The Perfume Bottles Auction 2018 – The Perfume Society

1922 Lucien Galliard for Violet ‘Pourpre d’Automne’

I subscribe to The Perfume Society newsletter and this article caught my eye regarding the sale of vintage and rare perfume bottles at an auction this year. The range and quality of bottles are rather superb and exquisite. Perfumes and scented oils have been a mainstay of human civilisation for thousands of years. These precious commodities have been used to grace bodies, homes and places of worship; although access to such luxuries may have been the privilege of royalty and the wealthy.  Accordingly these sought after products deserved only the most beauteous of homes to reside in, hence these wonderful and eye-wateringly expensive containers.

I’ve always loved the aroma of perfumes and essential oils around me and dabbed on my skin. Their mood altering abilities are astounding and affect a sense of well-being. There are favourites of course, Guerlain have produced classics that are still as fresh and relevant today, one in particular contains pure sandalwood and transports me to heaven. Persian Rose water does the same and I used to buy mine from a shop in Ebury Street, London many, many years ago, not sure if it’s still operating.

The perfumer’s art has been a source of fascination and I am considering training in this mysterious and alchemical art. It remains to be seen whether passion results in concrete and sensible decisions being made. Then I think, why be sensible? I’ve been sensible for most of my life and have re-invented myself many times.

So, dear readers, in parting I ask you what perfumes/scents transport you to places magical, sensual and life enhancing.

https://perfumesociety.org/170174-2/

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Book News & Reviews: Melusine Draco

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For lovers of intelligent vampire fiction. A well researched book with an intriguing plot and charismatic hero. I loved the first book, “Spartan Dog”, and eagerly wait on the next in the series. Shhh, don’t tell anyone, I have a spot spot for the hero Alastor.

Melusine Draco

Coming soon …

The Wanderer: The Vampyre’s Tale – Book 2

Alastor Darvell is not an ordinary vampire. He learned his survival skills at the Krypteia, the equivalent of the Spartan ‘special forces’ and his powerful esoteric knowledge has been bequeathed from a long line of ancient Egyptian magicians – which tend to make him pretty well invincible. Forced against his will to become a vrykolakas – or ‘avenger of the blood’ – Alastor embarks on an endless voyage of discovery, persecution, boredom and loneliness as he searches the world for others of his kind – hoping to find the secret of his release from the cycle of everlasting life.

Not only does his story reflect the trials and tribulations of the Old World, he also finds himself embroiled in a contemporary intrigue that runs parallel with his narrative and which threatens to expose him to the unknown dangers of…

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Azure Horizons

Penmon Point, Anglesey, Jan Malique

They say you can hear the songs of ancient mariners drift in from azure horizons. Surprisingly melodic, even angelic, voices of brawny and sinewy men of adventure. Their eyes filled with visions of home and kaleidoscope of colour, scent and danger.

Or is this our perception of lives spent in toil and souls answerable only to the vast embrace of a lover with no equal? She whose taste is of salt and blood, whose voice lulls in times of quiet and roars in times of anger. Yet, your fidelity is unshaken and your liaison unbroken.

What say you ancient mariner of the journeys you’ve undertaken, of your calloused hands gripping rope and sail? Tell me more of your half whispered secrets, of things that can’t be uttered without fear of retribution and words that cut.  Are you blessed ones of Poseidon? What fealty do you give to one that offers safe passage across the boiling oceans of the Soul?

How deep your eyes are ancient mariner, they shimmer like azure horizons. As for your crows feet, what stories they could tell! My fingers itch to touch your wide smile, question the mystery, and its teasing. Speak once more of your journeys, sit awhile and share this wine of remembrance. Sit awhile and share this peace, of like-minded souls, of strangers that smile in comradeship. Salut!

Salt Laden Path

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Coastal path, Moelfre, Anglesey, Jan Malique

I’m inclined to call myself a non-poet, it’s an art difficult to master in my mind. Yet, there are times when the spirit of a place touches a part of me hidden within the soul. Being near the sea seems to trigger such deep seated emotions, maybe because I love it so much. Panoramic skies and endless horizons combine to thrill the adventurer in me. Sky, Sea and Earth meld together to weave melancholic and hypnotic songs; which are picked up by those with the ears to hear them. This may be an idealised vision of a place that can be dangerous and fearful in its elemental power, but can you not feel its pull?

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Coastal path, Moelfre, Anglesey, Jan Malique

We walked these salt laden paths,

Eyes on the horizon and hunger in our souls.

***

Hardened fisher folk and sailors with tales to tell,

Of disembarking with precious goods for table and merchants galore,

And wind blasted lips cursing the elements.

