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SmellyBlog

Happy Chanukah!

Happy Chanukah!

Wishing you all a joyous Chanukah, filled with light, warmth, fragrant donuts and cozy company. Chanukah originated in festivities for the culmination of the olive harvest - a crop that is not only nutritious and beneficial for the skin, but also the source of light way before kerosene lamps and beeswax candles were thought of.
During Chanukah (December 10-18), receive 20% off on orders of $100 or more with code Chanukah2020.
Here are 8 ways to celebrate the Fête of of Light and Phat! 

Shop for our delightful winter offerings, offered at 20% off with code Chanukah2020 thru December 18, 2020.

Greek Goddess & Olive Oil
Chanukah was originally a festival to celebrate the olive oil harvest. While it is not particularly useful in modern perfumery, Olive oil was the base of the ancient perfumes on the island of Cyprus, where the first perfume factory was excavated. Keeping up with this Greek theme, I suggest you try a perfume that is inspired by my favourite Greek Goddess - Palas Atena, the Goddess of Wisdom and War. You can enjoy it as a parfum oil, Eau de Parfum (in two sizes, mini or 15mL Eau de Parfum). And last but not least - also a hair oil, that is both fragrant and nourishing and can be used as a low maintenance styling product (just work it into your damp hair with your fingertips). 


New! Nag Champa Agarbatti (Indian Incense Sticks)
Few of you may know of my "roots" as an incense maker. The past few years at my new studio enabled me to perfect a few formulae, and learn new technique. One of them is how to make agarbatti (Indian incense sticks with a bamboo core). This is an incense interpretation of Palas Atena, accentuating it's Nag Champa qualities, and using traditional ingredients such as ghee and honey to make these incense sticks release a luxurious and long-lasting smoke (they burn for 35-45min) that is perfect for large spaces. For smaller spaces, you may need to burn them for just five minutes at a time. You can order and enjoy our easy-to-use incense cones version of Palas Atena. Both are fashioned after the famous and beloved traditional Nag Champa - but made form only natural raw materials, infused with rare botanicals and hand-rolled by yours truly at my studio in Clil.


Laurel & Olive Ghar Soap (Aleppo-Style Soap)

Laurel & Olive Ghar (Aleppo-Style) Soap is the definition of pure luxury: two oils only, olive and laurel berry, pressed and combined to make a nourishing soap that is both luxurious, creamy, mildly cleansing. Because it is perfectly balanced and mild, it is appropriate for many sensitive skin conditions, and naturally fragrant without any scent added. Originating in the city of Aleppo, Syria, this is a unique, traditional soap in the Levant, that is produced only by a handful of small factories in Turkey and Syria, and now also offered by Ayala Moriel Parfums.


Sweet Olive (Osmanthus) Perfumes

Olives are great in your martini, but rarely finds its way into perfumes. It's sophisticated cousin Osmanthus though, is also known in the South as Sweet Olive. And indeed, it is a key component in In New Orleans and Charisma has it paired with sweet and warm spearmint and jasmine green tea over an incense base of our and tonka bean. Last but not least: Kinmokusei, my beloved Osmanthus soliflore, it is the star of the show.

Narcissi, Puddles and Mushrooms
This is the time of the year that Narcissus tazetta show their fragrant heads in our meadows. Narkiss (https://ayalamoriel.com/collections/seasonal-ltd-edition/products/narkiss) is its Hebrew name, and the name for the perfume that truly embodies the spirit of Kislev, the Hebrew month in which Chanukah takes place (Kislev 25 falls this year on the eve of Thursday, December 10th). Narkiss perfume smells like winter in Israel, with the slightly incense, green and heady perfume of wild narcissi against the drunken earth, rain puddles, and the moist and elusive scent of mushrooms in the air. This sophisticated Chypre is suitable for both men and women.


Winter Nerikoh
Nerikoh is Japanese kneaded incense that has been fermented underground for at least six months. Nerikoh is never burnt, but rather warmed on an incense heater, to accompany the tea ceremony. You needn't any fancy equipment to enjoy it, and a tiny pinch of one of these tiny balls will scent a room for hours on end. Use an aromatherapy diffuser, or place on top of your wood stove or radiator. It will release a gentle scent of spices, resins and woods. Choose from our most delectable scents for winter: Wind in the Palm Trees AKA Oasis Nerikoh (with dates and Ras el Hanout), or Saturn Nerikoh (with starwood, patchouli and myrrh).

Za'atar, Olive & Seawater Soap Bar
Za'atar & Olive is 100% olive oil, and not just any olive oil, but the purest virgin olive oil that was organically grown and harvested in my family's olive groves. This soap bar is made in the tradition of Savon de Marseilles, with filtered seawater from the Mediterranean sea. And to make it even more wild, it is scented with oil of oregano and sprinkled with Za'atar blend.

