Sunday, September 25, 2016

A New Compounded Resin Incense in the Making

Though it looks much like all the other compounded resin incense I've made, this newest one in the works, the one with orange blossom and propolis and orange and lime and patchouli and sandalwood and frankincense and . . . more, more, more, is so very different from what I've made before. But then, that's kind of my thing. I'm always trying to outdo myself. And I am having so much fun working perfumery technique into incense creation. This gig seems so much more creative and fluid than perfumery because there aren't the same restrictions in incensury as there is in perfumery.

Having said that, there is a line-up of solid perfumes I'm putting together for the season -- there is Violetta (feature notes of orris, violet leaf, rose, and patchouli), Piedra (feature notes of orange blossom, orange oil, lime oil, and patchouli), Tuberosa (feature notes of tuberose, vanilla absolute, Himalayan cedarwood, and a touch of juniper berry), Everlast (feature notes of helichrysum, patchouli, black pepper), and Mimosa (feature notes of mimosa, lime, and sandalwood). There may be more coming, but these are the current solids that are being tinkered with at the moment. I may even revive some spectacular 'vintage' solids that I made a few years back, such as Aliah, a deliciously fragrant solid -- like petit fours of dark chocolate and cool honey sweetened tea, or Campania made with gardenia butter, blood orange, wild orange, cocoa absolute, orange blossom water absolute, antique santal, jasmine sambac, vanilla CO2, neroli, rose de mai and ylang-ylang, or Evergreen made with fir balsam, silver fir, hemlock, juniper berry, galbanum, organic santal, and nutmeg. It seems I've got my work cut out for me! And perhaps a few reformulations on those vintage solids too.

I've been working up the inspiration to make soap for Autumn, but it's not working. In fact, the slush I created for this newest incense was actually intended for soap! But when I smelled how glorious it was, I decided it wasn't something I was willing to screw up adding to soap. It just smells too good, and I felt that the best mode of transporting that scent was through the smoke.

So I leave you with this, cherubs making perfume.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Coming Soon & Already Here!

The label for this newest Kyphi ~ yes! It's the same label as Lylli Bleu Eau de Parfum

Blue lotus petal, blue lotus resin, blue lotus phytol, saffron, turmeric, frankincenses, & more

TheRam! Natural stick incense

TheRam packaged

TheRam just lying around being groovy

More grooviness

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Review of The Scented Djinn's Viniagres

I got this great review this morning from a customer/family member who has been using The Scented Djinn's Frankincense Viniagre for her severe cystic acne. Here is what she says:

So I want to post my before and after photos of a new product, I have been using by The Scented Djinn. It is new and I don't know if it is even for sale on the website (Etsy) yet but I am so astonished and so in love with my results, I feel I need to share. This was given to me as a tester because she knows the struggle I have gone through my whole life with what I consider a "plague" or several cystic acne. My whole life I have caked makeup onto my face to try and conceal this embarrassing and (adult) life long struggle I have had. I've seen dermatologist after dermatologist to try and get help with just easing it enough to where I could feel comfortable not wearing makeup even around my husband of 8 years. I tried every over the counter and prescription face washes and medicines any store carried. I could tell you the effects and names of each and every one. Everyone had suggestions, "drink more water" "don't touch your face" "use ____ product it's wonderful" and the list goes on. Which I followed all to a T. Eventually I went as far as trying a prescription called Accutane which was originally used for cancer treatment and came with booklet after booklet of warnings of negative symptoms that even warned of possible death. I was on it for 4 weeks and had to stop due to nosebleeds, coughing up blood, constant sweating and vertigo and nightmares I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. To say the least, I was reluctantly forced to stop the treatment before I could even see results. I felt I would have this terrible problem for the rest of my life and I just needed to deal with it. I just came to terms with being the one always behind the camera, taking pictures of loved ones, hiding at gatherings, and never being able to look at anyone in the eye fearing AND feeling their judgment. I avoided all mirrors and mirrored windows, I learned to avoid myself at all cost. I feel people without skin problems don't fully understand this struggle. The self-loathing and just wanting to look like everyone else.

