The Hypnotic Linden Blossom

Just as the Summer Solstice began so did the gorgeous blossoming of the linden blossom tree and its intoxicating fragrance. Right next to my house stands a huge linden blossom tree and every summer it perfumes the entire block with its hypnotic honey and floral aroma. From the time you enter the block, you can’t help but notice it. It permeates the air giving one a feeling of having been transported somewhere far away, open and beautiful. But here it stands on this city block a gift to all who are within a sniffing radius.  The down side is, the fragrance only lasts a week or so.

Linden Blossom oil is a bespoke essence that is used in perfumery and high end beauty products. It is said to beautify the skin in the same way that rose oil does. The scent profile is soft and mild as an essential oil, much lighter than the aroma it emits from the tree. For a novice and professionals alike it may be difficult to distinguish linden blossom in a perfume, but it adds its own subtle beauty to any fragrance.

The aroma is so intoxicatingly beautiful, that I had to grab my step stool, my pruner and cut a branch and bring it in my home. To my delight the fragrance continued to perfume the air in my home for several days.  It’s so difficult for me to be in the gym when it’s beautiful outside so I began walking in Prospect Park again.  There are several linden blossom trees that are blooming on the walking, running,  biking route.  Each time I reached one, I had to just stop, inhale deeply, exhale, and repeat. I will be a launching a perfume this fall with linden blossom. So inhale deeply and stay tuned.

 

 

Stop And Smell The Roses

Although we’re in the Summer Solstice, I didn’t want to let June pass by without reminding you that June is the official month of the rose. Roses are the flower that represents some of the ways love manifests in our lives; red for passion, all the variations of pink and orange for friendship, yellow for sensual and or deep abiding love (no wonder roses for February 14th.) White roses are for austerities, acknowledgment of a recently deceased for funeral or, for your ancestor shrine.

Queen of all the flowers, the oil of roses, their homeopathic use and or the of smell real rose, assists in healing the heart. Real rose oil is used in luxury facial creams, because rose heals and beautifies the skin.  This is why we use rose oil in all of our Sultry line of beauty products, our Body Butter, Body Polish and Soap all have real rose oil.

 

 In perfumery “rose oil plays well with all the other oils” said Mandy Aftel ~ softening, sweetening and rounding out the sharp edges of any fragrance.

All of Anu Essentials Perfumes have the highest quality rose oils from Bulgaria. Our Sita Perfume has the most rose oil of all our perfumes. As Thích Nhât Hanh reminds us, “Be flower fresh”. Rose is the flower of Oshun, Het Heru, Aphrodite.  If you haven’t already, on your way to your next appointment, stop and smell the roses.  And if you can, visit the botanic garden of your choice to check out the many variety of rose offerings.

 

 

Practices For The Summer Solstice

Feeling a little sleepy, a little sluggish? That’s a natural during this sacred time of the year, during the Summer Solstice. “June 20th and the 21st will be the longest days of 2017 for anyone living north of the equator.” The Solstice comes around twice a year; there’s the Winter Solstice and the Summer Solstice.

In the tradition of our ancestors of ancient Khamit, this time of the year yields a more intense sacred vibration. It’s a time when our spirit is most open to suggestion. It is therefore recommended to be a time of quiet, of meditation and prayer, of visualization for what it is we would like to manifest in our lives.

To practice this full throttle, one would take off from work and spend the four days of the solstice fasting, praying, meditating and sleeping. It is often called “The Sleep”.  This is because it is best to be in a quiet state of mind, to receive what the Universe is emitting at this special time of the year.  You may not be able to take the practice this far (this time around) but you can take some extra time after work for reflection and meditation, for introspection and quietude when you do arrive home from work. You may not be prepared to fast, but you can refrain from junk food or snack food and increase your intake of wholesome, life sustaining fruits and vegetables food and drink.  If possible it is recommended to wear all white during the Solstice.  Everyone can practice the Solstice to the degree to which their lives and or commitment allows.

Shaman Cologne Created Withe Bespoke Frankincense and Myrrh

It is a time to refrain from partaking in entertainment, so… no television, movies, partying, alcohol, recreational drugs, sensual or sexual activities. And for myself, I’ve included refraining from social media during the Solstice. It’s a time to clear and cleanse mind, body and spirit so that we are better able to tune in and receive insights and blessings available to us. The height of the Solstice will take place on the last night, the 24th. Perhaps because it’s a Saturday, you may be able to take full advantage on that day of the making the sacrifices stated above.

We can use herbs and oils to take us deeper into our prayers and or meditations. Preparations that have essences, botanicals like frankincense, myrrh, sage and other sacred herbs are great for both wearing and  fumigating in our homes during this time.

Do what you can and have a wonderful Summer Solstice and summer season.

 

 

The Blossoming of Spring

When spring arrives we can’t help but feel the shift in energy from sleepy, hibernating winter to awakening and buoyant spring. We too must awaken like spring and blossom. It’s time to come out of our shells and share our brilliance like the sun, bloom like flowers, and sing from our hearts like our feathered friends.