Black Licorice Soap Bar (Limited Edition)
Black Licorice soap (https://ayalamoriel.com/products/black-licorice-limited-edition-soap-bar) bar is, no doubt, the most colourful among my soap offerings. And colour and cheer is exactly what we need during these short winter days. This is our tried and true formula that is hydrating, creamy, with rich lather and non-drying. It is scented with our proprietary Black Licorice fragrance , tweaked to suit a soapy scene and thus resembles also the now defunct SenSen candy - another delectable anise candy and breath freshener from Asia. Makes a wonderful holiday gift that is fun to give and receive.

Shop for more winter treats, offered at 20% off with code Chanukah2020 thru Friday, December 18, 2020.

 

Ancestral Feast Incense

Ancestral Feast Incense

Ancestral Feast Incense was created originally as a Five-Copals blend. The intent behind it was to have a special incense to burn to honour our ancestors. I have first used it in summer of 2019, when my grandma was struggling with death, and I was sure I am visiting her for the last time before she enters the gate to the other side. If you've ever been near a dying person, you may not be surprised to hear that she was communing with all her beloved that passed before her - her mother, father, and grandmother, and also her late husband (my grandfather) and her soul-mate that she was able to happily spend her later years with. I burnt this incense then to soothe her soul, and also burnt this on her funeral and continue to do this whenever I want to honour my ancestors, a practice I started a few years ago, and which I fell very important especially now after her passing.

Why copal you may ask? The word comes from copalii in the Nauhatl language (an Uto-Atzecan tongue), which simply means incense!

The smoke of copal of Central and South America (which comes from several different species, which I will get into in a bit) was considered the blood of the trees and food for the Gods, and also used in rituals and ceremonies to feed the soul of the deceased, and also used as a medicine to this day during sweatlodge ceremonies, where it is placed on the hot rocks within the lodge.

In a ceremonial well in Chichén Itzá, Copal pieces painted turquoise, and sometimes embedded with jade - supposedly a reference for the jade pieces that were placed in the mouths of the dead, to nourish them on their journey to the underworld (as jade was a symbol for the maise that was the most staple food in this part of the world). Additionally, among archeological findings in Lake Chapala and Nevado de Toluca were pieces of copal resin that were shaped into cobs of corn, or wrapped in corn husks like tamales, a custom that remained intact even after the Spanish conquest.  

So what is copal, then, and which plants does it come from? Botanically speaking, many resins other than frankincense that are light in colour, often are named copal. It comes from a variety of genus, primarily Bursera, and also Pinus and Agathis. In North America, we find Mayan Copal from Pinus contorta, that grows in the USA and produces a brittle, light brown and beige resin; while White Copal (Bursera jorullense), from Mexico, which is more of a clear, light yellow and sticky resin. Bursera is related to Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens), as well as to Black, White and Gold Copal from the Philippines are all produced from the same species - Agathis Dammara. From Africa there is Angola Copal (Copaifera demusii), and Zanzibar Copal or Amber Tree (Hymenaea verrucosa), which was used for wood and picture varnish. Most of the African copal is subfossil, meaning it is found a few meters deep in the earth below the trees it originates from. Subfossil copals also come from various other species  found all over the world: New Zealand (Agathis australis), Japan, Madagascar and in South America in the Dominican Republic and Columbia. 

This new batch of incense is a little different (with sixth kind of copal added: Angola Copal), thus making it an incense blend that has resins from 4 continents: North and South America, Asia and Africa. The base is also more complex and balanced with this blend, and I'm very happy with it.

I was able to make a larger batch than my original one, and roll some into cones, and others make into incense sticks. This is the first time I'm selling my incense sticks online, after much practice and although they are far from being perfect in shape - they are handmade, authentic and beautiful. I truly hope they will bring you the healing and connection that you are seeking with your own spirit and that of your ancestors.

To burn incense cones: Place the cone on a heat-proof dish or on a surface that you won't mind scorching (for example: a coin placed on top of a ceramic plate or tile; a ceramic bowl filled with sand, etc.), and away from any flammable materials, light the tip and blow off the flame. Allow to burn off completely.

To burn the incense sticks: Place the lit stick (light the tip and then blow out the flame) on a bowl full of ash (preferably rice ash). This will enable the stick to burn without any bits left off. If you have a designated incense dish with a hole you may also use that. It will leave a tiny bit of incense unused though.

Tree of Life Incense

Tree of Life Incense

On my first day ever in the creek I've had a magical encounter with a Persian fallow deer (a very rare sight!), and since then, I've roamed the creek for two summers, and spent hours mediating nestled among the Plane Tree roots and branches, and on rocks in the middle of the stream, surrounded by shiny dragonflies. I've learned so much from this tree, about life and love, letting go and staying strong and present.

