Friday, January 27, 2017

The Apothecary Farm

The work at the farm has begun with pruning. I began the prune on the apricot trees because apparently, they bloom out in February, and they were in dire need of some thinning. Now, mind you, I've never pruned a tree in my life, so I did what every modern human with a computer does, I YouTubed the process. In two hours I pruned something like eight trees? And I'm paying for it now. My arms are sore, my hands are killing me, and they're covered in pinch marks, scratches, scrapes, and scabs. But that is to be expected. I also planted some bulbs -- late, I know -- for next year. They may surprise me and pop up in a month or so anyway -- we'll have to wait and see. If so, the enfleurage class is a go.

There are two more rows of pit fruit trees to prune before that part of the work is done. In the meantime, we'll be preparing the shop for its official opening in mid- to late-February, and the "Grand Opening" on March 12th. Some of the crew at the farm are also going to be working on a class space for the farm classes, and a workshop to concoct all the butters, balms, and salves made from the medicinals grown on the farm. Plus we'll be distilling a lot of what grows there too. Like lavender, and white sage.

In addition to the medicinal plants grown on the farm, we're also putting in vegetables. Tomatoes, peppers, carrots, beets, maybe a few parsnips as well. Basically, we're going to grow a pantry and medicine cabinet out there.

The farm finally has an official name. The Apothecary Farm. It just makes sense.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


All that glitters might just be snow.

Every year for the past few years, we've taken a trip up to the mountains for one of the granddaughter's birthdays. We rent a cabin, make a big fire in the fireplace, and spend some time shoving kids down hills on sleds. This year was no different, with one exception -- there was significant snow up there this year. And then there was sleet, rain, soft powdery snow, and snow like little rocks. The power went out in the cabin, one of the two vehicles we took up had to be towed out, and a pretty big chunk of time went to digging things out of snow, like shovels, and cars, and drinks hidden in snow banks. One thing I love best about the snow, and particularly while it's actively snowing, is the quiet. There's nothing ever so peaceful as a world blanketed in snow, that is, unless you need to be somewhere. There was a moment, in the dark, when the soft yellow light from the cabin window shone down on the mound of snow on the back deck, that the snow glittered and sparkled, like tiny diamonds. It was great up there, and I didn't take a single picture.

I had hoped while up there I'd be able to do a bit of wild harvesting, but the depth of the snow was a huge deterrent, and the fact that I didn't have much in the way of snow gear. I was also a bit disheartened to see the wee cabin surrounded by dead pine trees, victims of both the drought and beetle blight. Enough trees are dead and brown up there that they will keep the local logging industry alive for at least another five or six years. And the landscape won't ever be the same, at least not in my lifetime.

The Plum Palace is coming along beautifully. Despite the strings of days of rain we've been having here lately, the foundation has been laid, and the walls of the ground floor put in. It's funny how the bare earth with trenches and plumbing poking out of the ground looks so small, and then when the foundation and walls have been put up, suddenly the square footage appears. We've picked out a dwarf manzanita to put in the front of the house because of it's showy spring flowers and deliciously maroon colored bark. The bark of the tree will match the color of the shutters on the Plum Palace.

Yesterday, I spent some time with the oldest grandchild. She's a dancer, an accomplished artist, a singer, actor, and she carries a 3.8 GPA and takes college courses while still a junior in high school. She's one little determined bundle of woman. Her art is fabulous, mostly drawings, but she's moving toward painting and hopes to work with watercolors. I've commissioned some art from her for the new house. Crows and still life drawings of things she finds interesting. I can't wait to see what she comes up with.

I haven't worked on the new incense in a couple of days, but I have been burning a lot lately. Right now I have some of my reserve stash of Amber Rose warming in the heater, and it smells amazing, if I do say so myself (and I do). The new incense, after allowing it to meld for a few days, smells of myrrh and roses. I like it, but I do plan to sweeten it up a bit with some sandalwood, and then it might be done and ready to form. Even though it's "just incense", it still needs time to mature, time to show the incenseur which direction it plans on moving toward. When this newest batch was first formulated, it leaned toward rose, and now it's leaning heavily toward myrrh. My intention is to get it done this week, but like I said, it needs time to reveal itself. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Dragon Tears

The next new incense stick/cone favors roses and sandalwood and myrrh. It is a work in progress and may morph in small ways over the next few days. It feels good to be back at work.