Photo I took on the second day of spring

I observed in late winter how the bare trees seemed sublimely changed. From our vantage point near the ground, it appeared that nothing had changed, the trees were as stark as ever; but there was a difference. Due to the height of the limbs it was difficult to see, but I finally realized what I was observing were the buds that had sprouted on the bare limbs. It gave the trees a deeper dimension, more of a presence against the blue skies. They seemed more alive, vibrating.

I got up close and personal with a Cherry Blossom Tree

Once the buds opened and began to show their colors, we knew that spring had truly arrived. In NY, our state tree, the bright, yellow forsythias seem to trumpet the arrival of spring. The enchanting pinks of cherry blossoms, the deep fuchsia of the red bud trees seem to be courting us; colors observed by our eyes, whispered sweetness to our soul.  I love the color pink, and the soft pinks of my peonies had yet to bloom when I arrived home from Thailand. I was thrilled to be able to witness their soft, pinkness unfurling.

A red bud and a white blooming dogwood in Park Slope

Spring is a time for us to start showing our true colors, of beauty, love, wonder and adventure. It’s a time to take care of our soul’s needs. Sign up for that class, take a road trip, see a therapist, join a support group, change the hair, baby the body or get that new lip color or hair cut. We know very well what we need to be our lovely best. And if we don’t quite know, this is the perfect time to take the steps that will lead to being more aware and thereby able to find and eventually manifest all that we can be.

All photos by Anu Prestonia.

This Little Piggy Went to Market – In Thailand

Today was a day of incredible markets and unusual experiences. In Thailand like in most markets, they are not just a place to purchase food, goods and pick up desirables. It’s a place to commune, connect, and perpetuate community. This is more than evident in the markets we visited today.

First stop, the Maeklong Railway Market just outside of Bangkok proper in the Samut Sakhon Provence. There is no other market like this one in the world. The story goes that the market was originally on land that became too expensive for the merchants, so they decided to relocate to place that would be free, the railroad.

This market is set up on either side of the railroad tracks and when the train comes through (eight times a day) everyone has the clear the tracks and make room for the train. For shoppers this merely means moving out of the way. For the merchants this means, winding in their awnings, rolling back the carts that their wares are on (a foot or two) and then there are other items low enough to the ground that the train passes over them without harm. It’s a most unbelievable experience.

Once the train passes, awnings are rolled back out, crates with wares are rolled back into place and the shoppers are once again all a bustle. Everything you might need for creating a dish is there, vegetables of all sorts, as well as fruits, seasoning, fresh fish and seafood, meats of all kinds and young girls stringing the worship garland of marigold and jasmine that I purchased and wore around my neck.

The second stop was the Floating Market in Dameoen Saduek. We drove another half hour or so to arrive at the dock to take the long nose boat to the floating market. This is a canal that was dug by hand which is incredible to imagine considering the length of the canal. We were on a pretty fast moving boat for at least twenty minutes.

Two of the elements of both of these markets are the incredible heat and humidity and this is true despite the fact that we began our journey at 7:00 to avoid the height of the heat. Despite that the heat was quite intense a somewhat draining. Thank goodness for the air-conditioned tour bus. The other element consists of droves of people, locals shopping and tourist from all countless far away lands. The largest groups are tourists are from China.

Last stop wasn’t your usual market; it was small and was actually a cocoanut processing compound. At this stop we were taught how the cocoanuts grow, the many ways it’s processed for oil, to make sugar, syrup, soap, oil, milk, juice and of course we were able to purchase, fresh, young coconuts to drink. Most Thai food includes some element of the coconut. As a special treat for us, our wonderful tour guide, Nok, purchased some plantain bananas that were rolled in cocoanut shavings and deep-fried. It was very delicious.

At this stop we were also able to go inside of a traditional Thai home. Made of teak wood, these homes are on stilts to raise the house to avoid flood, to house the water catching device and because having the house high off the ground, makes for a cooler home.

Inside each home is a shrine to the Buddha, in varying degrees of elaborateness.   There are also shrines outside of every home and business. Each home has two shrines, a shrine to the land elements (soil, air, water, plants, all botanicals) and a shrine to the ancestors. The ancestors have their own home outside the house because they are not allowed to live inside the home; they have their own home.

The land shrine is on a single pedestal and the ancestor shrine is typically on six legs. There are offering made to the shrine daily of acknowledgment and prayers, incense burned, food offered and worship garlands made of flowers like the one I purchased. I wore mine all day long and was just enchanted by the fragrant aroma of the marigold and jasmine. I can only imagine the ancestors loving this fragrance too. It’s jasmine that is the primary essence in the Anu Essentials Sea Scape Perfume, a fragrance that has easy access to my heart.

Also, this home, market had many animals, monkeys, birds, roosters, dogs and a cacophony of insects, which made for quite the sound system.  We finally arrived back to the hotel and just as I was about to prepare for a nap, veteran globe trotter Kay called and asked me to go with her to an antique mall.  That would take a whole other blog post if I could even find the words to describe one incredibly fabulous store with antiques that are just mind blogging. That’s another post for another day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally there was a delicious dinner with my two veteran, globetrotting friends who planned this incredible trip, Kay and Patricia at the night market on the river front.  Yes indeed, the market remains a hub for people to come together, to be together, to live and enjoy life.