Yule 2017

  • YULE 2017 LABEL - angeronalia

    Angeronalia

    Angeronalia, also called Divalia, is a Roman festival that takes place at the Winter Solstice. This celebration honors the Goddess Angerona. The Lady of Silence and Secrets is also She Who Stands As the Protector of Rome, and she is represented with her mouth bound, or with her index finger held over her mouth, commanding silence. On this day, the Goddess was implored to grant her children strength and protection. And, as it was believed that Angerona and Voluptia, the Goddess of Joy and Pleasure, were one and the same, sacrifices were made at the temple to Voluptia in order to drive sorrow, regret, and pain from the hearts of the people. Strength, passion, and the cleansing fire of joy: olive blossom, white nectarine, vibrant blood orange, honey absolute, lemongrass, elemi, sensual patchouli, and the quiet purity of gardenia.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - blackcurrant sufganiyot

    Blackcurrant Sufganiyot

    5 out of 5

    Golden-brown and sugar-dusted, plump with sweet blackcurrant jelly.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - chocolate stout cupcake

    Chocolate Stout Cupcake

    Bittersweet chocolate cupcakes whisked with stout and topped with inky dark chocolate frosting.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - ded moroz

    Ded Moroz

    Grandfather Frost! Accompanied by his granddaughter, Snegurochka, the Snow Maiden, he bestows gifts to virtuous and hard-working people, rewarding their decency and integrity, and punishes those who are lazy, shiftless, and unkind, killing their fields with frost, cracking the trunks of their trees, and destroying their homes.

    The first incarnation of Father Frost was not at all benevolent. He was the personification of the darkest aspects of winter, winter’s destruction incarnate. He kidnapped unruly children, and slew people capriciously by freezing them to death.

    Light, darkness, kindness, and malice: golden amber, white amber, redwood, teak, bois du rose, sage, tree moss, and snow.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - DIABLE EN BOÎTE

    Diable en Boîte

    The crickets sing, and man’s o’er-labour’d sense
    Repairs itself by rest. Our Tarquin thus
    Did softly press the rushes, ere he waken’d
    The chastity he wounded. Cytherea,
    How bravely thou becomest thy bed, fresh lily,
    And whiter than the sheets! That I might touch!
    But kiss; one kiss! Rubies unparagon’d,
    How dearly they do’t! ‘Tis her breathing that
    Perfumes the chamber thus: the flame o’ the taper
    Bows toward her, and would under-peep her lids,
    To see the enclosed lights, now canopied
    Under these windows, white and azure laced
    With blue of heaven’s own tinct. But my design,
    To note the chamber: I will write all down:
    Such and such pictures; there the window; such
    The adornment of her bed; the arras; figures,
    Why, such and such; and the contents o’ the story.
    Ah, but some natural notes about her body,
    Above ten thousand meaner moveables
    Would testify, to enrich mine inventory.
    O sleep, thou ape of death, lie dull upon her!
    And be her sense but as a monument,
    Thus in a chapel lying! Come off, come off:
    As slippery as the Gordian knot was hard!
    ‘Tis mine; and this will witness outwardly,
    As strongly as the conscience does within,
    To the madding of her lord. On her left breast
    A mole cinque-spotted, like the crimson drops
    I’ the bottom of a cowslip: here’s a voucher,
    Stronger than ever law could make: this secret
    Will force him think I have pick’d the lock and ta’en
    The treasure of her honour. No more. To what end?
    Why should I write this down, that’s riveted,
    Screw’d to my memory? She hath been reading late
    The tale of Tereus; here the leaf’s turn’d down
    Where Philomel gave up. I have enough:
    To the trunk again, and shut the spring of it.
    Swift, swift, you dragons of the night, that dawning
    May bare the raven’s eye! I lodge in fear;
    Though this a heavenly angel, hell is here.
    One, two, three: time, time!

    – Iachimo, Cymbeline Act II, Scene 2

    There are few things more disturbing than a Jack in the Box. A strangely sinister, unnerving holiday scent: redwood, bitter clove, tonka, hemp accord, and tobacco with peach blossom, black currant, and red musk.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - egg nog

    Egg Nog

    Sweet brandy, dark rum, heavy cream, sugar, and a dash of nutmeg.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - gelt

    Gelt

    Sevivon, sov, sov, sov
    Chanukah, hu chag tov
    Chanukah, hu chag tov
    Sevivon, sov, sov, sov!

    Chag simcha hu la-am
    Nes gadol haya sham
    Nes gadol haya sham
    Chag simcha hu la-am.

    A bounty of chocolate coins! Dry cocoa and golden amber!

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - hanerot halalu

    Hanerot Halalu

    Hanerot halalu anachnu madlikin
    Al hanissim ve’al haniflaot
    Al hatshu-ot ve’al hamilchamot
    She-asita la’avoteynu
    Bayamim hahem, bazman hazeh
    Al yedey kohanecha hakdoshim.
    Vechol shmonat yemey Chanukah
    Hanerot halalu kodesh hem,
    Ve-ein lanu reshut lehishtamesh bahem
    Ela lirotam bilvad
    Kedai lehodot leshimcha
    Al nissecha veal nifleotecha ve-al yeshuotecha.

    We light these lights
    For the miracles and the wonders,
    For the redemption and the battles
    That you made for our forefathers
    In those days at this season,
    Through your holy priests.
    During all eight days of Chanukah
    These lights are sacred
    And we are not permitted to make
    Ordinary use of them,
    But only to look at them;
    In order to express thanks
    And praise to your great Name
    For your miracles, your wonders
    And your salvations.

    Olive oil, beeswax, and smoke.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - hearth

    Hearth

    5 out of 5

    Sweet pipe tobacco, cherry wood, the warm, worn leather of an easy chair and a pleasant, subtle waft of fireplace smoke.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - honey snowballs

    Honey Snowballs

    A splort of honey in a pile of snow.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - hypothermia

    Hypothermia

    Poor naked wretches, wheresoe’er you are,
    That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm!
    How shall your houseless heads, and unfed sides,
    Your loop’d and window’d raggedness, defend you
    From seasons such as these?

    Bone-chilling, heart-stopping cold.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - JOULUMUORI

    Joulumuori

    Old Lady Christmas, the sweet, smiling wife of Finland’s Joulupukki. Her scent invokes the comforts of Christmastime and the warmth of love and cheerful companionship: a glowing hearth, luumukiisseli, riisipuuro, and sima.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - krampus 2

    Krampus

    4 out of 5

    Anything BUT jolly! Draped with chains and bells, wielding both whip and rod, this rag-clad, horned, red-skinned, soot-covered leering creature is both the companion and the antithesis of rosy-cheeked and ebullient Kris Kringle. He is called by many names, and, in a myriad of cultures, he is seen with different robes and faces, but he is nevertheless always a sinister and fearsome instrument of Santa’s wrath: he wields a switch on all irredeemably naughty children before tossing them into his large black sack and whisking them away.

    Be good, or Krampus will toss you in a river! Sinister red musk, black leather, dusty rags, and wooden switches.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - la befana

    La Befana

    On the night of the Epiphany, a joyful, broomstick-riding hag clad in a tattered shawl drops into chimneys all over Italy, bestowing gifts to good children, and dropping coal into the stockings of naughty kiddies.

    La Befana vien di notte
    Con le scarpe tutte rotte
    Col vestito alla Romana
    Viva, Viva La Befana!