***

We walked these salt laden paths,

Eyes on the horizon and hunger in our souls.

***

We toiled till our hands bled,

With blood nourished by salty tears,

And memories lying like bloated corpses,

On boiling seas and carriages of wood.

***

We walked these salt laden paths,

Eyes on the horizon and hunger in our souls.

***

The wind carries our songs of toil and petitions,

To ancient gods and forebears long distant.

How the hymns rise on wings of hope,

Voices break with desperation and,

Mysteries sublime.

***

Now is the time of our shades disappearing,

As the refrain rises for one last time,

We walked these salt laden paths,

Eyes on the horizon and hunger in our souls.

 

Betrayed: The Priestess Retreats

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Engin_Akyurt, Pixabay

Love and betrayal have left deep wounds in Amunet’s heart and I was moved to unveil this part of her life. For readers unfamiliar with the character, she’s become an important part of this blog, and started life in a flash fiction challenge.

This mysterious woman, who is part Alchemist, Magician, Mystic and Priestess, joined the ranks of Anubis, Thoth, Odin, the White Hare, and Lightbearer as a core part of the Shed. I’m quite fond of Amunet and consider her to be an outlet for many unanswered questions relating to the Universe and my spiritual path.

She’s divinity encapsulated in human form, and trying to understand what it means to be human. I have trouble trying to understand what it means to be human, so you can imagine how problematic the issue is for her. The priesthood of Ancient Egypt are of particular interest to me, for important reasons, and this is a chance to explore difficult issues facing the individual behind position and title.

As for love and betrayal, many of us have moved between those twin poles and lived to tell our tales. This story has emerged in a stream of consciousness, it’s hovered behind my eyelids and haunted the outer reaches of my imagination. Rather dramatic you may think, but the most emotive and significant stories arise from experiences that strongly shape who we are and are yet to become.

This post was also triggered by a picture someone had created for me, of an ancient Egyptian High Priest. That much I can tell you. Gazing at it stirred deeply buried memories and called Amunet from her place of retreat.

Amunet steps forward to face Anubis and us, trying to avoid speaking of this part of her past but unable to avert her gaze from the pages of the Book of Life. Onwards!

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Deedee86, Pixabay

Amunet:

I’ve tried not to open this book but he called to me, after all this time the man appears to “right the wrongs” he committed against me. What do I do? I feel nothing, what is past is in the past, yet he emerges from the depths of Time to explain his actions and help me with the fruits of his knowledge. He betrayed his calling and the love we shared, all for glory and power. The Gods weren’t served either in humility or with integrity. Yet, this situation isn’t unique, those who serve have often succumbed to the lure of false promises and overwhelming desires, for wealth, power and position. These are the tests thrown across our path.

As for “my” High Priest, “false gods” from the far west promised so much, manipulated him, twisted his mind and body, enhanced his capabilities, turned him away from the path that’s bathed in Light and Wisdom. We were mated in the sacred marriage, Hieros Gamos, as you well know. This sacred bond was broken.

Anubis:

I know all this and more. Yet, step back from your emotions and take an objective view of this issue. He has gained many insights from his experiences. Sometimes the harshest experiences serve to strip away ossified aspects of our personalities, expose the rawness in order for the poisons to be cleansed. So it is with the Soul and Ego. Forgiveness is neither easy nor always appropriate. Choose which option to take, you know what I think, but will always stand by you regardless of the decision.

Amunet:

I’m not sure how to forgive.

Anubis:

(Laughs) Is that so? Yes, I understand the dilemma facing you.

Amunet:

His eyes entreat me, ask for redemption, whatever that means, is it relevant to our situation? It’s an alien concept to me. Where has he been and what has he seen? I feel his hands on my face, so gentle, as for his lips, they kiss deeply and whisper such beauty, and also such perfidy. They knew I could not be manipulated and forced me into the wilderness. Mighty Anpu, you plucked me out of danger and sent me into the world outside Khem, into a world that was deeply unfamiliar. A necessary act, yet my heart bled for millennia to be exiled from home. I lost love as well as all that nourished my very being.

Anubis:

You were never out of my sight, I would not let harm befall you. This may not have been evident at times, but you have free will and could have avoided certain situations. I had to stand back and let you learn my Priestess. It’s time now to regain the power you gave up so willingly, time to face your true Self, believe that all is possible.

He was hem-netjer-tepi (first servant of god), entrusted with political and religious authority and abused it. That is the truth, we all know it. Many have walked that path, succumbed to forces, within and without, compromised principles and sacred oaths. They have served their own desires and ambitions rather than serve the Gods. His weaknesses were found and taken advantage of. It happened to you but you overcame these challenges, stayed true to your heart and Gods. You both loved each other once, do not abandon that experience.

