Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mercredi: The Art of Beauty

I think that, in our “modern” age, most of us can agree that beauty is not just about looks.  “True beauty comes from within” may sound cliché or even hackneyed but it is the truth of the matter.  More succinctly, I think, beauty is much as Forrest Gump noted about stupid: it is as it does.  And I personally find it very hard to do the right thing – to be beautiful – when my environment is dragging me down.

The post-holiday malaise that comes upon so many of us this time of year is particularly destructive.  For me personally, it does not so much stem from the “let down” most psychologists speak of but from the “hangover” of holiday interaction.  The constant demands from family and friends, either to be entertained or to entertain, often brings with it feelings of resentment and remembrances of slights past as well as new ones to cling to.  These things fester in ourselves and our living spaces, whether we admit to them or not, causing us to feel slow, disinterested, cranky, “blue”; in short, not very lovely at all.

So, allow me to offer a palate cleanser if you will to set us all on a positive course in 2012.  This incense, my take on Scott Cunningham’s Yule Incense from his book on the subject, can be used at any time but is particularly intended for the colder, darker months of the year.  It uplifts both spirit and atmosphere to get you in the mood to put on some Men at Work or Metallica, some Robert Palmer or RuPaul – whatever gets your blood pumping – and sweep the old year away to make room for the new.  Here’s my recipe:

2 parts nutmeg
2 parts peppermint or spearmint
1 part cedar
A drop or two of pine essential oil

Grind each ingredient (except the oil, of course) to as fine a powder as you can.  An old fashion mortar and pestle (I find an m & p made of marble or other stone works best when grinding resins and gums) works best for this process.  It is a bit of a chore to get the very finest consistency – think baby powder – but it is well worth it.

Mix the powdered ingredients in a bowl, preferably with your fingers, while intentionally thinking about cleansing both you home and yourself in preparation to receive the blessings of the coming year.  Add the essential oil one drop at a time to achieve a just slightly sticky powder that can be easily sprinkled on charcoal.  Store in a jar with a tight lid.

To use, ignite an incense burning charcoal in a fireproof censor and sprinkle your incense over it to smolder.  Add more as needed while you perform whatever ritual, housekeeping, meditation etc. you need to complete to get your home and yourself back.  A votre santé ~

Header: The Little Street by Johannes Vermeer c 1657


Timmy! said...

I think we can all use a psychic palate cleanser now and then... especially now, Pauline.

Pauline said...

I do too; it seems like no matter what holiday one celebrates the expectation bar is always set just out of reach. Best to put it behind us and move on.