In the last week we have traveled from here:
In the last week we have traveled from here:
Excerpts from the work by David Crow
If the tranquil heaven of sages gone to bliss had a fragrance, it would be sandalwood. The scent of “chandan,” as it is called in Sanskrit, is said to be the auric perfume emitted by those whose minds have cooled the flames of worldly passions, who are free of all attachments and egoistic cravings, who have transcended all sufferings of impermanence and ephemeral transitory existence. If purity of being, openness of heart, and loving kindness born of inner peace had a smell, it would be that of the finest golden oil suffused throughout the heartwood of the oldest sandalwood tree growing in the deepest forest of its native land. If there was a single aroma that evoked the memories of devotion, remembrance of the Divine, and aspiration toward enlightenment within the collective soul of the innumerable beings that have passed through this world, it would be that of sandalwood’s blue-gray smoke curling upward from the temple censer.
Until now, our travels through the agricultural regions, the argan forests of the coastal areas, the Atlas Mountains and the cities of Fez and Marrakech had been delightful, intriguing, educational and productive, but not otherworldly; the Sahara would change that.
We departed from Marrakech relatively early in the morning, as we had a long journey ahead. I had come to appreciate why Fez was Hamid’s favorite city and Marrakech his least favorite: the serious traffic, heavy pollution and general hardship of life for the crowds in the streets reminded me of similar claustrophobic scenes in cities of India. At least I didn’t have Hamid’s job of negotiating the car through impossible impasses of honking motorcycles, taxis, tour buses, horse-drawn carriages filled with tourists, cargo trucks, laborers pushing overflowing handcarts and the occasional donkey. We were also fortunate to have stayed in a tranquil riad in the middle of the old city, the silence of its thick walls and inner courtyard a surreal contrast to the chaos in the surrounding alleys.
A cold fog was blowing through the forest. Hamid pulled the car over and let us out along with Mohammed, our guide for the morning. We were outside of Ifrane, where we had spent the night. He drove off down the winding mountain road, with plans to meet later in the day at an unknown destination.
Mohammed was a recently retired schoolteacher who was born and raised in the alpine terrain of the Middle Atlas Mountains. “I did not see the coast until I was nineteen,” he told us, “even though it is only two hours away.” His true passion was nature and the local environment, and he was a highly knowledgeable botanist. We were setting off on a rugged hike to meet the local plants.
Sara and I were grateful that we had our winter clothes. Ifrane gets heavy snow, which makes the faux Swiss ski village a playground for the wealthy. Spring had not arrived yet.
“I will take you to a place I don’t take other people,” Mohammed confided in us. “I am afraid that if I show people this place it will be ruined.”
“Today we will see distillation in the home,” Hamid announced. We had just emerged from the medina and were ready for our afternoon excursion. I had no idea what he was referring to, but it sounded intriguing.
We drove through the new city of Fez; modern, hip, and affluent its wide boulevards crammed with cars were a stark contrast to the tiny walking lanes of the old city. The old and new cities seemed to have completely different cultures as well, with the new city having a distinctly younger westernized population and the old city appearing as left over from the past, with traditional clothing the norm and the general age of the people noticeably older. It was easy to imagine that many of people we had encountered in the shops of the medina never went outside the walls of their ancient realm.
I woke to the voice of God speaking in the language of birds and bubbling fountains; a short time latter two small earthquakes shook the pillared riad where we were staying. Welcome to Fez, the place the Sufis call “the city of saints.”
I lay listening to my heartbeat, a practice I do often; as always, the flow of the outer world dawned as its pulsating reflection.
We were in the heart of the medina, three hundred and fifty blocks of twisting narrow passages, stairways and tunnels where artisans and merchants and their families have lived and died since the city’s founding in 809. Built to human scale, no car has ever passed this way or ever could. It would have been impossible to find our way to the guesthouse from the entrance of the old city, and equally so to find our way out.
Casablanca disappeared behind us in a haze of diesel fumes, street dust and factory smoke. It took a long time to get out of the crowded city, but eventually we were passing through oak groves harvested for their cork bark and small stands offering fresh melons and forest-harvested truffles. Our destination was the agricultural region of Meknes and Khemisset, midway between the Atlantic coast and Fez.
It is neroli season in Khemisset, when the exquisite aroma of citrus blossoms fills the air and their precious perfumed nectar is carefully distilled. Unfortunately, the manager of the first distillery we visited was not happy to see us.
The plane glided from the stratosphere toward dawn spreading across Morocco. Layers of violet and indigo sky gradually changed to blazing gold and fiery orange as the first rays spread across the cloud layer hiding Africa’s Atlantic coast. I savor such sublime moments, not only because another adventure is waiting but also because I abhor turbulent flights, and the ending of this one was so smooth that it felt as though we were suspended in space.