I've been burning a lot of incense lately. As I've said in the past, it's my Valium. Today I'm burning Dragon Tears from Mermade Magickal Arts, and it is amazing. The ingredients are dragon's blood resins and Omani frankincense, and the scent is out of this world. Neither dragon's blood nor frankincense, but an intoxicating blend of spicy hot temple incense. It speaks to the quality of the raw materials used, and the artful hand of the creator. Oddly enough, it reminds me of gourmet cayenne chocolate truffles! Sweet, spicy, chocolatey. Strangely beautiful. It requires low to medium heat on the electric incense burner, otherwise, it tends to go acrid and burnt smelling (as dragon's blood usually does).

Monday, January 16, 2017

Reopening the Etsy Shop

A few days back I reopened the Etsy shop with the few items I was able to find. I haven't a clue where the other shop boxes are at the moment, and it's really frustrating. My stock is nearly cut in half, which means only one thing. I'd better get cracking on new stuff.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Incense Box Exchange

Remember that? Back in September, I received a box full to the top with handmade incense from incenseurs around the world. I poked around in it a bit when it was first received, burned some lovely Kyphi from Australia, and then took it to the incense class on the 5th of November last year to share. Since then, it's been packed away in the shop stuff -- until last night. I'd forgotten how much there is in this box.

Dirty Violets by Lisa Woodward is a granular incense, not powdered, not formed, but loose and lumpy and interesting looking. From the tin, it smells agrestic, hay-like, rooty and sweet. Upon burning on an electric heater set to medium, it becomes more resinous and cedar-like, with sweet, tender, powdery notes of orris/violet.

This morning I pulled another tin from the bag of Lisa's goods and broke off a few pieces of Juniper Rose Kyphi and tucked them into the electric heater. The rose is very soft, in the mind's eye, it is pink and light, like a pillowy cloud. There's also a sweet, juicy fruit note with a hint of juniper. It reminds me of spring gardens. It's a lulling, narcotic kind of incense whose scent slowly envelopes the room. Very calming, very relaxing.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Bulbs & Incense & Fairs

Now that I'm back in the valley, mobile, and with a new perspective, I've decided to work a few crafts' fairs this year. Intermountain Nursery's annual Harvest Art's Festival is definitely one I'm heading to, only this time the wares will be a slight departure from what I've brought in the past. I'm only doing local shows and plan to hand out information about the farm (which still has no name) and shop (which does have a name -- Seasons of Spirit). We also plan on hosting a few craft fairs at the farm this year as well, probably one in the spring (March/April/May), and one in the fall (late October/November). If all goes well, this will be a busy year for the nameless farm, Seasons of Spirit, and The Scented Djinn.

Part of the farm plan was to plant bulbs, but I think it's too late now as the bulbs I have in my little grow bags have already begun to sprout! Next year's bulb crop at the farm will be fab. I'm not sure if planting fresh bulbs now will result in sprouted flowers this spring. The farm already has little bundles of jonquil popping up, and in one of my planters at the Atascadero house, the paperwhites were up in early November. I've got to get those bulb schedules down so there are things to enfleurage throughout the year.

I still haven't gone into the shop to work out those incense formulas that are dancing around in my head. It's either been too cold or too damp or too much babysitting getting in the way. Today, tomorrow, and most of Monday I will be blissfully alone, so I'm thinking later today I'll get to work out there. At least get some of the raw materials ground up. I'm really anxious to get some incense on sticks.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Farewell to Natural Isolates

I no longer use natural isolates. I experimented with them extensively, studied them, wrote about them, made a few perfumes and many, many accords with bits of natural isolates, I even advocated for them in my book Working the Bench II. But in the end, they're just not for me as a long-term solution to my constant exploration of natural perfumery.

Before I moved from the coast back to the valley, I had already made up my mind to give away all of my natural isolates, as well as a few weird things I received -- a couple of synthetic whoozits that I never used, and acetic acid, which I have no earthly idea what it could be used for. All that's left to do is ship them to their new, and perhaps by now, anxious owner.

