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Incense in Literature

Rejoice Perfume/Winter Newsletter

The winter season is approaching and here in the Pacific Northwest the crisp cool days are upon us. The winds and rains have stripped bare the last leaves of the deciduous trees and the stately conifers have now come to the forefront. When we walk in the mornings up the hill from our home the grand view of the snow-capped Olympic Mountain Range is before us and sometimes, the sunrise illuminates the towering peaks with a brilliant warm light bathing them in an ethereal glow.

"This is what I have heard
at last the wind in December
lashing the old trees with rain
unseen rain racing along the tiles
under the moon
wind rising and falling
wind with many clouds
trees in the night wind."
- W. S. Merwin

The graceful and quiet season of the year is treasured by us along with all the other seasons. It is a time of celebration as well: celebrating the simplicity and sweetness that reveals itself when outer forms are reduced to their essential form as happens when the trees lose their leaves and their elegant forms stand out in their pristine beauty. We enjoy as well the winter storms, followed by crystal clear days, and the occasional snow that wraps Port Angeles. The shortened days and the long nights also have their charm. The natural flow of the day encourages one to slow down and reflect upon the precious life that has been given and this in turn encourages to use our remaining years in a more considerate way.

"It was a delicious afternoon for a winter's walk. The air was clear and cold but not actually frosty. The ground beneath their feets was dry, and the sky, though not bright, had that appearance of enduring weather which gives no foreboding of rain. There is a special winter's light, which is very clear though devoid of brilliancy,--through which every object strikes upon the eye with well-marked lines, and which almost all forms of nature seem graceful to the sight if not actually beautiful...."

--from Can You Forgive Her?
by Anthony Trollope

Throughout the world many cultures also have special celebrations that in some way inspire people to appreciate the sacred gift of life. The forms of celebration are very diverse but at their core one can often find a key similarity which is the aspiration to lead a more balanced, compassionate and simple life.

Considering this in my own small way I thought to create a perfume called Rejoice which to my mind conveys a happy spirit of content and joy.

Bringing together lively spicy scents, deep forest essences and delightful resinous ones the perfume was composed as an odiferous ode to this season of contemplation and reflection.

"Winter came down to our home one night
Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed
slippers of snow,
And we, we were children once again."

--Bill Morgan Jr.

Rejoice Perfume

2 ounces Mandarin eo
1/8 ounce Clove Bud Co2 select
1/16th ounce Cinnamon bark eo
1 ounce Frankincense eo
1/2 ounce Fir Balsam Absolute
1/4 ounce Myrrh eo
1/8th ounce Cardamon co2 select
1/2 ounce Templin/Fir cone eo
1/8th Rosa damascena abs
1/8 Wintergreen eo
1/4 ounce Tonka Bean eo
1/4 ounce Blue Hemlock Spruce abs

"Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true."

--from "Ring Out, Wild Bells "
by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Religious and secular holidays celebrated during the winter months

* Bodhi Day: December 8 - Day of Enlightenment, celebrating the day that the historical Buddha (Shakyamuni or Siddhartha Guatama) experienced enlightenment (also known as Bodhi).


* Samhain: November 1 - first day of winter in the Celtic calendar (and Celtic New Year's Day)
* Winter Solstice: December 21~December 22 - midwinter
* Imbolc: February 1 - first day of spring in the Celtic calendar


* Dong zhi: Winter solstice
* Chinese New Year (late January - early February) - considered the end of winter in the traditional Chinese calendar


* Advent: four weeks prior to Christmas.
* Christmas Eve: December 24
* Christmas: December 25 - Due to a fourth century arrangement to offset the pagan Roman Saturnalia festival, the birth of Jesus is celebrated on December 25.
* Twelfth Night: Epiphany Eve January 5
* Epiphany - January 6: the arrival of the Three Magi.
* Eastern Orthodox Christmas according to the Julian Calendar: January 7


* Modranect: or Mothers' Night, the Saxon winter solstice festival.
* Yule: the Germanic winter solstice festival


* Navratri:Nine-day celebration worshipping female divinity, in October or November. Culminates in Dussehra.
* Diwali:Known as the Festival of Lights, this Hindu holiday celebrates the victory of good over evil. The five-day festival is marked by ceremonies, fireworks and sweets. Women dress up and decorate their hands with henna tattoos for the melas, or fairs. Many different myths are associated with Diwali, one of which celebrates the return of Lord Rama after a 14-year exile and his defeat of the demon Ravana.
* Bhaubeej


* Hanukkah: Starting on 25 Kislev (Hebrew) or various dates in November or December (Gregorian) - eight day festival commemorating the miracle of the oil after the desecration of the Temple by Antiochus IV Epiphanes and his defeat in 165 BCE.
* Tu Bishvat: New Year of the Trees occurring on the 15th of Shevat, January or February.
* Purim: Occurring on 14th or 15th day of Adar, late February to March, commemorating the miraculous deliverance and victory of the Jews of the Persian Empire in the events recorded in the Book of Esther


* Eid ul-Adha: Starting on the 10th of Dhul Hijja, a four day holiday commemorating the Prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son, Ishmael.

NOTE: The Islamic calendar is based on the moon and this festival moves with respect to the solar year. It is, however, falling in the winter in the first decade of the present [21st] Century of the common era.

Pagan and Neo-Pagan

* Samhain: November 1 - first day of winter in the Celtic calendar (and Celtic New Year's Day)
* Yule: (Winter Solstice) - Germanic and Egyptian Pagan festival of the rebirth of the Sun
* Imbolc: (Oimelc) (February 1 or 2), but traditionally the evening of (January 31)[1]
* Winter Solstice: (December 21) - New Age festival


* Holiday: This Pastafarian holiday starts around the beginning of winter and lasts till around the end of winter, and is intentionally vague, that one can develop his/her own family tradition (although some involvement by beer and pasta are preferred).


* Sadeh: A mid-winter feast to honor fire and to "defeat the forces of darkness, frost and cold".
* Yalda: The turning point, Winter Solstice (December 21). End of the longest night of the year (Darkness), and beginning of growing of the days (Lights). A celebration of Good over Evil.
* Chahar Shanbeh Suri: Festival of Fire, Last Wednesday of the Iranian Calendar year. It marks the importance of the light over the darkness, and arrival of spring and revival of nature.


* Matariki: (M?ori New Year, usually early June) - Rising of the Pleiades star cluster before dawn.


* Saturnalia: the Roman winter solstice festival
* Festival of the birth of the Unconquered Sun: late Roman Empire - December 25
* Lupercalia, the Roman end-of-winter festival - February 15

"Love awoke one winter's night
And wander'd through the snowbound land,
And calling to beasts and birds
Bid them his message understand.

And from the forest all wild things
That crept or flew obeyed love's call,
And learned from him the golden words
Of brotherhood for one and all."

-- Author Unknown