    As the Three Wise Men searched for the house of the Christ child, they found themselves lost. Eventually, they stopped at a small house and knocked on the door. A small, wizened woman opened the door, holding a broom in her hand. The Astrologers asked the woman if she knew the location of the child, but, unfortunately, she did not know who these men were looking for, and could not aid them in their search. It was deep into the night, and the air was chilly, so the kindly woman offered the three men her hospitality. They spent the night in her warm, comfortable home, and shared bread and stories with one another. The Astrologers explained to the woman why they were looking for this blessed infant, and invited her to join them in their search come morning. Though she was touched by their tale, she declined, as she had a great deal of housework to do. At daybreak, the Astrologers awoke. They thanked the woman for her generosity, gathered their things, and prepared to leave. Before they departed, they, again, asked the old woman if she would like to join them on their journey. Again, she declined, and sent them on their way. After they had left, she regretted her decision, and she set off to find the Three Wise Men. After many long and frustrating hours of searching, she still could not find them. Saddened, yet still filled with hope, she stopped to give a gift to every good child she passed.

    La Befana comes by night
    With her shoes old and broken
    She comes dressed in the Roman way
    Long life to the Befana!

    Candy charcoal, winter lilies, parma violet, a sprig of cypress, a poof of chimney dust, and holiday sweets.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - LARENTALIA

    Larentalia

    The festival of Roman goddess of death, Larenta, who was also known as Dea Tacita, the Silent Goddess. Spells to silence and bind slanderous enemies were cast on her holy days, as were spells of closure and suppression. During this time, offerings to the dead are left on thresholds, where spirits are said to dwell.

    A Roman funeral garden: cypress, thyme, oleander, crocus, gladiola, amaranth, and myrtle shrouded by herbs and flowers sacred to the Silent One.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - like brooms of steel

    Like Brooms of Steel

    Like brooms of steel
    The Snow and Wind
    Had swept the Winter Street,
    The House was hooked,
    The Sun sent out
    Faint Deputies of heat-
    The Apple in the cellar snug
    Where rode the Bird
    The Silence tied
    His ample, plodding Steed,
    Was all the one that played.

    – Emily Dickinson

    Sharp, metallic slices of snow and freezing wind with a faint hint of cellar dust, burlap, and apple.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - lines the cold earth slept below

    Lines: The Cold Earth Slept Below

    The cold earth slept below,
    Above the cold sky shone;
    And all around, with a chilling sound,
    From caves of ice and fields of snow,
    The breath of night like death did flow
    Beneath the sinking moon.

    The wintry hedge was black,
    The green grass was not seen,
    The birds did rest on the bare thorn’s breast,
    Whose roots, beside the pathway track,
    Had bound their folds o’er many a crack
    Which the frost had made between.

    Thine eyes glowed in the glare
    Of the moon’s dying light;
    As a fen-fire’s beam on a sluggish stream
    Gleams dimly, so the moon shone there,
    And it yellowed the strings of thy raven hair,
    That shook in the wind of night.

    The moon made thy lips pale, beloved—
    The wind made thy bosom chill—
    The night did shed on thy dear head
    Its frozen dew, and thou didst lie
    Where the bitter breath of the naked sky
    Might visit thee at will.

    – Percy Bysshe Shelley

    The moon’s dying light: cypress boughs and yew, death-cold beams of white musk, white thyme, marbled orris, Spanish moos, grave soil, and a sprig of rosemary.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - midnight mass

    Midnight Mass

    I will wash my hands among the innocent; and will compass thy altar, O Lord: That I may hear the voice of thy praise: and tell of all thy wondrous works. I have loved, O Lord, the beauty of thy house; and the place where thy glory dwelleth. Take not away my soul, O God, with the wicked: nor my life with bloody men: In whose hands are iniquities: their right hand is filled with gifts.

    But as for me, I have walked in my innocence: redeem me, and have mercy on me. My foot hath stood in the direct way: in the churches I will bless thee, O Lord.

    In Roman Catholic tradition, the Christmas season begins liturgically on Christmas Eve, though it is forbidden to celebrate the Christmas Mass before midnight. The most devout attend Midnight Mass, celebrating both the Eucharist and the drama of the Nativity.

    This perfume is a traditional Roman Catholic sacramental incense, most often used during a Solemn Mass. Traditionally, five tears of this incense, each encased individually in wax that has been fashioned into the shape of a nail, are inserted into the paschal candle. This is, of course, represents the Five Wounds of Our Risen Savior. Symbolically, the burning of the incense signifies spiritual fervor, the fragrance itself inspires virtue, and the rising smoke carries our prayers to God.

    Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, factorem caeli et terrae, visibilium omnium et invisibilium.

    Et in unum Dominum Iesum Christum, Filium Dei unigenitum, et ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula. Deum de Deo, Lumen de Lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero, genitum non factum, consubstantialem Patri; per quem omnia facta sunt. Qui propter nos homines et propter nostram salutem descendit de caelis. Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine, et homo factus est. Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato, passus et sepultus est, et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas, et ascendit in caelum, sedet ad dexteram Patris. Et iterum venturus est cum gloria, iudicare vivos et mortuos, cuius regni non erit finis.

    Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem, qui ex Patre procedit. Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur: qui locutus est per prophetas. Et unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam. Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum, et vitam venturi saeculi. Amen.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - NES GADOL HAYA SHAM

    Nes Gadol Haya Sham

    5 out of 5

    But not long after the king sent a certain old man of Antioch, to compel the Jews to depart from the laws of their fathers and of God:

    And to defile the temple that was in Jerusalem, and to call it the temple of Jupiter Olympius: and that in Gazarim of Jupiter Hospitalis, according as they were that inhabited the place.

    And very bad was this invasion of evils and grievous to all.

    For the temple was full of the riot and reveling of the Gentiles: and of men lying with lewd women. And women thrust themselves of their accord into the holy places, and brought in things that were not lawful.

    The altar also was filled with unlawful things, which were forbidden by the laws.

    And neither were the sabbaths kept, nor the solemn days of the fathers observed, neither did any man plainly profess himself to be a Jew.

    But they were led by bitter constraint on the king’s birthday to the sacrifices: and when the feast of Bacchus was kept, they wore compelled to go about crowned with ivy in honour of Bacchus.

    And there went out a decree into the neighboring cities of the Gentiles, by the suggestion of the Ptolemeans, that they also should act in like manner against the Jews, to oblige them to sacrifice:

    And whosoever would not conform themselves to the ways of the Gentiles, should be put to death: then was misery to be seen.

    For two women were accused to have circumcised their children: whom, when they had openly led about through the city with the infants hanging at their breasts, they threw down headlong from the walls.

    And others that had met together in caves that were near, and were keeping the sabbath day privately, being discovered by Philip, were burnt with fire, because they made a conscience to help themselves with their hands, by reason of the religious observance of the day.

    – The Second Book of the Maccabees, 6:1-11

    In order to consolidate his power in Jerusalem and Hellenize the area, the Greek king Antiochus IV Epiphanes outlawed Judaism and ordered the population to worship Zeus and the Hellenic pantheon. As this was anathema to the Jews, they refused, and Antiochus moved to enforce his religious decree by extreme force.

    Some origin tales say that the dreidel was used at this time as a method by which the Jewish people were able to continue to study the Talmud in secret under the guise of gambling. Now, in addition to being a light gambling game, the dreidel is also a reminder of the strength, devotion, and perseverance of the Jewish people and the mercy of God.

    One scent in four parts:

    Nun, the Snake: nuun, nothing. Naš, in modern Arabic, means bad luck. Represented by scents of loss and remembrance: opoponax and lemon verbena.

    Gimel, the Camel: the Ship of the Desert. Represented by scents of abundance, fortitude, and determination: patchouli, heliotrope, pomegranate, and almond.

    He, the Window: sometimes used to represent the Unutterable Name of God, this is the window in our souls through which God’s light touches us. Represented by scents of clarity and piety: frankincense, myrtle, and hyssop.

    Shin, the Tooth: also stands for Shaddai, one of the names of God. The hand formed into shin acts as a priestly blessing. Represented by scents of strength, generosity, kindness, and benediction: carnation, myrrh, red poppy, and hibiscus.

