this, that, & the other thing {xxiv}

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molly-crabapple-geek-love-katherine-dunn-body-image-1463256483-size_1000 Why Katherine Dunn’s ‘Geek Love’ Was a Bible to Weird Kids Like Me

untitled-1-of-1Christ Consciousness, part I in Ellen Rogers’ Gnosis series, reflections on art & spirituality.

redasblood_full Red as Blood and White as Bone by Theodora Goss

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Witchcraft, Satanism, and the Male Gaze: The Paranoid Sexual Politics of Belladonna of Sadness

1217.w529.h352Park Chan-Wook’s The Handmaiden: A Korean Gothic Lesbian Revenge Thriller 

Follow the breadcrumbs: why fairytales are magic for modern fiction
10 strange novels of the British countryside
The Best Witch Cinema You Haven’t Seen
The Haunting World of Jewish Female Demons and Spirits
Why we must burn her at once, via The Toast
How 2 Sisters and 1 Murder Inspired 500 Songs
How poetry helps us understand mental illness
Astronomers crack the secret of this gorgeous poem by Sappho
Google’s AI is writing eerie post-modern poetry
6 Sinister Podcasts to Scratch Your Eerie Itch

Currently {May 2016}

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I cannot believe it is almost the end of May already! I guess I’ve been busy, although I sincerely couldn’t even say what I have been up to, it’s all been a bit of a blur, really. I read some things, knit some things, had a bit of a milestone birthday and did some fun stuff, and today happens to be the birthday of my youngest sister.  Happy birthday to you, little toaster-mouth!

Speaking of knitting, it was my goal this year to tackle again those projects that gave me troubles in 2015.  Strangely enough, both of these patterns were by the same author, and the part that is really odd is that I normally love her designs and have no issues with them! I reached the conclusion that clearly, the problem here is me–my evidence being that when I slowed down, paid attention, and stopped being so careless and lackadaisical about things, they came together wonderfully. Featured above is the Chinquapin Wrap by Romi Hill and for those interested it was knit in Knitpicks Palette, a wool, fingering weight yarn. The color is “Briar Heather” and I think it was knit on size 5 or 6 needles. The previously finished problem knit was Terpsichore Street, also by Romi Hill.  Both of these have been gifted away.

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Our garden is growing things!  Approximately 50 different kinds of kale, to be precise! Ok, let’s not exaggerate, it’s maybe three different kinds of kale. A few lettuces, some collards, peppers, green onions, eggplants, and even the cutest tangling green tendrils from the pea plants have begun to shoot up from the dirt.  I am basically just going to put kale in everything this summer, I guess.

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Taking a page from Eaumg’s book, I’m trying to keep better track of my empties; that is, the products that I end up actually using completely, thus emptying the package or container. I’m very guilty of jumping on bandwagons and collecting beauty products that sit on the shelf, never being used–and that’s dumb. I’m wasting money and not reaping the (probably dubious) benefits of these potions and elixirs! So, no more of that. Last month I used up two masks and some various samples. I really liked the Tony Moly broccoli mask, it was cooling and soothing…even though the boyfriend suggested that it made my face feel weird and clammy afterward. Ha! The rest of it was ….meh. Nothing I would purchase for myself, though if I stumble across another sample of the Tatcha cleansing oil, I’d give it one more try. In the meantime, I’ve gathered up all my samples in an adorably tiny basket and placed them strategically in my bathroom so that I will actually remember to use them.

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I’ve picked up this weird habit lately where I am reading three things at once + knitting on a thing. A Sunday afternoon basically looks like this: read a few poems from a slim book of poetry, read a chapter from a larger novel, read book one in whatever volume of whatever graphic novel, knit four or five rows, repeat. Then I get up and hop around a lot because my butt has usually fallen asleep by this point.

