Aurora Photographer Anders Ryman’s book Rites of Life has now been released in a trilingual (English-German-French) edition. Ryman, who wrote and photographed the book, traveled to more than twenty different countries documenting the life cycle rituals of the various cultures he came in contact with. An accompanying exhibition from this project will be touring internationally this summer.
I know that I promised this blog would be about “Soul finessing” and “Soul Beautification” Truth be told no one needs any help beautifying their soul and we are all originally perfect! What could I possibly add? Once upon a time I had such a passion for Psyche of “Cupid and Psyche” Psyche being the ultimate Goddess of Soul. So it seems that the beauty of the soul is ultimately scourged and tormented as was she for her beauty. She was like the first Cinderella? Legend has it that she was the fairest at the ball and of all the land. The Greek and Roman myths long before Snow White tell of the jealous Aphrodite and Venus from the realms of love they so ruled. Cupid was sent to do Aphrodite’s bidding and put a hit out on the beautiful humble maiden. Her curse on Psyche was so oppressive that even the God’s interceded against the cruel rules. Cupid could not banish her to the nether realms, he fell in love with her but could not tell his fuming jealous mother Aphrodite as I understand it. So they met in the dark as mysterious creatures do. Alas? What can I add to the imenseness of soul? afterall, from the beginning of time, great minds have made their lives masterpieces of soul. Thus I have heard Ananda say of the Buddha? Buddha means to know the soul. Zen Buddhism is transmitting the masters seal of the Buddha mind to his heir. The Buddha soul sect in fact, so I have heard? What can it possibly mean to have the mind of the Buddha transmitted? A very deep matter for the universal questioner! Questioners such as D.T. Suzuki, Robert Thurman and even Richard Gere to name a few.
Today I was praying and meditating and the feeling I had when pondering If D.T. Suzuki had critics, what could I possibly say? I can only share my experiences but offer no authority. I just read the wordpress quote of the day, it was ““The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write about it. ” ― Benjamin Disraeli However, I would not commend an author as an expert simply because he is a writer. None the less, my feeling was that in a way for me, soul is love. If there is a great ocean of soul and I am merely a mixed up cocktail or an ice-cube? If I melt into this immenseness of love? In a sense the bitters and gitters will be cast out of my drunken disheartened flumaxism. Like an exorcist casts out the demon egg which made my soufle fall! I smile, as I try to be a bit humorous as self-help progenitors are such a serious bunch.
Really, I see soul as a terrific music and I find myself out of shape, unable to dance? Unable to find the beat. There are so many instances of unhappiness at not being asked to dance. I am praying that health and happiness are not terribly far apart and I happen to know my dear friend was deeply unhappy he was unable to dance his dance of happiness for fear of disappointing others. I cannot help but feel that although he had great love and magical romances? Assuming that the life we truly want to live is going to ostracize us? It certainly will! It will make me ostracize me heart from my own dreams. So perhaps we denounce ourselves first and give other permission too. I truly believe the Butterfly gods introduced us. When people say that not one hair on our head is not counted? Not one sparrow loved. The beauty gods gave him every chance to follow his dance. The fact that I devoted such care for a virtual stranger must be proof of God’s love. Strangely it seems I knew what he must do but his life was devoted to making everyone smile but himself. He wrote me a cryptic letter once at Christmas that seemed to say that his family would never accept his choices. I fear he felt drowned in advance. If there is anything he taught me it is that it’s best to go after the big brass ring. Not loving ourselves in that warm blissful ocean of love comes first as the single most main ingredient missing in the recipe.
My original idea was to fashion and find soul tricks, soul recipes and clever ways to combat cancer. To bring the cells back into the magic dance. How about depression, even the common cold? I soppose the new soothsayers are doctors. Maintaining health? Art has always been my favorite surgeon. Art has been my only hospital. It has been my kitchen and my home. Therefore as of late I can only relate poems, paintings and mysterious shaman stirrings which suit my fancy. Perhaps if inspired or once I recover I can find hope again.
