Sophia in the Black Light Perfumery March 02 2020
Sophia sits before her perfume organ with a black ultraviolet light at her back. Each bottle of essence she has distilled, glows a different color, and when the frequency of light is shifted, swirling hues and hidden shades are illuminated. Some bottles glow under lower frequencies while others kick out vivid light at the higher ends of the spectrum that Sophia is dancing along. During the day she tries to speak of these moth-light dreams and discoveries, of how terpenes and root essences glow in different hues of the rainbow, but it is as if no one can hear her voice.......
Bottles of green apothecary glass, capped in spheres and pintacles, are telling stories about roses from every corner of the world, the million petals gathered by the ten million fingers and the women's songs who had taken them at dawn. Her fingerprints are everywhere, and as she turns on the black ultruviolet light near the bench, they glow; a hatchwork language as complex as bark on the outer surface of everything she touches. Her fingers speak bay, cedar, poplar and rockrose: fluency of scent, is a thing of the heart: to know perfume is to know the world around us...it is to be content inside a wonderful secret.
The St Johns Wort oil, captured in olive oil on summer solstice, crimson by daylight is neon orange inside the borosilicate apple bottle. She understands why now, and a wicked smile is wicking it's way along her lips. The sage oils and the artemisia extracts all glow in varying shades of cobalt: putting on goggles, she winks at them as she blows a sensuous kiss to the bevy of poplar showing ranges of gold, and every strand of the yellow chorus. Ten years of poplar harvest blow kisses back, some, even swish the contents of their bottles to bubble up like breasts and nipples rising from the river of sleep. She can see their terroir with her naked eyes, the variations in tone show her exactly where they came from, which rivers bind them, and now she has color to match the scent memories. Each color lathed to both memories of place and the sacred perfumes of the plants.
The oldest essences, the ones from the ancient trees, the grandmothers and grandfathers on the table, do not appear to glow. But if you hold them under a very specific frequency, they will flash back like the lightning they are made of and born away by. Queen Sitka and Big Tree Sit on the highest tiers with the life blood of Spruce Man, Oldest Poplar, and Greatest Cedar. Added to other glowing essences, they amplify the fluorescence. The lightning perfumes are made of resins collected in deep, backwater burns, those places filled with giant fire ants, where the resins looks like dark red cherries pulled from the roots of trees in their last efforts to survive a fire; in one light they are maroon-black, and in another neon green. Single essences glow clearly of themselves, but are still mixtures of many aromatic compounds. Blending a perfume is really like making many perfumes dance together. It as about figuring out a harmony. My sweetgrass perfumes glow fuscia....my devils club extracts are a glowing peachy gold....
Sleep potions of chamomile and goldenrod are luminous, even in daylight casting pale pink or soft auras of cerulian blue, like the clear spring sky when mixed with thick oils of cocoa and meadowfoam seed. The spirits of her garden of lemon balm, carried to the still with the bees still buzzing around and around and around, glow like mead near the reunion platform of indigo and alkanet. The mayan ochres, are making clay walls of ancient ways, vivid and sharp, next to sweetgrass glowing white.The wall of lights is suspended on the wall of amber where chunks of resins glow mint green and amethyst purple. 40 million year old moths, the oldest moths in the world, fly inside of Sophias necklace in this blue black light, and it feels to her as if she has planets around her neck.
Scent, hidden to humans, is seen by all others here on this earth. It is a shy and wonderful thing to look in through the lens. The organ of essences is not so much a place of making perfume now, as it is a place of interpreting language and ecology. Did we trade this, or was it hidden from us by our own greed? Who could have known that the heartwood of the Hawthorne is sun-yellow with foxfire?
