I love Halloween season. It's my favorite holiday, and time of year, for so many reasons.
The air feels fresh and clean. I can wear leggings and sweaters. Arm warmers and legwarmers. Hoodies and layers and boots. All the comfort of winter clothes, without the frozen nose or frozen toes. It's chider (chai + cider) season. The season of spices. Of colored leaves and striped socks and fried dough. October is my favorite.
And it all leads up to one day
(or two or three).
All Hallow's Eve, Samhain, The Day of the Dead, Tricks or Treats.
It all blends together for me, but I just call it Halloween.
I lived in New Mexico for a while, and one year I attended a festival for the Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos. I don't know if my memory of this festival is factual or twisted and turned in my imagination over the years. After spending time looking into it, I never found an explanation, but this is what I remember (and how I think of Halloween):
There was a giant puppet in the middle of a field close to the center of town. A crudely created puppet, as tall as a house. It swayed and moaned. The image and sound will stick with me forever. The puppet represented the year gone, all the events of the year, all the gains and losses, all the emotions, all the good, the bad, and everything in the middle. At the end of the festival, the puppet was burned. A sacrifice to the universe. As it went up in flames, we all let go of the past, to make room for the future.
I enjoy the whole month of October. The superficial things that make me happy during this season are just as important to me as the spiritual depth of the culmination. It's the celebration of life and fun, followed by remembrance then release of the past. The internal growth of winter, and the coming rebirth of spring. The reminder that I'm part of the whole.
And that is why I love Halloween.
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Whenever I travel or celebrate a special occasion, I make a new essential oil blend. Sometimes I put it in an inhaler, or sometimes a perfume oil, sometimes a body oil, or a spray. Having a new aroma is my way to commemorate special moments in my life.
A few weeks ago, I went to Ireland. I wanted to bring some body oil for relaxing, so I first made a blend with Peace. Then I remembered I recently bought jasmine extract and neroli essential oil for personal use. They are both very precious oils, so I don't often use them, I had purchased them on a whim. It turns out I had a reason, I just didn't know it at the time.
I wanted to make something that reminded me of summer; reminded me of flowers blooming and of fertile earth and fresh green leaves. I started by pulling aside the oils that reminded me of that aroma. I wanted to use neroli and jasmine for sure, not only because I wanted to work with them, but also because their heavy floral aromas were perfect for the heart of the blend.
I needed a top note that was
I'm taking part in an Instagram Challenge called March Meet the Maker. Joanne Hawker started this challenge in 2016, but I only heard of it this year and jumped in late, just a couple days ago. Joanne set up each day with a different prompt, and makers share photos and stories related to that prompt. Today's prompt is "design process", and since this is my favorite part of my job, I wanted to share more than an Instagram post would allow.
Each type of product I make has a slightly different design process, depending on whether it's a lip balm and I'm creating new scents, or it's an aromatherapy blend where the ingredients are therapeutic, or it's a limited edition body product that is completely new. But they all start the same - an idea. Usually followed by the question, "how can I make this scent with just natural ingredients?"
Two years ago, I was browsing in a bookstore, and I picked up a book on their bestsellers table. I liked the way the book looked and felt in my hands, and I made a split second decision to buy it just before they closed, completely unaware that what I felt was what the book was about - an item sparking joy in myself. The book was Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Though the KonMari Method is about following your heart, not necessarily your instincts, I'm so glad I picked up that book!
I love stuff. I love to collect things, especially old things. I love the memories they hold, the connections they remind me of, and the history they contain. I am comforted by always having useful things around in case I need them. It's rare I ever leave my house without a bag (although I do try to challenge myself sometimes).