Well, to say the least, at this point I would try anything although I felt in my heart it would not work.
I was wrong. Soooo wrong.

No exaggeration, the VERY first time I washed my face with water and my normal cleanser and proceeded to wipe my face with the "elixir of life" I call it now on a cotton pad and my face felt smooth, that feeling of swelling and warmth like an infected wound feels was gone. It was so calming and refreshing and I hadn't felt so satisfied since I could remember. As days went by redness went away, blackheads started disappearing, the cysts on my neck and cheeks began to shrink. I couldn't believe it. "This won't last long," I thought. Well, a bottle lasted me one month. And by the end of the month, even through my "monthly" hormone cycle no new pimples appeared. In fact, all my problem areas were disappearing. I'm on my second bottle, second month and I have had about 3 pimples and ZERO cysts. Gone. It's a fricking miracle. And that sounds nuts but it's true. I wish I would have done a daily log so I could show you the proof. But I have a few pictures from before I started to tonight.

I know this is the longest story ever but this has been a life changer for me and wallet. I no longer wear more than a bronzer for some color, eyebrows, and eyeliner. I never dreamed this day would come. Anyways here are the pictures and I hope this can help someone, who has struggled like me. Much love and respect. Thank you, Justine Crane, for not giving up and helping me become comfortable, NO proud to be in my own skin.

They're not flattering but it's about my skin

Before using the vinegar (you can just see the redness and bumpiness around her chin)

After using the vinegar

I realize getting a review from a family member or friend doesn't hold as much weight as a review from an anonymous client, but I have to share that this young lady, who I've known for 8 years, struggles with cystic acne daily. Having this kind of outcome from a simple home remedy has really energized her. She's excited about her skin for the first time since puberty.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Incense, Incense, and More Incense

After putting the final touches on the blue lotus Kyphi, and then doing the same for The Ram, I still had the energy (spiritual, emotional & physical) to begin a new compounded resin incense. I worked on it for a few hours yesterday afternoon and into the evening, grinding and sieving and grinding some more. Doing this type of work for hours straight makes me more and more appreciate the idea of a heavy duty spice grinder or hammer mill in my future. At the same time, I remind myself that it's the hand work, the physical grinding of the raw materials with a mortar and pestle, that help infuse the incense with the 'magic' if you will. A spice grinder that gets loaded and whizzes away while the incenseur sits and scratches his or her bottom doesn't do much for the building up of magic. I've already compromised on this function of the process by using the grinder I have in the most extreme cases, as with orris root, or certain gum resins that even defy the odd hammer strike, or if I'm working on compounded resin, in which case a pound or so of resin needs fine powdering. Other materials get slowly, methodically, and tediously pounded into oblivion in a clay mortar with a wooden baseball bat-like pestle. I have climbed up to my bed many nights with the dust of aromatics in my hair, resins embedded under my nails and cuticles, and an uncooperative right hand (my dominant hand) refusing to do even the most menial of tasks, such as opening my bedroom door. All this because I refuse to take the easy way out because it is my strongly held belief that what makes my work good is the attention I give it during its gestation and then its birth.

The new compounded incense resin is going to be a doozy, something completely out of my wheelhouse in terms of scent building, but I'm excited about the prospect -- I can smell this incense burning in my mind's -- nose? -- and it is fabulous! So, it's back to the grindstone.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Blue Lotus Kyphi & The Ram

Okie dokie. So much to say, so much to say.

First, the blue lotus Kyphi that is going to be 'done' the end of this month smells out of this world! It has this special richness to it that very much mirrors the perfume I made a few years ago with blue lotus called 'Lylli Bleu'. The blue lotus in its many forms is well-represented in this Kyphi -- the blue lotus phytol, the juicy, fleshy bits, is very present scent-wise; the blue lotus petals create a lovely visual texture, and the blue lotus resin adds a fruity, ambery depth to the blend. There are more components to this Kyphi, these are just the primaries. When warmed on an electric heater the scent is indescribably lush, heady, and narcotic. Yesterday I burned a fingertip-sized piece, shut off the burner and left the house for, like, 15 minutes, and when I came back in I was struck by a wall of blue lotus-y incense scent. It's safe to say that I will NEVER make this Kyphi again as the agents incorporated into it are costly if not entirely impossible to find on a regular basis.