StockSnap, Pixabay

Amunet:

Yes, you’re right. My dear Seraph found love to be a mixture of ambrosia and bitterness, yet never regretted being consumed by it. The High Priest and I need time together to talk and regain trust. Yet, I want to retreat to a place of peace and quiet, because my time is best spent in contemplation mighty Anpu. Suddenly I feel lighter, as if oppression of the past year has dissolved like mist in the rays of Ra.

Anubis:

That can only be of benefit my Priestess. I watched you from the shadows, fretting and yearning, desperate for change. It is coming, be prepared and rejoice. Decide on the direction of the path, what your next step will be. Be always true to your heart, cherish it, for it will either serve you or betray. Go now to the man rather than the High Priest. Learn what he has to teach and prepare yourself.

(Kisses Amunet on the forehead).

Amunet walks towards the waiting man and looks at him with a half-smile. He shakes his head ruefully and takes her hand in his. A butterfly settles on her hand and all is silent. This is a time for reflection and decision-making.

 

Stories of My Journeys : This Too Shall Pass — Trablogger

It’s been a while since I visited Trablogger’s blog. To rectify the situation here’s a lovely post to make you think, remember and reminisce.

Every journey starts at some point. Even our life journey has started at some point and we call it birthday. But unlike birthday, it will be very hard for most of us to recollect our first journey, at least I believe so. 29 more words

via Stories of My Journeys : This Too Shall Pass — Trablogger

Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge- March 13, 2018 — Brave and Reckless

This is a lovely challenge from Go Dog Go Café. The prompt today is to write about a life experience using ten objects.

Originally posted on Go Dog Go Café: Christine is known for her writing prompt challenges on her blog Brave and Reckless. She is now hosting a Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge at the Go Dog Go Cafe. The prompts are designed to be quick challenges that can be written in 10 to 15 minutes, inspire you…

via Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge- March 13, 2018 — Brave and Reckless

Inescapable

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Engin_Akyurt, Pixabay

The Archivist picked up the book gingerly, it held the histories of all their kind, warriors who faced the horrors of the Abyss and more. He wrote the beginning and end of their task, of vanquishing fear in all its forms, of their conquests and failures. Hers was the most tragic, for she faced Love and lost herself in its embrace. Shadow and Light met, merged to become something else. They held the balance between Chaos and Order, between Becoming and Unbecoming. He gazed at the words, marvelled at his sorrow, it was done and could not be undone. It was an inescapable act:

The stars fall around them, lighting paths that lie receptive as shadows rise from within towers of silence.

Love lies spent on a bed of petals, as breath issues from lips that have tasted honey. Tasted other forbidden wine, tinged with iron, scarlet and burgeoning with life everlasting.

This path was inescapable, foretold in cryptic language, and hinted at in signs and symbols. Both play their role, of lovers unrequited, of assassins masquerading.

Hunger floods his veins, inflames at her scent, redolent of amber, cinnabar and damask rose. What price love? Worthy of sacrifice, revelation and surrender? She feigns languor, whispers words torrid.

The stars gaze impassively, gaze at futures possible, will the bait be taken? Will the dread beast succumb? They urge her caution, and she acquiesces.

Soft are his killer eyes, the fires of passion rekindled. Is she his lost love, snatched away in times long past? Pliant is his gaze, inviting yet more seduction.

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kalhh, Pixabay

Her heart hardens, steps back from precipice approaching. There is only eternal darkness and pain unending, if she falls, if she takes his bait.

Star fire floods her gaze, so begins the conflagration. She offers release, urges unbinding. Vampyr, his name is steeped in nightmare and longing. A dream risen from ashes of stars long vanished. He is one Fallen, from Darkness ascended, She is one Fallen, from Light descended.

Which life is worth ending? Which life is worth saving? Can Love spare bleak devastation?

Hunger floods her veins, inflames at his scent, redolent of Cedar, Hellebore and Myrrh. What price love? Worthy of sacrifice, revelation and surrender? She feigns languor, whispers words torrid.

This path was inescapable, foretold in cryptic language, and hinted at in signs and symbols. Both play their role, of lovers unrequited, of assassins masquerading.

Engin_Akyurt, Pixabay

Hidden 

DasWortgewand, Pixabay

I felt the need to further explore my character Amunet’s past and this is the result. There appeared to be an underlying message in this “communication”. It was connected to the land and a people that seemed to vanish into forgetfulness and legend. In this chapter she appears as a woman called Magali (the Occitan form of Magdalene). Magali, as she was named by the Cathars who took her in, was considered a living embodiment of a Sleeper. One who decides at death to step back from the cycle of life and death and instead remain asleep in the land, dreaming, foretelling, and communing with all life.