I recently finished You Can’t Pick Your Genre by Emily O’Neill, which was inspired by the Scream movies, and are described as “warnings, testimonials, declarations”. One reviewer describes it thusly: “These poems are not tropes, but triumphs. Instead of running up the stairs, they are charging towards the killer and digging a pair of scissors through the eyehole of his shitty patriarchal creep mask”. YES! I loved this book and these poems immensely.

Also: The Late Work of Margaret Kroftis by Mark Gluth. Themes of loss and grief and daydreams and stories within stories within stories. A series of vignettes, a chain of lives connected by death. Spare yet dreamy prose. SO many reasons to recommend this to so many people, and yet, I feel that I must warn you. Steel your sweet hearts. This is a rough one for sensitive readers.

Also pictured but not yet read: A Pillow Book by Suzanne Buffam and Cities I’ve Never Lived In by Sara Majka. Not pictured and not yet read, but it looks to be quite wonderful is In The Hours of Darkness by Katie Metcalfe, a lovely Swedish blogger.

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I’ve been catching up on my movie watching over the past month or so and it seems like I’ve been able to cross quite a few off my list! Here are my one-word reviews:

Thale*–Yes
We Are Still Here*–No
Road Games–Maybe
The House At The End of Time*–Yes
The Purge–No
The Purge: Anarchy–Maybe

*currently available on Netflix

To be honest, I’m a bit off my music game lately.  I’ve been listening to the same things for months now, which is fairly unusual for me because I’m constantly amassing new sounds, never listening to the same thing twice.  My current obsession is Ruby The Hatchet, a hypnotic, hallucinogenic, headbanging blend of compelling psych rock energy and thunderous melodies. For fans of Jex Thoth, Purson and the like.

What are you into now? What amazing things are you reading or doing or listening to?

 

Links of the Dead {May 2016}

"Famine" by David Seidman

“Famine” by David Seidman

A gathering of death related links that I have encountered in the past month or so. From somber to hilarious, from informative to creepy, here’s a snippet of things that have been reported on or journaled about related to matters of death & dying & mortality.

💀 A Future Where the Decomposing Dead Could Power Cemetery Lights
💀 3 Kinds of Grief Nobody Talks About
💀 All Must Submit to the King of Terrors, But That Is No Reason to Look So Grave
💀 In Praise of Social Media Mourning
💀 Everything dies and it’s best we learn to live with that
💀 A Different Way of Death: The Alternative Funeral Movement is Taking Hold in the US
💀 How Music Helps Us Grieve
💀 SNL – Talking about Death Experience with Brie Larson
💀 The Cemetery As a Spiritual Experience
💀 Forensic jeweller unravels secrets of the dead
💀 Keening & the Death Wail
💀 Duck, Death and the Tulip: A Tender Illustrated Meditation on the Cycle of Life

Previous installments:
Links of the Dead for April 2016
Links of the Dead for March 2016
Links of the dead for February 2016
Links of the dead for January 2016
Links of the dead for December 2015
Links of the dead for November 2015
Links of the dead for September 2015
Links of the dead for August 2015

Elsewhere: The Devilish Wonders of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Carnaval Diabolique, Part 2

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Part II of my Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Carnaval Diabolique review is up over at Dirge Magazine today!

Yes, I did say that Thalassa The Galapagos Mermaid smells like mermaid bath-time, not mermaid beat-down. Did I infer that I want to lick the armpits of the person who wears Isaac The Living Skeleton? Well, maybe not in so many words.
Okay, those were exactly my words.

In the meantime, if you want to suit yourself up as Thalassa on a casual day, I’ve gone ahead and put together an outfit for you! Complete with pearly, iridescent sunnies and a scrimshaw ring which I like to think she savagely bit right off a sailor’s finger.

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All Must Submit to the King of Terrors, But That Is No Reason to Look So Grave

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(This was originally written for and posted at After Dark In the Playing Fields in 2010, by my partner in the enterprise at that time, who shall henceforth be known as A Kindred Spirit)

Remember friend as you pass by
As you are now so once was I
As I am now you will surely be
Prepare thyself to follow me.