    The essences of Nun, Gimel, He, and Shin are blended to become Nes Gadol Haya Sham.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - NOCHE BUENA

    Noche Buena

    A celebration of the Nativity: the light, uplifting incense of the Misa de Noche Buena, purple sage, and a vibrant bouquet of plumeria, chrysanthemum, tuberose, Angel’s Trumpet, Mexican tiger lily, dahlia, and azucenas.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - november

    November

    Yet one smile more, departing, distant sun!
    One mellow smile through the soft vapoury air,
    Ere, o’er the frozen earth, the loud winds ran,
    Or snows are sifted o’er the meadows bare.
    One smile on the brown hills and naked trees,
    And the dark rocks whose summer wreaths are cast,
    And the blue Gentian flower, that, in the breeze,
    Nods lonely, of her beauteous race the last.
    Yet a few sunny days, in which the bee
    Shall murmur by the hedge that skim the way,
    The cricket chirp upon the russet lea,
    And man delight to linger in thy ray.
    Yet one rich smile, and we will try to bear
    The piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air.

    Autumn leaves damp beneath the first snowfall.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - ON SEEING A TUFT OF SNOWDROPS IN A STORM

    On Seeing a Tuft of Snowdrops in a Storm

    When haughty expectations prostrate lie,
    And grandeur crouches like a guilty thing,
    Oft shall the lowly weak, till nature bring
    Mature release, in fair society
    Survive, and Fortune’s utmost anger try;
    Like these frail snow-drops that together cling,
    And nod their helmets smitten by the wing
    Of many a furious whirlblast sweeping by.
    Observe the faithful flowers! if small to great
    May lead the thoughts, thus struggling used to stand
    The Emathian phalanx, nobly obstinate;
    And so the bright immortal Theban band,
    Whom onset, fiercely urged at Jove’s command,
    Might overwhelm, but could not separate!

    – William Wordsworth

    Observe the faithful flowers: snowdrop and sweet pea, wintersweet, winter-flowering honeysuckle, and deep purple honeywort.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - peacock queen

    Peacock Queen

    In dramatic contrast to the soft innocence of Snow White and the dew-kissed freshness of her sister, Rose Red, this is a blood red, voluptuous rose, velvet-petaled, at the height of bloom. Haughty and imperious, vain, yet incomparably lovely to the eye, but thick with thorns of jealousy, pride and hatred.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - peppermint cream cupcake

    Peppermint Cream Cupcake

    Sweet red velvet cupcakes with thick peppermint cream frosting.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - perchta

    Perchta

    Perchta, the Shining One, is the Lady of the Beasts, an incarnation of the goddess Holda. She, too, leads the Wild Hunt, and is the protectress of wild animals, appearing to mortals as either a white-clad, white-skinned, white-haired beauty, or as a brutish, bestial hag. She is called Berhte Mit Dem Fuoze; one of her feet is shaped like a beast’s, which gives away her superhuman nature no matter how she is disguised. She is also called Perchta the Belly-Slitter, for, at Yuletide, she castigates the wicked, slovenly, and idle, and rewards those that are generous, good-natured, and kind. The Belly-Slitter enforced community taboos, punishing those that spun during holy days and those who failed to partake in sacred feasts, thus jeopardizing the next year’s harvest. Her punishments can be a bit over-the-top, though: they include disemboweling the transgressor and filling the empty cavity with refuse.

    Her scent is a blend of wild musk, snow, and alpine flora: Nigritella lithopolitanica, aconite, crocus, touch-me-not, edelweiss, Iris variegate, and violet.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - pink snowballs

    Pink Snowballs

    A lighthearted winter scent: chilly vanilla rose snowballs! Dainty, soft, and certainly unfit for flinging!

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - rose red

    Rose Red

    The perfected winter rose, dew covered and freshly cut.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - snow white

    Snow White

    A chilly, bright perfume: flurries of virgin snow, crisp winter wind and the faintest breath of night-blooming flowers.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - sol invictus

    Sol Invictus

    Sane, sol et in cloacam radios suos defert nec inquinatur.

    A radiant blend of solar oils: golden amber, saffron, heliotrope, hibiscus, citron, frangipani, frankincense, tangerine, mock orange, and orange blossom.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - the cracked bell

    The Cracked Bell

    How bittersweet it is, on winter’s night,
    To listen, by the sputtering, smoking fire,
    As distant memories, through the fog-dimmed light,
    Rise, to the muffled chime of churchbell choir.

    Lucky the bell — still full and deep of throat,
    Clear-voiced despite its years, strong, eloquent —
    That rings, with faithful tongue, its pious note
    Like an old soldier, wakeful, in his tent!

    My soul lies cracked; and when, in its despair,
    Pealing, it tries to fill the cold night air
    With its lament, it often sounds, instead,

    Like some poor wounded wretch — long left for dead
    Beneath a pile of corpses, lying massed
    By bloody pool — rattling, gasping his last.

    A winter’s horror: smoke and stillness, faded incense and the metallic tang of blood.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - the fruit of paradise

    The Fruit of Paradise

    While Persephone visited the realm of Hades, she tasted one single pomegranate seed, an act which compelled her to remain connected to the Land of the Dead for all eternity. Demeter’s grief over her beloved daughter’s absence that brings on the bleakness and barrenness of the winter months.

    The Fruit of Paradise, the Nectar of Death: bittersweet pomegranate.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - the governing darks begun

    The Governing Dark’s Begun

    It freezes – all across a soundless sky
    The birds go home. The governing dark’s begun:
    The steadfast dark that waits not for a sun;
    The ultimate dark wherein the race shall die.

    Death, with his evil finger to his lip,
    Leers in at human windows, turning spy
    To learn the country where his rule shall lie
    When he assumes perpetual generalship.

    The undefeated enemy, the chill
    That shall benumb the voiceful earth at last,
    Is master of our moment, and has bound
    The viewless wind it-self. There is no sound.
    It freezes. Every friendly stream is fast.
    It freezes; and the graven twigs are still.

    – Hilaire Belloc

    The steadfast dark that waits not for a sun: opoponax and myrrh, gum Arabic and frankincense, blackened juniper and bitter agarwood.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - the head of holofernes

    The Head of Holofernes

    And when it was grown late, his servants made haste to their lodgings, and Vagao shut the chamber doors, and went his way.

    And they were all overcharged with wine.

    And Judith was alone in the chamber.

    But Holofernes lay on his bed, fast asleep, being exceedingly drunk.

    And Judith spoke to her maid to stand without before the chamber, and to watch:

    And Judith stood before the bed praying with tears, and the motion of her lips in silence,

    Saying: Strengthen me, O Lord God of Israel, and in this hour look on the works of my hands, that as thou hast promised, thou mayst raise up Jerusalem thy city: and that I may bring to pass that which I have purposed, having a belief that it might be done by thee.

    And when she had said this, she went to the pillar that was at his bed’s head, and loosed his sword that hung tied upon it.

    And when she had drawn it out, she took him by the hair of his head, and said: Strengthen me, O Lord God, at this hour.

    And she struck twice upon his neck, and out off his head, and took off his canopy from the pillars, and rolled away his headless body.

    And after a while she went out, and delivered the head of Holofernes to her maid, and bade her put it into her wallet.

    And they two went out according to their custom, as it were to prayer, and they passed the camp, and having compassed the valley, they came to the gate of the city.

    And Judith from afar off cried to the watchmen upon the walls: Open the gates for God is with us, who hath shewn his power in Israel.

    And it came to pass, when the men had heard her voice, that they called the ancients of the city.

    And all ran to meet her from the least to the greatest: for they now had no hopes that she would come.

    And lighting up lights they all gathered round about her: and she went up to a higher place, and commanded silence to be made. And when all had held their peace,

    Judith said: Praise ye the Lord our God, who hath not forsaken them that hope in him.

