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Springtime is upon us!  I’ve been slogging away all winter working on my dissertation, and am ready to blossom in the warmer weather.

The incense has fallen by the wayside (for various reasons) until recently.  My restlessness takes the form of an increased yearning for the sensual–bring on the incense!!

I’ve been dipping into the stash of samples that Katlyn Breene kindly sent me from her incense making company, Mermade Magickal Arts.  For whatever reason, Indian incense just doesn’t seem fitting right now, nor does Japanese incense.  I feel like dancing around a bonfire in the night to waken the earth, not meditating or relaxing.  Push out and up into the light of spring.  For whatever reason, Katlyn’s incense blends push that button for me.

Sacred Grove and Earth Church:

Similarities thanks to the ingredients in common: fir balsam, cedar, juniper, and pine – all the foresty goodness you could ask for.  (Aside:  Why can’t piney body fragrances work so well??  They tend to end up smelling like Pine Sol: pine-scented household cleaning products)

Sacred Grove, however, riffs more on the resiny aspects of woods by emphasizing frankincense, storax, and labdanum.  While this good slug of resin could tend towards the sweet, powdery, ambery, or even citrusy, the balsamic-smelling aspects of the resins “hook into” the balsams proper.  To my nose, the piney, cedary aspects sneak up on you while you’re being dazzled by the orchestra of resins.  I love this stuff.

On the other hand, Earth Church focuses on the leaves and woods of the balsam family—the cedar and fir seem to take a front seat while the resins act as a bass line, rounding out the woods nicely.  The result is a blend that smells primarily of sweet, warm woodsmoke, with overtones of cedar and pine.

Aphrodesia:

Aphrodesia is a sweet blend showcasing rose otto, the fabulous essence of the rose flower.  The sweet, musky rose intertwines with other ingredients that are reminiscent of the sensual smell of skin or traditionally used in elixirs of love: sandalwood and aloeswood powder, ylang ylang and and a pinch of sweet amber/vanilla Tolu Balsam.  Labdanum and Hougary frankincense act as the resinous components.  This blend is simply yummy.  I love rose fragrances, but this blend excels beyond other rose-tinged incenses in my collection.  While rose is evident, its musky, sweet floral qualities are intensified by the ylang ylang.  And let’s not forget naughty naughty labdanum, so often used in perfumery to imitate ambergris or leather, and incorporated in amber blends to lend depth and sweetness.  (For more on labdanum, please read helg’s fascinating and thorough article.)  So for me, Aphrodesia works as smoky-sweet-skin-smell yumminess.  My favorite of the lot, but Sacred Grove and Earth Church are different enough from Aphrodesia that I need not pick Aphrodesia over the other two: buttons they do push, but each push different ones.

Pan’s Earth:

And let’s not forget Pan’s Earth:  It’s an earthy blend punctuated by piney notes.  Totally causes flashbacks for me:  when I light it, I’m back in my 12-year-old days.  We went to a retreat center in the mountains of North Carolina several times when I was younger, and I would often play in the forests and streams neighboring our cabin.  The air smelt earthy-damp and fresh with pine needles all the time–even though it was the middle of summer.  Wonderful time of freedom and relaxation in the mountain woods.  Aloeswood, patchouli, vetiver, vanilla, labdanum, Hougary frankincense, and Himalayan juniper wood.

You can also read my earlier thoughts on Sacred Grove, Earth Church, and Pan’s Earth.
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