–Common epitaph from the nineteenth century.

I have always been fascinated by cemeteries and graveyards–not out of any real morbid sense, but often an aesthetic and even scientific curiosity.  The town I grew up in seemed to have more dead than living.  Wandering around the edges of farmer’s fields turned up long-forgotten family graveyards.  The iron fences had been sold off in a WWII scrap drive, and cows now wandered freely among the graves.  If it weren’t for the names chiseled on stone, those people would be long forgotten–anyone who remembered where they lay was was now themselves, dead.

In graveyards, we find deliberately chosen monuments to everyday people who have gone before:  reflective of the period of history they were wrought in and the values of those who erected them, with an elaborate symbolic language all their own.  Of course, humans have been custodians of their dead ever at least since the first Neanderthal tossed a flower in a long ago burial, but with historical cemeteries, we have it all laid out for our perusal: names, exact dates and the amazing realization that tombstone art, like anything else, is susceptible to fads.

Until well into the nineteenth century, where individual expression started to become more prevalent, gravestones in American cemeteries generally follow one of a few types designs that had a fairly strict progression through time.

The earliest gravestones were populated by grim reminders of the inevitability of death: skulls and crossbones, winged hourglasses.  These reflected a heavy Puritan influence:  life was nasty, brutish and short and only a select few would make it to heaven.  Everyone else was a sinner in the hands of an angry God.  Often, stones with this type of motif mention something blunt like “Here lies the body”–there was no softening of the blow of death.  Puritans were wary of succumbing to idolatry so the grim reminder of death was the only acceptable form of grave decoration.

As America accepted more and more settlers of varied backgrounds, the Puritans gradually lost their stranglehold on gravestone iconography, and by the end of the seventeenth century, the stark and disturbing skeletal renderings gradually lost their edge by the addition of wings.

By the end of the eighteenth century, the winged death’s heads had gradually phased into a regular human face, with wings (as seen above).  This too reflects the sentiments of the time–there was hope of some kind of afterlife for the deceased and mentions of corrupted bodies gradually gave way to the gentler concept of “mortal remains”.

By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the main motif underwent a another adjustment.  The vacant and slightly distressed looking human face gradually gave way to a winged cherub, effectively removing the sting from death.  During this time period, burials had begun to move from the dank and overcrowded churchyard settings into a more rural, garden-like atmosphere with the introduction of the cemetery park in the 1830’s.  Even the linguistic shift from “graveyard” to “cemetery” indicates the focus was now less on the rotting body and more on memorializing the departed soul.  The language on these stones now says something like “In Memory of” or “Sacred to the Memory of”.

Also popular at this time was a completely new motif: the weeping willow and urn (above). The association with weeping is certainly appropriate for a funereal setting, but the willow also symbolized the gospel, since no matter how many branches are cut off, the tree remains whole, reflecting the kinder, gentler form of Christianity that had come to replace the dour hellfire and damnation of the Puritans a few generations back. The above example is somewhat transitional between the two types, as later willow and urn stones would have a square shoulder instead of the rounded one seen until now. One significant reason for the change in style was that many of these willow and urn graves were actually cenotaphs, empty graves for someone lost far from home; at sea or in a war, but gradually the style came to be favored over the others.

Of course these stylistic attributes are best seen in the longest settled-areas in America, especially New England, but almost any cemetery of a decent age will probably show willow and urn designs marking the oldest graves. In another installment, I will describe the iconographic changes taking place in the Victorian period and what the various symbols you can find in a typical cemetery represent about their permanent inhabitants.

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All Must Submit to the King of Terrors, But That Is No Reason to Look So Grave, Part II.

And they die
An equal death,—the idler and the man
Of mighty deeds.
Homer—Iliad. Bk. IX. L. 396.