    And by me his handmaid he hath fulfilled his mercy, which he promised to the house of Israel: and he hath killed the enemy of his people by my hand this night.

    Then she brought forth the head of Holofernes out of the wallet, and shewed it them, saying:

    Behold the head of Holofernes the general of the army of the Assyrians, and behold his canopy, wherein he lay in his drunkenness, where the Lord our God slew him by the hand of a woman.

    Dried blood, boiled wine, leather, galbanum, onycha, tonka bean, and pomegranate.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - the magi

    The Magi

    Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

    Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

    When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

    And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

    And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

    And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

    Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

    And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

    When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

    When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

    And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

    And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

    And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

    When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:

    And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

    Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.

    Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,

    In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

    But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,

    Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.

    And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.

    But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:

    And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

    An offering of frankincense, gold, and myrrh, with coriander, cumin, ambergris, white wine grape, and vanilla bean.

    Now as at all times I can see in the mind’s eye,
    In their stiff, painted clothes, the pale unsatisfied ones
    Appear and disappear in the blue depth of the sky
    With all their ancient faces like rain-beaten stones,
    And all their helms of silver hovering side by side,
    And all their eyes still fixed, hoping to find once more,
    Being by Calvary’s turbulence unsatisfied,
    The uncontrollable mystery on the bestial floor.


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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - the magi - BALTHASAR OF ARABIA

    The Magi: Balthasar of Arabia

    Copaiba balsam, black oudh, Ceylon cinnamon, vegetal musk, and ambrette seed.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - the magi - GASPAR OF INDIA

    The Magi: Gaspar of India

    Laotian oudh, labdanum, bourbon vanilla, red benzoin, and myrrh.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - the magi - MELCHIOR OF PERSIA

    The Magi: Melchior of Persia

    Sweet oudh, Bulgarian rose, chamomile, and frankincense.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - the wood pile

    The Wood-Pile

    Out walking in the frozen swamp one grey day
    I paused and said, “I will turn back from here.
    No, I will go on farther—and we shall see.”
    The hard snow held me, save where now and then
    One foot went down. The view was all in lines
    Straight up and down of tall slim trees
    Too much alike to mark or name a place by
    So as to say for certain I was here
    Or somewhere else: I was just far from home.
    A small bird flew before me. He was careful
    To put a tree between us when he lighted,
    And say no word to tell me who he was
    Who was so foolish as to think what he thought.
    He thought that I was after him for a feather—
    The white one in his tail; like one who takes
    Everything said as personal to himself.
    One flight out sideways would have undeceived him.
    And then there was a pile of wood for which
    I forgot him and let his little fear
    Carry him off the way I might have gone,
    Without so much as wishing him good-night.
    He went behind it to make his last stand.
    It was a cord of maple, cut and split
    And piled—and measured, four by four by eight.
    And not another like it could I see.
    No runner tracks in this year’s snow looped near it.
    And it was older sure than this year’s cutting,
    Or even last year’s or the year’s before.
    The wood was grey and the bark warping off it
    And the pile somewhat sunken. Clematis
    Had wound strings round and round it like a bundle.
    What held it though on one side was a tree
    Still growing, and on one a stake and prop,
    These latter about to fall. I thought that only
    Someone who lived in turning to fresh tasks
    Could so forget his handiwork on which
    He spent himself, the labour of his axe,
    And leave it there far from a useful fireplace
    To warm the frozen swamp as best it could
    With the slow smokeless burning of decay.

    – Robert Frost

    Bald cypress and Spanish moss, spatterdock and sundew.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - THERE’S A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT

    There’s a Certain Slant of Light

    There’s a certain Slant of light,
    Winter Afternoons –
    That oppresses, like the Heft
    Of Cathedral Tunes –

    Heavenly Hurt, it gives us –
    We can find no scar,
    But internal difference,
    Where the Meanings, are –

    None may teach it – Any –
    ‘Tis the Seal Despair –
    An imperial affliction
    Sent us of the Air –

    When it comes, the Landscape listens –
    Shadows – hold their breath –
    When it goes, ’tis like the Distance
    On the look of Death –

    Thin, tinny ozone with frankincense, white sandalwood, white amber, hyssop, bitter violet leaf, and shadowy wisps of smoke.

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  • YULE 2017 LABEL - wynter wakeneth al my care

    Wynter Wakeneth Al My Care

    Wynter wakeneth al my care,
    Nou this leves waxeth bare;
    Ofte I sike ant mourne sare
    When hit cometh in my thoght
    Of this worldes joie, hou hit goth al to noht.

    Nou hit is, and nou hit nys,
    Also hit ner nere, ywys;
    That moni mon seith, soth hit ys:
    Al goth bote Godes wille:
    Alle we shule deye, thah us like ylle.

    Al that gren me graueth grene,
    Nou hit faleweth al by dene:
    Jesu, help that hit be sene
    Ant shild us from helle!
    For y not whider y shal, ne hou longe her duelle.

    May we be saved – and save ourselves – from these hard, cruel times, and may we find strength together, for we know not where we go, nor how long we will dwell here. A warming, uplifting, strengthening scent: patchouli and sweet amber with champaca, bourbon vanilla, and frankincense.

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Yule 2017 - 12 Days of Christmas

  • 12 days BPAL web - golden rings

    Five Golden Rings

    Four Calling Birds
    Three French Hens
    Two Turtle Doves and a
    Partridge in a Pear Tree

    Luminous golden amber, lemon peel, and royal agarwood, tonka bean and bone-white orris, and a splash of blood.

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  • 12 days BPAL web - calling birds

    Four Calling Birds

    Three French Hens
    Two Turtle Doves and a
    Partridge in a Pear Tree

    Screeching pink peppercorn, a squawk of rose geranium, black patchouli, bois de rose, and prune.

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  • 12 days BPAL web - partridge in a pear tree

    Partridge in a Pear Tree

    Eight legs of wild plum and scrabbling black musk fluttering over a sac of lemon sugar eggs.

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  • 12 days BPAL web - geese a laying

    Six Geese-a-Laying

    Five Golden Rings
    Four Calling Birds
    Three French Hens
    Two Turtle Doves and a
    Partridge in a Pear Tree

    A ploop of tentacle-green mint, wet juniper, gum mastic, puckered bergamot, cardamom pod, thyme, and vetiver.

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  • 12 days BPAL web - french hens

    Three French Hens

    Two Turtle Doves and a
    Partridge in a Pear Tree

    Fear not: the hens triumph in the end. Feathery bourbon vanilla, Siamese red benzoin, petitgrain, vengeful red currant, and a drop of vetiver.

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  • 12 days BPAL web - turtle doves

    Two Turtle Doves

    and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

    Pulsating globs of red musk, viscera-thick black vegetal musk and opoponax, with white pepper, tuberose, white lavender, orris butter, and ambergris accord.

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Yule 2017 - Yule Phobias

The holiday season is a source of joy for many—frolicking in the snow, decking the halls, stringin’ up lights, belting out carols. It is a time for family and good cheer, jolly men in furry red suits, and tales of merriment and miracles.

For others, it is a source of pure terror.

  • yule phobias WEB ALLODOXAPHOBIA

    Allodoxaphobia

    Fear of Opinions

    The discordant clang of silverware punctuates another heated rant, and Uncle Elliot whips out his phone to underscore his point with a Facebook meme he saw earlier in the day.

    Flecks of cranberry sauce spatter the table as a fist pounds in anger: a boisterous, conflicted, bombastic lather of red pepper, boiled cranberries, and bergamot.

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  • yule phobias WEB AMAXOPHOBIA

    Amaxophobia

    Fear of Riding in Cars

    Encased in a roaring tomb of vinyl siding, strangled by nylon bindings, arms bruised and battered by writhing bodies punching and pummeling—punctuated by wild cries of SLUG BUG and CALL BOX—and endless discordant choruses of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.