I thought I'd feel a little bit of separation anxiety giving them away. I'm finding there's very little emotion involved. Not at all like how I might feel giving away an ounce of my own hand made hyacinth extract, or a bottle of 15-year-old Sri Lankan patchouli oil, or a bag of Indian sandalwood chips.

I don't want to use natural isolates anymore, partly because I could never really get a firm grasp on them, the wily buggers, and because I recently made an oath not to. I'm also committing to the use of more organic and home distilled oils, more handmade extracts from enfleurage, and just really digging back into naturals. Reigniting the flame, as it were.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Incense Sticks 2017

New incense is on the weekend agenda. While plowing through boxes of shop stuff yesterday, I found a huge as yet unopened box with the word 'incense' on it. I had ignored this box on previous forays into box land because I assumed it was something else -- a big box of incense sticks from a company that no longer sells incense (because they found out their supplier was using synthetics in one of the four 'flavors' when they weren't supposed to be using synthetics at all) -- so imagine my joy when I found the box contained incense raw materials! Organic rose buds, organic vetyver roots, a big bag of powdered patchouli leaf, and dozens of other goodies. It's on folks. What else can I do on these long rainy days and nights? Watch Netflix series' back to back for 72 hours straight? Well, I guess I could. I'm not going to, though.

I also learned over my protracted break from walking the incense/perfume path that the nifty heavy-duty spice grinder I had my heart set on purchasing in the spring isn't so nifty after all. Basically, it's a waste of money.  So I'll stick with my thrift shop coffee grinders at $3 a pop and replace them every year. For the price of that heavy-duty grinder, I can go on like this with the thrift shop stuff for about 30 years. No kidding.

It's been raining so much these past few weeks. More rain than California's seen in years. Our reservoirs are at full capacity, the canals are full, which is rare this time of year, creeks that haven't seen water (Fresno River) in decades have breached their banks, and now lately the snowpack is building up again. We had a nice snowpack in the mid- to lower Sierra Nevada mountain range until the Pineapple Express came through last week dumping two inches of rain in the valley and melting tons of snow. Now we've got a regular winter storm coming through and all that snow is back, and more.  There's a family trip to the snow planned for two weeks from now, an annual trek for a beloved grand baby's birthday, and we're getting a little worried that there may be too much snow. Last week's warm rainfall washed out a few of the roads up where we're heading, and now that snow is falling up there again, we're concerned the roads won't be repaired in time. It's not the end of the world, of course. Just a nuisance. We desperately need the water, so I'm not complaining.

New Natural Perfumery Course at the Natural Perfume Academy Begins March 2017

MARCH 2017

The Natural Perfume Academy announces the new Natural Perfumery Course 
for Spring of 2017

for enrollment 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Farm and Class Schedule Plans

There's so much more work to do on the farm, but what I haven't talked much about is the shop out there. It's in an old 1950's trailer with all the original woodwork, sink, stove and fixtures. It is so cute, and well on its way to becoming cuter yet. The plan is to sell live plants, cut flowers and herbs, loofah, and pit fruit in season. There's also going to be a wee bookstore, and a curio apothecary with dried herbs and resins and wildcrafted stuff, as well as incense, soap, salves, balms, and apothecary medicinals. Plus a glass room for classes throughout the year. We have three classes planned thus far and we will be solidifying the 2017 class schedule by the end of February.

All we need now is a name for the farm.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Luck & Magic

I went to the farm and picked up all of the incense goods that I had left from the class in November. They're in the studio/garage and ready to be put to work, and I can hardly wait. I'll have a few days to myself this weekend to work out there, and I've got some new stuff to work with, and coming very soon is a shipment of fir balsam needles for a new Kyphi incense. I also dug up bottles of tinctures -- a couple bottles of tea tinctures, really good stuff, emerald green and cocoa colored tinctures. They will be perfect for the alcohol stage of a lovely gritty, earthy incense on the way made with Hawai'ian sandalwood powder and black Omani sacra resin. There's also a rose petal incense being considered. The plan is to put all but the Kyphi on sticks. More of those two-hour sticks, with luck and a little bit of magic.