In our previous installment, gravestone motifs had just shifted to emphasizing the memory of the departed love one as opposed to focusing on the stark reality of mortal remains.  Skeletons became winged heads, which became cherubs and ultimately the graceful forms of willow and urn, so prevalent in early ninteenth century burials.  By the 1830’s, even more new forms of expression were appearing as carvers turned to using more versatile granite and marble mediums instead of the more brittle shale commonly used on older gravestones.

The Victorians were well known for euphemizing all aspects of society.  Graveyards moved away from attachment to a particular church or village and became housed in the more park-like cemeteries.  Gravestones became monuments.  Even the burial containers themselves changed from the rather austere body-shaped six-sided coffin to an elaborate satin-lined “casket”.

As the Victorian era progressed, grave monuments began to take on a more individualistic iconographic language which often gave clues to the life of the deceased, their occupation or even how they passed away.  Cemeteries from this time period show much more variety in their forms and choices of decoration, celebrating the life or status of the individual dead or the grief of the survivors.

As expected, images of Christianity became very popular with crosses, the Virgin Mary, angels and doves all very common motifs.  Allegorical figures, such as Temperance, Charity, Justice and Hope and Faith are also commonly found.  A single hand pointing upward signified the hoped for destination of the deceased.

For the first time, children’s graves were given their own specific symbols:  carvings of lambs, cherubs, broken buds and daises were all used.  Another common symbol is a vacant chair–often there will be a tiny sculpted pair of shoes next to such a monument.

Obelisks, symbolizing a ray of light, became a very popular shape for tombstones, beginning in the Victorian area.  Part of this was related to the fascination with anything Egyptian, especially after Napoleon’s 1798-99 campaign and subsequent archaeological discoveries.  Obelisks were also less expensive than a sculpted monument of a similar size, and each face could be used for an inscription, making them suitable for family markers and persons of great social status.  Their height allowed them to tower over other markers and be easily located in a cemetery.

Another peculiar motif often seen in cemeteries from this time are treestones:  The Victorians had a fascination with anything rustic looking.  These were most popular from about 1880 to 1905 and could also be ordered from Sears and Roebuck, making them common in the Midwest, which had more catalog shoppers. Treestones were also favored for their symbolism, which was suitable for a family patriarch (they could be shown as lopped off, showing one had died before their prime, as below) or for anyone in a woodworking profession.

Typical example of a “treestone”, a popular Victorian motif. The cut off stump represents someone who died before reaching old age. Image by Luigi Anzivino.

Typical example of a “treestone”, a popular Victorian motif. The cut off stump represents someone who died before reaching old age. Image by Luigi Anzivino.

Broken columns served a similar function–often their height will correspond to the age of the person at death, with snapped-off columns representing someone who has died before their prime and a complete column showing someone has lived a full life. These were most popular around the mid-nineteenth century.

Another curious material for tombstones is zinc or “white bronze”, as it was termed by the manufacturer, the Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut. These monuments are hollow cast metal and were extremely inexpensive to purchase, but have a similar appearance to carved stone. They can also be easily spotted in any cemetery, because they are in perfect shape, having held up amazingly well compared to their more weathered marble and granite counterparts. They were only produced from 1874 to 1914, when the supply of zinc metal was needed for World War I.

Detail of a lily of the valley from a well-preserved zinc monument, showing the characteristic blue-grey patina. The lily symbolizes purity and resurrection, since it is one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring. Image by Svadilfari.

Detail of a lily of the valley from a well-preserved zinc monument, showing the characteristic blue-grey patina. The lily symbolizes purity and resurrection, since it is one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring. Image by Svadilfari.

Perhaps this autumn one might need to take an atmospheric walk in the local cemetery and pay particular attention to the details of each monument. The choices were deliberately made, influenced by fads, economics and personal preference. I always find it amazing what can be learned from simply observing the quiet gestures of the dead.

(Image at top: Virgin Mary statue in Woodland Cemetery, Burlington, Ontario by Kevin. Religious iconography became popular in the Victorian era and the use of new materials such as granite and marble allowed for more elaborate sculpted forms.)