Many of you may know that I enjoy meditation practice, and find artistic and spiritual inspiration from contemplating our deep intimacy with nature's elements. Many times in daily life, filled as it is with worldly responsibilities, I have wondered whether what I am doing is ultimately of any purpose and value, and whether I am on the right path or not; I know that I am not alone in such existential ponderings, nor or they anything new in human life.
Savitri is perhaps the most famous of Floracopeia's perfumes. Savitri is made up of what is said to be the finest combination of any two fragrances: Rose and Vetiver.
It has been several years since we have made this very special aromatic treasure available to the public.
We are very excited to have a special batch to share- just in time for Valentine's Day. Watch the video below as David tells the story of Savitri Perfume.
Video: David Crow Tells The Story of Savitri
Right now, millions of people around the world are purchasing commercial perfumes for Valentine's Day gifts
For those of us who appreciate and cherish the finer fragrances of botanical perfumes, it is hard to fathom wearing the harsh scents that dominate the aisles of every department store across the country.
David Crow did an amazing job delivering this point with crystal clarity in his latest video that you can watch below.
Watch: David Crow on Natural Perfumes and New Releases
Last year Sara and I were in the San Diego area for an event. I was approached by a young man who introduced himself as both a perfumer and a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which I thought was a very interesting combination of careers. We spent some time talking and I found that he was very inspired by the Floracopeia vision and mission of supporting sustainable production of aromatic treasures around the world.
The next day he brought some of his collection of his own aromatic treasures. It was a fascinating encounter: he had a box full of not just one agarwood oil, but numerous types of agarwood oils from all over southeast Asia, some of which have been aged for 50 years.
Without a doubt, those of us at Floracopeia will remember 2012 as an extraordinary time, the year that our little company truly blossomed.
Sometimes one finds the most incredible treasures in the most unexpected places. In this case, the treasure was off a highway running along the southern coast of Corsica, down a steep and rutted dirt road where cars could not pass without fear of being stranded at the bottom of the ravine, across a small creek, a moderate walk through the forest and then a stroll across an open plateau overlooking fields of helichrysum and beautiful valleys.
Immortelle by David Crow
(From Beloved Plants)
"How did immortelle come to have its name?" I was once asked.
I don't know. I don't want to know. I would prefer to avoid what botanists and historians and linguists might have to say or postulate; I would rather not search for archaic herbal lore that would lead to stories about Napoleon’s infatuation with the perfumed landscape of his Corsican home and other such tiresome and probably inaccurate anecdotes. No, I would prefer to leave the question a mystery
The first time I met Cistus oil was many years ago. I used it a few times in some experimental perfume blends and was impressed with its depth, richness and intriguing complexity. After that I put the vial away and forgot about it; when I opened the drawer many years later and took out the oil its fragrance was as full and intense as when I had last smelled it.
When we approach an essential oil with concentration and mindfulness it begins to reveal hidden dimensions of beauty, power and intelligence that are not ordinarily noticed. As we integrate these new perceptions into a greater awareness of our own physiological reactions to the plant’s essence, we begin to understand how we are deeply connected to all of life, specifically to the photosynthetic beings that give us nourishment and medicines. By exploring this biological unity through our own senses, we come to realize directly that the processes of life occurring in and around us are truly the expressions and manifestations of an underlying miraculous and profound consciousness, as so eloquently described by the language of Ayurveda. For that reason, we call this practice “Aromatic Alchemy.”
Dear friends of Floracopeia:
Those of you who have been following the growth and development of Floracopeia know that we are much more than an essential oil company: we are devoted to ongoing education through our numerous events, articles and courses; we have launched MedicineCrow.com as our online botanical community; and we are deeply committed and involved with sustainable and organic production of essential oils from many continents. Even our lines of Aromatic Treasures reflect this diversity, with every month seeing many new oils, resins, and hydrosols coming from farms and distillers near and far.
A Plant-Based Revolution
In the midst of the breakdown of many old and obsolete systems mirrored in the social unrest so prevalent these days there is a growing movement that recognizes the importance of plants not just for food and medicine but for the quality of connection to ourselves that comes with interacting and stewarding the land we live on.
Dear friends of Floracopeia and Medicinecrow:
Greetings from my forest hermitage, where I have had the good fortune to spend
the last month, close to nature's elements again after a long period of travel,
teaching and work. I was rather exhausted when I arrived, especially from the
October trip to India, but I've been using herbs Read More and eating healthy
foods and doing qigong and meditating and chopping wood and carrying water,
and am feeling much better.