"It is at the edge of a petal that love waits"
- William Carlos William
This year, was the year of the flowers for me. I tried a number of ways to save the songs of the flowers for incense. Experiments included distilling for fragrant waters, capturing their breath in resins, extractions in jojoba wax and alcohol as well as using the most ancient method of capturing the fragrance; immersing the petals of flowers in salt. I was also supported by my fragrance friends from around the world who sensed my passion because I was also gifted with all manner of fragrant material that either were actual flowers or are traditionally married with flowers: Plumeria flowers collected under the moonlight, White Lotus wax from the Indian subcontinent, floral scented "tears of the sun" Hojari, frankincense from Oman and the perfect incense wood to go with them all, sandalwood from both Hawaii and India.
The flowers in the forest come and go quickly in the spring, catching the full sunlight before the trees leaf out. The only thing my husband has ever asked me in regards to the many gardens I cultivate is that the garden by our cabin be filled with flowers all the gardening season because the sight of the flowers elevates his spirit and scents of the flowers makes him so happy. The scent of flowers effects us physically, emotionally and spiritually. There have now been years of scientific studies examining the aphrodisiac effects on humans of the fragrance of flowers due to flowers breath having chemical similarities to those of human pheromones. The use of certain flowers, throughout the world, in every form of spirituality, speaks to flowers ability to uplift the spirit and help us connect to universal love.
There are two flowers that I cultivate "en masse". First there is the hedge of seventy Rosa rugosa that I started from seed and are now fully mature. Then there is my numerous annual plots of Jasmine Tobacco (Nicotiana alata). N. alata perfumes the night with her heavy, heady scent as If I still lived in the tropics. Using as many rose petals as I could gather at the height of the blossoming season, I made a distillation for rose water. This rose water ages beautifully over time as what started out to be pleasantly rose smelling developed into a deep bodied song of rose. I soaked my gifts of sandalwood in this rose water. It is a classic combination. I captured the breath of Jasmine Tobacco in white floral Oman frankincense. White Oman frankincense has a very floral note unlike any other type of resin. Every other evening I would pick the blossoms under the stars, an hour or so after they opened and began to breathe their narcotic, jasmine-like scent. Taking them inside, I would gently position them on a plate of white Oman frankincense and cover them with another plate, sealing their perfumed breath inside to be absorbed by the resin.
Flowers have also inspired poetry, meditation, joy and lovemaking across cultures and through the ages. So, I present to you the voices in this flower incense song.
Plumeria alba: Dried Plumerias, Plumeria extrait
Plumeria Flowers originate in the Americas of the South. They have a deep meaning in Mayan religion and folklore where they are known as "bac nikte/nicte" or "white flower". The Lacandon Maya of Chiapas believe that some of their gods were born in plumeria flowers. In Mayan language wordplay "bac nikte/nicte" can also be translated as white vulva. So it is no surprise that plumerias are associated with deities representing life and fertility and female sexuality.
The Mayans also used Plumeria alba flowers for love magic. There is a collection of ancient Mayan lyric poetry known as "Songs of Dzitbalché". One of which is entitled "The Flower Song". Many of the songs begin with an expository section explaining the ceremony related to the song. "The Flower Song" was a rite to keep or bring back a lover. A group of women, under the direction of a female elder, met at a rock spring in the woods by the light of the moon. While the group of naked singers danced around her, the patient, also naked, threw Plumeria flowers into the water, transforming it into a love poem.
The Flower Song
The most alluring moon
has risen over the forest;
it is going to burn
suspended in the center
of the sky to lighten
all the earth, all the woods,
shining its light on all.
Sweetly comes the air and the perfume.
Happiness permeates all good men.
We have arrived inside the woods
where no one will see what we have
come to do.
We have brought plumeria flowers,
chucum blossoms, dog jasmines
we have copal,
the low cane vine,
the land tortoise shell,
new quartz, chalk and cotton thread;
the new chocolate cup,
the large fine flint,
the new weight,
the new needle work,
gifts of turkey, new leather,
all new, even our hair bands,
they touch us with nectar
of the roaring conch shell
of the ancients.
we are in the heart of the woods,
at the edge of the pool in the stone
to await the rising
of the lovely smoking star
over the forest.