A lonely flute is the new 40

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Next year I am going to look back and be utterly mortified that I chose this ridiculous photo to commemorate my turning 40, but you know what?  Get a grip, next-year-me. I liked my face on this particular day and was feeling goofy and fun, and what’s wrong with that, anyhow? I mean, you’d almost think that we live in a world where we are trained to hate the way we look and should feel ashamed to feel decent about ourselves every once in a blue moon, but, naaaahhh… that couldn’t possibly be true, could it?

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Oh–shit! There I am again!  “What’s with this broad?” you may be wondering.  “Can’t she keep her goddamned face to herself? HA and NO. Not today, face-haters. Not today.
And anyway, isn’t it great, this world we live in? Where we can look at our friend’s wonderful faces every day, even when we’re a million miles apart? I love all of your gorgeous, goofy mugs. Thanks for tolerating mine.

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In a fit of extravagance, I had ordered some birthday gifts for myself over a month and a half ago and I figured that would give them plenty of time to arrive, but one piece is custom & hand-made and the others were ordered during a highly anticipated sale, so I suppose I should have known better. Still, it was kind of a bummer, as I had hoped I would have them in time for a birthday weekend extravaganza where everyone could ooh and ahh over them and I could bask in the warm glow of strangers thinking I have exceptional taste. Ah, well. Such problems we should all have.

Instead, I received a very unexpected, thoroughly marvelous parcel from a dear friend, full of extraordinary magics.  First: a chocolate birthday Babka! Isn’t it gorgeous? I could have gazed rapturously upon its gently-spiced, sweetly-yeasted, chocolatey visage all day long, but I had to eat it eventually, you know.  I hope you’ll not think less of me for that.

And a piece of embroidery from YourGothicGranny! I nearly cried with laughter when I saw the phrase embroidered in those sweet, delicate stitches, “a lonely flute in the fog of yourself”.  This ridiculous translation of a French perfume’s description had us in stitches a few weeks ago, if you’ll pardon the pun, and I love that I will forever have a reminder of its absurdity! Even if the fragrance itself turned out to be completely unmemorable.

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And what’s this!  Some original art from my insanely talented parter-in-crime, Becky Munich (and rumor has it that you will see this piece–and others–in a highly anticipated, forthcoming Gothic zine!) And a tee-shirt that she designed for Sabbath Assembly, an unearthly, unsettling purveyor of dark, freaky sounds.

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Speaking of music, lovely Sasha gifted me a copy of her band’s new release, Emerald Posies! “With the mercurial force of an ancient spell, Suspirea burst into existence fully formed. Singer/guitarist Sasha Soukup & Cellist Bluebird Gaia rallied together & immediately started creating their own musical witches brew. The ingredients are simple: girl-group harmonies, gothic menace, traditional folk songs & a dash of progressive weirdness.”  Doesn’t that sound amazing?  I am so excited to give it a listen!

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And lastly: CATS. From my darling BGF. Because of course!

(…also: not pictured is the beautiful mortar and pestle set from my beloved for the grinding of spices and the making of garlic paste.  And a really cooler muddler/shaker for the creation of fancy cocktails!)

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On Friday night we drove into Orlando for a screening of Gothic at Carmine Boutique.  Ken Russell’s frenzied, hallucinatory depiction of that infamous night at the Villa Diodati is a film dear to my heart. That baby-faced Julian Sands!  Claire Claremont’s frizzy halo of hair! The outrageously diabolical Lord Byron!   I love all of it and it was such a treat to see it again, especially in what has become one of my favorite strange & unsual places to visit in central Florida!

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On Saturday night we attended the Florence + The Machine performance at the Amway Arena. Normally I avoid venues like this. Too many people, too crowded, parking is too much of a production, etc., etc. I don’t like asking anyone to go to that sort of trouble for me.  But I did this time around and I am very glad that I did. For such an enormous arena, it was a surprisingly intimate show…and what a whirling dervish she was! What a magical, transcendent voice.

