NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND
For the seekers of the ancient, unusual and otherworldly. This incense blend is not so much a frgrance as a botanical atmosphere - Scents of the underworld and forest floor pheromes. The real work on Root Magic. The tinder fungus included in each tin also has a wonderful woody smoke scent, that may take you back to your roots.....
The two things I miss most during the winter months are the warm sun on my body and the fragrance of dark soil in my nose. While maintaining the fire spirit in my wood stove fills a part of the emptiness in my soul for the sun, there is nothing to replace the smell of the soil. "Notes from the Underground" is my fragrant song to the soil. An incense that can be used at anytime of the year whenever you want to be connected to the healing fragrance and the feelings the living soil offers.
In the past year, there seems to have been an explosion of research published into how the underground plant networks talk to each other and interact. Roots, fungi and mycelium emit deep, earthy fragrant notes in the air spaces between soil crumbs that appear to have meaning and provoke feelings of spiritual depth. Yet, soil fragrances are uncommon. The most famous is "mitti attar" from India that is made from sun baked clay soil by distillers trying to capture the fragrance of the first rains of the monsoon hitting parched earth. While in Europe there is a history of burning peat moss for heat and pleasure.
Contemplating the pleasures and meaning of the fragrance of soil led me to philosophical thoughts of myths and legends; Persephone, Hekate, First Nations people emerging from the underground. There is something about experiencing the fragrant earth and re-emerging transformed, renewed.
"Notes from the Underground" is made up of earth, roots and mushrooms with a pinch of tobacco for the earth spirits, all held together by Boswellia neglecta, dark organic buckwheat honey and powdered with a melange of roots and fungi.
What's in the blend....
Boswellia neglecta: This particular frankincense looks like black, volcanic rock more a product of the soil than of a tree and unlike a bright, citrus smelling Boswellia it has a deep, dark, earthy and woody fragrance. B. neglecta resin has an intriguing healing function for the trees that produces it. When B. neglecta trees are wounded, they first produce a clear sap which hardens translucent and golden. This light B. neglecta has a more typical Frankincense odor profile. Upon further cuttings the tree creates "Traumatic Resin Ducts". These ducts produce a special the therapeutic dark B. neglecta called "Callus Resin". B. neglecta acts as a bandage and promotes the growth of new wood while acting as antiseptic and protective bandage. Energetically B. neglecta has the same calming, healing and soothing energy that are compatible with the other ingredients of this incense.
All the below were wild harvested or grown in my gardens...
Peat Moss, humus and forest mosses from beneath the trees where the mushrooms I use in this blend grow
Clavulina cinerea/Grey Coral fungus has an appearance like coral and a strong mushroom fragrance when dried. It is considered to be mycorrhizal and grows where there is a build up of leave litter under conifers and deciduous trees.
Amanita muscaria mushroom is the classic shamanic mushroom that has a mycorrhizal relationship with Birch trees. It has a slightly sweet gentle mushroom fragrance when dried.
Acorus calamus/calamus grows along streams, ponds and ditches it has a lovely earthy floral fragrance when heated Energetically it improves the connection between mind and body.
Inula graveollens/Elecampane/elfdock/elfwort root is best known by natural healers as a one of the best respiratory tonics. It is a lovely incense ingredient that I am planning to work more with. Elencampane's fragrance is unusual being earthy, fruity and slightly powdery. In some circles it is added to fires as an offering to elves, faeries and elementals
Chicorium intybus/Chicory root has been documented as being used by the Egyptians. Its nutty, earthy scent helps to remove energy blockages.
Nicotiana rustica/Tabacco, a hint, for the spirit
Also included a bit of ancient incense history - a piece of True Tinder Fungus- Inonotus obliquus
In addition to collecting mushrooms to eat for food or spirit, our ancestors sought out certain mushrooms specifically for creating fires. In 1991 the 5,300 year-old Ötzi the “Ice Man” was discovered in a melting Alpine glacier near the Italian-Austrian border. Among his possessions two mushrooms that grow on birch trees, including a tinder fungus for starting fires and another researchers believe he used for medicinal purposes. It has been my experience that anything growing on a birch trees, including the bark, contains so much oil that it can be used for lighting fires. The fungi take up what their tree host has to offer. Some fungi, such as many growing on or near poplar trees, when dried have a pleasant balsamic odor much like the fragrance of their buds. (Next year I hope to offer some poplar fungi samples through Mermade.) Our ancestors also used smouldering mushrooms for transporting fire. A very important and life sustaining function thousands of years before matches or lighters. A slow smouldering mushroom is very similar to an incense cone. It is possible that these smouldering mushrooms were among the first incenses. Inonotus obliquus (the True Tinder Fungus) is among the best of all tinder fungi and is prized from Siberia to North America for its ability to ignite with a spark. It is not the finest smelling, but if you chip a piece off and light it you will experience one of the most important fragrances to ancient man
Another use for Inonotus obliquus is its medicinal properties. It’s known as Chaga. I use a double maceration first in alcohol and them in water to create a powerful medicine. It has the highest amount of anti-oxidants of any food and is known for its immune boosting properties. It is no wonder that our ancestors wore various mushrooms on necklaces around their necks. They provided fire, food, medicine and the ability to communicate with the gods.
Notes From the Underground includes 12 pieces plus a hunk of Tinder Fungus to try, all nested in Oak Moss in a metal tin.