Once things get moving, more perfume will be introduced. Nothing with isolates. I think I'm done trying to convince myself they're something I want to work with.

Bergamot Babies

Last year around this time I received two boxes, roughly 20 pounds, of bergamot oranges for processing into incense and perfume. I made a few jars of bergamot enfleurage, which turned out beautifully. The enfleurage smells great on its own and would make a lovely enhancing note for a delicate floral solid perfume. I also processed lots of peel for later distillation and use in incense. Anyway, I planted a few seeds -- well, not just a 'few' -- dozens. Of those dozens, four sprouted. Of those four, three are stable and getting healthier by the day. However, just recently I noticed that their wee leaves were turning a bit yellowish, and two of the baby bergamots each dropped a leaf, which really freaked me out. So I did an internet search on why that would happen, got some answers, then traveled into the neighborhood where we'll be living in about four months to the local plant nursery there, and spoke with a nice gentleman named Paul who basically backed up everything I'd gotten from the 'net, with a little bit more. Now the babies are properly fed and shrouded in fresh soil made just for citrus trees. I was going to separate them into their own pots, but decided to get them healthier before attempting that feat of detanglement.

This photo was taken before I fed them and gave them citrus dirt. I'm sure there are simpler ways to procure bergamot orange trees, as Paul the nurseryman explained growing them from seed isn't easy, but I had plenty of seeds, and the mad scientist in me was hopping up and down demanding I try to grow them. We shall see how they fare in their second year of life.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Influenza and Other Annoying Things

First, I have the flu. Or, rather, the flu has me. Or had me. I think I'm on the downslope now. While it was extremely annoying, and pretty much kept me in and out of bed for the past week, it still was/is not as bad as the flu bug I suffered in January 2013. I thought that one was going to kill me. I even went back to work with it, put in my hours, rode my bike home and dove into bed until the next morning. Anyway, that one isn't this one. This one is relatively mild, and there's no bike riding in the cold involved. Just fuzzy head and general malaise. Enough disinterest to make re-opening the shop a joke at this point.

I went into the temporary shop yesterday with every intention of pulling inventory and setting it right, but once I was in there digging through boxes and cataloging everything, I became overwhelmed. I had this inner dialogue going that sounded a bit like this: I can't -- I just -- I'm not -- this isn't -- oh, my head. So I stopped. Inventory, what bits I got to, are strewn across the work bench, as are newly found bottles of #101, #102, and #201 perfume formulations from 2006. And a bottle of Tilia which never truly saw the light of day. It's one of those things where the perfumes just don't cut it, but throwing them away seems sacrilegious. And there's a lot of juice in those bottles. Bad, bad juice. Age did nothing but strengthen the badness.

I'm conjuring ways of creating something more cohesive with the product line-up at The Scented Djinn. I fear I may not be up to my own expectations in terms of production, but I have to at least try. I feel compelled to work it out. The idea is to create a coffrett of scent which includes perfume, soap, incense, and body care, 100% natural, mostly organic. I know I've tried to do this in the past, but I really need to get my sh*t together and make this happen. I know how to do this, I mean, I've been doing it for nearly 20 years now. It's time for some premium organizational skills. And maybe an investor. So this is one idea that may come to fruition this year.

Another idea (and I've visited this one in the past as well) is offering private perfumery lessons online, with an eye toward creating satellite products like soap and incense and body/skin care. Right now, with this virus floating in my blood, it seems too big a challenge to face. I'll think more about it in a couple of days.

