– an introduction to the Primordial Scents Project
Long, long ago, the world and all it contains were made rather differently and metaphorically than this physical soup of amino acids, atoms and quarks that now defines us. Ancient wisdom had no use for deterministic explanations, but chose instead to identify their world through metaphor and allegory, and in so doing transformed it into something richer, deeper and more meaningful than that eternal, quotidian struggle to survive and hopefully, to thrive.
So they categorized the world according to the elements they saw and felt and the allegories to fit them – fire, earth, air and water. To each of these they attributed qualities, characteristics and even the temperaments to express them; choleric, phlegmatic, sanguine and melancholy.
All of these elements combined created in turn a new element of the immaterial, and this was called spirit, which stands for balance, space, faith and sanctity.
This is the premise behind the Primordial Scents Project by Monica Miller of Perfume Pharmer. Inspired by Starhawk’s book, The Fifth Sacred Thing, Monica decided to explore the elements through that most immaterial art form of all – perfume, taking each element back to its beginning, primal state.
If all matter is energy, as science has it, then what can we achieve by channeling and using those elements in our own lives and the lives of others?
Many indie perfumers chose to interpret the elements through absolute and essence, and many bloggers sought and still seek to define them through their words and thoughts on the perfumes themselves.
I was recruited for the Primordial Scents project an embarrassing long time ago, received three of the five elemental packages and then… life got in the way. Although I’m woefully late in adding my own perspective on these perfumes and the elements they represent, I very much look forward to discovering what arcane secrets may be hidden in those elements and what truths I may learn and what growth may sprout from these little perfume vials.
Fire is the element of inspiration, creativity, love, passion, vision and transmutation. It heats up and illuminates all it touches, or it burns it to cinders and transforms it, ashes to ashes, earth to…
Earth is the element of endurance, strength, manifestation, reality, stability, prosperity and sustenance. Earth is what grounds us and pushes us to sow, to plow and to reap, the element from which we come and to which we shall return, unless a breath of air shall blow us away?
Air is the element of the intangible – of communication, intelligence and mind. Air is that heady, weightless realm of sky castles and lofty ideals, where all is as perfect and as limitless as the skies above our heads or own imaginations, conjuring possibilities in the clouds and probabilities in thin air, unless they’re washed down by
Water, that most adaptable element of all, the element of intuition, emotion and connection to those other elements, transmuting itself through fire into air, nourishing earth and all that grows, or else drowning and destroying all of them, unless it somehow remembers that the ultimate sustainer is that fifth element…
Spirit, where all other elements combine and cease to be material, instead becoming balance, space, that inner space where we can believe and reconnect with all our disparate selves and with the infinite.
How could we each use and draw what we need to balance ourselves in our lives through these perfumes? Would a Fire perfume provide us with the inspiration we need? Would a perfume of air give us that breath of limitless ideas?
Each of these elements and the perfumes that define them will be explored in separate posts in the weeks ahead, beginning with an element very dear to my heart – the element of fire.
Find out more about the Primordial Scents Project here.
The participating perfumers are:
Ane Walsh (Ane Walsh) – BEACH/WATER
Anu Prestonia (Anu Essentials)- WATER
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz (Perfums des Beaux Arts / Essence Studio)- ETHER/SPACE
Emma Leah (Fleurage Perfume Atelier) – METAL
Jane Cate (A Wing & A Prayer) – FIRE
Mandy Aftel (Aftelier Perfumes) – WATER
Maria Mcelroy (Aroma M) and Alexis Karl – FIRE
Marian Del Vecchio – FIRE
Michael Storer (Michael Storer Perfumes)- AIR & EARTH
Neil Morris (Neil Morris Fragrances) – AIR
Tanja Bochnig (April Aromatics) – AIR, EARTH, ETHER
Primordial Scents 2012
Individiual Perfumer’s Primordial Scents Facebook Pages
Justine Crane, The Scented Djinn, Lylli Bleu, WATER
Kedra Hart , Opus Oils, Mother, EARTH
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, DSH Perfumes, Chrysalis, SPIRIT
Mandy Aftel, Aftelier Perfumes, RAIN, WATER
Maria Mcelroy/ Alexis Karl, Cherry Bomb Perfumes, KISS of Agnayi, FIRE
Neil Morris, Neil Morris Fragrances, Spirit of AIR, AIR
Michael Storer, Michael Storer Fine Fragrances, Djin and Incubus, AIR and EARTH
Primordial Scents 2012 Blog Posts
First Breath, A Fragrance to Evoke the ELEMENT AIR by Suzy Larsen, Naked Leaf Perfumes
Feminine Things Moon Valley by Esscentual Alchemy
Feminine Things First Breath by Naked Leaf Perfumes