Belize & Guatemala Part I

Scent & Faeries

What perfumes to bring on a jungle faerie hunt…

“A cozy one, a sexy one, one for the weather, and a wild card.”  Inviting advice offered  from friend and blogger Julie Johnson of The Redolent Mermaid to my quandary on a last trip.

I confess that mostly I’m a last minute packer.  Sure, I have grand plans to pack  two-three days before a trip and then re-pack the day before,  removing half of the stuff, etc.  But no, mostly, I just end up shoving everything into the suitcase last minute.  Yoga mat?  Check…

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Hmmmm – packing bags in my bag…

Careless as I might be in packing clothes, not so with perfume.  Not always.  But mostly.  Laying the potential fragrances out ahead of time to sniff and dream gets me in the mood.  And it’s an adventure to see if the way I predict fragrance interacting in an environment will play out in just that way.

For this jungle faerie hunt I selected a small vial of rare Hawaiian Jasmine in oil for my weather (tropical) scent.  A gift from a friend who procured it at a farmer’s market in Kauai it seemed an obvious choice.

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Rare Hawaiian Jasmine and Butterly

A small potent vial of verdant faerie’s Butterfly was my cozy scent.  More of an aromatherapy scent than a perfume, Butterfly is bright with Geranium and Mint, and grounding with Clary Sage.  It is perfect for jet-lag or the disorientation that sometimes accompanies travel.  The bottle is now empty…  Somehow it’s brightness was a soothing tonic.  Helping me to feel stronger and ready for adventure.

My sexy  scent was verdant faerie’s Eau De Parfum, Duskblossom, a rich scent with a seductive heart of Jasmine & Tuberose and a complex narcotic patchouli / tobacco base.

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Duskblossom

On the trip I ended up slathering Butterfly on my wrist to wake up and then layered my sexy pick DuskBlossom on top, day and night.  During the day I would occasionally layer on the straight up jasmine.  I found the Hawaiian Jasmine and Jasmine-heavy Duskblossom perfect for the jungle.  It’s heady seductiveness lured me into lush jungle spirit.  Blooming, thick, both ethereal and and of the earth.

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The wild card was J. Hannah’s award-winning Skive.  I especially love to take this one traveling because of it’s nifty eco-lux and travel ready packaging.  The scent itself is always a surprise to me, although I’ve known it for several years.  And its smokey, woodsy, musky, tea scent always brings out unique nuances in the environment I am exploring.  I reached for Skive just once.  At the Lamanai Lodge deep in the jungle.  On a night when I got the itch to enjoy a scotch at the lodge bar.   Stay up late listening to the songs of night critters as the Howler monkeys finished their last throaty bellows.  The smooth smokiness matched the scotch and the sounds.  I felt far away.

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J. Hannah’s Skive with its leather ‘glamping’ wrap
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That’s my scotch over there at the Lamanai Lodge.

Once, as an experiment I put some drops of Butterfly into a pair of smelly sneakers.  My brilliant idea did nothing to mask this funk.  Then they just smelled like funk and Butterfly.  C’est la vie. They are now sitting with good ol’ baking soda.

Interestingly, the lush intensity of the jungle softened all the fragrances, and I was really digging DuskBlossom with Butterfly as I wandered around under massive vine covered trees investigating endless variations of miniscule mosses.

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Copal

In the off-the-beaten-track shop of Miss Garcia I hit gold in the form of Copal Resin.  Miss Garcia opened the door of her pink shop to us on a Saturday night.  Her smile and transcendent Saturday night copal smudging scent greeted us. Still soft and fresh, she unwrapped the copal and cut me off a 1/4 pound piece.  I mentioned I wanted to tincture it for perfume, and she instructed that it should soak for 9 days, a sacred number as per the Mayans.

I left the shop floating on an incense cloud basking in the radiance of the kindly Miss Garcia.

I will tincture some in organic alcohol and oil.  For 9 days, as recommended.

Incidentally, Copal is a resin from the Copal Protium Tree.  It is used mostly as an incense but can add a lovely incense base note to perfumes.  A bit like Frankincense only sweeter and more ethereal.

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Miss Garcia

 

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Miss Garcia’s shop.

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All the gorgeous imperfections.
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Cutting it is like cutting a very firm cheese
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The tree is nicked to cause the resin to flow.

Mayan Faeries – The Alux

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The faerie hunter.

This dapper fellow and frequent travel companion is my dad.  In addition to being an incredibly literate professor, he shares my curiosity in faeries.  He always gets his question out in the most serious and professorial of manners, asking our local guides what they know of the Alux (pronounced ah-loosh) a Mayan sprite or faerie.

As children our Belizean guides were cautioned not to go into caves.  In the caves the Alux lie in wait and will get you.  And parents are advised to have more than 1 child as the Alux are less likely to talk a child into going off with him if a sibling is present.