The vegetation in Kziv Creek - one of the very few running creeks in the Western Galilee - has a sweet, balsamic aroma of fallen leaves and resin that opens the heart. Set against the cool, moist pebbles their combined scent is that of a harmonious contrast.


This particular tree reminds me of the tree Innana planted on the banks of the Euphrates. I've learned so much from the Eastern Plane Tree there. Rooted in the emotional realm of water -  sometimes rushing, reddish-brown from soil that washes in the winter floods, and in summertime, lazily crawling and giving roaming grounds to magical dragonflies. Sometimes the water is shallow and comes to a near stand-still with rotten leaves and fish providing nutrients to the water-exposed rootlets of the tree.
The tree trunk is strong and present, showing its scars and many winding paths of finding light and love; and its branches reaching the sky and the wind.

Similarly to the Sacred Banyen Tree, the Eastern Plane Tree has a way of merging roots and branches. It constantly connects to its surrounding trees, and interconnects to itself, building intricate shapes and hollows in its trunk and branches. A particular tree in the creek is my one-legged companion and teacher, with a triangle formation and many scars from past seasons, and new shoots promising the future. It not only sheds its leaves, but also a thin outer bark, which makes him look utterly naked in winter.

Everything I learned I distilled into a very personal incense blend, both in Kyphi form and as cones, which brings sweetness and those powerful presence of the tree and the whole spiritual essence of the creek into my space. And I'd like to share some of this beauty and magic with you.

Incense Cone Making Blueprint

Incense Cone Making Blueprint

Today in the Hand-Crafted Incense Workshop Series, you are invited to learn how to put aromatic ingredients together to make your own incense cones!

This morning my friend Evan, founder of The Northwest School of Aromatic Medicine, released his final video in The Hand-Crafted Incense Workshop Series.

Now that you’ve learned the important elements and foundational aspects of this ancient craft in his first 2 videos, in this lesson you’ll learn how to actually put it all together to make amazing smelling, fully burning incense cones.

Jump into lesson 3 now 

I know I’ve been learning a lot in this series so far, and I’m sure you’re as excited as I am to get the last piece of the puzzle in place.

In this final workshop Evan shares:

  • His step-by-step guide to making any kind of incense cones
  • The proper consistencies of botanical ingredients necessary for making different types of incense
  • When to add your bases, aromatic ingredients, binders, and water to create the perfect incense dough
  • What all traditional incense crafters do right before they make incense
  • How to mix, form, dry, and store your incense cones
  • and much more..

You're moments away from knowing how to formulate and craft your own medicinal or ritual incense blends from start to finish. 

Click here to watch the 3rd lesson, and don't forget to download your Incense Making Blueprint Workbook under the video.

I'll see you there!

Ayala

P.S. - If you haven’t watched the first two lessons in this series, it’s not too late to catch up. But there’s just a few days left to watch all 3 workshop videos.

The Building Blocks of Incense Revealed

The Building Blocks of Incense Revealed

Incense is the Original Aromatic Medicine.. It's been around since before essential oils, even before perfumery.

It's the oldest aromatic practice for healing the emotions, psyche, physical body, and spirit.

Not to mention it's the most universal tool to accompany all things spiritual, and is present in nearly every sacred ritual on earth.

And of course, it's aromas are heavenly.. beautiful.. relaxing.. and the ultimate comfort. Incense is the universal modality for enriching and bringing about greater balance in life.

How would you like to harness the countless benefits of this timeless aromatic practice by learning to make your own incense at home?

Today my friend Evan, founder of The Northwest School of Aromatic Medicine, released his second complimentary training session in The Hand-Crafted Incense Workshop Series and he'd love to show you how you can make your own incense for healing, ritual, or fragrance.

Whether you're an at-home healer, aromatherapist, health practitioner, use incense in a spiritual practice, or you just love the heavenly fragrances of plants and resins...

...this complimentary series will help you learn all you need to know to make your own successful, effective, fully burning incense at home for yourself, your loved ones, or clients.

In his 2nd training session Evan will walk you through the Core Pillars of Incense Crafting one by one, explaining how they'll work together to strengthen an incense crafting practice. 

 

 

In this new session you'll learn:

  • What botanicals make the best foundation for a natural incense blend
  • How to properly use gums and binders to hold your incense cones and sticks together
  • What types of plant materials are most commonly used in incense and why
  • Why learning the art of incense is crucial for practicing aromatherapy holistically
  • How prayer, intentions, mantras, and sacred songs are traditionally infused into incense around the world 

After watching this next lesson you'll be well on your way to crafting amazing and effective incenses. 

You're gonna love this session! And don't forget to download the Building Block of Incense electronic workbook.
I'll see you in the workshop. 

xo
Ayala

P.s. In case you were wondering - in later videos I will be also presenting a mini-series of perfumery workshops in the Northwest School of Aromatic Medicine.

 

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