Saturday, October 31, 2020

At the Cross Roads

Around the circle we go, with the shift from light to dark becoming more apparent. The spiral has led us to the footsteps of the fire festival of Samhain, which has many other names such as All Hallows Eve, All Souls Night, Halloween, etc.

Samhain reminds us that the cycle of life includes death and decay, an aspect that western humans have a challenging time accepting, unlike other cultures. The Egyptian Book of the Dead and The Tibetan Book of the Dead come to mind. The later being an ancient Buddhist text based on a large corpus of writings titled The Bardo Thodol. The popularized version here in the west was written by Dr. Walter Y. Evans-Wentz and first published in 1927 by Oxford University Press.

In the alchemical tradition, we observe nature as a mirror of our self. As the landscape colors shift, the flowering cycle ends and leaves fall off trees, these individual elements shift. In their decay they have a vibrant afterlife, nourishing fungi, animals and becoming part of the collective mulch, all part of the gears in the fabric of life. Somehow, more than ever, humans are gripping, with bloody fingers, to a one dimensional timeline of living. Obviously, with the onset of the Anthropocene, we are at a significant crossroads with an end of life scenario looming out on the visible horizon, at least according to one timeline.

The holiday also brings with it a myriad of other traditions like the honoring of ancestors, embracing our shadow elements and a host of archetypes, including my favorite -> the witch.

Generally I get a little triggered by the one dimensional, incomplete manner which she is portrayed this time of year. Luckily we have wise women like Caroline Myss and Clarissa Pinkola Estes who have provided us with a much richer and dynamic perspective on her as the crone in the triple aspect of the Goddess.

We honor her at this crossroads, where she guards the gate between the worlds during this time, when the veils at their thinnest. Be mindful if you encounter her, she is wise and powerful, often challenging us to encourage our own growth and awareness. May we humans bear witness to the shadow realm, honor our ancestors and embrace the cyclical journey of life, including the recognition that death and decay are part of the whole.

Monday, October 5, 2020

The Perfumery in Santa Fe, New Mexico

The Perfumery in Santa Fe, New Mexico is one part apothecary, (referencing my great grandfathers homeopathic farmacy) one part alchemical lab (where I distill and transform plant matter into golden elixirs), one part naturalist/artist studio, one part wizardress/priestess, and one part stylist.

All these parts are all the aspects of a modern day perfumer and myself as a multidisciplinary artist. If you have not yet watched the video interview with Ron, of our local art supply store here in Santa Fe called Artisan, then follow this link to the YouTube video or the embedded video at the end, from when he came by the visit. The entire video is just under thirty minutes long, thus set aside the time and enjoy!

The first out of the home perfumery, above, was located in Agoura Hills, California, just a short drive to Malibu. In mid-March of 2014 I came upon the location while celebrating Greg's birthday, and rather auspiciously the Universe aligned and the glorious space manifested into a work / showroom / teaching space.

I was there for about three years and would have stayed if it weren't for the shared ventilation system which caused synthetic aroma molecules to drift into the perfumery from the other units as well as a challenge with having any control as to the temperature of my space. Regrettably the landlord was not interested in working with me and thus I left, setting in motion the move to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The current perfumery is located in the mid town area of Santa Fe, New Mexico within a hidden complex called Lena Street Lofts with the anchor business being the original Iconik Coffee, with their roaster situated amidst tables & couches. Iconik happens to be in building A, the same as the perfumery, albeit they are at one end and I am at the other in unit A6.

Although I wanted to be in downtown Santa Fe or along Canyon Road, at the time no affordable or acceptable spaces were available. I was also told that mid-town would be a better location so that people, especially locals, could park easily. I still yearn for a spot in one of those two locations due to the vibe and visibility. It may still happen one day, while keeping the current space more for larger classes and product making.

I'm loving the connection and antique vibe of the perfumery with my great grandpa's homeopathic farmacy in Buenos Aires, Argentina called La Farmacia de la Estrella. Here are a few pictures above and below, so that you can get a flavor for it, there are more in the video linked above and here, or at the end of this post.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

A Perfumed Bestiary, I for Iridogorgia, Part I

The letter I in the Perfumed Bestiary has us embark on a journey to the inky depths of the Pacific and Atlantic ocean for what appears to be fireworks frozen in time. Our creature is Iridogorgia, a "soft" coral referred to as an Octocorallia, or octocoral, which according to UC Berkeley is not a true coral, the main difference being that this deep water octocoral does not possess the symbiotic relationship with algae (zooxanthellae). Iridogorgia is a genus in the Cnidaria phylum containing over 11,000 species of aquatic animals.

Octocorals have an eightfold radial symmetry. Each polyp has eight hollow tentacles fringed with little branches called pinnules, which distinguishes them hard corals.

The strange name, Iridogorgia, is derived from the Greek iridos or iris. For us, the word iris is most often related to are the flower or colorful parts of the eye. For the Greeks the word meant "rainbow".  The second part of the name, gorgia, is Latin for splendid or showy.

Like the coral reefs, these beautiful DNA-like structures are being destroyed at an alarming pace due to human activities such as overfishing, pollution, climate change and invasive species.


Iridogorgia shares similar themes with the perfume in this series titled C for Coral such as living in fluidity and a symbiotic relationship with others in your shared community. These slow moving, spiraling skeletons show us how to anchor ourselves and move in a naturally spiraling round and round in an upward movement from the deep, dark ocean floor.

As a water element being, Iridogorgia embodies a beautiful geometrical structure which is fluid, even when the currents change direction. Allow yourself to be loose, to flow in the constantly changing stream of Universal flow. Find a firm place to anchor yourself in, despite of the dark watery depths, and radiate out your magnificence, whirling, twirly, as lite as a feather, slow and steady.

Some of the questions that Iridogogia may be asking you are:

Are you anchored, happy and content? If not, is there any fear behind your resistance to change? Remember elemental water supports us to be fluid, allow this embryotic environment to face your fear, heal and move forward slowly, with grace and awareness

Iridogorgia move slowly in a graceful manner. Are you rushing through your life? Do you allow the crazy turbulent waters of life to sway and push you along with know anchor? Moving in flow with awareness while remaining open and anchored is the path that is being suggested to you at this time. 

Crystals associated with the medicine of the Iridogorgia:

Tangerine Quartz   
Snowflake Obsidian  

Letter I for Iridogorgia, Part 2 will be linked here shortly

NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

1 Ocean Service, NOAA
3 UC Berkeley
4 Ocean Explorer, NOAA
5 WORMS, Marine Species
6 Cambridge, Journal of the marine biological association of the United Kingdom