Friday, April 29, 2011

A Fair Maiden

My daughter Eve and her friend My have been busy bees working on beautiful headbands as a project for their economics class. Their mission is to create a product which they then sell at the Highland Hall May Fair on Saturday, May 7th.

For promotion My made this sweet little video, enjoy. If you live in the area please visit their booth at the May Faire.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Eau de Blossom

Spring is now trending across the United States with the spectacle of blossoming trees, particularly fruit trees. Within time, after visits from the several local pollinators including honey bees, the little flowers will dry and the fruit will reveal itself.

My ode to Spring, Blossom Eau de Cologne, is back in stock. The fresh, sunny fragrance combines the tang of citrus balanced with herbs and flowers. Completely botanical and organic, the heavenly scent is perfect for an uplifting, sensory break. Crafted by my own hands here in my studio, with intention, the base is west coast organic grape spirits and grain alcohol. There are also a tincture from the rosemary plant on our hillside that my little honey bees adore. The synergy was formulated from early cologne recipes when vital plant material was the fashion.

Read more about Blossom by following this link here at the journal. At the moment Blossom is available as a small mini spritzer and in a 1 ounce Amber bottle.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Summoning Earth

Elemental earth is grounding and supportive. In contrast to the other elementals like air, fire and water the earth is stable. The external associations are found in dirt, rocks, caves and the ground which we walk on. The aroma is most prevalent in such pure plant essences as Patchouli, a polarizing fragrance that has become emblematic with the 1960's.

I was born in the 1960's in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Thus I have none of the smell associations that many attribute to Patchouli. My introduction to it came in the nineties, I wasn't fully conscious or much appreciative of it until an Aromatherapy certificate course I attended. The teacher, Jade Shutes, was a lover of patchouli and added it to almost every single blend she had in her line. During the four day course I learned that patchouli essential oil is derived from leaves. Due to its musky aroma and ability to ground mental energy I was convinced that it came from roots.

The perennial is native to Asia where the leaves were placed with fabric as an insect repellent with the added benefit of scent. The essential oil is is distilled from the scalded, dried leaves of Pogostemon cablin. Viscous and amber in color the aroma has a rich fragrance, sweet herbal notes weaved with wood, spice, musk and earth. The essence "ages" spectacularly, softening edges and revealing deep balsamic, floral notes.

In aromatherapy as well as natural botanical perfume patchouli is an important essence to have in an aromatic palette. For aromatherapy work the essential oil works on several systems of the body, most importantly offering considerable value for psychological balancing. As our culture has moved into cyber space and places huge worth on mental performance patchouli brings us back to elemental earth, to the here and now. The fragrance not only grounds us but also uplifts and arouses our creative energies.

Although patchouli was part of the pharmacopia of Asia for many ages the distilled herb did not enter into the west until the mid 1800's. The essence is particularly important to the genre of spicy oriental perfumes. When used expertly patchouli has a profound affect within the construction of a perfume. The aroma provides a valuable affect on other floral essences within a composition and excellent fixative properties.

The natural perfumer is fortunate to now have a variety of patchouli essences to work with. In addition to numerous varieties of the essential oil, we now also have an absolute, a C02 extract and beautiful vintage bouquets.

Now, just about fifteen years later, I use patchouli almost daily in my face oil and under my arms as a deodorant. This vital plant distillate has become a staple in my beauty routine and perfumers palette. I've also come to realize, during custom perfume consultations, that if an individual experiences the aroma without "knowing" what it is, they are more apt to not have objections. This is especially true of the aged essential oil.

Patchouli is one of the many earthy elemental essences that were utilized for constructing the natural perfume Terrestre. The journey began with the construction of a "dirt" accord for a client requesting a custom perfume. The accord was further developed during the three hours between the East and West coast of Earth hour with the perfume finally released on Earth day. The word Terrestre is French for "of the Earth".

Elemental Earth is the home of our connection to the here & now. It is related to the base chakra, the place of manifestation, control & restraint and grounded in experience. Home of the Male, strength and ability to create magic. The spirit medicine of Snake dwells here with the ability to move swiftly, above and below the ground, to shed what no longer serves and be born anew. The lesson of earth requires us to let go and break free of constraints and the compulsion to control. We are asked to be present here within our bodies, feeling our feet upon the ground.

Three hundred sixty five days have brought us back to the day we celebrate Mother Earth. What have the two legged humans learned in that space of time? Have we deepened our awareness of our selves and this planet on which we dwell, or do we still wander in darkness?