The Cathars (“Pure Ones”) were condemned as heretics by the Church in the 13th century, in an age when its doctrines had hardened into dogma and politicking. The fate of these people was terrible, ending in 1244, in a nine month siege of their mountain fortress of Montsègur (in the Ariège department, south-western France). It culminated in a massacre. Many legends have grown around these mysterious people, with their true essence being hidden beneath a covering of subterfuge and illusion.

Occitan is a Romance language spoken in southern France and other areas. Occitania is the nomenclature given to the area where the language was first spoken and covers the Occitan Valleys in the Italian Alps, the old Aquitaine, Languedoc-Roussillon, the Aran Valley in the Pyrenees and the Principality of Monaco. Here ends my very brief outline. I visited the region many years ago and can testify to its special atmosphere. There is more, but that journey is for another time when the inner silence reveals another piece of the puzzle and allows me a clearer vision of these people. My fascination with them has a purpose. What does Magali have to say?

Mysticsartdesign, Pixabay

Where is here? A place where there are remnants of a people I once knew. I dreamed their fate, touched their fears and yearning, but they’re gone. Crumbled into dust, and scattered by the winds. I slept but was stirred back into life, heard their cries for help, saw what approached. Their eyes stared unseeing at visions rising from the horizon, an omen of things hidden within, cloaked from recognition. Their time was at an end, was foretold, of an age when hate and ignorance would rise in the place of greatest darkness.

My eyes saw their disintegration, as piece by piece their souls flew from shells burning on a multitude of pyres. Danger reigned supreme and the river of poison ran fast and deep, dragged their carcasses to places that should not be uttered aloud. The wind mourned them, brought whispered entreaties, and showered these ruins in melancholy. What an ignominious end to such a civilisation! Yet, hope clung on and Light retreated to a place of safety, waiting and watching.

Where people once enjoyed lives of serenity and contemplation is now shrouded in a loveliness born of sadness and tears. We search the past to find meaning in the present. Brush away earth and sand to reveal artefacts to catalogue, name and display as a manifestation of a knowledge that is ultimately empty. The land will not reveal its secrets to those who have no understanding of the meaning of this life and the mysteries of the Universe. I will not reveal knowledge and understanding that must be earned, in hardships many times. If you will not listen to me, then you are free to meet your fate on the road ahead, do not bemoan what befalls you.

These ruined buildings of stone and mud brick decay in this dry, wind and sun blasted place but life always find a way. It sends roots deep into the earth, is nourished by the heart of the planet. The spirits of this city sing to me, welcome me back but know it has come at a cost. More than they care to acknowledge. What glories this place has seen, drawing in luminaries from worlds seen and unseen. Bejewelled towers sprang forth to vanish into the clouds, testimony to a civilisation worthy of its name, now forgotten. I call to it, urge it to rise from its untimely grave. Hear me my beloved heart, take my hand and walk the roads of illumination and majesty that were once your right. Perfection of the spirit was your ultimate destination, it was the spring from which your people drank and bathed their sacred centres. I tended to the gardens of their soul, taught them the ways of mysteries, brought them to the place of death, and rebirth into a second life.

Mysticsartdesign, Pixabay

As for me, I stand with feet buried in sand and memories, see dreams cast shadows across eyes that stare unseeing across the ages. See me for who I really am and be welcome. I bring the deep comfort of a mother’s arms, nourish your soul and aspirations, and cut the cord joining us when the time comes. My blade has a sharp kiss, and draws blood that fall like rubies, embodying both beauty and terror. I hold your ancestral history and my blood is your blood, ruby red and filled with wonders. I was Hidden but reveal myself now. See me, hear me.

 

Mysticsartdesign, Pixabay

Zaa’tar and Cheese Flatbread – Fatayer Zaa’tar — Hanady Kitchen

A post from another favourite blog. It’s more than recipes and encompasses reminisces, cultural insights and memories. Food is a necessity and the sharing of it should always be a pleasure and gift. In that spirit, let us break bread together.

Fatayer zaa’tar or flatbread is characterized by a rustic combination of olive oil-infused yeast dough, fresh zaa’tar, and goat’s cheese. The herb and cheese are folded into the dough several times in a way that produces layers and layers of goodness. This recipe makes for a chewy bread with a crisp surface, resulting in the […]

via Zaa’tar and Cheese Flatbread – Fatayer Zaa’tar — Hanady Kitchen