The other incense project I'm working on is coming along as well, and it too is absolutely gorgeous. Based on a beautiful ambery and musky bee propolis resin from Canada and a wicked bag of uncrushed costus roots, it is flowing into something so much larger than its pieces and parts. This one already has a name, and it is dedicated to someone so its evolution is very specific. I'm making this one into cones or sticks. I haven't decided yet. His name, this incense, is The Ram. I will leave it at that.

I still have more to say, I'm just rushed for time right now, and someone is peering over my shoulder like an expectant owl.

Talk to you later.

Bountiful Boswellia & Honey

The Labor Day weekend was fairly productive. I initially went back to the valley to be 'there' for a family member during a rough spell but had the foresight to bring the distillation unit in case the  co-owner of the still wanted to check it out.  I ended up distilling the two kilos of boswellia sacra I brought along, y'know, just in case. Out of those two kilos we received just over an ounce of frankincense oil per pound of resin, which wasn't the goal -- we were going for the hydrosol -- but we'll take it! Nothing goes to waste here with a frankincense distillation. Once the distilling part is over there are two potentially useful products to 'harvest' which some folks just toss -- first is the leftover resin, which by now is actually just resin as the gum has been distilled out. The resin is where all that beautifully healing boswellic acid resides. This by-product (ha!) can now be easily crushed and melted into oil for skin balms, or for the more adventurous, crushed and encapsulated for internal use. It is incredibly healing and should never, ever be thrown out. Second is the soupy cloud-water left in the still. This too can be incorporated into skincare, like soap, or as the water portion of a lotion, or straight as it is -- a sterile face wash. Almost nothing from this distillation went to waste except for the soupy water. I had already (foolishly) thrust my hand into the cooled pot to retrieve the resin before I remembered I wanted to save that water! Ah! Next time. 
This distillation unit has an internal heating element, a coil like thingey that is inserted into the bottom side of the pot -- you can just see it there in the photo above with the electric cord sticking out -- and the problem with that is it takes a while to heat up the entire pot of water, more so than, say, a propane flame. It takes at least an hour for the pot to go from less than 100F to 212F (boiling point). Once the hydro/oil start flowing, I have to shut the heat off for a period of time, then turn it back on (no thermostat controller as yet) so that it isn't running at a constant high heat. That's good for oil production, not so great for hydrosol. With each batch (so far just two) I'm learning something new about this unit, and what I can do to help it produce some premium product. I hope to be distilling throughout the fall and winter at least once, maybe twice a week, depending upon the availability of raw materials. I'm considering getting in touch with an arborist or tree cutting service here locally for when they're employed to cut down conifers and see if they will allow me a few bags of wood and needles. Also, in the valley, there are a number of organic growers who might allow us to use some of their branches and leaves of citrus when they trim the groves. It's a matter of contacting them and setting things up.

I also received a half a frame of beeswax and honey that I brought home and processed last night. I was hoping to get more beeswax than I did, perhaps an ounce (I haven't weighed it yet), but I did end up with a ton of luscious white sage and wildflower honey. The wax will be used for balms, the cappings for incense, and the honey -- well, the honey's going in my belly!

I'm a grateful woman for this bounty. Truly.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Fall, I Hear You Calling

The weather has turned. A week ago, it was blistering hot and the sky was a hazy mess from all the fires here in California. I'm situated between three fires, which, depending upon the way the wind blows, can make for some strangely dark days. Today, though, the skies are minimally sooty, the wind is up, and the temperatures down -- way, way down. It feels more like May or late October than the end of August. Things are expected to heat up again for something like 48 hours, and then it's back down to the weird spring and mid-autumn weather. I like it! I also read this morning that the Bear Tooth Mountain pass in Montana is closed due to snow! I've been up there. It's a brutal landscape with winds that can scour the freckles off your face. Oh, but it is so beautiful. It's like standing on the top of the world. And now it's snowing so much the road is closed, which, from what I'm reading, almost never happens this time of the year. I like this too! I am so ready for autumn, I can feel the chill tingling in my bones. It does worry me a bit because the arrival of autumn means I'm either stocked in the store, or I'm not. The past few years have been 'not' years; that's changing this year. This year, we're going to be stocked, and restocked, and lots of new stuff will arrive. Well, not arrive, actually, but be created. Born, right here in the studio. I cherish those 'it's alive!' moments when I step back from a piece of olfactory art after having put on the finishing touch.

