Monday, June 17, 2019

Sacred scents and medicines.

We drove to Los Angeles on Sunday so I could attend a course at the The Institute for Art and Olfaction in Chinatown. I'd signed up to take a class called Tarot and Perfume, with Tim Van Ausdal and Madeleine Stearns. The class would use the Tarot as a "means of divining the medicine we're being invited to engage with in our current circumstances." Madeleine chose the scent families as they related to the Fool in the Tarot deck. She relied on her intution and the visual imagery in the artwork to make her choices.

This was my first time working with scents. Last month I was bottling perfumed oils with Catherine Yronwode, and though I did learn how to make a stunningly beautiful product, we did no blending of scents.

Catherine Yronwode's Sun Oil. I made that!
I chose not to work with the Fool, but rather the Ace of Cups, and other water cards such as Temperance and The Star in the Major Arcana. I wanted a scent that evoked spring water, and shaded riparian grottos.

I was drawn to the fresh marine scent of cyclamen. I was also eager to smell galbanum, which is mentioned in Exodus chapter 30, as one of the sweet spices in temple incense.

And the Lord said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight: And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy:

I was pleasantly surprised and knew that I would be including it in my blend, though a little goes a long way. Other scents that made the cut were cardamom and geranium, and one or two more to round the rough edges.

The scent is very grassy and green, and now that I'm home with it I think I'd like to try adding the tiniest tch of lemon, and something spicy like carnation, to ground it and give it more depth. But it wasn't bad for a first try. I'm also very excited and certain that I will be able to blend my own complex variations on traditional conditions oils, and am very eager to start.

I highly recommend these classes. If you have a creative bent you will find yourself challenged on many levels, and longing for more.

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