Saturday, August 8, 2020

The Lions Gate

Once again the Earth aligns with the planet Sirius opening The Lion’s Gate Portal so that we may receive a flood of cosmic activations.  Although I had heard of this the last two years, it was in a teleconference call with a local shaman here in Santa Fe, named Robin Coale that I was reminded of this special time.

Since arriving to the high desert I have noticed an opening in my intuitive and psychic abilities, this I have been listening more deeply and paying attention to patterns, or what Paulo Coelho in his book The Alchemist refers to as omens.

Thus on this eighth day of the eighth month, with this special portal open I thought I would share a special meditation that started presenting itself to me a few years ago and has finally coalesced. If you have time today and for the next week, I suggest listening to Robin's teleconference and take a moment to embrace the flood of cosmic energies.

Here is the meditation that came to me:

Find a peaceful place to sit quietly, ideally outdoors. As you ground your self into mother earth and become aware of the circulating air, warmth of the solar rays, and luminosity of the stars and lunar beams,

observe a vertical figure eight before you, the same height as your body. The image slowly begins to pulse with energy moving along the path of the form.

Consider how the top of the form mimics the bottom, “As above, so below, as within so without." The form now turns on its side, finding its central axis at the solar plexus and begins to spin around you, resembling a flower. The spinning geometric form eventually generates a light bubble all around you.

Standing within this loving sphere of light, perceive how vibrant threads descending from the cosmos flood into your body through the crown of your head, pausing to illuminate your pineal gland and then both recharging and rejuvenating your entire system. While this takes place breath in gratitude for being here on this planet during this very special time, as we “activate” our ascension codes and manifest our individual and collective dream.

Above is a video Greg amended from when he did visual development for the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Narnia Film. He describes the symbolism like this:

On the 8th day of the 8th month, the Lions Gate opens. Metaphysically this is a powerful day for transformation and visualization. There is a scene I worked on for the "Voyage of the Dawn Treader" motion picture which encapsulates this concept.

One of the characters has been turned into a dragon through a greedy activity. He is in danger of being slain because no one knows that this is not his real form. After realizing his error he asks for forgiveness and Aslan, the sacred lion turns him back into his human form... with some intense dramatics.

This scene symbolically represents the dragon of our lower nature, and the power of transformation using right thoughts, and right actions.

The animatic shows our dragon/boy floating up from the ocean (his subconscious) as a sand bar pushes him above the water. When he opens his eyes (waking the portals of perception) he sees the sun rising which turns into Aslan standing on the water. Aslan roars and rushes the waking dragon (the wind of realization). He tears him open with his claws (removing the ego) and the transformation begins from lower nature to higher being. The changing consciousness is washed over by a huge wave (infinite love), setting in motion a rebirth.

Meditation and Visualization are tools that help us calm the mind and open the portals of perception.

Artwork by Greg Spalenka, concept design for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader film.

Friday, July 24, 2020

The alchemical trinity of Chaparral

The perfume Chaparral is not a reference to the creosote bush, Larrea tridentata, which sometimes goes by many name chaparral, as well as greasewood and la gobernadora. I named the fragrance after the California biome distinguished by wet winters, hot summers and drought-tolerant shrub land. This biome is also found in the Mediterranean, South America, Australia and South Africa. The word chaparral comes from the Portuguese and Spanish word “chaparro" meaning evergreen oak shrub land.

Back in 2006, when Chaparral was conceived and launched, my intention was to bring awareness to this community of plants which are very undervalued in Los Angeles where residents opt for pesticide and water hungry lawns and non native palm trees, rather than the local sages, artemisias, oaks, etc. 

In creating the perfume Chaparral®, I weaved together my love and commitment to the indigenous plants of California with skills in aromatic plant preparation and the artistry of perfume formulation.

“Art arises when the secret vision of the artist
and the manifestation of nature
agree to find new shapes.”
~ Kahlil Gibran

My husband, Greg Spalenka states that there are three main components of great art which applies to the full spectrum of the sensory realm including visual, auditory, culinary and olfactory orchestrations.