I wept when she took the stage and opened with What The Water Gave Me. I remembered where I was when I heard it for the first time–6 years ago, still in NJ, trapped in a town that was flooded and under water for a week– and how miserable I was, but also how the song moved me, shook me, changed me. And this weekend I heard it performed live by Florence herself, in the company of those I love best in this world. And I rejoiced. I was resplendently happy, so much so, that I could not contain my happiness. It flowed down my cheeks and dripped off my chin and I was grateful for it.  For all of it, and everything.
For moving waters and changes and love. So much love.

Thanks everyone, for loving me so damn much.  I know it sounds cheesy, but I am gonna put it out there, anyhow–40 is going to be a fantastic year.

Elsewhere: The Devilish Wonders of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Carnaval Diabolique

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It’s that time again where I share with you my thoughts on some smelly things! Over at Dirge Magazine today I review for you the olfactory marvels of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Carnaval Diabolique, Act III.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Carnaval Diabolique, a fantastical collection and debauched menagerie composed thus far in three acts, first opened its creaking gates in 2006 to disturb and delight all who dared partake of its devilish wonders. The Carnavale then pulled up stakes in 2011 and vanished without a trace into the night, leaving behind only a weirdly fragranced trail of wild longings and extraordinary dreams in its wake.

After a mysterious and extended tour through strange and distant lands, the Carnaval has miraculously re-appeared at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab while you were slumbering–and with it, newly formulated, gloriously depraved scents, accompanied by gorgeously updated art.

Esteemed guests–ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! I invite you to follow along on a midnight tour of this diabolical wonderland with its curious cast of creatures and characters. Step this way, my friends!

(And of course we need an ensemble to match, do we not?)

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Bathing Rituals For Ablutophobes

Photo credit, Mika

Photo credit: {Mika, flickr}

If cleanliness is next to godliness, then I’ll be honest with you here–I’m closer to Divine than The Divine when it comes to wallowing in my own filth.

Simply put: I hate bathing.  Or spelled out even simpler than that: I hate being wet.

OK, so maybe the title of this post is a little misleading.  I am not an ablutophobe, per se– that is, I am not afraid of bathing. And don’t misunderstand me, I like the feeling of being clean and nice smelling and having hair that doesn’t fall in a dank, greasy mess across my face, but I absolutely detest the process it takes to get there. The prospect of undignified, soggy nudity and a sopping wet, 50-pound mop of tangles on top of my head that takes all day to dry is one that I dread and avoid for as long as I possibly can get away with.

No doubt if I polled my friends regarding when they showered I would  hear things like “oh, every morning”.  Or “oh, at night after I work out”, or sometimes even twice in one day (you weirdos).  For me, it prompts a rather different question, “when did I last shower?” Was it 3 days ago? 4? Hmmmm.

Clean clothes, clean underwear, deodorant, and perfume go a long way in upholding my decent citizen status.  Most of the time I even receive positive commentary on how lovely I smell! But I know, I know–there’s the question of hygiene. I mean, I guess there is…right?  That’s what people seem to think, anyway. Personally, I like to think me and my bacteria are great friends, so I am not overly troubled by it.

I would probably never, ever set foot inside the shower if I thought I could get away with it, but sometimes you have to get cleaned up for work, or family, or maybe it’s been a really hot, sweaty Florida day and the soapy angel on my shoulder is giving me a really hard time about it. The dirt devil on my other shoulder is like “eh, whatevs!” but my swampy butt-crack and I know that we have to do the right thing.

So I trick myself!  That’s right. Like a toddler that you are bribing with candy or shiny toys, I too must be lured into doing the thing I just don’t wanna do. Fancy soaps, shower gels and lotions are my incentives of choice to entice me into the cleansing waters and I usually end up making a bit of an evening of it.  I’ll light some incense, play some soothing music and generally turn it into a ritual of sorts, like I’m sacrificing my dirt and funk up to the gods.