As some one day may know I began this blog with the hopes of helping my friend survive his skin cancer. He lost his battle and when I look back it was all rather pompous and innocent of me to take on this faceless beast the letter “C” The B ig C” I prayed the rosary, I spoke to his gods, saints and enemies. The more I did the less it seemed to make any difference as to the ravishing toxic dragon ate him alive. One could speculate and judge another as to why cancer might choose them? When it took Adam Yauch from the Beasty Boys, I cried and cried like a little girl who just lost her two front teeth and could not longer whistle nor smile. There is no rhyme nor reason nor ransom as to why cancer took Adam Yauch? Surely he did not eat from the forbidden tree as he led in fact many back to Tibetan paradise. Perhaps’ the evil apple was jealous like Aphrodite! Perhaps he used his honeyed spiced songs and poems to curse hell? He was such a beautiful soul and his mark upon this universe shall forever reap fruits of gold. His wife and daughter evidence of his love. As for my friend? In the final analysis he was beautiful too, I am not sure any Doctor can cure anyone not knowing what they have ingested or absorbed? He always spoke of butterflies! Psyche is the symbol of the butterfly of transformation. He would tell me to kill the dragon like Saint George and become a butterfly. When I finally met his family and saw his home, although he was already mute, silent upon this earth and gone to Dante’s realms. Did he find angels? Yes, when I met his lovely life partner and saw his home? Saw the art and drawings of his father. His toys, books and shoes. Wonderful people surrounding him. His brother the astrolabe. Some speculate that skin cancer if a metaphor for drowning or being trapped in your own skin. His family and life were wondrous indeed full of love and concern. As to what he ingested unknowingly or in private which may have led to an undiagnosed element? How coud that possibly be, when only the sun can cause skin cancer or is there really more to skin cancer than simply flying like Pegasus to close to the sun. I could not possibly say. If I were so emblazoned as to usurp a reasoning for this beast named “C”? I might say, I felt a little like I lived in a fantasy world where I was in a movie with Orson Wells. The film ” A touch of Evil” A great film. Orson Wells for those who have not seen it plants evidence as a police detective to get the job done. In it was a fortune-teller in Mexico played by a dark-haired Marlene Dietrich. He comes to her unbeknownst to anyone and tells her all his secrets. It’s not a secret anymore is it if I tell and it’s too late for the Doctors to decipher what he may have ingested? So, lets leave it all at that and say, I pray that one day there will be a cure for cancer. I do believe there is a cure. I do believe although not today that with pure hearts, pure soul and lots of recipes, remedies, laughter and happiness. It’s possible to kick the big “C” to the Kurb! In the mean time? I will pray for inspiration to ask the gods for blessings on my soul. If there are ways to mend the tears, the fears and the broken wings of butterflies? I await news from heaven. I hope my friend became the butterfly.
If I were not so in love with tea? I might be dangerous in my mad scientist laboratory! The extent of my experiments go no further than flower bombs. No gin, whiskey or molotov cocktails. Although? My Dad made some mean whiskey and wine in the basement, not to mention he dismantled bombs in Vietnam. I am so fascinated with the origin of elixirs and obviously “Mixology” is big business. Innocent slurpers siphon up tons of boutique drinks getting high for that social engine that continually buzzes. Tea more likely will make one think twice before making a business deal they would regret, unless of course you ply your unsuspecting client with a 2,00o0 year old Yunnanese tea tree which has been post fermented for 100 years? Then you may be able to influence your client into a truth serum type stupor! I miss having sexy cocktails. But I feel that the art of the elixir need not be aimed at getting drunk or loesing ones shyness. The art of concocting scentual, textural, delicious flavors and sharing them with your guests is just as much as an art form. The science however of distilling precious flowers, spices, fruits into perfumes, wine and even gold? Ah, I’ll take that astrolabe with some crushed ice during the full moon please!
Circa 1700BC fragrant plants and spices were being infused into fatty oils of olive and sesame for use in ointments who’s main use at the time was for medicinal purposes. Around 3000BC in the Indus Valley (Pakistan) a teracotta perfume container and a primitive still were found. This places a still about 3,000 years before the date which was previously presumed. During the same period the Egyptians, as well as learning to write and make bricks were also importing large quantities of myrrh. Often famed for it’s use in perfumes and medicine as well as finding fame for it’s reference in the bible.
The Egyptians appear to have been the first civilisation to experiment and absorb perfumery into their culture. Several relics including a perfume vessel symbolizing unification from the reign of Tutankhamon have been found to all bear references to either perfume storage or perfume production.
The pots were made out of calcite and filled with spices such as frankincence which was preserved in fat. On openning the pots still gave off a faint odour, even after 3,000 years!
By 7th century BC Greece was established as a mercantile center for trading perfumes. Perfumes were sold in elaborately decorated ceramic pots, which are similar to jars you can buy in Athens today. Flavours most often sold included.
The first real hard evidence of essential oils being distilled came from Herodotus’ record of his methodology used in distilling Turpentine in 425BC
The basics of perfumery looks to have begun around 300BC. As with many original methods of thought, at the time, Socrates was involved, if in an indirect way.
