Queen creatively explores the global honeybee crisis as a catalyst for change.

Bees are a barometer of the health of the world and they are in a state of emergency. The bond between humans and bees, once a sacred partnership, is now a profit-driven exploitation.

The Acorn Queen print by Marisol Spoon

The film Queen of the Sun highlights unsung heroes from past and present who are dedicated to the survival of bees: from poets and philosophers to scientists and shamans, from political activists to biodynamic beekeepers.

A central presence in Queen of The Sun is Rudolph Steiner, the spiritual scientist who founded biodynamic agriculture and Waldorf education. In 1923, he predicted that, in 80 to 100 years, the continued practice of artificial queen-breeding would bring about the demise of the honeybee. Now, pesticides, herbicides and genetically engineered plants exacerbate the problem, and the current bee crisis confirms Steiner's dire prediction with Colony Collapse Disorder.

Stained Glass (Honeycomb) Visionaries Original Print by Vaeda

On a pilgrimage across continents and centuries, Queen of The Sun exposes civilization's broken relationship with the natural world. It seeks answers through unique and unusual characters who have heart-felt respect for their bees and who share a common belief that solutions for regeneration lie in a renewal of agriculture and in a culture that is in balance with nature.

Yellow Wool Fingerless Gloves by TwoKnit

I am a holistic parent of a child that has been in a Waldorf school, an artist, a creator of agricultural based botanical perfume products and now embarking on the path of beekeeping. Taggart's projects sing to my sou. If you have not yet checked out the film The Real Dirt of Farmer John I suggest putting it on your Netflix or even better supporting the film by purchasing it and sharing with others. It is quite moving as I am sure this next film about the Queen of Sun will bee.

Inspired by Taggart's new film I have created a treasury on Etsy inspired by this new project with the same title as the movie. All the imagery in this post, besides the film image is from artisans on Etsy.


Thank you to these Etsy artist's who are part of this treasury:
8oz Jar of raw unfiltered honey from Melissa H. Ronkin's shop
Organic French Pet Lobster Shirt by Noelle of Xenotees
Stained Glass (Honeycomb) Visionaries Original Print by Vaeda
Yellow Wool Fingerless Gloves by TwoKnit

Friday, October 2, 2009

Om Shanti Om


Today is the birth day of Mahatma Gandhi, if he were still walking this planet as a human he would be 140 years old. Happy Birthday dear Gandhi!

On this auspicious day I have the two winners of the perfume devoted to peace samples. They are the Ace of Hearts: Charlotte Vale and the King of Clubs: Linda K. The solid natural perfume mini will be going to Linda K who specified she wanted to try a solid, while the liquid botanical perfume sample will go to Charlotte. Congratulations ladies and thank you to everyone who stopped by the journal and participated. I'm really grateful for everyone's support.

Om Shanti Om

Image: Give Peace a Voice @Greg Spalenka for the Peace Alliance.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

In the Raw: Gourmand


For over a year now I have been contemplating starting this new blogging series. It is called "In the Raw" and will delve into specific materials within the palette of a natural botanical perfume artist. I am thus debuting it today with the spotlight on the gourmand/edible scent family.

With over ten million scent receptors in our noses we have the ability to identify upwards of thousands of different aromas. Understanding what we are perceiving in a scent helps us to classify a note or perfume into a specific odour family. The main odour families are: floral,woody, animalic, balsamic, vegetative, herbaceous, agrestic, green, spice, coniferous, marine, minty, medicated and fruity. The odour classification gourmand or edible are fairly new terms in the linguistics of aromatic families. In the past gourmand scents were put into a miscellaneous category. A gourmand perfume implies that there is a predominant foodie note in the fragrance, not to be confused with fruity, which is a subclass of the citrus family. Odours typical of the gourmand family are generally found in the primary category of spice, herbal, fruity, or vegetative. For example, below is a short list of a few materials from the palette of a botanical perfumer that are considered to contain gourmand qualities, but, are classified in one or two of the main categories first.
  • Basil: Spice / Herbaceous
  • Black Currant: Fruity
  • Celery: Spice
  • Chamomile: Fruity / Herbaceous
  • Coriander: Spice / Herbaceous
  • Fennel: Herbaceous
  • Ginger: Spice
  • Grapefruit: Citrus / Fruity
  • Mushroom: Fungal/Vegetative
  • Pepper: Spice
  • Saffron: Spice
  • Sage: Herbaceous
  • Spearmint: Minty
  • Vanilla: Balsamic
The notes that do not fit into those main compartments and are in need their own separate category, which is termed gourmand or edible. For example:
  • Artichoke
  • Bitter Almond
  • Burnt
  • Butter
  • Caramel
  • Chocolate
  • Coconut
  • Coffee
  • Cognac
  • Garlic
  • Hazelnut
  • Honey
  • Tea
  • Wheat
These aromatics are generally warm and seductive. I generally am not a fan of over the top gourmand fragrances, however, I do appreciate the genre and have caressed it a just a bit with Sierra Solid Gold and the fragrance devoted to peace which both feature gourmand notes.

The holiday season feels especially fitting for gourmand fragrances since the focus is on feasting. This genre has a rather wide spectrum and can encompass a very sweet vanilla perfume which makes one smell like a dessert, to a warm spice, to a completely avant-garde herbaceous garlic aroma. That last one is a little out there, I know, but why not? The art of perfume is an art after all and I am a believer in pushing the visionary envelope and getting out of the ordinary. Albeit I won't be going out in the world smelling like a cake or a salad dressing. Although, I have had some people interpret the aroma of ylang ylang as bubblegum. (!?!) My particular interest lies more in the fragrances of the land, forest and fairy realms.