Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Hermes: Quicksilver King incense

Most of you know that I'm a devotee of the Great God Hermes. I've written about him extensively (use the search bar on the right to find some articles about him if you want).

This illustration, from D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths
was my first introduction to Hermes, when I was a baby.
I feel immediately and permanently in love. 

The Arcadian Hymn to Hermes

Listen now, as the muses sing
of Hermes Mercurius, the Quicksilver King.
Teacher of teachers, the Universal Mind,
Arcadian child of Māyā, divine.
Mathematician, Magician, Traveler, Thief:
Make the pious man doubt, and bring the skeptic belief.
Make our words be clever and our eyes to be bright.
Grant unearned luck and true wisdom’s insight.
Let our tongues be quick; make our feet quick too.
Let our lies be convincing, but our teaching be true!
Send instructive dreams and controllable visions,
Ennoble our purpose, empower our missions.
And when, at last, our lifetimes end,
be our beloved guide, and our psychopomp friend.

For use in all Hermes related works, but especially those related to his role as Lord of Games (both trivial and very, very serious), Mastros & Zealot is proud to announce our newest Hermes incense. It includes:

Sandalwood: Santalum spicatum, a tree native to Australia, closely related to Indian sandalwood (Santalum album).  Indian Sandalwood is classified as "vulnerable" (the first step toward becoming endangered) by the ICUN , and it is difficult to ethically source.  Australian sandalwood forms the base of this incense, but it also includes a very small amount of Indian Sandalwood, which a friend brought me back from India.  Sandalwoods have a long history of religious and magical use, particularly for use in focusing the mind and transforming desires.  Sandalwood has an amazing fragrance that's hard to describe.  It's warm, soft, and creamy; like warm milk from your mother.  Sacred to both Shiva and Lakshmi, sandalwood is precious, both literally and figuratively.  

Frankincense: The resin of Boswellia sacra tree, is solar and sweet. It has a long and storied use throughout North Africa and the Middle East. Biblically, it was a gift of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon, and also a gift of the Magus Melichor to the infant Jesus. I use it in almost all of my incense mixes. It is good for purification and sanctification, for healing and peace. It uplifts this mixture and ensures that, while it can be cthonic, this incense is never malevolent. The frankincense in this mixture is (like all our herbal products) ethically harvested and fair trade.

Cloves: Syzygium aromaticum is an evergreen tree related to myrtle.  The part used is the dried flower bud.  Until modern times, cloves grew only on a handful of Indonesia islands, now called the Moluccas, but historically called "the Spice Islands", but these cloves are from Bangladesh.  Many people associate cloves with Jupiter, but I think of them as Mercurial, and perhaps a little Venus-y.  They are historically noted as an aphrodisiac.  Spicy, warm, and sweet cloves smell, to me, like Greek spice cake.  

Nutmeg: The seed of several varieties of the Myristica tree, nutmeg is also native to the Moluccas.  Nutmeg is one of my favorite spices; I love both the smell and the taste. (Try it with buttered peas. Amazing! I learned this recipe from St. Theodore the Studite, the first abolitionist.)  Like all abortificant plants, nutmeg is sacred to the Witch Queens. Like all psychadelics, it is sacred to Hermes. I do not recommend nutmeg as an enthoegen, my experience was quite unpleasant. The amounts of nutmeg in this incense are not enough to induce abortificant or psychadelic experiences. Random note: I love the name Myristica. If I had a daughter, I would name her Myristica.

Saffron: The stigmas (reproductive parts) of the Crocus sativus flower, is probably native to Greece, but has been propagated by humans across Eurasia since at least the Bronze Age, and is now grown world wide (including in my front yard!).  Because harvesting the stigmas is extremely labor intensive, saffron is very expensive, and has always been so.  It takes 70,000 crocuses to produce a pound of saffron.  Saffron produces a bright yellow color when cooked, especially in rice.  Although some holy objects (like Hekate's robe) are dyed with saffron, most "saffron robes" are dyed with turmeric (I'll write a post on dying with tumeric some other time if you remind me).  Saffron smells sort of like freshly mown hay, and's hard to explain.  Saffron tastes...well, it tastes yellow: buttery and honey-ish, without being sweet or creamy.  It's very mildly spicy, but not hot.  It's almost impossible to describe, but delicious.  Saffron is extensively used in Deitsch (PA Dutch) cooking, as well as in Greek and Sephardic dishes, so that's pretty much a trifecta for me.There is some evidence that saffron can reduce symptoms in those with major depressive disorder, and it's hard to believe anything so yellow and so delicious wouldn't raise anyone's mood, at least a little! There is a long history of saffron being used in perfumes and incenses; Cleopatra used to bathe in it Saffron in it.  particular, and crocuses in general, are sacred to Hermes.   The Saffron in this batch comes was grown near where I grew up in Lancaster, PA, which is the largest center of saffron production in the United States.  

and a number of other ingredients, including honey, cardamom, cinnamon, cassia, and dragon's blood and some other things.

$23 per half cup.  Order here

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