Bountiful harvest
"Bountiful harvest" Jaimi Lammers 

The Lunar/Solar Jewish year is coming to a close. This is Elul, the 12th month, which means "grain harvest" in the Akkadian language (an ancient language which is the origin of the Semite languages, which served as the lingua franca of the Ancient Near East). It may also relate to the word "search", which alludes to the the soul-searching that happens during this month. Jews say special prayers of repentance, and ask forgiveness of one another in preparation for the new year to come. We want to start with a blank slate, without any heaviness in our hearts of feelings of regret. All accounts must be cleared and in order so we can have a fresh start.

As always, I look to nature and the seasons to find inspiration and guidance. To better understand the internal process I am going through I see how it is reflected in the natural cycle of birth, death and re-birth. At the end of the Eastern Mediterranean summer, death is the stage of life where most plants are at. After a long dry spell, the ruling colour is yellow and only the hardiest of plants remain green. All the annuals, except for a few weeds that irritate the gardeners and farmers, have dried up and come to seed long ago. This is a time of deep sleep and hibernation, awaiting the blessed rains of autumn to awaken the seeds and bring them back to life.

There are some exceptions of course - and these also teach us about tools for coping with the challenges of the season, and its gifts: 

The fruit-bearing trees which come to their peak this time of year - figs, carobs, pomegranates and grapes. Their sweetness comes out of this fertile albeit arid land, showing us that Earth's fertility is not forgotten, that it is eternally generous and giving. That it is never futile, even if on the surface it may seem dead and deserted.

A few very special "Autumn-Announcers" bulb plants are at a different stage of their life-cycle, and show us an original way to live life: bringing forth their flowers, their very best, first and before any leaf is to be seen. These flowers or resurrection are the first to bloom and remind us that fall is about to come, that there is life after death. Out of a pile of dead, dried leaves from the winter, the Beach Lily (AKA Sea Daffodil) springs out with impressive, large, bridal-white flowers and a scent so regal that intensifies in the afternoon and the evening, attracting night-pilots such as moths to pollinate it. It literally looks like coming out of a pile of dry bones. The Sea Squill (Urginea maritima, Drimia maritima) AKA Sea onion, in Hebrew: חצב מצוי, Arabic: عيصلان - brings the tall, white columns of flowers that bloom in order from bottom to top. The succulent leaves won't be seen till mid-Winter. Autumn crocus will also arrive in early fall, showing flowers first and leaves only later on. They all teach us to bring out our very best first, with full faith and trust. They teach us many other things that deserve a post on and of themselves, which I promise to write next.

Clary Sage Seeds
Sorting Clary Sage Seeds 

This is the time to separate the seed from the chaff, to sort and prepare for the winter time. To see what is in our stock after a summer of collecting seeds, of saving up potential for growth that is only waiting for the water from the rain to open it up. Seeds of ideas, plans, hopes, dreams and memories are all wrapped up in this compact little being of the seed stage. Some of the seed's potential and outmode is hidden, and some hints can be found in its previous stage of coming into seed and full maturity, the previous cycle. Be it your previous life stage, or previous generations, your people's history and your personal history as well. And just like those toy-capsules that expand in the bath to become fully blown dinosaurs - it is important to choose your seeds carefully before sewing. 

I would like to share a little prayer for the seeds I am hoping to find now while in the month of sorting, seeds I would like to sew before the blessed rains of nourishments and growth and action will arrive - blessings that I wish for myself and perhaps will also resonate with you:
- Being open to the knowledge, love and wisdom that comes to me in many shapes and forms. Sometimes it comes in strange ways and patterns, speaks strange languages and we need to read between the lines.
- Continue to share these gifts that come to me - of knowledge, wisdom, love and healing. This also takes many shapes and forms, from the basic care of my body and my family, plants, animals and nature around me, to what I share through making perfumes, writing this blog or in any other method of communication available.
- May this communication always be clear, honest and truthful, peaceful and conducive of positive change and growth.
- Mastery of the things I've taken upon myself, both personally, spiritually and professionally.
- Be devoted and dedicated to bringing more healing and peace to the world through whatever I do. First and foremost by inspiring deeper connection to oneself and to Nature.

In more specific terms, I would like to fill all my perfumery courses this year, master the art of incense (an ongoing challenge!), to finish writing and to publish my second book, and to continue to make an honest living by creating the beautiful perfumes and incense that I love, and share them with you, all over the world! I hope that my clients will continue to feel a strong connection to what comes from under my hands,  and find in it a portal or a passage to deeper and more meaningful connection to yourselves and to the beautiful world around you.

Positive Packing


I've been preparing for this moment for three years. I knew it would be hard. And I knew I want to do it differently this time.

