Sunday, November 27, 2011

Natural Perfumers Guild project - The 13th Sign - An Astrological Mystery Revealed

Flora, our Guild muse, is surrounded by stars as she holds the fragrance that represents the 13th astrological sign, Ophiucus.  Flora last held the modernistic scents of the 21st Century perfumes of the Guild's Brave New Scents Project, and now finds herself sent back to prehistoric, primordial times.  Flora is cool, she is unflappable to the Mystery of Musk, the Outlaw Perfumers didn't faze her, and we love that she moves through time and scent with us.

It was into the stars, and the night sky, when the constellations are visible that we ventured, and here is my take on the inspiration of Ophiucus.

13th Sign Project – Ophiucus – Natural Perfumers Guild Nov. 28, 2011

White Smoke – The First Perfume of Anya’s Garden’s Prima Aroma Line

When Michelyn Camen, the Editor-in-Chief of the Ca Fleure Bon blog approached the Natural Perfumers Guild with the idea of blogging about the almost-forgotten 13th astrological sign, Ophiuchus, (Pronounced as OFF-ee-YOO-kuss) I immediately saw the artistic and historic potential.

Research about the origins of the 13th sign took me down many, many paths. Imhotep, Aesclapeus, lost astrology references, the Caduceus of doctors, several paths of mythology and prehistoric references – and I was quickly overwhelmed. Speaking with the other perfumers taking part in the project, I was amazed at how diverse their interpretations on the topic were, and I realized that being overwhelmed by the different paths was hindering my progress, so I meditated.

The first meditation made me smile: using the parable of the group of blind men who were led into a room and told to touch the elephant, which they had never seen, of course, and describe what it looked like. Since each touched a different part of the elephant, each had a very different description from the other. Trunk, foot, tusk, hide? With this project, each perfumer touched a different part of the 13th sign’s mythology or history, and each came away with a story of their own on how it “looked”.

One theme I kept coming back to in my meditation was actually sparked by what I was using to help me meditate: frankincense. I stashed several pounds of Hojari from Oman four or five years ago, and I bring it out for special meditations, and I have tinctured some for use in perfumes.

Some of my Hojari frankincense collection. Click on the photo to enlarge it and see the beauty of these 'tears'.
All of the historic references I was meditating on to get a vision of the 13th Sign project led me back to healing. Led me back to not just one person, even though the Snake Wrestler found in so many forms in the 13th sign was one person, but the archetype healer, the ancestors who first discovered that scent could heal and exalt the human.

It has been millenniums since the beginning of our natural perfume art “per-fumen”, through the smoke, the act of either placing aromatic resins on the fire to release their scent into the air, or distilling them in an alembic, and now I am bringing my Prima Aroma back to that beginning.

The resins that oozed from the trunks of African and Middle Eastern trees are the first essences to be processed “per-fumen” – labdanum, frankincense, opoponax, omumbiri, myrrh and benzoin. My meditations led to me them, and so I worked with them to make a 100% liquid resin perfume. It can heal the heart and soul with

its deep, rich scent, and it can be layered under or over other perfumes because it is surprisingly neutral. Due to the resins, White Smoke may be slightly sticky for the first 10 seconds or so after application. After that, it dries completely, forming a “lacquer” for the skin.

I’m finally debuting my Prima Aroma line with this perfume that I have dubbed White Smoke.

Prima Aroma was announced about two years ago, and it will be my healing perfume line, all based on historic figures in herbalism, aromatherapy and perfumery.  Overwhelmed with other projects, and not having quite a clear focus, I put off Prima Aroma, and even took down the webpage announcing it. Well, Prima Aroma is now launched with the deep, soft resins of our first healers made liquid, through the smoke.

White Smoke will retail for $70 for one ounce. You may place your order now, and it will ship Dec. 15th.

Cafleurebon is hosting a giveaway of White Smoke and the other perfumes in the 13th Sign project.