Remember, always, the debt we owe to the Earth. Without her we have no home to dwell upon, whether that is the ground beneath us or the physical body that houses our spirit.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sustain a Bee

The Backwards Beekeepers are in the news once more, featuring our local urban heros and their efforts to save our most important insect, the honey bee.

Here is the link to CNN and the feature.

Give me a BEE for Sustain-a-BEE-lity!

Image was created using an original painting and photoshop ©RoxanaVilla

Sunday, April 17, 2011


The Moon is full this evening, casting her soft silvery light upon all us here on planet Earth. I caught a glimpse of her in between the trees as the sky was finally draped in its dark cloak for the evening.

Luna, the patroness of femininity, rules over many things including: water, dreams and psychic awareness. This current full moon is referred to as the "Worm Moon" due to the thawing ground when worm activity begins to be visible.

Each of us is born under a specific Moon sign as well as influenced by her changing moods each month, like the ebb and flow of the ocean tides. The full moon is a time of creativity and psychic awareness. It's a good time to use ones ears in proportion to ones mouth, meaning listen more. Be open and receptive.

Today I hosted a gathering of womban at my home. The group calls themselves Artemis and meets once a month. I opened the circle with an offering of Artemisia from my garden to each guest. We then tuned into the plant deities and drank Motia attar hydrosol in goblets of water, synchronizing our energies.

I spent about three hours sharing details of my artistic path as an illustrator, into aromatherapy and now botanical perfume. It was a very sweet, aromatic lunar day.

Cultivate "a sense of time as experienced, and not merely measured,
by living in tune with our own felt rhythms… to expand our notion of clock time with an appreciation for cosmic time. Where am I in my own daily, monthly, and yearly cycles?
Is this the time to make endings or to dare beginnings? If we live our lives according to a mechanical clock, then our lives necessarily have a mechanical tone."
~ Thomas Moore, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life

Want to know more about aromatics and the moon? Follow this link to a post here at the journal titled Lunatics.

Images: The opening image accompanying this post I took the circle of natural perfume pots and placed it over a very old miniature painting of Luna from 15th century Italy. Image above old engraving on parchment.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Restoring the Wood Land

Over ten years ago when we moved into our little house here in the woods I was fairly unconscious of California native plants. The house had been landscaped in the typical manner with plants that required huge amounts of water, fertilizers, etc. Heck we even had a lawn!

It was the incident with the oaks that opened my perception to the fact that there was a biome here in California called "the chaparral" consisting of specific plants quite different from what is sold at our local nurseries. The foray into this new botanical world has been quite a fortuitous venture, aligning us more closely with living authentically.


The journey began with the California oak and the intoxicating aroma of the local sages. Slowly we began to remove and give away the non natives in the garden. First to go was the ivy along the side of the house, then as our awareness grew, we let the grass die off and replaced it with bark mulch. Next we began pulling out the vinca which covered almost the entire front slope and the water hoarding non-bee loving plants bordering the house.


Once cleared I began planting and studying about California natives. To my surprise they would need NO special soils, NO fertilizers and would eventually require little to no water. What a mind bender! However, there was much work to be done on the mind, for many habits would need to be broken.

Ceanothus flowers

Over the years I've learned that the natives that do the best on our little patch of earth are those growing here in the local mountains. The different salvias, sages, have been particularly happy. Currently there are species of apiana, clevelandii, leucophylla, mellifera and spathecea. I lost several ceonothus plants before one finally took hold in the ground and another in a pot, both with beautiful blue flowers. Along the bottom portion of the slope I planted Rosa california, our native rose. Under the oaks I've planted different species of heuchera which are doing fairly well, although some have departed.

“It is a golden maxim to cultivate the garden for the nose,
and the eyes will take care of themselves.”
~Robert Louis Stevenson

Huechera flowers

Ceanothus sprout

Last week while weeding I began to spot small sprouts of natives coming up on there own. Tiny little plants volunteering themselves to grace our property. I marveled as I discovered ceonothus, artemesia, rhus ovata and roses, not to mention a plethora of baby oaks. This abundance of riches is likely due to a restoration of the dirt to its natural ph along with the honey bees and local fauna that visit the garden regularly. Our property is now circled by oaks from ancients over fifty years old down to the tiniest little sprouts.

Rosa californica sprout

Quercus agrifolia

Inch by inch we continue to work on the restoration of our woodland microcosm with an intention of affecting the larger macrocosm.

I leave you with a non-native drought tolerant image of a rockrose flower, of the genus cistus. One of my very favorite materials for creating botanical, natural perfume is dervied from the resin formed on the leaves of Cistus landaniferus, the essence is known as Cistus and Labdanum.

