The Green Mantle

Glendalough, Ireland. 2011.

Wear this cloak of scent when your head is in the stars and you wish to come back to earth.

The Green Mantle, another of the four Arabesque Aromas perfumes designed with the theme of emotional well-being in mind, is a pure botanical perfume, touched by the scent of damp leaves, mossy trees, patchouli, and earth.

A sample can be ordered here

Shamrock photograph from my travels in Ireland, May 2011, copyright Kirsten Schilling.


“The Heart Illumined”

Arabesque’s “The Heart Illumined” botanical perfume is so-named after a journal entry I found, written when I was driving across Ireland on my first and fateful visit, May 2002.

Driving on Irish Country Roads, 2002.

“You can’t see my handwriting, but here it is shaky from driving on narrow country roads. And there is a map of Ireland folded beneath my notebook, because today I am the navigator.

We’re on the Ring of Kerry, just leaving Dingle… While up at some of the highest and most ecstatic points, looking down at the misty expanses of green unfolding around us, it occurred to me that my heart has healed on this journey, somewhere along the way… ”

“The Heart Illumined,” another of the four Arabesque Aromas perfumes designed with the theme of emotional well-being in mind, is a botanical perfume containing Australian Emerald Cypress, a naturally bright, emerald green essential oil. A fresh, slightly earthy unisex perfume with notes of Black Pepper, Bergamot and Geranium, “The Heart Illumined” also contains a sprinkling of Peridot semi-precious stones that rest at the bottom of the bottle.


On Holy Wells & Sacred Water

“Lakes and rivers were seen as ways in which prayers could be carried to the deities. The waters were sacred messengers. Whereas lakes and rivers pour your supplications away and therefore calmed the gods or goddesses, or alerted them to your problem, the benefits of wells are usually depicted as being given freely to all.”

~from The Spiritual Traveler by Palmer & Palmer

Kirsten at the Christian Brigid's Well, Kildare, Ireland. 2002.

To me, holy wells represent unconditional purity and sanctity, renewal, blessing and recovery. From illness. From the past…  From whatever. I’m a big believer in ‘the fresh start’ and the ‘new beginning.’

I think this is because the symbolism of the goddess – and Saint – Brigid is sacred and beautiful to me, and I take it very personally. An ancient Celtic fire goddess, later turned saint by the early Irish Catholic church, both goddess and Saint Brigid are patrons of light, fire, poetry, brides, purification, renewal and holy wells.

Brigid’s time of year is early February, when snowdrops, the first flowers of spring, begin to appear, pushing their heads through the snow and the dark of late winter. There are many celebrations that exist in different guises, yet similar in essence, with which to honor Her. For instance, the medieval holiday of Candlemas, celebrated February 2nd, first inspired me to create the Brigid’s candle in 2001.

For roughly the past ten years, I’ve made candles in my kitchen during this holiday, honoring light and renewal, and creating this tool for others to do the same. I add drops of the holy well water to the wax as it is melting for an extra ‘benediction.’

Arabesque Aroma's Brigid's Candle

The word Candlemas comes from the Latin word festa candelarum, the festival of candles, and it isn’t at all a coincidence that it falls on the Celtic fire celebration of Brigid, celebrated sundown February 1st to sundown February 2 and the feast day of Brigid the saint, February 1st.

The ancient, pre-Christian Brigid's Well, Kildare, Ireland 2006

Both the Goddess and the Saint Brigid also have a connection with smithcraft.

Which sounds rather random and odd, if one does not know that smithcraft and metalwork was a highly revered and honorable craft in the North and Hiberno-Saxon (ancient Irish) art movement of the 6th – 9th centuries, akin to magic. (When our goddess became Saint Brigit, the patron saint of smithcraft, brides, poetry and purification, she was said to have lived in Kildare, Ireland in the 5th century. And the first Vitae Brigitae, or Life of Brigid, was written c. 650 AD.)

In the Hiberno-Saxon art movement metalwork, particularly where the use of gold is concerned, revealed the concern with the transmutation of the soul into something higher, better, illuminated and purified. For the above reasons, I find it difficult to entirely separate Brigid’s array of symbolism from the ancient art of alchemy.

courtesy of Chantal Simon

Roman Baths, Bath, England, 2008. Photograph courtesy of Chantal Simon.

Holy Wells such as the ones in Kildare, Ireland, the Roman ones in Bath, or the Chalice Well in Glastonbury, England, are visited by thousands of pilgrims each year who bring with them their hopes and prayers of transmutation, purity and renewal.

Pilgrim's prayers and offerings, tied to a Blackthorn just outside the Chalice Well at Glastonbury, Somerset, England. December, 2008.