Sophia pivots on her brass and velvet stool, towards the mirror, and looks at herself as carefully as the organ. If she sweats, a rainbow iridescence will flash across her skin, showing the emotion, like a squid down in the ocean of temperature and depth. Her lips glow blue purple with indigo and dragonsblood while her arms are metallic copper in the dark with poplar and sweetgrass oils. Hips and sacrum are painted neon orange with the hypericum and where she wishes to make definition she uses the charcoal of devilsclub. Along her spine the warriors play in native shade scents of red cedar, red belted conk, and douglas fir. Her breasts and chin are a glade of wild rose with her face rushing forth this evening with the golden lotuses and the white lotuses of the night pond. Rare orchids, jaguar kisses, and lilies dange from her ears so she can hear where the best water secrets are kept.
At her feet boxes and boxes of earth, clay, salt. Kettles of water some hot some cold and various oils simmering at various temperatures. The indigo room is asleep inside clouds of inky blues and water bright greens. The moonlight holds a halo over the corner where the copper alembic distiller shines like a many-tiered beehive of old, as golden painted bumble bees take their illusion to fly slowly over the wall. It takes a long time to speak into the face of perfumery...it takes a long time to heal to where we are ready to reveal parts of our true nature.
The tea is poured from cast iron over brown rice and pieces of pink hibiscus. Sweet linden honey is added from trees that smelled of caramel ice cream and the fossilized amber in the summer. Snowflakes fall outside the window as a small Kaffir on the window sill blooms out a scent-song past a bouquet of white lilies who are similarly making night music. Currents of incense and soft music swirl through, shawls draped in rose water give comfort so easily.
The scent of fur and antique silk mingles with leathers strewn in layers with rose petals and incense inside cedar boxes. The purpose of the perfume and all the distillations is to bridge the ways in which people, humans, feel separate from beautiful nature.
Sophia walks past the marble and stone slabs, caked with the incense workings of the fall, curing in their dignity of patient knowing, chanting out the rites they have always chanted, but the patterns when combined this night, remind Sophia of old days on her bed of roots overhanging the river, when the trees spoke these songs openly. Amber, has long been her friend, her connection to family passed, and her connection to those she loves. When she wears it she can feel what once was....for we live in the time of flowing resins, in that place where the heat makes the trees and the people weep. Each piece of amber glows with history that cam be interpreted in the color....green from ash and smoke...white for bugs hidden inside....
Sophia kneels again before the perfume organ made of red cedar and glass, picks up a calligraphy brush, and paints a strand of roses on her collar bones with a perfume made from roses. Thorns are painted with essence of thorn, and petals with oil of flower, and roots down into her heart where she combines damiana and hawthorne, and dark seeds of oldest apple, painting eyes upon her palms with copal, which glows soft pink and then pulses to life with heat to display fuscia and silver.
She coils her neon hair like rope, twining silk and phosphorescent pearls into the strands with light amber and broken shells. For there is nothing she has found that glows so beautifully as pearls... Then 4 times she claps her hands, and 3 times she rings the tiny chime, and two times she bows to each direction before beginning her work for the evening.
This story, Sophia and the Blacklight Perfumery, is a Choose-Your-Own Aromatic Adventure. It branches into several stories, all of which come with a various samplers of botanical perfumes, essential oils, tinctures, incense, and amber.
Link to the perfume set of samples for this first story, if you would like to come along for the olfactory part of the journey: https://www.ringbotanicals.com/collections/all
Link to the Perfume Story Branches for Sophia: https://www.etsy.com/listing/769520518/stories-with-samples-of-botanical
Story Options Include:
Sophia Codistills: How to Combine Plants Inside a Copper Still to make Perfume. Comes with a set of codistilled essential oil samples and botanical perfumes featuring codistilled oils, as well as incense created codistilling resins and plants.
Sophia Makes Botanical Perfume from her Garden - An educational story on how to create perfume from a tiny city garden while feeding native bee hives. Comes with botanical perfume and essential oils samples from Sophia's garden.
Sophia and the Big Cats - Sophia Gives Her Perfumes to Lions, Leopards, Tigers and Bobcats. Comes with animalic perfume samples to match the story.
Sophia and Big Tree - How Heartwood Saved the Alchemical Fire - A true story of family lineage, fragrance, and aromatic restoration. Comes with samples of ancient tree perfumes and incense.