    Motor oil, a burst of exhaust, a faded tree-shaped air freshener, and crushed gas station chocolates.

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  • yule phobias WEB CHEROPHOBIA

    Cherophobia

    Fear of Gaiety  

    Clacking white teeth bared in repugnant, feral upturned leers.

    Laughter, hideous laughter: bubbling white ginger gurgling through hot red carnations, shreds of orange peel, and cloying globs of honey.

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  • yule phobias WEB KRIKOPHOBIA

    Krikophobia

    Fear of Religious Services

    Sour wine drying on an ancient ciborium, crumbling pages of a yellowed sacramentary, blinding glints of bitter white sunlight shattering off a tarnished monstrance, and doleful voices droning through a haze of oppressive, smothering incense.

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  • yule phobias WEB SYNGENESOPHOBIA

    Syngenesophobia

    Fear of Relatives and Relations

    God damn it, Uncle Steve. Nobody cares what Hannity has to say about anything.

    Buckets of red wine, a splash of aftershave, and copious amounts of blossoming gin.

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  • yule phobias WEB VISCACAEAPHOBIA

    Viscacaephobia

    Fear of Kissing Under the Mistletoe

    Pale, sickly flaps of vegetation looming over gaping archways, flaccid lips wet with hunger: cucumber and spearmint curling against the edges of dry, crumbling mistletoe.

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Yule 2017 - The Snowdrift

The chill silence of winter has descended on the Lab, draping icicles have coalesce on the edges of our laboratory tables, and white, blinding white, snow drifts over all.

Yule 2017 - Winter’s Grand Constellations


I went out at night alone;
The young blood flowing beyond the sea
Seemed to have drenched my spirit’s wings—
I bore my sorrow heavily.

But when I lifted up my head
From shadows shaken on the snow,
I saw Orion in the east
Burn steadily as long ago.

From windows in my father’s house,
Dreaming my dreams on winter nights,
I watched Orion as a girl
Above another city’s lights.

Years go, dreams go, and youth goes too,
The world’s heart breaks beneath its wars,
All things are changed, save in the east
The faithful beauty of the stars.

  • auriga

    Auriga

    In the center of the chariot shines Capella’s yellow-white brilliance.

    A deep chthonic, earthy scent, with a glowing core: oakmoss, vetiver root, and patchouli with lemon rind and golden amber.

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  • canis major

    Canis Major

    5 out of 5

    Embracing the brightest fire burning in the canopy of night, Canis Major hunts Lepis eternally as he dances with galactic clusters of his sister stars.

    Star-speckled brown fur and hay.

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  • CASSIOPEIA

    Cassiopeia

    Unbound from her prison-throne, mirror aloft; within her cloak dance the stories of Bathsheba, Deborah, and Mary Magdalene.

    Plum velvet, red wine, and sweet, dark oudh.

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  • orion

    Orion

    Orion, the Hunter, is the Lord of the Winter Skies. At his left shoulder sits orange-hot Betelgeuse, and in the heart of his sword, he holds a nebula that swirls with the birth of new stars.

    Weathered brown leather, wild fig, Macedonian cedar, fire-red tobacco, pepper, white musk, and cardamom.

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  • winter constellations WEB - perseus

    Perseus

    Sword aloft, eternally resting beside Andromeda, Algol flickering in the gorgon’s head.

    Greek sage and iris, leather, and ambergris, with a dark gleam of patchouli-soaked blackcurrant.

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Yule 2017 - An Evening with the Spirits

I felt my hair blown and lifted by currents of air, and cool breezes played about my face and hands. Then began a strange sensation, which I had sometimes felt at seances. Frequently I have heard it described by others as of cobwebs being passed over the face, but to me, who watched it curiously, it seemed that I could feel fine threads being drawn out of the pores of my skin.

I experienced none of the fear of the previous evening. At first I had a strange eerie feeling somewhat akin to it, but that passed off, and I became perfectly calm and indisposed to move, or to answer any of the many questions addressed to me by my friends outside. At the same time I took a great interest in analysing my own sensations and wondered as to what would come of the experiment, for that something was about to happen I was certain.

  • evening with the spirits WEB - a hailstorm of knitting needles

    A Hailstorm of Knitting-Needles

    “At a late period in the evening, after nearly three hours of experiment, Mrs Hayden having risen, and talking at another table while taking refreshment, a child suddenly called out, ‘Will all the spirits who have been here this evening rap together?’ The words were no sooner uttered than a hailstorm of knitting-needles was heard, crowded into certainly less than two seconds; the big needle sounds of the men, and the little ones of the women and children, being clearly distinguishable, but perfectly disorderly in their arrival.”

    – Augustus de Morgan

    Polished mahogany and black tea with a clatter of vanilla husk and oak wood.

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  • A Measurement of the Soul

    A Measurement of the Soul

    If then, man, in every act, leaves the impression, or daguerreotype of his mental being upon the scenes of his life and the subjects of his action, we are by this law furnished with a new clue to the history of our race; and I think it highly probable, that, by the application of this principle, the chasms of history may be supplied, and a glimpse may be obtained of unrecorded ages and nations, whose early history is lost in darkness. The ancient manuscripts, paintings, and other works of art, which still exist – the crucifixes, garments, armor, and other ancient relics, still preserved – are doubtless still instinct with the spirit that produced them, and capable of revealing to psychometric exploration, the living realities with which they were once connected. At present, these relics are barren of significance. Their hidden meaning lies waiting the future explorer, as the hieroglyphics of Egypt awaited the arrival of Champillion to interpret their significance. And why should not the world be filled with the monuments and unwritten records of its past history? It would seem, to the superficial thinker, that man was entirely limited to tradition and written records for his knowledge of the past; but physical science proves, that the world possesses, embodied in enduring monuments, the story of its progressive existence. The geologist finds, in the different strata of the earth, in its curiously mingled and irregular structure, and in the fossil remains which it conceals in its bosom, the history of its various changes of surface, and of the antediluvian races of animals which have long been extinct. The huge Saurian monsters, which he portrays from their fossil relics, rise before the eye as incredible chimeras. And over this fertile region, now occupied by prosperous States, he revives, by the magic power of science, the antediluvian seas and their strange inhabitants, unknown to man.

    The Past is entombed in the Present! The world is its own enduring monument; and that which is true of its physical, is likewise true of its mental career. The discoveries of Psychometry will enable us to explore the history of man, as those of geology enable us to explore the history of the earth. There are mental fossils for psychologists as well as mineral fossils for the geologists; and I believe that hereafter the psychologist and the geologist will go hand in hand — the one portraying the earth, its animals and its vegetation, while the other portrays the human beings who have roamed over its surface in the shadows, and the darkness of primeval barbarism! Aye, the mental telescope is now discovered which may pierce the depths of the past and bring us in full view of the grand and tragic passages of ancient history! I know that, to many of my readers, unaccustomed to these investigations, and unacquainted with the first experimental facts of this great science, these anticipations must seem a visionary hope – too grand, too romantic, too transcendently beautiful to be true. But observe, that all is based upon familiar experiments, and these results are but legitimate deductions from familiar facts. As surely as the expansive power of steam gives premonition of the ocean steamship, does the power of Psychometry give promise of all the glorious performance to which I have alluded.

    —Buchanan, 1842

    A tactile scent, groaning under the weight of aeons: wild fig, cedarwood, venerable ti leaf, and white sage.

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  • evening with the spirits WEB - a spirit katie

    A Spirit, Katie

    On my arrival (June 5) all appeared fair enough. I found the mediums established on the second floor of a small house in Ninth Street near Arch. There were but two rooms on the floor, a front parlor and a bedroom; the lower floor under both rooms being occupied as a shop for the sale of musical instruments. In a back corner of the parlor was a walnut cabinet, seven feet wide and eight feet high, with a door that opened into the parlor, and two apertures, five and six feet high respectively, both curtained with black cloth. We had lamp-light, shaded but sufficient to enable us to recognize faces and to see everything that passed in the room. After we had examined the cabinet, the medium entered it, closing the door.