Photos by Roxana Villa and Eve Neuhart

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lavender Fields Forever!

Lavandula vera, the botanical name for lavender, is in bloom in the garden. The honey bees are enchanted and thus the lavender gets pollinated and the circle of life continues in this woodland garden.

I'm honored to have my Vera natural perfume listed in a post over at the Blogdorg Goodman blog. This perfume was created for the Ojai Lavender Festival back in June 2007. In the article Jessica articulates some of the history of lavender and its entrance into the world of perfume.

Of all the fragrances listed Vera is the only vital nature perfume, what an honor! For now Vera can be found at the E-shop in all her manifestations...samples, solid, liquid vial, flacon and in the perfume locket.

Here are some testimonials I've started to gather. If you have one to share please e-mail it to me or leave it in the comments. Thank you to all my wonderous patrons, I love each of you!

"This perfume has redefined lavender for me. It has built it into a scent that is stunning in its complexity; that is both very natural and very feminine in a sophisticated way. This is one little luxury that I hope never to be without again."
~ Customer of Vera liquid flacon

"Lavender is one of my favorite flowers and scents, and this smells exactly like the real thing, not heavy or overpowering at all like those soap and bath products! Thank you so much!"
~ Customer of Vera solid perfume

"I love that you make perfumes I can wear without getting a rash. I love the heavenly scents and I'm thrilled with the extra solid samples you included! Thank you!"
~ Customer of Vera liquid perfume flacon

"Starts as a herbal-y lavender then dries down to soft resins. Exquisite."
~ Customer of Vera solid perfume

"Vera is one of my favorite scents of hers along with Cimbalom, Page 47 and Sierra. For me Vera is lovely to put on before falling asleep for deep restful slumber. The solid makes it perfect to carry for those times in the day where you need relief of the everyday stressors. Transporting you to a gentle summer evening watching as the sun attempts to kiss the moon with a glass of something good to drink (wine or tea for me)."
~ Angie

Absolutely beautiful perfumes. As well as smelling good, I love how each seems to be imbued with intention to me; Sierra is joyful, Q is grounding and Vera gives a feeling of clarity.
~ Grace

"Thanks, Roxana! It smells wonderful ~ as per the words of my fiancee. :)"
~ Fireman, Vera liquid for his girl

I LOVE the VERA it has a wonderfully complex scent,
and the "sun kissed skin" note is very sensual!
~ Customer of Vera solid perfume

"Lovely scents, especially Page 47 and Vera. Vera is definitely my favorite in this trio--it's intoxicating and subtle at the same time. It's one of those scents that I loved instantly, knowing it was new to my nose and yet feeling as though I recognized it somehow...dreamy. Everything was packaged beautifully from a wonderful seller who clearly uses high quality ingredients in her products :) Thanks very much. I look forward to trying more."
~ Customer of solid perfume sampler

"All three are beautiful and feminine. Page 47 is more of a sexy scent.
The Rosa is elegant. Vera connects me to Nature in my daily urban lifestyle. Thank you"
~ Customer of solid perfume sampler

"This is my favorite stuff in the whole world. "
~ Customer of Vera liquid falcon

"I am wearing this right now. Seeing how Vera is my favorite thing in the world,
of course I love it. Love, love, love it."
~ Customer of Vera solid perfume compact

"The depth of this fragrance is amazing. Lavender has a very open, honest fragrance,
but Vera is so much more. It is open and subtle at the same time. I love wearing it.
Thank you so much for creating this wonderful fragrance."
~ Customer of Vera liquid vial

Images ©Roxana Villa, Vera Illuminated ©Greg Spalenka

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Elemental Water: Green Witch

On Monday, March 21st the great seasonal wheel marked the Vernal Equinox for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. The Vernal or Spring Equinox also called Ostara and/or Mean Earraigh is a transition point as we move from the darker half of the year into the light.

The solid perfume of Green Witch was launched in harmony with the day the liquid was introduced exactly one year prior. Green Witch is an ode to the sea, the sacred watery depths where Tethys the aquatic sea goddess dwells. The orchestration of the solid formula follows the exact blueprint of the liquid, the only difference in raw materials is a base of pure, unfiltered beeswax and jojoba seed oil instead of organic grain alcohol. Rather than tinctures of plant matter, I have created infusions of seaweed and hawthorn boughs and flowers.

Read a few testimonials and comments from happy customers by following this link here at the journal.