“Does anyone ever come back from there after being caught?” asks yours truly.

“Ummm.  No.”

Now, doesn’t that make you just a touch suspicious?  Don’t you wonder what it’s like in the land of the Alux?  Maybe it’s super nice and the children don’t WANT to come back…  Hmmm.

Belize & Guatemala Part II coming very soon..

In the meantime for more scented beauty, check out Julie Johnson’s blog –

The Redolent Mermaid

Do you travel with perfume?  How do you decide what to bring?

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New Digs!

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Just wanted to share my news.

After a year of Free Range Faerie-ing I’ve got a new place.  An actual, physical home and studio.  I’ve settled in Three Oaks, Michigan.  How’s that for a faerie name?

It’s an artsy small town on the southwestern tip of Michigan filled with friendly folks and only 3 traffic-less miles to the nearest forest.

I even have a job at the cozy  Acorn Theater.  (Another faerie name.)  Where I am meeting great people and filling my life with music.

I’ve forgotten how much effort goes into running and setting up a home!  (So I haven’t been in the writing/perfuming/or social media-ing much.)

Truthfully, it’s been a bit stressful and exhausting with February behaving downright weirdly for me.  How’s your February?

But Missy’s been a great help…

Here’s an vintage chair we scored.

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Missy awaits her fragrance consultation
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Shoving it in the Mazda
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The Shenanigans she puts up with!

 

And then the other night…
I am sleeping and curious noises, giggles and the tinkling of bells, drift from the studio. Flashes of color and the scent of rose and loam fill my dreams as I explore an old victorian mansion filled with creatives and jokesters. At dawn I wipe the sleep from my eyes to discover the perfume/writing studio all put together.

Like this…

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Let’s see how long I can keep it tidy.

AND I’m excited to offer yoga classes again!  I’ve decided to keep the beautiful living room as a yoga room…  (My class schedule is right here on the Verdant Yoga Page).

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View of the sun drenched yoga room
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Missy checking out the Michigan Floor (that is what that style of wood laying is called)

 

Finally here is a glimpse of the view from the backyard.  What is seen from the studio window…

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What grows in that field?

I’m thinking fire pit and sunset dinners…

Settling here completes a goal for the first quarter of 2017 and the second quarter goal of this year’s Celtic calendar.  It also satisfies a life-long curiosity of life in a small town.  So yay me!

Never too late to make a change…

Got any great moving stories?

As always, thanks for visiting, dear Reader.

 

 

 

Happy Imbolc- First Blush of Spring Awakening

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Welcome to the Faerie Festival of Imbolc!

Feb 1st.

A time of awakening, yet not quite yet awake, my sleepy faerie friends.  A stirring from the deepest slumbers of winter.  Emerging from the time of the north and the element of earth.  Swap the rich balm of Oakmoss, Patchouli, and dank thawing earth, with hints of blossoms and fruit saturated in thickly winter-aged, spring-honeyed nectar.   Brash, then vanishing.  Urging us forth.  Wintry snow/rain cleansing for the early snow buds and the time of the east.  The element of air wherein sylphs grace the ethers with softly muted florescence.

Awaken!  Awaken!  Awaken!

As a child I would anticipate the spring by imagining the fair folk prepping their paints deep under the roots of sleeping oak trees.  Cruelly crushing berries, mosses, and barks. Coaxing  iridescence from clouds and shadows.  All for the Spring Faerie Queen’s vast cache of aromas and pigments created with express purpose to gloss on delicate blossoms with wee paintbrushes of spider threads.  I would anticipate with glee the those first colors and scents of thaw, green, and tender blossoms.

In fact, I still do this.

Do you have a favorite spring ritual or scent?

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verdant faerie’s botanical perfume, Duskblossom, my choice for Imbolc

Sex & Scent – A Cautionary Mayan Tale

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Sex and Scent – A Cautionary Mayan Tale

Xkeban was lusty as she was beautiful.   Lust coursed through her body unchecked. A libido as big as the hot at the peak of a summer’s day in the Yucatecan jungle when you can do nothing but lay in your hammock and sweat, too hot to even fan. That’s how big her lust was.

That’s right, I said, unchecked. And in the little Mayan village where Xkeban lived, the sway of her hips as she lead her many lovers off to her palapa or worse yet, to the jungle, filled the more sanctimonious villagers with condemnation.

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And in the hearts of the villagers, the Yucatecan heat blazed in a hell-storm of fiery condemnation for that “floozy,” Xkeban. And fan this fire they would. Especially one villager named Utz-Colel.

Utz-Colel was just as beautiful as Xkeban, but she was pious. She did not let her secret passions drive her to look brazenly into the eyes of the men. Or to openly leer at the curve of their low backs, (you know, that dip just above a man’s buttocks where neatly fits a hand) as she “accidently” brushed her swelling breasts up against him in the market place to reach for the ripest mango. Nope. Utz-Colel did not even think of such things. She did not give into these passions merely because it “felt natural” as Xcaben was prone to. Really. No, never.