Take off your clothes,
let down your hair,
become as you were
when you arrived here on earth,
Lotus Floral Wax (nelumbo nucifera alba)
Asian cultures venerate the ‘sacred lotus’ as representing perfection, immortality, and enlightenment. The growth habit of the plant is central to these beliefs – the plant grows out of the mud on the river or lake bottom, rising through murky waters to flower in the sun well above water level, reminiscent of the quest towards spiritual perfection, and the ascending of the chakras. Fittingly, lotus flowers with varying numbers of petals are used to represent each of the 7 chakras. In India, the flower represents the feminine aspect of creation
First blooming in the Western Paradise,
the lotus has delighted us for ages.
Its white petals are covered with dew,
its jade green leaves spread out over the pond,
And its pure fragrance perfumes the wind.
Cool and majestic, it raises from the murky water.
The sun sets behind the mountains
But I remain in the darkness, too captivated to leave.
White Oman frankincense (Boswellia sacra) enfleuraged with Jasmine Tobacco (Nicotiana alata)
Jasmine Tobacco can be found growing wild in Southern Brazil, Northern Argentina, Paraguay, and Columbia. Its origins and ethnobotanical uses have been lost in the mists of time and conquest. As narcotic as the finest true Jasmine flowers, her star-like flowers are richly fragrant and breathe out their perfume in the heat of summer nights.
White Oman frankincense is considered to be among the finest quality frankincense in the world. It is like no other and was immortalized by the Greek poetess Sappho who associates the fragrance of white frankincense and flowers with Aphrodite. Many scholars suggest that the grove in her poem below is a metaphor for female sexuality and that the "horses of Aphrodite" are girls ready for love.
....coming down from heaven....
Here to me from Crete to this holy setting
where stands your graceful grove
of pomegranate trees and your altars smoking
And in it cold water sings through the
apple branches-all is shadowed with roses
and down from the radiant-shaking leave
magic sleep comes dropping
And there a meadow, where horses graze, blossoms
with flowers and breezes
breathe like honey....
In this place, Aphrodite, grant
that there be poured into golden cups
nectar mixed for festivities.
Sandalwood (Santalum paniculatum and album) infused with Rose (Rosa rugosa) hydrosol
Sandalwood is very sacred in many religions. It is a common incense ingredient used in holy incenses and for making prayer beads. Sandalwood calms the mind for meditation and prayer. The wood is used for worshipping the God Shiva, the God of love and is a renown aphrodisiac. In Jain temples, the priests grind sandalwood by hand to anoint the worshippers. The ground paste is also used in ceremony and ritual throughout the temple causing the fragrance to permanently permeate the structure. For a Jain, just smelling sandalwood will bring memories and feelings deep love and higher consciousness.
Women bathed in sandalwood scents,
Flashing antelope eyes,
Arbours of fountains, flowers and moonlight,
A terrace swept with breeze of flowering jasmine
In the summer they stimulate
Love and the love-god himself.
The earliest known form of gardening was the planting of roses along the most traveled routes of early nomadic humans.Different species of rose grow all over the world and where ever the flowers grows she is associated with love, beauty, and mysticism. the rose is intimately associated with the oldest goddesses Isis/Ianna/Ishtar. All three of these goddesses held the titled "Queen of Heaven" they were associated with love, loss, death and eventual restoration. There is a rose on the seal of the Sumerian Goddess Inanna dated to 3330BC. Roses are associated with an number of Greek Gods including Aphrodite, Adonis and Eros. From a Christian perspective a rose is a symbol of heaven and harmony in the world and is considered to be the flower of the virgin Mary. In Muslim folklore it says that the first rose came from a drop of sweat from Muhammad's brow. In Wicca roses are traditionally used in love spells.
"A rose , bent by the wind and pricked by thorns, yet has its heart turned upwards"
- Huna of Babylon
This price is for 12 hand-rolled lovely created pellets in a gold metal tin, nested in Rose petals, Sandalwood grains, and Lotus petals