Thursday, February 4, 2010

Perfume Illuminated: Aphrodisiacs

"As the spirits of certain people hover music,
My soul, o my love! swims on your perfume."
~ Charles Baudelaire, "La Chevelure"

The word aphrodisiac comes from the name of the Greek Goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite. This day, attributed to Aphrodite and ruled by Venus, we will take some tips from the Goddess, for she was a devotee of pampering herself and knew how to cultivate and inspire beauty.


In aromatherapy circles "Aphrodisiacs" are essences which evoke a sense of relaxation and euphoria which then opens the doorway to a heightened state of sensuality. Most often these essences come from flowers. Morphologically flowers function within the plant to attract pollinators and for reproductive purposes. Examples of aromatics used in natural and botanical perfumery that are derived from flowers and considered aphrodisiacs are: Ylang Ylang, Jasmine, Neroli, Rose and Tuberose. The aroma of narcotic Ylang Ylang flowers top the list as the most powerful of the group. My teach David Crow taught me that Ylang Ylang has the power to put a woman into her physical body and relax, he suggested it for all blends evoking sensuality.

In floriography, the Victorian language of flowers, tussie mussies or nose gays were given to a beloved to convey a message. Small floral bouquets were gifted to a beloved as a piece of poetry that appealed to the eyes and the sense of smell.

Besides flowers, aromatics from spices are also found to arouse and stimulate passion. Derived from seeds which are associated with reproduction, in morphological terms they have the ability to shift and transform, unlocking obstructions. Allspice, Anise, Bay, Cardamon and Cinnamon are just a few on the long list.

Roots, associated with the base chakra, ground us to the moment and this earthly plain. As an anchor to earth, roots bring us into our won physical bodies. Essences derived from roots that are also aphrodisiacs are Ginger and Vetiver.

Dark and viscous, base notes with their earthy and musky aromatics have a similar quality as roots. Their depth, even in their cimmerian hues, convey mystery and conjure the shadow side.
These essences include Sandalwood, Patchouli, Vanilla, Peru Balsam, Myrrh and my favorite Labdanum.

With such a plethora to choose from, you can see why perfume is associated with sensuality and charming the God and Goddess within. For today I thought we would create a perfume devoted to Aphrodite. I selected essences mentioned above as well as those associated with the Goddess and Greece.

Peru Balsam
Seaweed Absolute

Ylang Ylang
Honey or Beeswax Absolute

Bitter Orange
Black Pepper

Next week Beth continue our look at Aphrodisiacs by focusing on Chocolate, Wine and Roses.

FLAVOR: Beth Schreibman Gehring
Please continue reading about Aphrodisiacs at the Windesphere Witch blog

1 comment:

Lorelie said...

wonderful and informative - love the Baudelaire quote!
Interesting about the root/chakra reference.