    Soon at one of the apertures appeared a fair, thoughtful young face, a girl of eighteen apparently, by whom I was cordially welcomed in a low, pleasant voice. She returned and spoke to us several times. At the close of the sitting she twice appeared, robed in white, just within the cabinet door; not coming out, however, into the room: the first time (so I was told) that she had ever shown herself in full form.

    It was evidently a living, moving, thinking being. Yet I suspended judgment. One of the mediums was out of our sight. Then there was a door — locked, padlocked, and otherwise effectually secured, it seemed, but yet a door — from the cabinet into the bedroom adjoining. The possibility of a confederate suggested itself.

    Forty memorable sittings followed. Gradually test conditions were perfected, and every imaginable ground for suspecting deception was removed; and then, instead of failure, all the phenomena came out in greater perfection than before. I select the more remarkable; to copy my notes in full would involve tedious repetition.

    June 7. Katie allowed Dr. Child to feel her pulse; its beats were distinct, about seventy-two a minute. A lady offered her a gold ring, and asked me to put it on her finger. I did so. The hand, beautifully formed, was like that of a mortal woman, nearly of the same temperature as my own, and slightly moist. At the close of the sitting she advanced into the room, dropped a finger on my head, and touched several other persons.

    June 9. I gave her a long chain, composed of Violet’s hair, a present to myself more than forty-five years ago: hoping, as I told Katie, thereby to attract Violet herself in accordance with her promise. I observed that Katie wore the gold ring. But when, at the close of the sitting, examined with a light every nook and corner in the cabinet, neither ring nor chain was to be found.

    June 10. Katie called me up to the aperture, handed me back the hair chain, and said: “Violet wishes you to keep this, in memory of her, until you are called to meet her in her spirit-home.”

    – Touching Visitants From a Higher Life, Robert Dale Owen

    In memory of her: green cognac, rose water, and Italian bergamot.

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  • Claircognizance

    Claircognizance

    Dr. E. S. Packard, of Corunna, Me., in the Eastern Star, states that Mr. David Prescott, of South Sangerville, over ninety years of age, “wandered away into the woods, and not returning, a crowd of over a hundred men hunted for him nearly two days; the mill pond near his house was drained. Search was made in every direction but to no success.

     “A gentleman of that place decided to call in the aid of Mrs. Stevens; she told him somebody was lost, and not being able to visit the place she drew a map or chart of the locality, giving directions, by which, on his return he was immediately found alive, but died the next day. The day following I was at South Sangerville, and stopping at this gentleman’s house, examined the map, which was perfect in every respect. The house and shed were correctly drawn, the mill and pond near the house were marked, the field and woods, two fences over which Mr. Prescott must climb, even to the swinging of the road by the house was definitely given.

    “The spot where she said he was, was shown by a large black mark, and he was found exactly in that place. When we consider that Mrs. Stevens never saw this place in her normal condition, it is to me a wonderful test of spirit power.”

    Absolute and perfect clarity: rockrose, white amber, Corsican immortelle, Siamese benzoin, white sandalwood, and life everlasting.

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  • Ectoplasm

    Ectoplasm

    In examining and reporting these cases the witnesses averred that certain people, whom they called “materializing mediums,” had the strange physical gift that they could put forth from their bodies a viscous, gelatinous substance which appeared to differ from every known form of matter in that it could solidify and be used for material purposes, and yet could be reabsorbed, leaving absolutely no trace even upon the clothes which it had traversed in leaving the body.

    This substance was actually touched by some enterprising investigators, who reported that it was elastic and appeared to be sensitive, as though it was really an organic extrusion from the medium's body.

    —Arthur Conan Doyle, 1930

    A luminous, viscid blend of white amber, lemongrass, white oakmoss, and davana.

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  • Eusapia

    Eusapia

    “The case I allude to is that of an invalid woman who belongs to the humblest class of society. She is nearly thirty years old and very ignorant; her look is neither fascinating nor endowed with the power which modern criminologists call irresistible; but when she wishes, be it by day or by night, she can divert a curious group for an hour or so with the most surprising phenomena. Either bound to a seat or firmly held by the hands of the curious, she attracts to her the articles of furniture which surround her, lifts them up, holds them suspended in the air like Mahomet’s coffin, and makes them come down again with undulatory movements, as if they were obeying her will. She increases their weight or lessens it according to her pleasure. She raps or taps upon the walls, the ceiling, the floor, with fine rhythm and cadence. In response to the requests of the spectators, something like flashes of electricity shoot forth from her body, and envelop her or enwrap the spectators of these marvellous scenes. She draws upon cards that you hold out, everything that you want – figures, signatures, numbers, sentences – by just stretching out her hand toward the indicated place.

    “If you place in the corner of the room a vessel containing a layer of soft clay, you find after some moments the imprint in it of a small or a large hand, the image of a face (front view or profile) from which a plaster cast can be taken. In this way portraits of a face taken at different angles have been preserved, and those who desire so to do can thus make serious and important studies.

    “This woman rises in the air, no matter what bands tie her down. She seems to lie upon the empty air, as on a couch, contrary to all the laws of gravity; she plays on musical instruments – organs, bells, tambourines – as if they had been touched by her hands or moved by the breath of invisible gnomes… This woman at times can increase her stature by more than four inches.

    —Chiaia, in a letter to Lombroso

    Pale lilacs, white tea, and candle wax.

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  • Gossips of Ghost Land

    Gossips of Ghost Land

    They are imps of the kitchen, or drawing-room at most; and, if any spirit answers to their sphere, it must be those of unclaimed and disaffected ghosts, who, having no substance within themselves, out of which to compound a spiritual body, wander about church-yards, or haunt the localities where they enacted old crimes, or lived frivolous and disjointed lives. … It may be that the spirits called the Rappers… belong to this class. They are in, what Dante would call Limbo, driven to and fro, perturbed and lonely. These eagerly question the finer spirits, who pass through their realm on their way to higher spheres, of all the gossip that used to interest them on earth. But, inasmuch as the companionship of these people was in no way desirable while they lived in this world, they become less so when separated from the body. They are the gossips of ghost land, poor, frivolous, flimsy wretches, who receive the shred of thought here, and the shadows only of through in the spirit world, for all thought has a body and a substance as it were to itself, so that we say a thought may be grasped in anticipation of the fact hereafter; hence, thought finding no lodgment in these thin poor spirits, floats right through them. They have a restless desire for tangibility, and are perpetually trying to command material objects in a way to make themselves known.

    —d’Espérance, 1897

    Idle poltergeists and truant phantoms loitering in darkened corners and shadowed hallways: black cedar, patchouli, and tea leaf spiked with a tittering cackle of pink peppercorn, mate, and lime rind.

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  • evening with the spirits WEB - lajos

    Lajos

    A tribute to Lajos Pap, a spiritualist medium whose specialty was apporting snakes, lizards, rats, and frogs – live and dead – during séance.

    A pattering of night-creatures: indigo musk and patchouli croaking with oakmoss and a skittering of gleaming black olibanum.

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  • Luminous Phasmatis

    Luminous Phasmatis

    A peculiar manifestation of light produced by physical mediums during ectoplasmic séances: otherworldly snaps of ozone glowing with unearthly light.

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  • evening with the spirits WEB - odic force

    Odic Force

    The desire to inflict a mortal wound on the monster, Superstition, which, from a similar origin, a few centuries ago, inflicted on European society so vast an amount of misery, and by whose influence not hundreds, but thousands, of innocent persons died in tortures, on the rack and at the stake; — the desire made me wish to make the experiment, if possible, of bringing a highly sensitive person, by night, to a churchyard. I thought it possible that they might see, over graves where mouldering bodies lay, something like that which Billing had seen.
    Eucalyptus blossom, lime rind, and white mint coalescing into a green-tinged amber glow.

