My 2012 Midwinter Perfumes “The Holly, Moss and Ivy” & “The Star Seller”

“The Holly, Moss and Ivy” takes it name from the flora surrounding my exciting, fragrant new home. It is the first botanical perfume I created since my back-to-nature move to a little log cabin in northern California. My new home is a real respite after spending so many years in Los Angeles…

I think the first time I became clearly aware that I needed to move closer to nature happened when I joined the Folk Reveries Etsy team.  I thought their team description was so inspiring and beautiful, though it also made my heart ache a little, realizing that while Some of it was true for me – it wasn’t Entirely true for me. And I wanted it to be!

“Welcome to folk reveries! Here are those who want to live among the woods

beneath the stars,

who believe and are inspired by folktales and dreams, the natural world

and the magic that belongs to it,

fauna and flora with mysteries and stories to be found.”

It’s been a somewhat challenging year. But finally, here I am. A botanical perfumer who can honestly say she lives in the woods, beneath the stars!

It never gets old, pulling into my forest-y driveway at nighttime and just looking up, at the stars. The absolutely endless stars…

Which brings me to my next perfume, inspired by the Donovan song, The Seller of Stars.

I am not sure who this magical Seller of Stars is, exactly, but I suspect he does a lot of work here in the skies of Nevada County, California!

My new midwinter botanical perfume The Star Seller smells predominately of Jasmine. I chose a star-shaped flower for a star-inspired theme.

The Star Seller also contains Sandalwood and a trace of Nutmeg, giving it a cozy, winter-y skies, woodsmoke undertone. I was particularly inspired by these beautiful, ethereal lyrics.

“Wings he weaves for the fairies,
Gold of the sun you can buy
And silver flowers of frost and dew,
Rainbows out of the sky.
And delicate morning mist he sells
And pretty new songs for whispering shells.”

~Donovan, lyrics from The Seller of Stars

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The Mary Garden

Madonna in the Rose Bower, 1448, by Stephan Lochner

A lovely, lingering afternoon spent at the Musee national du Moyen Age, Cluny, in Paris, 2006, originally piqued my interest in the medieval Mary gardens. The concept of the Virgin Mary as the Hortus conclusus, or enclosed garden, originated with the beautiful Song of Solomon 4:12, in Latin:

Hortus conclusus soror mea, sponsa, hortus conclusus, fons signatus.

A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up.

“The flowers planted in a Mary garden all have a symbolic meaning, representing the virtues of the Blessed Virgin. The rose, the most frequently shown, symbolizes the Virgin herself, the Queen of Heaven. It should be emphasized that the favor granted the rose for its beauty is a constant factor in Western European culture and the emblematic flower of Venus passed with no apparent difficulty from pagan Antiquity to the Christian Middle Ages. The chaplets, wreaths and garlands of roses which were attributes of Venus, Bacchus, Cupid and the Graces were associated with the worship of idols rejected by Christianity. However, like many ancient religious practices which would have been difficult to eradicate, the Church preferred to maintain the outward display of such traditions while giving them new meaning.” from The Medieval Garden written and published by the Musee national du Moyen Age, Thermes hotel de Cluny, Paris, France.

Visiting the Mary Garden inspired me to design a series of candles based on medieval gardens. The Mary Garden is one of three, that can be purchased individually or as a set, along with The Love and Pleasure Garden, and The Simplers Garden.

A gently scented beeswax candle for anyone who needs mothering and nurturing, the Mary Garden is a sacred candle. Gently perfumed with precious Rose and Jasmine essential oil, it contains botanicals that would traditionally be found in a Mary Garden. Rose and violet petals, handmade flower essences and herbaceous floral waters, and a sprinkling of holy well water from pre-Christian and Christian wells of Ireland, France and England.

Light to honor the feminine, or Mother Earth, Herself.

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