I hate moving, and a testament to that is the fact that I moved as little as possible in my life time - only a few times. The place I live in now has been my home for 11 years. And it's abundant with storage space for things small and large. I am still yet to determine if this is a blessing or a curse. I am grateful for this home as it enabled me to flourish and live the lifestyle I want - working from home immersing myself in creative projects that give me joy, and enabling me to share my passion and life's precious moments with my family, friends, studio guests and many students who've been an important part of my Canadian journey.

But how do you pack 18 years of such creative and abundant life in only a few months (or weeks, really)? Any perfumista worth her salt knows that this is not an easy task. But if to that you add the logistic complexities of moving overseas; the tedium of packing precious liquid gold in glass bottles, you must know that this is a challenging task both mentally, emotionally and physically.

So for many months (or maybe even 2 years, really), I've been considering how I can do it differently. I've always been one to get overwhelmed with big sorting tasks, especially for so many details. I get easily lost in little details and take forever to tidy up, not to mention pack... Each objects brings so many memories, emotions and requires to make a harsh decisions - discarding it or keeping it, which seems like such a huge, life-changing event. Even if it's about something as small as a button or a perfume sample or a greeting card. And I don't even want to imagine how this would go for sorting through volumes of essential oils and my insanely well-stocked perfume collection...

Like I said before: I knew I would have to tackle things from a different angle. I thought to myself, instead of sorting the items individually, the traditional way, and making piles for "Donation", "Sales", "Trash" and "Keep, Pack & Move" - I would just pick all the things that I absolutely love and want to ship over two oceans and a sea. Everything that goes into the boxes has to be something I will be thrilled to unpack and place in my new home (when they arrive a couple of months later).

I knew I was onto something, but I also knew that it would be hard to remember that all the time while facing many tiny knickknacks and memorabilia from 18 years of life that I'm parting with forever. I'm a sentimental type and you don't even want to imagine how many little things my home (which is also my workplace and my creative space) is burdened with. There is not a single room in the house which does not have something liquid and fragrant roaming around - be it the perfume display in my living room, bottles of essential oils which I use anywhere and everywhere in the house - because I add them to my cleaning products and sometimes even my cooking and baking (however, the only oil that is always in the kitchen is eucalyptus oil, which I use in honey instead of a cough drop); and samples of fragrances I'm about to blog about (which turn up in the oddest of places!), not to mention my den which serves as my designated studio space and where I design, create, produce, bottle, pack, and ship all of my perfumes and products. Essentially, my home is a big lab, and my life is an ongoing olfactory experiment.

So I was absolutely thrilled when I came across the Konmari method and am absolutely grateful to Tamya's teacher who told me about it. I have seen it pop up in various newsfeeds and even ads, so naturally I was skeptical (which I always am about things that are trendy). This method is rather simple - and is essentially exactly like what I had envisioned - keeping only the things I love. But of course the author has years of experience and has many details and stories to tell that keep that vision clear in the mind. Also, it does not really have rules like other tidying methods have. It does not tell you how much is too much or random and elaborate storage methods. It is very intuitive, and is a really great guidance so far in my journey through those 18 years and into the future, to the life I envision for me, my daughter and my little business.

Hand-painted samples

I haven't even really began to tackle the fragrant portion of my possessions. They are going to wait till the end, until I am well practiced in the process of discarding and learn to focus on what I keep, and not cry over the spilled milk of what I had to let go of. But I have already came across some curious things which I know I will have to get rid of - but still have hard time parting with. Such as these hand-painted samples, circa 2003. I can't believe to what lengths of effort I went to prepare my samples... This makes the notion of frequent "free samples request" even more ridiculous. I also found this old tester/demo kit, including the long discontinued Zodiac perfumes and other treasures... They still smell pretty great!

Old Demo Kit

And way before I had my own branding or bottles, I'd clean, polish away old screen-printed logos, and rebrand old minis with hand-painted perfume names, some of which are still among my best sellers. All of these are circa 2001.

Hand-painted minis

This method has a very reasonable progression from the easiest to the hardest - starting with clothes, then books, then miscellaneous and only in the end all the sentimental stuff that is the hardest to let go of. I have only done this for a few days, and most of my week has been devoted to packing. Usually I find this kind of process draining emotionally. Instead, I am feeling excited: about how many boxes that I've packed are actually things I'm going to get rid of (so maybe I will not need to buy more storage boxes after all!); and also about how many wonderful things I decided to keep. My closet is already looking happy and inviting, and that gives me more energy to proceed with this process. Also, I'm feeling quite invincible at the moment. Pack up my house AND business in only 7 weeks to ship it overseas? Of course I can do it!
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