~ John Keats
Fertile Earth, where we dwell and plant our seeds, is the topic of this installment of Perfume Illuminated. The crust of the Earth is rock composed of oxygen, silicon, aluminum and iron. In some parts of the world the ratio of this divine cocktail will be slightly different. For example if you ever visit Puerto Iguazú in the province of Misiones, Argentina you will notice that the earth there has an intense orange red cast to it. This is due to the decomposition of iron-rich rocks.
Earth is one of the four classic elements in Greek philosophy and one of the four basic elements in Alchemy. The most used symbol to denote elemental earth is the quartered circle. The alchemical symbol is a downward-pointing triangle, bisected by a horizontal line.
Elemental earth is connected to the mineral kingdom and our sensory experience of this world through touch. Associated with the North, elemental EARTH, is home to our connection to the here & now. Located in the base chakra, this is the place of manifestation, control & restraint and grounded in experience. Home of the Male, strength and ability to create magic. The spirit medicine of Snake dwells here with the ability to move swiftly, above and below the ground, to shed what no longer serves and be born anew. Read more about elemental earth here at the journal by following this link and here for the real dirt.
Aligned with the energetics of this post today I choose to cut my hair. It was a bold decision on my part which required a great amount of courage and leap of faith into the recreation of myself.
Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself.”
~ Henry David Thoreau
The notes in perfume with the strongest fixation, least volatile, are those classified as basenotes. These dark, viscous raw materials are the foundation of a well structured botanical perfume, without them the fragrance would be fleeting and have little depth.
Within our palette of magnificent essences those most often characterized as “earthy” reside in the base note domain. The aromatic profile of these fragrances is dank and musky with a vegetative element. Some of these include Vetiver, Patchouli and Oud. Depending how you perceive Earthy others in this group might include: Hay, Labdanum, Angelica Root, Oakmoss and Galbanum.
For an Earth perfume, how about beginning with a bit of earth—literally! At the Whole Child, Whole Parent Expo a few years back one of the attending biodynamic farmers gave me a packet of biodynamic earth. I decided to tincture this material to use in the future edition of Terrestre as a liquid. A very dirty tincture to be sure. Since salt is associated with earth in alchemy I will be adding a bit to the pure fume.
An earth accord can be made simply by combining any of the ingredients listed above. Before you begin consider going out and sitting on the Earth. Close your eyes and experience the ground quality of Earth, how she supports and feeds you. FEEL yourself on the earth, let going of the mind and come into your body. From this place of the here and now begin considering which notes to use. Consider including mushroom absolute and essences from roots since these firmly contain a strong imprint of the earth.
Aren’t you curious how Earth manifests itself as a food flavoring? I sure am! Meet me at Beth’s table to sample a bit of epicurean Earth at the Windesphere Witch blog
Opening painting: Earth Mother by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, 1882
Other images created using old engravings by Roxana Villa