Soaps of Seasons Past

I'm going to be making more soap -- I took a couple of days off to work on other projects, but I'm ready for soap making again. I've got a lovely organically grown pumpkin that I'm going to puree and add to the pumpkin spice soap this year. I won't be using much as the rest of the pumpkin will go in my belly! It's getting cooked up tonight in a stir fry along with some bok choy, Napa cabbage, onions, peas, garlic, Laotian basil, rice paddy herb, celery, carrots, broccoli, and the kitchen sink. Oh, and some soy sauce. And Sriracha. And a heap of rice noodles drizzled with sesame oil. I'm getting hungry.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Soaps and Goals

Sky ~ A Natural Handmade Soap ~ White Sage Soap

I've been on a soapmaking roll for a few weeks now, and I can't seem to stop. This is the latest soap ~ Sky ~ A Natural Handmade Soap made with the usual suspects (olive, coconut, shea) and scented with a just-distilled bucket of white sage hydrosol and a few milliliters of white sage essential oil. The actual soap is much whiter than the picture here depicts, which surprised the heck out of me since usually to get that level of whiteness in a bar of cold processed soap, one must use colorants. I did use colorants, but only blue.

I've been so busy with other projects here, like the balms and the distillation and the soap, that I've left myself very little time to work on incense, which is my favorite thing to do. In fact, I'm getting more requests for incense than anything else in the shop. I do have my skincare clients, though, so I'm trying to maintain a happy balance between hedonistic fragrance and useful skincare. Since I use the skincare I produce, I can't just drop it from the business -- not that I'm entertaining that idea. I went too many years trying to fit myself into a mold that didn't quite fit and I have no intention of changing what I'm doing now that I've finally got it all figured out. Or me. Got me  in relation to my business/art all figured out.

I want to expand the magical bits of my business as well as it plays such a large role in my day-to-day life. It's difficult not to have some sort of cross-over from useful to hedonistic to magical when it is the way you live. Incense and cartomancy are the bridges, and I'm working on expanding my cartomancy skills. I used to read Tarot all the time but got out of the habit when life (teenagers) got to be too soul consuming. I didn't look at the cards the way I should have back then as tools to help me through a rough patch. Instead, I saw the whole spiritual side of my life as an indulgence. Stupid, right? In the past couple of years, I've eased back into it, getting more into ritual, and not 'witchy' ritual; the ritual that keeps me moving forward, point A to point B type stuff, to keep things in balance as I am living in chaos. Ritual helps (both types) to keep me focused. I can see the benefit of ritual in my business these days. There are certain things I do pretty much every day in an effort to move things forward. In some cases, on some days, 'moving forward' means making money. As much as I hate that whole gotta hustle mentality, it's a must if what I've worked the last 20 years for is going to pan out. It IS panning out. It has panned out. It's just a matter of keeping things going. Historically, I've had a habit of letting pinnacles of success fall to bits because I was emotionally and physically drained. Instead of riding the wave of success and making efforts to go above previous levels of prosperity, I retreated to rest and ended up back where I started, beginning again. It isn't going to happen anymore. I'm not willing to allow personal stuff -- no matter how painful and disruptive -- to interfere with my long-term goals. Let's face it, I'm not getting any younger, and long-term is nearly here, so I must get cracking!