His classmate Theophrastus was actually the first person to document all of the “perfume basics” including blending, shelf life, using wine with aromatics, substances that carry scent and the effect of odor on the mind and the body.
By the 1st century AD, Rome was using about 2,800 tons of imported frankincense and 550 tons or myrrh every year. One Roman emperor spent the equivalent of $100,000 scenting just one party he was throwing. Apparently no “orgy” was complete without perfume…….I know that is my first priority when preparing such parties!.
Mary The Jewesss
We recently posted about the origins of the water bath its inventor and flash cooking, see the original post HERE. As well as being the creator of the “Double Boiler”, or “Bain Marie”, or “Marys Bath” she can also lay claim to being the creator of the first still, which she named the Tribokos. Consisting of copper tubing, ceramic pottery and metal, it was fairly crude compared to what we understand and use now days.
Upon heating vap
l am still searching for some millefeuille petals of rose from the Grasse region of France. In my quest for a matteras of roses? Why not simply dream of another world altogether such as this? I have seen ice cubes and lollipops filled with purple violas. My lollipops a few years back came out all-reet! Just like any experience I want to intensify my rose tea infusion into the ultimately intoxicating symphony of rose fragrance of all. I have had a darjeeling blended with roses from Grasse and it’s lovely indeed. Why is it that France seems to be such an enchanting place suddenly? I will add a blog of some amazing French women and their recipes with flowers. A softer world.
Left Woodcut of roses in Parkinsons Paradisi in Sole, Paradisus terrestrisand right More roses from Gerards Herbal, or A Generall Historie of Plantes All in all, a huge burst of plant information for the Olde English-speaking world to absorb. These books – with their detailed Prescriptions aka Recipes – were meant to be consulted in the Dis Still Room, which was the center of operations for any provident mistress of a well-ordered household of the time. Amid a fair amount of material which now strikes us as silly, inaccurate, or useless – these arcane texts preserve a glimpse into a world where Woman was solely responsible for the well-being of everyone….. and the ease they enjoyed or the dis-ease they endured. Any time-tested advice must have been welcome – and the Rose was ever held to be a truly nourishing and wholly stabilizing plant spirit.
The chief culinary use of rose Blooms has always been Conserve of Roses, a jam of preserved petals luscious in color and delicious in taste. While fragrant red rose petals an essential have a fairly astringent and acidic flavor, lots of honey – or sugar – gives this confection a sweet spin. It was once recommended for a large number of medicinal applications, but it is really best savored in good health.This slightly liquid Conserve gained great popularity in 13th century France- when the city of Provins, 60 miles SE of Paris in the region of Brie, became famous for making it.”Papa. all the apothecaries of Provins have come to be to beg me to ask you, very humbly to give my company a different garrison-post, because my gendarmes like the Conserve de Roses and I am afraid they will eat it all and I shall have none left. I eat some every night when I go to bed….”The four year old future Louis XIII – writing in 1605 to his father Henry IVOne rose was central to the manufactury of the confection: Rosa gallica, in a form of the species with additional size and extra petals that had been cultivated in the Eastern Mediterranean for milennia.
The religious and cultural clash called The Crusades brought Western man into direct contact with the Near East. Those who were fortunate enough to somehow make their way back home often carried with them marvels from the lands they had tried to conquer – the Red Rose of Miletus not least among them. Count Thibaud de Champagne 1201-1253 – the King of Navarre, called The Chansonnier for his Troubadour lyrics – is believed to have contrived in 1240 to bring living plants of this rose back to his own French countryside.
SHINTO 19th century Shinto priest Shintoism is an informal animist religion that honors ancestors, pays tribute to kamis, or spirits, and has traditionally had strong bonds with the Japanese state, emperor and culture. There are literally millions of kamis, most of whom are associated with the heavens or natural objects on earth such as trees and mountains. One of the most important deities is Amaterasu-omikami, the sun goddess, who, according to legend, gave birth to Japan’s first ruler, Emperor Jimmu. Japan’s present emperor is reportedly the 125th in an unbroken line of descendants of Emperor Jimmu.
Shinto has been around for over 1450 years, coexisting with Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. The name Shinto is based on the Chinese character Shin-tao which roughly means “Way of the Gods.” It is derived from Chinese words she, meaning “divine being” and tao, meaning “the way.” The term “Shinto” was coined in the sixth century when Buddhism entered Japan so the two religions could be distinguished from one another.