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Below I’ve listed for you some of my favorite ritualistic ablutions:

Tom Ford Oud Wood shower gel is, at $68, no doubt the most expensive shower gel you could ever buy, but it smells like woods and incense and secret forest temples and is totally worth it.

Atelier Vanille Insensee soap has a lovely, clean vanilla scent. Very mild and tempered with some citrus and woodsiness. Nice for hot weather, actually. Not a bit foody or too cozy smelling. I don’t like equating a cozy feeling with the process that serves up stinging needles of water on my skin anyway, so this is a fragrance that works fine for this purpose.

Villainess Peal Diver soap is nice and scrubby with Irish moss, dulse and kelp to thoroughly exfoliate, and a scent that’s not quite tropical, not quite spa-like, but conjures visions of standing on your 5-star ocean-side hotel room balcony and gazing out at the vast, black sea at midnight, the moon low on the horizon.

Madame Scodioli’s soaps are a wee luxury I picked up at Carmine Boutique in Orlando; both are on the perfumey-musky side but Oracle has a bit of spice and lush, dark fruit, whereas Widdershins has a sweet, smoky quality.

Haus of Gloi Troika pumpkin butter is made from shea butter and pumpkin seed oil and despite its heavy appearance goes on quite nicely, non-greasy and sinks right in.  Troika smells of “a trinity of soft milks: almond, oat and coconut, lashed with sweet agave nectar and the ethereal scent of clean whiteness” and really that’s exactly what it smells like, I can’t do any better than that. Haus of Gloi is a totally vegan company.

Ether body butter made exclusively by Naked Eye Beauty for Sisters of the Black Moon has a different texture than the previously mentioned pumpkin butter.  It seems…spongier…somehow?  I think it takes a little bit longer to sink in, but I obviously adore it since I am now halfway through my second jar of it–and I’ve got to like something quite a bit for me to buy it a second time.  It’s got a light, powdery musky scent that makes me think of a “stripper with a heart of gold” character from a bawdy comedy.  I also think Stormer from the Misfits probably smells like this. That probably makes no sense to anyone but me.

Cinnamon Projects incense is designed to “create transformative space”, with the various scents offered to portray an infinitely inspired day. On a whim, I chose 2AM, which is scented with cedarwood, cinnamon, honey, and vetiver, and is utterly gorgeous and somehow magnificently restrained.  It’s warm without being overly spicy, it’s sweet but not cloying and it’s strongly scented–but not suffocating.  It’s perhaps the most perfect stick of incense I have ever burned.

Blackbird Violet Hour incense made for Catbird NYC, on the other hand, is smoky and potent and just this side of harsh. These are no demure shrinking violets…they are violets who have set themselves on fire in protest, smoldered in revolt, and their sooty purple petals are going to haunt you for the rest of your life.  I am not certain if this particular scent is still available anymore on the Catbird site but Blackbird makes all sorts of intriguing scents (both incense and perfumes)that are for sale on their own site, and they are worthy peeking in on.

And finally, I did mention candy, didn’t I? Persephenie’s Rose and Frankincense heart opening candies, made with ingredients like cane sugar, rose water, wild Harvested frankincense, and vanilla, seem like old world magic and a terribly special sort of treat. I could certainly do to keep my heart open to the wondrous possibilities that spring from a proper cleansing, so there’s that too, I suppose.

Do you hate to bathe as much as I do? It’s okay, you can admit it here, you are amongst stinky friends! Do you have any special treats or bribes that you must resort to rouse yourself to do the things you don’t like to do?  Tell me all about it in the comments!

 

 

 

Elsewhere: Keening and the Death Wail

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I recently interviewed musician Gemma Fleet of The Wharves on her project “Lost Voices” Volume 1. “Keening and the Death Wail”. Gemma provides us with a fascinating look at a dramatic mourning tradition as it relates to the Irish funeral and other cultures worldwide, as well as tackling it from a feminist perspective, and how it ties into the grieving process.

Keening & the Death Wail | Death & the Maiden

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