Green Witch is inspired by the novel of the same name written by Susan Cooper. In the book the women of the community gather together to build the Green Witch as an offering to the great Oceanic deity, Tethys. Today three other woman gather with me to introduce the new solid format of Green Witch and offer sample draws along with their impressions of the fragrance. Please find links at the end of this post.

“Hazel for the framework, Rowan for the Head,
The body is of Hawthorne boughs and Hawthorne blossoms.”
~ Susan Cooper

Although the raw materials of the both versions of the fragrance are almost exact the base of beeswax and jojoba change the aromatic quality of the perfume. The result is a warm, creamy Green Witch with softer, honeyed edges. On my skin the Neroli becomes one of the main notes gently balanced by all the other elementals including flowers, woods and resins with notes of fern and the sea. For more on the orchestration please follow this link to a post that goes into more detail.

The illumination that corresponds with this natural perfume has been created digitally by Greg Spalenka. For those of you wishing for a full sensorial affect Greg is offering a limited edition of the image at his E-shop.

The other ladies participating are:

Each of us will offer one small sample of the solid perfume. In keeping with the GREEN aspect of this perfume, to enter the draw please share in your comment some thoughts about the preserving the environment and/or your favorite eco tip. This giveaway opportunity ends at 10pm PST on Sunday, April 18th

must include your first name -or- etsy username AND email address with each entry or it will not be included.

For additional entries you can do any or all of the following, please leave a separate comment for each entry.
  • 1 entry per day of the contest: Twitter this message: RT @RoxanaVilla is hosting a giveaway of GreenWitch! Visit for a chance to win
  • 2 entries (total) - Blog about this giveaway, leaving the URL to the post in comments (1 blog per entrant, please)
  • 1 entry: Be or become a follower at RoxanaVilla on Twitter
  • 1 entry: Be or become a fan of IlluminatedPerfume on Facebook
  • 1 entry: Be or become a follower of this journal: IlluminatedPerfume
More fine print, learned along the way
1. If we cannot contact you we will give your prize away to someone else.
2. Entries are organized and submitted into the "randomizer" for a winner.
3. Please don't make up any new guidelines, what is outlined above is what we follow.

Good Luck everyone!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Carpe Diem

The vital energetics of Spring are pulsating strongly here in the wooded hills today. I was awoken way before dawn and the song of the birds by full throttle creativity. A bounty of ideas flooded my mind, lifting me out of bed and running to the studio for a pad of paper.

Above is a botanical perfume mood board for you created with photos of my flacons, Happy Monday!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bee Inspired

Yesterday I was reading about propolis, spurred on by a conversation with my neighbor regarding honey bees. I learned that the bee gathers propolis from tree resin and that all propolis is unique depending on where it is gathered, the time of year, etc. Some propolis will be high in one chemical component while the sticky resinous substance gathered from the same location at a different time of the year will vary in its chemical blueprint.

If the resin is collected from conifer trees the propolis may have upwards of fifty chemical components derived from waxes, balsam, pollen and even essential oils. Propolis in the hive is used to seal cracks and even mummify unwanted substances and artifacts.

This led me to believe that the Egyptian mummification process began by their observations of the honey bee. After all the bee was revered in ancient Egyptian culture.

All this speculation was going on in my brain when early this morning fellow Backwards Beekeeper Max Wong posted this article from the Guardian titled Honeybees 'entomb' hive to protect from pesticides say scientists. The honey bee is so smart, meanwhile fellow humans continue to use harmful pesticides which are the plague of Mother Earth.

I hold tight to the intention that one day soon the two legged homosapien will wake up in a graceful manner. In the meantime I'll infuse extra doses of awareness into my natural botanical perfumes to facilitate the process and continue to support the honey bee in all her magnificence.

Earth Day occurs on April 22nd, learn about events happening worldwide at the Earth Day Network.

Image: Honeybee college ©Roxana Villa

Friday, April 1, 2011

Cimbalom Winner

It's Friday and the weather here in southern California is sunny and warm, finally! On this day, associated with the Goddess of love and beauty, I have used the Randomizer to select a winner of the Cimbalom giveaway.

The winner mentioned she would like to try Chaparral, her name is Margaret. Congratulations to Margaret who has won a Cimbalom mini solid sample and many thanks to everyone who stopped by to enter.

Over at Perfume Smellin' Things stay tuned on Sunday when Beth will be revealing the winner of her tangent giveaway for a Cimbalom liquid and solid sample.

Image: Photo of jasmine sambac flowers from my garden, these were used for a tincture featured in Cimbalom liquid perfume.