One last thing. Fake news. People, please, for the love of Pete, whoever Pete is to you, fact check! Snopes that crap. Stop swallowing the ickiness hook, line, and sinker. You'll thank me for it.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Frankincense Resin

During the rush and insanity of the holidays, I received a beat-up priority box on my doorstep that contained the most delicious post-distilled frankincense resin of the black Omani type. Two large gallon zip bags full to the top, plus a quart sized bag of Hawai'ian sandalwood chips, which smell even more amazing than the previously gifted bag of Hawai'ian sandalwood, arrived with a lovely note from the seller, and a whole mind's full of incense possibilities. I had to set them aside, along with some juicy Madagascar vanilla beans from another dealer, and a wee bag of sweet Soqotran frankincense that arrived during the hubbub. Now I'm ready to dig in.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

On the Farm

I have not been out to the garage/temporary shop since the PsTB pulled everything out and set it on a workbench for me. I was down all day yesterday in bed with a headache and fever, something I picked up from another family member or while out shopping over the holidays. Not exactly the kind of 'gift' I wanted to herald in the new year with, but what the hey. It happens. I'm better today since I slept at least 40 of the past 48 hours away. I am dosing up on C and green tea and burning frankincense resin. My bedroom smells like a sacred temple with a hint of cough drop. The crazy dreams continue. It all makes for a very interesting sick bed experience.

I went out to plant on the farm last week. We got cold-weather goods in the dirt -- a dozen cabbage, some broccoli, and sweet onions. We also planted sweet grass, vanilla grass, loofah seeds, green beans, lettuces, and tons of flowers. I tore out all of last season's tomato plants that were tangled in tomato cages -- about 24 of them in total. It was California cold (somewhere in the 50's) so we set up the chiminea to warm up between planting rounds. It was so good getting outside and getting a little bit dirty and sweaty. We still need to work on getting a row of blighted nectarine trees out of the ground and prune the rest of the trees in the orchard. It's going to take a while, but we're planning on getting that wee farm in ship shape for spring planting and beyond.

Good things are coming in terms of business and production this year. There is so much potential, we just need to grab a hold of it.

Next time I'm out at the farm, I'll take some pictures to share here. And then later when things get going and sprout up and bloom, I'll take more pictures. It's going to be good.

Monday, January 02, 2017


It's probably an understatement when I say that Kyphi, the process of building Kyphi, waiting on Kyphi’s resurrection, and burning Kyphi has cracked something open in me and allowed me to see that aromatics in their rawest form have a spiritual face, one that vastly contributes to the creation of the objects, and go far beyond the beautiful scents they impart. This is why I was inspired to write the Kyphi booklet (Kyphi: Magic & Art, Creating the Breath of the Gods), as a means of expressing (perhaps poorly) the importance of the spiritual parts of Kyphi making as opposed to simply concocting a materials' authentic re-creation of Kyphi (not that using authentic materials isn't important).

Some of you may be wondering why I capitalize the word 'Kyphi'. The short answer is that to me Kyphi is an entity, a being, which makes it a proper noun, thus the capitalization. The connection for me was made early on in my research, and evolved between the act of my building Kyphi and the historical and mythological act of a goddess (Isis) re-building and re-animating her king (Osiris), therefore, creating Kyphi is a rite of resurrection.

Kyphi is a being resurrected

I think if approached this way, all manner of art is elevated and becomes more than its individual parts. All incense, then, can be made with the same reverence, and perhaps more.

"I am all that hath been, and is, and shall be; and my veil no mortal has hitherto raised." Shrine of Minerva (Isis), Plutarch's Morals: Theosophical Essays on Osiris and Isis

Religious and Spiritual Applications

'I am not simply a human being,
I am a human becoming.' Samuel Avital

As we know, according to the inscriptions on the walls of the Edfu Temple, Kyphi was the final temple offering of the day (every day), burnt at dusk and into the night. Burning in the evening, as people (priests/priestesses/seers/oracles/royals) were going to bed, may have been the catalyst for achieving transcendence or visions or prophecy -- through dreams. Kyphi was known to have narcotizing abilities, and the ability to help manifest prophecy, and was perhaps used as a bridge (through dreams) to 'speak' to the gods.

These narcotizing effects were probably a result of the ingredients used in Kyphi (some speculate cannabis was a component) in much the same way as aromatherapy can be used to calm and relieve agitation and nervousness through scent. But there is a belief, too, that the reverence applied to the creation of Kyphi is of equal or greater importance than what the raw materials alone provide to create scent and smoke.

According to the Osiris and Isis mythology as it relates to Kyphi, the act of making Kyphi is a re-creation of Isis' resurrection of Osiris. Some accounts claim Osiris was cut into 16 pieces, other accounts claim 14; then 12 days for Isis to locate and resurrect him. Since nearly all accounting of Kyphi (writings, etc.) are from Greek era texts and not first-hand accounts, this is entirely 'informed' speculation as to what the ancient Egyptian priests did do when making Kyphi.