Yet… whom was it the villagers called for when they were ill and needed someone to sit by their sick beds dampening their fevered foreheads? And who was it that took in the goats when past milking age? And the old dogs too lazy and useless?

Have you guessed it? Not the pious Utz-Colel, but Xkeban. Because Xkeban’s heart was as big and kindly as her lust. Truly, even bigger. And while Xkeban would use the finery gifted her by her lovers to feed the indigent. Utz-Colel would scorn those below her while she twisted her ribbons and dark thoughts into her black braids. For inside she was bitter and Utz-Colel’s heart was cold as snakeskin.

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One day a most delicate and sweet perfume filled the air of the little village. The sublime intoxicating effects of this aroma caused all to seek its source, leading them to the home of that (good-hearted) slut, Xkeban. Her time amongst the living was done and there she lay, and from her wasted body emanated this fine perfume.

Well, Utz-Colel was in disbelief and swore up and down that when she died she would smell one hundred times better than that whore, Xkeban…

A few good-hearted individuals who remembered Xkeban’s kindnesses arranged for her burial. The next morning the fragrance was even more pronounced. Scent intoxicated once again, the villagers followed the perfume to the grave of Xkeban to find darling little flowers, the Xtabentun flowers, had proliferated on her grave!

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Time passed and, I suppose you can guess what happened when pious and haughty Utz-Colel died. From her body emanated a foul stench so unbearable the villagers could barely stand to plant her in the earth upon which they hastily flung various flower seeds before scurrying quickly off.

But the next day only a spiny, odorless, cactus flower, called the Tzacam flower bloomed.

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Well from the other side of the grave, Utz-Colel became furious about this and arranged somehow (it’s a secret) to return from death and remedy this perfume problem. She decided she would wantonly seduce as many men as possible just as Xkeban had done. Then she too could smell of fine perfume and produce darling little flowers on her grave.

Now here is where my tale turns cautionary. So listen up, those of you who think this seduction plan is sounding… interesting.

Villagers beware! Utz-Colel has now taken to posing sensuously under the Ceiba tree at the edge of the village, languidly combing her long black hair. And if she lures you into the jungle with the sway of her ample hips in the delirious heat of a Yucatecan summer’s afternoon, you will not be seen in the village again. For the bitter, soul-stealing sex of Utz-Colel is like making love to an odorless cactus flower on a foul and cold snakeskin bed, and it is believed her savage wrath against Xkeban will be your demise. Really.

Just thought you’d like to know.

This tale is my retelling of a traditional Mayan tale. It is an absolute true story of how the Xtabentun and Tzacam flowers came to exist. If you don’t believe me then just go ahead into the jungle with Utz-Colel and see for yourself.

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art from maya sin fronteras

~For My Mom~

This month will find me heading to the Yucatan Peninsula as a tour leader for my parents company Mexi-Mayan Travel.   We’ve a group of lively and curious travelers including my parents.  All avid learners and explorers and some archeologists and anthropologists.  We’ll explore Mayan culture and history as well as the local flora and fauna.  There’ll likely be some margaritas and excellent sea food…

As special gift to our group I’ll create for them a fragrance based on their group scent memories of our journey.  Each person picking one or two outstanding (pleasant) scent memories.  Then I’ll blend it up!

As always, thanks for visiting here!

Beauty For 2017!

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Happy New Year!

New Year’s Eve finds me pausing for a moment with my bulletproof coffee loving my 2017 engagement calendar.  All those clean empty pages.  A year of possibility with opportunity for beauty.  Sprinkle that faerie dust round.  Happy New Year, one and all!

My Ill-Advised Life

In January of 2016 I foreclosed on my underwater condo in Chicago and went free range faerie.  I quit my jobs and hit the road with my 9 year old pup, Missy.   It was not clearly planned and was a most definitely ill-advised life move.  Frankly it was fucking reckless and irresponsible.  Two years prior another reckless action, leaving an underpaying exhausting job of 17 years which left me even more financially unstable.  But I was compelled to shout “NO” to my prior unsatisfying life.

My intention was to free myself from this life that was not personally satisfying. To peel away layers of internal crap; exhaustion, bitternesses, urban and job induced stresses to indulge in the beauty my soul craved.   To know myself again and/or better.  Seeking a new location in a more beautiful or rural setting.  To remake myself as a faeriepreneur  with a way to support myself as my own boss.

My life unravelled and got unmistakably got messy.  I bravely resisted the negative mantra of “What the fuck am I doing???”  Support from kindly people, without who’s help I could not have done it, surfaced.  I learned to let myself release to this support, my mess, and waited for ME to reform and emerge.  I practiced faerieshamanism and magic, wrote, made perfume, hunted down faerie people and places, and grooved in nature.