If you leave a comment here, on my blog, about the 13th sign, or leave a comment about what Prima Aroma means to you, I will also be giving away a 30ml bottle of White Smoke!  Please leave a comment before midnight Nov. 29th - up to the beginning of Nov. 30th.  I will randomly select a winner.  Good luck and I'd love some ideas of what "Historical Fragrances for a Modern World" mean to you.

Blog Links:

Cafleurebon's team stepped waaayy back in time to bring this project to the present.
Adam Gottschalk
Elise Pearlstine
JoAnne Bassett
Christie Meshell (link to website)
Note: this blog post is dated Nov. 27th, and Adam, Elise and JoAnne will have their links up tomorrow, and I will update this at that time.  Christie does not have a blog.


  1. Here is my take....Healing aroma's... Every plant carries a vibration that has the potential to heal. Creating a harmonic between the plant kingdom and another can bring balance. This is true for the mineral kingdom and the realm of color and sound. All vibrations that can be used like a tuning fork to create resonance with a pure natural divine vibration.

    I would love to experience your newest creation. InJoy~Shannon

  2. The scent of your White Smoke should be experienced by those like this modern day healer who uses traditional practices as therapy.

    The minor bruises on the heart and soul are felt when living life and can benefit from meaningful therapeutic interventions. We are often healed when the memory associated with a scent delivers a purposeful message. We combine our own personal history with our current questions and problems.

    Gail of

  3. How reassuring and joyful to know someone is attuned to the beautiful guidance of these elements. Thank you for tuning in. It's healing just to know about this... May this aroma reach many. I hope to experience it soon.


  4. I could not imagine living in a world where I could not smell its essense. That in itself is the beginning of healing for me. Then to take that essense and hold it deep within the breath adds a little more.
    Your White Smoke sounds Divine. I would be honored to feel its energy.

  5. Being a healer and a scent lover, I am always searching for healing scents. I have tried essential oils, incences, etc., always searching for just the right balance for myself and my patients. I am very excited to smell White Smoke!

  6. Not sure how this works (computer-wise) but I did want to comment.

    Resins have been in use for thousands of years in both spiritual and physical healing and ceremony, sometimes both at once. It stands to reason that a blend of them, carefully balanced, would have become a primeval "Prima" Aroma, with not only "entertainment" [smells wonderful!] value, but also spiritual value.

    What a fascinating idea, and how lush and deeply soothing your White Smoke must be. And what a perfect name. I'd love to try it. Thank you!


  7. The article on the 13th sign was rather amazing. This one White Smoke sounds simply restorative to me. An aid to bring you back to source. Great rebound from your last project. Anya, you used all my favorites in this one. Congratulations. Prima Aroma is such a perfect name for a line that will no doubt have the most exquisite olfactory experience for all who use.. Once again Congratulations!

  8. I have also been working for some years developing this theme as I come from aromatherapy. I am thrilled that you are as well. I think history already has all the answers, we just forgot to listen.

  9. Congratulations on the launch of Prima Aroma with White Smoke! How neat to blend just with resins, that group has some of my favorites in it. And they have such a long and wonderful history.

    I think the Prima Aroma line will be outstanding. I love the idea of taking the wealth of knowledge and talent of a natural perfumer (and the much more extensive range of botanicals) and creating a healing scent from there. So often its the other way around, so healing scents don't often have the real finess and grace I know you will bring to the new line. I can't wait to see more in Prima Aroma and the places you will take it!

    Best wishes with the new line!

  10. Forgot to include the following:

    "Historical Fragrances for a Modern World" brings two ideas to mind for me.

    The first is taking classical recipes and formulas and reworking them with a more modern twist.

    The second is taking a historically popular or commonly used ingredient and showcasing it in a modern scent, finding ways to bring out new facets or characteristics and make it shine. I would particularly think of the healing herbs based on the information you shared for the line to focus on healing perfumes. So take lavender and make it something really special and modern, maybe a soliflaire of maybe not.


  11. The winner of White Smoke is anonymous/Patricia. Please write me at to claim your perfume. Thanks to everyone for your comments.



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