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  • Practical Occultism

    Practical Occultism

    Practical Occultism consists, first, of a perfect mastery of the individual’s own spirit. No advance whatever can be made in acquiring power over other spirits, such as controlling the lower or  supplicating the higher, until the spirit within has acquired such perfect mastery of itself, that it can never be moved to anger or emotion—realizes no pleasure, cares for no pain; experiences no mortification at insult, loss, or disappointment—in a word, subdues every emotion that stirs common men’s minds.

    To arrive at this state, severe and painful as well as long continued discipline is necessary. Having acquired this perfect equilibrium, the next step is power. The individual must be able to wake when he pleases and sleep when he pleases; go in spirit during bodily sleep where he will, and visit—as well as remember when awake—distant scenes.

    He must be enabled by practice, to telegraph, mentally, with his fellow associates, and present himself, spiritually, in their midst.

    He must, by practice, acquire psychological control over the minds of any persons—not his associates—beneath his own calibre of mind. He must be able to still a crying infant, subdue fierce animals or angry men, and by will, transfer his thought without speech or outward sign to any person of a mental calibre below himself; he must be enabled to summon to his presence elementary spirits, and if he desires to do so (knowing the penalties attached), to make them serve him in the special departments of Nature to which they belong.

    He must, by virtue of complete subjugation of his earthly nature, be able to invoke Planetary and even Solar Spirits, and commune with them to a certain degree.

    To attain these degrees of power the processes are so difficult that a thorough practical occultist can scarcely become one and yet continue his relations with his fellow-men.

    He must continue, from the first to the last degree, a long series of exercises, each one of which must be perfected before another is undertaken.

    A practical occultist may be of either sex, but must observe as the first law inviolable chastity—and that with a view of conserving all the virile powers of the organism. No aged person, especially one who has not lived the life of strict chastity, can acquire the full sum of the powers above named. It is better to commence practice in early youth, for after the meridian of life, when the processes of waste prevail over repair, few of the powers above described can be attained; the full sum never.

    Strict abstinence from animal food and all stimulants is necessary. Frequent ablutions and long periods of silent contemplation are essential. Codes of exercises for the attainment of these powers can be prescribed, but few, if any, of the self-indulgent livers of modern times can perform their routine.

    The arts necessary for study to the practical occultist are, in addition to those prescribed in speculative occultism, a knowledge of the qualities of drugs, vapors, minerals, electricity, perfumes, fumigations, and all kinds of anæsthetics.

    And now, having given in brief as much as is consistent with my position—as the former associate of a secret society—I have simply  to add, that, whilst there are, as in Masonry, certain preliminary degrees to pass through, there are numerous others to which a thoroughly well organized and faithful association might advance. In each degree there are some valuable elements of practical occultism demanded, whilst the teachings conveyed are essential preliminaries. In a word, speculative occultism must precede practical occultism; the former is love and wisdom, the latter, simply power.

    A Victorian occultist’s incense, invoking the Four Archangels: precious wildcrafted Indian frankincense with myrrh, cassia, sandarac, palmarosa, white sage, red sandalwood, elemi, and drops of star anise bound with grains of kyphi.

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  • Psychodynamic Discharge

    Psychodynamic Discharge

    5 out of 5

    In certain cases, emotionally charged complexes of representation, which have become autonomous and dissociated, seem to automatically and compulsively press for discharge and realisation through haunting phenomena…. Hence, the so-called haunting occurs in place of a neurosis.

    —Albert von Schrenck-Notzing

    Repressed rage, terror, and subjugated sexuality erupting through fierce bursts of uncontrollable psychic phenomena: black leather and red musk with aged black patchouli, Chinese rose, black pepper, coconut meat, Haitian vetiver, and igneous red ginger.

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  • Spirit Board

    Spirit Board

    CRAZED THROUGH “OUIJA”
    Neglected by Her Lover She Seeks Comfort of a Fortune-Telling Device

    BRIDGEPORT, Conn., Nov. 20.— Mrs. Eugenia Carpenter, a young woman living at 221 Myrtle, av., has been receiving attention from a young man who very recently ceased to call upon her.

    Mrs. Carpenter bought a fortune-telling board called “ouija,” and from it received the prediction that her suitor would not return to her.

    Last night she was found wandering almost nude in the streets.

    Her reason was gone and at intervals she cried out “Ouija said so and I knew it was true.”

    November 21st 1891
    Boston Daily Globe

    Redwood and bois de rose with white lilac, dried pink roses, and black tea.

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  • Table-Turning

    Table-Turning

    5 out of 5

    In the month of December, another fair American medium arrived in England. This lady and her husband, Dr. Roberts, attended a course of lectures I was then delivering in Providence Chapel, upon Mesmerism and Animal Magnetism. They introduced themselves to me, and invited me to visit them. I did so, many times; and to them do I owe much; for, through the information I received from them, I have been enabled to inquire more fully into this soul-stirring, and very important subject, after several Seances at Mrs. Roberts's in Dyer's Buildings, Holborn [MD: original], where I witnessed the moving of the table in various directions. This is what is called “Table-turning,” and which has been attributed to Electricity or Animal Magnetism, by many intelligent and scientific persons… I have seen a loo-table suspended in the air, at least six inches from the ground, without anyone in the body touching it.

    —Hardinge, 1854

    A heavy, tactile scent that thrums with voices from beyond: black polished teakwood, gullies of ectoplasm, and ghostly white musk.

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  • evening with the spirits WEB - the air and the ether

    The Air and the Ether

    But on what could an impression be left? An impression of such a nature becomes a material thing and implies a material nexus, however subtle. So far as we know there are only two things there, the air and the ether. The air is a mobile thing and could not carry a permanent impression. But is the ether a mobile thing? It is pictured as a most delicate medium with vibrating currents flowing in it, but it seems to me that a most tenuous jelly with quivers and thrills would be a closer analogy. We could conceive the whole material universe embedded in and interpenetrated by this subtle material, which would not necessarily change its position since it is too fine for wind or any coarser material to influence it. I feel that I am rushing in where even Lodges fear to tread, but if it should prove to be as I suggest then we should have that permanent screen on which shadows are thrown. The block of ether upon the stairs is the same that it always was, and so conveys the impression from the past.

    the Edge of the Unknown, Arthur Conan Doyle

    Gentle, almost imperceptible, permeating all things: pale amber vibrating with ambergris and a thread of lavender.

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  • The Fox Sisters

    The Fox Sisters

    For the sake of continuity the subsequent history of the Fox sisters will now be given after the events at Hydesville. It is a remarkable, and to Spiritualists a painful, story, but it bears its own lesson and should be faithfully recorded. When men have an honest and whole-hearted aspiration for truth there is no development which can ever leave them abashed or find no place in their scheme.

    For some years the two younger sisters, Kate and Margaret, gave séances at New York and other places, successfully meeting every test which was applied to them. Horace Greeley, afterwards a candidate for the United States presidency, was, as already shown, deeply interested in them and convinced of their entire honesty. He is said to have furnished the funds by which the younger girl completed her very imperfect education.

    During these years of public mediumship, when the girls were all the rage among those who had no conception of the religious significance of this new revelation, and who concerned themselves with it purely in the hope of worldly advantage, the sisters exposed themselves to the enervating influences of promiscuous séances in a way which no earnest Spiritualist could justify. The dangers of such practices were not then so clearly realized as now, nor had it occurred to people that it is unlikely that high spirits would descend to earth in order to advise as to the state of railway stocks or the issue of love affairs. The ignorance was universal, and there was no wise mentor at the elbow of these poor pioneers to point the higher and the safer path. Worst of all, their jaded energies were renewed by the offer of wine at a time when one at least of them was hardly more than a child. It is said that there was some family predisposition towards alcoholism, but even without such a taint their whole procedure and mode of life were rash to the last degree. Against their moral character there has never been a breath of suspicion, but they had taken a road which leads to degeneration of mind and character, though it was many years before the more serious effects were manifest.

