Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Imbolc & the Goddess Brighid

This past weekend was Imbolc, one of the markers on the Great Wheel, this earth festival is also referred to as Candlemas or Oimealg. Of the eight turns of the wheel, it is one of the minor holy days, albeit still significant. The fire we kindled at Yule (Winter Solstice) now burns bright in the bellies of the herd animals. The word Imbolc comes from old Irish meaning "in the belly" and is a time to honor the Celtic goddess of fire and hearth, Brighid.

The opening photo is one of the glass flasks I have at the perfumery, a terrific symbol depicting the “belly” of the alchemical process, as we transform matter, and/or our selves.

In Irish mythology, Brighid is the patroness of poetry, smithing, medicine, arts and crafts, cattle and other livestock, sacred wells, serpents (in Scotland) and the arrival of early spring. As one who crafts with words and healing plant medicine, I honor this Goddess and ask her to watch over me and my craft. Did you know that in some theories black smiths were considered alchemists? The reference comes from the symbolism of the black smith purifying a base metal.

Brighid, like Hecate, is a classic triple Goddess, in some legends she is portrayed as having two sisters who were also called Brighid, and typically treated as three aspects of a single deity.

The Christians that invaded the northern lands changed the name of Imbolc to St. Brigid's Day, grafting the pagan mythology to that of the Christians. She has been called  "complex and contradictory” by Winter Cymres of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids:

"She possesses an unusual status as a Sun Goddess Who hangs Her Cloak upon the rays of the Sun and whose dwelling-place radiates light as if on fire. Brigid took over the Cult of the Ewes formerly held by the Goddess Lassar, who also is a Sun Goddess and who made the transition, in the Isles, from Goddess to saint. In this way Brigid's connection to Imbolc is completed, as the worship of Lassar diminished, only to be revived later in Christian sainthood.”

Imbolc is the time of the year when we can visually see the buds of Spring appearing on plants. Here in the high desert of New Mexico I am seeing little red shoots on my rose as well as our native Cottonwood trees.

The imagery associated with Imbolc includes: milk, cows, the plough, straw or wheat, corn dolls and crosses woven of wheat. The herbs associated with Imbolc that are also found in the palette of the botanical perfumer include: Angelica, Basil, Bay, Benzoin, Iris, Tansy, Myrrh, Wheat absolute and Violet. This combination would actually make a rather interesting start to a botanical perfume devoted to Brighid and Imbolc. I suggest creating it in three part, such as three chords representing the maiden, mother and crone aspect of the Goddess. I have more ideas as well, but I will save those for the blending group I am in the process of forming with graduates of the Art of Botanical Perfume.

Thursday, January 9, 2020


Lately, especially since moving, I have had a challenge getting things done. Part of the challenge is the chaotic nature of moving and not having a workspace or home. Once the perfumery was set up and we were able to get into a better, albeit not yet ideal home situation, things improved.

Now that the new year, new decade is upon us, I've been yearning to get more traction...and then, Nir Eyal, a behavioral designer, dropped into my realm. Have you heard of him? He wrote the book Hooked followed by Indistractable. Below is a thirty minute video of him speaking on the subject of up of mastering the super power of being Indistractable. Eyal is brilliant, he unmasks the hidden psychology driving us to distraction, and then teaches us how to get on track. I highly recommend, even if it's only to listen and not watch.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2020: The Year of Classic Blue

Pantone has deemed classic blue as the 2020 color of the year, "instilling calm, confidence, and connection, this enduring blue hue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era."

Blue, that sky hue between violet and green that appears to be the most favored by most humans can span quite a range. What I have referred to as purple others have asserted is blue, while when I have referred to a color as blue someone else will cross their arms and proclaim purple! It's a bit like scent and likely due to a combination of our upbringing, unique perspectives and the way our eyes perceive.

The original palette I received from Jennifer in March 2008 (photo above) had no blue due to the warm triad of hues in my skin, hair and eyes. However, once I started getting silver and grey in my hair, the palette shifted to embracing cooler tones such as a violet tinged, periwinkle blue.

Along with wearing blue I also incorporated the color into perfume story telling with the release of La Dame Blanche. The blue tone represents both healing & sapphires, sapphires were included in the fragrance via a tincture as well as a stone placed into the perfume synergy.

" ... White butterflies are very lucky when seen, while brown ones are unlucky. If a yellow butterfly flies over a coffin, the soul has passed safely to the Otherworld. A blue butterfly signifies that the deceased was a healer. A white butterfly signifies a good person, a dark butterfly a bad person. Butterflies represent transformation and must never be killed."
~ Evert Hopman, 210

I pulled out all the essences that go into making more La Dame Blanche about a week ago in preparation of sitting down and making more of the synergy for both the solid and liquid perfume. I'm so looking forward to having the scent back as it is one of my personal as well as a customer favorite. Once the synergy is made I will accept pre-orders so that you can make sure have one before it is out of stock once more.

Below is a quote by Beth, who commissioned me to create the fragrance, she supplied a horse hair tincture and the sapphires that go into the orchestration of the perfume.

"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."
~ Beth Schreibman Gehring

Find more Pantone Color Posts here at the Journal

1. Blue Velvet Couch, unknown, via Pinterest
2. Finger Fade Dip Dye by Britt Browne, from Growing Up Indigo.blogspot
3. Color Palette by Roxana Villa
4. Roxana Villa photo by Rebecca Fishman
5. Blue Morpho by Roxana Villa, Santa Fe Perfumery
6. Mystic Current by Greg Spalenka
7. La Dame Blanche Apothecary Drawer by Roxana Villa, Santa Fe Perfumery