However, one cannot entirely discount the act of sacrament that is the creation of Kyphi. In much the same way as water is blessed by priests, Kyphi can be blessed by the hand of its maker(s) to become the most worthy offering.

Singing ~ Prayers ~ Music

Vibration has been used for years in all areas of life to raise the energy of an object, or the general atmosphere around us. Monks use humming tones to raise the spiritual vibration of their temples, some employing 'singing bowls', another source of vibration. Aboriginal tribes the world over have used bullroarers, a piece of wood attached to a leather strap that is then swung in a circle over the callers head (like a lasso), whose vibration in the air creates a low (or sometimes high) groaning hum that is meant to call the gods. People are aware on a spiritual level that these vibrational tones somehow reach the gods.

Sing to Kyphi. Pray aloud while creating Kyphi. Chant mantras as Kyphi's raw materials are ground to dust -- use vibrational tones to heighten the spiritual aspects of the Kyphi being created.

Egyptian Book of the Dead

The Egyptian Book of the Dead is a compilation of texts written by priests over a span of about one-thousand years, beginning about 4500 years ago. The prayers, incantations, spells, and songs within the texts are meant to be read (or sung) in an attempt to bear the Pharoah safely into the afterlife. A word here about that 'afterlife'. Though the Egyptian Book of the Dead seems like some macabre text specifically for funerary rites, what must be understood is that the direct translation of the title 'Book of the Dead' actually reads 'Book of Coming Forth by Day' or into the light. It's really about safe transcendence from the world of the living into the world of spirit.

One of the better transliterations of the Egyptian Book of the Dead is Awakening Osiris: The Egyptian Book of the Dead by Normandi Ellis (2009). 

From Awakening Osiris: The Egyptian Book of the Dead

Greeting Ra, Ra's words enter the world (creation of the world):

'Creation. Destruction. Power invisible. Glory. The house of heaven is the house of man. No walls stand between heaven and earth. You are no farther from me (god) than from your own hot breath.'

Greeting Osiris:

'Come. I come in the power of Light
I come in the light of Wisdom
I come in the mercy of the Light
The Light has healing in its wings.'

'May I walk on earth radiant, everywhere, complete.

'I remember the names of my ancestors
I speak the names of those I love
I speak their names and they live again
May I be so well-loved and remembered.'

Plutarch's Morals: Theosophical Essays (translated by Charles William King in 1908) Sourced: Sacred Texts . com

XII. The following myth is related in the briefest terms possible, divested of everything unnecessary and superfluous. They tell that the sun having discovered Rhea secretly copulating with Saturn, laid a curse upon her, that she should not bring forth a child in either month or year: that Hermes being in love with the goddess copulated with her; and afterwards playing at counters with the Moon and winning from her the seventieth part of each one of her lights, out of the whole composed five days, the which he added to the three hundred and sixty, which days now the Egyptians call "additional," and keep as the birthdays of the gods; that on the first of these was born Osiris, and that, a voice issued forth with him in the birth, that "the Lord of all is entering into light." But some relate that a certain Pamyle, when drawing water out of the Temple of Jupiter at Thebes, heard a voice ordering her to proclaim with a loud cry, "A great king, beneficent Osiris, is born," and for this cause she nursed Osiris, when Saturn put him into her hands; and also the festival "Pamylia," is celebrated in his honour, resembling in character the phallic processions. On the second was born Aroeris, whom some call Apollo, some the elder Horus. On the third Typhon, neither in due time, nor in the right place, but, breaking through with a blow, he leaped out through his mother's side. On the fourth was Isis born, in very wet places. On the fifth was Nephthys, the same as the "End," and "Venus," whom some call Victory. They say that Osiris was begotten by the Sun, as also Aroeris, by Hermes Isis, by Saturn Typhon and Nephthys; that Osiris and Isis fell in love with each other and copulated under the cloak of darkness in the womb; some say that in this manner was Aroeris begotten, and therefore is called by Egyptians, the elder Horus, by the Greeks, Apollo.