He adheres to these three components as a trinity of "Mind, Body and Spirit":

Mind; the idea and/or concept
Body; representing the materials
Spirit; the love, passion, integrity and/or soul nature

In alchemy the trinity is Sulfur, Mercury, and Salt, code words for what is also referred to as "Soul, Spirit, and Body"

Sulfur = Soul = Consciousness 
Mercury = Spirit  = Mind
Salt = Body  = Mineral

So if we go back to Greg's trinity, I have overlayed Greg's trinity with that of alchemy in this way, substituting Greg's word Spirit for Soul/Love.

Mind; the idea and/or concept / Mercury = Spirit
Body; representing the materials / Salt = Body
Soul/Love, passion, integrity and/or soul nature / Sulfur = Soul, Consciousness

All these components, working together at a high level of sophistication and awareness, create a synergy, where each component becomes more than the sum of its parts.

In perfume the mind aspect (Mercury) is the concept that the fragrance is built on, encompassing much more than a scent based on a fragrance family or type. The body aspect (Salt) is made of the materials contained within the perfume, the artist’s palette. Soul (Sulphur) is the burning passion of your creation, this is where the true artist weaves their own authenticity into the constructed artwork using their consciousness. Each is important and is required for the finished art to transcend the ordinary, to reach the heights of the sublime.

Over the last twenty years I have come to keen realizations regarding California natives and their value. The journey beginning with guided instructional walks led by herbalist David Crow back in the 90's when he would lead nature walks in the Santa Monica Mountains. Davids introduction than deepened with lessons from communicating with the mighty Oaks on my property and its surroundings, when we lived in the Santa Monica Mountains.

The California native Coastal live oak was the one who spoke to me and revealed the value of native plants just as I began organizing my community to protect four large trees on an lot next to us. In an attempt to secure the safety of the trees I created a perfume devoted to them. The perfume is called “Q” for Quercus agrifolia and was the first in a series titled Californica.

The second perfume in the series, Chaparral® was birthed in October 2006 when I was researching incense. Incense was used by a variety of cultures depending on the plant material in their particular region. The indigenous people of California use the sacred white sage, Salvia apiana, to clear a space or fumigate an individual. I chose to create an incense themed perfume devoted to the California indigenous people based on the plants of the area.

The trinity mentioned above works in Chaparral like this:

Mind/Concept | Mercury/Spirit: The native plants of California, the chaparral.

Soul/Love: The soul nature of this perfume is expressed through the mindful harvesting and preparation of the plant material. The fragrance is created by hand with an intention to expand awareness of native plants.

Body/Material: actual, vital plant material used in tinctures and essential oils to represent an “authentic” fragrance of the regions native plants.

California native plants add tremendous value to a California garden including: authenticity to a landscape design, low water needs, benefits to wildlife habitat, increased biodiversity, and the ability of these plants, particularly the Coastal Live oak, to sequester carbon. Learn more about the chaparral at the website for the California Chaparral Institute.

Related links here at the journal:

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

NATURE not natural

The word natural is getting even more abused than when I first started making fragrance. Most perfume brands claiming to be “natural" go to extreme measures to hide that they use any type of synthetics by greenwashing their wording and confusing the public.

A few terms I have been seeing a lot lately are:

"100% Natural Derived"
"Plant Based Perfume Made From 100% Plant and Flower Materials"
"Beyond Clean” 

The reason this is happening is because there is a demand for true plant fragrance, the tragic part is that these terms above, and many others, don’t actually mean anything. It’s really challenging when your brand is based on authenticity. As I have mentioned before, these smoke & mirror shenanigans make my job really difficult.

My “people" then think they are allergic to all perfume, including those made from plants, when what they are actually allergic to is the synthetics and isolates contained within fragrances. In the past I confronted a few perfumers about their use of words and was answered with "The word we live in is all maya anyway." What the heck kind of answer is that!

Here are a few post here at the journal that provide more information on this topic:

Word Rant Wednesday series: