The Art of Perfumery

I visited a very interesting exhibition last month. It was a collective project created by TASKO inc. (Japan) in collaboration with Invisible Designer Lab, Yamamoto Seisakusho Co. Ltd, and also the perfumer Yoshitake Toshifume. The exhibit was a perfumery organ, which was inspired by the “Gamut of Odors”, a description method for fragrances devised by the British chemist and perfumer George William Septimus PIESSE in the 19th century. This was the first instrument in the world which played odours and music together.

The classic method of blending perfume is based on the theory of Top, Middle and Base notes. This method was devised by PIESSE, and was based on an analogy with the musical scale. He claimed that scents, like sounds, appeared to influence the olfactory nerves and positioned the odours in correspondence with musical notes according to the scent’s effect on his olfactory sense. Choosing the odours that chord together and your perfume will be harmonious and will steer away from discord.

Above chart came from the book tilted: The Magical and Ritual Use of Perfumes by Richard Alan Miller and Iona Miller published in 1990.

Top notes in such a chord are sharp and penetrating and usually very volatile (i.e. they evaporate very quickly). When you smell a commercial perfume, or an essential oil blend, the top note is what you will notice first. Some typical top notes are Bergamot, Lemon, Thyme and Rosemary.

Middle notes tend to be softer and mellower in character and less volatile than top notes and account for the overall character of a perfume or blend. They are usually used in larger proportion than either the top notes or the base notes, and may account for between 50% – 80% of the blend. Some typical middle notes are the Chamomiles, Lavender and Marjoram Sweet.

Base notes are the deep, often exotic aromas such as Sandalwood, Myrrh, Frankincense which are very slow to evaporate. They are very long lasting on the skin and acts as fixatives for top and middle notes: that means by combining with the more volatile oils they slow down their rate of evaporation and make them last longer.

One of the problems with this theory is that the experts cannot agree with each other as to what constitutes a top, middle or base note. In my professional practice when I formulate an individual therapeutic blend, while I take into consideration of top / middle / base notes I will choose a fragrance that corresponds to the physical, emotional and mental state of the client. One way to heal our mind, body and spirit holistically is through the study of our birth chart, identify the planetary strengths and weaknesses as God gifted us when we were born, and apply the corresponding essential oils to achieve an equilibrium state. How to do this? Let’s talk about this over a cuppa (which comes with a proper astrological consultation).

By the way I have been in love with this brand of essential oils. Their oils do not contain artificial ingredients that would dilute their active qualities and are free of chemical residues. One reason is they work closely with growers to select botanicals of the correct species that are grown in ideal environments and carefully harvested at the right time (planetary hours). Am totally in love with them. You can find more information here, or talk to me. Be well and until next time.

The Magickal Meaning of Colours

Part of of day job is to decide what colours to go with my homeware products. It is one of the most fun parts and I enjoy very much. Colours brighten my life and make me happy. There are gurus in the trade advising colour trends of the season, which I make reference to them. I have many Pantone books, and an app called Pantone studio that I use for my work craft. More often I follow my intuition to select the colours I feel right, according to season trend and, their magickal significance.

Colour have magickal meanings that can work into your everyday life, your manifestation and spell work. Here is a colour guide for you and you will able to download them and save them on your devices.

Allow these beautiful colours to bring love and healing magick into your life, as well as the lives of those you love.

On another professional front, our company has just published a new edit of the Autumn / Winter 2018 home trends featuring our predictive analysis of the global retail outlook. The beautifully researched industrial guide costs US$499 give valuable market intelligence to retailers large and small to ensure their success in building creative merchandise to win. My direct corporate clients would have received a copy by now and be enjoying it over the moon. Private message me if you are interested so we can discuss.

With loving blessings of the colour magick.

Why Tarot Works?

I think it is really hard to explain how Tarot works.  I had a lunch date with a work friend last week she asked me how and why Tarot works.  She was inquisitive with a sharp mind. The Queen of Swords aptly described her. Then I realised I wasn’t able to explain clearly, how and why it works. So I decided to sit down and organise my thoughts.

First of all, what is Tarot?  It is a metaphysical tool that connects our human psyche.  Inside the Tarot it contains the human archetypes.  This tool is a bridge between our consciousness and the subconscious, through which which are able to retrieve information that are so obvious but hidden, Tarot let out the information to our conscious surface. All answers can be revealed in the Tarot.

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In a tarot reading, usually there is a tarot reader and a Querent (unless the tarot reader is reading for himself).  The Querent will ask questions and then the tarot reader will pull some tarot cards for the Querent, or sometimes ask the Querent to pull some cards himself, and answer the questions based on the meanings of the cards.

The rationale behind the tarot reading process is that all human being are interconnected on the collective unconscious level.  Imagine a super computer recorded all human experiences from the beginning of creation, our culture and history: the collective unconscious is similar to this super computer.  Sometimes I think of it as a very deep sea that I cannot see to its end.  It can be described by means of archetypes which are expressed in the images of the cards.  Since the reader and Querent connect to each other in the collective unconscious level, the reader is able to ‘read the mind’ of the Querent via the interpretation of the cards. 