XIII. That when Osiris reigned over the Egyptians he made them reform their destitute and bestial mode of living, showing them the art of cultivation, and giving them laws, and teaching them how to worship the gods. Afterwards he travelled over the whole earth, civilizing it; far from requiring arms, he tamed mankind through persuasion and reasoning joined with song of all kinds and music which he brought over; wherefore he is held by the Greeks to be the same with Bacchus. That Typhon, during his absence, did not rebel, because Isis was on her guard, and able to keep watch upon him vigorously; but after Osiris returned Typhon laid a plot against him, having taken seventy and two men into the conspiracy, and having for helper a queen coming out of Ethiopia, whom they call Asò. That she secretly measured the body of Osiris, and made to the size a handsome and highly ornamented coffer which he carried into the banqueting room. And as they were all delighted with its appearance and admired it; Typhon promised in sport that whoever should lie down within it, and should exactly fit, he would make him a present of the chest; and after the others had tried, one by one, and nobody fitted it; then Osiris got in, and laid himself down, thereupon the conspirators running up shut down the lid, and fastened it with spike-nails from the outside, and poured melted lead over them, and so carried it out to the River, and let it go down down the Tanaite branch into the sea: which branch on that account is hateful, and unlucky for Egyptians to name. These things are said to have been done on the 17th day of the month Athor, when the sun is passing through the Scorpion, Osiris then being in the eight and twentieth year of his reign. Some have it that he had lived, not reigned, such a time.

XIV. The first to discover the mischief were the Pans and Satyrs inhabiting the country round Chemmis and to give intelligence 1 about what had happened, whence the sudden terrors and fears of the multitude are to the present day called "panics." Isis on the news, sheared off one of her tresses, and put on a mourning robe, whence the city, even to the present day has the name of "Copto" (I beat the breast); but others think the name signifies bereavement, from "coptein" "to deprive." As she wandered about everywhere, not knowing what to do, she met no one without speaking to him, nay, even when she fell in with little children, she inquired of them about the coffer; these last chanced to have seen it, and told her the branch of the River through which Typhon's accomplices had let the chest drift into the sea. From this circumstance the Egyptians believe that little children possess the faculty of prophesy, and that especially the future is fore-shown by their cries when they are playing in the temple courts, and calling out whatever it may be. And having discovered that he (Typhon) had fallen in love and copulated with his sister, in ignorance, as Osiris had done with herself, and seeing the proof thereof in the garland of melilote flower which he had left behind him with Nephthys, she sought for the infant (for she had brought it forth at once, through her fear of Typhon), she found it at last with trouble and difficulty, through dogs guiding her to the place. This infant Isis nursed, and he grew up her guard and minister, being denominated Anubis; and said to watch for the gods just as dogs do for men.

XV. Proceeding thence, she learnt by inquiry that the chest had been washed up by the sea at a place called Byblus, and that the surf had gently laid it under an Erica tree. This Erica, a most lovely plant, growing up very large in a very short time had enfolded, embraced, and concealed the coffer within itself. The king of the place being astonished at the size of the plant, and having cut away the clump that concealed the coffer from sight, set the latter up as a pillar to support his roof. They tell how Isis having learnt all this by the divine breath of fame, came to Byblus, and sitting down by the side of a spring all dejected and weeping spoke not a word to any other persons, but saluted and made friends of the maid servants of the queen, by dressing their hair for them, and infusing into their bodies a wonderful perfume out of herself; when the queen saw her maids again, she fell a longing to see the stranger, whose hair and whose body breathed of ambrosial perfume; and so she was sent for, becoming intimate with the queen, was made nurse of her infant. The king's name they say was Malacander, herself some call Astarte, others Sooses, others Neinanoë, who is the same with the Greek Athenais.

