Adoration Perfume Newsletter
Beauty of colour and of form is limited in its showing; it is a fixed quality of existence, whereas fragrance is volatile, ethereal as the breathing of life. So in all religious ceremonies frankincense and myrrh play a prominent part. There is something spirituelle in redolence. When the delicious perfume of the sakura quickens the morning air, as the sun in its course rises to illumine first the isles of the Far East, few sensations are more serenely exhilarating than to inhale, as it were, the very breath of beauteous day.
--from Bushido, The Soul of Japan: An Exposition of Japanese Thought by Inazō Nitobe
With each passing month the simple joy of aromatic explorations continues to express itself through combining different natural essences to express a particular "perfume" theme. As mentioned in the first newsletter profiling aromatic absolutes (December 2007) the possibilities of creating new and interesting perfumes that reflect ones own interests and aspirations is manifold.
This month's newsletter concerns itself with "sacred" perfume. These are perfumes that have, as part of their recipe, ingredients that have at one time or another in recorded history, been associated with the religious or spiritual beliefs and practices of peoples living in different parts of the world. Most of our written history regarding such special aromatics is confined to the more well known traditions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism etc. There are many communities that do not have written histories and to them aromatic plants used in various forms of incense, ointments, unguents, garlands etc were no less precious. All of humankind has loved perfume in one form or another to express their love of that hidden essence of life which is not visible to the outer eyes yet is felt as imminently present in those special moments when one is quiet and still and not distracted by the pressing demands of everyday existence.
Sacred comes from Latin sacer `sacred, holy,' which itself came from the same word that produced Latin sancire `consecrate,' source of English saint and sanctuary. Other words that come from Latin sacer come via the derived verb sacrare `consecrate.' These include consecrate, execrate, sacrament, and sacred itself. Sacred was originally the past participle of the now obsolete English verb sacre `consecrate,' which was a descendant, via Old French sacrer, of Latin sacrare. Some other relatives of sacred are sacerdotal (from Latin sacerdos `priest,' a derivative of the same base as sacer), sacrifice (from a Latin compound meaning `make holy'), sacrilege (from a Latin compound meaning `steal holy things'), sacristan and its more heavily disguised relative sexton, sacrosanct (etymologically `consecrated with religious ceremonies'), and sacrum `bottom section of the spine (short for medieval Latin os sacrum `holy bone,' which was a direct translation of Greek hieron osteon, an allusion to the use of the bone in sacrificial ceremonies). --see Take Our Word For It: "Sacred"
In this perfume recipe I have selected some of the most well known essences, ones that have been revered in both East and West i.e. sandalwood, blue lotus, white water lily, rose, agarwood and frankincense. The stories behind each one of them is one that can occupy many enjoyable hours but and hopefully this recipe will inspire such a literary exploration.
1 ounce Blue Lotus Attar
1/2 ounce Frankincense EO
1/16 ounce Ruh Motia(Jasmin sambac)
1/16 ounce Agarwood/Oud EO
1/16 ounce Ruh Gulab(Rosa damascanea)
1/3 ounce White Water Lily Attar
1 ounce of Sandalwood EO
I am a part of all you see
In Nature; part of all you feel:
I am the impact of the bee
Upon the blossom; in the tree
I am the sap, - that shall reveal
The leaf, the bloom, - that flows and flutes
Up from the darkness through its roots.
I am the vermeil of the rose,
The perfume breathing in its veins;
The gold within the mist that glows
Along the west and overflows
With light the heaven; the dew that rains
Its freshness down and strings with spheres
Of wet the webs and oaten ears.
I am the egg that folds the bird;
The song that beaks and breaks its shell;
The laughter and the wandering word
The water says; and, dimly heard,
The music of the blossom's bell
When soft winds swing it; and the sound
Of grass slow-creeping o'er the ground.
I am the warmth, the honey-scent
That throats with spice each lily-bud
That opens, white with wonderment,
Beneath the moon; or, downward bent,
Sleeps with a moth beneath its hood:
I am the dream that haunts it too,
That crystallizes into dew.
I am the seed within the pod;
The worm within its closed cocoon:
The wings within the circling clod,
The germ, that gropes through soil and sod
To beauty, radiant in the noon:
I am all these, behold ! and more -
I am the love at the world-heart's core.
--Madison Julius Cawein, 1865-1914