This experiment was to last 3-6 months.  Then I’d prolly just get an apartment in Chicago and stuff.  It is coming up on a year this January and I’m still essentially homeless, or as I prefer to say, “nomadic” (it’s all in the attitude ya’ll!).  Ha!

What Next, Free Range Faerie?

During this madly ill-advised adventure I explored a lot of ideas of what to do with myself, always returning to the message and mission of beauty amidst chaos.   And of personal liberation through beauty, truth, and the imaginal realm.  I’m happy to report my soul is refreshed and I’m coming “home” to me.  I feel ready to contribute and collaborate. To set up a home-base again.

My favorite passion project of 2016 was launching my wee perfume line verdant faerie fragrances.  I completed my certification course (though I still have much to learn) and set up temp studios in the various places I stayed.  Perfume supplies were shipped to a variety of locations – Maryland, Hawaii, Canada, Chicago.  I’m excited to take it to the next level in 2017 with improved packaging and perfume blends.  Expanding my knowledge and expertise.  I’m looking forward to establishing a sweet home perfumery of my own in the first quarter of 2017.

I also rediscovered my love of writing and the location freedom it can provide.  As a young girl writing was shoved into my shadow self.  But it keeps seeking the sun!  So I hope to do more of that there writing stuff, perhaps combined it with my perfume.  Ideas are germinating…

One thing I truly missed was a consistent yoga and circus practice and community.  (Well community in general, for it’s hard to keep this going on the road.  Yet one does finds new communities.)  But I really missed the sparkle and comradery of those worlds – physical exploration with expression and soul.  So I’m planning to revisit that in 2017.

Oh, and once I get settled again I also hope to establish regular contribution to a social cause…

Terrifying

As I reestablish myself in 2017 I’ll admit to a certain degree of inner terror.  I have some undeniable challenges ahead.  Can I even pull this off?  And I do so love my freedom!  But mostly I think I got this.  I’ll establish a lovely home base to travel from and I have my mission ~BEAUTY & LIBERATION~ and together we will not be denied!

All the best to you and yours in 2017!

Here’s a verdant barn in Three Oaks Michigan from my recent travels… just cause it’s pretty…

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The Faerie Nose | by Doreen Stelton

Feathered Faerie Hats Off to Arielle for her new Lit Mag, Fair Folk Journal. Lookie – they gave my poem a home! xoxoxoxo

My Anam Cara Missy

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Today I was watching Missy sniff the air again.  I get jealous of her.  Her ability to sniff so intensely…

I took to the dunes to sniff and write.  Which I did do.  With some vials of perfume materials, I did Plein Air blending (on my wrist) then wrote a little story about these scents.  (I’m working on a piece about perfume as theatre).

But a lot of the time I just admired Missy enjoying the dunes…

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Randomly, I am reminded about John O’Donohue’s book, Anam Cara, and I pulled it out to share a quote with you, dear Reader.  A quote about Fragrance and Breath.

John O’Donohue was a Irish poet, author and priest and I strongly recommend his writings if you are not familiar.  His book  Anam Cara explores friendships, love, states of being, and what it is to be human.

Synchronistically he mentions the very thing I was marveling over.

From Anam Cara

“The sense of smell or fragrance is deft and immediate…  Animals, of course, work wonderfully with the sense of smell.  To take dogs for a walk is to realize how differently they experience a landscape.  They are glued to trails of scent and enjoy a complete adventure, tracing invisible smell pathways everywhere.  Each day we breathe 23,040 times; we have 5 million olfactory cells.  A sheepdog has 220 million such cells.  The sense of smell is so powerful in the animal world because it assists survival by alerting the animal to danger.  The sense of smell is vital to the sense of life.”

O’Donohue continues,

“..breath is sister of spirit.”

And then linking fragrance and breath to spirit.

“The sense of smell includes the sensuality of fragrance, but the dynamic of breathing also takes in the deep world of prayer and meditation, where through the rhythm of the breath you come down into your own primordial level of soul.  Through breath meditation, you begin to experience a place within you that is absolutely intimate with the divine ground.”

Isn’t that brilliant?

I have no real point to make here.  Just wanted to share.

Here’s a couple more blogs about Missy, fragrance, meditation, and self love, in case you missed them…

Cute Dogs Smellin’ Icky Things and Jasmine

Kauai Flower Meditation

And here’s a blatant invitation to experience my perfume!  (Hey a faerie’s gotta breath too!)

Anam Cara, Eau De Parfum

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Anam Cara from the Phantasmagoria Series

“If you perceive the entire universe as phantasmagoria an ineffable joy will arise in you”   ~Vajnanabhairava Tantra…first century A.D.

 

And Happy Friday!