    Some idea of the pressure upon the Fox girls at this time may be gathered from Mrs. Hardinge Britten's* description from her own observation. She talks of “pausing on the first floor to hear poor patient Kate Fox, in the midst of a captious, grumbling crowd of investigators, repeating hour after hour the letters of the alphabet, while the no less poor, patient spirits rapped out names, ages and dates to suit all comers.” Can one wonder that the girls, with vitality sapped, the beautiful, watchful influence of the mother removed, and harassed by enemies, succumbed to a gradually increasing temptation in the direction of stimulants?

    —Arthur Conan Doyle

    Deception and despair: rose geranium and tea roses with mahogany wood, bourbon vanilla, and apple peel.

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  • evening with the spirits WEB - the naturally possible and impossible

    The Naturally Possible and Impossible

    This has occurred in my presence on four occasions in darkness. The test conditions under which they took place were quite satisfactory, so far as the judgment was concerned; but ocular demonstration of such a fact is so necessary to disturb our pre-formed opinions as to “the naturally possible and impossible,” that I will here only mention cases in which the deductions of reason were confirmed by the sense of sight.

    On one occasion I witnessed a chair, with a lady sitting on it, rise several inches from the ground. On another occasion, to avoid the suspicion of this being in some way performed by herself, the lady knelt on the chair in such a manner that its four feet were visible to us. It then rose about three inches, remained suspended for about ten seconds, and then slowly descended. At another time two children, on separate occasions, rose from the floor with their chairs, in full daylight, under (to me) most satisfactory conditions; for I was kneeling and keeping close watch upon the feet of the chair, and observing that no one might touch them.

    The most striking cases of levitation which I have witnessed have been with Mr. Home, on three separate occasions have I seen him raised completely from the floor of the room. Once sitting in an easy chair, once kneeling on his chair, and once standing up. On each occasion I had full opportunity of watching the occurrence as it was taking place.

    There are at least a hundred recorded instances of Mr. Home’s rising from the ground, in the presence of as many separate persons, and I have heard from the lips of the three witnesses to the most striking occurrence of this kind – the Earl of Dunraven, Lord Lindsay, and Captain C. Wynne – their own most minute accounts of what took place. To reject the recorded evidence on this subject is to reject all human testimony whatever; for no fact in sacred or profane history is supported by a stronger array of proofs

    The accumulated testimony establishing Mr. Homes levitations is overwhelming. It is greatly to be desired that some person, whose evidence would be accepted as conclusive by the scientific world – if indeed there lives a person whose testimony in favour of such phenomena would be taken – would seriously and patiently examine the alleged facts. Most of the eyewitnesses to these levitations are now living, and would, doubtless, be willing to give their evidence. But, in a few years, such direct evidence will be difficult, if not impossible, to be obtained.

    – Notes of an Enquiry into the Phenomena called Spiritual during the years 1870-1873, William Crookes

    Well-worn leather, bay rum, vetiver, cigar smoke, and amber oudh.

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  • evening with the spirits WEB - spirit bridegroom

    The Spirit Bridegroom

    UNCANNY STORY FROM THE ONSET SPIRITUALISTS
    Wealthy Widow Becomes a Ghost’s Bride

    The Bangs Sisters, May and Lizzie, Continue to Startle the Peaceful Residents of a Massachusetts Town – the Spirit Bridegroom

    Charming May Bands and her sister, the great spiritualists, who, when at home, reside in Chicago, have lately startled the natives of Onset, Mass. This statement means more than might appear on the surface when it is added that that little town is almost wholly made up of spiritualists. Thither the Bangs sisters hied themselves some weeks ago to take part in the summer assembly of the eastern societies. They made their headquarters at Happy Home cottage, where they were daily visited by pilgrims in search of friends and relatives long since in the “other world.” Among those visitors was a rich widow from the far west, who wanted to see her lover, who had been a captain in the United States army. The captain, who came from Maryland, died on the eve of his marriage to the rich widow. For a year she has worn widows’ weeds and longed for even a visit from the spirit of her departed lover. Miss Bangs informed her that she could not only produce the captain’s spirit, but that the marriage ceremony that had been cut off by death would be performed in Happy Home cottage. A few days ago an item was given out for publication to the effect that the ceremony had been effectually performed some days before. In speaking of it May Bangs said:

    “I materialized the form and the lover came out of the cabinet attired in the uniform of an army officer. The premises had been previously examined to prove that there was no mortal about. The materialized spirit asked that the curtains be drawn for a while to shut off the front parlor. The bride wanted him to put on her slipper, and he did.

    “Only a faint light shone through the room where the minister and others were waiting. He kissed her numerous times. The bride was in a new wedding dress. Then the materialized spirit lover requested that the marriage ceremony be performed, and the request was granted. He placed a ring on her finger. They were together a long time that evening.”

    – Fort Wayne Sentinel, September 10, 1894
    Misted roses and the memory of cologne, salt-wet and bittersweet.

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  • evening with the spirits WEB - the writing on the slate

    The Writing on the Slate

    My most remarkable experience has been with Dr. H. Slade of New York, for whom I have formed a high regard. I first met him at his residence last November, when, without announcing my name, in three consecutive sittings, at eleven o’clock in the morning, seated at a small, bare table in the centre of a light room, there written on the under side of a slate placed on the table, several communications addressed to me, purporting to come from my deceased friends. I pass over the other manifestations – such as the movement of heavy articles of furniture in plain view, without visible contact – and confine myself to the writing on the slate, which I regarded with most interest…

    – Thos. W. Waterman, Binghamton, NY, July 14, 1873

    The result of a physical law which is not yet understood, and the existence of which has hitherto scarcely been suspected: beeswax candles, chalk, and dust.

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  • evening with the spirits WEB - who would not tremble too

    Who Would Not Tremble Too?

    The new discovery of “Table Moving,” by means of an unseen power from the human hand, has only been introduced into England within the last few weeks; but it would be difficult to dingle out any scientific subject which has with such rapidity, taken so extensive a hold of the popular mind. If we travel by railway carriage, steamboat, or omnibus, this is the universal topic of conversation. From the aristocratic saloons of Belgravia to the “Parlours” of Whitechapel – the Green Park to the Cat and Mutton Fields, “table moving” is all the rage. From the Royal Institution, where the secretary pokes his head through a forest of electrical apparatus, to inform the audience that the facts are established, down to the humblest Mechanics’ Institute, all are full of it, and the tables, to quote the words of the old song – “are all a moving, move, move, moving,” – Every evening party must of course have its experiments; accordingly, gentlemen come provided with very elegant chapeaux for the occasion, and many an innocent flirtation occurs consequent on the proper arrangement of the little fingers of some of the fair operators. As “sweet eighteen,” with her blue eyes and golden locks, gracefully links her little finger with Charles’s, in a retired corner, what wonder if the hat should tremble? And Charles, being of course fond of poetry (his very name is a guarantee for that), cannot resist softly breathing into Lucy’s ear, that exquisite line from Waller, on his fair one’s harp –

    “Touched by that hand – who would not tremble too?”

    And after a little more conversation of a strictly scientific character, they feel quite satisfied with the success of the experiment. Mamma, who has been watching the progress of the magnetic influence at a distance, “has no patience with such nonsense, and wonders young men and young women cannot find something better to do.” She forgets that there was a magnetic influence at work about twenty years since, and what little trifles served as conductors then.

    – Table Moving, its causes and phenomena: with directions how to experiment

    A spirit-touched courtship: sweet orange blossom, white honey, jasmine tea, white sandalwood, green apple, and lily of the valley.

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