My youngest is a proponent of the 'ask the Universe and you shall receive' law of attraction blabidyblahblahblah (his terminology). I am not. I used to be until I understood what it really was. What it IS NOT is passive, and that's the way it has always been presented. Passive, like dropping to one's knees and praying to the dead gods for a miracle (though this does work in the rarest of cases). Asking the Universe is about solidifying the desire, putting it into your head, and then working on it. It may not seem like working toward a goal; to some, it may seem passive, because once that thought is in your head, you begin to 'attract' what you desire because you subconsciously follow the path toward your goal. Or something like that. I'm not subconsciously following a path, I'm fully awake and working on what I want every. Single. Day. I just hope that there's a little Universal magic in there to help me along, because what is life without a little magic?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

First Run of White Sage Hydrosol

The first run of the new community still was a partial failure -- partial in that I may have ruined the 'heads' (if they're called that in hydro/oil distillation) by boiling the pot too hot, and ending up with an initial two-quart jar of yellowish hydrosol with a nice layer of essential oil on top -- or that could just be a result of filling the pot too full. There is quite a learning curve here as I'm distilling higher volume at one time than I ever have before. A 2L copper stove top pot behaves nothing like a 30L steel pot. I caught some crap from a few old-time distillers of hydrosols who said my hydrosol wouldn't be good distilled in steel -- I beg to differ, though, as one of the very best distillers in the USA uses steel and her distillations are top drawer and highly sought after. I compensated not having a solid copper pot by inserting my freshly scrubbed 2L copper retort right into the pot of the steel still. Plus the column on the steel pot is solid copper. There's copper touching the end product at every turn!

Anyway, I am a little bit disappointed with some aspects of this first run, but I'm pleased with others. This is something I'm going to have practice using to work out all of the kinks.

Some of the yellowish oil-drenched heads of this distillation session went into a batch of soap in which only the hydrosol and 4 milliliters of freshly distilled white sage essential oil was used. It is out of this world fragrant, and frankly, making me a bit sick of smelling white sage! Upside? There isn't an evil spirit within a mile of this house ~ ha! Downside? It does nothing to repel the nosy people living in this house from offering their unwarranted and unwanted opinions pertaining to the art of distillation. As if watching Moonshiners twice has made them an expert in the field of hydrosol distillation.

The soap is pretty. I used more of that luscious mica -- blue this time -- to color the soap, and I'm calling it Sky. Something about white sage that really opens things up. It makes one feel relaxed, as if pressure has been lifted, and it has an airiness to it. Some of its chemical constituents include 1,8-cineole, camphor, B-pinene, a-pinene, some weird symbol-carene, camphene, limonene, myrcene, terpinolene, and borneol. It's the cineole that's responsible for alleviating symptoms of asthma and other respiratory things, like coughing and mucus build-up. Bleh. The oil displays some anti-inflammatory action, so I'm thinking maybe using some oil in a chest rub? The soap should do well for folks with breathing problems, especially during the flu season. A nice steamy shower and a bar of stinky white sage soap? Could be the beginning of a nice day.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Six Soaps

Just finished up a new batch of sea green kelp and aloe vera soap with bergamot petitgrain, peppermint, and lemon.

Soap News

After receiving a shipment of natural soap pigments from the soap making supply store, I started up a batch of soap in pretty molds. The soap making supply company included a half ounce sample of pumpkin maple fragrance oil in the package, so I used it. In the pretty molded soap. I also used a little bit of lavender pigment. These are giveaway soaps; practice soaps to see how the color works since I've never used these type of colorants before. I learned something, so it was worth it, and I have 10 really pretty molded lilac and purple pumpkin maple scented soaps to give to the kids. I know. The scent and the color don't exactly jibe, but again, it was experimental and I figured something out about the colorant I didn't know before, so . . .

I'm anxious to begin the butters and balms this season, however, a check of the weather for the next 10 days has set the production back. It's supposed to be 102F this weekend, not conducive to butter making AT ALL. Balms can withstand temps that high, and there are a few of those on the list -- mostly perfumed balms rather than the recent medicinal balms I've been making lately. So the soap production will probably continue for a few more weeks before I realize I'm flush with soap for the season.