How we think now will to a large extent determine our future, or destiny.  Of course in life there are factors that are out of our control, we call them fate.  Through the process of tarot reading, we are making our unconscious thoughts, conscious.  If they are positive thoughts, it will be good sign of a brilliant future.  Just work hard and go for it!  If they are negative thoughts, we are now made aware of such.  We can change the way we think, and choose our own destiny by walking a different path.

May the full deck of possibilities be with you.

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Many Happy Returns

Stepping into August, it is my birthday month.  I feel very energised ever since the transiting Sun moves to Leo, where my natal Sun is located.  Often I write on birthday cards with "many happy returns" as greeting note.  Have you ever wondered what it means precisely?  It is a blessing that the return of the transiting Sun conjunct your natal Sun will bring you auspicious moment and a general dose of positive energy.  It is possible to have different kind of returns for example Mars return, Venus return or lunar return.  On birthday time it is the return of the Sun that we are celebrating, and the transiting Sun takes approximately a year to come back to the same zodiac degree – hence technically your birthday could be a day or two off before or after your actual date of birth.

I thought it is interesting to share my approach on astrological prediction.  As people who know me my mind is not particularly clever so when it comes to calculation and analysis I take the broad strokes and make things simple as best as I can.  A lot of times seeing the big picture will be all that is necessary to make sound decisions.  My approach can do just that.  And then if my clients want the specifics, I will move on to use Tarot as a divinatory tool.  That's why I love to use both as with them we can be comprehensive, or at least try.  Before Tarot I used to do horary chart on specific issues, I don't use this branch of astrology now, because to me Tarot is faster and more colourful.  Also because horary needs a lot of precision and detailed observation which is taking me forever. Horary astrologers are clever tribe.  Okay I just digressed.

Here is what I do for astrological prediction, and I will try to explain this with the least technical astro jargons:

I usually do a 'big' prediction once a year during birthday time.  I will look at the profection time lord of the year, this shows pretty much the key theme of that year.  I will study the profected house of the Ascendant, the condition of its ruler and the planets in that house. Then I will print off a monthly profection sub-lord list for my clients, explaining to him the secondary key theme of the 12 month starting from his birthday.

I will computer-calculate a Solar return chart, firstly looking at the house where the Sun is located.  This is another clue on the theme of the year.  I will study the Ascendant of the Solar return chart, overlay the chart with the client's natal chart to find out where the Solar return Ascendant is located in the natal chart.  I will also look at the condition of the Moon, Part of Fortune, MC and Mercury in the Solar return chart in relation to the natal chart.  Then I will observe the transiting Jupiter and Saturn in the natal chart, and after that follow my intutition to check anything else that pops up.  With all these notes usually there will be double whammies found which will give supporting evidence to my chart interpretation.

Once the story is told, I will move on with a Tarot reading, which could be a 12 month prediction or a Celtic cross reading addressing a specific issue.  To me this will be enough to give quite a vivid picture of the coming 12 months from the birthday.  See, it is not so dfficult, or is it?  I look forward to be of service to you one day, my friend.

 

My Signature Scent

Last year when I travelled to India my friend’s wife bought me a bottle of infused attar that I loved so much and used it till the last drop.  Contained inside was so much love of course, and also the essential oil of Champaka (Michelia champaca).  Since then I was entranced by her scent.  My little secret – I always carry a bottle of Champaka EO inside my bag.  It is undiluted hence very powerful and strong.  Whenever I feel not myself, upset and the like, I will apply one drop neat which is enough for the wrists, temples, 3rd eye and heart chakra.  As an aromatherapist I do not advise neat application of any essential oils onto our skin, except a limited few and on special circumstances.  I use Champaka 1 drop neat for energy raising, and also as a stimulating perfume.

Another secret.  All my aromatherapy products have a hint of Champaka.  I put 1 drop of Champaka to 100 ml of my carrier oil as a product base.  When I use the carrier oil to make beauty products, ointments or for therapeutic massage, there is always a very subtle scent of Champaka.  This is my signature scent.  Unless you live in India, good Champaka oil is hard to find.  It is not inexpensive but a 5 ml bottle can last for a very long time use.  If you are living in Hong Kong you can find excellent grade Champaka here.


Champaka is of the same plant family as Magnolia, the botanical name is Magnoliaceae. The scent is intense floral, it is a middle-to-light yellow-reddish oil.  Good qualities one come from steam distillation of blooms.  The main growing areas are India and part of Southern Asia.  Champaka is aphrodisiac, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, wound healing, calming and febrifuge.

The sweet floral fragrance has calming effect to the nerves, at the same time able to restore our energy and increase our confidence.  Ruled by the Sun and Venus, it is valuable remedy for depression, anxiety, stress and grief-related disorders.  If someone has sexual difficulties, particularly frigidity and impotence, massage it (after proper dilution of 2%) onto lower abdomen, sacral and base chakras.  Or put a few diluted drops and run a bath.  It is good for all skin types and particularly good for mature, dry and sensitive skin.  Champaka is regenerative in nature and can help heal wounds, scars and stretch marks.  I use it for meditation and otherwise as a parfum.  You can also blend Champaka in your face moisturiser.  I have been gifting them to friends lately and they all love it.  Here is a formula for a 100ml bottle.  You will be making a little extra and with that amount you can split them into 3 smaller jars if you wish.  Enjoy!