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sábado, 12 de março de 2016

Spikenard Magic

by: Fabienne Christenson

Out of curiosity I bought a small sample of Himalayan Spikenard. I had been reading about its reputation as a fabulous ingredient in ancient days and I was curious as to why anyone would pay a king's ransom for it. I received my vial of greenish goo straight away, wrung off the plastic cap and inhaled the fumes.
It smelled...herbal. Herbal and disappointing. It was: hay, the after-smell of rain in the summer, musty waterlogged fountains. It was romantic in the way of neglected ruins and vegetation, but where was the magic in that? There was none. I had given it all of one good sniff and I recapped it and put it back in my cabinet and promptly forgot about it for a year.
Spikenard is part of the Valerian family
The next Ash Wednesday, I thought I would give spikenard another try, after all it was the season. In the naturals cabinet the vial was lying on its side waiting for me. I took off the top, put a small amount on the back of my hand, recorked it and thought,”There HAS to be something alluring about this stuff. It was just too expensive to be simply herbal,” I sat at the keyboard waiting for some magic to happen.
"The Sacrament of Penance" by Poussin;
Mary is shown washing the feet of Jesus with spikenard oil.
I got busy answering my e-mails and other tasks. About a minute later, it cracked my consciousness that I was getting a whiff of something which was commanding my attention. It was that herbal smell but it rapidly turned into a horrid vinegar/feet note!. But no sooner than you realized the scent had turned foul then the unthinkable happened, it turned into the most beautiful smell you have ever encountered. It was a bit of osmanthus, a bit of boxwood, a bit of expensive men’s hair pomade. It was divine. Then as soon as I had gone through that cycle, I ended up at the herbal gateway. Not long afterward, I found myself on the path of vinegar again and to that heavenly fragrance which twisted back into herbs. The cycle repeated itself as long as I cared to follow along.
L'Eau de Jatamansi by L'Artisan;
jatamansi is the botanical name for spikenard
So this extreme mutability is probably the reason why spikenard was prized for centuries. I don’t know if you would want to interfere with this kind of unique magic trick, or if it would be disturbed by the inclusion of other ingredients. FYI spikenard is a member of the valerian family and is a base note.

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