XVI. Isis is said to have suckled the child by putting, instead of her nipple, her finger into his mouth, and by night she singed away the mortal parts of his body.  She turned herself into a swallow and flew around the pillar until the queen watched her, and cried out when she saw her child all on fire, and so took away the boy's immortality. Then the goddess, manifesting herself, asked, or the pillar of the roof, and having removed it with the greatest ease, she cut away the Erica that surrounded it. This plant she wrapped up in a linen cloth, pouring perfume over it, and gave it in charge to the king; and to this day the people of Byblus venerate the wood, which is preserved in the temple of Isis. The coffin she clasped in her arms, and wailed so loud that the younger of the king's sons died of fright at it, the elder she took with her and putting the coffer on board a ship, put to sea; but when the river Phaedrus sent forth too rough a gale, she grew wrath, and dried up the stream.

XVII. As soon as ever she obtained privacy, and was left by herself, having opened the coffer and laid her face upon the face of the corpse, she wailed and wept; but when the little boy observed this, and came up quietly from behind to spy, she perceived him, and turning round gave him a dreadful look in her rage, the child could not stand the fright, and died. Some say it was not so, but in the manner just stated he tumbled (in his fright) into the sea, but that he receives honours for the sake of the goddess, for the Maneros, whom the Egyptians sing about at their feasts, is this child. Others say that the boy is called Palaestinos, or Pelusios, and that the city was named after him, having been founded by the goddess. The Maneros that is sung about, they relate, first invented music. But some pretend "Maneros" is not the name of a person, but an expression suited to people drinking and keeping holiday and signifying "May things of the sort come with good luck," for that the Egyptians exclaim this, each time, upon the Maneros being uttered; just as, indeed, the exhibition of a dead man in his coffin carried round at feasts is not a reminder of the mourning for Osiris, as some interpret it, but merely intended to warn one to make use of the present and enjoy it, as very soon they themselves shall be as he, which is why they bring it in to the feast.

XVIII. But when Isis had gone to see her son Horus (who was at nurse in the city Butò), and had put the coffer away, Typhon being out a hunting by moonlight came upon it, and recognizing the corpse, tore it into fourteen pieces, and scattered them abroad. Isis having heard of this, sought after the fragments, passing over the swamps in a papyrus boat; for which cause such as sail in papyrus boats are never injured by the crocodiles, because they either fear or respect the goddess, from this circumstance there are many places called "Tombs of Osiris" all over Egypt, because she, whenever she came upon a fragment of the body, there celebrated a funeral. Some deny this, but say that she made images and gave them to the several cities, giving them as the actual body, in order that they may receive honours from those sailing past, and that if Typhon should get the better of Horus, when searching for the real tomb he may be baffled, from many being so called and pointed out. Of the members of Osiris the only one Isis was unable to find was the genital member, for it had been thrown at first into the River, and lepidotus, phagrus, and oxyrynchus had fed upon it, which kinds of fish the natives scruple to eat above all others, and that Isis in its stead made a model and consecrated it, namely the phallus, in honour whereof the Egyptians hold a festival.

XIX: Afterwards Osiris came from the shades to Horus, and trained and exercised him for war, and then asked him "What he thought the finest thing possible?" and when he replied "to avenge one's father and mother when ill-treated;" he asked him secondly "what he considered the most useful animal to people going to battle?" and when Horus answered, "the horse," Osiris wondered at it and was puzzled why he said the horse instead of the lion. But when Horus explained that the lion indeed was serviceable to one standing in need of aid, but the horse can both save him that flees and also destroy the enemy: Osiris on hearing this was rejoiced at the supposition that Horus had provided himself with horses. And as numbers came over from time to time to the side of Horus, Typhon's concubine, Thucris by name, came also, and a serpent pursuing her was cut to pieces by the friends of Horus; and now in memory of this event, they throw down a rope in the midst of all, and chop it to pieces. The battle lasted for many days, and Horus vanquished, but Isis having received from him Typhon in chains, did not destroy, but on the contrary unbound and let him go free. This Horus did not endure with patience, but he laid hands on his mother, and pushed the crown off her head; whereupon Hermes placed a bull's skull upon her instead of helmet. And when Typhon brought a charge of illegitimacy against Horus, Hermes acting as his counsel, Horus was pronounced legitimate by the gods. After this Typhon was beaten in two other battles; and Isis conceived by Osiris copulating with her after death, and brought forth the prematurely born, and weak in his lower limbs, Harpocrates.


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