July 9, 2012

Starhawk's Fifth Sacred Thing - Air Perfumes - Primoridal Perfume Project

This is a collection of the perfumes based on the Spirit of Air,  for Monica Miller's Primordial Scents Perfume Project.

Monica and the many participating perfumers of the Primordial Project, which include all the classical elements of our physical experience, such as earth, air, water, fire, and others*, believe that perfume can be an active force for healing the world and ourselves.

Because this project has many participants, it also contains many subtle shades of meaning, as spread across all the individuals points of view.

For me the basic premise is to trigger the creation and use of perfume that affects people who wear it, so as to unite them with the elemental forces of nature. To reach through aromatic beauty into the deepest olfactory sense memories toward a basic sense of reciprocity with the earth itself.

This is a belief that mindful appreciation of the elements of our existence, through olfactory means, can unite our minds, hearts and actions to move us into a responsive and positive direction toward the natural environment. Seeking that balance would in turn restore our own interior state of mind and even heal the body.

Monica and a number of the participants developed a ritualistic way of approaching the use of the project perfumes. ** There is also an element of support for a book and film called The Fifth Sacred Thing, by Starhawk, that is a dystopian account of what might happen when we drift too far away from our primordial natures.

Primordial AIR scents include:

Spirit of AIR by Neil Morris Fragrances
First Breath by Naked Leaf Perfumes
Moon Valley by Esscentual Alchemy
Djin by Michael Storer
Honey by Velvet and Sweet Pea Purrfumery

Neil Morris’ Spirit of Air is like the air lifting off of fresh water, with a light mint within the ozone. There is a sweetness like the heart of a flower, where the nectar lies. It’s almost dizzying, like breathing too fast. It does something mysterious to the skin, turning the skin itself into an earthy base, with a misty oxygen laden atmosphere cleansing the breathing process as it wears on. This is a modern perfume, while staying definitely linked to the primordial air, keeping within a presence of fresh coolness.

Naked Leaf Perfume's First Breath alters the air that you breathe by cooling it with soft mint and herbs on a floral and grass green base. Calming and soothing are the words that come to mind. It is meant to be used as an aid for women giving birth, whether to a new life or a creative endeavor.

Moon Valley by Esscentual Alchemy gives me an impression of a dark space where the dust has settled and the stillness intensifies the sense of standing in a wide open place. I get a distant note of ammonia that lends itself to a sense of otherworldly space. For me this one reaches out to the chemistry that makes up the atmosphere we breathe and those elements that stand outside but flavor the air.

Djin by Michael Storer ornaments the air by pulling up a sense of ozone spaciousness toned by a sense of history. It carries the subtle aromatic grace of a Middle Eastern desert wind.  Such winds are known for the carrying the fragrance of distant flowers and spices across many miles. 

Honey by Velvet and Sweet Pea is the memory of a flower's nectar, set within a humid day. Its subtlety is a presence that holds to the skin. It carries across the space of air as a volume and a lively force, through portraying the feel of humid sweetness.  Within the stillness of such air, you may realize this sweetness is being carried into your body by breathing in the work of another species of being; you are receiving a message from the bees' world.

If you want to try the ritual use of these perfumes, you'd  begin with the metal inspired fragrance by Lyn Ayre, Coeur d'Esprit Natural Perfumes, Ele-Metal, which is the scent of warm steel cooled by water. The drydown brings out a spearmint tone.  This ritual was created created to invite us into a magical sense of unity with the elements.

The stillness of air makes a pause that can be felt and used for attention to the details of experience. Air in motion contains the varied weights of humidity or the clear dry light that affects respiration. Respiration, the breathing in of aromas held in the air is the strongest sign of life.

I think of air as a volume that can be silent and spacious, as was shown us by the music of John Cage and other modern composers, and as potentially a great force like a hurricane or tornado that sweeps through and carries away a period of time, as in before and after, to make an adjustment of creative destruction and balance that pays no attention to our personal concerns.

Interesting and grounding to have perfumes that have been designed to reference the aspects of air and breathing itself. These perfumes would be wonderful for layering with others, or as a luxurious enhancement of oxygen on a hot day, or to bring the outside world within yourself.
Samples can be obtained directly from the Monica Miller, the Perfume Pharmer, as a set.
I received samples from Monica Miller who has organized the Primordial Perfumes Project. Please visit this index for links to all the perfumers and posts on the Primordial Elements.  There's lots of activity on Facebook for this project too.

Music to listen to perfumes by: AIR Alone in Kyoto

* spirit and metal
** please see this post on how to ritualistically apply these perfumes

Above images: clouds and sky carry and contain all the fragrances that ever were
(from Tumblr, sorry I don't have a specific credit, please advise if they are yours)


lostpastremembered said...

Pure poetry, Lucy. For some reason, when I think of the spirit of air it is the smell of skin or fabric in the sun and air... the best perfume of all... but then, how do you bottle it? It seems all perfumers have different scent metaphors for it, fascinating how meanings are attached and scents are weighted with our history. As always, wish we could have smell-o-vision here!!

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons I love these projects is because it lets me peek into each artist's space. Thank you Lucy for sharing your own space with me. Such lovely music and words and pictures.

Lucy Raubertas said...

Lost Past, yes, I am amazed but perfumers can do it, intensify the very air. There's a whole perfume group - the ozonic. And even more remarkable when done with only naturals to build accords. A subtle and skillful thing to pull off.

Lucy Raubertas said...

HI Amanda, yes, these projects expose me to all kinds of things I would never know about otherwise. I gain so much from the experience. Thank you!

Oh, True Apothecary said...

Fantastic observations, Lucy. You've described the elements within the element of air itself, which proves air is not just air but a living entity with many facets and moods.

Lucy Raubertas said...

Thanks, perfumes that are so thought provoking as well as physical manifestations of qualities I search for are inspiring.

Laurie Stern said...

Hi Lucy, Your writing on AIR is deeply moving and profound. Slowing down time and savoring the delight of perfumed air, absolutely gorgeous. All of the perfumes are calling me now! Thank you for your thoughts on Honey, what a treat! And way to go Monica, for this amazing project!

Lucy Raubertas said...

Hi Laurie -- You should only know I was carrying a tiny vial of Honey around in my bag for awhile, and it got to my rather austere zen nephew. He started exploring perfume on his own, which is amazing.

Laurie Stern said...

Cool! XOXO

Flora said...

I really loved the Air scents, and you have really cut to the heart of the matter with your descriptions. Lovely!

Donna H.

Lucy Raubertas said...

Donna, thanks. I love the experimental style you've tried writing, it's engaging. I have some other Primordials I will be posting on too, some of the fire perfumes.