Right now in the Etsy shop there are five soaps ~ Mystic Marigold, LEAF Natural Soap, Double Butter Rosemary, Root Natural Handmade Soap, and Petal Natural Handmade Soap. Of these, Root, Petal, Double Butter Rosemary, and Mystic Marigold are my favs. Leaf leaves me -- meh. I think it's because it is a hot process soap and the texture throws me off. I was excited to be making hot process soap when I began to work with them, but I just can't get past the way it feels. Plus it can be a little bit drying. I think I'll stick with cold process from here on out. It suits my slow, ass-dragging, procrastinating personality. Of my favorites, oddly enough, Petal is my favorite. Yes, me, the ylang-ylang hating perfumer loves the way Petal, ylang-ylang rich, smells mixed with marigold and cedarwood and patchouli and whatnot. It smells so nice, in fact, that I can't stop sniffing the bars.

Double Butter Rosemary



Mystic Marigold


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Bug Begins School

I can always tell based on the lack of attention (sounds all me-me-me, doesn't it?) the Etsy shop receives when a 'holi-day' or another far-reaching event is occurring. Recently, sales have slumped, views on the site have dipped, and before I remembered it's BACK TO SCHOOL season, I thought, once again, I had lost my mojo. I remember this now. There's nothing else like it. The mad scramble to get the t's crossed and the i's dotted, the digging from the family archives immunization cards and birth certificates, the scurry and rush and fake sales blanketed in ads professing time is running out, hurry and buy these jeans or whathaveyou's before they're all gone and we pretend they will become more expensive. It's all must-have backpacks and markers and pens and pencils -- and back to school night where you and your children get to meet their teacher for the first time, where a list of have-to-buy's are provided (one year a request for spare underwear was on the list), and you begin to see the fear and excitement in your child's eyes when they realize this is really real.

Bug starts school next Monday. Tonight is back to school night and Bug's mum is on the verge of tears because of it. Her wee Bug is going to school. In conversations over the past few weeks, Bug has indicated the extent of her knowledge about school seems to be focused on dress code. Every time I'd hold up clothes at the store for her to approve, she'd simply say, "There's a dress code," without actually stating what that meant. She doesn't know what codes are outlined within the mysterious dress code, she just knows that they exist. Aside from that, she seems completely ambivalent to the fact that she's going to go to school from now on, five days a week, week after week, until holidays and summer vacation release her from the drudgery. She's not excited; she's not sad. She's just accepting. Gotta go. And there's a dress code.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Incense & Soap

Thurifera on the barbie

Every morning I burn frankincense. It begins moments after I roll out of bed, between setting up the percolator and flipping on the computer. One day there will be sacra burning, the next a thurifera. Of the sacras there is often a rotation of green first, then white, then red (Nar). On days when the stress promises to bust down the door, the elongota joins the sacra. My nose is just beginning to discern differences between these frankincense resins when burning. What makes it difficult is that the current stress level is really up there -- like stratospherically up there, and that makes it hard to concentrate on the nuance of scent. There are many factors contributing to the stress, all of which are mostly out of my control. However, I do what I can do in the form of burning incense to reduce the stress so that peaceful and encouraging thoughts can manifest. Working helps a lot too. Keeping myself immersed in the building of beautiful scented things at least occupies my mind enough that I can breathe. The past 18 months has been hell in terms of stress. I've discovered lately that I unintentionally hold my breath when I'm stressed, which results in more stress, and exhaustion, and light-headedness, and brain fog. I also discovered that when I'm this stressed out, I don't move much, as if moving will draw attention to my worries and will result in the worries becoming a reality. It's nuts, I know. Today I'm getting out. There are some errands to run, but there's also some resin to hunt down. I think I will weather the strange looks and nosy behavior of the camp manager who stalks the day use area at the campground up the road. The last time I went up there to gather resin, this guy asked three times if I wanted to rent a camp space while I was clearly parked in the day use area next to the toilets enjoying the outdoors. I'm going to assume the reason he acted the way he did is because the campground is close to town (I live in a semi-rural area) and easily accessible to people going in and out of the campground for nefarious purposes. Even this scenario, this hunting for resin, brings its own forms of stress! 


 Yesterday was a fairly productive day. I kneaded the new Kyphi dough and spread it out to dry more. I made bread. And a batch of soap. 

New soap: Root, y'know, to go with Leaf, soon to be (possibly) joined by Fruit, Petal, Resin, Seed, and Wood. Who knows? This may be as far as this theme goes. Root is made with some of my favorite essential oils -- vetyver, patchouli, cedarwood, mushroom, choya.

I recently ordered soap colorants -- natural soap colorants -- to jazz up the soap. I have this peacock color scheme going on in my head that I'd like to add to a sweet and refreshing soap. I make nice soap, but let's face it, they aren't always aesthetically appealing and a good many people (all people?) go for the look of a thing before they fall for the scent.

Monday, August 15, 2016

New Electric Incense Burner

I'm burning resins and compounded incense. I'm blissed out. More later.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

New Lotus Kyphi

A few years back I presented a Pink Lotus Kyphi to the world and it was gobbled up like plum pudding at Christmas. In September I will be presenting a new lotus Kyphi, this time in blue. This new Kyphi includes blue lotus petals and blue lotus resin, neither of which carries much impact olfactorily, but packs quite the psychoactive punch. This is meant to be an oracle's incense, something burned before spreading the Tarot or scrying or reading the bones. Or if they just want to take a nice nap. So far it's smelling pretty good too. There is a fair amount of turmeric and saffron in this Kyphi, lots of frankincense Serrata and a handful of Thurifera. 

The landscape of Kyphi is almost always the same no matter what it contains. One batch of Kyphi 'glue' looks much like another and doesn't become itself, an individual, until it is finished. This one will, I believe, sport a lovely bright yellow skin when done. Pink Lotus Kyphi was dark burgundy when done, and Red Kyphi was the color of brick. New lotus Kyphi will be yellow-brown with strands of orange and flecks of red.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Incense Dreams

So I'm organizing the shelves in the new studio space with the addition of some nifty dollar store baskets to separate the incense and perfumery goods when 'lo and behold I find two full jars of Lavender Kyphi Supreme tucked back on a top shelf in the HP closet. Two. Full. Jars. Two. And now that they're two plus years old and well 'fermented', they smell out of this world amazing. So amazing, in fact, that a few pieces are going on the burner to honor the goddess. The melty piece of Nar I placed on the burner earlier this morning will have to scooch over to make room for this gorgeous LKS incense. I've been religiously (see that? I wrote 'religiously') burning the frankincense resins every morning first thing, before coffee is made, before the computer is fired up, and before packages are prepared, and I feel a shift of sorts, a euphoria. It could be nothing other than the physiological effect of smelling frankincense, but I feel like my day is brighter and less stressful when I do.
Lavender Kyphi Supreme c. 2014 ~ now in the shop!

All night last night I dreamed of incense. Pastilles and Kyphi and sticks and beautiful cones. One after another, I worked those incense batches throughout the night (dream) and lamented the late arrival of that electric incense burner. I woke to the thought that in this case, my practice of determined patience was hokum. Instant gratification is what I want! Deliver that stinkin' burner already, mail person, I got some ritual stuff to do!

The incense dreams were strange. I haven't had dreams of work like that in years. I usually have those kinds of dreams when I start a new j-o-b where I'm freaking out over procedure and whether I'm doing the work correctly, and if my boss likes me. I've rarely experienced dreams of this urgency relating to my business. Back when I first began making soap in the 90's I'd have soap dreams, but they weren't like these incense dreams. The soap dreams were about cutting soap or finding neat molds. The incense dreams last night were frenetic, steeped in urgency  -- I dreamt of formulations and getting angry that the ideas I was coming up with were old and tired; I dreamt of rolling out incense in a big shop where bags of raw materials were laying all around.  I dreamt of huge burlap bags of frankincense from all over the world -- rare stuff like the hard-to-find Socotra types; the red and the green and the bone white sacras, and myrrh sweet as sugar. The whole time I was dreaming in incense, it felt busy. Like there was a deadline. Perhaps it was a subconscious nudge (smack in the face, more like it) to get back to work finishing what I've started in the studio.  It was agitating and inspiring.

Back to the grind (literally).


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